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 – #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Beets
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – a slicer for everyone!  Plus a couple of picklers types too.
  • Yellow Onion
  • Salad Turnips
  • Basil
  • White & Cheddar Cauliflower
  • Fava Beans – Ahh, the amazingness that is the fava bean.  We enjoy them  most shelled and then popped out of their inner skin.  Although they take a little extra prep time, the buttery beans are worth the effort!  No time for shelling?  Try grilling the whole pod.
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – The first apples of the season!  They will continue to ripen to a pale yellow a which point thy will bruise very easily so we’re sharing them sooner than later.  They are tart and soft, best used in apple sauce.  Jeff suggests a savory bbq sauce would be tasty

more planting (left) and basil transplants (right)

First off, many thanks to everyone who made it out on Saturday to the farm open house.  We appreciate you taking the time to come out and see your vegetables in the field and meet other CSA members!  Sorry it wasn’t windy enough for the kites and we forgot to offer up the hay ride. Luckily there will be another opportunity in October for those things and more!

In addition to the open house, and open house prep, this past week was full of planting and weeding and irrigating.  A typical mid-summer week on the farm.  The next rounds of basil, parsley, beets, broccoli, and cabbage went into the ground.  Lettuce and melons and beans got weeded.  A big sowing of overwintering crops including purple sprouting broccoli and extra kale and cabbage was started Sunday.  The push continues to keep this season on the rails.  The week ahead will look very similar.  We’ll weed crops, we’ll plant crops, we’ll start more crops.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

P.S. A little update on my mom since her car accident at the end of June.  She’s currently in a rehab facility, recuperating and working with occupational therapy folks to learn to safely do things as her vertebrae continue to heal.  She’s expected to head home late next week to continue the healing process. 

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Spice-Roasted Cauliflower with Beet Emulsion

  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed saffron threads
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper flakes
  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup canned beets (or 1/2 cup fresh, cooked beets, pureed in a blender)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Heat butter and 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a medium sauté pan. Add all spices and season with salt. Cook about 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and honey and cook about 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so on all sides. When cauliflower is tender, remove it; add beets and lime juice to pan and reduce liquid by half. Add remaining oil. Divide cauliflower among 4 plates and drizzle with beet emulsion. Serve hot.

From Epicurious via SELF, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spice-roasted-cauliflower-with-beet-emulsion-230322#reviews

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Cucumber Apple Pickle

  • 1/2 pound Japanese or Kirby cucumbers
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 Fuji or Granny Smith apple
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned) or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon very thin matchsticks of peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of Korean hot red-pepper threads (optional)

Slice cucumbers crosswise 1/8 inch thick and toss with sea salt. Let stand 30 minutes, then rinse well and squeeze out excess liquid with your hands.

Halve apple half lengthwise and cut out core. Slice crosswise 1/8 inch thick.

Toss apple with cucumbers and remaining ingredients and marinate, chilled, turning occasionally, at least 1 day.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Lillian Chou, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-apple-pickle-351891

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Flatbread with Fava Beans, Cucumbers, and Burrata

  • 2 cups shelled fava beans (from about 2 pounds pods)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 Garlic-Herb Naan or 1 pound store-bought pizza dough, room temperature, halved
  • 2 (8-ounce) balls burrata or fresh mozzarella, drained
  • Basil leaves (for serving)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Flaky sea salt

Cook fava beans in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a mesh sieve, transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water. Drain and peel. Combine lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. oil, and half of fava beans in a medium bowl and lightly mash with a fork. Stir in remaining fava beans; season with kosher salt and pepper.

Combine cucumbers and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with kosher salt. Let sit until slightly softened, 10–12 minutes.

Prepare a grill for medium-high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off); lightly oil grate. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, gently stretch to about a 10×8″ oval. Grill over direct heat, turning and rotating as needed, until bread is stiff and both sides are lightly charred, about 3 minutes total. Move to indirect heat to keep warm while you grill the remaining piece of dough.

