Winter CSA Share #10

Welcome to the 10th, and final, share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Cauliflower
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Tatsoi – Somewhere between spinach and bok choy, this Asian green is great in salads and soups alike.
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Teenage Red Ursa Kale – Not baby kale, not full-sized adult kale, but right in the middle. Tender enough for salads and fast wilting for soups.
  • Spinach
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Red & Purple Radishes – Too many radishes? We suggest trying them roasted with other roots or cooked into soups and curries.
  • Leeks
  • Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions sooner than later.
  • Dried Cherry Tomatoes
  • Dried Apples
Rainbow Chard and Cauliflower headed to this week’s share!

We’ve made it to the final share of the Winter CSA season! Last week’s cold snap certainly reinforced the “Winter” part of the Winter CSA but the freezing temps, various hailstorms, and dusting of snow didn’t phase the crops in the field. We’re excited to be bringing you an abundance of goodness for this final share of the season.

Many thanks for joining us this season. We hope you enjoyed the past five months of local, seasonal eating. The weeks since we started back in December have flown by and it’s hard to believe we’re already wrapping up another season.

We’ll see most of you at the beginning of June for the start of the Summer CSA season and we hope to see everyone again next winter. We’ll be sure to reach out to all of you in late summer when we’re ready to sign-up members for next year’s Winter CSA.

Setting up pea trellising (left) and Jeff fixing a leak in the 6″pvc irrigation mainline after digging that giant hole (right).

April is usually when the planting begins ramping up here on the farm. Cold hardy crops make it into the field and the tomatoes get planted in a high tunnel. The rain and chilly overnight lows of the past two weeks meant a pause in planting while we waited for warmer temps and a dry spell and we tried to focus on other projects. We managed to get the trellising installed for the snap peas, stay on top of propagation and seed sowing, get a field prepped for planting between rain storms, and fix a leak in the mainline of our irrigation system among other things. We also weeded the early high tunnel carrots:

Weeding carrots, slow but rewarding!
Tomato planting day!

Once the overnight lows were once again out of the thirties on Sunday we hopped to it and planted the tomatoes!

528 tomato plants and 100 t-posts later, we’re ready for tomato trellising and eventually tomatoes!

The propagation house is filling up again (left) and fennel, onions, and kohlrabi starts hardening off outside and ready to be transplanted (right).

With the last Winter CSA harvest finished we’re now looking ahead to the Summer CSA and the work that needs to happen before it begins. Although we will be taking a break from harvesting for the next five weeks we’ve got plenty of other things to keep us busy. There’s ground to prep, transplants to plant, seeds to sow, grass to mow, blueberries to mulch, irrigation pipe to move, and the list goes on.

Thanks again for joining us for this past winter of vegetables! We couldn’t do this without you and we’re routinely humbled by your willingness to sign on to this adventure in eating. Thanks for letting us grow your food!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you many of you the first week of June for the start of the Summer CSA!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Clever Oven Parsnip Soup

1 small head of garlic
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee
2 pounds (1kg) parsnips
3 medium yellow onions
6 cups (1.5L) vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups (250g) (about one 15.5-oz. can) white beans, such as cannellini, great northern, or navy, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (use 1 teaspoon if using broth; 2 teaspoons if using water)
1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
Parsley leaves, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Slice off the stem of the garlic bulb and the portion just below the stem, revealing the open cloves. Spread the coconut oil on top, wrap the bulb tightly in aluminum foil, and set it on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.

While the garlic is roasting, peel and roughly cut the parsnips into similarly sized chunks to ensure even roasting. Chop the onions. After the garlic has roasted for 15 minutes, add the parsnips and onions to the baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the roasted parsnips and onions to a blender. Remove the foil from the garlic and squeeze the bulb from the bottom to extract the cloves into the blender. Add the broth, beans, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice, and blend on the highest setting until the soup is smooth and creamy. Transfer the soup to a stockpot and heat until steaming, if necessary.

Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper and parsley, if using.

From Food52.com via Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton, https://food52.com/recipes/76146-clever-parsnip-oven-soup

Fried Cauliflower Sandwich

1/2 head cauliflower
2 cups lacinato kale (or similar)
2 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil (approximately)
Salt, to taste
2 ciabatta rolls (or similar good, crusty white bread)
2 tablespoons pickled banana pepper rings
4 slices provolone cheese

Trim the cauliflower, leaving the core intact, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (don’t worry if they don’t stay perfectly intact — as long as the have a relatively “flat” side they should brown up nicely). Set aside.

Slice the kale into thin ribbons and peel and mince the garlic. Set aside.

Pour enough oil in a heavy fry pan so that it completely coats the pan’s bottom and will slightly edge up the sides of the cauliflower pieces when you add them. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it’s very hot, add the cauliflower slices and let them sizzle, untouched, for 4 to 5 minutes (you may need to adjust heat so that they cook long enough to get brown and cook through). Flip the slices and cook them for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with a little salt.

Turn off the heat and add the kale and garlic to pan. Cook in the residual pan heat for a minute or two until the greens are wilted, then scrape onto a plate.

Turn the oven broiler on. Split and toast the ciabatta rolls. Take the two bottom halves and layer on the fried cauliflower slices, then the greens, and lastly, the peppers. Top with 2 slices of cheese and broil in oven just until melted. Top with the other ciabatta halves and enjoy.

Note: I highly recommend using a cast-iron skillet if you have one. If you don’t, they cost about $12 at your local hardware store. Otherwise, choose a very heavy pan so you get a nice crust on the cauliflower.

From Food52.com by Laurie from crunchygooey.blog, https://food52.com/recipes/24731-fried-cauliflower-sandwich

Roasted Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Cannellini Beans

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed and leaves roughly torn into 2-inch pieces
1 can cannellini beans (16 or 19 ounces, or about 2 cups), drained and rinsed
Finely grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from one lemon (reserving extra juice for finishing dish)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
16 ounces (about 3 or 4 links) good-quality chicken or pork sausage, removed from casings and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (can also use pre-cooked sausage, sliced into small pieces)
Finely grated Parmesan or pecorino, to serve

Heat oven to 400° F.

Combine chard and cannellini beans in a large casserole, baking dish, or ovenproof skillet. It will look like a lot of chard, but it will considerably cook down. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and zest, Dijon mustard, smoked Spanish paprika, and olive oil. Add to chard and cannellini beans and toss well with hands to evenly coat. Evenly distribute the chard and beans in a single layer—or as close as you can get to a single layer. Nestle the pieces of sausage on top of the chard and beans.

Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chard is tender with crispy edges and the sausage is no longer pink. For extra security, you can toss about halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking.

Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed. Top with grated parmesan or pecorino. Serve warm.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/35346-roasted-sausage-chard-and-cannellini-beans

Winter CSA Share #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Cauliflower
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Mixed Brassica Rapini – Choose from kale, cabbage, and collard rapini bunches. Prepare it like you would sprouting broccoli or kale.
  • Arugula Rapini
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Mixed Magic Molly & French Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots – After a long winter of hanging out in the ground, we suggest these carrots are going to be best cooked.
  • Red & Purple Radishes – Too many radishes? We suggest trying them roasted with other roots or cooked into soups and curries.
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.  Converting the inulin to fructose through cooking with vinegar or fermenting seems to be a good solution.
  • Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions sooner than later.
  • Tetsukabuto Winter Squash – A cross between butternut and kabocha = the best of both worlds!
  • Dried Apples
April harvests look like purple sprouting broccoli from the field and radishes, bok choy, spinach, and arugula from a field house.

