Join us for the 2017 Summer CSA Season!

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Hello from Pitchfork & Crow!

Happy 2017!  The countdown to summer vegetables has begun…

Our planting plan is finished and the seeds have mostly arrived.  We’ll be sowing the first seeds of the season very soon!   Now we’re ready to begin accepting members for the 2017 Summer CSA season!  Do you know where your vegetables are coming from this summer?  We’d love to have you join us for the 2017 Summer CSA season!

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Summer CSA Share – #1

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

  • Pea Shoots – greens from pea plants, these taste a bit like peas.  You can eat them fresh or saute them.  See a couple of recipes at the end of the newsletter.
  • Kennebec Yellow Storage Potatoes – From last year’s crop, you’ll want to eat these sooner than later.
  • Salad Mix
  • Overwintered Cauliflower – Planted last August!
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Leeks – Some of these leeks include the scape as they beginning to go to seed.  The scape is a tasty spring treat that you can eat, preparing like the rest of the leek.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Bok Choy
  • Spring Onions – Like the leeks, some of these onions include the scape as they’re beginning to go to seed.  You can eat the greens and the scape, though the scape may take longer when cooking.

Cultivating the garlic (left) and spring onions (right)

Welcome to the eighth season of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  We’re  so glad you’ve decided to join us for the next 27 weeks of eating seasonally.  We’re excited to welcome back returning members and to welcome many new members to the group.

Everyone should have received an email from us this past week with a link to the CSA Member Resources page where you’ll find CSA member details, tips, and important dates, including 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.

mowing a winter crimson clover cover crop (left) and transplanting the first round of sweet corn (right)

In future newsletters we’ll attempt to keep you updated on farm happenings and give you a behind-the-scenes look at where your vegetables are grown.  We’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 page.

Looking for more recipe suggestions? 

  • Check out the archive of recipes on our Recipe page.
  • 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 storage information and more over on the P&C CSA Member App/Website.  You can find all the details the CSA Member App page.

this season’s weaner piglets (left) and the first of the snap peas (right)

As we begin the Summer CSA season, we hope you’re excited for the adventure ahead.  The greens of the spring will inevitably give way to the fruits of the 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.  We leave you with this first share of the season, knowing you will create and eat good food.

Let’s get this season started!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Teriyaki Steak Skewers with Asian-Style Greens

  • 14 oz (400g) lean diced steak, with fat trimmed
  • 1 large bok choy, shredded
  • 1 large handful of kale, shredded
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 red chile, deseeded and thinly sliced (optional)

For the marinade:

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp honey

Create your marinade by mixing the soy, mirin and honey with half of the ginger and pour it over the steak, leaving to marinate for about an hour.

Mix the bok choy, kale, spring onion and cucumber and toss with the sherry vinegar, the olive oil, the remaining ginger and the soy sauce and assemble in a serving bowl.

Using small skewers, thread about four steak pieces on to each skewer and then sear in a hot frying pan for about 2 minutes on each side.

Once all the steak has been cooked, serve with the salad. Finish with a sprinkling of chile, if using.

From Epicurious via Clean Eating Alice by Alice Liveing, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/teriyaki-steak-skewers-with-asian-style-greens

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Soba with Pea Shoots, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Leeks

  • 4 small leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced  thin crosswise, washed thoroughly, and patted dry (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin (use spring onions instead)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, or to taste
  • an 8- or 9-ounce package soba (buckwheat noodles)
  • 1/2 pound pea shoots, washed well and spun dry

In a large skillet cook leeks in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir mushrooms and cook 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, soy sauce, and vinegar and cook 1 minute.

In a kettle of salted boiling water cook noodles 5 minutes or according to package directions. Put pea shoots in a colander and drain cooked noodles over shoots to wilt them. Rinse mixture in cold water and drain well.

In a bowl toss noodles with pea shoots and stir in cooked vegetables. Season mixture with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/soba-with-pea-shoots-shiitake-mushrooms-and-leeks-12060

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Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Tendrils

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce*
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 6 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 3 cups pea tendrils** or pea sprouts** (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat with nonstick spray. Whisk chili sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon ginger in small bowl. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, on prepared sheet. Spoon chili sauce marinade over and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Spoon any marinade remaining on baking sheet over salmon fillets. Broil salmon without turning until browned in spots and almost opaque in center, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in wok or heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and minced garlic; stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add sugar snap peas and stir until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine, and pea tendrils and stir just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drizzle with sesame oil.

Place 1 salmon fillet on each plate. Spoon warm pea mixture over salmon fillets and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Ivy Manning, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/salmon-with-sweet-chili-glaze-sugar-snap-peas-and-pea-tendrils-358190

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winter csa share – #11

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

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes – A versatile variety, good for roasting, grilling, boiling etc.  Also good for thickening soups and gravy.
  • Overwintered Cauliflower or extra Purple Sprouting Broccoli – The cold winter weather was rough on the overwintered cauliflower patch and unfortunately there isn’t enough for everyone.  The good news is that the purple sprouting broccoli held on for a final week and most of you will get a bonus broccoli bunch instead.
  • Cooking Carrots – These are the last of the overwintered carrots, best used for cooking rather than raw snacking at this point.
  • Mixed Radishes & Salad Turnips
  • Red Ursa Kale & Chard Mix
  • Leeks
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Arugula Rapini
  • Garlic
  • Collard Rapini – It’s officially rapini season!  The overwintered brassicas, like kale and cabbage, are starting to bolt and will eventually flower but right now they are the sweetest broccoli-like stems and leaves around.  Prepare them like broccoli and enjoy the fleeting taste of the end of winter.
  • Cabbage or Kale Rapini – more rapini!
  • Dried Apples – we grew them, we picked them, we dried them.

