Summer CSA Share – #16

Welcome to the 16th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Mini Romaine Head Lettuce
  • Brussels Sprouts Tops – We snap the tops off our Brussels sprouts to help the plants focus on making sprouts. At some point we realized these tops are really tasty and we should all be eating them. Treat them like kale in the kitchen.
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Fennel
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Corn
  • Mixed Small Onions
  • Mixed Eggplant – I heard a discussion of eggplant in the middle of this week’s Milk Street Radio podcast that seemed just right for the CSA. What’s the best way to cook eggplant? If you’re unsure, you might like to give it a listen by clicking here and skipping to 44:48 in the episode.
  • Cucumber
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Poblano Peppers
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Melon

CSA pick-ups are still happening this week! We know it’s smoky out there but we think it’s important for members to have access to their weekly share of the harvest if they can make it to the pick-up. Let us know if you’d like us to bring your share to your car so you can avoid the air.

Smoke on Thursday and Friday (top) vs the following Monday (below). It’s getting better!

What an unexpectedly strange week we’ve all had. Our thoughts have been with those evacuated and those who prepared to evacuate, and especially those who lost property and more in the last week due to these fires. We know these numbers include some of our CSA members and families of CSA members. We hope everyone is staying safe as things get sorted out and the smoke (literally) clears.

Much of last week the farm was in a thick cover of smoke. It made outdoor work unpleasant and we tried to hunker down inside as much as possible. But the work doesn’t stop just because of smoke and we pushed through, trying to make progress on fall projects. Though we didn’t make as much progress as hoped (it was a one step forward two steps back sort of week) we’re set up to really plough through things this week.

A pie pumpkin growing in the flour corn (left) and a frog friend in the broccoli patch (right).

Harvesting this week’s share has been an interesting process of checking in on crops and seeing how they’ve handled the smoke cover. Growth has definitely been slow this week, which isn’t surprising as the sun has been hidden and we’ve been plunged into much cooler temperatures. The cooler temps have been good for germinating our overwintering lettuce and onion crops in the propagation house though!

This is a tricky time of year to see a slowing of plant growth. We depend on the final warm days of September to give fall and winter crops a boost as we transition to cooler weather and shorter days ahead. We’d been preparing for days in the high 80s and 90s when the smoke inversion hit and slowed things down. Time will tell how this plays out in the long term. It looks like the powdery mildew that had already begun to set in has really found purchase and we may be seeing the end of the season’s summer squash and cucumbers. Luckily there are vegetables this week to eat!

Getting in a bed of spinach this weekend!

The week ahead will be much more productive than last week. Fingers crossed we’ll be actually harvesting and planting and harvesting some more! We’ve also got our annual organic inspection via Zoom tomorrow thanks to COVID-19 precautions. Turns out our inspector was evacuated from his farm east of Eugene this past week. What a strange year!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Herb-Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Feta

  • 1 1 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, cored, quartered lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place eggplant and tomatoes on rimmed baking sheet; toss with oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons oregano, salt, and pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Transfer eggplant and tomatoes to platter. Sprinkle with feta and 2 teaspoons oregano and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Sara Foster, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/herb-roasted-eggplant-with-tomatoes-and-feta-240367

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Corn & Salmon Chowder

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb with fronds, trimmed, bulb halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, 2 tablespoons fronds chopped and reserved
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups canned vegetable broth
  • 1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen yellow corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 12-ounce piece skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1-inch pieces

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, sliced fennel, carrot, garlic and bay leaf and sauté until vegetables are light golden, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add broth and potato and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potato is tender, about 12 minutes.

Purée milk and 1 cup corn in blender. Add corn purée, remaining 1/2 cup corn and salmon to pot. Simmer uncovered over medium heat just until salmon is opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-and-salmon-chowder-104175

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Roasted Eggplant and Crispy Kale with Yogurt

  • 2 medium Italian eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total), quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchoor; optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 Tuscan kale leaves, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely torn
  • 1 medium Persian cucumber
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Olive oil (for drizzling)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss eggplants with vegetable oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Roast, tossing halfway through, until eggplants are charred in spots and tender, 20–25 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with mango powder (if using) and cumin, and toss to coat.

Meanwhile, heat a dry large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high. Add kale, arranging to fit in a single even layer (work in batches if needed), and cook, turning occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp, about 4 minutes.

Grate cucumber on the medium holes of a box grater; squeeze out excess liquid with your hands and transfer to a medium bowl. Mix in yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic; season with salt.

Toss tomatoes with a good pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil in a medium bowl. Spoon yogurt mixture onto a platter and layer eggplants, kale, and tomatoes on top. Drizzle with more olive oil.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit from Gunpowder, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-eggplant-and-crispy-kale-with-yogurt

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Summer CSA Share – #15

Welcome to the 15th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Mixed Beets
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Onions
  • TomatillosLooking for recipes beyond salsa verde? Check out the gazpacho recipe below!
  • Cucumbers – choose from slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Melons

Winter CSA Sign-up is Happening! Many thanks to everyone who has already jumped into the upcoming 2020/2021 Winter CSA. After just two weeks of accepting memberships we’re already 85% full for the Winter season that begins in December. We appreciate the enthusiasm for winter vegetables! If you haven’t yet sign-up you can get all the details and a link to the sign-up form right here.

Man things can change quickly! One minute we’re harvesting tomatillos on a beautiful summer evening and the next we’re harvesting tomatillos in what feels like a camp fire’s direct smoke. As you’ve all likely experienced, the wind picked up in the trees and the smoke thickened quickly last night. It was hard to believe that it wasn’t our neighbor’s timber on fire, but smoke from the fires in the mountains.

I suppose we’ve been lucky to not experience smoke in past summers. Fingers crossed it doesn’t hang around too long. Our thoughts are with the firefighters up there working to contain these things and with those folks being evacuated.

We’re going ahead with today’s CSA pick-up as scheduled. Please don’t come to the pick-up if you feel the air quality will impact your health significantly. Jut shoot us an email (farmers@pitchforkandcrow.com) and we’ll make alternative arrangements with you. If you do come, but want to stay in your car, just let us know and we’ll bag up your share for you. Also, you’re always welcome to skip the Salem pick-up and come to tomorrow’s on-farm pick-up, though it is a bit of a drive. Just give us a head’s up and we’ll make sure to have a share here for you.

