Summer CSA Share – #14

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

  • Sweet Corn
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Mixed Cucumbers
  • Red Onions
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers – A mix of any of our sweet peppers with some color on them including bells and Italian frying varieties. Use them all as you would a green or red bell pepper.
  • Poblano Peppers – The classic stuffing pepper, this mild chile brings the pepper flavor to any dish.
  • Aji Marchant Chile Peppers – A rare variety of pepper with an intriguing history you can read about here. Historically the immature peppers were used for pickling and the mature peppers for dried pepper powder. We shared these in their yellow stage a few weeks ago, now here they are a little more mature. They’re a hot one, and can be added to any dish for your hot pepper needs.
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Mixed Melons
  • Bartlett Pears

We’re now accepting members for the upcoming Winter CSA! Go check out the Winter details and sign-up to join us for more seasonal, organic vegetables December-April!

Jeff, cultivating the overwintering cauliflower (left) and moving irrigation pipe in the purple sprouting broccoli/chicory field (right).

Welcome to September! There’s something about that particular calendar change that gives hope to us farmers. We’ve made it through the long, hot slog of August and fall is really coming with its cooler temperatures, fewer daylight hours, and eventually some killing frosts. Of course September could be just as hot as August, but it’s September!

This week on the farm was all about catch-up and by Sunday night we’d pretty well caught up. Having our tractor down for two weeks in August wasn’t as bad as say April or May when the season is just getting underway. But it did make for some delays in mowing, tilling, fertilizing, and planting of some late fall crops. This week was the big push to get back on track. Jeff managed to get through the majority of the tractoring which then culminated with getting some of our last field crops of the season in the ground. Soon we’ll be filling up the field houses and emptying out the propagation house. I can’t wait!

It’s certainly a colorful time of year on the farm. The pinks and reds and yellows of the randomly planted cosmos, zinnias, and sunflowers certainly catch the eye. But the crops are bringing the color too. The ripe pears and apples dot the orchard trees like late-summer tree ornaments. The peppers are getting some color and livening up the pepper patch. Even the lettuce is looking particularly bright and colorful in the morning light. It’s a big show in the fields as crops ripen to their season-long height of maturity.

Preserving the bounty! Tomatilla salsa for winter chips and enchiladas!

Most of you are likely into the rhythm of the CSA at this point. The weekly shares keep showing up and hopefully you’ve been eating through them or coming up with some strategies to preserve them for future meals. Although we see September as a light at the end of the tunnel, I know many of you are shifting into new schedules with kids (and teachers and partners and maybe even you!) headed back to school. All the kid activities might begin to take over your weeknights, and well, weekends too. As the summer wraps up and the structure of schedules falls into place, hopefully you’ll still be able to keep up with the CSA bounty to come.

This is my reminder that there are lots of member resource ideas to help you tackle your share when time seems slim. Have you looked over the ‘Vegetable Exit Strategies‘ on the member app? There are some great tips on the ‘How to Love My CSA Share‘ page too. There have also been some really delicious-looking recipes shared recently in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group that might inspire your cooking. Remember, you’re not alone on this vegetable journey this season. There are lots of other folks along for the ride too.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Zucchini “Noodles” with Eggplant and Tomatoes

  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 pounds), spiralized or cut into matchsticks
  • 2 medium yellow squash (about 1 1/4 pounds), spiralized or cut into matchsticks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (packed) basil leaves, chopped, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 large long Chinese eggplants (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1/4″ slices on the bias
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, divided
  • 1/4 cup pitted cured black olives, halved, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced

Place zucchini and squash in a strainer set over a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. salt and toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes, then shake in strainer, pressing gently, to remove any excess liquid.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, honey, pepper, 1/2 cup basil, 3 Tbsp. oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic until it begins to sizzle and turn golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with dressing. Increase heat to medium-high, add eggplant and 1 cup tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is browned and cooked through and tomatoes begin to burst, about 6–8 minutes. Season with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and transfer to bowl with dressing.

Cut remaining 1 cup tomatoes in half lengthwise and add to bowl with dressing. Add zucchini and squash; gently toss to combine. Add 3 Tbsp. olives and 2 Tbsp. basil, then transfer with tongs to a platter, letting extra liquid drain and remain in bowl. Lay mozzarella on 1 end of platter and drizzle with oil. Top dish with remaining 2 Tbsp. basil and 1 Tbsp. olives.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Katherine Sacks, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-noodles-with-eggplant-and-tomatoes

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Creamy Beet Dip

  • 1 1/2 pounds beets, halved
  • Parchment paper
  • 3/4 cup light sour cream
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Whole-wheat pita wedges (optional)

Heat oven to 425°F. Roast beets on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, turning once halfway through, until soft, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Peel beets under running water. In a food processor, combine beets, sour cream, 2 teaspoons juice, cardamom, salt and garlic; blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with zest to taste. Serve with pita, if desired.

From Epicurious.com via SELF by Liza Schoenfein, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-beet-dip-51170810

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Sauteed Eggplant and Cabbage Salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1-pound eggplant, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, eggplant and onion and sauté until almost tender, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and stir 2 minutes. Stir in paprika. Add tomatoes with juices and bring to boil. Cook until mixture thickens slightly, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Stir in mint, parsley and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-eggplant-and-cabbage-salad-5320

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Summer CSA Share – #13

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

  • Sweet Corn
  • Snap Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Escarole – A cousin of our favorite winter chicories, this one is not so bitter. But be warned that it is on the bitter side. Bitter is better though! Great in soups and salads and well, check out this link for lots of great ideas.
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatillos – It’s salsa verde time!
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Mixed Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Inchelium Red Garlic – Said to have a mild but lingering taste, this is a taste test winner originally discovered on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington.
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers – A mix of any of our sweet peppers with some color on them including bells, Italian frying, and paprika varieties. Use them all as you would a green or red bell pepper.
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Peppers – They look like they should be hot, but they’re not! An Italian frying pepper brought to the U.S. in 1887, great raw or cooked.
  • Bulgarian Carrot Chile Peppers – These are a new-to-us variety of hot peppers originating in eastern Europe where they’re also know as shipkas. They’re said to have a fruity flavor and a hot finish, one source said they’re 12 times hotter than a jalapeno!
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Tirreno Tuscan Melon and Divergent Cantaloupes
  • Asian Pears

We’re now accepting members for the upcoming Winter CSA! Go check out the Winter details and sign-up to join us for more seasonal, organic vegetables December-April!