Winter CSA Members:  This is the final pick-up of the season!  Many thanks to everyone who joined us for the past 5 months of seasonal vegetables!  We appreciate your support and hope you enjoyed the winter bounty.   We’ll see Summer members after a three week harvest break at the end of May for the start of the Summer CSA!

Things are getting real here on the farm.  After the continuous months of rain we finally pushed some plants into the least saturated field last weekend.  It was not our best spring planting event, but sometimes you do what you gotta do.  It took some slow slogs through the field and some night tilling, but we managed to transplant the first rounds of beets, kohlrabi, bok choy, chard, kale, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.  There will be vegetables this summer!

This is the beginning of the “do all the things right now” season.  We’re working on our task planning efforts, trying to get organized enough to mark projects off the list efficiently.  After a winter of hunkering down and doing only the essentials (like Jeff growing his leg back together) we’re ready to get back to the routine of work.  This past week did see some seed sowing, some weeding, some organic amendment spreading in the fields (including putting the “new” manure spreader to use spreading compost!) but of course it’s just the beginning.

We’re on the cusp of a real sunny weather window, just in time too!  The extended forecast looks promising (after we get through this week’s atmospheric river) and we’re looking forward to getting our onions and strawberries and potatoes in the ground finally.  And tomatoes are headed into a greenhouse next week!  As the Winter CSA draws to a close it’s time to focus on the season ahead.  It’s time to get to work!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see summer members in a month 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:

Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe and Pancetta

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 pound country-style white bread, cut into 1″ pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
  • 6 thin slices pancetta (Italian bacon)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until garlic is softened, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing, until wilted, about 2 minutes; let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl to blend. Add broccoli rabe mixture, bread, and 1/2 cup Parmesan; toss to combine. Transfer to a 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with pancetta and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.

Bake pudding until puffed, browned in spots, and set in the center, 45-55 minutes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Mary Frances Heck, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/parmesan-bread-pudding-with-broccoli-rabe-and-pancetta-51155230

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

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Vinegar-Marinated Chicken with Buttered Greens and Radishes

  • 2 pounds skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 radishes (or turnips), quartered, halved if small
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, leaves torn (or kale, chard, turnip greens etc.)
  • 4 tablespoons tarragon leaves, divided

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup vinegar over chicken and let sit 15–20 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and pat skin dry. Reserve baking dish (no need to wipe it out).

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes; turn and cook until other side is just browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to reserved baking dish; reserve skillet. Bake chicken until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F, 10–12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in same skillet over medium-high. Add radishes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until radishes are browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add mustard greens and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mustard greens are just wilted, about 2 minutes (they should still have some spring in their step). Add 2 tablespoons tarragon and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar; toss to combine.

Serve greens and radishes with chicken topped with remaining 2 tablespoons tarragon.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vinegar-marinated-chicken-with-buttered-greens-and-radishes-56389531

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winter csa share – #10

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

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Carola Potatoes – Similar to Yukon Gold, Carola spuds are great for baking, mashing, and roasting.
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Cooking Carrots – These are some of the last of the overwintered carrots, best used for cooking rather than raw snacking at this point.
  • Radishes – 2 bunches: French Breakfast and either Pink Beauty or Hakurei Salad Turnips
  • Arugula – Looking for a new way to use up some greens?  Check out the arugula-spinach pesto in the recipes down below.
  • Mixed Small Onions
  • Popcorn – You can knock the kernels off the cob and into a paper bag and pop this in the microwave.  We’ve had fun watching them pop on the cob too!  Most often we’ll use these directions and pop it on the stovetop.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Red Ursa Kale – tender spring kale from the greenhouse
  • Collard Rapini – It’s officially rapini season!  The overwintered brassicas, like kale and cabbage, are starting to bolt and will eventually flower but right now they are the sweetest broccoli-like stems and leaves around.  Prepare them like broccoli and enjoy the fleeting taste of the end of winter.
  • Cabbage or Kale Rapini – more rapini!
  • Mixed Winter Squash – The last of the winter squash until next fall, we promise!
  • Dried Apples – we grew them, we picked them, we dried them.

Winter CSA Members:  We’ve made it through the majority of the season already!  We’ll see you in two weeks for the last pick-up of the winter season.  We’ll then see Summer members at the end of May for the start of the Summer CSA!

Have you noticed that the rain has barely let up since November?  We have!  It’s been a rare day this winter/spring that we haven’t gotten at least some rain.  Last week we had a short window of dry weather, unfortunately it wasn’t as warm or long as we need to dry out the soil enough to really get this season’s field work underway.  Ideally we need at least four dry days before groundwork, plus another couple of days to do the field prep. and planting.  This last window did afford us the chance to cultivate the garlic and overwintered onions, mow some cover crops, disc open fields, and even plant a bed of lettuce outside.  Every spring is different, but there’s always some element of a waiting game and there’s always a nervous anticipation as each day that passes brings us closer to the start of the Summer CSA season.

