winter csa share – week 2

winter csa week 2

Welcome to the 2nd week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Mizuna & Arugula Mix
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good roasted and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.
  • Bok Choy
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Brussels Sprouts – a purple stalk and a green stalk
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Carnival Winter Squash
  • Dried Apples – I’m thinking these Dried-Apple Stack Cakes are in our future.

seeds

We’re nearing the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the official start of winter.  This is always a reflective time of the year for us.  Perhaps it’s due to the natural change in seasons and the transition into a new year.  Or perhaps we just have more time to spend contemplating things near the woodstove.

Thinking about the past growing season and making plans for the one to come, we’re especially thankful this year.  We feel so very lucky to be doing this work.  The support of CSA members is especially heartening as we continue to grow into our roles here on the farm and figure out just what we’re doing here.

Taking a walk through the farm this morning, I was struck by just how much life is out there.  So many vegetables hanging on through the cold and wet.  Evidence of rodents in the field edges.  A burst of pheasants from the Brussels sprout beds.  And seeds!  Many plants are past their prime eating, but some have gone to seed and are waiting for warmer weather to grow again.  So much life out there, so much hope.

the viewIt’s hard to take a walk through the farm without thinking of the work to be done.  We’ve been working at a slower pace the past couple of weeks, but there are many projects yet to be accomplished before the routine of the next season begins.  Jeff has been busy with tractor and implement maintenance, and it continues.  I’ve been getting in computer time with website updates and year-end accounting tasks.  In the coming weeks we’ll be keeping busy with fence building, t-post removal, and crop planning.  A good mix of physical and mental labor.

We hope winter is treating you well and that you’re able to spend some time reflecting on things in a cozy spot too.

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Jerusalem Artichoke and Arugula Salad with Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, trimmed, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 5-ounce bag arugula
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

Whisk orange juice, vinegar, and mustard in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Combine Jerusalem artichokes, arugula, and Parmesan in large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Divide among 6 plates and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jerusalem-Artichoke-and-Arugula-Salad-with-Parmesan-230920

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Carrots and Brussels Sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot (from 1 medium)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Cook shallot in 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add carrots, Brussels sprouts, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add water and cover skillet, then cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar, remaining tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Ian Knauer, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Carrots-and-Brussels-Sprouts-241514

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Pumpkin Agnolotti

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • 18 round or square wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • Pumpkin seeds, toasted and shelled

Mash pumpkin purée, Parmesan, sugar, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange wonton wrappers on a work surface. Brush edges with lightly beaten egg. Place 1 teaspoon filling on bottom half; fold top half over, gently pressing edges to seal. Boil ravioli in salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes.

Melt butter with crème fraîche in a sauté pan. Add ravioli and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with grated Parmesan and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Clayton Chapman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Agnolotti-368279

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csa share – week 18

csa share week 18

Welcome to the 18th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix
  • Chesnok Red Garlic – a variety from the country of Georgia, great for cooking and baking
  • Bell Peppers
  • Colorful Carrots
  • Basil
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi
  • Collards
  • Mixed Tomatoes
  • Melons

glass gem corn

We’ve been celebrating the Autumnal Equinox this weekend with an appreciation of the bounty of the season.  We’re saying goodbye to an amazing summer and hello to all the goodness that fall has in store including long sleeves, hearty food, warm beverages, rain showers, and shorter days.  Of course we’re suckers for all the trappings of the season.  There’s something about leaves turning color and falling and the appearance of pumpkins and decorative gourds that simply makes me happy.

Hopefully you’re planning to join us on Saturday, October 18th for this season’s final CSA member gathering and celebration of the autumn.  We’ll have a potluck,  apple cidering, and our small pumpkin patch will be available for hunting up any pumpkins you can find.  We’ll send out reminders closer to the date.

work in FD

We’ve been soaking up the sun this week before it disappears behind rainclouds for good.  The extended heat wave has us looking forward to a little relief with the return of the rain, but it also finds us working to bring in storage crops while they’re still dry.  The summer green beans are finishing drying down in the propagation greenhouse for winter dry beans for instance.