Let’s all make the choices that will keep us safe and healthy. Just let us know if you don’t feel it’s a good idea to come out today and we’ll work together to find the best solution.

Before we were inundated with smoke, you know, before 6pm yesterday, we made some good progress in the fall/winter vegetable arena last week. We seeded mustards and onions and lettuce! We transplanted more lettuce. Jeff cultivated a block of seed crops that will be with us through the winter months. I’m sure there was a lot more that I’m forgetting at the moment. This week we’ll be getting on the harvest train: pears, apples, potatoes… Hopefully this smoke clears out eventually and we’ll be able to see what we’re harvesting!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Tomato and Tomatillo Gazpacho

  • 1/2 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion, divided
  • 1 fresh serrano chile, coarsely chopped, including seeds (or how about a jalapeno or even a sweet pepper for less spice).
  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Puree tomatillos, half of tomatoes, and half of onion with chile, garlic, vinegar, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a blender until smooth.

Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.

Stir in remaining tomatoes and onion, water, oil, and cilantro. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Andrea Albin, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tomato-and-tomatillo-gazpacho-354967

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Roasted Beet Salad with Beet Greens and Feta

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 7 medium-large beets (about 3 inches in diameter) with greens
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped drained capers
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in small bowl to blend. Season dressing generously with salt and pepper.

Cut green tops off beets; reserve tops. Arrange beets in single layer in 13x9x2-inch baking dish; add 1 cup water. Cover; bake until beets are tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Peel beets while warm. Cut beets in half and slice thinly. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in capers and 1/4 cup dressing. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut stems off beet greens; discard stems. Wash greens. Transfer greens, with some water still clinging to leaves, to large pot. Stir over high heat until just wilted but still bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain greens; squeeze out excess moisture. Cool; chop coarsely.

Transfer greens to medium bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange beets in center of platter. Surround with greens; sprinkle with feta. Drizzle with any remaining dressing.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-salad-with-beet-greens-and-feta-3188

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Cabbage and Corn Slaw with Cilantro and Orange Dressing

  • 1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 (8-ounce) bags coleslaw mix (but you’ll shred your own cabbage)
  • 4 ears of fresh corn, shucked, kernels cut from cob
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, cut into thin strips
  • 6 medium green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk orange juice concentrate, rice vinegar, and canola oil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine slaw mix, corn kernels, carrots, red bell pepper strips, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes for flavors to blend. Toss again and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Pam Anderson, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cabbage-and-corn-slaw-with-cilantro-and-orange-dressing-238803

Summer CSA Share – #14

Welcome to the 14th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Escarole – a lettuce-like green that’s slightly hardier and can hold up to grilling or cooking though we’ve had some epic salads with it this past week too.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Basil
  • Banana Fingerling Potatoes
  • Sweet Corn
  • Desert Sunrise Red Onions
  • Mixed Snap Beans – more mixed dragon’s tongue and maxibel haricot vert beans this week.
  • Cucumbers – choose from slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Thai Hot Peppers
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Peppers – These long red peppers look hot, but they’re not!
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Watermelons

Winter CSA Sign-up is Happening! Many thanks to everyone who has already jumped into the upcoming 2020/2021 Winter CSA. After just a week of accepting memberships we’re already 65% full for the Winter season that begins in December. We appreciate the enthusiasm for winter vegetables! If you haven’t yet sign-up you can get all the details and a link to the sign-up form right here.

It’s watermelon week!

I remember sitting at our kitchen table last December and dreaming of summer melons. We’d roughly outlined bed quantities of each crop type that we planned to grow for the upcoming season and it was time to choose varieties. I’d made it to “M” and the 2020 melons were up next. Over the years we’ve found a handful of melon varieties that have fit our needs well. Our top two stalwarts include a Tuscan cantaloupe called Tirreno and an orange honeydew called Honey Orange. They’re both dependable and forgiving and delicious and I sure hope neither of them disappear from the seed catalogs anytime soon.

As I searched through melon varieties I was hoping to round out our melon offerings a bit more than just those two superstars. There had to be more options worth adding to the must-grow list. I think we’ve stumbled upon some winners this year. We’ve brought back the yellow and green mottled Lambkin, a unique Piel de Sapo (aka Christmas melon) variety, and added in Brilliant, a yellow canary type. Both have sweet white flesh and they’ve added a new depth to our melon offerings.

This week we’re bringing you all the ripe watermelons we could find in the patch. (At least my thumping and general intuition suggests that they’re ripe.) The cold/rainy June didn’t give the watermelons a great start but we’ve still managed a good diversity of some mighty melons to share with you. Here’s a list of the five watermelon varieties that made the list this season:

  • Starlight F1 – round, red flesh, green with black stripes
  • Sweet Dakota Rose – round, pink flesh, light green with black stripes
  • Janosik – round, yellow flesh, dark green rind
  • Klondike Blue – oblong, red flesh, light green with dark green stripes
  • Fantasy F1 – oblong, red flesh, dark green with light green stripes

Hopefully that will give you an idea of which watermelon type you’re cutting into at home. Hurrah for melon season! We find it’s fast and fleeting and we hope you’re enjoying it as much as we are this season.

Colorful cauliflower (left) and digging potatoes (right).

The big summer harvests continue this week, beyond melons. It’s a good week for cauliflower and broccoli lovers and we’re bringing you the first of the freshly dug main season 2020 potatoes. And we’ve got more delicious sweet corn headed your way. It’s starting to feel like fall is slipping in the back door. Corn chowder is definitely on the menu here.

Of course we didn’t make it through our ambitious to-do list this past week. Do we ever? We’re seeing Labor Day on the calendar and that always means it’s time to harvest pears. There’s some planting and cultivating and irrigating too of course. Somehow it’s time to seed the winter lettuce and onions. And all while dodging the upcoming return to temps in the 90s. Should be a busy week on the farm.