Transfer flatbreads to a work surface. Tear burrata into pieces and divide between flatbreads; top with fava bean mixture, cucumbers, and basil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, sea salt, and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Dave Muller and Lana Porcello, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/flatbread-with-fava-beans-cucumbers-and-burrata

 

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Summer CSA Share – #8

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

  • Carrots
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – choose from slicing and pickling varieties.  All are great eaten fresh.
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Radishes or Salad Turnips
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Broccoli/Cauliflower
  • Fava Beans – Ahh, the amazingness that is the fava bean.  We enjoy them  most shelled and then popped out of their inner skin.  Although they take a little extra prep time, the buttery beans are worth the effort!  No time for shelling?  Try grilling the whole pod.
  • Strawberries
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – The first apples of the season!  They will continue to ripen to a pale yellow a which point thy will bruise very easily so we’re sharing them sooner than later.  They are tart and soft, best used in apple sauce.  Jeff suggests a savory bbq sauce would be tasty.

We’re looking forward to inviting all members out to the farm this Saturday, July 15th, for the first of the season’s on-farm events.  We’ll have a potluck lunch, so bring a dish to share as well as plates and utensils for your group.  We’ll set up the P&C logo screen printing so bring a t-shirt if you want to partake.  We’ll break out the kites if the wind cooperates and we’ll definitely be taking a farm tour.  Click here for further details.

babies found in the carrot patch (left) and rainbow chard at dusk (right)

This season has thus far been a roller coaster.  We had to wait patiently for the rain to stop long enough for ground prep. and the first planting.  Then we plunged into the season, trying to catch up on work we’d have preferred to spread out over several months, but needing to get it all done at once.  This past week and a half has provided new twists to the roller coaster path that I hadn’t anticipated.  When we were called to the emergency room after my mom’s accident, priorities suddenly shifted, though the things needing doing didn’t let up.  This last week we attempted to get things back on track.

beginning the garlic harvest (left) and bringing in the Brussels sprouts seed crop (right)

This point in the season often feels like triage.  We identify what needs to be done and then focus on the most serious issues at hand.  This week we wrangled the tomato trellising into place after falling behind the week before and did some much needed weeding (there’s always more weeding to do).  We harvested the overwintered storage onions and got half the garlic in for curing.  We cut the Brussels sprouts seed crop for drying.  Our teenage nephew/employee, Kanon, weed whacked the orchards, improving today’s apple harvest immensely.  In the days ahead we’ve got more of the same lined up, plus planting, seeding, and a Saturday CSA potluck!

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:

Grilled Rainbow Chard with Fava Beans and Oregano

  • 2 pounds Swiss chard (preferably rainbow), stems and center ribs cut out (reserve leaves for another use)
  • 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (1 1/4 pounds in pods) or shelled fresh or frozen edamame (soybeans; 3/4 pound in pods)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Blanch chard stems:

Halve stems crosswise and cook in a large pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until just barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes (depending on thickness). Cool in an ice bath, reserving cooking water, then transfer to a plate.

Prepare fava beans:

Cook beans in boiling water 3 minutes, then drain and transfer to ice bath. Gently peel off skins (if using edamame, don’t peel).

Grill stems and assemble dish:

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium heat for gas); see Grilling Procedure. .

Toss chard stems with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Oil grill rack, then grill chard stems, covered only if using a gas grill, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, about 7 minutes. Cut into 1-inch lengths.

Cook garlic in remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until just pale golden. Add oregano, beans, and chard and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Transfer to a serving dish and stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-rainbow-chard-with-fava-beans-and-oregano-242846

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Herbed Cream Cheese Cucumber Rounds

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • Pinch of cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/2 medium seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped)
  • 3 medium radishes
  • Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
    • Special equipment: a Japanese Benriner* or other adjustable-blade slicer
    • Garnish: tiny fresh mint leaves and finely grated fresh lemon zest

Stir together cream cheese, herbs, zest, lemon juice, table salt, and cayenne.

Slice 32 (1/8-inch-thick) rounds from cucumber with slicer. Trim bottoms from radishes, then slice into 32 (1/16-inch-thick) rounds with slicer. Top each cucumber slice with a radish slice and 1/2 teaspoon herbed cream cheese. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and serve immediately.

