Summer CSA Share – #20

Welcome to the 20th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Sweet Corn – All good things must end, and this is the last of the corn for this season.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of green and red lettuces, spinach, and a bit of mizuna and purple mustards.
  • Strawberry Paw Red Potatoes
  • Festival Winter Squash – Tastier than your average acorn squash!
  • Celeriac – aka celery root, celeriac is a wonderful root that tastes of celery and adds flavor to soups and stews, makes a great puree and gratin alongside potatoes, and can be grated raw into salads.
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Sage – Use it for seasoning, or sage tea!
  • Salad Turnips or Radishes
  • Torpedo Onions
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Poblano Peppers – Riper, redder, sweeter! Jeff has been stuffing these with Queso Fresco cheese and minced garlic and baking them for 20 minutes at 400*. Delicious fresh out of the oven and re-heated later for tacos, or any dish really.
  • Other Farm Apples
Garlic planting week!

Each year we aim to get our garlic into the ground in mid-October. Too early and it might put on too much growth and not survive the winter weather, too late and we won’t get maximum growth resulting in smaller bulbs at harvest next summer. One of the last crops to get planted each fall, garlic planting represents the end of the season’s months-long planting push. Beginning with seed sowing in February we keep planting successions of crops all summer until we hit the dwindling daylight of October. Though small plantings of greens will continue to be sown into field houses for winter eating, the garlic planting represents the last big planting hurdle of the season.

Garlic is generally propagated from garlic cloves. Some varieties do produce seeds, but they often aren’t viable and/or aren’t true to the type of garlic that produced them. We often use saved garlic for re-planting, rotating in newly purchased garlic “seed stock” each year to maintain quality.

Over the years we’ve experimented with planting density, seed sources, and varieties in an effort to grow more garlic to share with you each season. This year we cracked around 300-350 heads of garlic and planted approximately 2,900 cloves. Now we wait for it to come up, grow tall, and form bulbs.

Fava beans, ready to spend the winter in the field (left) and the 13 beds of garlic, onions, and fava beans planted this week (right).

Perhaps the garlic planting feels more monumental because right after it goes in the ground we then also plant our overwintering onions and spring fava beans. Like the garlic, the onions and favas will overwinter in the field and mature late next spring. We start the overwintering onions from seed the first week of September and plant out baby onions that, like the garlic, can’t be too big or too small going into winter or they won’t make it through to the other side. Only time will tell if we hit the sweet spot.

This past week we also harvested our sweet potatoes, harvested some more potatoes for storage, and salvaged more peppers from the pepper patch. Harvest season is real folks! We’ve been pushing during this dry spell to get as much done as possible. The week ahead is set to be much wetter, so I imagine there will be some soggy farmers trying to stay on top of things, but we’ll also surely identify a plethora of long-ignored indoor work. I’m looking at you seed cleaning project.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Acorn Squash with Chile Vinaigrette

  • 2 (1 1/2 – to 1 3/4-lb) acorn squash
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot red chile, including seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 450F. Halve squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends. Scoop out seeds and cut squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. Toss squash with black pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl, then arrange, cut sides down, in 2 large shallow baking pans. Roast squash, switching position of pans halfway through roasting, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.

While squash roasts, mince garlic and mash to a paste with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, chile (to taste), cilantro, and remaining 1/4 cup oil until combined. Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-acorn-squash-with-chile-vinaigrette-236007

.

Celery Root and Apple Soup

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled celery root (from one 1 1/4-pound celery root)
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled cored Granny Smith apples (from about 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large)
  • 4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add celery root, apples, and onion. Cook until apples and some of celery root are translucent (do not brown), stirring often, about 15 minutes. Add 4 cups broth. Cover and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer covered until celery root and apples are soft, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin to desired consistency. Return soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated.

Puree chives, grapeseed oil, and pinch of salt in blender until smooth.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange pancetta slices in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until pancetta is browned and crispy, about 18 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble pancetta. DO AHEAD: Chive oil and pancetta can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Rewarm soup over medium heat. Divide soup among bowls. Sprinkle pancetta crumbles over each serving. Drizzle each bowl with chive oil.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/celery-root-and-apple-soup-239846

.