Our focus has otherwise been on the continued weeding of everything and the sowing of cover crops.  The sunny September has meant lots of weed growth, but this week I finished weeding the last round of carrots, whoa!  Jeff has been focused on irrigating and working ground for seeding the rye grain and crimson clover that will fill most of the uncropped fields over the winter.  The cover crop will help keep our soil from eroding and leaching during the wet winter months.  Seeing cover crop seeds sprouting in previously barren ground is always a heartening sight.  A little like tucking in the field for the season.

seed garlic

Although the season is certainly shifting we’ve still got quite a bit of work to be done in the fields.  Before long we’ll be planting our seed garlic and overwintering onions and wrapping up the final planting for the season.  The harvesting of potatoes and winter squash needs to be finished.  Clearing out t-posts from trellising and finishing up sowing that cover crop seed.  And of course there are still weeds to kill.

That garlic up above is from the storage at Adaptive Seeds.  We’re bringing in some fresh garlic seed and new-to-us varieties this year and were excited to talk garlic with those good folks over the weekend.  If you’re serious about garlic and are thinking of getting some in the ground in your garden, they’ve got some beautiful seed stock for you to buy.

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Winter Salad with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

Dressing:

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

Salad:

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

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

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

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Salad-with-Lemon-Yogurt-Dressing-363722

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Ratatouille on the Run

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant (unpeeled), diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces goat cheese or Muenster cheese or a mixture of the two, diced (optional)

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add eggplant, green bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, zucchini and basil. Sauté 5 minutes. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer until juice thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in vinegar; season to taste with salt and pepper.(Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread ratatouille in 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Ratatouille-on-the-Run-517

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Collard and Pecan Pesto

  • 1/2 small bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cook 1/2 small bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed, in a medium pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain; squeeze dry with paper towels. Blend greens, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup toasted pecans, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoons honey, and 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes in a food processor until a coarse purée forms; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Collard-and-Pecan-Pesto-51193030

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csa share – week 17

csa share week 17

Welcome to the 17th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Summer Leeks
  • Early Red Italian Garlic
  • Poblano Peppers -Generally mild, poblanos can sometimes pack some heat, so be prepared.  We suggest you either stuff them, make salsa, or make soup!
  • Habanero or Jalapeno Peppers – Hot or Hotter!  Be careful working with hot peppers, especially the habaneros.  They’re green and may be milder than a fully ripe habanero, but they are hot and we suggest wearing gloves when seeding them.
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Dill – We love roasted potatoes with dill, but do you have too much dill to use right away?  Putting it in a jar of water will help make it last longer, or drying it will mean you’ll some to use later.
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatillos
  • Napa Cabbage or Broccoli (limited quantity of broccoli)
  • Fennel
  • Brussels Sprouts Tops – It’s time to top the Brussels so we’ll have fat sprouts later this fall.  That means tasty greens now!  Eat them up like kale or collards.
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Our main tomatoes are finished for the season but we were able to eek out mixed pints of slicers and cherries.  Get your green tomato recipes ready because my bet is you’ll be seeing them soon.
  • Melons

winter squash

The main growing season is getting closer and closer to it’s end.  With fewer minutes of daylight each day, the chance of crops fully maturing is lessened.  This week we brought in most of the winter squash from the field.  We planted our winter squash in multiple sessions this year, thinking some would do well transplanted but other varieties would be fine direct sown a little later.  Lesson learned!  Even with all the heat units this summer has given us, we’re still crossing our fingers that the direct sown varieties finish up before the plants are taken out by the dreaded powdery mildew and/or a frost finds us.

On the bright side, I’m excited to have the variety called Stella Blue back in the mix as I hadn’t been able to locate seed for a couple of years.  Also, this is our first year with a variety called Carnival that not only looks fun, it tastes good and stores well too!  Hurrah for winter squash and the changing of the seasons!

peppers

This hot summer has been good for pepper growing!  Hopefully you’re enjoying the diverse varieties as much as we are. We grow 7 types of peppers, all of which we’ve shared with you as of this week, and each year we have to limit ourselves from growing even more.  Peppers are so diverse in shape, size, color, flavor and can be used in so many dishes, but we don’t want to totally overwhelm you with peppers.