*Available at Asian markets and cookware shops.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/herbed-cream-cheese-cucumber-rounds-107960

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Cherry-Apple Sauce

  • 5 Gala or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 pounds), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/4 cup cherry preserves

Combine apple pieces and unsweetened apple juice in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until apples are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in cherry preserves. Using potato masher or fork, mash mixture to chunky puree. (Sauce can be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Serve hot or cold.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Jayne Cohen, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cherry-apple-sauce-106010

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Summer CSA Share – #7

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

  • Carrots
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Garlic Scapes – Tender tips but getting woody towards the base, these are the last of the garlic scapes for this season.
  • Carola Yellow New Potatoes – The first of this season’s fresh potatoes!  These are early planted taters from a greenhouse. 
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Sugar Snap or Shelling Peas – Likely the last week for peas.
  • Sage
  • Broccoli
  • Yellow Onion
  • Strawberries!

Happy 4th of July!  We hope everyone has a fun and safe evening!  Today’s Salem pick-up will happen as normal despite the holiday.  Can’t make it today?  Send a friend or come to the farm tomorrow during the on-farm pick-up between 4-6pm.  Thanks!

digging the first of the season’s potatoes (left) and green tomatoes (right)

Suddenly it’s July!  When did that happen?  After a quick couple of months of planting, weeding, and irrigating this place really looks like a farm.  The first round of corn is beginning to tassel.  Trellising in the tomato house reveals plenty of green fruit.  The irrigation sprinklers are going non-stop.  Summer is here and hopefully summer fruits aren’t far behind.

night planting, third succession of sweet corn in the ground!

On Thursday evening we got a call from the hospital that my mom had been in a car accident.  X-rays revealed she had fractured 3 vertebrae and she was transferred to the Corvallis hospital’s trauma unit.  Although she’s in quite a bit of pain, she’s improving each day and we’re hoping she’ll be discharged to a nursing home soon.  Thankfully my sister lives in Bend and has been able to spend some time here this week helping cover the bases.  This week I’m also thankful for good car insurance, well-trained medical staff (paramedics, nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, CNAs, imaging and lab techs etc.), and the fact that my mom won’t need surgery.

Jeff’s been a champ, holding down the farm work as I fade between hospital visits and trying to accomplish small farm tasks (Oh, it’s time to start overwintering cauliflower and plant the next round of sweet corn?  Okay!).  He’s keeping everything running and getting things in shape for the upcoming CSA member farm visit on July 15th.  He’s been mowing, tilling, cultivating, irrigating, and keeping the animals watered and fed.  Please give him a break at the pick-ups this week.  He’s picking up the slack in my absence.

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:

Potato Gratin with Sage and Onions

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced (or use garlic scapes)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced (about 7 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and 2 tablespoons sage; sauté 5 minutes. Add potatoes and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to boil. Boil until water is completely absorbed, about 8 minutes. Add cream, salt, and pepper; bring to boil. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until potatoes are tender and top is golden, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sage. Serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-gratin-with-sage-and-onions-105824 

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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 via Fifty Shades of Kale by Drew Ramsey, M.D., http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kaleslaw-56389912 

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Cold Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Kale

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into large florets with some stalk attached
  • 2 garlic cloves, 1 finely grated, 1 thinly sliced, divided (or use garlic scapes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, divided
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • 1 (3-inch) piece ginger, peeled, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 4 cups chopped Tuscan kale leaves
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages fresh ramen noodles or 2 (3-ounce) packages dried
  • Torn mint leaves and toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss broccoli with grated garlic, sambal oelek, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned in spots, 20–25 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk scallions, ginger, sliced garlic, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, and remaining 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup oil in a large bowl. Add kale; toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain; rinse under cold water. Add noodles and warm broccoli to kale and toss to coat. Divide among bowls and top with mint, sesame seeds, and more scallions.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cold-sesame-noodles-with-broccoli-and-kale

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Summer CSA Share – #6

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

  • Chioggia Beets – mostly these classic bulls-eye beets this week, though a few bunches of red beets rounded out the harvest this week.
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Summer Squash!
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips
  • Yellow Potatoes –  the last of the storage potatoes!  We’ll be harvesting new potatoes out of a greenhouse soon.  In meantime, enjoy the final spuds from last season.
  • Fava Tops – as the name suggests, these are the tops of the fava bean plants.  The leaves are a lovely pea-flavor and we suggest using them just like other greens (kale, chard etc.).  Fava leaf pesto anyone?
  • Sugar Snap Peas – Our second planting really came on this week!
  • Shelling Peas– The fibrous pod of these peas isn’t as easy to eat at the pod of the snap peas, so you’ll want to shell them and enjoy the sweet peas inside. 
  • Red Onion
  • Cherries – Our single cherry tree always amazes us with just enough cherries to share with you.