Wilted Kale and Roasted-Potato Winter Salad

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves (3 thinly sliced and 1 minced)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 pounds kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves very thinly sliced crosswise

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third.

Toss potatoes with oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large 4-sided sheet pan, then spread evenly. Roast, stirring once, 10 minutes. Stir in sliced garlic and roast 10 minutes more. Sprinkle with cheese and roast until cheese is melted and golden in spots, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, purée tahini, water, lemon juice, minced garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. (Add a bit of water if sauce is too thick.)

Toss kale with hot potatoes and any garlic and oil remaining in pan, then toss with tahini sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/wilted-kale-and-roasted-potato-winter-salad-350884

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #19

Welcome to the 19th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Sweet Corn – We gambled on one last corn planting for October corn and here it is! Though September’s cooler weather has resulted in smaller ears on this first variety, they’re sure tasty!
  • Escarole – Grouped in with the bitter greens, this escarole has been ever so not bitter! We hope you’ve been enjoying this heartier lettuce alternative as much as we have this week.
  • Carrots – We wish there were more carrots too.
  • Sunshine Kabocha Winter Squash – Sunshine has orange dry, sweet flesh that’s great for baking and mashing. Unlike some kabocha varieties, Sunshine is ready to eat at harvest and isn’t a great storage type.
  • Collards – Many people think of over-boiled collard greens and decide they aren’t the green for them. Don’t let this be you. If you need some collard inspiration check out the recipes at the bottom of the page.
  • Dragon’s Tongue Snap Beans – An heirloomy variety from the Netherlands, these stringless fresh beans are delicious cooked or fresh. Note that they will lose their coloring when cooked and aren’t a great storer, so eat them up sooner than later.
  • Broccoli – Just a bit this week, more on the way soon hopefully.
  • Bunching Onions
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Bulgarian Carrot Chile Peppers
  • Matchbox Thai Chile Peppers
  • Mixed Tomatoes – A slicer and a pint of cherries!
  • Farm Apples

Many thanks to everyone who came out to the farm on Saturday for the CSA member fall farm visit! Apples were pressed, pumpkins were picked, the farm was fully toured. I was especially glad to get to chat with members about the farm and our farming experience. It’s fun to introduce this place to new members and re-visit it with members that have been with us for a while. We lucked out with beautiful weather as a bonus!

Admittedly, it’s always a little daunting to open up the farm for these visits. We’re not big party throwers, well we’re not big party goers for that matter, but we do think it’s an important part of this CSA thing that members experience the farm. Thanks for taking some time to visit your vegetables!

Preparations for the farm day were minimized last week as we took stock of the fields post-first frost and worked against the rain clouds once again. Luckily the frost wasn’t quite as damaging as originally predicted and our efforts to cover sensitive crops seemed to work out. Jeff was able to sow some ground to cover crop and get the garlic/overwintering onion ground prepped for planting. We’re hoping to get garlic in the ground this week, before the next round of rain mucks up the progress.

We’re definitely feeling the seasonal shift here on the farm. The days are noticeably shorter and cooler and we’ve moved beyond most of the high summer fruity crops. We’ve been making a lot of hearty soups lately. We’ve been thankful for this recent dry stretch as we try to wrap up some of the the field work before the rain arrives in force. We’ve got potatoes to dig and it looks like against all odds we have some sweet potatoes to dig too. There are also seeds to be cleaned, fruit to be dried, more apples to pick, a little more planting, some weeding in field houses, perpetual mowing, etc. As long as we keep marking things off the list we’ll get through it eventually.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Collard Green 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.com via Bon Appétit by Andrew Knowlton, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/collard-and-pecan-pesto-51193030

.

Shredded Collard Greens with Walnuts and Pickled Apples

  • 2 red apples such as Gala or Idared
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves (3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch collard greens (1 pound)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Make pickled apples:

Quarter and core apples, then cut each quarter lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Boil vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a saucepan, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add apples and return to a boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and cool. Chill, uncovered, until cold, about 1 hour.

Prepare nuts while apples chill:

Toast walnuts in oil in a small skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until a shade darker. Cool nuts in oil. Transfer nuts to a cutting board with a slotted spoon, reserving oil. Coarsely chop 1 tablespoon nuts and finely chop remaining nuts.