It’s possible that one reason we didn’t make it through all the things last week is because we prioritized a quick trip to the wilderness. We dodged most of the other hikers with a Thursday overnight to say hello to Mount Jefferson. Luckily we’ve got this week to catch up on the farm work.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Southwestern Corn and Potato Soup

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb large yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold (about 2)
  • 3 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (26 fl oz)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen corn (not thawed)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, jalapeño, salt, and pepper, stirring occasionally, until onion is pale golden, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Add broth, water, and potatoes to onion mixture and cover pot, then bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are very tender, 12 to 14 minutes.

Coarsely mash potatoes in pot with a potato masher. Stir in corn and simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes.

Stir in lime juice, cilantro, and salt to taste.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/southwestern-corn-and-potato-soup-234264

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Tomato and Watermelon Salad

  • 3 or 4 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, in assorted colors, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 small English or regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup 3/4-inch-cubed yellow or red seedless watermelon flesh
  • 1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, in any combination: basil, tarragon, chives, and cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and herbs. In a spice grinder, grind the coriander seeds to a fine powder. Add the ground coriander to the tomato mixture and toss gently.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato mixture and toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition by Gerald Hirigoyen & Lisa Weiss, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tomato-and-watermelon-salad-352389

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Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and Herb Butter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add pasta and cook until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli and boil until pasta is tender but still firm to bite and broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer. Drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to large serving bowl. Add herb butter and toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately if desired.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/angel-hair-pasta-with-broccoli-and-herb-butter-108539

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Summer CSA Share – #13

Welcome to the 13th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Escarole – a lettuce-like green that’s slightly hardier and can hold up to grilling or cooking. Check out the soup recipe down below.
  • Cabbage – Choose red or green.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Sweet Corn
  • Purple Bunching Onions
  • Garlic – We’re still making our way through that earliest ripening, least storage friendly, and sometimes fairly open garlic variety. Still tasty though!
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Shishito Peppers – The Japanese “roulette” pepper where 1 in 10 might be mildly hot. They’re tasty in any dish but delicious quickly blistered in hot oil, tossed with a little salt, and eaten as a snack just like that.
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Melons – Lots of melons to choose from this week.
August field scenes!

This past week I was focused on the upcoming Winter CSA: reviewing past seasons, getting this season’s details set, updating the website etc. We’re always thinking a season ahead with sowing and planting too and it’s easy to overlook the highlights of the season at hand. This week we’re passing the halfway mark of the Summer CSA. What?! It’s true, this is the 13th week of the 26 week season. We’re at the height of summer fruits (so many melons and tomatoes!) and there’s a lot of summery goodness still to come out of the fields.

August is definitely the transition season between the constant planting of spring and the big harvests of fall. Here at the end of August we’re shifting gears, and also coming up for a breather. It’s time to make some notes about the season so that we remember the details come planning time in December, and it’s time to savor the fleeting summer season before it passes us by.

This week on the farm we’ll be doing a little planting, lots of irrigating, and of course there’s plenty of weeding and cultivating to be done. We’ll likely start the potato harvest later this week. There are pears to pick and some apples to bring in. We’ve got seed to clean and a greenhouse to clean out. And maybe even a day off the farm in the woods. I hear it’s huckleberry season out there!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

White Bean and Escarole Soup with Garlic

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large carrot, cut into small dice
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
  • 3 cups (packed) 1-inch pieces escarole (about 1/2 large head)
  • 4 cups (or more) canned vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 1/4 cups cooked Great Northern beans or two 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
  • 1 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until onion is golden and tender, about 7 minutes. Discard garlic. Add escarole; stir 3 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, beans and tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until escarole is tender and flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/white-bean-and-escarole-soup-with-garlic-1537

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Thai Noodles with Chicken

  • 1 package (2 ounces) rice noodles
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 cups chopped skinless roasted chicken
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Asian chile paste
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Bring lightly salted water to a boil in a medium pot; cook noodles 3 minutes. Place cabbage in a colander and drain noodles over cabbage; immediately rinse with cold water. Drain again. Toss cabbage and noodles in a bowl with carrots, cucumber, pepper, scallions and chicken. Whisk basil, mint, juice, vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, chile paste and oil in another bowl; drizzle over noodle mixture; toss and divide among 4 bowls.

From Epicurious.com via SELF, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/thai-noodles-with-chicken-237572

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Chipotle Chicken and Cauliflower Tacos

  • 215g (7½ oz.) can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chilies finely chopped and sauce reserved
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 500g (1 lb. 2 oz.) chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and quartered
  • 500g (1 lb. 2 oz.) cauliflower florets (about 1 head)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 12 small corn tortillas, lightly toasted
  • 3⅓ cups (300g/10 oz.) finely shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup (12g/½oz) cilantro sprigs
  • Pickled red onions, to serve
  • Lime wedges, to serve

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 2 oven trays with non-stick baking paper.

Place the chopped chilies and reserved adobo sauce in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, garlic and oil and mix to combine.

Place the chicken in a separate large bowl and top with half the chipotle mixture. Toss to coat. Add the cauliflower to the remaining chipotle mixture and toss to coat.

Transfer the chicken and cauliflower to the trays and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is just charred on the edges, the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

To make the lime dressing, place the yogurt, lime juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix to combine.

Fill the warm tortillas with the cabbage, chicken, cauliflower and coriander. Drizzle with the lime dressing and serve with pickled onion and lime wedges.

From Epicurious.com via Week Light by Donna Hay, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chipotle-chicken-and-cauliflower-tacos

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Summer CSA Share – #12

Welcome to the 12th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Collards – The mild start to the summer has resulted in some of our most beautiful collards ever. I’ve included a very basic recipe for collards and bacon below, but I’d also like to remind you that extra greens can always benefit from the pesto treatment.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Onions
  • Mixed Snap Beans – Green slender haricot verts and the purple striped dragon’s tongue this week. Unfortunately those purple stripes will turn green when cooked.
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Czech Black Hot Peppers – A mild “hot” peppers, these guys have less heat than a jalapeno.
  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Milan Tuscan Melon – A type of muskmelon and cantaloupe with thicker ribbing but the same sweet interior.
  • Honey Orange Melon – Technically a honeydew, but it’s orange and is sweet like a cantaloupe.
Harvest day! Snap beans, cauliflower, and some giant tomatoes.