bird’s nest in the zucchini bed (left) and getting the row cover off the winter squash (right)

Summer showed up in force last weekend with a heatwave to start things off with a punch.  This season has been a roller coaster of weather, first rain then sun.  This week’s forecast of high 70s to mid-80s is a welcome reprieve from the high 90s that made all field work a slog.  Somehow we managed to plant some lettuce, beets, carrots, cilantro and a second round of melons (fingers crossed on that one).  We pushed through the heat to get some carrots weeded and liberated the first round of melons from the weeds as well.

The high temps were even higher inside our buttoned up propagation house, which is not ideal for germinating and growing transplants.  We’ve had trouble getting proper air flow and cooling in the house for some time so this weekend we set-up a triage location under the new barn extension and moved all the plants out of the overheated house.  We then made the bold decision to take the plastic off the propagation house and cover it only with a woven shade cloth.  This allows for much more air flow through the space, keeping plants cooler and hopefully happier.  We’re planning to build a new propagation house this fall, so we made the bet that taking the plastic off now won’t be too much trouble going forward.  We started filling up the house again, this time sowing overwintering cabbage, fennel, and rutabagas.

The plant, irrigate, cultivate, irrigate, harvest cycle is in full force here at the end of June.  This is the height of it all, and we’re attempting to keep up.  We’re sure happy to see summer squash in the mix this week.  Summer is here, and beyond belief summer crops are starting to arrive too.

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:

Romaine and Roasted-Beet Salad with Creamy Roquefort Dressing

For dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream

For salad

  • 6 medium beets, tops trimmed
  • 3 hearts of romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise, ends left intact
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 watercress bunch, thick stems trimmed
  • 3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted

Make dressing:

Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Fold in Roquefort cheese and cream. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Make salad:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool beets; peel and cut each into wedges.

Arrange 2 lettuce quarters crosswise on each of 6 large plates. Surround lettuce on each plate with beet wedges. Top with some onion slices and watercress sprigs. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with walnuts and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/romaine-and-roasted-beet-salad-with-creamy-roquefort-dressing-4270

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Zucchini and Spinach Frittata

  • 6 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 zucchini (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large bunch spinach, washed well, spun dry, and chopped coarse (or use the fava leaves!)
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, crumbled

In a large non-stick skillet heat 2 teaspoons oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté zucchini until it begins to brown. Add spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until just wilted. Season mixture with salt and pepper. Remove skillet from heat and cool vegetables slightly.

Preheat oven to 225°F. Grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl beat eggs lightly and stir in vegetables, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. In a 9-inch heavy omelet pan heat 1 teaspoon oil over moderately low heat until hot but not smoking and add 1 cup egg mixture, tilting pan to distribute evenly. Cook egg mixture until set underneath but still slightly wet in center, 3 to 4 minutes. Slide frittata halfway out of pan onto prepared baking sheet and fold second half over to make a half circle. (Eggs will continue to cook from residual heat.) Keep frittata warm in oven. Make 3 more frittata with remaining oil and egg mixture in same manner. Keep frittata warm, covered with foil, up to 1 hour.

Cut each frittata into 8 wedges.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-and-spinach-frittata-10237

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Lettuce and Pea Soup

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups sliced romaine (about 1 head)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth plus, if desired, additional to thin soup
  • 1 cup cooked fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled
  • a pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

In a saucepan cook onion in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in romaine and cook, stirring, until wilted. Stir in 1 1/2 cups broth, peas, sugar, marjoram, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste and simmer soup 10 minutes.

In a blender purée soup in batches until smooth, adding additional broth to thin to desired consistency. If serving soup hot, return it to pan whisk in sour cream. Heat soup, stirring, until just heated through, but do not let it boil. If serving soup cold, transfer it to a bowl and whisk in sour cream. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and chill soup, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes, or until cool.