This week we have generally mild poblanos and either hot jalapenos or hotter habaneros for you.  I was searching for a description of the heat differences and came upon this quote:

“If heat equals strength and this is the World’s Strongest Man Contest, the habanero chile can lift an 18-wheeler. The serrano can lift a VW van. The jalapeño can lift a Vespa, which is still pretty powerful compared to the pepperoncini lifting a Big Wheel way down at the bottom of the Scoville scale.” – via article on cookthink.com

As I mentioned above, please be careful when working with the hot peppers.  The habaneros in particular pack a punch and we suggest wearing gloves when seeding them.  They may be milder than fully ripe and colored habaneros, but be weary until you know for sure.

preserving

In between the regular work of farming I’ve been continuing to preserve what bits of the summer I can squeeze in.  We started the week with a stack of split tomatoes from weeks past and a couple of bins of #2 sweet peppers and ended the week with jars full of roasted pepper spread and tomato sauce.  The heat of the summer felt endless at times, but recent cool mornings have reminded us that winter is on the way.  With a little time spent now, we’ve got tasty summer reminders on the shelf for winter enjoyment.

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Mediterranean Supper Omelet with Fennel, Olives, and Dill

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb, fronds chopped and reserved
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted green brine-cured olives
  • 5 large eggs, beaten to blend with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 4-ounce package crumbled goat cheese Provencal (with thyme, basil, and sweet red pepper)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel bulb; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and mash with fork; mix in olives. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Add beaten eggs and cook until eggs are just set in center, tilting skillet and lifting edges of omelet with spatula to let uncooked portion flow underneath, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle half of cheese over half of omelet, then top with fennel mixture. Sprinkle dill over, then remaining cheese. Using spatula, fold uncovered half of omelet over cheese; slide onto plate. Garnish with chopped fennel fronds and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mediterranean-Supper-Omelet-with-Fennel-Olives-and-Dill-233713

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Layered Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

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

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

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

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Layered-Chicken-Enchiladas-with-Tomatillo-Cilantro-Sauce-232700

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Potato Leek Soup with Cheese

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 4 large potatoes (about 2 1/4 pounds), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Additional grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; sauté until tender but not brown, about 4 minutes. Add potatoes and carrots; sauté 5 minutes longer. Add chicken broth and dill; simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add milk to soup. Transfer half of soup to blender. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Return soup to pot. Add 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese and stir over low heat until melted. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Bring to simmer before serving.) Transfer to large serving bowl. Garnish soup with chopped fresh parsley and additional grated sharp cheddar cheese, if desired.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Potato-Leek-Soup-with-Cheese-107255

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csa share – week 2

csa share week 2

Welcome to the 2nd week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Garlic – Music is the variety
  • Overwintered Onions
  • Red-Earred Butterheart Lettuce
  • Leek Scapes – These are the immature flower stalks of overwintered leeks.  Grilled or sauteed, they’ll add flavor to any dish.
  • Pink Beauty Radishes
  • Salad Turnips – these are lovely sliced on salads raw or cooked lightly and don’t forget about turnip greens!
  • German Butterball or Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Sugar Snap Peas!
  • Salad Mix
  • Broccoli – First bit of broccoli of the season!

Hello again!  We hope you enjoyed the first week of the CSA and are ready for more vegetable goodness.  A quick reminder that we’ll be inviting everyone out to the farm for a CSA member potluck on June 21st.  You’ll have the chance to see things for yourself and meet other fabulous CSA members.  More details to come as we get closer to the date, but get it on your calendar now!

vegetables

We had fun seeing so many familiar faces last week, and meeting so many new folks too.  If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that early season shares are often filled with the quick, cold-hardy crops of spring including lots of lettuce.  Thanks to cooperative weather and learning from our past experiences we’re already enjoying some crops that wouldn’t have made an appearance for weeks yet in the past like this week’s broccoli and peas.