It’s August, it’s sunflower season!

It’s the end of August and that makes for long harvest days here on the farm. I’m going to keep this week’s message to a minimum as I need to join Jeff out there for the final push of the harvest effort. There are beans and tomatillos to bag, cucumbers and summer squash to pick, cherry tomatoes to pluck, and onions and garlic to clean before we make our way to Salem for tonight’s pick-up. Let’s go, go, go!

This week’s peppers! The reds and large oranges are sweet, the smaller orange peppers are hot!

I had good intentions last night to write about the pepper patch and all the fun peppers we’ve been throwing at you this season. Well, best laid plans and all…time got away from me and so here’s a an abbreviated version.

This week you’re getting some our favorite sweet Italian frying peppers called Jimmy Nardello. They’re so good that the folks at Slow Food list them on their Ark of Taste! Fry them, roast them, eat them raw. You’ll also get a couple of other sweet peppers from the varieties noted above. These are all along the lines of a red bell pepper, but hopefully tastier and with more character too!

We’ve got several new-to-us hot pepper varieties in the pepper patch this year including these Bulgarian Carrot peppers. They’re an heirloomy variety from Hungary originally and may have been smuggled out from behind the iron curtain in the 1980s. Whoa, communist peppers! They’re one of the hotter varieties for us, landing somewhere between jalapeno hot and twelve times jalapeno hot. That’s some range!

More peppers and other fun end-of-summer produce will be headed your way in the coming weeks. This week on the farm we’ll be keepin’ on keepin’ on with the planting, irrigating, weeding, and harvesting. We’ll see you on the other side of this week’s mini heatwave!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Wilted Greens in Tomato-Bacon Broth

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 pint Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 cups torn greens (such as escarole, Swiss chard, and/or mustard)
  • 1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced into rings (or this week’s Bulgarian Carrot Chile pepper)

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large saucepan over medium-low. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until brown and crisp around the edges, 5–7 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high and add tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have mostly burst and are lightly charred in spots, about 5 minutes. Mix in vinegar, honey, and 1 1/2 cups water. Season lightly with salt and simmer over low heat to allow flavors to blend, 8–10 minutes.

Working a handful at a time, add greens, stirring to wilt before adding more, and cook until all greens are wilted and submerged in the broth. Season with more salt; let cool slightly.

Transfer greens to a serving dish. Generously drizzle with oil and scatter chile over.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Claire Saffitz, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/wilted-greens-in-tomato-bacon-broth

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Layered Chicken Enchilada with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

  • 2 pounds large tomatillos, husked, rinsed, halved
  • 1 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 cups sliced green onions
  • 2 cups (packed) very coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large serrano chile, sliced (with seeds) (or this week’s Bulgarian Carrot Chile pepper!)
  • 12 5- to 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 purchased roasted chicken, meat torn into strips (about 4 cups)
  • 1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into strips
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix tomatillos, chicken broth, and garlic cloves in large saucepan. Cover and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat; simmer gently until tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer hot mixture to processor. Add sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and sliced chile; blend mixture to coarse puree. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Overlap 6 tortillas in 13x9x2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Top tortillas with half of chicken strips and half of mozzarella strips. Pour 2 cups tomatillo sauce evenly over. Top with remaining tortillas, chicken strips, and mozzarella. Pour 1 1/2 cups tomatillo sauce over, then whipping cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until bubbling, about 25 minutes. Cool enchiladas 10 minutes. Serve with remaining tomatillo sauce.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/layered-chicken-enchiladas-with-tomatillo-cilantro-sauce-232700

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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
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

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, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-curried-cauliflower-230653

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Summer CSA Share – #12

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

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Sweet Corn
  • Snap Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Mixed German Butterball & Purple Viking Potatoes
  • Basil
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Mixed Cucumbers
  • Purple Bunching Onions
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers – A mix of any of our sweet peppers with some color on them including bells, Italian frying, and paprika varieties. Use them all as you would a green or red bell pepper.
  • Shishito Peppers – More of those roulette peppers – mostly mild but once in a while you get a hot one. We like them best blistered in hot oil and eaten straight away.
  • Matchbox Thai Peppers – Just a taste of these new to us hot peppers this week. The plants are loaded with green fruit and you’ll definitely see more as the season continues.
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Strawberries
  • Tirreno Tuscan Melon
  • Honey Orange Honeydew Melon – an orange honeydew variety that is really more like a cantaloupe than a honeydew.

We’re now accepting members for the upcoming Winter CSA! Go check out the Winter details and sign-up to join us for more seasonal, organic vegetables December-April!

At the beginning of this farming journey, we didn’t have a specific vision for the farm. We wanted to try it all. All the varieties, all the crops, all the possibilities! Of course on that long list was keeping bees. We signed up for bee school held by the local beekeeping association and we were off.

We bought a traditional Langstroth beehive and purchased bees from a beekeeping store in Portland. The bees lived on our rented 1.5 acre where we were growing vegetables through the summer and we moved them here that fall when we started leasing this place. Sadly they didn’t make it through the winter. Unfortunately I think this is a common path for amateur beekeepers. After another round of buying bees, and once catching a swarm that was flying through, with similar outcomes both times, we put our beekeeping hats in storage and focused on growing vegetables.