We’ve made it to the penultimate share of the 2021-2022 Winter CSA season! We’ll see you all again in two weeks for the final share of the season to wrap things up.

Spring is springing here on the farm. The plum and pear trees are flowering and the beekeepers brought some beehives back to the farm this past week just in time. The lengthening days and some recent warmer temps have got the grass, weeds, and crops all growing like crazy.

Back on January 15th we direct sowed arugula, bok choy, and spinach, all of which are making an appearance in this week’s share. It always feels like a leap of faith to put seeds in the ground and expect food to appear, and never more so than in the dead of winter. Somehow it’s worked again and we’re all going to be eating well for the next couple of weeks thanks to the miracle of seeds and soil and water and sunlight.

It’s time to get planting!

The most exciting news from the farm is that we’ve officially begun the transplanting season! After a fall/winter of chasing tractor repairs we seem to be back in business with the repairs behind us for the moment. Our tractor is an integral part of how we make this farming thing work with just two people and it’s back in action just in time. The first successions of chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage all found a place in the field this weekend. Fingers crossed the weather settles itself soon and we’re able to continue to make planting progress.

Here’s a little video of the first transplanting of the season. Actions shots of just how we get those plants in the ground using our water wheel transplanter, plus a lot of ball throwing with Leo.

Fertilizing blueberries (top left) propagation house scene (top right), and snap peas! (bottom).

While we attempted to patiently wait for a new radiator to be built for the tractor over the last couple of weeks we tried to make progress on other spring projects. The blueberries got some attention as we weeded and fertilized them. There was plenty to do in the propagation house between sowing seeds, moving flats out to harden off for planting, potting up celery into larger cells, and sowing more seeds. And we’re trying out a new trellising method for the peas this year and Jeff managed to get the infrastructure installed and ready for trellising.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be transplanting onions, lettuce, kohlrabi, and fennel as the weather allows. We’ll also transplant the tomatoes into a high tunnel shortly. There’s lots of propagation to undertake as it’s time to start summer squash and zucchini and cucumbers. And we’ll be preparing for the final harvest of the Winter CSA! It’s starting to get busy over here!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Sunchokes with Hazelnut Gremolata

Roasted sunchokes

  • 2 pounds sunchokes, peeled and cut into 3/4″ chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Hazelnut gremolata

  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
  1. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to a stock pot of boiling water. Add the sunchokes and boil until tender, about 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size of your chunks. Drain the sunchokes and pour out the water in the pot. Add the sunchokes back to the warmed pot to steam off the excess water. Add the olive oil and toss, season with kosher salt and pepper.
  2. In a pre-heated 425 degree oven, cook the sunchokes on a baking sheet unti crispy. Another 15 – 20 more minutes.
  3. Toss all of the gremolata ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Serve the sunchokes with gremolata sprinkled over top.

From Food52.com by Megantv01, https://food52.com/recipes/14599-roasted-sunchokes-with-hazelnut-gremolata

Slow-Cooker Moroccan-Spiced Lentil Soup

2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
3 cups chopped cauliflower
1 3/4 cups French green lentils or brown lentils
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chopped fresh spinach or 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Combine onions, carrots, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until well combined.
  2. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low.
  3. Add spinach to the slow cooker. Stir, cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lemon juice.

From Food52.com via Eating Well Soups, https://food52.com/recipes/78164-slow-cooker-moroccan-spiced-lentil-soup

Roasted Radish and Potato Salad with Black Mustard and Cumin Seed

1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into bite sized pieces
8-10 radishes, can be a variety of sizes and types (I had small – large Easter egg radishes and French breakfast radishes), ends trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with ½ t salt and ½ t sugar in a small bowl, until salt and sugar are dissolved

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine potato pieces with a glug or two of olive oil, a good sprinkling of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, tossing evenly to coat. Roast potatoes in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, halve and slice any large radishes into wedges, leaving smaller ones whole. Using the same bowl that you tossed the potatoes in, combine radishes with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper; mix well to evenly coat.
  3. Once the potatoes have roasted for 10 minutes, using a wooden spatula or spoon, gently push potatoes around, being careful to keep skin intact (as best as possible). Push potatoes to one side of pan, adding radishes in a single layer to the other side. Continue to roast for another 10-12 minutes or until potatoes and radishes are tender, shaking pan midway through (at 10 minutes start checking to make sure radishes do not overcook).
  4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add black mustard seeds and whole cumin seeds and gently mix. Cook for about a minute, until fragrant, being mindful that black mustard seeds will start to pop. I used my wooden spoon to shield the seeds from popping all over the place. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  5. Remove pan from oven and allow vegetables to completely cool (making it easy to remove from pan without sticking – especially the potatoes). Halve small radishes. Transfer roasted radishes and potatoes to a bowl. Add yogurt, black mustard/cumin seed mixture and green onions, folding with a spatula to combine. Add lemon juice mixture by the teaspoonful until you reach desired taste. I added one and a half teaspoons of lemon juice-salt-sugar mixture. Fold to combine. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to develop. Bring salad to room temperature before enjoying.

From Food52.com by Gingerroot, https://food52.com/recipes/6642-roasted-radish-and-potato-salad-with-black-mustard-and-cumin-seed

Winter CSA Share #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – A cross between Brussels and kale, pop off the kale florets and use them like kale, or Brussels sprouts. Roast them, saute them, salad them, you get the idea.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and arugula.
  • Spinach Mix
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Carrots – After a long winter of hanging out in the ground, we suggest these carrots are going to be best cooked.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Bunching Onions
  • Red Onion – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions sooner than later.
  • Tetsukabuto Winter Squash – A cross between butternut and kabocha = the best of both worlds!
  • Dried Apples
Bunching onions and sprouting broccoli bringing the purple this week!

The vernal equinox on Sunday officially marked the first day of spring and the crossing into more daylight hours than dark hours. We’ve made it through another dark winter! The recent time change has a way of emphasizing the arrival of spring with the push of the clock forward and a later setting sun. Things here on the farm are about to get very busy.

The propagation house is filling up fast.

Much of my (Carri’s) time is spent managing the propagation house these days. We’re into a weekly seed sowing schedule now which means a weekly session of filling flats with soil mix, getting seeds into the flats, and stacking the flats into the germination chamber. We keep the germ. chamber heated to 75-85 degrees depending on the seeds and it generally takes a few days for the first seeds to sprout.

Once the first signs of germination are noticed the flats are quickly moved into the propagation house. Heat loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are put on heat tables and other crops are set out on wooden benches. This time of year the nights can still get fairly chilly so we cover flats with row cover and cover the heats tables with both row cover and a plastic sheet as needed.

We aim to begin transplanting into the field at the beginning of April and it takes some crops longer to get to transplanting size than others. That means the propagation house is already filling up with the plants we’ll be transplanting in a couple of weeks plus the crops like tomatoes and peppers that will get transplanted in late April and May. A walk through the propagation house is a glimpse into our future work and our future food.