Prepare collard greens:

Halve each collard leaf lengthwise with kitchen shears or a sharp knife, cutting out and discarding center ribs. Stack leaves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Transfer to a large bowl.

Just before serving:

Transfer all nuts and oil from skillet to collards and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add apple slices, discarding pickling liquid and spices, and toss again.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shredded-collard-greens-with-walnuts-and-pickled-apples-1026666

.

Grilled Cheese with Onion Jam, Taleggio, and Escarole

  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) center slices sourdough bread (from a 9- to 10-inch round)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion or fig jam
  • 12 to 14 ounces chilled Taleggio or Italian Fontina, sliced
  • 1/4 pound escarole, center ribs discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

Brush 1 side of bread slices with oil and arrange, oil sides down, on a work surface. Spread jam on 2 slices of bread and divide cheese between remaining 2 slices. Mound escarole on top of cheese and season with salt and pepper, then assemble sandwiches.

Heat a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-low heat until hot. Cook sandwiches, turning once and pressing with a spatula to compact, until bread is golden-brown and cheese is melted, 6 to 8 minutes total.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Andrea Albin, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-cheese-with-onion-jam-taleggio-and-escarole-241531

.

Caramelized Corn with Onions and Red Bell Peppers

  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 3 medium ears) or one 10-ounce package frozen, thawed, drained
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn; stir until beginning to dry and brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Add oil to skillet. Heat over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, onion, and garlic. Sauté until peppers are tender, about 8 minutes. Mix in cilantro and chili powder, then corn. Stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/caramelized-corn-with-onions-and-red-bell-peppers-107871

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #18

Welcome to the 18th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Sweet Corn
  • Escarole
  • Celery!
  • Beets
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini – This is likely the last of the summer squash and zucchini this season folks! Frost is in the forecast and we cleared it out. On to winter squash!
  • Mixed Cucumbers – As with the summer squash, the cukes are likely done for the season too. Enjoy!
  • Green Beans
  • Tomatillos – One last shot at summer salsa!
  • Chesnok Red Garlic
  • Liebesapfel Sweet Pepper
  • Orange Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Tomatoes
  • Other Bartlett-ish Pears – More pears, but from different trees here on the farm than the pears we’ve been sharing. As with most fruit here we don’t know the exact varieties, but they’re tasty!

Hey, hey CSA Members! The time has finally come for the Fall CSA Farm Visit this Saturday, October 5th! Check your weekly member email for the details. Come on out to the farm for pumpkins and cider pressing rain or shine!

The jacks are ready for picking! (left) and the sunchokes are blooming! (right)

Welcome to October! The pumpkins are plentiful, sizeable, and orange! The sunchokes are finally blooming! We’re under the first frost watch of the season! Granted our first frost generally comes a few weeks into October and we’ve just barely changed the calendar over, but what you going to do?

Well, here we took the threat of frost seriously and scoured the farm for lingering sensitive summer crops. We covered what needed help keeping a frost off and harvested what was already fading thanks to the cooler temps we’ve been having. We likely harvested our last cukes and zukes of the season. We endeavored to pick out the pepper patch then covered what remained. We began picking the last round of green beans, and again covered them in hopes of eeking out another week at least. The summer fruits are fleeting. It’s October.

The great winter squash harvest of 2019!

This past week has been one long harvest party for these two farmers. On Wednesday we harvested some more pears. On Thursday we harvested potatoes for storage. On Friday and Saturday we harvested the dry beans and all the winter squash. On Sunday we harvested the frost-sensitive crops I described above. Then of course today was CSA harvest. We’re not messing around now that it’s harvest season.

Getting the winter squash into storage always feels like an epic task. The physicality of cutting each squash from the tangled vines (both dead and living at this point), then picking it up, and getting it into the storage bin is at first novel but quickly turns a little monotonous, or zen perhaps. You just keep moving through the field cutting, sorting, retrieving, counting. The sun comes out and you shed a layer, the rain moves through and you add raingear. Beds empty of squash, bins fill up and are tractored to the barn. You just keep picking up squash until all 5,015 are safe and sound, tucked away for future shares. It’s all worth the effort as storage spaces fill with fall and winter food. We’ll make it through another lean season. We’ve got squash to eat.