A few years later a request came through a local farming listserv from a family of beekeepers that was looking for a place to keep some hives. We had some space and plenty of fruit trees that could use help with pollination so we struck a deal. For the past several years we’ve had between 20 and 40 beehives at the back of the farm for much of the year. In February they truck the hives (and bees inside) down to California to work the almond pollination. Most commercial beekeepers in the country send their bees to the almonds every winter. (Just this week I heard an interesting podcast episode on the show 99% Invisible about this and other bee topics.) The hives return to us a couple of months later, ready to work our fruit trees. We then share the farm with buzzing honey bees, as well as the native varieties, all summer long.

Over the years the beekeepers have shared honey from the hives here and it’s always fun to see what the farm tastes like in honey form. Last week they dropped off some smaller jars of honey from the farm and we’d like to offer them for sale to interested CSA members. We’ll have pints ($15) and half pints ($8) of honey at this week’s pick-up.

Although the To Do list is plenty long, it feels like we’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern on some things the past week on the farm as we wait for a part for our tractor to arrive in the mail. It’s hard to be patient when the tractor is down mid-season but of course there’s lots of non-tractoring work to accomplish this time of year. Anyhow, we took the opportunity to get off the farm Saturday for a bumpy drive in the woods and a short but rewarding hike up to Gold Butte Lookout outside of Detroit, OR. It’s back to planting, irrigating, weeding etc. this week. Hopefully that tractor part shows up soon.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 large cantaloupe, rind and seeds removed, flesh cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large English hothouse cucumber, sliced on a diagonal 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 Fresno chiles, thinly sliced (or any of this week’s pepper offerings perhaps)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • Sumac (for serving)

Whisk oil, vinegar, coriander, salt, pepper, and cardamom in a large bowl. Add cantaloupe, cucumber, and chiles and toss to coat in dressing. Let sit, uncovered, 15 minutes.

To serve, add pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and mint to salad and toss gently to combine. Top with sumac.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by TUSK, Portland, OR, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/savory-cantaloupe-and-cucumber-fruit-salad

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Shishito Pepper Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

  • 1 pound small red new potatoes, scrubbed (about 10)
  • 1 pound shishito peppers, stemmed and left whole
  • 2/3 cup shredded Jack cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • Dressed salad greens, for serving
  • Hot sauce, for serving

In a large pot fitted with a steamer basket, steam the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl until cool enough to handle. Using the palms of your hands, gently smash the potatoes. Add the shishitos, cheese, scallions, and 3/4 teaspoon salt to the bowl and, using a wooden spoon, mix gently to combine.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add potato mixture and fry, flipping once or twice, until cheese is melted, peppers are soft, and mixture is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and divide among four plates.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Crack in the eggs and fry to desired doneness. Top hash with fried eggs and serve immediately with greens and hot sauce.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by SQIRL (Los Angeles), https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shishito-pepper-potato-hash-with-fried-eggs-51252300

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Herb-Crusted Cauliflower Steaks with Beans and Tomatoes

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup golden or red cherry tomatoes (about 6 ounces), halved
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Arrange racks in middle and upper third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Remove leaves and trim stem end of cauliflower, leaving core intact. Place cauliflower core side down on a work surface. Using a large knife, slice in the center from top to bottom to yield 2 (1″) “steaks”; reserve remaining cauliflower for another use.

Place cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Roast on middle rack, turning halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and browned, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss green beans with 1 Tbsp. oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper on another rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer, then roast in upper third of oven until green beans begin to blister, about 15 minutes.

Whisk garlic, lemon zest, 1/3 cup parsley, and remaining 6 Tbsp. oil, 1 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl until smooth. Transfer half of mixture to another medium bowl. Add panko and Parmesan to first bowl and mix with your hands. Add white beans and tomatoes to second bowl and toss to coat. Whisk mayonnaise and mustard in a small bowl.

Remove sheets from oven. Spread mayonnaise mixture over cauliflower. Sprinkle 1/4 cup panko mixture evenly over cauliflower. Add white bean mixture to sheet with green beans and toss to combine. Return sheets to oven and continue to roast until white beans begin to crisp and panko topping starts to brown, 5–7 minutes more.

Divide cauliflower, green beans, white beans, and tomatoes among plates. Top with parsley.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Katherine Sacks, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/herb-crusted-cauliflower-steaks-with-beans-and-tomatoes

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Summer CSA Share – #11

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

  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Sweet Corn
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Parsley
  • Red or Green Cabbage
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Mixed Cucumbers
  • Torpedo Onions
  • Poblano Peppers
  • Green & Yellow Bell Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Strawberries
  • Tuscan Melon or Cantaloupe
  • Red Farm Apples – Big red tasty apples of an unknown variety that grew on two trees in our back apple orchard. Mysterious and delicious!

We’re now accepting members for the upcoming Winter CSA! Go check out the Winter details and sign-up to join us for more seasonal, organic vegetables December-April!

I haven’t been the only one enjoying the row of flowers I put in next to the peppers. This section is from a packet of “PNW Wildflowers” I picked up a few years ago at a local nursery and finally got around to growing. So glad I did!

The weather over the past week has been a welcome reprieve from the few hot days we had. Though it may not seem especially summery, we’ll take overcast and 75 any day of the week! The cool mornings over the weekend reminded me of mornings at summer camp as a kid. I went to a camp in the coast range every summer, and my memories run the gamut of hot and dusty afternoons and rainstorms that seemingly lasted the whole week (swimming, canoeing, hiking in the rain!). So many of those early mornings were overcast and damp though, smelling of the forest and the earth, before the clouds burned off for the day. Most mornings on the farm these days we wake to a bright sun peeking through the trees on the eastern horizon. This past week though, was all summer camp mornings.

The gravensteins are abundant this year! Do you see the tree frog enjoying the apples too? (top) and the onions are harvested! (bottom)

As I mentioned in last week’s update it was time to gather the onions for storage and begin the apple harvest. We endeavored and those things happened. The week ahead will bring more apple harvesting, a little more seed sowing, definitely some cultivating and weeding. It’s also time to begin thinking about preserving some of this summer bounty. Tomato sauce doesn’t can itself I’ve learned.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Penne with Grilled Tomatoes and Eggplant

  • 1 1-pound eggplant, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 pound tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • Nonstick olive oil spray
  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (about 1 ounce)

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Spray both sides of eggplant slices and tomato halves with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant slices until brown and tender and tomato halves until charred, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes for eggplant slices and about 7 minutes for tomato halves. Cool.

Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Cut tomatoes into 1-inch pieces.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta. Return pasta to same pot.

Add eggplant, tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and garlic to pasta and toss to blend. Stir in grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be prepared 2 hours ahead.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/penne-with-grilled-tomatoes-and-eggplant-4234

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Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Parsley Dressing

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets, including tender leaves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 4 tablespoons oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse parsley, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until very finely chopped; season with salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower with lemon-parsley mixture and top with lemon zest.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Dawn Perry, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-lemon-parsley-dressing-51198450

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Corn and Tomato Salad with Lemon Thyme and Roasted Poblano Chili

  • 1 fresh poblano chili
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 scallions
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 pound assorted vine-ripened cherry tomatoes (about 1 pint)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh corn (cut from about 8 ears)
  • 2 tablespoons small fresh lemon thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

Roast and peel poblano chili .

Finely chop poblano and zucchini and thinly slice scallions. Mince garlic and halve tomatoes. In a large non-stick skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté zucchini and corn with salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until corn is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate and stir in poblano, scallions, garlic, and thyme. Cook mixture, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to a bowl and immediately add tomatoes and coriander, tossing well. Cool corn salad. Corn salad may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-and-tomato-salad-with-lemon-thyme-and-roasted-poblano-chili-100734

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Summer CSA Share – #10

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

  • Desert Sunrise Red Onions
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Sweet Corn
  • Orange Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Basil
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Mixed Cucumbers – pickling cucumbersgreat for fresh eating too!
  • Fava Beans – Our 94-year-old neighbor stopped by during the fava bean harvest yesterday and told us all about how when he was young his mother would boil up a pot of favas and put them in the middle of the table for everyone to grab a handful to shell over their dinner. He made it sound awfully easy! Don’t forget these are great grilled if you’re looking to move the cooking heat outside.
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Iko Iko Sweet Peppers – At this purple stage these peppers are equivalent to green bell peppers and can be used anywhere you’d normally used a green bell.
  • Cilantro
  • Basque Turban Garlic
  • Tomatillos – It’s Salsa Verde time! New to tomatillos? Check out this article at Bon Appétit for a rundown.
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar Baby Watermelons
Watermelon! And Pears! It’s fruit season!

The summer produce is rolling in! We’re bringing you the first melons of the season and all the fixings for salsa! Maybe it’s been the mild weather up until recently, but it finally just feels like summer has shown up for reals. And the summer treats are suddenly here too. We can feel hints of fall in the air already, but I suggest we enjoy summer as long as possible while we can. August is a great time to be eating seasonally in the Willamette Valley and we’re doing our part to bring you the best of the summer eats!

Planting, planting, planting! The last successions of corn and broccoli plus purple sprouting broccoli, overwintering cauliflower, lettuce, and chicories all went in the ground this past week.

Did I mention we had lots of planting to get through last week? Well it all happened thanks to Jeff’s intrepid tractoring and my willingness to sit on the transplanter and plant, plant, plant! This was our last big push of brassicas for the season as the mix of late fall and overwintering cauliflowers and broccolis found a place in the field. We also planted winter salad (aka all the chicories) and fall salad (more lettuce!). Plus the fourth and final succession of sweet corn went into the ground this week. Fingers crossed for October corn!

The growing season takes a shift from here on out. Our weekly planting will be just a handful of beds leaving more time for maintenance and harvesting. It’s time to begin the big onion harvest and there are lots of apples to get into the cooler for cidering and drying later this season. Soon pears will need to be picked too! The season continues on, with the promise of more good things to eat on the way.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Broccoli and Cherry Tomato Salad

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1-pint basket cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried

Steam broccoli until just crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and cool. Add tomatoes. Place mustard in small bowl. Gradually whisk in vinegar, then oil. Mix in oregano. Add to salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover, chill.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/broccoli-and-cherry-tomato-salad-2218

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Charred Tomatillo Chermoula

  • 2 pounds small tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 (2)-inch piece ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Toss tomatillos on a rimmed baking sheet with 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt. Grill, turning occasionally, until flesh is jammy and skins are blackened and blistered, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl and let cool; discard liquid that has drained off into bowl.

Process tomatillos, ginger, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, cumin, and remaining 1/3 cup oil until smooth; season with salt.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Sam Nosrat, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/charred-tomatillo-chermoula

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Fava Bean, Radish, and Corn Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups shucked fava beans
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels
  • 8 breakfast radishes, sliced on the bias
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Cook the fava beans in a pot of simmering salted water for 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked al dente. Drain in a colander and shock immediately in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and place in a medium mixing bowl.

Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a preheated sauté pan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until the shallots are translucent. Add the corn to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until the corn is just cooked. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Add the corn, radishes, chives, basil, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil to the bowl with the fava beans. Mix until thoroughly combined, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Assembly:

Equally divide the salad between four bowls and enjoy. The salad can be served at room temperature or chilled.

From Epicurious.com via Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort by Art Smith, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fava-bean-radish-and-corn-salad

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Summer CSA Share – #9

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

  • Carrots
  • Fresh Sweet Onions
  • Salad Mix
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Dill – An at times under-appreciated herb, dill is versatile and brightens up potato dishes, creamy salads, beet soup, and even burgers in addition to the standby pickle brine.
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck, pattypan, and zucchini.
  • Cucumbers – silver slicers and lemons
  • Mixed Snap Beans – Green, purple, and yellow beans this week.
  • Shishito Peppers – – Just the first handful of of these delicious little ‘roulette’ peppers.  Some are hot, most are not.  New to shishitos?  We love them blistered in hot oil like in this recipe.
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Strawberries
  • Gravenstein Apples – Better for fresh eating than last week’s transparent apples, Gravensteins also are a great cooking apple and make good cider. Small but tasty!