Drone views of the farm in March.

If you recall the journey of tractor repairs I mentioned two weeks ago you might wonder where we ended up. Well, we may have predicted it, but we discovered we needed to replace the radiator in addition to the numerous other parts we’d already dealt with. Down side of a radiator replacement is that our Italian tractor came with a specialized Italian radiator that was not easily found on the internet unlike the other parts thus far. Upside is that we discovered that the world headquarters for Radiator Supply House, a radiator manufacturing and repair company, is located just up the road in Sweet Home. They’re building us a new radiator as I write and we hope to be back in business with tractor work by the end of the week. Fingers crossed that’s the last tractor repair for a while.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Miso Brown Sugar Cabbage

1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 cups cabbage, shredded into 1/4-inch thick pieces (about 1/2 a head of cabbage)
1 pinch salt

In a small bowl, using a fork, mix together the miso, soy sauce and brown sugar until well combined. Set aside.

Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat. Once hot, add the sesame oil. Add all of the cabbage. You should hear a sizzle when it hits the pan. Cook, without stirring, until the cabbage bigs to char, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the mixture just once and then let sit for another 1 to 2 minutes to let the cabbage char a bit more. Remove the pan from the heat, add the sauce and toss to combine.

Plate onto a shallow bowl and serve warm.

From Food52.com by Grant Melton, https://food52.com/recipes/82533-miso-brown-sugar-cabbage

Chard Gratin

1 pound chard, stems and leaves
Salt
Butter, for the baking dish
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
A handful of grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the chard leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into short lengths, then cook briefly in boiling, lightly salted water until crisply tender. Remove the stems. Drip the leaves in the boiling water briefly, until they relax. Drain, let cool, and wring out the leaves. Spread the stems and leaves in a buttered shallow ovenproof dish.

Put the mustard in a bowl and stir in the cream and a grinding of salt and black pepper. Pour the seasoned cream over the stems and leaves, cover with grated Parmesan, and bake, 35 to 40 minutes, until the top has a light crust the color of honey.

From Food52.com by Amanda Hesser, https://food52.com/recipes/22420-chard-gratin

Radish and Butter Tartine

1 slice good bread, toasted
Best-quality salted butter, at room temperature
A few small radishes, sliced
Flaky salt, like Maldon or Jacobsen

Smear the butter on one side of bread; it’s best when the bread is no longer hot, since you don’t want the butter to melt. Top with radishes, then sprinkle with good flaky salt.

From Food52.com by Marian Bull, https://food52.com/recipes/28345-radish-and-butter-tartine

Winter CSA Share #7

Welcome to the 7th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – a cross between Brussels and kale, pop off the kale florets and use them like kale, or Brussels sprouts. Roast them, saute them, salad them, you get the idea.
  • Purple Cape Cauliflower – a cauliflower form of purple sprouting broccoli. Treat it the same.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cooking Greens Mix – A mix of braising greens including lacinato kale rapini, curly kale, rainbow chard, and collard greens.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and spinach.
  • French Fingerling Potatoes
  • Parsnips – Roasted and mashed parsnips are delicious, but also don’t forget about parsnip cake!
  • Celeriac
  • Salad Turnips & Daikon Radishes
  • Leeks
  • GarlicThis is the last of our 2021 garlic crop. Enjoy!
  • Yellow Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Butternut Squash
  • Shishito Pepper Powder – We dried and powdered the red shishito peppers that we harvested ahead of the frost last fall. This is a little taste of last summer’s sunshine!
  • Dried Apples

Amazingly we’ve only got 2.5 weekly (or 5 biweekly) shares remaining in the Summer CSA! It’s time to reserve your spot if you want to join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Leeks, started last week and just starting to stand up (left) and leeks, freshly harvested from the field (right).

We’ve rounded the corner of winter and it’s been feeling like spring is beginning to show up in these parts. After successfully making it through the scare of low temperatures two weeks back, we’ve been enjoying the return of some rain as well as some pleasantly sunny days. As we head deeper into the Winter CSA season we’re now arriving at those couple of months in late winter/early spring known as the hunger gap. The storage crops from the previous season begin running low and the newly sown crops in greenhouses are just getting going. If we’ve planned well and the weather and remaining field crops all cooperate we’ll make it through to the end with no problems. This week seems to have come together without a hitch!

Mixing propagation soil mix (top left), the first starts of the season in the propagation greenhouse (top right), Jeff repairing an irrigation leak near a high tunnel (bottom left), and seeding peas and carrots (bottom right).

We’re now beginning to countdown to the start of the Summer CSA. Part of our crop planning is to count the weeks backwards from the first Summer CSA share to help determine when to start and transplant the crops we want to be ready for the first few shares. Last week we started the first rounds of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, chard, and fennel, all of which should get transplanted in about a month and then be ready to harvest throughout June.

We also sowed the first round of carrots for summer shares and the snap peas that will show up in early summer shares. These get direct sown, where we put the seed directly in the ground instead of transplanting.

Jeff built a new fence to keep deer and turkeys out of the two high tunnels at the back of the farm. The fence looks great and has worked so far, though he did hit a buried irrigation line during the installation. While it’s nice to have much of the irrigation infrastructure on the farm buried, any issues require first digging to locate the problem which makes for a more involved project. Let’s just say Jeff has gained a lot of experience over the years with digging and pvc repair.

Jeff, summoning all his mechanic skills this past week.

Over the last month Jeff’s main focus has been on tractor repair. He’s been methodically working through a seemingly endless list of minor and more major repairs on our main tractor all winter actually. First it was installing a new instrument panel, then repairing a leaking fuel line, then it became obvious we’d need a new water pump soon. Unfortunately the water pump repair was taking place during the big cold snap a couple of weeks back and the tractor had more water than coolant in its system. The freezing temperatures led to an oil cooler cover crack and subsequent repair. Once the new water pump and oil cooler cover were both installed there was a fluke incident with a broken weld on a hydraulic cylinder attached to the tractor’s loader, which ended up being the fasted repair actually due to not having to wait for a part in the mail but instead taking the whole thing into a local metal shop. Today a new water connection tube should be arriving in our mailbox, which is hopefully the last of the repairs for the time being.

It’s been a learn-as-you go situation and Jeff has been a trooper tackling each new issue that pops up. He says he’s not a mechanic but he’s sure learning a lot about diesel engines and I’ve been impressed with his willingness to take on these repairs. I’ve been little help, though I’ve taken on the part research and sourcing role and I feel like I’ve also got a better understanding of the inner workings of our tractor’s engine as I’ve searched the internet for Perkins engine details, manuals, and parts. Sometimes farming is more than plants and seeds and weeds and growing things. Though honestly I think we’re both ready to get back to that stuff.

Red, ripe shishito peppers gathered last fall ahead of the first frost, then dried and recently ground into powder. A taste of summer!