Instead of fertilizing, liming, tilling, and planting we’ve been focused on coaxing along the starts in the propagation house and trying to keep up on the weeds in the greenhouses.  Jeff had quite a week fixing things including a new and big irrigation leak and a broken PTO linkage (a small metal rod that makes the mower and tiller go) on the tractor.  He also spent some time doing winter maintenance on equipment.  Oil changes and new filters all around!

Perhaps you recall the big windstorm we had late last week?  What a breeze, huh?  The nearby weather stations clocked 68mph wind gusts and I believe them.  We woke up Thursday morning to less damage than I’d imagined overnight, but we did lose the end walls on our big greenhouses.  Luckily the plastic was old and we can repair them easily enough.  We also lost power all day Thursday, which was a good reminder of how dependent we are on the electrical grid.  When the electricity stops flowing our well stops pumping water, our walk-ins stop cooling, and the bathroom lights don’t turn on.  Even so, we seem to have made it through the big power outage unscathed.  It was a good day to break out the hand crank corn sheller and shell some popcorn.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Vinegar-Marinate Chicken with Buttered Greens and Radishes

  • 2 pounds skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 radishes, quartered, halved if small
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, leaves torn (or kale or rapini or spinach or radish/turnip greens)
  • 4 tablespoons tarragon leaves, divided

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup vinegar over chicken and let sit 15–20 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and pat skin dry. Reserve baking dish (no need to wipe it out).

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes; turn and cook until other side is just browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to reserved baking dish; reserve skillet. Bake chicken until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F, 10–12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in same skillet over medium-high. Add radishes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until radishes are browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add mustard greens and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mustard greens are just wilted, about 2 minutes (they should still have some spring in their step). Add 2 tablespoons tarragon and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar; toss to combine.

Serve greens and radishes with chicken topped with remaining 2 tablespoons tarragon.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vinegar-marinated-chicken-with-buttered-greens-and-radishes-56389531

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Warm Broccoli di Rapa and Yukon Gold Potato Salad

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds broccoli di rapa (aka rapini!)
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, any size
  • 1/4 teaspoon or more salt
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • dried peperoncino (hot red pepper flakes)

Rinse and trim the broccoli di rape; cut the peeled stems into 4- or 5-inch lengths. Peel the potatoes, and cut into 1-inch cubes. Put the cubes in a pot with cold water to cover by several inches, and heat to a boil. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes, then lay the greens and peeled stems on top of the potatoes, cover the pot, and cook for 5 minutes more.

Lift out the broccoli di rape and potatoes with a spider or other strainer, and lay them in a colander. Sprinkle about half the salt over the hot vegetables, let them drain and cool for a minute or two, then turn them into a mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil all over the pieces, and toss gently. Sprinkle on more salt and peperoncino to taste (I use 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes, or even more, when I’m making this at home). Toss, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Serve on a big warm platter, or put portions on warm salad plates.

From Epicurious via Lidia’s Family Table by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/warm-broccoli-di-rape-and-yukon-gold-potato-salad-231416

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Burgers with Mozzarella and Spinach-Arugula Pesto

  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 10 cups packed)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
  • Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups (packed) fresh arugula leaves, divided (about 5 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef (20% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 hamburger buns, split horizontally
  • 6 1/3-inch-thick slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

Rinse spinach; drain briefly, then place in large glass bowl. Microwave spinach, uncovered, on high just until wilted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Combine garlic, lemon peel, and crushed red pepper in processor; blend until garlic is finely chopped. Add spinach, 2 cups (packed) arugula, pine nuts, and lemon juice; process until coarse puree forms. With machine running, gradually add oil in thin stream and blend until almost smooth. Mix in cheese. Transfer pesto to small bowl; season with salt.

Do ahead: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill.

Combine ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 6 tablespoons spinach-arugula pesto in large bowl; mix lightly with fingertips or fork just until incorporated. Form meat mixture into six 3/4-inch-thick patties. Place patties on platter.

Do ahead: Beef patties can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill burgers to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Grill buns, cut side down, just until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Build burgers with pesto, patties, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and arugula. Cover with bun tops.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/burgers-with-mozzarella-and-spinach-arugula-pesto-235619

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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:

  • Mixed Spinach
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Purple Cape  – a fun broccoli/cauliflower cross that overwinters and heads up in early spring. 
  • Mizuna
  • Yellow Onions
  • Garlic
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Spring Salad Mix – Spinach/Radicchio/Arugula/Tatsoi
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – It’s officially rapini season!  The overwintered brassicas, like kale and cabbage, are starting to bolt and will eventually flower but right now they are the sweetest broccoli-like stems and leaves around.  Prepare them like broccoli and enjoy the fleeting taste of the end of winter.
  • Dried Apples – we grew them, we picked them, we dried them.

Happy Spring!  We’re still waiting for a dry stretch to be able to get into the fields, but  we’ve been enjoying the short sun breaks as they’ve come and so have the bees!  There’s not a lot of flowering plants for the bees right now, but hopefully they’ve noticed the plum orchard is in full bloom.