We finally figured out how to overwinter onions and we’re excited to bring you the first of those this week.  The key seems to be in the seed sowing date and keeping the weeds somewhat under control.  I can’t really explain just how satisfying it is when an experiment works out as planned!

future vegetables

Of course we’re anticipating the arrival of other crops, watching them grow larger and begin to mature and set fruit.  The early tomatoes are off to a good start and I spotted the first of the summer squash this week!

seeds

We continued to get plants and seeds in the ground this week.  We’re officially past the threat of frost and we happily transplanted the first succession of basil into the field!  Successions of parsley, lettuce, fennel, carrots, beets, beans, cilantro, and dill all went in this week too. We’re nearly caught up with planting but very soon we’ll begin sowing seeds for fall crops.  This season is really rolling!

on the farm

We’re enjoying our decision to stop attending Market this year and focus on the CSA.  It means we have two extra days to get things done on the farm other than harvesting.  While we miss seeing our market customers each week, the vegetables are happier for the extra attention!  Namely we’ve been able to take more time for cultivation and weeding.  What a revelation!  Thanks for supporting us as CSA members, allowing us to focus our energy on growing the best vegetables we can, just for you.

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sugar Snap Peas with Mint and Orange

  • 12 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel

Cook peas in large saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes; drain. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in 1 tablespoon water. Stir in mint and orange peel; add sugar snap peas and sauté just until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sugar-Snap-Peas-with-Mint-and-Orange-242510

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Mediterranean Tuna and Radish Salad

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 pound radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped (substitute overwintered onions and scapes)
  • 6 kalamata or other large black olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna (preferably imported and packed in olive oil), drained
  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces

Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a small bowl.

Combine the radishes, parsley, scallions, olives, and tuna in a medium-size bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Divide the lettuce leaves among 4 plates. Top with the tuna salad. Serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Epicurious by Lauren Chattman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mediterranean-Tuna-and-Radish-Salad-15121

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Skillet Turnips and Potatoes with Bacon

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 1 1/2 pounds turnips, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 pounds white-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley

Mix 1/4 cup water, vinegar, and sugar in small bowl. Combine oil and bacon in heavy large skillet; sauté over medium-high heat until fat is rendered, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Add turnips and potatoes; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and toss 5 minutes. Reduce heat to mediumlow, cover, and cook until vegetables are almost tender, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Push vegetables to 1 side of skillet. Pour vinegar mixture into cleared space. Toss vegetables with vinegar mixture. Spread vegetables in even layer in skillet; cook until golden and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn vegetables over; spread in even layer and cook until browned and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Continue to turn, spread, and cook vegetables until tender, golden, and crisp around edges, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Season with more sea salt and black pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Lidia Bastianich, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Skillet-Turnips-and-Potatoes-with-Bacon-361293

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csa share – week 16 {september 4}

Welcome to the 16th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Summer Squash
  • Green Beans – blue lake pole beans this week
  • Sweet Corn – more sugar pearl!
  • Tomatillos – aka husk tomatoes – great for salsa or enchilada sauce
  • Potatoes – fabulous Yukon Golds!
  • Cucumbers – slicers and picklers
  • Garlic
  • Dill – dill roasted potatoes anyone?
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples

About a month ago I mentioned that we’ve been contemplating extending the season and doing a winter CSA.  With our generally mild climate we’re lucky enough to able to keep many crops growing through much of the winter.  With the addition of storage crops such as winter squash and potatoes, we believe we can provide local, organic veggies to you during the winter and early spring in addition to our current CSA program that already includes the summer and fall months.

Winter vegetable diversity is quite a bit different from the fruits we are harvesting right now in the middle of summer.  The colder months highlight the greens including cabbage and kale that are sweetened by frosts and freezes.  Winter also calls for roasted roots and hearty stews including potatoes and carrots and winter squash such as butternut and delicata.  As spring arrives we’re greeted with the fabulous broccoli-esque rapini or raab of the brassicas including kales, collards, and cabbages.  And in April and early May the overwintering cauliflower finally makes an appearance after waiting out the winter.

Can you tell that we get excited about vegetables in the winter?  The bounty of this season is fabulous but I think seasonal eating can actually be more interesting in the winter when the ingredients are less overwhelming and a simple meal can be had without always relying on the flashy fruits of summer.

Winter farming can be an interesting challenge too.  Finding winter-hardy vegetable varieties is the first step of the process.  Some varieties of broccoli, for instance, do better in the cold and rainy winters we experience here in the PNW and we want to be sure to start out with the right varieties.   Also figuring out correct seeding and transplanting dates for our local climate has proven to be another challenge.  We begin seeding some overwintering crops in May and June such as rutabagas and continue starting various crops through early September.  Starting some things too early can mean they go to seed too early and we miss out on harvesting but starting things too late can leave us with small plants that don’t do well through the winter.  We also know that a successful winter CSA program hinges on the bulk of storage crops we’re able to grow in the season prior to the beginning of the program.  We’re constantly evaluating crops like onions, winter squash, flour corn, garlic, dry beans, and potatoes not only for the harvest we’ll be sharing this fall, but also for how much we’ll be able to store for the winter.  Winter farming is a new agricultural puzzle and we’re still working on fitting the pieces together.