Did you choose the two payment option at sign-up? Don’t forget your second payment is due by July 31st. Click here to head to the payments page. Or avoid the processing fee and bring a check to the pick-up, mail a check, or have your bank mail a check.

A couple of moments from Monday’s harvest: A ladybug in a forest of dill (left) and a frog that jumped into Jeff’s pocket while he was trying to relocate it from some harvest bins to avoid a trip to the field (right).

As we wrap up July it’s a good time to take a moment and look around, evaluate the moment. We’re trucking along deeper into summer and the crops are showing it. Tomatoes! Green Beans! Sweet Corn! Although I love the unique flavors of winter vegetables, we do wait months for the high summer crops to show up in force. All that sun and heat wrapped up in a tasty bite of zucchini or corn on the cob. Can’t beat it! I hope you’re enjoying this seasonal eating thing just as much as we are.

Weekend farm photos: Your farmers in the wild (top left), a deer looks on from the other side of the tomato house fence (top right), a couple of cleaned up beds of celeriac flanked by leeks and zinnias (bottom left), and a bachelor’s button in just the right shades of blue (bottom right).

I was speaking with a farmer friend this weekend and she mentioned that they had tried a CSA program years ago as a way of marketing to their local community. They hadn’t found success with their CSA attempt, and heard mostly from the members that it was too many vegetables. This is a common thing we hear too and it’s one of the top reasons cited when folks choose not to return for another season.

Honestly, it’s a conundrum for us, this idea of too many vegetables. Our aim is to provide a well rounded mix of diverse and seasonal vegetables and fruits each week and we have a problem when it comes to deciding which one to leave out when it comes time to harvest. When crops are successful, we’re excited to share them with our members. We don’t want to overload members, and try not to include too much of a single item (though this sure has been a good lettuce year thus far, huh?) but we also want members to experience the bounty of the farm and the season.

As I was talking with my friend, I realized that there’s a shift I hear about from our most successful members. They no longer approach the CSA as a burden, but instead an opportunity. The vegetables are not precious things that cannot be wasted or else vegetable guilt will ensue. They’re just what’s for dinner, and sometimes lunch and/or breakfast. These members also embrace the routine of picking up vegetables rather than getting lost in the choice of the produce department at the grocery store.

I know our CSA is not the right fit for everyone and we’ll likely continue to hear from folks who think that share is too large. The CSA is a unique thing, especially in this moment of ultimate choice and personalization and delivery ease. We’re asking a little more from you and we’re so glad you’ve been willing to take on that challenge!

Peppers coming soon! A couple of the hot peppers we’ve added to the lineup this year including Matchbox, a Thai variety (left) and Bulgarian Carrot (right).

Here on the farm we’re coming up on a big week of planting. The overwintering broccoli and cauliflower plus chicories, last round of corn, and another succession of lettuce are all headed out to the field. We’re keeping an eye on new crops, waiting for the peppers to turn color and we’re just on the cusp of harvesting eggplant! Throw in a potential day of jury duty for me this week, and we’ve got a busy week ahead!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cucumber and Tomato Tzatziki

  • 3 cups plain yogurt (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber (about 16 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large tomato, quartered, seeded, thinly sliced

Place strainer over large bowl. Line strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Spoon yogurt into cheesecloth-lined strainer; let stand at room temperature to drain 3 hours (liquid will drain out and yogurt will thicken). Transfer yogurt to medium bowl; discard liquid.

Meanwhile, coarsely grate cucumber. Place in another strainer; let stand at room temperature until most of liquid drains out, about 3 hours. Discard liquid. Squeeze excess moisture from cucumber.

Mix cucumber, dill and garlic into yogurt. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix tomato into yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-and-tomato-tzatziki-5403

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Creamy Broccoli and Carrot Slaw

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated onion
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded peeled broccoli stems
  • 3/4 cup shredded peeled carrots

Combine mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, onion and mustard in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Add broccoli and carrots; toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-broccoli-and-carrot-slaw-2263

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Grilled Mustard-Dill Burgers

  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 10 ounces lean ground beef

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Mix first 3 ingredients in medium bowl. Transfer 3 tablespoons sauce to small bowl and reserve. Add meat to remaining sauce in medium bowl and mix gently. Divide meat mixture into 2 equal portions. Flatten each to 1/2-inch-thick patty; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill cut side of buns until toasted, about 1 minute. Grill patties to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium. Spread bottom half of buns with reserved sauce. Top each with burger, tomato slice, lettuce and bun top.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-mustard-dill-burgers-101935

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Summer CSA Share – #8

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

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Beets
  • Desert Sunrise Red Onions – These are some of the overwintered onions harvested earlier this month.
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Sweet Corn!
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck, pattypan, and zucchini.
  • Cucumbers – picklers and slicers and now lemons too!
  • Mixed Snap Beans – Green, purple, and yellow beans this week.
  • Aji Marchant Hot Pepper – A new hot pepper variety for us, Aji Marchant has an interesting history that you can read about on the Adaptive Seeds website. They’re traditionally pickled at this stage, but are great for fresh eating and frying.
  • Iko Iko Bell Pepper – At this yellow and purple stage the Iko Iko is immature and similar to a green bell pepper.
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Lots of cherries and slicers for everyone!
  • Strawberries
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – Wait, apples in July? It’s true! These soft, tart Russian apples ripen early and make excellent applesauce. I’ve also heard rumors of a recipe that involves battering and frying them for a melty appley fried dessert. Whoa!

Did you choose the two payment option at sign-up? Don’t forget your second payment is due by July 31st. Click here to head to the payments page. Or avoid the processing fee and bring a check to the pick-up, mail a check, or have your bank mail a check.

The tomatoes are on! The slicer tomato tasting was a hit at Saturday’s potluck.

Many thanks to the folks that made it out to this past weekend’s CSA member farm day! What a fun low key evening showing folks the farm, eating delicious food, and getting to chat with members more than we do at pick-ups.