As we wrap up the tractor repairs (fingers crossed!) we’ll be turning our attention back to spring preparations. There’s ground to fertilize and prep for transplanting, seeds to sow (peppers and eggplants this week), grass to weed out of the garlic and overwintering onions, and supplies to order. Just like the lengthening days, the work is starting to ramp up for the season ahead. Perhaps we’ll also get in a day off the farm again before things get too busy.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Skillet Strata with Bacon, Cheddar, and Greens

6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 scallions, thinly sliced (or how about leeks)
4 ounces cheddar or fontina cheese, shredded or cubed, about a cup
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped (a scant cup)
3 cups packed 1-inch cubes bread (6 to 7 ounces)
3 ounces kale or chard leaves, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped, about 2 heaping cups

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 425° F. Beat eggs and milk together until thoroughly combined. Stir in scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the cheddar.
  2. Cook bacon in a 9- or 10-inch cast iron pan over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a small dish, leaving the fat behind. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the bread, carefully fold into onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat, add reserved bacon, and fold in the egg mixture. Add half of the greens and fold into the mixture until combined. Add remaining greens and fold again until combined. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until center of strata is puffed and set and edges have browned and pulled away slightly from the sides of the skillet, about 15 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking. Let strata cool for 5 minutes before serving.

From Food52.com by Alexandra Stafford, https://food52.com/recipes/55148-skillet-strata-with-bacon-cheddar-and-greens

Mashed Potato, Rutabaga, and Parsnip Casserole with Caramelized Onions

  • 7 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 pounds parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Butter 13 x 9×2-inch glass baking dish. Combine first 7 ingredients in large pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add 1/2 cup butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until mashed but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed vegetables to prepared dish.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over mashed vegetables. (Casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake casserole uncovered until heated through and top begins to crisp, about 25 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/mashed-potato-rutabaga-and-parsnip-casserole-with-caramelized-onions-2607

Barley & Root Vegetable Rainbow Stew

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups mixed, peeled and 1/2-inch diced root vegetables, such as parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, white potato, and yellow beets
1/2 cup pearled barley, rinsed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped dill, plus more for serving

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the root vegetables and cook until they are browned in spots, another 5 minutes.

Add the barley and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and barley are tender, about 25 minutes.

Transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the zest, sour cream, and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with more sour cream and dill to serve.

From Food52.com by Samantha Seneviratne, https://food52.com/recipes/86601-root-vegetable-soup-recipe-with-barley

Best Sage Quiche

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
4 slices prosciutto, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 10-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on a greased cookie sheet and drizzle evenly with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake squash for 25-30 minutes at 400°F or until tender. Lower oven heat to 350°F.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and saute leeks for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute one additional minute.

Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl until well mixed. Mix in butternut squash, leeks, prosciutto, cheese, sage, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Line a 10-inch pie pan with prepared pie crust; pour in quiche mixture. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until set. Cool slightly and cut into 8 wedges. Makes 8 servings.

From Food52.com by Kerstin, https://food52.com/recipes/8125-roasted-butternut-squash-prosciutto-and-sage-quiche

Winter CSA Share #6

Welcome to the 6th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Savoy Cabbage – Wrinkled, crinkled, sweet and tasty. Winter cabbage is the best!
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cooking Greens Mix – A mix of braising greens including lacinato kale, curly kale, rainbow chard, and collard greens.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and spinach.
  • Parsley
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Rutabaga– Less pungent than most turnips, but similar, we like rutabagas mashed with potatoes or oven roasted with their rooty friends.
  • Kohlrabi – Giant kohlrabi are a winter wonder. Generally not pithy, they’re frost-sweetened and just the ticket for kohlrabi and peanut butter snacks.
  • Bunching Onions
  • GarlicSee the note below about onions.
  • Shallots
  • Red Onion – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Mixed Winter Squash – Choose from acorns, delicata, spaghetti, kabocha, and butternut.
  • Polenta (aka grits) – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing polenta and last time we shared the flour. You can use this polenta in recipes calling for uncooked polenta or corn grits. We like to cook it in our rice cooker at a 1 cup polenta to 3 cups water ratio. It’s even better if you add some butter and cheese once cooked.
  • Dried Apples

Amazingly we are somehow over 97% full for the Summer CSA! It’s time to reserve your spot if you want to join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Sunset at the on-farm CSA pick-up two weeks back. This maple tree is slated to be cut by the power company soon so I’ve been trying to enjoy it while it’s still with us.

We may be over halfway through winter, but that doesn’t mean the winter weather is done with us. We’ve got some cold nights on deck this week including tonight’s current projected low of 18, which is actually better than the 13 that was projected a few days back. Winter farming is always a gamble and it looks like we landed in some especially unpredictable territory this week. We get nervous when the temps drop below 20, but we’ll know soon enough which of our surviving field crops takes a hit in these cold temperatures. Fingers crossed the past winter weather has toughened up the remaining plants to take this cold snap in stride.

Fall-planted spinach ready for another harvest (left) and Jeff planting early potatoes (right).

Despite this week’s return to chilly temperatures, things here on the farm have been feeling rather springy lately. The fall-sown spinach and lettuce that you’ve seen in shares planted in one of our high tunnels has been re-growing nicely thanks to some warm sunny days. The newly sown radishes, arugula, and spinach in another tunnel are putting on their first true leaves. Jeff prepped three other tunnels this past week and we filled up two with potatoes, mizuna, radishes, lettuce, and kale. The third house will be planted out with carrots and peas next week. So many tasty treats in our future!

Tomato seeds (left) and baby tomato plants (right).

After several months of an empty propagation house it was time to start growing transplants for the upcoming season. We start things off with tomatoes because they’ll be headed into the new high tunnel in April and can use a good head start. After many days in the warm germination chamber we’ve had high germination rates and now they’re happily growing stronger having been moved to the heat tables in the propagation house. Forty-five flats of onions and leeks are now filling the shelves in the germ. chamber. This cycle of mixing prop. mix, filling flats, sowing seeds, waiting for germination, and moving flats into the prop. house until they’re ready for transplanting will continue on through October when we finish up the last of the transplanting in 2022. The propagation fun is just beginning.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be continuing to add flats of baby transplants to the propagation house. We’re about a month out from transplanting in the field if the weather cooperates so we’ve got lots of seeds to get started. We’ve also got a tractor repair to undertake, a high tunnel to sow seeds in, and some orchard and blueberry maintenance to get done. We’ll be keeping busy!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Desperation Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cups finely chopped “pantry” vegetables (carrots, fennel, leeks, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, etc.)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
one 15-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
one 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup green vegetables (zucchini, green beans, peas, leafy greens, broccoli, etc.), finely chopped
1/2 cup gluten-free elbows, orzo, or orecchiette (optional)
1/2 cup herbs (basil, chives, parsley, tarragon, or a combination), roughly chopped or torn
Shaved Parmesan or Pecorino, for serving (optional)

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Sauté the onions and pantry vegetables over medium-high heat until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Pour in the tomatoes and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the tomato chunks have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the beans, green vegetables, and pasta (if using), then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Off the heat, stir in herbs and taste for seasoning. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved Parmesan or Pecorino for a salty bite.

From Food52.com via The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine, https://food52.com/recipes/73204-desperation-minestrone-soup

Irish Banger Skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Irish banger sausage
1/2 pound red skinned potatoes, sliced thinly crosswise
1 medium onion, sliced thinly crosswise
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a 10-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil starts to glisten and moire, carefully add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally until browned. Transfer the sausages to a plate. Into the pan, over a medium heat, layer in half of the onion, potatoes and cabbage. Layer the remaining onions, potatoes and cabbage. Sprinkle with carrots and add 1 teaspoon of the thyme. Pour 3/4 cup of broth over the vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover tightly. Simmer for 10 minutes.

