Welcome to the 28th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Yellow Onions – these are a long-lasting yellow storage variety named Copra
- Brussels Sprouts
- Ozette Fingerling Potatoes
- Lacinato Kale
- Pie Pumpkin
- Green Apples
- Corn Flour – We grew Cascade Ruby Gold Flint Corn this year, a locally bred and adapted corn variety that when milled results in both polenta (aka grits) and flour! It doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion. Quick video of the process here and a recipe down below. Also, stick the flour in the freezer if you don’t plan on using it right away.
The weather has taken a frosty turn, just in time for the end of the Summer CSA season and the beginning of the Winter CSA season next week. It’s hard to believe we’ve arrived at the 28th week so soon, but here we are. Many thanks for your continued support. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, we couldn’t do this without you! We appreciate you signing on with us for a whole season of vegetables and hope you’ll consider joining us again.
As promised last week, I wanted to give a brief synopsis of the 2013 CSA survey results. We appreciate the feedback and we’ll be evaluating it further as we head into the planning season.
I’ll only highlight the major questions and results below to keep it brief. We’ve received 37 responses to the survey, though a single respondent may have included multiple answers to a single question in some cases. The number in parenthesis equals the number of mentions from separate respondents.
= Why did you join the CSA?
- Looking for fresh, high quality vegetables (17)
- Eat locally (16)
- Support farmers (15)
Other top reasons cited include: eating organic vegetables (13), getting creative with new vegetables (9), eat more vegetables (8), convenience (6), and variety (5).
We asked this question to gauge member expectations. Knowing why you’re joining helps us to meet member goals as well as our own farm goals. We’re glad to see these goals overlapping in the above responses.
= What would you like to see more of in the CSA?
- Lettuce/Salad Greens (6)
- Onions (6)
- Peppers (6)
- Berries (5)
Further suggestions include: Sweet Corn (4), Carrots (4), Herbs (4), Tomatoes (4), Garlic (4), Brussels Sprouts (4) in addition to a number of other suggestions with fewer mentions.
We appreciate knowing what folks would like to see more of. We know what we’d like to improve on, but of course we want you to be happy with the selection available. Some things we just need to hone our skills on (garlic, onions, late-season lettuce) and other things require larger long term investments (berries for instance). Over time we hope to find a balance.
= What would you like to see less of in the CSA?
- Potatoes (9)
- Beets (5)
Other suggestions include: Peppers (4) and Kohlrabi (4) in addition to a number of other suggestions with fewer mentions.
As with wanting to know what you’d like to see more of, knowing what you’d like to see less of also helps us with our planning. The CSA model means that members will share in the bounties and the failures of the season. For instance we had a particularly good beet and potato year, which was reflected in the shares this season. Last year our beets didn’t do so well so they didn’t show up as often.
= The share size was:
- Overwhelming: 3
- Good Amount: 31
- Not Enough: 3
What’s enough? Of course it’s different for every family. The results for this question suggest we’re hitting the mark for most folks. Those who find the share size overwhelming may want to consider splitting a share in the future. Those who feel it’s not enough may want to stop splitting a share and take on a full share. At least one person mentioned buying two shares next year, whoa!
= What has been especially positive for you about this year’s CSA season so far?
- Supporting farmers/Nice farmers (13)
- Farm visits (9)
- Quality of vegetables (9)
- Variety of vegetables (9)
Other positives listed include: learning to use new vegetables (6) and the market-style pick-up (5) in addition to several others with fewer mentions.
It’s nice to see the answers here compared to the reasons given for joining the CSA. In general the positive aspects of the CSA appear to align with the initial expectations.
= What could have been better for you about this year’s CSA season so far?
- “Not a thing” (11)
- no answer given (7)
- more fruits (2)
- knowing future share contents (2)
- pick-up later in the week (2)
- quality of produce (2)
There were a number of other suggestions provided by single respondents such as being able to walk/bicycle to the pick-up, having more recipes supplied, more produce, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of produce, and having more or bigger staples.
Although many folks either didn’t answer the question or suggested that no changes were needed, it’s easy for us to focus on the other answers provided. Some of these things we can address. For instance we’re trying out a Thursday pick-up day for the Winter CSA and we’ll see how it goes and of course we’re always striving to provide high quality produce. Providing more fruit in the CSA is a longterm goal that we’re working toward as well.
= Do you think you got a fair amount of produce for the price you paid for the share?
- Yes: 36
- No: 0
- No Response: 1
Thanks, we’d hope you say that!
= Are you interested in eggs though the CSA (around $5-$6 per dozen, depending on organic feed costs)?