While the waiting game continues we’ve attempted to be productive.  Jeff’s continued his barn organization quest with the wall of cultivation. Well, I just named it that, but he did hang all the hoes for easy access which is a huge improvement over our old method of storing long handled tools in a barrel.  Though it’s wet outside, the weeds are growing in greenhouses and we’ve been able to stay on top of them thus far with weekly weeding sessions.  It’s especially satisfying to get after the weeds when they’re young and easily uprooted.  The weeding paid off when it came to harvesting greens yesterday too!

Perhaps the most exciting event on the farm recently was last week’s purchase of a manure spreader!  We’ve been looking for an affordable used spreader that was also in working condition for a couple of years on and off.  We’d like to begin spreading larger quantities of compost in the field for soil health, but shoveling compost out the back of a box hooked up to the tractor gets tiresome quickly.  We lucked into this antique spreader, originally used with a team of horses, that’s been kept in amazing condition unlike most spreaders from this era that have been demoted to yard ornaments.  We have our fingers crossed for a dry stretch at the end of the week.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we put this old machine to work.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Seasonal Country Salad with Spiced Walnuts

For the spiced walnuts

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground star anise
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2 cups shelled walnut halves

For the salad

Make the spiced walnuts:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, spices, and salt. Toast the walnuts lightly on a sheet pan in the oven, for about 4-5 minutes. While the nuts are toasting, heat the spiced sugar in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When the sugar just begins to melt around the edges, toss in the warm nuts, straight from the oven. Shake the pan vigorously over the burner until all the nuts are coated in sugar — it will cling in somewhat uneven patches, but that is the effect I like. Pour the nuts onto a plate or baking sheet to cool — don’t be tempted to try one until they have really cooled down, since sugar at this temperature will give you a burned tongue to remember!

Make your salad:

Toss the salad greens with the spiced walnuts and the vinaigrette and top with a generous slice of ham and 1 ounce of cheese per person, according to the seasons (see Weighing Your Options).

Weighing your options:

Spring: Grilled Asparagus with Serrano Ham and Maytag Blue Cheese (to grill asparagus, blanch the asparagus to halfway tender, brush with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until lightly brown)

Summer: Fresh Black Mission Figs with Smithfield Ham and Aged Goat Cheese

Fall: Lightly Roasted Seckel Pears with Pecorino Romano and Prosciutto

Winter: Blood Oranges and Fennel with Feta and Prosciutto

From Epicurious via “Sparks in the Kitchen” by Katy Sparks and Andrea Strong, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/seasonal-country-salad-with-spiced-walnuts-234558

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Fresh Spinach with Garlic -Yogurt Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 dried chiles de árbol*
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves (four 6-ounce bags), divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons uncooked medium-grain white rice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or drained plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Small, thin, very hot red chiles; available at some supermarkets and at Latin markets.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add chiles and 1/3 of spinach. Cook until spinach wilts, adding remaining spinach in 2 additions and tossing often, about 4 minutes. Mix in rice. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and moisture from spinach is absorbed, adding water by tablespoonfuls if needed for rice, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until mixture is dry, about 2 minutes; discard chiles.

Meanwhile, press garlic cloves into small bowl, stir in yogurt, and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter with 1 tablespoon oil in small skillet. Mix in cayenne and remove from heat.

Spread spinach mixture on platter; make indentations with back of spoon. Spoon yogurt into indentations and drizzle with cayenne butter.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Engin Akin, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fresh-spinach-with-garlic-yogurt-sauce-238268

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Micro-Quick Hot-Sweet Salad of Broccoli Raab and Carrots

  • 1 hearty bunch broccoli raab (aka rapini) (1 pound plus)
  • About 1 pound fairly thin medium carrots (weighed without tops)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet sherry or sweet vermouth
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
  • 1 tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil

1. Cut a slice from broccoli raab base and taste to determine toughness. If fairly tender, trim only 1/2 inch or so from stalks; if tough, trim more. Wash vegetable in several changes of water, lifting out so debris settles. Without drying, spread in microwavable serving dish. Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 2 minutes. Toss, then continue cooking until not quite done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Pierce plastic and allow to cool.

2. Peel carrots. Place in microwavable dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook just until carrots lose their raw crunch but are not cooked through — 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Pierce plastic and cool slightly.

3. In a small dish, mix sherry, vinegar, honey, salt and hot pepper to taste, stirring to blend. Add peanut and sesame oils.

4. Line up broccoli raab stems on cutting board. Cut apart from tops (the florets and leaves). Squeeze tops dry, then blot with towel. Cut into very thin shreds; return to dish. Slice stems on a sharp angle to form long oblongs 1/8 inch thick; add to dish. Cut carrots the same way and add to dish. Toss with dressing. Season. Chill.

