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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Summer CSA Share – #4

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

  • Mixed Lacinato Kale – We grow Black Magic and Dazzling Blue lacinato kale varieties. You’ll see one or both in this week’s bunches.
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – Eat them raw or roasted, and eat the greens.
  • Torpedo Onions or Red Bunching Onions
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Basque Turban Fresh Garlic – A new variety of garlic for us that comes originally from Basque country in Spain. It’s said to have “a quick heat when eaten raw, fading to an earthy finish” according to Avram over at Garlicana, a garlic farm in southern Oregon. Note that this is freshly harvested garlic and hasn’t dried out in the curing process. Because the green leaves have been cut you’ll want to store it in the fridge and use it up sooner than later.
  • Broccoli
  • Fava Beans – For the true fava experience you’ll want to shell the beans, blanch them, then remove the outer skin and eat the green inner bean. We often skip that last step and eat the shelled beans directly. Also, grilling the entire pods make them quicker to shell and the beans get steamed inside, so they don’t need to be blanched.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Cilantro
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck and zucchini.
  • Strawberries – The berries have bounced back a little after those hot temps a couple of weeks back. We grow Seascape and Sweet Ann strawberries.
A handful of cherry tomatoes are showing their color. It won’t be long before we’re in the tomatoes! (left) and the Brussels sprouts are looking happy in the late evening light (right).

Late June is a tough time to come by on the farm. It’s the convergence of months of preparing for and starting off the growing season with summer harvests and continuing the push for fall and winter crops. The farm is full of plants that need water and cultivation and transplanting and it can feel a little never-ending as we begin sowing next spring’s purple sprouting broccoli and overwintering cauliflower. Late June on the farm often means exhaustion, long days, and at times tears when the farm is getting the best of us. This year feels different though.

Somehow we’ve kept up on the trellising and the peas and tomatoes are not languishing. Most of the crops are fairly well cultivated. We’re generally on schedule with transplanting and sowing. There haven’t been any major mechanical failures (knock on wood). Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of missed weeds and some failed crops out there. But overall, a walk down the farm road just reveals a lot of future food. It’s sure a good feeling to have hit late June and found only the rhythm of the farm.

The garlic harvest! The photo to the top right shows how we undercut the garlic roots for easy pulling. Also, we brought in the overwintered onions too!

One seasonal milestone is the garlic harvest. We plant garlic cloves in October and they magically turn into heads of garlic over the following nine months. In past years we’ve had to battle real rust problems, a fungus that results in rusty colored blisters on the garlic leaves that eventually kill the garlic plant, sometimes before it’s had a chance to properly bulb. This year we missed the rust somehow thankfully. Perhaps it was the change in plant spacing, or the change in spring fertilization, or lessening late season irrigation, or new variety choices. Or the combo of all of those things. As with most things, there were some great varieties and some that didn’t do as well, but overall it was a nice healthy garlic harvest. After taking last year off from growing garlic it’s nice to be in the garlic again!

The week ahead looks to be more of the same. We may get a short irrigation reprieve if the forecasted rain appears, but otherwise we’ll be keepin’ on keepin’ on. Like I said before, there are certainly some missed weeds out there that could use pulling.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Fava Beans with Red Onion and Mint

  • 3 cups peeled shelled fresh fava beans (2 1/2 pounds in pod)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • Fine sea salt
  • Generous handful of mint, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)

Cook fava beans with 1 teaspoon oil in boiling unsalted water until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, then drain.

Cook onions in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add beans and cook until just heated through, then season with sea salt and pepper. Toss in mint. Serve immediately.

From Epicurious.com by Ursula Ferrigno, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fava-beans-with-red-onion-and-mint-em-fave-con-cipolla-rossa-e-menta-em-242031

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Romaine and Broccoli Salad with Creamy Roasted Garlic Dressing

Dressing

  • 2 whole heads of garlic, unpeeled
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (scant) freshly ground black pepper

Vegetables

  • 1 18-ounce package hearts of romaine (about 3), coarsely torn
  • 1 1-pint container grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 small English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 8-ounce package thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion, sliced paper-thin

For dressing:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Slice top 1/2 inch from each head of garlic. Place each, cut side up, on large square of foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; drizzle with oil. Enclose each in foil. Roast packets directly on oven rack until garlic is tender, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Carefully open foil; cool.