After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, nestle the sausages into the potato mixture, along with any accumulated juices. Add the remaining broth and thyme, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are very tender. Remove the sausages and cut them into chunks. Return the sausages to the pan and serve.

From Food52.com by Garlic and Zest, https://food52.com/recipes/41662-irish-banger-skillet

Kohlrabi Salad

1 head kohlrabi
1/2 apple, such as Gala
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 bird’s eye chili
1 pinch cumin
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

With a sharp knife, cut off the “branches” of the kohlrabi. Peel it with a vegetable peeler.

Cut the kohlrabi into matchsticks either using a sharp knife of a mandolin (I used the latter). Do the same with the apple.

Toss the kohlrabi and the apple with the remaining ingredients and chill before eating.

From Food52.com by Sassyradish, https://food52.com/recipes/8689-kohlrabi-salad

Winter CSA Share #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – a cross between Brussels and kale, pop off the kale florets and use them like kale, or Brussels sprouts. Roast them, saute them, salad them, you get the idea.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Arugula or Tatsoi Rapini – The tunnel greens are starting to go to seed. Luckily for all of us they’re super delicious at this stage. (Salem, only arugula for you!)
  • Mixed Radicchio These frost-sweetened heads are just asking for creamy dressing, or something citrusy perhaps, and it also holds up well to warm toppings like bacon, chicken, or (our favorite) salmon.
  • Spinach Mix
  • Cilantro – Leaves and roots! Check out this info on cilantro roots for prep and recipe information.
  • Red Chieftan Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.  Converting the inulin to fructose through cooking with vinegar or fermenting seems to be a good solution.
  • Bunching Onions
  • GarlicSee the note below about onions.
  • Onion – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Black Futsu Winter Squash – A Japanese heirloom squash related to butternut, it’s bright orange on the inside and some say it has a hint of hazelnut taste. Use it in an recipe calling for winter squash or butternut.
  • Butternut Squash
  • Corn Flour– We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing flour and next week we’ll share the polenta. You can use this flour in any recipe calling for corn flour or cornmeal. We like to use it for perfect cornbread.
  • Dried Apples

We are already over 85% full for the Summer CSA! It’s time to reserve your spot if you want to join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Sunny winter sunset on the farm!

Winter is flying by and somehow here we are halfway through the Winter CSA season. We’ll be firing up the germination chamber later this week and getting the first seeds of the upcoming summer season started. Our first order of organic fertilizer is scheduled for delivery on Thursday. The 2022 growing season is about to get real!

Soil sample day (left) and digging carrots (right).

There’s been plenty of behind the scenes preparation already happening for the season ahead. Inventorying of seed orders as they arrive in the mail, budgeting for growing supplies that we’ll need in the upcoming months, sending in soil samples and analyzing the results. This is when we’re able to plan ahead, stockpile supplies, and spend time contemplating the months ahead. Before we know it we’ll be in the thick of things. I’ll be managing temperatures and watering schedules in the propagation house. Jeff will be on mowing and ground prep duty. Our days will be consumed with the acts of growing vegetables. But for this brief moment, that’s all ahead of us.

Sifting corn flour.

In between the continued planning for the upcoming growing season and getting through the paperwork of the past season (taxes and annual loan paperwork requirements mostly) we’ve been trying to stay on top of the current CSA season too. We try to include some fun pantry items throughout the winter season and those often take a little more time like the dried apples. This week we’re also bringing you corn flour, milled from the Cascade Ruby Gold flint corn we grew. It’s a fun, if fiddly, process that begins with printing labels for the bags and grinding the corn using our electric stone flour mill and ends with sifting the flour from the polenta and bagging it all up.

In the weeks ahead we’ll be straightening up the propagation house and starting those first seeds. We’ll also be prepping to plant our first round of potatoes in a greenhouse. The next season is sneaking in as we work on finishing up digging carrots and harvesting the last of the other roots from the field.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic Vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds small Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), scrubbed, quartered
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron (you’ll need a lid), over mediumhigh heat. Add Jerusalem artichokes and 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until Jerusalem artichokes are fork-tender, 8–10 minutes.

Uncover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes longer; transfer to a platter.

Add rosemary and butter to skillet and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, about 4 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits. Spoon brown butter sauce and rosemary over Jerusalem artichokes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crispy-jerusalem-artichokes-with-aged-balsamic-51255110

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Spinach

  • 6 ounces cavatappi or other spiral-shaped pasta
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound) (or sub. another type of winter squash)
  • 5 cups packed spinach leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)

Fill a 4-quart kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for cooking pasta.

Quarter, seed, and peel squash. Cut squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Coarsely chop spinach and mince garlic.

In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté squash with salt to taste, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 7 minutes.

While squash is cooking, cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta in a colander.

Add spinach and garlic to skillet with squash and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until any liquid is evaporated. Add pasta and reserved cooking water and bring to a boil. Season pasta with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Remove skillet from heat and toss pasta with Parmesan.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-butternut-squash-and-spinach-14581

Chicory Salad with Bacon, Crispy Potatoes, and Fried Egg

  • 1/2 lb sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 lb boiling potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb chicory, chopped (6 cups)

Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, leaving fat in skillet.

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cook in bacon fat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

While potatoes are cooking, combine shallot and vinegar in a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Stir in mustard and then olive oil until combined well.

Just before serving, slowly fry eggs to desired doneness in vegetable oil with salt and pepper to taste in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat.

Add chicory to dressing, tossing to coat. Add bacon and potatoes, tossing, and season with salt and pepper. Serve salad topped with eggs.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicory-salad-with-bacon-044-crispy-potatoes-044-and-fried-egg-104541

Winter CSA #4

Welcome to the 4th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Mixed Radicchio These frost-sweetened heads are just asking for creamy dressing, or something citrusy perhaps, and it also holds up well to warm toppings like bacon, chicken, or (our favorite) salmon.
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Celeriac – A rooty vegetable that tastes like celery? Yes please! Not sure what to do with it? Check out the gratin recipe down below for some inspiration.
  • Mixed Daikon Radishes – Some purple, some larger white, all tasty.
  • Leeks
  • GarlicSee the note below about onions.
  • Onion – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Gill’s Golden Pippin Acorn Squash
  • Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash
  • Ancho Poblano Dried Peppers – Ancho chiles are fully ripe and dehydrated poblano peppers. They can be ground into a chile powder or blended with roasted onions, garlic, and tomatoes into enchilada sauce, or simply tossed into a soup or stew for chile flavoring.
  • Dried Apples

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! We’ve opened up memberships to the 2022 Summer CSA and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

A sunny winter day drone shot (left) and the arrival of the our first four seed orders (right).

Hello again! We’ve made it to the end of January already! The days are getting longer and the sun has made a few recent appearances. The darkest days of the season are behind us!

The winter seems to be flying by as we work toward prepping for the growing season ahead while also keeping the current season on track. Boxes of seeds are arriving in the mail daily and we put the first seeds of 2022 in the ground last week. Just a little spinach and bok choy and arugula and some radishes. We’re off to a good start!