I know there will be a time in December or January when we’re planning harvests around freezing temperatures and going outside means layering up and rain gear and warm hats. There might even be snow or ice on the ground. The sun will come up a little later and in the mornings we’ll linger over a cup of hot coffee while we wait for it to thaw things out a bit. We might then think back to those seemingly endless warm August days when the only mud was from irrigated ground and we were awash in summer fruits.

Here in August though, it just feels hot and a little exhausting. I’m still trying to savor it despite the exhaustion.

The big onion harvest!

As mentioned previously it was time to get the storage onions out of the field. Every season has its highs and lows. Some crops do better, others not so much. This year I think is the year of the onion. We managed to grow our best onion crop to date! We’ve been trying for over a decade to nail this crop and this was the year it finally happened. Good news for everyone, there will be plenty of onions to go around this fall and winter!

We start the onion harvest with a little tractor work. In the past we would use a digging fork to loosen the ground around the onions. This was a tedious and time-sucking step. Now we use our undercutter bar (as seen in the top left photo above) on the back of the tractor to pop the onions out of the ground instead. The undercutter bar digs down beneath the onions and cuts the roots of the onions and loosens the soil all in one pass of the tractor down the bed.

The dry weather has allowed us to field cure the onions, meaning they’ve dried down in the field and can head straight into storage. Once all of the beds have been undercut we box the onions and label them by variety so we know which ones to use up sooner and which will store longer. The boxes are then picked up and tractored to the barn for storage.

Jeff was a go-getter in the heat this week, prepping ground for transplanting (there he is hooking up our tiller up above) and direct sowing after the onions were out.

Once the onions were out of the way it was time to flip the beds for new crops waiting in the wings. Jeff fertilized and tilled the ground and on Sunday afternoon we transplanted some kale and chicories for seed production next spring and direct sowed some fall radishes and turnips and our last succession of snap beans. And so it continues. This week will be more cultivating and irrigating and seed sowing and weeding.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Ratatouille Salad with Feta Cheese

  • 1 12- to 14-ounce eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 6 strips
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons purchased garlic-flavored olive oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper and onion on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Grill vegetables until tender and tinged with brown, turning frequently, about 6 minutes for eggplant and zucchini and about 10 minutes for red bell pepper and onion.

Divide vegetables between 2 plates; drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle cheese and basil over and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-ratatouille-salad-with-feta-cheese-103770

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Collard Greens Miniera

  • 1 1/4 lb collard greens, halved lengthwise and stems and center ribs discarded
  • 3 slices bacon, finely chopped

Stack collard-leaf halves and roll crosswise into a cigar shape. Cut crosswise into very thin slices (no thicker than 3/4 inch) with a sharp knife.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp. Add collards, tossing to coat, and cook until just bright green, about 1 minute. Season with salt and serve immediately.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/collard-greens-miniera-104567

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Grilled Tuna Steaks with Cantaloupe Salsa

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped cantaloupe
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeño chili (or, you know, a Czech Black pepper)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Mix cantaloupe, onion, cilantro, 2 teaspoons oil, lime juice and jalapeño chili in small bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush tuna steaks on both sides with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill tuna until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer tuna to plates. Spoon salsa alongside and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-tuna-steaks-with-cantaloupe-salsa-4107

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Summer CSA Share – #11

Welcome to the 11th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Head Lettuce – Mostly butterhead with some red romaine rounding out the choice.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Corn
  • Chioggia Beets – The heirloom bullseye beet is back!
  • Parsley – Though I’m sure you have a favorite use for parsley, one of my favorites is to riff on this Tagliatelle with Shredded Beets, Sour Cream, and Parsley recipe.
  • Yellow Onions
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Green’ Peppers – These are a mix of bell and Italian frying varieties in their under-ripe stage. Use them like green bell peppers.
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Tomatillos – Tomatillos make for tasty fresh salsa verde. I’ve referenced a recipe below that also incorporates apple. Other than eating tomatillo salsa with corn chips, my favorite use is enchilada casserole. Last week I layered up corn tortillas with tomatillo salsa, sweet corn, zucchini, cheese, and chicken for a quick dinner one night.
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Farm Apples
  • Milan Tuscan Melon – A type of muskmelon and cantaloupe with thicker ribbing but the same sweet interior.
Harvest day photos: a bee in the tomatillos, tall corn, and the beet harvest.

A couple of weeks back we received a note in the mail from our organic certifier, Oregon Tilth, congratulating us on ten years of organic certification. I had been rifling through the mail, organizing envelopes in order of priority and sorting the catalogs and credit card offers from the bills and CSA payments, but this note from Tilth made me pause.

First I counted the seasons. Isn’t this our eleventh season being certified? I guess we’re wrapping up some sort of tenth certification year, like a fiscal year. No matter. Then my thoughts drifted to that first year of organic certification back in 2010. It was our second year trying our hand at this large scale growing food thing. We were leasing two acres out on Grand Island, north of Salem, from the farm we’d been CSA members of for several years. Somehow we’d worked up the courage to start a CSA (and four of those original fifteen members are still with us this year). The farm has evolved so much since then it’s difficult to even remember what we were thinking. (In fact I decided to look it up so here’s a taste of August in 2010. Whoa!)

I do remember that first organic inspection though. We met in our house in West Salem to go over our records and we included our backyard greenhouse on the organic plan, because that’s where we grew our starts. (That first “greenhouse” structure now covers our wash station where we wash and hydro-cool many of the vegetables.) After hours of record reviewing we drove out to the leased acres for the tour part of the inspection. We walked the plot, discussed our growing methods, and the inspector measured out the distance between us and the neighboring farm along our only border that wasn’t certified organic on the other side. It all felt very official. This organization was deeming us an organic farm!

Our annual organic inspections have continued on much the same over the years. We’ve had that first inspector several more times through the years and it’s always fun to reminisce with him. This year’s inspection has been delayed due to the pandemic and we’re currently working to get a Zoom inspection scheduled. Hopefully soon enough we’ll have our eleventh certification renewal finished up!

Also after ten years of the CSA we’ve finally got some merch to share! We’ll have tote bags and t-shirts featuring our little 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor for sale at the pick-up. We’re asking $10 for a tote bag, $15 for a shirt and we’ll take cash/check/card. Adult shirts are available in sizes S-2XL but limited in color/size combos. We have lots of youth shirts available though. Hit us up at the pick-up!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Apple and Tomatillo Salsa

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 3 green apples, such as Granny Smith, quartered
  • 1/2 medium white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 jalapeño chile, stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Put the tomatillos, 2 of the apples, the onion, garlic, and jalapeño chile on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 20 minutes.