Squeeze garlic into medium bowl; mash. Whisk in remaining ingredients. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

For vegetables:

Combine vegetables in large bowl. Add dressing; toss. Season with more salt and pepper, if desired.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Rick Rodgers, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/romaine-and-broccoli-salad-with-creamy-roasted-garlic-dressing-233915

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Easy Green Curry with Chicken, Bell Pepper, and Sugar Snap Peas

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup green curry paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubed cooked chicken (from 1 [2 1/2-pound] rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Cooked rice or rice noodles and lime wedges (for serving)

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium. Cook curry paste, ginger, and lime zest, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring, until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and stir to combine. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until pepper is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, snap peas, and coconut milk and cook over medium, being careful not to boil, until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil and lime juice. Serve with rice or rice noodles and lime wedges alongside.

From Epicurious.com by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/easy-green-curry-with-chicken-bell-pepper-and-sugar-snap-peas

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Summer CSA Share – #3

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

  • Arugula Rapini – We waited to harvest this arugula in favor of spinach the past couple of weeks. Now the arugula is beginning to bolt, thanks to in part to last week’s big heatwave. Arugula rapini is just as tasty though! Check out the blended fava bean/arugula recipe at the bottom of the post. Yum!
  • Shiraz Beets – “These beets are like two items in one” exclaimed Jeff when we were harvesting them. Eat the beet roots, eat the beet tops!
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • German Butterball Potatoes – The very last of last season’s potatoes! Eat them up sooner than later. New potatoes coming soon!
  • Garlic Scapes – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production.
  • Broccoli
  • Fava Beans – For the true fava experience you’ll want to shell the beans, blanch them, then remove the outer skin and eat the green inner bean. We often skip that last step and eat the shelled beans directly. Also, grilling the entire pods make them quicker to shell and the beans get steamed inside, so they don’t need to be blanched.
  • Cabbage – Choose from round Red Express or the green and pointy Early Jersey Wakefield cabbages.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Fennel – A little anise flavor for your dishes this week.  Here’s a delicious quick pickle recipe from CSA member Chris A.! Click here for a recipe.
  • Summer Squash – It must be summer! Choose from yellow straightneck and zucchini.
  • Popcorn – We planted the popcorn this last weekend, so it only seemed fitting to include some of last season’s popcorn in this week’s share. You can make this popcorn anyway you’d make store-bought popcorn. Put it in a paper bag for microwaving or click here for tips on stove top popping.
  • Cherries – Our once-a-year cherry treat from our single cherry tree. We got them before the starlings ate them all!
A honey bee working the chicory seed crop (left) and a shot of some cosmos inter-planted between early broccoli and lettuce plantings (right).

Friday marks the official beginning of summer with the arrival of the summer solstice. The longest day of the year is upon us once again. Back in January, as we made our plans for the growing season, it felt like summer couldn’t get here soon enough. Now we’re stepping into the depths of the season, and enjoying the warmth and sun and work as much as possible during this fleeting moment. And all those plans made in the dark days of winter are coming to fruition.

From the time we begin sowing seeds in February until now, there’s a pressure to begin and then keep up the pace. As the days lengthen, heat units increase, and plants grow faster and faster. If not timed just right some plants will want to bolt right away, thinking they’ve gone through a winter and it’s time to set seed. After the solstice the daylight hours slowly begin to wane, and the pressure of the early season eases too. The weeds seem easier to contend with as the season progresses; the crops are less likely to bolt; we begin to think about the next season and the season after that; soon we’re planting for the fall and winter harvests.

Baby red napa cabbage starts (left) and transplanting popcorn (right).

This week on the farm was a bit less manic after we caught up with lots of planting last week. We did have a fair share of planting to get through, including popcorn, spinach, Brussels sprouts for seed production, and the direct sown summer squash and cucumber successions. But we also got to focus on catching up with other tasks too. Jeff cultivated all the things that could be cultivated using our Farmall Cub cultivating tractor, and we spent some time cleaning up the winter squash planting before they begin to really sprawl. I also made a run through the peppers and eggplant to clean up some weeds and focused on trellising and pruning the indoor tomatoes. We sowed the next rounds of broccoli, cauliflower, and corn into flats in the propagation house. We irrigated. We played with row cover, uncovering and covering crops as needed. We marked things off the to-do list, and added other things to the list. Such is farming in June.

A quick river trip on Thursday evening!