So, we’ve decided to ease into our first winter CSA season with a ten member program with pick-ups every other week.  The pick-ups will begin in December and run through May until the 2013 main season CSA begins.  We’re guessing that we’ll be able to meet the needs of ten members for this first trial year and plan for extending the season for everyone in the program next year.  If you love winter veggies, or think you might love winter veggies, send us an e-mail so we can gauge the potential interest.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chilled Tomatillo and Cucumber Soup

2 poblano chilies*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 English hothouse cucumber, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 green onions, chopped

Char poblano chilies over gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; cool 10 minutes. Peel and seed chilies, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saut
 5 minutes. Add tomatillos and cucumber; saut
 until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth and poblano chilies; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tomatillos are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in jalape‱os, lime juice and cilantro. Cool completely. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Transfer to large bowl; stir in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill soup until cold, at least 3 hours or overnight. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chilled-Tomatillo-and-Cucumber-Soup-105272

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Tomatillo Salsa

2 pounds fresh tomatillos
1 cup Onion — chopped
1 or 2 hot peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped. (you can also use dried chiles, leave seeds in either dried or fresh for more heat)
1 cup fresh cilantro — minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1-2 cloves garlic
salt to taste

~

Remove husks from tomatillos, wash throughly, dry and halve or quarter. Combine tomatillos, onions, chiles, and garlic in a non-reactive pan. Over med-high heat bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 mins. Cool a little or a lot then put into blender with cilantro and lime juice, blend away, salt to taste, and you have some GREAT salsa verde Mexicano.

**A variation on this recipe would be to roast the tomatillos, chiles, and onion rather than boiling.  Also, this recipe makes 2-3 pints per batch.**

Recipe from: Mariquita Farm (http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/tomatillos.html)

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Tropical Tomatillo Banana Salsa

1/2 pound tomatillos
2-3 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
3-4 tablespoons minced green onion
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste
1 medium banana
salt and pepper

Husk the tomatillos, wash them, and cut out the cores. Finely chop the flesh and place in a bowl. Stir in the chiles, green onion, garlic and cilantro and lime juice. Mash or finely chop the banana, then stir it into the salsa. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with plantain chips or tortilla chips, or use as a sauce to top grilled fish. Makes about 2 cups.

From “From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce,” Madison Area CSA Coalition

field notes: march 11

Here we are in March, well on our way towards full-blown Spring!  Can you believe we’ve made it through the darkest days once again?! Our winter break was filled with planning for the upcoming season.  We poured over the seed catalogs, discussed seed varieties and crop successions, and calculated our lime and compost needs for the fields.  We also attended a couple of good farming conferences where we had the opportunity to meet up with other farmers and hear their thoughts on common issues.  It’s always fun to hear how other folks tackle a problem.  Farmers are resourceful people!

Our winter months were also filled with farm paperwork.  We updated our organic certification paperwork with Oregon Tilth, worked on our business plan, and filed the necessary records with the Farm Service Agency for help in buying the farm we are currently leasing.  Our initial meeting with the FSA went well (they didn’t think we were crazy!) and we’re hoping to make some progress on that front over the next several months.

At the farm we’ve already begun sowing seeds and monitoring germination rates.  Our first rounds of lettuce and onions are popping up and the cherry tomatoes have surfaced too.  We’ve also begun directly seeding into our field houses.  Radishes and carrots are on the way!  Thanks to a fairly mild winter we had success with our overwintered crops too.  Winter cabbagesPurple cauliflower!  Winter is an exciting time out there in the fields.