Greenhouse building progress from the drone’s view.

Although we’ve kept busy drying apples and doing taxes and getting in some tractor maintenance and prepping a greenhouse for sowing those first seeds of the year, mostly we’ve been focused on wrapping up the greenhouse build we began last month. We’re excited to have more covered growing space this next year. One more high tunnel gives us another option for rotating summer crops and fitting in more winter crops. Just a little more space to ease those points in the season when it’s time to get the tender winter greens established but we’re still harvesting tomatoes and eggplant or to keep harvesting those tender winter crops when it’s already time to put the next season’s tomatoes in the ground.

The latest greenhouse is nearly complete! Using the tractor to raise the bows into place (top left), the top and bottom boards are attached (top right), Jeff attaching the top purlin (bottom left) and the plastic is on! (bottom right).

We had previously set the footings so we were ready to add the bows, side boards, purlins, end bracing, wire lock, and plastic. Luckily the company we bought the kit from provides a manual to reference and it’s a very basic structure. Plus it’s not our first high tunnel to put up so we were familiar with the basic steps and necessary tools.

At 30’x96′ it’s much larger than the new propagation greenhouse we put up last year which is only 20’x48′, but that project involved full end wall construction, exhaust and circulating fans, double layered plastic with an inflation fan, plus interior finishing with ground cover, tables, and hanging hoses. This new greenhouse is much less involved as we’re just constructing the frame and covering it with plastic. We will add hanging sprinklers for irrigation eventually and we have the option of enclosing the ends as needed but neither of those things will happen right away.

Pulling the plastic!

You can see videos of earlier construction progress over on the farm’s instagram page. Now that we’ve pulled the plastic we’re waiting for the ground to dry out some. We plan to put the tomatoes in here in April and as the ground dries and becomes workable we’ll till and spread compost, organic fertiizer, and other amendments to make sure it’s ready for planting.

In the coming weeks we’ll be staying busy harvesting the last of the celeriac and carrots still in the field and continuing on those indoor maintenance and paperwork tasks as the weather dictates. We’ve already seen some signs of early spring growth and it’s time to get serious about harvesting root crops before they bolt. Rapini and sprouting broccoli season is right around the corner!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Potato & Celery Root Gratin with Leeks

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sprig thyme plus 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
  • 1 pound celery root, peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat cream, garlic, and thyme sprig in a medium saucepan just until bubbles begin to form around edge of pan. Remove from heat; set aside to steep.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; season with salt and cook, stirring often, until tender (do not brown), 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Butter a 3-quart gratin dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Layer 1/3 of potato slices and 1/3 of celery root slices evenly over bottom of baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of leeks, then 1/3 of Gruyère. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves. Repeat layers twice more. Strain cream mixture into a medium pitcher and pour over vegetables.

Set gratin dish on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Tent with foil and rewarm in a 300° oven until hot, about 20 minutes.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-celery-root-gratin-with-leeks-368278

Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved down the middle, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups tightly packed torn kale
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375°. Cut a thin slice off round side of each squash half to create a stable base. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; coat with cooking spray. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; bake until golden and tender, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; flip squash and set aside. Heat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage; cook, breaking into coarse pieces, until brown, 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. To same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and leek; cook until leek is soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 30 seconds. Add kale and toss; add broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5 minutes; stir in sausage. Divide kale-sausage filling among squash. In a bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan and panko; sprinkle evenly over squash bowls and coat with cooking spray. Broil until panko is golden, 2 minutes.

From Epicurious.com by Larraine Perri, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/acorn-squash-with-kale-and-sausage-51203850

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

From Epicurious.com by Susan Spungen, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kale-brussels-sprout-salad-368295

Winter CSA #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • January King Cabbage
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Arugula Rapini – The greenhouse arugula is trying to go to seed but it’s still peppery and tasty. Just trim any woody stem ends and toss with pasta, into salads, or saute.
  • Rosalba Radicchio – A blush pink winter salad treat that stands up to all the creamy dressings, citrus dressings, and hearty toppings you can find.
  • Spinach Mix
  • Tatsoi – An Asian green that lands somewhere between spinach and bok choy. Eat it in salads or cooked.
  • Rainbowish Carrots – Mostly orange, but you’ll find a few purple and yellow roots mixed too.
  • Magic Molly Purple Potatoes – Though purple mashed potatoes may be fun, we prefer these as oven fries.
  • Kohlrabi – Giant kohlrabi are a winter wonder. Generally not pithy, they’re frost-sweetened and just the ticket for kohlrabi and peanut butter snacks. Check out the Kohlrabi Pudding recipe down below that a winter CSA member shared with us years ago. (Vegans will have your work cut out finding dairy alternatives for this one though.)
  • Beet
  • Watermelon Radishes – The bright pink centers bring some color to winter salads and roasted root dishes, but they’re spicy too!
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Candystick Dessert Delicata Squash
  • Long Pie Pumpkin or a regular Pie Pumpkin
  • Dried Apples

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! We’ve opened up memberships to the 2022 Summer CSA and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Hurrah for winter vegetables!

Welcome to a new year of vegetables! 2022 is off to an exciting, if saturated, start. The blustery weather over the past week made for an opportune time to hunker down and get our crop planning finished up and seed orders placed.

Both the large and small seed companies that we purchase seeds from have been consistently overwhelmed by demand the past couple of seasons and we’d already been hearing about some varieties selling out. This past summer’s drought has impacted some seed availability too. Evidently a good percentage of carrot seed is grown in central and eastern Oregon and Washington and the lack of water has limited the seed availability of many standard carrot varieties. I’m sure that’s not the only crop impacted by last year’s weather and the ongoing supply chain issues.

In the past we’d break up the seed ordering into multiple rounds based on when we needed the seed on hand, but the increased demands and limited quantities we keep hearing about meant ordering everything we think we need for the entire season. It felt good to lock in our plan for the season ahead and get those orders in, even if it meant spending $3000 right out of the gate.

The winter farmscape, including our lowest point that often floods in the winter.

While we found projects to finish under cover (seed orders for Carri, tractor maintenance for Jeff) the weather blew lots of rain and wind through these parts. The farm weather station reported another three inches of rain fell last week and we had consistent wind gusts in the high thirties and steady wind in the high twenty miles per hour. Somehow we didn’t lose any greenhouse plastic this time around. Hurrah for that! We did experience some minor flooding in the lowest spots on the farm but they’ve already drained away after a day or two without rain.

We took a day off to visit the river and some big trees.

In between rain and wind and snow storms we drove up to Cascadia Park to spend my (Carri’s) birthday in the woods. We hiked around, marveled at the big trees, and Jeff tried his hand at gold panning in the river, a new hobby he’s been researching of late. Though he didn’t strike it rich it was nice to get off the farm and into the woods for a day.