On Thursday of last week we managed to stop working early enough to get the boats down to the Willamette River in Albany. We had a good short float and spent some time fishing from the bank. We caught a few small bass but they either got away or we let them go. It was a nice evening on the river and we’re looking forward to more of the same in the weeks to come this summer.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Beets with Fennel and Bonito Dressing

  • 2 pounds small or medium red beets, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed or fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed (or try garlic scapes)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup bonito flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup trimmed mature arugula

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss beets with 1 Tbsp. oil in an 8×8″ baking dish; season with salt. Add 1/4 cup water and cover tightly with foil. Roast beets, shaking once, until a knife slips easily through flesh, 60–75 minutes. Let cool slightly, then rub off skins with paper towels. Using 2 forks, tear beets into large pieces; toss in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. oil.

Meanwhile, toast aniseed in a small saucepan over medium heat, tossing often until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 cup water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep 20 minutes. Place fennel in a small bowl and strain brine over. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Cook garlic, butter, and 1/4 cup oil in a small saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in bonito flakes and transfer to a blender. Purée until only a few flecks of bonito remain.

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Grill beets, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer back to bowl; toss with bonito dressing and lemon juice and season with salt.

Toss arugula and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl; season with salt. Grill until lightly charred in spots, about 30 seconds. Transfer back to bowl.

Arrange beets on a platter and top with arugula and drained pickled fennel.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beets-with-fennel-and-bonito-dressing

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Sugar Snap Pea and Cabbage Slaw

  • 2 1/2 pounds green cabbage (preferably Savoy), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (14 cups)
  • 3/4 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic scapes)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar

Toss together cabbage and peas in a large bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over slaw, stirring to combine well. Add salt to taste, then chill, covered, at least 2 hours.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Maggie Ruggiero, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sugar-snap-pea-and-cabbage-slaw-235032

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Arugula and Fava Bean Crostini

  • 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (1 1/4 pounds in pods) or shelled fresh or frozen edamame (soybeans; 3/4 pounds in pods)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula (1 1/2 ounces), divided
  • 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
  • 16 mint leaves

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Cook fava beans in boiling water, uncovered, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Gently peel off skins (if using edamame, don’t peel).

Pulse fava beans in a food processor until very coarsely chopped, then transfer half of mixture to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup arugula, cheese, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to favas in processor and purée until smooth. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop remaining cup arugula and gently fold into fava-bean mixture.

Cut 16 diagonal slices (1/3 inch thick) from baguette and put in a 4-sided sheet pan. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil. Bake until pale golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Rub with cut side of garlic.

Spoon fava-bean mixture onto baguette toasts, then drizzle with oil and top with mint.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Kay Chun, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/arugula-and-fava-bean-crostini-352852

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Summer CSA Share – #2

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

  • Mixed Giant Spinach
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – As the name suggests, these turnips are delicious raw in salads but they can also be roasted or added to soups etc.
  • One-Cut Lettuce Heads
  • Mayan Jaguar Romaine Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi – The classic CSA vegetable, kohlrabi is often new to folks who are new to CSAs. Why else would you come home with such a strange looking vegetable? We like them chopped up and raw, like a carrot stick, but they can be roasted, or added to mashed potatoes, or shaved super thin into salads. I’ve heard kohlrabi and peanut butter can be a pretty great snack too.
  • Garlic Scapes – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production. You can use the scapes like you would a bunching onion and I’ve included recipe for garlic scape pesto at the bottom of the post.
  • Cauliflower or Chard
  • Overwintered Torpedo Onions – These onions made it through the winter in the field from an October planting, thus overwintered. You can eat the entire length of the onion.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Carrots!
  • Strawberries – Just a taste this week. We grow the varieties Seascape and Sweet Ann.
Top Left: The thunder as seen from our living room, Top Right: a field of brassicas planted over several days this week, Bottom Left: corn planting, Bottom Right: Luckily the tractor has lights, so we can keep planting in the dark!

When the third succession of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage wasn’t ready to plant on time we put it off for a week and found other things to do. There was plenty of ground prep for future plantings and the tomatoes needed trellising and the list went on. Of course those brassicas were still waiting patiently this week, so it was time to get planting once we were finished with the first CSA harvest. We finished up the broccoli and cauliflower Thursday. Then it rained overnight so we attempted to move onto corn planting Friday, but the thunder showed up so it was back to indoor work. Then the sweet potato slips arrived in the mail and we stuck them in the ground.

Back to sweet corn and flour corn planting Saturday. Saturday night after dinner we finished up the brassica planting with cabbage and Brussels Sprouts. Sunday morning was Chard and then on to the pumpkin patch planting. After some hiccups and speed bumps and of course stopping for an occasional meal or popsicle break, we had caught up on planting by dinnertime on Sunday! Unfortunately this time of year being caught up only lasts about a week and then there’s more to push out the propagation house doors and into the field. On deck this week we’ve got some spinach and beets and popcorn!