The field work is starting to ramp up, the propagation house is once again filling up with flats of baby plants, the growing season is upon us.  The 2012 CSA is also filling up.  Many thanks to folks who have signed on early to save your spot.  We appreciate your support and are planning for a fantastic season of organic vegetables for you! There is still some space in the CSA, if you’d like to join us for another adventurous journey!

csa share – week 21 {october 11}

Welcome to the 21st week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Artichokes
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes – German Butterball
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Salad Mix
  • Garlic
  • Delicata Squash
  • Bonus: Flowers – sunchoke flowers, zinnias, and thai basil

At last week’s pick-up several folks asked how many weeks we had left in the CSA season, thinking it might be over at the end of October.  To remind everyone, this is week 21 of 27 weeks in this year’s CSA season, so we’ve still got a month and a half in front of us.  We’ll be seeing you each Tuesday through the week of Thanksgiving in November for CSA pick-ups.

This week we bring you the first of the fall vegetables.  Rutabagas and winter squash are both making their first appearance of the season.  We love the hearty vegetables of this season and hope you appreciate them as well.  The unpredictable weather outside suggests to us that it’s time for more indoor time accompanied by oven roasted roots and long-simmered soups and stews.  Fortunately this week the tomatoes and peppers are still available for adding a little extra something to those heartier meals.

We’re also including a bouquet of mixed flowers this week.  We topped our sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) in an effort to get the plants to focus on the edible tubers underground.  Rather than waste the fun sunflowery stems, we decided to pass them on for you to enjoy.  Most of these bouquets also include some thai basil and zinnia blooms, both of which are edible if you’re feeling adventurous.

As Halloween approaches at the end of the month, we’d like to invite everyone out to the farm for the final on-farm event of the season on Sunday, October 16th.  The pumpkins are mostly orange and we welcome you to come choose your jack-o-lanterns from our pumpkin patch!  We’ve included event details in the weekly e-mail, but be sure to let us know if you need further information or have any questions.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pork and Root Vegetables Burritos with Chili Colorado

Sauce

  • 3 ounces dried ancho chilies* (about 6 large), stemmed, seeded
  • 2 pounds red bell peppers
  • 2/3 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño chilies
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • *available at Latin American markets and some supermarkets.

Filling

  • 2 1-pound pork butt strips
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled russet potatoes
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled rutabagas
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled banana squash
  • 8 10-inch-diameter flour tortillas
  • 8 tablespoons chopped cilantro

For sauce:
Place ancho chilies in bowl. Cover with hot water; let stand until soft, about 1 hour. Drain. Coarsely chop chilies. Char bell peppers over flame or in broiler until blackened on all sides. Wrap in paper bag. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and quarter peppers.

Puree ancho chilies, bell peppers, chicken broth, cilantro, garlic, jalapeño chilies, balsamic vinegar and cumin in processor. Season with salt and pepper.

For filling:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Cover pot; place in oven and roast pork until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool pork; chop coarsely. (Sauce and pork can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.)

Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add potatoes and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in rutabagas and squash. Cover pot; reduce heat to medium-low and cook until all vegetables are tender, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper.

Butter large baking pan. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 flour tortilla to skillet and cook until beginning to brown, about 45 seconds per side. Transfer to plate. Spoon 1/2 cup pork in 4-inch-long log down center of tortilla. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce over pork. Top pork with 1/3 cup vegetable mixture. Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce over vegetables. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Fold tortilla sides over filling, then roll up to enclose completely. Place seam side down in prepared baking pan. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Cover with foil. (Burritos can be prepared 6 hours ahead; refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake burritos (covered) until hot, about 30 minutes. Serve burritos with remaining sauce.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appetit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pork-and-Root-Vegetables-Burritos-with-Chili-Colorado-2456

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Mashed Potatoes with Rutabagas and Buttermilk

  • 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup (or more) buttermilk
  • Chopped green onion tops or chives

Cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water until very tender, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer rutabagas to strainer. Press gently to release any excess liquid.

Add potatoes to same pot of boiling water; cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well. Return potatoes and rutabagas to same pot. Add butter; mash well. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk; mash until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Stir over low heat to rewarm, adding more buttermilk by tablespoonfuls, if desired.)

Transfer potatoes to bowl. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appetit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mashed-Potatoes-with-Rutabagas-and-Buttermilk-15635

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Carrots and Rutabaga with Lemon and Honey

  • 1 1/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Drain.

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add lemon juice, honey, and peel. Bring to boil. Add vegetables; cook until glazed, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Mix in fresh chives.