3. Peel the garlic, then transfer all of the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Chop the remaining apple into 1/4-inch cubes and stir into the salsa before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Mexican Made Easy by Marcela Valladolid, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-apple-and-tomatillo-salsa-395249

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Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Zest, Parsley, Capers, and Jalapeno

  • 1 head cauliflower, quartered, cored, and cut into bite-size florets
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large handful fresh parsley (about 1/2 cup/25 g), roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the oil, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the cauliflower, tossing the florets halfway through, until they are deep golden and crispy, 30 to 35 minutes total.

While the cauliflower is roasting, use a vegetable peeler to peel 3 strips of zest from the lemon. Cut each strip crosswise into very thin slices. Cut the lemon in half, reserving one half and storing the other for another use.

Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving bowl. Top it with the parsley, capers, jalapeño, and sliced lemon zest. Squeeze the mixture with the lemon half and drizzle it with more oil. Toss to coat all of the ingredients, and sprinkle with a pinch or two of the flaky salt.

From Epicurious.com via Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-lemon-zest-parsley-capers-and-jalapeno

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Italian Parsley and Beet Salad

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 1/4 pounds assorted beets with greens (such as Chioggia, white, golden, and red; 1 1/2 pounds if already trimmed)
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves (from 1 bunch), torn if desired

Whisk together juices, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Trim beets, leaving 1 inch of stems attached, then peel.

Using stems as a handle, slice beets paper-thin (less than 1/8 inch thick) with slicer (wear protective gloves to avoid staining hands), then cut slices into very thin matchsticks.

Thinly slice onion with slicer.

Toss beets, onion, and parsley with dressing and season with salt. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes to soften beets and allow flavors to develop.

Toss again and season with salt and pepper before serving drizzled with additional oil.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Kay Chun, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/italian-parsley-and-beet-salad-354973

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Summer CSA Share – #10

Welcome to the 10th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Cabbage – Choose green or red cabbage this week.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Corn
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Basil
  • Bunching Onions – Some might even call them scallions.
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Zucchinis, yellow straight neck, yellow pattypans, and the new varieties Magda (a middle eastern kousa type) and Zephyr (yellow and greens summer squash!)
  • Green Peppers – These are a mix of bell and Italian frying varieties in their under-ripe stage. Use them like green bell peppers.
  • Shishito Peppers – The roulette pepper – one in ten can be warm. They’re best blistered quickly in hot oil and eaten right away, maybe with a toss of salt. Otherwise chop them up and put them in everything.
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
Sunrise and sunset – same greenhouse from opposite ends of the farm.

August. When we talk about the growing season August always inspires a little fear. The heat, the long days, the extended planting push. In August we never get quite enough sleep and are propelled only by the will to make it through to September. Well, we’ve made it to August and we’ve already made it through the biggest transplanting of the month. It’s all downhill from here, right?

I mentioned last week that we had a big transplanting party ahead of us. Well, we certainly partied! After several days of field prep and planting there are now 28 newly planted beds of fall and winter crops in the ground.

The last successions of broccoli, cauliflower, and corn went out, including the purple sprouting broccoli and overwintering cauliflower we’ll be enjoying along with Winter CSA members next February through May. The big chicory planting went in the ground for winter salads. We squeezed in some beets and kohlrabi too. Approximately 8,400 plants later and we had stacks of empty flats and lots of new irrigation lines to manage.

A few weeks back I described our transplanting process. Above is a snippet of video Jeff made of me transplanting corn (very tall corn that could have gone out a little sooner had we been ready for it). There I am, jabbing starts into the evenly spaced muddy holes made by the water wheel on our transplanter. Jab, jab, jab, jab…

New well pump installation!

Last week I also mentioned that we were having a new well pump installed. Wells and well pumps are mysterious things, but we did know that our pump had been installed in the mid-1990s and was pumping less water than when we first arrived on this property back in the fall of 2010. In an effort to avoid a mid-summer disaster when the pump died on its own, we decided an upgrade was in order. Luckily everything went smoothly and the new pump has doubled our irrigating capacity. Just like that Jeff doesn’t have to manage water 24 hours a day and I don’t have to have a constant worry that the pump is going to fail. Win Win!

In the week ahead we’ll be doing more of the same, though less transplanting is on deck. A little propagation (more chicories please!), lots of weeding, and the big onion harvest!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Corn

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 3 ears) or frozen, thawed
  • 1 1/4 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 ounces penne pasta, freshly cooked
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, basil and garlic in large bowl to blend. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add corn; sauté 3 minutes. Add corn to dressing in bowl. Add tomatoes, pasta and cheese to bowl and toss to blend. Season salad with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Katie Morford, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-salad-with-tomatoes-and-corn-103246

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Blackened Steak Salad

  1. For spice mixture
    • 1 tablespoon paprika
    • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  2. For salad
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 6 cups (packed) mixed baby greens
    • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
    • 2 5- to 6-ounce beef tenderloin steaks, each about 1/2 inch thick
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 6 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (about 3 ounces)
    • 1 tomato, quartered

For spice mixture:

Mix all ingredients in small bowl. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

For salad:

Whisk oil, vinegar and mustard in large bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Add greens, bell pepper and onion and toss to coat. Divide salad between 2 plates.

Spread spice mixture on plate. Coat both sides of steaks with spice mixture. Dip both sides of steaks into melted butter. Heat heavy large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add steaks and cook to desired doneness, about 2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to cutting board; let stand 2 minutes. Thinly slice steaks crosswise. Arrange slices atop salads. Sprinkle with cheese. Garnish with tomato and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Chicago Chop House, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/blackened-steak-salad-103873

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Grilled Whole Cauliflower with Miso Mayo

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, leaves removed, stem trimmed
  • 1/2 tsp. (or more) kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
  • 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat. Sprinkle cauliflower all over with salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pierce plastic a few times with a knife to vent, and microwave on high until a paring knife easily slides into stem, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly. (Alternatively, set a steamer basket in a large pot filled with about 1″ salted water. Cover pot and bring water to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover, and steam until a sharp paring knife easily slides into stem, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.)