Coming soon! Strawberries and Tomatoes!

So that was our week, how was your week? I posted a couple photos of our quick meals from this week in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group last night. It was all about quick and easy this week and I was so happy to have vegetables ready to go in the fridge when we came inside to eat.

How’d the first week of the CSA go for you? Hopefully you’re ready to re-stock on vegetables! Didn’t make it through last week’s share quite yet? Maybe it’s time to review the vegetable exit strategies over on the P&C CSA member app. It can be jolting to suddenly have a fridge full of vegetables that need to get eaten up. Finding some easy recipes for using up lots of veggies will help as the season really gets rolling.

Top Left: The arrival of our house!, Top Right: a photo of our house from just after we moved in last December., Bottom Left: Our kitchen!, Bottom Right: The view from the living room window looking east last winter.

We enjoyed meeting new members and catching up with previous members at the first CSA pick-up this past week. Longtime members who hadn’t been with us over the winter quickly reminded us that we owed them an update on our housing situation. When we first leased the farm back in 2010 we owned a house in Salem and I (Carri) had another job and there was a lot of commuting back and forth. Jeff camped out a lot on the farm during the summers as there wasn’t a house here. In 2012 we were fortunate enough to be able to buy the farm and we had a loft built in our pole barn and we moved in and sold our Salem house.

Six years later we’d finally met the county requirements for building a house on the farm and we were off! It pretty quickly became apparent that getting power to our building site and having the fancy septic system installed that the county mandated would be costly, so a manufactured home seemed to be the best solution. After almost a year of lining up the mortgage and working with the contractor for site prep. and working with the sales rep on the house purchase, we got to move into our new house just before Christmas of 2018!

After six years of living in our not-so-insulated barn, house-living has been revolutionary. We’ve got lots of windows for natural lighting and it’s well-insulated! The ceiling fan in the living room has been a dream on warm days and the wood stove really heats it up when it’s cold outside. We have flushing toilets again (gotta use that expensive septic system somehow)! And it’s the first house we’ve lived in with two bathrooms! We’ve both got offices again too. The small entry mud room has been amazing. I could go on and on.

Although we’ve settled in pretty well now, we’re still thankful daily for our little house and the improvements it has made in our lives. It’s been a longterm goal, but one that was worth the wait.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Shaved Kohlrabi with Apple and Hazlenuts

  • 1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
  • 2 medium kohlrabi (about 2 pounds total), peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 tart apple (such as Pink Lady or Crispin), peeled, cored, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces Pecorino di Fossa or Parmesan, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Toss kohlrabi, apple, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt. Add 1/2 cup mint and gently toss to just combine.

Toss toasted hazelnuts and oil in a small bowl to coat; season with salt.

Divide kohlrabi salad among plates and top with seasoned hazelnuts, Pecorino, and more mint.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Ignacio Mattos, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shaved-kohlrabi-with-apple-and-hazelnuts-51214700

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Sheet-Pan Chicken Meatballs and Charred Broccoli

  • Sauce:
    • 2/3 cup ketchup
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 Tbsp. rice cooking wine or water
    • 2 Tbsp. honey
    • 4 tsp. soy sauce
    • 1 1/2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
    • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Meatballs and assembly:
    • 2 heads of broccoli (about 1 1/2 lb.)
    • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
    • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1 lb. ground chicken
    • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (or this week’s fresh torpedo onions!)
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated (or garlic scapes)
    • 1 (2″) piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
    • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    • Cooked rice and sesame seeds (for serving)

Sauce

Mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, wine (if using), honey, soy sauce, ginger, and pepper in a small saucepan. Measure out 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl; set aside for glazing meatballs later. Bring remaining mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a small bowl.

Meatballs and assembly

Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Trim broccoli stems and remove from crown. Peel off tough outer skin; slice crosswise into 1/2″ pieces. Cut florets into 2″ pieces. Toss on prepared baking sheet with 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, 1 tsp. salt, and a few pinches of red pepper flakes (if using). Push to the edges of baking sheet to create a space for meatballs. Brush space with remaining 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil.