On a personal item I want to note the passing of our beloved farm dog Ira Hayes. He was really the best buddy ever. A smart, loyal, fun-loving guy who helped catch voles in the field, was head of farm security, and was always ready to load up in the truck for an adventure. He loved tennis balls, squirrels, and purple sprouting broccoli. We found him in dog jail back in 2008, before there was a farm, or the flicker of a farm. He’s been with us all along the way. We miss him dearly.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Guacamole Taquero: Taco-Shop Guacamole

  • 1/2 pound tomatillos (5 or 6), husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
  • 6 large (about 3 1/2 inches long) fresh epazote leaves or cilantro
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, coarsely chopped, including seeds, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small ripe Mexican Hass avocado, halved and pitted

Put the tomatillos into the blender jar first, then add the epazote, garlic, onion, chiles, lime juice, and salt. Blend until very smooth, at least a minute (be patient; see note below). Scoop the avocado flesh with a spoon into the blender jar and blend until smooth. Add a little water, if necessary, to achieve a pourable texture. Season to taste with additional chile, lime juice, and salt, and blend once more.

This salsa tastes best the day it’s made, but the acidity from the tomatillos will keep it from discoloring as quickly as most guacamoles. It’ll still be delicious the next day if you store it in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Let it come to room temperature before you serve it.

From Epicurious.com via Truly Goode by Roberto Santibañez & JJ Goode, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/guacamole-taquero-taco-shop-guacamole-364411

.

Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole

  • 1 2/3 cups lentils (11 ounces), rinsed well
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 pound escarole, chopped (4 cups packed)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • Accompaniment: croutons

Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a 4-quart pot, uncovered, 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, celery, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Maggie Ruggiero, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lentil-soup-with-italian-sausage-and-escarole-350257

.

Lettuce and Beet Salad with Sour Cream Dressing

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

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

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

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

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #17

Welcome to the 17th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Sweet Corn
  • Savoy Cabbage – A crinkly leaved green cabbage that can be used in any recipe calling for green cabbage.
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini – The summer squash is not long for this world as the powdery mildew has set in just as summer has officially ended. Enjoy it while you can.
  • Cucumbers
  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Leeks
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Frying Peppers – I know, they look hot, but they aren’t!
  • Poblano Peppers – The classic chile relleno stuffing pepper, also great in any dish calling for peppers and a mild kick.
  • Aji Marchant Chile Peppers – A rare variety of pepper with an intriguing history you can read about here. Historically the immature peppers were used for pickling and the mature peppers for dried pepper powder. We shared these in their yellow stage a while back, now here they are a little more mature. They’re a hot one, and can be added to any dish for your hot pepper needs.
  • Mixed Tomatoes
  • Italian Prune Plums
  • Bartlett Pears
Late fall/winter greens are beginning to make an appearance. Good lettuce germination thanks to the recent cool weather (left) and cultivating in the field houses before the weeds get a jump (right).

Happy Autumnal Equinox! We’ve been feeling fall for weeks but now it’s officially arrived. This particular fall is shaping up to be a wet one, making progress on field work slower than we might like. With an eye on the weather forecast we plan out the days, knowing our plans might need to shift with the rain. Of course there’s still plenty of work to do in field houses, in the barn, in the propagation house etc. Unlike in recent years we’re fortunate to be free of the majority of the irrigation chores though. That, I suppose, is the upside to early rains.

Sweet peppers in the various stages of making and canning a red pepper spread.

I took some time during the rain this past week to preserve a little more of this summer bounty. More basil pesto, tomato sauce, and tomato juice got jarred up alongside a red pepper spread that is pure sweet pepper goodness.

Generally I like to keep things simple when it comes to canning. For instance I find unseasoned tomato sauce more versatile for future meals, so the canning process is straightforward. Just get the tomatoes into the jars. This red pepper spread is a little more involved as the peppers are roasted on a grill or under a broiler, then seeded and skinned, then pureed with roasted tomatoes and garlic. It can sound like too many steps, but the resulting pepper essence is worth the work. It’s delicious on pizzas and flatbreads, over pasta, and with crackers and cheese and salami!