Heat butter, hot sauce, ketchup, and soy sauce in a small saucepan on grill, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Brush cauliflower all over with sauce and grill, covered, 10 minutes. Turn cauliflower over, brush with sauce, and grill, covered, 10 minutes. Continue to grill, brushing and turning every 10 minutes and reheating sauce as needed, until cauliflower is lightly charred on all sides and fork-tender, 25–30 minutes. The sauce should be used up by now, but if not, brush any remaining sauce over. Transfer cauliflower to a plate and let cool slightly.

Whisk mayonnaise, miso, lemon juice, and pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Spread on a plate. Set cauliflower on top and scatter scallions over.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-whole-cauliflower-with-miso-mayo

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Summer CSA Share – #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Mixed Head Lettuce – Mostly big romaines this week, with some iceberg and a few red butterheads to choose from too.
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro – Admittedly this round of cilantro is bolting, but it’s still tasty so we wanted to share it with you one more time. Chopped up into a bowl of salsa, you won’t even notice the bolting.
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Zucchinis, yellow straight neck, yellow pattypans, and a new variety called Magda, a middle eastern kousa-type.
  • Iko Iko Sweet Peppers – The first of the peppers! These are equivalent to green bell peppers at this stage.
  • Czech Black Hot Peppers – We grew these back in 2010 and I recall them being prolific. Slightly less hot than most jalapenos, these are likely mildly hot at this ripening stage.
  • Torpedo Onions
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Polenta – We grow a dent corn that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. Last week we gave you corn flour and this week we’re sending you home with the polenta. We recently purchased a new stone mill, so if you’ve gotten polenta from us in the past you may notice a slightly different coarseness level. No worries, it should cook up the same. We like to cook this polenta in our rice maker using the same 1 part polenta to 2 parts water ratio we use with rice. For a more traditional polenta recipe check down below.
Propagation house frog friend (left) and Jeff harvesting chard (right).

Over the last couple of days I’ve been listening to an audiobook called “Why Fish Don’t Exist”. It’s a complicated swirl of a book that describes the life of David Starr Jordan, a ‘discoverer’ of fish at the turn of the last century, and also includes a personal narrative from the author’s life. It touches on a lot of topics as Jordan was also a prolific writer, naturalist, the first president of Stanford University, and a stalwart believer in the pseudo-science theory of eugenics. The author has a lot to untangle, both on the subjects she has researched and personally.

I appreciate a good historical lesson and this book did not disappoint in laying out the messy history of Jordan’s life and times. Unexpectedly it was the wrap-up at the end that I’ve been contemplating since I finished listening. The author describes the modern shift in scientific thinking regarding animal classification which has resulted in the realization that fish are not a proper classification “if organisms are grouped based upon synapomorphies (shared derived characteristics) only, and not upon symplesiomorphies (shared ancestral characteristics)” (per Wikipedia). She uses the example that a lungfish is more closely related to a cow than a trout based on its organs and physical structure. I’ll leave you to read the book for more information, but it’s quite a twist.

In this time of so much uncertainty and angst, I found some comfort in learning about this re-classification. That we are, as humans, still learning new things about this world and that we’re willing to change our perceptions based on that new knowledge is refreshing. I’m not sure any of that has anything to do with the CSA or vegetables, but it’s been on my mind and I thought I’d share.

Flowers on the farm (left) and flowers in the woods (right).

We’ll be back next week with a riveting farm update I’m sure. We’ve been busy getting early starts and keeping cool in the afternoons. We’ve been irrigating and weeding and harvesting and trying to keep up. We’re on the cusp of August and we’re deep into the work of the growing season.

We did manage a quick overnight camping trip in the woods. It was a wonderful juxtaposition to farm life. The week ahead will be a fall/overwinter crop planting party. Also, we’re getting a new well pump installed tomorrow, so fingers crossed we’ve got upgraded irrigation capacity later this week. Game on!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

  • 12 cups cauliflower florets (from about 4 pounds cauliflower)
  • 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian hot paprika
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cauliflower florets in large roasting pan. Pull apart onion quarters into separate layers; add to cauliflower. Stir coriander seeds and cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Crush coarsely in mortar with pestle. Place seeds in medium bowl. Whisk in oil, vinegar, curry powder, paprika, and salt. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss to coat. Spread vegetables in single layer. Sprinkle with pepper.

Roast vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 450°F oven 10 minutes, if desired.)

Mound vegetables in large bowl. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit from A.O.C. in Santa Monica, CA, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-curried-cauliflower-230653

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Grilled Polenta with Corn, Red Onion, and Cucumber

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped English hothouse cucumber
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

Bring 4 cups water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually add polenta, whisking until boiling and smooth. Reduce heat to low. Cook until very thick, whisking often, about 25 minutes (about 15 minutes for yellow cornmeal). Whisk in cheese. Spread in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Cool slightly. Cover; chill at least 6 hours.

Whisk lime juice, oil and garlic in large bowl to blend. Set dressing aside.

Spray grill with oil spray; prepare barbecue (medium heat). Spray corn and onion slices with oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until vegetables are tender, turning often, about 8 minutes for corn and 15 minutes for onion. Cool. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Coarsely chop onion. Add corn, onion, tomatoes, cucumber and mint to dressing; toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut polenta into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. Spray polenta with oil spray. Grill until heated through, about 5 minutes per side.

Divide salad among 4 plates. Place 2 polenta triangles alongside each salad.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-polenta-with-corn-red-onion-and-cucumber-salad-103608

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Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

  1. Crust:
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
    • 11 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  2. Filling and assembly:
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 small shallot, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    • 1 small head of broccoli (about 8 ounces), halved lengthwise, chopped (about 3 cups)
    • 1 bunch small Swiss chard, ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely torn (about 4 cups)
    • 4 ounces feta, crumbled (about 1 cup)
    • 2 ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
    • 6 large eggs
    • 3 large egg yolks
    • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
    • 1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream or whole milk
    • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
  3. Special Equipment
    • A 9-inch springform pan

Crust:

Whisk salt and 2 cups flour in a large bowl to combine. Work in butter with your fingers until largest pieces are pea-size. Drizzle in 1/4 cup ice water and rake with your fingers to combine. Turn dough out onto a work surface and lightly knead to work into a shaggy dough (no dry spots should remain). Flatten into a disk; wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days ahead.