Mix chicken, egg, scallions, garlic, ginger, panko, sesame oil, pepper, remaining 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 cup water in a medium bowl. Using wet hands, form into twelve 1 1/2″-diameter meatballs. Arrange on baking sheet; brush with some of the reserved glazing mixture. Bake until meatballs are cooked through, 14–18 minutes. Remove from oven; heat broiler. Brush meatballs with remaining glazing mixture; broil until broccoli is charred and meatballs are browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Spoon meatballs and broccoli over rice in bowl. Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Deb Perelman, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sheet-pan-chicken-meatballs-and-charred-broccoli

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Romaine Salad with Bacon and Hard-Boiled Eggs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 ounces bacon (4 to 5 slices), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large head romaine (1 1/4 pound), trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces (any of this week’s lettuce would hold up well in this salad I’d think)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Hard-boil eggs:

Cover eggs with cold water by 1 inch in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, partially covered with lid. Reduce heat to low and cook eggs, covered completely, 10 minutes. Transfer eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 2 minutes.

Make salad:

While eggs are simmering, cook bacon in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, leaving rendered fat in skillet.

Peel eggs and finely chop.

Put romaine and egg in a serving bowl.

Add oil and shallot to fat in skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and salt and boil, swirling skillet, 10 seconds. Pour hot dressing over romaine and egg and toss to combine. Add bacon and toss salad, then season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/romaine-salad-with-bacon-and-hard-boiled-eggs-107581

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Summer CSA Share – #1

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

  • Mixed Giant Spinach
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • One-Cut Lettuce Heads – As the name suggests, these lettuces produce heaps of nicely sized salad leaves with a single cut through the base of the head. We usually cut and mix these varieties for bagged salad mix, but thought you might like to see the different varieties and mix and match based on your preferences this week. Our go to quick dinner of late has been big salads topped with rice, salmon, and Cesar dressing. So good!
  • German Butterball Potatoes – We’re working through the last of 2018’s potatoes, but they’re still tasty. New potatoes will make an appearance before too long.
  • Broccoli – Two varieties of broccoli this week. As we plan out the season we choose varieties that will succeed each other in the field from a single planting. These first varieties are overlapping somewhat and you can see the more mature broccoli compared to the variety that’s just coming on.
  • Bok Choy
  • Garlic Scapes – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production. You can use the scapes like you would a bunching onion and I’ve included recipe for garlic scape pesto at the bottom of the post.
  • Cauliflower – Just a taste of the earliest, and perhaps most colorful, cauliflower this week.
  • Overwintered Bunching Onions – These onions made it through the winter in the field from an October planting and now they’re ready to go to seed. Some of them will have the seed head/scape still attached. You can eat the entire length of the onion and onions flowers make for a tasty garnish.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Carrots!
  • Tomato Plants – Although our tomatoes have been in the ground for over a month, I potted up some extra cherry tomatoes and they’ll be available at this week’s pick-up.
Your farmers! (left) and a shot of another worker on the farm, a bumblebee in the flowering apple trees (right)

Welcome to the tenth season of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  We’re  so glad you’ve decided to join us for the next 26 weeks of eating seasonally.  We’re excited to welcome back returning members and to welcome new members to the group.

Our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor has been busy over the last month. It’s our #1 tool for battling weeds in the fields. Above we’re cultivating the first round of brassicas and hilling the potatoes.

Most of you should have received several emails from us over the past couple of weeks highlighting the various P&C CSA member resources. You can find links to all of the resources on the CSA Member Resources page including the updated CSA member handbook and important dates, like those for this season’s upcoming on-farm events.  Please be sure to add those dates to your calendar for future reference.  Also, be sure to let us know if you didn’t receive the reminder email and we’ll get you added to the list.

Jeff in the peas at the end of April and again today. It’s amazing how fast they grow!

In future newsletters I’ll attempt to keep you updated on farm happenings and give you a behind-the-scenes look at where your vegetables are grown.  I’ll also always include a few recipes for combinations of that week’s share items.  You can find this week’s recipes at the bottom of this post.

Not sure what to do with a vegetable? Looking for more recipe suggestions? 

  • Check out the archive of recipes on our Recipe page that’s sorted by vegetable.
  • Join in the conversation in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group to query fellow members or suggest great recipes of your own.
  • Even more recipes plus updated storage information and loads of tips over on the P&C CSA Member App/Website.  You can find all the details on the CSA Member App page.
Here we are transplanting winter squash. That’s our water wheel transplanter on the back of the tractor. I sit in the seat and plant, plant, plant…

As we begin the Summer CSA season, we hope you’re excited for the adventure ahead.  The greens of spring will inevitably give way to the fruits of summer over time, and hopefully we’ll have a few surprises along the way.  Thank you for choosing to support our farm as you also choose to eat seasonally, locally, and organically!