From epicuious.com via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Carrots-and-Rutabagas-with-Lemon-and-Honey-105812

csa share – week 4 {june 14}

Welcome to the 4th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Red Iceburg Lettuce  – not your mom’s iceburg lettuce!
  • Garlic Scapes – the bolt from the hardneck garlic plants, mildly garlicky and tasty to use as a garlic substitute!  Check out the Garlic Scape Pesto recipe we’ve been eating this week.
  • Baby Carrots
  • Cooking Greens Mix – a mix of young chard, kale leaves
  • French Breakfast Radishes – mild and delicious!
  • Strawberries!
  • Rye Flour – grown and ground into flour at Open Oak Farm in Crawfordsville
  • Sunflower Sprouts – organic sprouts from Spectrum Light Farm in Lebanon, OR

We’ve made it through the first month of the CSA!  After three weeks of spring greens we’re excited to be able to include a bit more diversity this week.  Not only do we have the first of the season’s sweet baby carrots this week, but we were also able to harvest enough strawberries from the small strawberry patch at the farm.  That’s right, it’s officially strawberry season, and these weren’t even grown in a greenhouse!

Over the last few weeks we’ve been lucky to be able to include items from other nearby farms to round out the share.  Hopefully you enjoyed the pea sprouts from last week.  This week we’re bringing you sunflower sprouts, aka sunny greens, from the same farm in Lebanon.  We’ve been told they’re delicious raw or cooked lightly and we’re excited to give them a try along with you.

This week we’re also including a bag of rye flour from Open Oak Farm in Crawfordsville.  We visited this farm recently and got a peek at the diverse enterprises they’re engaged in.  They have a small CSA, including a winter program, a seed business, and they’re working to bring bean and grain production back to the Willamette Valley.  The rye flour you’re getting this week was both grown and ground at Open Oak.

As the weather cleared this past week we were able to mark a number of big plantings off our to-do list.  Basil, dill, fennel, cucumbers, corn, green beans, dry beans, and potatoes all got planted this week.  While we aren’t completely caught up planting-wise, we feel a lot better about things than we did a week ago.  But even as the propagation house is clearing out as the major crops get transplanted we’re already thinking ahead to fall and winter crops.

In a few weeks we’ll begin sowing seeds for overwintering cauliflower and spring onions.  It doesn’t quite seem right to be thinking about next winter when we’ve barely felt the beginning of the summer weather, but crops take time to grow.  We need to take inventory of the seeds and make seed orders for any special winter hardy varieties that we didn’t already purchase this past spring.  Of course we’ve already been planting some crops for winter storage.  Our potato, winter squash, and onion plantings all included extra beds so we’ll be able to keep crops in storage for winter and early spring sales.  It’s a never ending cycle of planning and follow-through that we’re learning to embrace.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

 

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Check out the myriad of fun garlic scape recipes at Not Without Salt!

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Sunny Greens Omelet

Pea Shoots or Sunflower Greens
Garlic to taste – minced
Ginger to taste – minced or sliced (optional)
Soy Sauce

Heat a wok or pan up nice and hot.
Toss in a bunch of garlic and ginger (optional) and then a whole mess of Pea Shoots or Sunflower Greens (see note).
Stir fry vigorously for a minute or two.
Add some soy sauce in the last 20-30 seconds. Keep stirring.

Over rice is nice – but as is is swell.

If doing this with Sunnys – cook ’em only barely – they wilt very fast.

From Sprout People, http://sproutpeople.org/recipes/saladsandsides/peashoot.stirfry.html

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Radish Sandwiches

6 radishes, breakfast radishes, or a mixture of red, purple, and pink radishes, tender greens attached
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
~ Salt
~ Baguette slices, for serving

  1. Wash and trim the radishes and their leaves. Thinly slice the radishes into rounds, then crosswise into narrow strips. Each should be tipped with color. Chop the leaves. You should have about ½ cup.
  2. Mix the butter with the lemon zest until it’s soft, then stir in the chopped radishes, radish leaves, and a few pinches of sea salt. Spread on slices of crusty baguette and serve.

From Culinate via Local Flavors by Deborah Madison, http://www.culinate.com/books/collections/all_books/Local+Flavors/radish_sandwiches