From Epicurious via “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini” by Elizabeth Schneiderhttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/micro-quick-hot-sweet-salad-of-broccoli-raab-and-carrots-106236

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winter csa share – week 8

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

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Carola Yellow Potatoes – Jeff thinned the garlic Sunday, so you’ll see 2-3 garlic thinnings thrown in with the potatoes for your cooking experiments.
  • Red Beets
  • Arugula Rapini
  • Parsnips
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Lower Salmon River Winter Squash – A PNW heritage variety from Idaho with flaky, dry flesh is great for pies and soups.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Radicchio Mix
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – It’s officially rapini season!  The overwintered brassicas, like kale and cabbage, are starting to bolt and will eventually flower but right now they are the sweetest broccoli-like stems and leaves around.  Prepare them like broccoli and enjoy the fleeting taste of the end of winter.
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Winter CSA Members – At the start of the season we’d planned to host a member farm visit in March but hadn’t set an official date.  With the continuous rain and cold we’d guessed no one wanted to come see the muddy farm just yet.  We’re hoping for better weather and are thinking early April may bring a better chances for sun.   More details to come…

We’ve been hunkered down this winter, waiting out Jeff’s broken leg and the never ending rain and cold.  But the past couple of weeks have been a real turning point.  The seasons are shifting and it’s time to get back to work.  We’ve begun seeding in earnest with the first successions of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and more being started.  Spinach, peas, kale, mizuna, and radishes are all popping up in greenhouses just in time as the overwintered greens we’ve been enjoying for months are beginning to bolt.  It’s an exciting time on the farm, even though the landscape still looks a little bleak and wintery.

We’ve recently worked in a couple of fun visits to friends’ farms and got to geek out over their big new barns and get a good look at new tools they’ve invested in.  Though it’s hard to leave, time away from the farm often leaves me excited to get back to work with new ideas to try out.  Jeff even got off the farm for a night with a friend for an overnight camp-out in the snow!

Our biggest accomplishment in the past couple of weeks was to add an extension onto the barn we built last winter.  We originally built it as a tractor barn, but after it spent the summer filled with organic fertilizer we realized we could use a little more covered area.  We’ve added a third more space with a 12′ shed roof extension off the back.  It first felt like we were building backward because we had to take the existing siding off to add some blocking, but it came along fairly quickly after that.  It’s nice to have finished a project that been waiting since last fall.  We’ll likely add a wall and a door to the inside at some point, but we’ve got a roof as planned!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Parsnip Leek Potato Mash

  • 1 1/2 lb leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb russet (baking) potatoes
  • 2 lb parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise, woody cores discarded, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water to loosen any sand, then lift leeks out and drain in a colander. Pat dry.

Cook leeks in 4 tablespoons butter, covered, in a4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

While leeks are cooking, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes, parsnips, water, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to leeks and bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Coarsely mash, then serve sprinkled with parsley and topped with remaining tablespoon butter.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/parsnip-leek-potato-mash-109031

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Broccoli and Rapini with Lemon Shallots

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped shallots, divided
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli crowns, cut into florets (or use your Purple Sprouting Broccoli!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds rapini (broccoli rabe), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Melt 1/4 cup butter with 1/2 cup shallots and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel in very large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté 2 minutes. Mix in broccoli and 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle with salt. Cover; cook until broccoli is crisp-tender and water evaporates, about 4 minutes. Transfer broccoli to bowl; cover to keep warm.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter with remaining shallots and lemon peel in same skillet over high heat; sauté 2 minutes. Add rapini. Sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook until rapini wilts, about 2 minutes. Uncover and sauté until tender, about 1 minute longer. Mix into broccoli. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/broccoli-and-rapini-with-lemon-and-shallots-233159

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Radicchio, Grapefruit, and Spinach Salad

  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 white grapefruits
  • 1 10-ounce head radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted

Combine vinegar and fennel seeds in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Cut all peel and white pith from grapefruits. Cut grapefruits between membranes to release segments. Stir segments into dressing. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Toss radicchio, spinach and olives in bowl. Add grapefruit segments and dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétithttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/radicchio-grapefruit-and-spinach-salad-103216

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winter csa share – week 7

winter-csa-share-week-7

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

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Red Endeavor Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red Brussels Sprouts – We’re growing a seed crop of these gorgeous purple Brussels.  This week’s taste of them are from the culls but they’re off the stalk and ready to eat!
  • Daikon Radishes – these daikon were seeded a bit late and a bit too close together last fall making for small roots, but don’t forget the tops are edible too!  You can stir-fry or saute them with other greens.
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic
  • Butternut or Black Futzu Winter Squash
  • Celeriac
  • Radicchio/Tatsoi Salad Mix
  • Kale/Chard/Arugula Cooking Greens Mix
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

jeff-working

After months of healing his broken leg, Jeff has really gotten back into the swing of things on the farm.  And just in time too.  It’s now or next year for some of those winter projects that need to happen before the growing season really gets underway.  He did some heavy lifting with our nephew’s help to clear out the space for the barn extension we planned for last fall.  The “new” barn (now a year old) is finally getting some more detail attention including a gravel floor and shelving.  We’re looking forward to having all the irrigation bits and pieces, hand tools, and soil amendments organized for quick access this season.  As you can see he’s gotten back into ladder work too, as we closed in our big high tunnel for spring crops.

prop-house-tools

We’re getting our act together in the propagation house too.  This greenhouse is used to get seeds started for transplanting into the field.  This time of year is too cold for most seeds to germinate quickly, if at all.  Several years ago we rigged up a germination chamber (above right) to help with germinating seeds early in the season.  It’s basically just a box with shelves for flats of seeds with a bucket of water at the bottom.  The water is heated using a bucket heater designed to keep livestock water from freezing and it keeps the germ. chamber toasty and humid.  It’s never been as reliable as we’d hoped so this year we added some insulation and a thermostat to better regulate the temperature.  We’re seeing some improvement already!