With some clear weather coming up in the forecast we’re hoping to get back to that greenhouse building project again. Fingers crossed we’ve got the structure up by the next time we meet in two weeks.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Winter Salad with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

Dressing:

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • Fine sea salt

Salad:

  • 8 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce (about 8 large leaves) (try radicchio and/or spinach too)
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled jicama
  • 2 small carrots, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup 1/2-inch cubes peeled kohlrabi or peeled broccoli stems
  • 3/4 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 3/4 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Toss lettuce and next 8 ingredients in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among plates; sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

From Epicurious.com by Myra Goodman and Sarah LaCasse, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/winter-salad-with-lemon-yogurt-dressing-363722

Dairy Hollow House Kohlrabi Pudding

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 to 3 small kohlrabi, stem, root and ends trimmed, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 ounces neufchâtel reduced-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup low-fat milk, buttermilk, yogurt, light sour cream, oat or rice milk, or, if feeling devil-may-care and you have it on hand, half and half or heavy cream
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Pickapeppa sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 or 4 gratings of nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish or six individual 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the kohlrabi and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a food processor and puree. Measure out 3 cups of the puree, saving leftovers for another use (such as a chilled soup). Set the puree aside.

4. Place the eggs with the neufchâtel, milk, cornstarch, Pickapeppa, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in the food processor. Buzz until very smooth. Add the 3 cups puree and half of the Parmesan and buzz to incorporate. Taste and, if necessary season with more pepper.

5. Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared baking dish or into the individual ramekins. Place the dish or ramekins in a larger pan with hot water to come ½ inch up the sides of the dish or ramekins. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Return to the oven and continue baking until the cheese is melted and golden and the pudding is firm, browned, and does not stick to your finger when you touch its surface, another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve, hot or warm, cut into squares or inverted out of the ramekins.

From Cookstr via Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon, http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/dairy-hollow-house-kohlrabi-pudding

Silky-Coconut Pumpkin Soup (Keg Bouad Mak Fak Kham)

  • 3 to 4 shallots, unpeeled
  • 1 1/2 pounds pumpkin (untrimmed), or butternut squash or 1 1/4 pounds peeled pumpkin
  • 2 cups canned or fresh coconut milk
  • 2 cups mild pork or chicken broth
  • 1 cup loosely packed coriander leaves1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce, or to taste
  • Generous grindings of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced scallion greens (optional)

In a heavy skillet, or on a charcoal or gas grill, dry-roast or grill the shallots, turning occasionally until softened and blackened. Peel, cut the shallots lengthwise in half, and set aside.

Peel the pumpkin and clean off any seeds. Cut into small 1/2-inch cubes. You should have 4 1/2 to 5 cups cubed pumpkin.

Place the coconut milk, broth, pumpkin cubes, shallots, and coriander leaves in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the salt and simmer over medium heat until the pumpkin is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Taste for salt and add a little more fish sauce if you wish. (The soup can be served immediately, but has even more flavor if left to stand for up to an hour. Reheat just before serving.)

Serve from a large soup bowl or in individual bowls. Grind black pepper over generously, and, if you wish, garnish with a sprinkling of minced scallion greens. Leftovers freeze very well.

From Epicurious.com by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/silky-coconut-pumpkin-soup-keg-bouad-mak-fak-kham-104372

Penne with Radicchio, Spinach, and Bacon

  • 1 whole head of garlic (with about 12 to 14 cloves)
  • 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound penne
  • 8 ounces bacon (about 8 slices), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 6 cups (packed) coarsely torn radicchio leaves (from about 2 medium heads)
  • 3 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off top 1/2 inch of garlic head, exposing cloves. Place garlic head, cut side up, on sheet of foil and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil. Roast until garlic is soft, about 40 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Squeeze garlic into small bowl.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook bacon strips and chopped onion in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Add chicken broth, remaining 5 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and roasted garlic. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally. Add radicchio, spinach, and basil and stir to combine. Simmer just until radicchio and spinach wilt, about 1 minute.

Drain pasta and return to same pot. Add radicchio-spinach mixture to pasta. Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper; toss to coat. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

From Epicurious.com by Myra Goodman and Sarah LaCasse, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/penne-with-radicchio-spinach-and-bacon-241093

Winter CSA Share #2

Welcome to the 2nd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Rosalba Radicchio – A blush pink winter salad treat that stands up to all the creamy dressings, citrus dressings, and hearty toppings you can find.
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Fava Leaves – These are leaves from the fava plants that would eventually produce fava beans. The leaves taste a little green-beany and are tasty in salads, sauteed, or made into pesto.
  • Rainbowish Carrots – Mostly orange, but you’ll find a few purple and yellow roots mixed too.
  • Strawberry Paw Red-Skinned Potatoes
  • Rutabaga – Less pungent than most turnips, but similar, we like rutabagas mashed with potatoes or oven roasted with their rooty friends.
  • Celeriac – A celery flavored root! Eat it roasted, mashed, in soups or stews, or in savory pies.
  • Purple Daikon Radishes
  • Bunching Onions – Call them scallions, green onions, or whatever, just eat them!
  • Garlic
  • Yellow Onion
  • Butternut Squash
  • Starry Night Acorn Squash – A new-to-us acorn squash said to be sweet and smooth.
  • Wolverine’s Orca Dry Beans – Our favorite dry bean, and the only one we grow these days, these orca beans are more substantial than some dry beans and hold up well in stews or chili. Named for a Secwepemc elder Wolverine William Ignace, who you can read more about over on Adaptive Seeds website.
  • Dried Farm Apples!

Many thanks to everyone who responded to our winter weather watch email.  It was really helpful to know our message about a possible CSA pick-up delay had gotten through to most members.  We think the weather has cleared enough for us to go ahead with the pick-ups as previously planned. 

Notes about this week’s pick-up:

  • Come to the Salem or Farm pick-up as early as 2pm this week for more daylight driving. We’ll stay until everyone picks-up or 6pm, whichever comes first.
  • Shoot us an email at farmers@pitchforkandcrow.com if you can’t safely make it to your pick-up and we’ll make alternative arrangements for Saturday.
Snow day number two!

We’re really bringing the winter to the Winter CSA this week! We’ve been keeping an eye on the forecast since the last pick-up, hoping for clear days to make progress on our newest high tunnel building project. Instead we got 3.5 inches of rain in 48 hours last week and now 5 inches of snow! As the cold temperatures and snow called for in the ten day forecast solidified and appeared to be the real deal we made plans to get extra storage crops out of the field. Carrots, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and celeriac all found space in the very full walk-in coolers.

Impending winter weather meant a week full of early harvesting and row covering crops in the field.

As the week progressed it became apparent that we needed to harvest early for the CSA too. We harvested the hearty roots earlier in the week followed by the more tender greens this weekend just ahead of this lovely blanket of snow. That’s how we ended up harvesting on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for the first time in nine seasons of Winter CSAing. Thanks to this early planning and work we’re bring you a full share of the winter bounty!

Snow day!

Over the years we’ve generally lucked out with winter weather. There have been a couple of big snowstorms and a couple of very low temperature events in memory, but overall the valley is a pretty okay place to be undertaking this winter farming adventure. Our luck has held again this time around and we were gifted with just 5 inches of powdery light snow on Sunday that required a single round of sweeping the greenhouses. We’d invested in a couple of handy roof rakes several years back and it took just an hour and a half to clear the six houses that required clearing.

First step of building a new high tunnel done. The footings are set and ready for the bows to be added when we get another spell of less wintry weather.