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14″ round. Transfer dough to pan. Lift up edges and allow dough to slump down into pan, then pat into corners and up around the sides of pan. Smooth out dough so it doesn’t have any creases or folds and trim to just below the rim. (Save any scraps for patching.) Freeze until very firm, about 20 minutes.

Line dough with 2 layers of overlapping parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans (ideally right up to the rim; pillage the pantry for old dried beans and rice to get you there). Bake until crust is golden brown all the way around edges (peek below the parchment), 60–75 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and pie weights. If needed, patch any cracks with reserved dough trimmings and bake crust just until patches are opaque, about 5 minutes. Let crust cool.

Filling and assembly:

Reduce oven heat to 325°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook shallot and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard leaves and cook, tossing often, just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Stir in feta and cheddar.

Whisk eggs, egg yolks, cream, and half-and-half in a medium bowl just to combine. Mix in chives and salt; season with pepper. Scrape vegetable mixture into crust, then carefully pour in egg mixture. Bake quiche until filling is lightly browned and set across the surface but slightly wobbly in the center inch or two, 75–90 minutes. Let quiche cool in pan before unmolding and slicing.

Do Ahead

Quiche can be baked 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit (Adapted from Everything I Want To Eat by Jessica Koslow), https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/broccoli-and-cheese-quiche

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Summer CSA Share – #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Mixed Head Lettuce – Lots of ‘Summertime’ iceburg lettuce this week as well as some red romaine and a few butterheads to choose from.
  • Kalebration Mixed Kale – Super tender kale mix straight from a high tunnel.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Snap Beans – The ultimate mix of colorful green, purple, yellow, and purple-striped beans. Note the purple and striped beans turn green when cooked.
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Zucchinis, yellow straight neck, and yellow pattypans all around! Looking for some new summer squash inspiration? Check out the take on sloppy joes down below, and this recipe for zucchini beer bread, or this recipe for bread and butter pickles.
  • Celery
  • Yellow Onions
  • Garlic – More of that first round of garlic. Remember back when it was raining day after day and we weren’t able to get our garlic harvested? Well, this garlic is part of that fiasco. Tasty but not for storing longterm so use it up sooner than later.
  • Carrots – These are the last of the spring carrots, including all shapes and sizes.
  • Slicer Tomato
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – A delicate and soft early ripening apple best used for applesauce or baking projects. I made a delicious blueberry apple pie this past week.
  • Corn Flour – We grow a dent corn that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing some of the freshly milled flour from last year’s dent corn harvest. Next week we’ll be sending polenta your way. I like to use this flour for cornbread and Jeff suggests frying up some corn flour crusted zucchini.
Jeff seeding the last succession of carrots (upper left), a bumblebee chilling on a sunflower (upper right), a bird’s nest in the Kalebration kale patch (bottom left), and Leo in a bed of white clover along the farm road (bottom right).

Okay, okay, I really do try not to make this space all weather commentary all the time, but hello summer! It feels like we’re suddenly making up some of those heat units we lost during the extended cool spring. The crops (and the weeds) are sure enjoying the bump in warm weather. Us farmers not so much. 90+ degree highs mean early starts and late afternoon slogs to make sure we’re still getting at least some of the things done. Luckily it looks like things might moderate a little bit later this week.

Farm scenes: The Kalettes and Brussels sprouts nestled in next to the flour corn (upper left), fall collards and kale sizing up (upper right), leeks mid-weeding (bottom left), leeks and celeriac post-weeding (bottom right).

I’ve been trying to remember to pull my phone out for photos more often to document the evolution of the growing season. It’s easy to get focused on the task at hand and the next task up and never snap a photo of any of it. The farm is mostly looking good right now, but without the photos to prove it I’d likely look back and only remember the weedy beds that are on the verge of getting away from us.

After early-season pest pressure from slugs, cucumber beetles, and flea beetles the pest life cycles seemed to have have shifted in our favor. The flea beetle boom seems to have busted and our fall brassicas are looking clean and happy for once. The slugs have relented now that the soil has been able to dry between rounds of irrigation and we’re getting better stands of lettuce too.

Jeff has been working hard to keep the weed pressure at bay. Sometimes the weeds need special attention though, and this week we made a big push to clean up the leeks and celeriac. Both crops had established well after planting but the wet weather and deluge of other tasks meant some thistle and weedy brassicas had taken over the five beds. We spent a few sessions pulling out the invaders and now the leeks and celeriac are once again visible! Jeff finished up by running our cultivating tractor through to clean up the paths and just like that, hope in fall/winter food is restored.

Rudbeckia, rudbeckia, rudbeckia, and strawflowers!

As we look ahead to the post-harvest week of farming I see some parsnips that need hand weeding attention (darn you parsnips!) and we’re ready to clean out a field house that had spring peas and carrots in it. Also, we’re between big planting pushes this week and I have my fingers crossed for an off-farm adventure day. Maybe not too adventurous though.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

  1. Salad:
    • 1 1/2 cups finely diced cooked chicken meat (6 ounces, about 1 1/2 breast halves)
    • 6 canned peeled water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
    • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
    • 1 small celery rib, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup diced apple, such as Gala or Golden Delicious (about 1/2 apple)
  2. Sauce:
    • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter or sesame tahini
    • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
    • 3/4 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)
    • 1/4 cup roasted soy nuts or coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
    • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil (optional)

Combine the chicken, water chestnuts, carrot, celery and apple in a bowl and stir to mix.

Whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth. Whisk in the mayonnaise and chives, if using, spoon the dressing over the salad, and mix well. Sprinkle with soy nuts just before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Real Food For Healthy Kids by Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crunchy-asian-chicken-salad-243126

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Celery Soup

  • 1 chopped head of celery
  • 1 chopped large waxy potato
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Celery leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt

Combine 1 chopped head of celery, 1 chopped large waxy potato, 1 chopped medium onion, and 1 stick unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; season with salt.

Cook, stirring, until onion is tender, 8–10 minutes.