It’s always fun to have members see the place in person and walk the length of the farm road. Each season brings a new look to the landscape and this moment is a little slice of summer goodness. Hopefully experiencing some time on the farm will give you that much more insight into where your food comes from and how we’re going about growing it for you.

Mark your calendar for the next scheduled CSA member farm day on October 5th! There will be pumpkin picking and cider pressing galore!

Carri in her happy place, the thriving propagation house (left), watering starts in the prop house (center), and the official farm mouse patrol (right).

Before we got to enjoy the fun on Saturday we had our annual organic inspection on Friday. This was our 10th annual inspection, whoa! The inspection is a piece of the organic certification puzzle. Each spring we submit updates to our organic systems plan (OSP) to our certifier, an inspector confirms the OSP on the ground, the certifier reviews the inspector’s report and our OSP, and then our new organic certificate is issued.

The OSP consists of detailed information about our farming practices including inputs, tillage, and management practices. During the inspection we review groundwork, fertilizer, seed purchase, planting, and harvest records. We also do a couple of traceability exercises to show what we say we’re growing is what we’re actually growing. And then there’s a tour of the farm for the inspector to see the crops in the ground and our current stock of organic fertilizer and other organic inputs. The whole thing generally lasts around 4 hours.

We’ve chosen Oregon Tilth as our certifier because we appreciate their connection to local communities in Oregon and their emphasis on education. We think our organic certification is an important baseline for letting you know that we’re growing using organic practices and that a third party has confirmed that fact. As with anything, the organic standards are not perfect, but they do provide a starting point that helps to make sure we’re thinking about soil health and beneficial insect and wildlife habitat as part of our farming goals. It also confirms that we’re not using synthetic pesticides or herbicides in our fields. Though some naturally produced sprays are available for use in organic systems, we don’t currently use any. Overall we appreciate the ease of communicating that basic fact that we’re growing under organic rules. Without the certification it would be more difficult to convey that as we wouldn’t be allowed to use the organic wording and label unless we figured out how to convey that we were organic adjacent. Plus the whole process likely makes us much better record keepers.

In the week ahead you’ll be able to find us getting back to the basic rhythm of the season. The warmer weather this week means non-stop irrigating and plenty of cultivating to get ahead of the weeds. There are fall/winter crops on deck to be transplanted and direct sown. The early apples are beginning to drop, so apple harvest is imminent. I think we might be due for an off-farm adventure sometime soon too.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, and Chicken Soup

  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed lightly
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets (about 1 small head)
  • 1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chopped red Swiss chard leaves, washed well and drained

In a 4-quart heavy saucepan cook onion and caraway seeds in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir in cauliflower and orzo and simmer, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes. Stir in chicken and Swiss chard and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper. Soup may be made 3 days ahead, cooled, uncovered, and chilled, covered.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-swiss-chard-and-chicken-soup-13489

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Romaine and Roasted-Beet Salad with Creamy Roquefort Dressing

  • For dressing
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 large shallot, minced
    • 1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 1/3 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
    • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • For salad
    • 6 medium beets, tops trimmed
    • 3 hearts of romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise, ends left intact
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 watercress bunch, thick stems trimmed
    • 3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted

Make dressing:

Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Fold in Roquefort cheese and cream. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Make salad:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool beets; peel and cut each into wedges.

Arrange 2 lettuce quarters crosswise on each of 6 large plates. Surround lettuce on each plate with beet wedges. Top with some onion slices and watercress sprigs. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with walnuts and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/romaine-and-roasted-beet-salad-with-creamy-roquefort-dressing-4270

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Zucchini and Corn Tacos

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 leaves fresh epazote, (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano), finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 warm corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup tomatillo (green) salsa
  • 8 teaspoons grated Monterey Jack cheese (or queso fresco)

Heat half of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Add zucchini; cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes; season with salt. Add corn, beans, epazote and pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Split filling among tortillas; top each with 1 1/2 teaspoons salsa and 1 teaspoon cheese.

From Epicurious.com via SELF by Jimmy Shaw, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-and-corn-tacos-354249

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Summer CSA Share – #7

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

  • Red Ursa Kale
  • German Butterball Potatoes – These are freshly dug and most don’t have thick skins yet. They won’t store as long as potatoes with thicker skins so use them up sooner than later.
  • Fresh Sweet Onions
  • Butterhead Lettuces
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower – Lots of smaller caulis this week. This is the week to pull out recipes like cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza crust or maybe it’s time to try out a quick refrigerator pickle.
  • Parsley
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck, pattypan, and zucchini.
  • Cucumbers – picklers and slicers!
  • Mixed Snap Beans – The long slender Maxibel Haricot Vert and purple striped Dragon beans!
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers for everyone!
  • Strawberries

Hopefully you’ve marked your calendars for the first CSA member farm visit of the season! On Saturday, July 20th, we’re inviting members out to the fields to visit their vegetables and other CSA members. All the details in your weekly member email.

Moon over the pumpkin patch. We’ll see you here in October for jack-o-lanterns!

I hate to bring it up, but the mild weather so far this summer has made work on the farm generally more pleasant as compared to recent hot, hot, hot summers. I feel like I could jinx it just by pointing out how nice the overcast mornings have been for planting and harvesting, how the highs in the low 80s make even afternoon fieldwork bearable. The heat could be turned up any day, so we’re appreciating the occasional rain, the cool breezes, and enough heat to keep the summer crops on track. Just sayin’.

We’ve definitely been falling into the rhythm of summer over here. The waves of planting give way to the constant need for irrigation and the battle against the weeds goes on. We’ve recently finished up with some of the first spring plantings and were able to mow them. The shiny-ness of those first plantings had definitely worn off and it’s nice to be able to thoroughly clean up those beds. The week ahead will bring more of the same plus our organic inspection Friday and CSA farm visit Saturday! Fun times!

A map for self-guided tours at this weekend’s CSA farm day (left) and a buckwheat cover crop, a stop on the tour (right).