Let’s get this season started!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Asian Chicken Salad with Snap Peas and Bok Choy

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
  • 5 fresh cilantro sprigs plus 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 whole green onion plus 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 8-ounce package sugar snap peas
  • 3 baby bok choy, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 red jalapeño chile, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup ponzu*
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

Fill medium skillet with salted water; bring to boil. Add chicken breasts, cilantro sprigs, and whole green onion; reduce heat to medium and poach chicken until just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate; cool. Add snap peas to same skillet; increase heat to high and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute.

Drain; rinse snap peas under cold water to cool. Discard whole green onion and cilantro sprigs. Coarsely shred chicken. Toss chicken, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, snap peas, and next 3 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk ponzu, vinegar, oil, and ginger in small bowl. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appetit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/asian-chicken-salad-with-snap-peas-and-bok-choy-242110

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Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 10 large garlic scapes
  • 1/3 cup unsalted pistachios (or whatever nuts you have on hand really)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound spaghetti

Make the pesto: Puree the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the opening. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. (The pesto keeps in the fridge, covered, for 1 week or frozen for a month.)

In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta. Whisk together 2/3 cup of the pesto and the reserved pasta water and toss with the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve right away.

From Epicurious.com via The Farm Cookbook by Ian Knauer, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-garlic-scape-pesto-395769

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Tuna, White Bean, and Roasted Red Pepper with Cream Dijon Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 5 cups mixed baby greens
  • 1 15-ounce can small white beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2/3 cup chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 12-ounce can chunk light tuna
  • 2/3 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted, halved

Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Toss greens in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Place greens in center of 4 plates. Toss beans, red peppers and onion in medium bowl with enough dressing to coat. Top greens with bean mixture, then tuna, dividing equally. Garnish with olives and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tuna-white-bean-and-roasted-pepper-salad-with-cream-dijon-dressing-104808

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Winter CSA Share – #10

Welcome to the 10th and final share of the 2018/19 Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – You’re probably familiar with these tasty salad turnips by now and know you can eat them raw or cooked. But don’t forget that the greens are delicious too, especially these tender greens straight out of the greenhouse.
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Overwintered Cauliflower
  • Giant Winter Mixed Spinach
  • Leeks – Many of this week’s leeks include the leek scape, a center core of the leek that is the seed stalk. At this stage the scape is a tasty treat that can be used just like the rest of the leek though may take a little longer to cook.
  • Collard Rapini – As overwintered brassica plants begin the flowering process they send up tasty shoots that are a sure sign of spring. We harvest these shoots as rapini and eat them just as we would broccoli but we enjoy them even more as the seasonal treat they are.
  • Baby Bok Choy
  • Yellow Onions – It’s time for onions to begin sprouting, so you might see some green growth in the center of your onions going forward.  No worries, as long as the onions are firm and white they’ll still be delicious.  You can eat or discard the green center.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces, mizuna, and a little baby arugula
  • Dried Apples

= Want to continue the vegetable fun into the summer? 2019 Summer CSA memberships are still open!  Head over to the Summer CSA information page to get all the details, including a link to the sign-up form.

Top: I made blueberry cornbread with P&C corn flour for the CSA potluck (left) and Jeff and CSA member Eddie climbed up the giant oak during the farm open house (right). Bottom: a turkey vulture flying low of the flowering pear orchard (left) and the flowering purple cape cauliflower seed crop (right).

We lucked out with some gorgeous spring weather on Saturday afternoon for the Winter CSA member farm visit. We only wish more of you had been able to make it to the farm to enjoy it. We had a great time with longtime CSA members Eddie and Cindy walking the farm and chatting about fun farmy topics like where rapini comes from and how garlic grows. We had some extra thyme and celery starts that got potted up and went home with them too. Of course we also enjoyed some tasty treats! Many thanks for making the trek to hang out with us on the farm for a couple of hours Eddie and Cindy!

Top: Planting tomatoes (left) and cultivating spring brassicas while Jeff fertilizes in the distance (right). Bottom: All the transplants that got planted in the last week including lettuce, beets, chard, fennel, parsley, and bunching onions and 9,120 other onions! (left) and We grew baby bok choy! (right)

As we wrap up another season of the P&C Winter CSA and look ahead to the start of the Summer CSA, I’ve been reflecting on farming and the CSA model of farming quite a bit. Somehow we’re preparing for our eleventh year of farming and tenth year with the CSA. Where has the time gone? How have we spent a decade in this work already with so much still to learn? How can I be a better CSA farmer? What does the future of CSA look like in this era of technology and convenience?