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Summer CSA Share – #5

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

  • Carrots
  • Salad Mix
  • Pink Beauty & French Breakfast Radishes
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips
  • Broccoli! – Our first broccoli of the season is from a planting we’d written off as a failure due to the wet spring weather.  There’s not much, but it’s better than nothing and we’re glad to have something to show for that first planting.
  • Sunchokes from storage (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.  This sunchoke pickle recipe sounds fun.  Also, check out the sunchoke mash recipe at the bottom of the post.  Note that they’ve been in storage and are best used sooner than later.
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Green Garlic – Add this to anything and everything for a mild garlic taste.
  • Sugar Snap Peas – we’re between pea plantings, so there are fewer this week.  Hopefully more from the new, outdoor planting soon including shelling peas!
  • Sweet Onion

Happy Summer Solstice!  Today is the longest day of the year, and the first day of summer.  Although the spring rains and lower temps have resulted in a lag in the summer produce, the ever increasing daylight between the Spring Equinox and today has indeed spurred plant growth.  With sun and warm temps in the weather forecast, we’re well on the way towards summer vegetables.  We’ve seen the first of the green fruits in the tomato house and the first baby zucchini in the summer squash planting.  The seasons are shifting, and the produce is hopefully shifting with them.

There are so many variables in growing a crop from seed to harvest.  Getting seeds to germinate and grow into transplant-able plants is the first hurdle.  Then working the ground at just the right moisture level to create a good bed for transplanting.  Adding the right amendments and organic fertilizers for optimizing growth.  Getting the plants in the ground before they outgrow their plastic flats.  Controlling the weeds through tractor cultivation, hand tools, or by hand.  Irrigating once the rain quits, but not too much or too little.  Covering pest-susceptible plants with floating row covers that keep flea beetles and cucumbers beetles out as plants get established.  At any point during this process a missed step can result in loss or complete failure.  Compound these issues over 40 crops and you’re farming.  Perhaps all that made it a little sweeter when Jeff caught the pocket gopher that had taken out 5 tomato plants in the greenhouse.

Saturday planting (left) and Sunday cultivating (right)

Although the rain late last week put a damper on the biggest of our weeding dreams, instead we took some time for propagation, late-season planning, and we squeezed in a run for buying some drip irrigation supplies and more organic fertilizer.  We also managed to get our fall brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) in the ground on Saturday and some tractor cultivation done on Sunday.  More planting, seed-sowing, weeding, and irrigating on deck this week.  This is go time on the farm and we’re doing all we can to make sure there’s future food to harvest for you.

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:

Cold Sesame Noodles with Summer Vegetables

  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 8 cups matchstick-size pieces mixed summer vegetables (such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and bell peppers; about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces buckwheat soba (Japanese-style noodles) or vermicelli noodles
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

Whisk first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain. Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add to bowl with vegetables. Add cilantro and scallions; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cold-sesame-noodles-with-summer-vegetables-51104410

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Chunky Jerusalem Artichoke and Potato Mash

  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, unpeeled, scrubbed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Combine Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes in large pot. Pour enough cold water over to cover; add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat and boil gently until all vegetables are tender when pierced with knife, about 18 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. Return vegetables to pot. Mash vegetables, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/2 cupfuls to moisten until chunky mixture forms. Stir in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Transfer mash to large heatproof bowl. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in same bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally, before serving.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Debora Madison, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chunky-jerusalem-artichoke-and-potato-mash-241345

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Snap Peas and Carrots

  • 1/2 lb baby carrots (from 1 bunch), trimmed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, strings removed and snap peas halved lengthwise diagonally
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • Special equipment: parchment paper

Put carrots, water, and salt and pepper to taste in an 8-inch skillet, then cover with a round of buttered parchment paper (buttered side down; parchment should be touching carrots) and simmer until carrots are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove parchment. Add snap peas and increase heat to high, then cook until peas are crisp-tender and liquid is reduced to about 1 teaspoon, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add orange juice, sugar, and butter, swirling skillet to coat carrots and peas, and cook until liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/snap-peas-and-carrots-108512

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Summer CSA Share – #4

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

  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce – two types of butterhead lettuce this week!
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Kohlrabi – a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Check out the saute recipe at the bottom of the newsletter.
  • German Butterball Potatoes – Yellow potato, excellent boiled, roasted, or fried.  These are more potatoes from storage so use them up sooner than later.
  • Cooking Greens Bunches – Mixed bunches of collards, red kale, lacinato kale, and sometimes chard.
  • 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.  We ate some delicious garlic scape butter on bread at a friend’s house this past weekend!
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Overwintered Siskiyou Sweet Onions – A re-selection of Walla Walla sweet onions from Siskiyou Seeds in Southern Oregon.