We also bought a vacuum seeder (above left) to help speed up the seeding process and it was exciting to use it for the first time last week.  The seeder consists of a metal plate with holes in it that screws onto a plexiglass box.  A small shop-vac is used to create a vacuum inside the plexiglass box, and seeds are sucked into the holes on the plate so they can be turned upside down and seeded directly into the flat full of potting soil.  Closing off the vacuum airflow releases the seeds neatly into their individual cells.  It’s such an advancement over seeding seeds one by one and I only wish we would have made the investment sooner.  Getting seeds started and checking in on growing seedlings is something I look forward to, especially this time of year.  So much possibility in those tiny seeds!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chicken Caesar Salad With Crispy Kale

For the dressing:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the Crispy Kale:

  • 8 stalks kale, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (25g) finely grated Parmesan
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

For the chicken and assembly:

  • 4 (200g) chicken breast fillets, trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup (200g) shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 2 baby cos (romaine) lettuces (360g), trimmed and leaves separated (or try subbing some radicchio!)
  • 3 cups (75g) baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup (80g) pine nuts

To make the dressing, place the egg yolks, garlic and mustard in a bowl and whisk until thick and creamy. Gradually add half the oil, whisking continuously until combined. Gradually add the vinegar and the remaining oil, whisking to combine. Set aside.

To make the crispy kale, preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the kale, oil, parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat. Place in a single layer on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until crisp, and set aside.

Brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or barbecue over high heat. Cook the chicken for 2–3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and place in a large bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and pine nuts and toss to combine. Divide between serving plates and top with crispy kale and the dressing to serve.

From Epicurious via Life in Balance by Donna Hay, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicken-caesar-salad-with-crispy-kale

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Penne with Radicchio, Spinach, and Bacon

  • 1 pound penne
  • 8 ounces bacon (about 8 slices), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 6 cups (packed) coarsely torn Treviso, Chioggia, or Tardivo radicchio leaves (from about 2 medium heads)
  • 3 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off top 1/2 inch of garlic head, exposing cloves. Place garlic head, cut side up, on sheet of foil and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil. Roast until garlic is soft, about 40 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Squeeze garlic into small bowl.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook bacon strips and chopped onion in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Add chicken broth, remaining 5 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and roasted garlic. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally. Add radicchio, spinach, and basil and stir to combine. Simmer just until radicchio and spinach wilt, about 1 minute.

Drain pasta and return to same pot. Add radicchio-spinach mixture to pasta. Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper; toss to coat. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Myra Goodman & Sarah LaCasse, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/penne-with-radicchio-spinach-and-bacon-241093

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winter csa share – week 6

winter-csa-share-week-6

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

  • Mizuna/Mustards
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots – Some of the sweetest carrots we’ve ever grown!
  • Parsnips
  • Onions
  • Oregon Homestead Winter Squash
  • Mixed Beets
  • Leeks
  • Radicchio/Tatsoi Mix
  • Arugula
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Summer 2017 CSA Membership Open – The planting plan is set, the seeds have arrived, and we’re in it for another season!  We’d love for you to join us for 27 weeks of Summer & Fall vegetables from May through November.  All the details and a link to the sign-up form can be found over on the Summer CSA page.

tables-and-driving

If April showers bring May flowers, what do February showers bring besides a flooded propagation house?  Standing in eight inches of water while watering tiny spinach plants was rather comical this past week.  We’re thankful for a few dry days that helped the water drain away and made it possible to get the prop house officially in order, including new tables!  Hopefully all the water that fell on the farm over the last couple of weeks is filtering down, down, down to re-charge our aquifer for summer irrigation season, which will be here before we know it.

We’ve begun sowing seeds in the only dry space available, inside field houses!  This time of year we’re especially thankful for that space, allowing us to get our hands dirty while staying out of the wet fields.  We’ve kicked off the planting year with spinach, carrots, peas, mizuna, arugula, and some early potatoes.

parsnips-and-tomatoes

We’ve also begun starting seeds to be transplanted later including onions and tomatoes and some lettuce and bok choy.  We’re back into the weekly propagation season, and it’s good to be starting seeds and focused on the harvests ahead.  The prop house will be full up before too long.

The fields are still full of plenty of food as we continue our journey through the winter CSA months.  This week’s radicchio and leeks and parsnips and carrots are a testament to winter growing.  Fantastically sweet vegetables that have been waiting through snow and ice and rain in the field for their harvest day!  We’re also on the cusp of rapini season and the purple sprouting broccoli is just starting to form purple buds of broccoli goodness.  It looks like we’ve made it through the darkest days of winter and spring is on the way.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Citrus Butter

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl, combine butter, orange zest, orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir well to combine. Set the citrus butter aside.

Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut them lengthwise into long wedges, which that will get a bit browned and crisp at the ends. If I am roasting young carrots small enough to cook whole or halved lengthwise, I like to leave a half inch or so of the greens attached—looks pretty. Parsnips will cook at about the same rate as carrots, so cut them into similar-size pieces.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss vegetables with oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt and toss again. Spread the vegetables flat and roast until tender and lightly browned (and more than lightly browned on the thinner edges), tossing halfway through, 20 to 30 minutes. If they seem to be getting too browned before tender, sprinkle them with a little water and keep roasting.