As a CSA farmer, I tend to think our members have the best of intentions and that our goals are aligned. In my mind we agree we want to be eating more organic vegetables, knowing where our food comes from, supporting local businesses including farms and farmers, forging community around food, eating seasonally, and valuing and protecting local farmland. As a CSA member of a local farm for years before beginning to farm myself, I feel the CSA ticks all those boxes in the most direct way possible. But, in the day to day living these ideals can easily get lost. Dinnertime comes around every evening and it doesn’t feel like there is always time to process produce or reach for the unfamiliar vegetable in that moment. I get it.

Like other idealistic and meaningful things in our lives, supporting the CSA farming model can be difficult. If you’re new to cooking with diverse or seasonal vegetables or have picky eaters in the family or a super busy schedule it can feel wasteful and time consuming and inconvenient. So how do we adjust the model and/or our collective approach to the model to reduce those negatives and still live within our ideals? I’m not entirely sure yet, but the past community support of the CSA for our farm has been unparalleled and I’m not quite ready to give up on it. As we head into the next season I’m hoping we can figure out how to better support members through the season. I’m also hoping you’ll stick with us as we go forward. The CSA is nothing without you.

To better understand the successes and pain points of our members we’ve put together a member survey. You’ll get a link to it in this week’s member email and we’d appreciate you taking a few minutes to fill it out. It will be available for the next week and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thanks for joining us for the past 5 months of winter and spring eating! We’ll see some of you the first week of June for the first Summer CSA share!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Oven-Roasted Flounder with Bok Choy, Cilantro, and Lime

  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus small sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced peeled ginger
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound baby bok choy (2–3 bunches), cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
  • 4 (4-ounce) fillets flounder or other delicate white fish (up to 1/2″ thick)

Arrange a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Combine scallion, 1/4 cup cilantro, and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk in 1 1/2 tablespoons oil. Season cilantro-lime sauce with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches if needed, add bok choy, cut side down, and sear until golden brown, 2-4 minutes per batch. Turn bok choy cut side up and remove pan from heat. Add sake. Season flounder fillets with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer over bok choy. Roast in oven until fish is just cooked through, 8-10 minutes.

Spoon sake sauce from skillet into the bottom of 4 shallow bowls, dividing evenly. Add bok choy to each bowl, dividing evenly; top each bowl with 1 fish fillet. Spoon some cilantro-lime sauce over fish and garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve remaining cilantro-lime sauce alongside for drizzling.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/oven-roasted-flounder-with-bok-choy-cilantro-and-lime-51133820

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Curried Potato and Leek Soup with Spinach

  • 2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 medium boiling potato such as Yukon Gold
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup packed spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup milk

Halve leeks lengthwise and cut enough crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces to measure 2 cups. In a bowl of cold water wash leeks well and lift from water into a sieve to drain. Peel potato and cut enough into 1/4-inch pieces to measure 1 cup. In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan cook leeks and potato in butter with curry powder over moderate heat, stirring, 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups water and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.

While soup is cooking, cut spinach into thin strips. In a blender purée soup until completely smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids) and return to pan. Add milk and salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Remove pan from heat and stir in spinach.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/curried-potato-and-leek-soup-with-spinach-14480

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Broccoli Rabe with Sweet Italian Sausage

  • 3 pounds broccoli rabe (about 3 medium bunches), trimmed (Use this week’s collard rapini and/or purple sprouting broccoli here!)
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped

Cut broccoli rabe into 3-inch-long pieces. Cook in a large pot of boiling salted water (3 tablespoons salt for 6 quarts water), uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Squeeze out excess water from handfuls of broccoli rabe.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler.

Broil sausage in a 4-sided sheet pan 3 to 4 inches from heat, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Keep warm, covered.

While sausage broils, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute.

Separate broccoli rabe, then sauté in garlic oil until coated with oil and heated through, about 4 minutes. Stir in sausage.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/broccoli-rabe-with-sweet-italian-sausage-351164