Fresh peppers may be a thing of summer, but they can be enjoyed through winter too given a little forethought. Even if you’re not up to canning some peppers, don’t forget you can toss your extra peppers into the freezer for winter pepper goodness! As we head deeper into fall the summer crops will soon be only a memory.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Ratatouille Salad with Feta Cheese

  • 1 12- to 14-ounce eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 6 strips
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons purchased garlic-flavored olive oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper and onion on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Grill vegetables until tender and tinged with brown, turning frequently, about 6 minutes for eggplant and zucchini and about 10 minutes for red bell pepper and onion.

Divide vegetables between 2 plates; drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle cheese and basil over and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit , https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-ratatouille-salad-with-feta-cheese-103770

.

Potato, Green Cabbage, and Leek Soup with Lemon Crème Fraîche

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups diced green cabbage (1/2-inch dice; from about 1/2 medium head)
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; 3 to 4 large)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 2 x 2-inch piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf
  • 6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth

Whisk crème fraîche, lemon juice, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage; sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté until cabbage is almost tender but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer 1 cup cabbage to small bowl and reserve for garnish.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot with cabbage; add leeks and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until leeks soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes, Parmesan rind, if desired, and bay leaf. Add 6 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind, if using, and bay leaf. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with some of reserved sautéed cabbage. Drizzle crème fraîche mixture over soup; sprinkle with chives and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Maria Helm Sinskey, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-green-cabbage-and-leek-soup-with-lemon-creme-fraiche-364109

.

Oatmeal, Almond, Pear, and Plum Crisp

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 3 medium pears (about 18 ounces), peeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • 3 large plums (about 10 ounces), halved, pitted, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Nonfat frozen yogurt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix first 3 ingredients in bowl. Add oil; mix with fork until coarse crumbs form. Mix in almonds.

Combine fruit in 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Sprinkle sugar, lemon juice and nutmeg over. Sprinkle with oats. Bake until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Serve with frozen yogurt.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/oatmeal-almond-pear-and-plum-crisp-102207

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #16

Welcome to the 16th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Sweet Corn
  • Pentland Brig Kale
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Carrots
  • Fava Bean Tops – Our overwintered favas self-sowed and have grown into a nice new stand of favas, but it’s unlikely we’ll have enough sun and time left this season to see fava beans again. Instead we’re sending you fava tops as a cooking/salad greens. They have a hint of the fava taste and can be used in soups, sauteed, or eaten in salads like pea greens.
  • Basil
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • Red Onions
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Bulgarian Carrot Chile Peppers
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Italian Prune Plums

We’re now accepting members for the upcoming Winter CSA! We are 85% full for the Winter CSA! Go check out the Winter details and sign-up to join us for more seasonal, organic vegetables December-April!

Scenes from a harvest day on the farm: looking down in the Pentland Brig kale, a last sip of coffee before starting to dig carrots, and look at the impending rainstorm on the western horizon.

Although fall has been in the air for weeks, it seems to really be here to stay given this weather. Recent summers have seemed to extend well into October, so it’s nice to experience the autumn season before moving onto Winter for a change. Though I appreciate seeing some more dry days in the weather forecast as we have plenty of things to do in the field before wrapping up the fieldwork for the season. Is this the exact same sentiment I wrote last week? Obviously the big fall tasks are on my mind as the wet weather sets in.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Fall CSA Farm Day on October 5th! We’ll have big orange pumpkins! We’ll be pressing cider! Rain or shine there will be fall fun!

Catching up on fall tasks this week meant seeding onions (top left), cleaning chicory seed (top right), seeding winter greens (bottom left), and transplanting more greens (bottom right).

Beginning with the first sowing of seeds back in February we have a planting plan that guides the season. We start seeds for transplants in the propagation house, we direct sow seeds into the field, we transplant into the field, all on a set schedule to hopefully ensure a steady rotation of harvestable crops through the entire season. The planting continues on all summer and we’re on the cusp of our last plantings now.

As the daylight lessens in the fall and the temperatures lower plants grow slower. This means a crop will take longer to mature if sown now than if sown earlier in the summer. But the name of the game is a continued harvest of vegetables through the season and into the winter season, right? Finding the right seeding dates to match desired maturity dates in the fall and winter can be a puzzle. We tend to try multiple dates and hope the weather and timing all match up at some point. Pretty scientific huh?