When vegetables are roasted, place in a warmed dish and spoon the citrus butter on, tossing them gently to melt the butter and coat the roots. Serve warm.

From Epicurious by Cal Peternell, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-carrots-and-parsnips-with-citrus-butter-51262740

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Linguine with Leeks, Radicchio, and Walnut Pesto

  • 8 ounces linguine
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leeks (including some dark green parts)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus shaved Parmesan for garnish
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces (about 1 ounce) plus additional for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups thinly sliced radicchio

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add leeks; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Puree parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/4 cup walnuts, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons oil in mini processor until coarse puree forms. Season pesto with salt and pepper. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta, pesto, and radicchio to leeks; toss, adding cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Garnish with walnuts and shaved Parmesan.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/linguine-with-leeks-radicchio-and-walnut-pesto-240685

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Winter Squash and Chicken Stew with Indian Spices

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut or acorn squash
  • 2 cups 1-inch pieces peeled russet potatoes
  • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven; sauté until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, and cinnamon; stir 1 minute. Return chicken to pot. Add squash, potatoes, broth and tomatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/winter-squash-and-chicken-stew-with-indian-spices-876

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winter csa share – week 5

winter-csa-share-week-5

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

  • Kale/Chard Mix
  • Carola Potatoes  – Creamy, yellow-fleshed taters great for baking or frying.
  • Carrots – Some of the sweetest carrots we’ve ever grown!
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – Our favorite when it comes to turnips!  A mild, juicy turnip we prefer to eat raw.
  • Elephant Garlic – Don’t let the large cloves fool you!  Elephant garlic is related to leeks, and thus milder than the other varieties of garlic we grow.
  • Gill’s Golden Pippin Winter Squash – These pepo varieties are beginning to lose their sweetness but are still tasty enough to enjoy without adding anything.  Eat up your pumpkins, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash before they’re past their prime.
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest, but is thought to be a good alternative for diabetics looking to avoid starch.
  • Red Onion
  • Radicchio/Spinach/Lettuce/Tatsoi Mix
  • Red Cabbage
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Summer 2017 CSA Membership Open – The planting plan is set, the seeds are ordered, and we’re in it for another season!  We’d love for you to join us for 27 weeks of Summer & Fall vegetables from May through November.  All the details and a link to the sign-up form can be found over on the Summer CSA page.

seeding-and-harvesting

January is a strange time on the farm.  We’re still in the grip of winter, with temps often falling below freezing, but spring feels closer each day.  Although the days are lengthening and the few sunny days have been enticing, January means paperwork on the farm.  Crop planning, seed orders, business and personal taxes, farm loan paperwork.  From one thing to the next, there’s lots of forms and lots of screen time.  It’s also time to get back to the routine of farm work: seeding, planting, weeding.  We started the first seeds of 2017 this past weekend, which is always a momentous occasion.  Just a little spinach to start things off.  Soon we’ll be sowing tomatoes and onions and lettuce and the list goes on.

tapping

Last week a belated birthday gift arrived from Jeff for me.  He bought maple tapping equipment!  It’s been fun to tap into our single maple tree, a bigleaf maple at the front of the farm, and watch the sap slowly accumulate.  After the first 48 hours we’d collected a quart of sap, which we boiled down to two tablespoons of sugary goodness and promptly ate over pancakes.  Yum!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic Vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds small Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), scrubbed, quartered
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron (you’ll need a lid), over mediumhigh heat. Add Jerusalem artichokes and 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until Jerusalem artichokes are fork-tender, 8–10 minutes.

Uncover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes longer; transfer to a platter.

Add rosemary and butter to skillet and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, about 4 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits. Spoon brown butter sauce and rosemary over Jerusalem artichokes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crispy-jerusalem-artichokes-with-aged-balsamic-51255110

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Corsican Greens Pie with Butternut Squash and Three Cheeses

  • 12 ounces all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 8 ounces) or mix of other greens like kale, beet tops, turnip tops, or spinach, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped, and stalks sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped sage
  • 2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons fresh ricotta, divided
  • 12 wide, long ribbons of peeled butternut squash
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out pastry to 1/8-inch thickness, then cut it into a 12-inch-wide circle. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion, celery, chard stems, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a hearty grind of black pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chard leaves, garlic, and sage and cook until chard leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes more. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl and stir in mint, parsley, feta, Pecorino, pine nuts, lemon zest, and 3 tablespoons of the ricotta. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

Toss the squash ribbons (if using) with remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Spread vegetable mixture onto the pastry, leaving 1 1/4-inch border. Dollop remaining ricotta on the vegetable mixture and top with squash ribbons. Roll the pastry edges up around the side of the filling and pinch edges together to form a secure edge around the tart. Brush pastry with beaten egg and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Bake tart until pastry is golden and cooked through at the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corsican-greens-pie-with-butternut-squash-and-three-cheeses-51253450

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Bratwurst and Red Cabbage

  • 1 pound uncured bratwurst
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Pilsner or other lager, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red beet, peeled, coarsely grated
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
  • Freshly grated horseradish (for serving)

Prick bratwurst in several places with a knife and place in a large skillet. Add oil and half of beer, then add water until liquid comes a little over halfway up sides of sausages. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, turning once, until just barely cooked through, 12–15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high; cook until liquid is evaporated, 5–10 minutes. Roll sausages to edge of skillet and add onion to center. Cook, turning sausages often and stirring onion occasionally, until sausages are browned and onion is soft, 5–8 minutes. Transfer sausages to a plate.

