Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:
- Head Lettuce – three types of head lettuce this week including two romaines and a butterhead
- Storage Beets
- Red Ursa Kale
- Elephant Garlic Scapes – We grow both hardneck and softneck garlic varieties. The hardneck varieties send up these scapes that will eventually open and flower if left on the plant. We harvest them because they’re tasty and also so the garlic will focus its energy on the bulb rather than flowering. Check out the garlic scape pesto recipe at the bottom of the newsletter.
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Spring Bunching Onions – 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.
Brussels sprout seed pods and a ladybug looking for aphids (left) and a check on the future pear harvest (right)
This is our 9th spring of growing food on a large scale and the number one lesson we’ve learned is that every growing season is unique and this year is no different. The very wet weather this past winter and spring was a dramatic change from the last few years when we eased into summer with sporadic early warm dry spells. At times perhaps too much sun in those early months. As you likely noticed, this season’s rain persisted until mid-May with only two very short dry windows. A persistently wet spring like this makes for a wild ride once things dry out enough to get the field work underway.
This year we pushed some ground too soon in a rush to get our first crops planted, already two weeks late. Our silty clay soil takes longer than sandier soils nearby to dry out and it’s a constant challenge to work it at just the right moisture level, especially in those weeks counting down to the beginning of the CSA. With CSA payments already spent on seeds, organic fertilizer, and tractor repairs, uncooperative spring weather just makes things that much more stressful on the farm. We’re often not exactly sure what’s going to make it into the first several shares of the season but this year’s delays have us wondering what will be available in two weeks. We’ve been working long days to ensure there will be summer vegetables eventually, but only time (and sun and irrigation) will tell when they will make a strong appearance.
Jeff cleans the dibbler wheel on our water wheel transplanter. Water and organic fertilizer flows from the tank into the wheel, creating a muddy hole for planting into.
After a month of big plantings, we’re finally getting caught up with the plants in the propagation house. This week a half acre of winter squash and the popcorn, flour corn, 2nd round of sweet corn, basil, fennel, celeriac, and the last of the onions and shallots went into the ground. Now for some more propagation. It’s already time to start thinking about fall and winter crops!
Finally, a note about strawberries. We planted 2000 plants this spring and they’re flowering and will hopefully be producing berries in the coming months. They are everbearing varieties so we should see production this season. We’re trying out a new method of growing strawberries on woven fabric to help suppress the weeds and we’re planning on keeping this patch in production for a couple of years. Unfortunately last year’s patch was overtaken with weeds and had to be tilled under at the end of the season, otherwise we’d have berries for you now. We’re sorry we can’t include berries in these early shares and look forward to sharing them as soon as possible.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Roasted Beet and Sugar Snap Pea Salad
- 3 medium beets, trimmed
- 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dillweed.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 2/3-ounce packages fresh arugula, trimmed. (or use lettuce for a less spicy option)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets in aluminum foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool. Peel beets and cut into wedges.
Cook sugar snap peas in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Pat dry.
Mix mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually mix in oil, then dill and sugar. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover sugar snap peas and chill. Cover dressing and beets separately and let stand at room temperature.)
Line platter with arugula. Mix beets, sugar snap peas and dressing in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon atop arugula.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-and-sugar-snap-pea-salad-606
Pasta with Garlic Scape Pesto
- 10 large garlic scapes
- 1/3 cup unsalted pistachios (you can use any nuts here)
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound spaghetti
Make the pesto: Puree the garlic scapes, pistachios, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the opening. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. (The pesto keeps in the fridge, covered, for 1 week or frozen for a month.)
In a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water, then drain the pasta. Whisk together 2/3 cup of the pesto and the reserved pasta water and toss with the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve right away.
From Epicurious via The Farm by Ian Knauer, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-garlic-scape-pesto-395769
Tuna Souvlaki Gyro with Beet Tahini and Parsley Salad
- 2 medium red beets (about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter), trimmed, scrubbed
- Olive oil for drizzling and brushing
- 1/4 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste)*
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 cup finely chopped halved and seeded peeled cucumber
- 1/3 cup (lightly packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions, green part only
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 3/4 pounds ahi tuna steaks, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 pita breads
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
*Available at some supermarkets and natural foods stores, and at Middle Eastern markets.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place beets on sheet of foil. Drizzle beets with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and seal foil tightly. Roast beets until tender, about 50 minutes. Cool and peel beets. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Cut beets into 1/4-inch cubes. Whisk yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, tahini, and 2 tablespoons water in medium bowl. Add beets and fold to coat. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Place cucumber, parsley, green onions, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice in medium bowl; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat barbecue (medium-high heat). Divide tuna cubes among 6 metal skewers. Brush tuna with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then oregano. Grill tuna until charred on all sides but still pink in centers, about 1 minute per side. Grill pita breads until warmed and charred, about 1 minute per side.
Place 1 pita bread on each of 6 plates. Spoon parsley salad atop pita. Place 1 tuna skewer atop each. Spoon beet tahini over. Garnish with onion rings and lemon wedges and serve.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Jill Dupleix, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tuna-souvlaki-gyro-with-beet-tahini-and-parsley-salad-238189