As I mentioned above, we’re inviting CSA members out to the farm on Saturday evening. We hope you’ll join us for an early potluck dinner, farm tours, and other shenanigans. We’ll set up the P&C screenprinting station so bring a t-shirt or a cloth bag for printing. We’ll break out the kites if the wind cooperates. There will some tomatoes to taste and compare. We’re adding a self-guided tour option for folks to explore the length of the farm on their own too! Check out the details in this week’s member email and hopefully we’ll see you Saturday.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cabbage Tabbouleh

  • 1/4 cup bulgur (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/4 medium head of green cabbage, cored, very thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 cups very finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup mint leaves, torn if large
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh green chiles (optional)

Place bulgur in a small bowl; pour in boiling water to cover by 2″. Let soak until tender, about 50 minutes; drain.

Toss cabbage, onion, parsley, mint, allspice, and half of the bulgur in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over tabbouleh and season with salt; toss again to combine.

Transfer tabbouleh to a platter and sprinkle with remaining bulgur. Serve with chiles alongside if desired (they’re meant to add some heat in between bites of the cooling tabbouleh).

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Kamal Mouzawak, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cabbage-tabbouleh

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Bibb Lettuce, Parsley, and Mint Salad

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium head Bibb lettuce, leaves torn if large (6 cups)
  • 1 1/3 cups packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2/3 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

Whisk together lemon juice, oils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss lettuce, herbs, and cucumber with just enough dressing to coat.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Maggie Ruggiero, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bibb-lettuce-parsley-and-mint-salad-242848

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

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Summer CSA Share – #6

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

  • Spinach – We attempted to extend our spinach game this season, and we’re pretty excited to bring you spinach in July!
  • Mixed Beets – Red Shiraz and the classic bullseye Chioggia beets this week.
  • Bunching Onions
  • Green & Red One-Cut Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Basil
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck and zucchini.
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel – Did you catch the fennel and salami pasta recipe that CSA member Chris A. shared in the member Facebook group? It’s delicious and is totally going on our menu this week.
  • Cherry Tomatoes!
Chicory seeds! (left) the vacuum seeder and a flat ready for sowing (middle) and seeds on the vacuum seeder plate (right).

This past week was all about seeding and planting here on the farm. Succession planting is a must to keep the vegetables harvestable as the season continues and that means a continual plan for seeding and transplanting. I thought I’d give a little ‘behind the scenes’ look at the work this week and tools we use to plant.

To begin, Jeff generally mixes our propagation mix and fills the flats according to our propagation plan. We sow seeds into several sizes of flats depending on the crop. Smaller plants like lettuce go into flats with 128 cells, mid-size plants like broccoli go into 72 cell flats, and larger plants like peppers go into 50 cell flats. This week we sowed overwintering cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage, chicories, and lettuce which called for 48 72s and 28 128s.

I generally do the seeding, either by hand or with our vacuum seeder, again depending on crop type. The vacuum seeder consists of a plastic box with a metal plate screwed to the top. The metal plate has small holes drilled into it that align with the cells of the flat and a lip along one side where seeds are poured onto the plate. A small shop vac is connected to one end of the box, and when turned on creates a suction. The seeds are rolled around the plate until each hole holds a seed. The box is then turned upside down over the flat and a sliding door on one end is closed to reduce the suction and the seeds drop into their respective cells. It’s a wonder and definitely makes the sowing of flats go faster.

Plants ready for planting (top left) some got planted (top right) ready for more planting (bottom left) and we planted them all! (bottom right).

Early in the season newly sown flats head into the germination chamber, a dark insulated and heated space, just until the seeds germinate. This helps get plants off to a solid start before the temperatures in the propagation greenhouse are warm enough for adequate germination. This time of year the flats we sow stay in the propagation greenhouse while the seeds germinate and for a couple more weeks as the plants grow into their first set or two of true leaves. We then set them outside to ‘harden off’ in the slightly sunny/breezy/sometimes rainy space next to the propagation house. This helps the plants acclimate to what life in the field will be like.

As I mentioned, we also did a lot of transplanting this week. The next rounds of beets, lettuce, basil, fennel, endive, bunching onions, parsley, celery, cabbage, kale, and corn went in the ground. It was 17 beds and over 8000 plants! The photos above show the time lapse of plants ready for planting as we took flats out and planted them. There are a couple of other tables not shown here that held overflow corn and fennel plants that also got transplanted.

Cabbage plants loaded on the front of the tractor ready for planting (top left), the tractor gets very long with a pallet full of plants on the front and the transplanter on the back (top right), filling up the transplanter tank (bottom left), and the transplanter seat, plants, and wheel from the rear view (bottom right).

When we first started out, we planted everything by hand, laying out plants along the bed top and bending over to place them in the ground. We upgraded things several years back and now most crops get planted using our water wheel transplanter. The transplanter attaches to the back of our tractor and is pulled along the bed. A tank holds water and some liquid organic fertilizer. As the transplanter is pulled along the water flows into a wheel with spikes that makes muddy holes at the precise spacing needed for planting. Jeff drives the tractor and I sit on the transplanter seat and plant starts into the muddy holes. This process can still be slowish and has its quirks, but is really so much better than bending over all day.

That’s the general process we go through week after week during the growing season. Of course some weeks have more transplanting or sowing than others. This week is a light one and we’ll only be sowing the next round of sweet corn and transplanting broccoli and cauliflower. Luckily that leaves more time for all the other things that need doing like cultivating, irrigating, trellising, and generally cleaning up for the upcoming CSA member farm visit on Saturday July 20th! (Details in your member email…)

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cast-Iron Pizza with Fennel and Sausage

  • 12 oz. store-bought pizza dough, room temperature
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/3 cup prepared marinara
  • 3/4 cup coarsely grated low-moisture mozzarella
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • Crushed red pepper flakes and torn basil leaves (for serving)

Place a rack in top-most position of oven; preheat to 475°F. Place dough on a work surface; drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil, turning to coat. Stretch out to a 10″ round and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Cook sausage, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned in spots and cooked though, 5–8 minutes. Transfer sausage to a small bowl.