Add 3 cups low sodium chicken broth; simmer until potatoes are tender, 8–10 minutes. Purée in a blender with 1/4 cup fresh dill; strain. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Serve soup topped with celery leaves, olive oil, and flaky sea salt.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/celery-soup-51246210

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Summer Squash Sloppy Joes

  • 1 pound ground lean beef or turkey
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups summer squash, diced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 hamburger buns

Preheat the broiler. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef or turkey until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrot and sauté 2 minutes. Add the squash and sauté 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups water, stirring until the paste has dissolved. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, and season with the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Divide the cheese among the bottom halves of the hamburger buns. Transfer both halves of the buns to the broiler, open-faced, and toast until the cheese has melted and the top buns are toasted.

4. Remove the buns from the oven and fill each sandwich with the squash-and-meat mixture. Serve immediately.

Tip:The easiest way to shred zucchini is to run it through the shredding disc of your food processor. A box grater will also work, but be sure to use the largest holes.

From Epicurious.com via Cookie by Melissa Clark, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-squash-sloppy-joes-239165

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Summer CSA Share – #7

Welcome to the 7th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – Lettuce and spinach this week.
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Snap Beans – A mix of green filet beans and purple-striped Dragon’s Tongue beans. Note the striped beans turn green when cooked.
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Zucchinis, yellow straight neck, and yellow pattypans all around!
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet Onions
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Tomatoes – A mix of slicers and cherry tomatoes. Your choice!
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – A delicate and soft early ripening apple best used for applesauce.
Some tomatoes and flowers are adding a little summer color to the farmscape!

The sun decided to show up this week, and not a moment too soon. After an extended cool and wet spring we’re welcoming summer’s appearance here on the farm. Crops seemed to jump in height overnight. And of course, so did the weeds. We kept ourselves busy this week with the usual mid-July tasks: watering, weeding, planting, seed sowing, trellising etc.

We’re still waiting for the tomatoes to really come on, but the kale has sure enjoyed the cooler weather!

A couple of CSA members stopped by Saturday for a socially distanced farm tour after a day of hiking. We were finishing up the week’s transplanting efforts and were able to show them our water wheel transplanter set-up. I thought I’d share a little about our transplanting process here as I don’t think I’ve touched on it recently.

Each winter we make a fairly detailed planting plan that includes crops we plan to grow and the timing and quantity of each succession. We prefer to start most crops in the propagation house as starts, which we then transplant as baby plants into the field. Some crops are direct sown, where we put the seed directly in the ground, but those seedlings have to compete with weeds germinating at the same time so direct sowing is not always ideal.

As starts begin to mature in the propagation greenhouse they’re moved outside to “harden off” in the elements. Giving them a taste of outdoor life in the wind and sun helps them adjust to field life quicker. Once the ground is prepped and the starts are hardened off we’re ready to transplant them into the field.

We place the flats of starts on a pallet on the front end of the tractor. Our water wheel transplanter hooks up to the back of the tractor. The transplanter is made up of a few different elements attached to a metal frame. These include a water tank, a wheel with adjustable spikes, a tray for holding starts, and a seat. As Jeff slowly drives the tractor down a bed I sit on the transplanter and plant. Water flows from the tank down into the wheel which rides along the ground creating a little muddy hole at each evenly spaced spot where a start should be planted.

Different crops need different spacing so we can either adjust the spikes on the wheel or skip holes in the ground to save time. This week we planted broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage at 20″ spacing, head lettuce and escarole at 10″ spacing, and basil and salad mix lettuce at 5″ spacing.

That’s how we plant out a field in a day without hurting our backs. It’s a system that’s worked well for us. Not too fancy and fiddly, but definitely a step up from bending over all day.

More of the same is on deck this week. We’ll be transplanting celery and rutabagas and finishing up a big weeding project in the leeks and celeriac.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Mushroom and Kale Breakfast Skillet

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium onions, halved, sliced lengthwise into 1/4″-thick strips
  • 1 lb. mixed wild or crimini mushrooms, sliced 1/4″ thick
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, torn into small pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • Flaky sea salt, chopped parsley and/or cilantro, Aleppo-style pepper (optional), and lemon wedges (for serving)

Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high. Crush cumin, coriander, and red pepper with a mortar and pestle or heavy skillet. Add to hot oil in skillet and stir to coat. Add onions and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until softened and lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Add tomatoes, vinegar, and 1 tsp. kosher salt and stir to combine. Add kale, cover skillet, and cook, uncovering and tossing occasionally, until kale is wilted, 4–6 minutes. Season with remaining 1/2 tsp. kosher salt.

Make 8 indentations in vegetable mixture. Carefully crack an egg into each. Cover skillet and cook over medium-low heat, rotating skillet on burner halfway through to ensure even cooking, until egg whites are opaque and just set, 8–10 minutes. Top with sea salt, herbs, and Aleppo-style pepper (if using). Squeeze lemon juice over.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/mushroom-and-kale-breakfast-skillet

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Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup purchased Asian peanut sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus additional soy sauce for dipping
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint plus 1/3 cup small mint sprigs

Heat peanut oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add turkey and sauté until brown and cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 7 minutes. Add peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce; heat through. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat in microwave or skillet, adding water by tablespoonfuls to moisten if necessary, before continuing.) Stir in cucumber and chopped mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer turkey mixture to medium bowl. Place mint sprigs and lettuce leaves on platter. To make wraps, spoon turkey mixture onto lettuce leaf, add a few mint sprigs, fold in sides over filling, and roll up. Pass additional soy sauce alongside wraps for dipping.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/asian-turkey-lettuce-wraps-106963

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Roasted Potato Wedges with Cilantro-Lime Mayonnaise

  1. For potatoes:
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4 medium), each cut into 8 wedges
  2. For cilantro-lime mayonnaise:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
    • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Roast potatoes:

Put a 4-sided sheet pan in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.

Stir cumin, oregano, and 3/4 teaspoon salt into oil in a large bowl. Add potatoes and toss. Arrange potatoes, cut sides down, in 1 layer in hot pan and roast, turning once, until golden, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, make mayonnaise:

Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small serving bowl.

Serve potatoes with mayonnaise.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Melissa Roberts, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-potato-wedges-with-cilantro-lime-mayonnaise-352775

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