This week I sowed the overwintering onions for transplanting in October into the field. Time and winter weather will determine if this timing works or if we end up with a lot of bolting spring onions come March and April. I also sowed lots of late fall/winter greens and transplanted more into field houses. Fingers crossed we’ve got all the mustards, mizuna, arugula, baby kale, chard, and tatsoi we’ll need for winter salads. And beets and radishes and napa cabbage and spinach! Is it time for winter eating yet?

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 medium plums, halved, pitted, thinly sliced
  • 12 large or 16 small curly kale leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta

Whisk 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, thyme, and honey in a medium bowl. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Add plums and toss to coat; transfer plums to a plate.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush kale leaves with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt. Grill kale, turning once, until crispy and charred at edges, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a work surface; let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove large center stems with a knife and discard (just trim the tough ends from smaller, more tender kale stems).

Divide ricotta among plates; season with salt and pepper. Stir vinaigrette again. Tear larger kale leaves into pieces (leave smaller leaves whole). Place leaves in a large bowl and toss with some of the vinaigrette. Divide leaves among plates. Top with plums and drizzle some vinaigrette over.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-kale-salad-with-ricotta-and-plums-51104400

.

Kaleslaw

  • 1 10-ounce bunch kale, stems removed
  • 6 carrots, peeled
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, seeded, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups kale-onaise

Fit a food processor with a shredder attachment. Process the kale and carrots transferring both to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper and kale-onaise and toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Fifty Shades of Kale by Drew Ramsey M.D. & Jennifer Iserloh, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kaleslaw-56389912

.

Italian Sausage with Fennel, Peppers, and Onions

  • 4 Italian frying peppers (Cubanelle) cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb, bulb quartered, then cut into 2-inch-wide pieces and 1/4 cup fronds coarsely chopped (discard stalks)
  • 1 large onion, quartered and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage links, halved crosswise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat broiler.

Toss together all ingredients except fennel fronds with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large shallow baking pan. Broil 4 inches from heat until sausage is browned and vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Turn over and stir, then broil until sausage is just cooked through and vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve sprinkled with fennel fronds.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Melissa Roberts, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/italian-sausage-with-fennel-peppers-and-onions-241991

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #15

Welcome to the 15th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Sweet Corn
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Brussels Sprouts Tops – Every year at the beginning of September we top our Brussels sprouts by pinching off the growing point to get the plants to focus on making big beautiful sprouts. We used to discard the tops, but then we realized how tasty they are and now we send them home with you! Cook them as you would kale.
  • Parsley
  • Chesnok Red Garlic – A mild garlic that’s great for baking, originally from the Republic of Georgia.
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini
  • Lemon Cucumbers
  • Slicer Cucumbers
  • Bunching Onions
  • Liebesapfel Peppers – A pimento pepper from Germany with thick walls and sweet flesh. The name translates from German to Love Apple or Candy Apple!
  • Jalapeno Peppers – The markings that have developed on the jalapenos is known as checking or corking and is common on these peppers. My research suggests hot peppers with these markings are generally sweeter and hotter. Let’s see!
  • Matchbox Thai Peppers – Small hot chiles that pack a punch!
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Cherries and slicers all around!
  • Mixed Melons
  • Bartlett Pears

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

A stormy day in the spring kale/overwintering cauliflower patch (top left), sungold cherry tomato ombre (top right), carving pumpkins! (bottom left), and sunflowers on a stormy afternoon (bottom right).

Fall weather has been looming over our shoulder for weeks now. Our mild August hinted at an early fall and this week it feels like it set in for reals. The temps have finally dropped from that last gasp of summer last week and the rain has arrived. Yesterday was our first muddy harvest day of the season!

Now that we’re well into September it feels okay to have orange pumpkins in the pumpkin patch and harvestable winter squash waiting to be brought into storage. Fall is here! We’re going to welcome it with open arms, and strong backs, as we bring in the big harvests of potatoes and winter squash and flour corn and popcorn and apples and pears and even some plums.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Fall CSA Farm Day on October 5th! We’ll have big orange pumpkins! We’ll being pressing cider! Rain or shine there will be fall fun!

A bed of chard going in between some fall/winter radishes and turnips and Mexican sunflowers (left) and a seed check on some Black Ball bachelors buttons (right).