- Yes: 14
- Maybe: 15
- Not Interested: 8
It looks like there is some interest in eggs as an add-on in the CSA. We’ll be analyzing the costs associated with increasing the laying hen flock over the winter. Hopefully we can make it pencil out and give the option next year!
= If interested, would you prefer less produce with the addition of eggs or the same amount of produce with the option of an egg add-on?
- Add-on: 29
- Less produce: 1
- Not interested: 7
= More thoughts on eggs?:
Most people left this blank. Suggestions included having half dozens available, pick-ups every other week, signing up weekly as needed, lowering the price, and seasonal availability.
Thanks for the suggestions. We’ll certainly be taking these thoughts into account as we further analyze this new enterprise.
= What day of the week would you prefer for the CSA pick-up?
- Tuesday (19)
- Thursday (8)
- Monday (5)
Two respondents left this question blank and Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday each received one vote.
Whoa Tuesday! As mentioned above, we’re trying out a Thursday pick-up for the Winter CSA this season. We’ll see how it goes and report back in the spring.
Once again, thanks for joining us this season. We hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving full of local delicious food. We’ll see the Winter CSA members next week at the winter pick-up location. For everyone else, have a fantastic winter! We’ll be in touch when we’re ready to begin accepting members for the 2014 CSA season.
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Brussels Sprouts for People Who Think They Hate Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste, preferably freshly grated
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts and remove and discard any discolored outer leaves. If sprouts are large (more than 1 inch in diameter), cut them in quarters lengthwise through the stem end. If smaller, cut them in half.
Bring 2 quarts of water to boil, add salt and the sprouts. Boil the sprouts uncovered until they are just crunchy-tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook them. Drain the sprouts well.
Wipe and dry the pot and heat the olive oil in it. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sprouts and nutmeg and sauté for another minute. Mix in the Parmesan cheese and toss the sprouts until the cheese melts.
From Epicurious via Epicurious magazine, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brussels-Sprouts-for-People-Who-Think-They-Hate-Brussels-Sprouts-358275
Roasted Winter Vegetables
- 2 lb/910 kg winter squash or pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, beets/beetroots, or a mix
- 2 medium red or yellow onions, quartered
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Handful of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. Peel and cut the vegetables into equal sized pieces, about 1–in/2.5-cm chunks. Toss vegetables and onions in olive oil in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.
Spread the pieces out in a single layer on one or two roasting pans/trays so that the vegetables don’t touch. Roast until the veggies are lightly browned and just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the vegetable. Remove and toss with additional olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley before serving.
From Epicurious via Epicurious magazine, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Winter-Vegetables-395551
South American Fried Chicken
- 1 frying chicken, weighing no more than 3 pounds, cut up for frying Chinese-style, or 8 chicken thighs, chopped in half crosswise
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- 1 cup corn flour (very fine cornmeal — not cornstarch)
- lard or peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
- hot sauce
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
Wash the chicken and pat dry. Put the pieces into a large nonreactive glass or stainless steel bowl and pour the lime juice over them. Sprinkle with the minced garlic, a large pinch of salt, and several liberal grindings of black pepper. Toss until the seasoning is uniformly distributed and set aside to marinate for at least 1 hour, refrigerated. (Or cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator; remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before you are ready to cook the chicken.)
Place the corn flour in a paper or large plastic ziplock bag. Shake to coat the inside. Fit a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet and place it in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 150°F (or Warm setting). Fill a deep cast-iron skillet, Dutch oven, or deep-fat fryer with enough lard or oil to come halfway up the sides, at least 2 inches deep. Over medium-high heat, bring the fat to 375°F (hot but not smoking).
When the fat is hot, lift the chicken pieces a few at a time from their marinade, allowing the excess to flow back into the bowl. Drop them into the bag of corn flour, close the top, and shake until the chicken is well coated. Lift them out of the corn flour, shake off the excess, and slip them into the fat. Repeat until the pan is full without crowding. Fry, maintaining a temperature of 365°F, turning once, until the chicken is a rich golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
Lift the chicken from the fat, drain well, and transfer to the wire rack in the oven while you fry the remaining chicken. Serve hot, with hot sauce and lime wedges passed separately.
Note: If you like, you can spice up the marinade with a few hot red pepper flakes or with a few shots of hot sauce. Other common additions to the marinade are minced fresh ginger (about 2 quarter-sized slices, minced fine), rum, sugar, and chopped cilantro.
From Epicurious via Epicurious magazine, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/South-American-Fried-Chicken-101853