Last Thursday we had our annual organic inspection.  Organic certification is a third-party audit process where a certifying agency, in our case Oregon Tilth, looks through our records and sends an inspector to tour the farm to make sure we’re in compliance with the USDA organic standards.

Growing organically means we follow the National Organic Program (NOP) standards in our growing practices.  The NOP standards lay out rules for what inputs are allowed in an organic system, such as no use of GMOs and no synthetic chemicals, and they set guidelines on things like how compost is made and what seeds and transplants are used.  They also require growers to maintain or improve the soil and water resources on farms.

The rules are generally straightforward but do require us to keep records on fertility inputs including when amendments were purchased and spread in the field, seed and plant purchase dates and suppliers, and harvest dates and quantities.  Each spring we update our farm’s organic systems plan with any changes, such as this year we’ve changed potting mixes and Oregon Tilth confirmed the new mix is allowed for use under the organic standards.  During the inspection we’re asked to answer and provide evidence for a series of questions that cover all the NOP standards.  We take a single crop from seed purchase, through its growing cycle, all the way to harvest to show that the quantity of seed purchased and amount planted matches the harvest records.  We did a similar exercise for the organic fertilizer we use, showing how much had been purchased, where and when it had been spread, and comparing those records to the amount remaining.

Some growers think this is too much extra work, the time and energy involved with record keeping and the inspection, but now that we have a few systems in place it doesn’t feel burdensome.  In fact having the records certainly makes us better farmers because our memories aren’t what they used to be.  And having an independent organization look over our records and tour the farm definitely helps us to know we’re doing things the right way.  We also hear folks say the process is too expensive.  Last year we paid $1521 for our certification but currently there is a reimbursement of up to $750 from the federal government that helps to alleviate some of that financial cost.  The cost is a small fraction of our income and the benefits definitely outweigh the cost at this point.

mixed carving pumpkin seeds (left) and inside the clean propagation house (right)

In addition to the organic inspection we spent the week weeding, seeding, and appreciating the slightly slower pace due to the rain.  Fall broccoli and cauliflower and the next successions of parsley, sweet corn, and lettuce all got started in the freshly cleaned-out propagation house.  Carving pumpkins got seeded into the ground.  We also managed to beg enough extra cabbage and broccoli transplants from our friends to fill in for some past germination issues we’d had last month in this manic spring weather.  That one certainly helped me sleep better at night.  Hopefully the rain will grant us a window for some more planting and serious cultivation this week.  The plants are all growing out there!

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:

Honey-Glazed Carrots with Carrot Top Gremolata

  • 4 3/4–5 pounds small carrots with tops (about 4–5 bunches), trimmed, peeled, tops reserved
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon dark honey, such as buckwheat
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped (or use garlic scapes)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine carrots, butter, orange juice, honey, and 1 tsp. salt in a large wide heavy pot. Cover and cook over medium heat until carrots are crisp-tender, 10–12 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse about 1 bunch worth of carrot tops and pat dry. Coarsely chop to yield about 2/3 cup. Combine tops with garlic, lemon zest, oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl.

Uncover carrots and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce reduces enough to coat carrots, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and cayenne; adjust seasonings.

Transfer carrots to a platter and top with carrot top gremolata.

From Epicurious by Mindy Fox, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/honey-glazed-carrots-with-carrot-top-gremolata

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Sauteed Kale with Kohlrabi

  • 1 1/4 pound kohlrabi, bulbs peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds kale (2 bunches), stems and center ribs discarded
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or use garlic scapes)
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
  • Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer

Very thinly slice kohlrabi with slicer.

Whisk together lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi with dressing.

Finely chop kale. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add kale by the handful, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more kale as volume in skillet reduces. When all of kale is wilted, sauté with 1/2 teaspoon salt until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. 3Toss kale with kohlrabi and pistachios.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Ian Knauer, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-kale-with-kohlrabi-354974

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Butter Lettuce and Radish Salad

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled (or use garlic scapes here)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Table salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 heads butter lettuce, outer leaves discarded, leaves torn
  • 12 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, chervil, basil, and chives, minced
  • 1 (3-ounce) piece Parmesan cheese

In 1-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water. Using mortar and pestle or food processor, grind or crush garlic, lemon zest, and kosher salt into fine paste. Whisk paste into lemon juice mixture. Gradually whisk in oil. Whisk in table salt and pepper to taste.