Remove skillet from heat and carefully lay dough inside (use spoon to help you extend dough all the way to the edges). Season with salt, then spread marinara over entire surface of dough. Top with mozzarella, then fennel, garlic, and cooked sausage. Drizzle with another 2 Tbsp. oil. Peek underneath the crust—the bottom should be golden brown and crisp from residual heat in the skillet. If it’s not, set over medium-low and cook until crust is golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven and bake pizza on top rack until crust is golden brown around the edges and cheese is browned in spots and bubbling all over, 10–14 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then top with red pepper flakes and basil. Sprinkle with more salt and drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Claire Saffitz, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cast-iron-pizza-with-fennel-and-sausage

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Lettuce and Beet Salad with Sour Cream Dressing

  • 2 medium beets (about 8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 cups (packed) mixed torn lettuces (such as romaine, red leaf and butter lettuce)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Cool; peel beets. Coarsely shred beets.

Whisk sour cream, onion, vinegar, sugar and mustard in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Place lettuces in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with beets, dividing equally.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lettuce-and-beet-salad-with-sour-cream-dressing-846

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Cauliflower “Rice” Tabbouleh

  • 1/2 medium head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cups (packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1 cup (packed) mint leaves
  • 2 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 medium cucumber (about 8 1/2″ long), cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • 6 ounces cherry tomatoes, quartered

Grate cauliflower with the coarse grater disk on a food processor or the largest holes on a box grater until rice-like in texture. Transfer to a large, microwave-safe bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp. oil and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high 3 minutes. Carefully remove plastic wrap, spread cauliflower “rice” on a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool.

Wipe out food processor, if necessary, and fit with chopping blade. Pulse parsley, mint, scallions, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 3/4 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/4 cup oil until herbs are coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in red pepper flakes. Add cauliflower, cucumber, and tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Season with additional salt, if necessary.

From Epicurious.com by Katherine Sacks, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-rice-tabbouleh

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Summer CSA Share – #5

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

  • Green Cabbage – Our favorite early green cabbage, an heirloomy pointy headed variety called Early Jersey Wakefield.
  • New Potatoes – These are German Butterballs put in the ground early in a greenhouse. They’re freshly dug and and the skins haven’t toughened so they’re a bit more delicate. You’ll want to use them up sooner than later as they won’t want to store long.
  • Shallots and Yellow Onions – The very last of last season’s alliums this week. Shallots are drier than most onions but can be readily substituted in recipes. Given that these have been in storage since last fall, you may see some green growth in the centers, which is edible as well. Again, use them up sooner than later.
  • Green & Red One-Cut Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Shelling Peas – One last taste of this season’s peas! Though they are the same sugar snap varieties in past shares, you’ll likely enjoy them most by popping the pods open and eating the peas inside rather than the whole husk.
  • Celery – We usually like to give the celery a good long season to soak up a lot of water and nutrients and size up for big long tasty stalks. Unfortunately a pesky gopher has another idea and has been taking these heads out one by one. We decided it would be better to share some smaller celery than no celery. Hopefully more to come in the future if we can manage to keep it from the gopher.
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck and zucchini.
  • Cucumbers
  • Leek Flowers – Last season’s leeks have bolted and formed these beautiful flower heads. Both a fun novelty and a tasty and unique garnish for salads, or anything really. Just tear of the flowers and sprinkle away.
  • Cherry Tomatoes! Is this the first year we’ve shared tomatoes by the 4ith of July? Maybe so! Enjoy!
Freshly weeded leeks (left) and some happy zinnias for the bees, inter-planted between the celeriac and cucumbers (right).

Hello July! Summer is in full swing now that we’ve hit July, right? Well, the farm feels like it’s on the cusp of summer greatness anyhow. The melons and winter squash are vining and spreading further each day. The first round of corn is beginning to tassel. It’s already time to mow the first round of crops to make space for the next successions.

As we slide into the dog days ahead, and vacations get planned, and schedules get filled, it may be a good time to review the CSA member resources page.

  • Check out the Member Handbook for options for what to do when you need to miss a share (hint: send a friend to pick-up or arrange ahead of time to pick-up at the farm later).
  • Re-visit the Vegetable Exit Strategies on the P&C CSA Member app site for suggestions on how to use up extra vegetables before the next share arrives.
  • Take note of the important dates including the upcoming CSA farm day on July 20th and the second payment due date on July 31st for those who chose the two payment option.

Just like the farm, the CSA is also on the cusp of summer greatness! The summer squash and cucumbers are coming in strong and the tomatoes are just beginning to turn red (or yellow or orange…). Many other summery crops are right around the corner including peppers, eggplant, green beans, tomatillos! Hopefully you’re enjoying the vegetables and are looking forward to a lot more!

Thanks to a friend having a birthday last week, we were convinced to take a day trip off the farm and over to the coast for a hike and a little beach time. The weather was fantastic, the company was unbeatable, and it was fun to visit an area north of our usual coastal haunts. The only downside was the lack of wind for kite flying. I guess we’ll have to go back and try again soon.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Creamy Coleslaw with Chives and Shallots

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 2-pound head green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 14 cups)

Blend first 9 ingredients in blender. Place cabbage in large bowl. Pour dressing over cabbage and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours, tossing occasionally.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-coleslaw-with-chives-and-shallots-15569

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Roseanne Cash’s Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
  • 8 dill pickle spears, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup) (or try shallots)
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain; cool. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces and transfer to large bowl. Stir in pickles, celery, onion, eggs, mayonnaise, and mustard. Season potato salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rosanne-cashs-potato-salad-109605

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Indian Potatoes, Peas, and Cauliflower

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas!)

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and ginger; sauté until potatoes are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Mix in cauliflower, then salt, turmeric, chili powder and paprika; sauté 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Prem K. Singh, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/indian-potatoes-peas-and-cauliflower-102405

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