We’ve been keepin’ on and catchin’ up this past week on the farm. We squeezed in a little planting, a little seed sowing, a little seed cleaning, some weed whacking and mowing, greenhouse prep for winter greens, and the list goes on. This week we’re looking at more rain, so we’ll see what we can do outside and inside as the weather guides the work schedule. Luckily the rain means fewer irrigation chores!

Last, but not least, today is Jeff’s birthday! If you see him at the pick-up in Salem give him a high five!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Potato Salad with Grilled Kale

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more
  • 2 pounds waxy fingerling potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound shallots (about 12), unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped cornichons
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs and stems removed
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; lightly oil grate. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and pour in cold water to cover by 1″. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until tender, 15–18 minutes. Drain and return to saucepan.

Meanwhile, grill shallots, turning occasionally, until skins are blackened and flesh is tender, 15–20 minutes. Let cool. Halve lengthwise and scoop out insides (discard skins).

Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add cornichons, capers, and potatoes and toss to coat.

Toss kale and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl; season with salt. Grill, tossing often, until charred and crisptender, about 1 minute. Fold into salad along with scallions, parsley, and shallots.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-salad-with-grilled-kale-56389898

.

Corn Chowder with Roasted Jalapeno and Parsley

  • For the puree:
    • 5 fresh jalapeño chilies
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • For the chowder:
    • 1 onion, chopped fine
    • 2 ribs of celery, chopped fine
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
    • 1/2 pound ham steak if desired, cut into 3/8-inch cubes
    • 4 cups fresh corn kernels including the pulp scraped from the cobs (cut from about 6 ears of corn)
    • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

Make the puree:

Broil the jalapeños on the rack of a broiler pan under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat, turning them every 5 minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred. Transfer the jalapeños to a bowl and let them stand, covered tightly, until they are cool enough to handle. Wearing rubber gloves, peel the jalapeños, cut off the tops, and discard all but 1 teaspoon of the seeds. In a blender puree the jalapeños with the seeds, the oil, the lime juice, the water, the garlic, the parsley, and salt to taste. The puree may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.

Make the chowder:

In a kettle cook the onion and the celery in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the celery is softened, add the broth, the water, the potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch cubes, and the ham, and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn and the thyme and simmer the chowder for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. In a blender or food processor purée 2 cups of the chowder and stir the purée into the remaining chowder.

Serve the chowder with a small dollop of the jalapeño and parsley puree swirled into it.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-chowder-with-roasted-jalapeno-and-parsley-puree-12312

.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Pita Bread and Za’atar

  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Accompaniments: warm pita bread, olive oil, and Za’atar

Stir together tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon juice over salad and stir. Drizzle oil over salad and stir.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tomato-and-cucumber-salad-with-pita-bread-and-zaatar-103394

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Zucchini “Noodles” with Eggplant and Tomatoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

Creamy Beet Dip

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

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

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

.

Sauteed Eggplant and Cabbage Salad

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

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

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

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #13

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

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

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

It’s August, it’s sunflower season!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Wilted Greens in Tomato-Bacon Broth

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

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

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

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

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

.

Layered Chicken Enchilada with Tomatillo-Cilantro Sauce

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

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

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

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

.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

  • 12 cups cauliflower florets (from about 4 pounds cauliflower)
  • 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian hot paprika
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place cauliflower florets in large roasting pan. Pull apart onion quarters into separate layers; add to cauliflower. Stir coriander seeds and cumin seeds in small skillet over medium heat until slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Crush coarsely in mortar with pestle. Place seeds in medium bowl. Whisk in oil, vinegar, curry powder, paprika, and salt. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss to coat. Spread vegetables in single layer. Sprinkle with pepper.

Roast vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 450°F oven 10 minutes, if desired.)

Mound vegetables in large bowl. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-curried-cauliflower-230653

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cantaloupe and Cucumber Salad

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

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

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

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

.

Shishito Pepper Potato Hash with Fried Eggs

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

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

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

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

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

.

Herb-Crusted Cauliflower Steaks with Beans and Tomatoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Penne with Grilled Tomatoes and Eggplant

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Parsley Dressing

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

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

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

.

Corn and Tomato Salad with Lemon Thyme and Roasted Poblano Chili

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

Roast and peel poblano chili .

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

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

.

.