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Winter CSA Share – #9

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

  • Radishes
  • Purple Viking Potatoes
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cilantro
  • Cauliflower
  • Giant Winter Mixed Spinach
  • Collard Rapini – As overwintered brassica plants begin the flowering process they send up tasty shoots that are a sure sign of spring. We harvest these shoots as rapini and eat them just as we would broccoli but we enjoy them even more as the seasonal treat they are.
  • Red Ursa Kale & Rapini
  • Yellow Onions – It’s time for onions to begin sprouting, so you might see some green growth in the center of your onions going forward.  No worries, as long as the onions are firm they’ll still be delicious.  You can eat or discard the green center.
  • Mixed Winter Squash – This is the last of the winter squash folks. Enjoy choosing from the mix of kabochas, spaghetti, and a handful of butternut.
  • Dried Apples
  • Cascade Ruby Gold Polenta – This flint corn grinds down into both flour and polenta. This week everyone gets polenta. We’ve had good luck using a ‘2 cups water to 1 cup polenta’ ratio in our rice cooker. Other recipes seem to call for more liquid, more stirring, and more time overall but may result in a softer finish. This week we had some tasty fish and grits and suggest it as a fantastic pairing. Note that you’ll want to store it in your freezer for maximum freshness if you’re not planning to use it right away.

= Want to continue the vegetable fun into the summer? 2019 Summer CSA memberships are open!  Head over to the Summer CSA information page to get all the details, including a link to the sign-up form.

First off, we’re inviting Winter CSA members out for a farm visit on Saturday April 20th. Come see the vegetables in the fields, share some snacks with other CSA members, and experience the farm in early spring! Check the member email for all the details.

It’s been a whirlwind of work and weather here on the farm over the past couple of weeks. It’s hard to recall the lovely dry spell we had at the end of March when we were able to get the first transplants of the season in the ground (including 1800 strawberry plants!). We kicked off the planting season just in time, as we’ve now been hit with a deluge of spring rain. Field work has halted until we can dry out again. We’re counting the days, watching the weather forecast, looking forward to getting back into the planting mode.

As the rain returned in quantity, we’ve watched as the soil saturated again and now we’re experiencing minor flooding in the lowest spots on the farm. Unfortunately, one of the low spots includes our propagation house, where we sow seeds and grow transplants. There’s nothing quite like watering flats of transplants while standing in 6 inches of water. Of course our flooding issues are nothing compared to farmers along the rivers and creeks around the valley. Our thoughts are with all of those folks who are watching waterways rise ever closer to their spring plantings, machinery, and buildings. The rain’s got to stop sooner or later, right? Fingers crossed it doesn’t result in too much destruction before it’s finished.

In the meantime we’ve been keeping busy with indoor projects like weeding in the high tunnels and potting up celery and celeriac. We even sneaked away for a whole day of hiking and fishing at the coast last week. In the days ahead we’ll be preparing for the final Winter CSA share of the season and the CSA member farm day on April 20th. We’ll also continue the work of spring farming. We’re really getting into the swing of sowing seeds and managing transplants. Soon enough this wet weather will be behind us and we’ll be racing to get the planting end of things back on track

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks for the final Winter CSA share!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

  • 1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
  • 1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup water

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/indian-spiced-cauliflower-and-potatoes-109118

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Cauliflower and Broccoli Flan with Spinach Bechamel

  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 6-ounce bags baby spinach leaves
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook cauliflower and broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup cooking liquid. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Cool.

Rinse spinach, then toss in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze spinach dry; finely chop.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and reserved 2/3 cup vegetable cooking liquid. Whisk constantly over medium heat until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach and cheese.

Using fingers, coarsely crumble cauliflower and broccoli in bowl. Add spinach béchamel sauce; stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Spread vegetable mixture in prepared dish. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake flan until puffed and heated through, about 25 minutes if at room temperature and 35 minutes if chilled. Serve hot.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-and-broccoli-flan-with-spinach-bechamel-232078

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Chinese Broccoli with Sausage and Polenta

  • 2 lb Chinese broccoli, thick ends trimmed (Purple Sprouting Broccoli or Collard/Kale Rapini would be great here!)
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups polenta (not instant) or yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Cook broccoli:

Cut broccoli stems diagonally into 1-inch pieces and coarsely chop leaves. Cook stems in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about4 minutes. Stir in leaves and cook 1 minute. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Do not squeeze out excess water.

Cook polenta:

Bring water with salt to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, then add polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer polenta, covered, stirring for 1 minute after every 10 minutes of cooking, 45 minutes total. Stir in butter, cream, and cheese and remove from heat.

Sauté sausage and garlic while polenta cooks:

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté sausage, stirring and breaking up meat into large pieces with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate. Reduce heat to moderate, then cook garlic in skillet, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes.

Add broccoli and cook, stirring and scraping up brown bits from bottom of skillet, 2 minutes. Return sausage to skillet and toss with greens, salt, and pepper. Serve over polenta.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chinese-broccoli-with-sausage-and-polenta-107739

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