We’re looking forward to getting this share in the books and hope we can get everyone through the pick-ups safely. As the snow melts and the farmscape returns to normal, we plan on making more progress on the high tunnel building project, finishing up our seed inventory and 2022 crop plan, and maybe even getting off the farm for a belated holiday celebration.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Celery Root and Carrot Soup

  • 1/2 large celery root (celeriac), peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Celery leaves and chopped Granny Smith apple (for serving)

Place celery root and carrots in a large pot; add 6 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook until tender, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly. Purée in a blender with yogurt, honey, coriander, and ginger until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Serve soup topped with celery leaves and apple.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/celery-root-and-carrot-soup

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, cut into 3×1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 1/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), cut into 2×3/4-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine squash, rutabagas, and sweet potatoes in large bowl. Add oil and cayenne and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread vegetable mixture on prepared baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are tender, stirring and turning occasionally, about 1 hour. (Vegetables can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheet at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.)

Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl. Add red onion, chives, and vinegar; toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-autumn-vegetables-231105

Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Scallions

  • a 10-ounce container Brussels sprouts (about 26), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin diagonally
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, or to taste

Cut sprouts in half and slice thin lengthwise. In a heavy skillet melt butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté sprouts and scallions, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. In a bowl toss vegetables with lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shredded-brussels-sprouts-and-scallions-11807

Chicory, Bacon, and Poached Egg Salad

  • 4 oz. Parmesan
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz. slab or thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 (8″-long) sprigs rosemary
  • 1 lb. mixed wild mushrooms (such as shiitake, maitake, and/or oyster), woody stems removed
  • 1 lb. chicory (such as radicchio, escarole, and/or frisée), leaves torn into 3″ pieces
  • 4 large eggs

Finely grate half of the Parmesan into a large bowl. Add shallot, vinegar, honey, and 5 Tbsp. oil and whisk well; season dressing with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary and cook, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon and rosemary to paper towels.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet and heat over medium-high. Arrange mushrooms in pan in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, toss, and continue to cook, tossing often, until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with dressing, but don’t toss. Strip rosemary leaves off stems into bowl and add chicory.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat so water is at a bare simmer. Crack an egg into a small bowl; gently slide egg into water. Quickly repeat with remaining eggs. Poach, rotating eggs gently with a large slotted spoon, until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss salad to coat leaves; season with salt and divide among plates. Shave remaining Parmesan over and top with bacon and poached eggs.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicory-bacon-and-poached-egg-salad

Winter CSA Share #1

Welcome to the 1st share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Big Winter Spinach
  • Mini Romaine Lettuces
  • Cilantro
  • Rainbowish Carrots – Mostly orange, but you’ll find a few purple and yellow roots mixed too.
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes – The smaller side of our small sweet potato crop. Still tasty tubers though!
  • Purple Top White Globe Turnip
  • Purple Daikon Radishes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Long Pie Pumpkin – Like an elongated pie pumpkin, more pumpkin for your pie needs!
  • Kabocha Squash – A drier, flakier orange fleshed squash great in pies, soups, and curries.
  • Dried Farm Apples!
Up above the farm, looking east.

Welcome to the first week of the Winter CSA! We’re excited to kick off our ninth winter season and hope you are too! Whether you’re a returning member who is already well versed in seasonal eating or a new member joining us for the first time, we hope you know we’ll be trying our darndest to bring you the best organic vegetables we can grow to each CSA pick-up over the next five months.

Looking down on the center of the farm.

As you know already, winter weather can be unpredictable and growing conditions are the most challenging through the winter months. Ice and snow can be game changers. Short cold days mean not much plant growth is happening at the moment so we’re relying on the planning and planting that happened last summer and fall. That’s all to say that while winter may like to keep us on our toes, there will be vegetables to eat and hopefully they’ll include a wide diversity!

Morning light, above the farm, looking west.

We often get questions about how we spent the two week break between the end of the Summer CSA season and the beginning of the Winter CSA season. No, we didn’t have big travel plans, but we did manage to leave the farm for a couple of day-long adventures. The photos up above were taken with a drone, an early Christmas present from Jeff. In addition to testing it out around the farm we took it up to the woods and over to the beach.

Can you see us?

In between our drone flying lessons we also managed to knock out some end-of-season farm projects. We disassembled the tomato trellising and cleaned out the tomato house. We put the ends on some of the high tunnels for the winter. We finished cleaning the dry beans and shelled the flour corn, thus freeing up the propagation house for spring seed-starting. We re-organized the winter squash and cleaned the barn. We ordered a new high tunnel, which will be arriving on Thursday. We found a shop that fixes hydraulic cylinders and had our tractor’s loader cylinders repaired. We did some serious cleaning of our house (though it’s hard to tell in spots now that we’ve returned to mud season). We ate pies, roasted vegetables, salmon with chicories, and homemade potstickers. It was a successful working staycation!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

CHICKEN STIR-FRY WITH YAMS, RED CABBAGE, AND HOISIN

  • 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes; about 1 pound), peeled, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds, then cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • red onion, cut lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 8 ounces skinless boneless chicken cutlets, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups 1/3-inch-thick strips sliced red cabbage (about 1/4 medium head) (how about napa cabbage?)
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add yams and onion; stir-fry until yams are just tender, adjusting heat if browning too quickly and adding water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Add chicken, ginger, and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add cabbage; stirfry until chicken is cooked through and cabbage is wilted but still slightly crunchy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in hoisin sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer stir-fry to serving bowl; sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicken-stir-fry-with-yams-red-cabbage-and-hoisin-351250

ROOT VEGETABLE TAGINE WITH SWEET POTATOES, CARROTS, TURNIPS, AND SPICE-ROASTED CHICKPEAS

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled carrots
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound turnips (about 2 medium), peeled, cut into 3/4-inch wedges
  • 3/4 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 1 ounce; not oil-packed), thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 10-ounce box plain couscous (cooked according to package directions)
  • Spice-Roasted Chickpeas

Toast coriander, cumin, and caraway seeds in small skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Cool. Transfer to spice mill; process until finely ground. Transfer to small bowl. Add red pepper, turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Mix lemon slices, lemon juice, and 4 teaspoons coarse salt in small skillet. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lemon slices are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Cool preserved lemon. Drain and chop. DO AHEAD: Spice blend and preserved lemon can be made 1 week ahead. Store spice blend airtight at room temperature. Transfer preserved lemon to small bowl; cover and chill.

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sprinkle with salt and sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add toasted spice blend, garlic, and tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add carrots and celery; stir 2 minutes. Add chopped preserved lemon, 4 cups water, sweet potatoes, turnips, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer with lid ajar until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. Stir in parsley, cilantro, and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Spoon couscous into large bowl, spreading out to edges and leaving well in center. Spoon vegetable tagine into well in center. Sprinkle Spice-Roasted Chickpeas over and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Root-Vegetable-Tagine-with-Sweet-Potatoes-Carrots-Turnips-and-Spice-Roasted-Chickpeas-361252

ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

  • 2 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch beets (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed but not peeled, scrubbed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (how about carrots and/or sweet potatoes?)
  • 1 medium-size red onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large turnip, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°F. Oil 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Combine all ingredients in very large bowl; toss to coat. Divide vegetables between prepared baking sheets; spread evenly. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 15 minutes.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-root-vegetables-104833