Add cabbage and beet to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, allspice, and remaining beer. Cover; cook until tender, 20–25 minutes. Serve sausages with cabbage mixture, topped with horseradish.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Claire Saffitz , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bratwurst-and-red-cabbage-51263820

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winter csa share – week 4

winter-csa-share-week-4

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

  • Leeks
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes
  • Mixed Dry Beans – a mix of our green beans gone to seed and dry bean varieties.  Make sure to wash them and discard floaters and debris.
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Rutabaga – these were harvested directly from the field yesterday.  That means they’ve been sweetened by the recent cold temps, but they’ve also been frozen.  They appear to have made it through unharmed, but don’t expect them to store as long as usual.  Eat them up sooner than later. 
  • Garlic
  • Candystick Delicata Winter Squash – We are nearing the end of the ideal storage life of the Pepo winter squashes including delicatas, acorns, and pumpkins.  Eat them up before they dehydrate and lose their sweetness and creamy texture.
  • Black Futsu Winter Squash – perhaps my favorite of the winter squashes, Black Futsu is a Japanese heirloom.  It’s related to butternuts and has a similar but unique flavor.  It’s a good storer and is great in pies, or however you like to use your butternuts.
  • Yellow & Red Onions
  • Castelfranco/Chioggia Chicory Mix – please, please, please eat this chicory – even if you don’t think you like chicory.  The recent cold temps have sweetened it beyond belief!  We’ve been mixing chopped chicory with pasta or rice for a warm salad and loving it!
  • Brussels Sprouts – these may take a little work because the cold temps tend to damage them a little, but it’s worth it for the sweet, tasty sprouts.  Had the weather warmed up sooner, we would have endeavored to get them off the stalk and cleaned up for you.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Summer 2017 CSA Membership Open – The planting plan is set, the seeds are ordered, and we’re in it for another season!  We’d love for you to join us for 27 weeks of Summer & Fall vegetables from May through November.  All the details and a link to the sign-up form can be found over on the Summer CSA page.

snow

The last couple of winters were awfully mild, which may be why this winter feels so much more, wintry, in comparison.  The Arctic blasts seem to be on repeat causing the temperatures to hover around freezing.  It seems that we’ve been spared the worst of the weather thus far though.  The farm has been locked in the freezer for a week, but we have friends in Portland that got 12 inches of snow last week and are still waiting for the melt to happen to see how their crops have fared.  Farming in the winter is not for the faint at heart.  We thank you for your dedication to seasonal eating, even through the dark and frozen days of winter.

winter

As the weather outside did its freezing thing, we hunkered down inside and got through the upcoming season’s crop planning.  This annual project is always daunting to begin but it’s also worthwhile time spent reviewing the past season and dreaming of the possibilities in the season ahead.  We now have a giant spreadsheet detailing what crops we’ll be growing, what varieties will be included, when they’ll be started and transplanted, projections for harvest dates, and where they’ll all be growing on the farm.  We’ll be starting the first seeds of the season soon and then we’ll be off to the races.

In broken leg news, Jeff had his 6 week post-surgery check-in this past week.  The new x-rays showed that his bones are beginning to heal and the doctor thought his flexibility, level of swelling, and surgery cuts are all looking good.  He gave him permission to begin putting weight on the broken leg and walking with one or no crutches as his pain levels allow.  He’s slowly getting back in the farming game and was able to help out with the harvest more this week.  It turns out dry bags aren’t just for keeping your valuables dry on a canoeing trip, but they come in handy when you need to keep your spiffy walking cast dry too.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Carrots and Rutabagas 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 Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/carrots-and-rutabagas-with-lemon-and-honey-105812

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Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash with Red Onion

  • 3 medium Delicata squash (about 3 pounds), halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 medium red onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Arrange the racks in the upper and lower rungs in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F degrees. Place the squash, red onion, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Spread vegetables evenly onto two large, rimmed baking sheets. Bake the squash on the upper and lower racks of the oven, tossing, rotating, and switching the pan positions half way through cooking, until tender and browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and season again with more salt and pepper, if desired.

From Epicurious by Leah Koenig, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/maple-roasted-delicata-squash-with-red-onion-51258430

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Frisee and Endive Salad with Warm Brussels Sprouts and Toasted Pecans

  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts (preferably small), trimmed and halved lengthwise (quartered if large)
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz frisée, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
  • 3 Belgian endives (1 lb), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices (or sub the chicory here)

Make vinaigrette:

Whisk together vinegar, water, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking.

Make salad:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Melt butter in a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) in lower third of oven, about 3 minutes. Toss sprouts in pan with butter, pecans, and salt. Arrange sprouts, cut sides down, in 1 layer and roast in lower third of oven until undersides of sprouts are golden and nuts are fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes.

Whisk vinaigrette, then transfer warm sprouts and nuts to a large bowl and toss with frisée, endive, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/frisee-and-endive-salad-with-warm-brussels-sprouts-and-toasted-pecans-107362

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