In large bowl, toss together lettuce, radishes, minced herbs, and dressing. Divide mixture among 6 salad plates. Using vegetable peeler, shave curls of Parmesan atop each salad and serve.

From Epicurious by Suzanne Tracht and Adeena Sussman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butter-lettuce-and-radish-salad-with-lemon-garlic-vinaigrette-236743

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Summer CSA Share – #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce – three types of head lettuce this week including two romaines and a butterhead
  • Chard
  • Parsley
  • 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!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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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

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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

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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

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Summer CSA Share – #2

Welcome to the 2nd share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Carrots
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Storage Potatoes – From last year’s crop, you’ll want to eat these sooner than later.
  • Salad Mix – lettuce mixed with a little red-stemmed spinach
  • Miznua – a mild, kale-like green, great for sautéing or eaten fresh
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips
  • Red Ursa Kale or Storage Cabbage
  • 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
  • Spring Bunching 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.

I’d hoped to write a longer newsletter update about the winter/spring weather and the current state of the farm.  Unfortunately a computer issue has come up and now I only have time for a quick hello.  We’ve been busy on the farm this past week, trying to keep up with the weeds and catch up on the planting that has been consistently pushed due to the very rainy spring weather.  We finally got the peppers, outdoor tomatoes, eggplant, melons, summer squash,  cucumbers, and leeks in the ground this past weekend.  It’s beginning to finally look like summer might arrive on the farm after all.

The wet weather of March and April means we’re currently trying to put together these first shares from spring planted greenhouse crops and overwintered storage items.  Hopefully the crops will catch up with the CSA calendar before too long and we’ll have a more diverse selection.  For the meantime, enjoy the peas and greens of spring and know that we’re working our very hardest to grow your future vegetables.

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:

Spiced Fillet of Beef with Mizuna Salad

  1. For beef
    • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    • 2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
    • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 3 1/2 pounds center-cut beef tenderloin roast (fillet of beef), trimmed and, if necessary, tied
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  2. For salad
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 4 ounces mizuna or baby arugula, trimmed

For beef:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toast peppercorns, cumin, and coriander , then cool completely. Grind spices with red pepper flakes in an electric coffee/spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Stir in kosher salt.

Pat beef dry and sprinkle with spices on all sides, pressing to adhere. Heat oil in a large flameproof roasting pan set across 2 burners over high heat until just smoking, then brown beef on all sides, about 2 minutes.

Roast in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into center registers 120°F, about 25 minutes. Let beef stand in pan 25 minutes. Beef will continue to cook as it stands, reaching 130°F (medium-rare).

Make salad and slice beef:

Whisk together oil, lemon juice, shallot, and salt in a bowl, then add pepper to taste.

Untie beef if necessary, then slice. Toss mizuna with dressing and serve beef topped with salad.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spiced-fillet-of-beef-with-mizuna-salad-107005

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Fingerling Potato Salad

  • 3 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 3/4″-1″ pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 9 tablespoons (or more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • 3 medium leeks (white and palegreen parts only), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into ¼” slices (about 5 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 3″. Stir in 1 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and let cool slightly.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until seeds start to pop, about 2 minutes. Pour oil with seeds into a large bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 10-12 minutes.

Whisk remaining 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon water into mustard-seed oil. Add potatoes and leeks; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Return to room temperature before serving, adding more oil and vinegar if dry.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Sara Dickerman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fingerling-potato-salad-366411

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Glazed Hakurei Turnips

  • 3 bunches baby hakurei turnips, baby turnips, or red radishes (about 2 pounds), trimmed, greens reserved
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Kosher salt

Place turnips in a large skillet; add water to cover turnips halfway. Add butter, sugar, and a large pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is syrupy and turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. (if turnips are tender before liquid has reduced, use a slotted spoon to transfer turnips to a plate and reduce liquid until syrupy. Return turnips to pan and stir to coat well.) DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm before continuing.

Add turnip greens to skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Anita Lo, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/glazed-hakurei-turnips-368274

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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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