Summer CSA Share – #10

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

  • Lemon Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Bunching Onions
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Sweet Corn – This week’s corn isn’t quite as sweet as the past week’s has been.  I think it would be best turned into corn chowder.
  • Basil
  • Poblano Peppers – Poblanos are often stuffed for chile rellenos but they can bring a mild chile flavor to other dishes too.
  • Tomatoes – slicers and cherries!
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – An early apple variety that turns almost white and very soft at peak ripeness.  Difficult for storage but excellent for applesauce.  Jeff made a couple of pies out of these last week before they softened up and they were delicious!

Poblano peppers (left) and Sakura F1 cherry tomatoes (right)

The reprieve in 90 degree days was short-lived last week, but those couple of days with highs in the low 80s were welcome here on the farm.  The heatwave has returned, and it doesn’t look like it will be letting up anytime soon.  Can we just skip ahead to September?  The hot weather has certainly brought on the summer crops though.  Peppers, eggplants, tomatoes: it’s nightshade week!  I should have thrown in some potatoes just to round out the family.

As we settle into August the work here on the farm continues with irrigation, planting for fall and winter harvests, and constant weeding and cultivation.  Jeff has been tinkering with our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor some more this past week, even splitting it in half to replace the clutch.  It looks like we may be back in working order and ready to get back to tractor cultivation, though somewhere along the way the starter has decided to stop working.  Luckily it’s got a hand crank that works like a charm at the moment.  It’s been all hand weeding and hoeing for me this week and I welcome the return of the tractor for weeding!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sweet Italian Sausage Casserole

  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup diced (1/2-inch) eggplant
  • 1 cup diced (1/2-inch) zucchini
  • 1 cup diced (1/2-inch) red or green bell pepper (or use poblanos for a little extra spice)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Cayenne or black pepper, to taste
  • 2 ounces grated mozzarella cheese

1. Melt the margarine with the oil in a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Add the sausage meat and cook for 10 minutes, breaking up the meat with a spoon. Remove to a bowl with a slotted spoon; reserve.

2. To the same pot, add the eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Stirring occasionally, cook until softened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the reserved sausage, the tomatoes, parsley, basil and cayenne. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Spoon the mixture into an 8×9-inch, oven-to-table baking dish to fit and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Bake in a 350°F preheated oven until the cheese melts, about 15 to 20 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Parade, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sweet-italian-sausage-casserole-107343

.

Pita Sandwiches with Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes and Cucumber

sauce

  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped
  • 1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed

sandwiches

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Fresh breadcrumbs made from French bread
  • All purpose flour
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), unpeeled, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 6 pita bread rounds
  • 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 7-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, cut into strips

Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, peppers, basil and garlic in medium bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 2 heavy large baking sheets with vegetable oil spray. Whisk olive oil, vinegar and oregano in small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons water in medium bowl to blend. Place breadcrumbs in shallow dish. Place flour in another shallow dish. Lightly dust each eggplant slice with flour; dip eggplant into egg mixture and then into breadcrumbs, coating completely. Place eggplant slices on prepared baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil mixture. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake until brown on both sides and tender, turning occasionally, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool eggplant on baking sheets.

Place 2 or 3 eggplant slices in each pita. Stuff each pita equally with tomatoes, cucumber and red pepper strips. Drizzle 1/3 cup sauce over filling in each pita and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Jill Browning, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pita-sandwiches-with-eggplant-peppers-tomatoes-and-cucumber-103259

.

Poblano Corn Chowder with Shrimp

    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
    • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
    • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
    • 2 large poblano chilies, seeded, chopped
    • 2 14 3/4- to 15-ounce cans cream-style corn
    • 1 16-ounce package frozen corn kernels, thawed (or use this week’s corn)
    • 2 14-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
    • 1 cup whipping cream
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, coarsely chopped
    • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Mix 2 tablespoons butter and flour in small bowl to blend; set aside.

Finely chop onion and celery in processor. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion-celery mixture and chilies; sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Add creamed corn and next 5 ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat. Whisk in butter-flour mixture and simmer 15 minutes to blend flavors. Add shrimp and 4 tablespoons cilantro; simmer until shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle chowder into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/poblano-corn-chowder-with-shrimp-107062

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #9

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

  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Lemon Cucumbers
  • Green & Purple Beans – Note that the purple beans will turn greenish when cooked.
  • Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Red Bunching Onions
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Sweet Corn
  • Iko Iko Bell Peppers – These peppers start out as purple and yellow and then turn orange and red as they further ripen.  Although they’re more colorful, think of them like green peppers this week.
  • Tomatoes – slicers and cherries!
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – An early apple variety that turns almost white and very soft at peak ripeness.  Difficult for storage but excellent for applesauce.  Jeff made a couple of pies out of these last week before they softened up and they were delicious!

the moonrise recently (upper left), evening break time (upper right), all the tomatoes (lower right), and Jeff & Ira cooling off at the river (lower left)

Another hot week in the books.  I’m grateful for the heat reprieve in the weather forecast for the week ahead.  Enough with these 96 degree days already.  Highs in the upper 70s will seem chilly compared to the last few weeks and I can’t wait.  There’s even a slight chance of rain early next week.  The field work goes on no matter the temperatures, but it sure is easier when the the scorching heat chills out.

Several members have recently asked about the shift in the membership size of the CSA this summer and I’ve been meaning to write a bit about it.  Most of you know that I’ve undertaken this season predominately solo and that change has been reflected in the membership numbers.  Last year we had 95 shares and this year there are 53 shares making up the CSA.

The change in numbers is most obvious at the Salem pick-up, where the number of members is about half of those picking up there last year.  The other loss of members is represented by me no longer delivering pre-boxed shares locally to the medical school and hospital.  Some of those members now pick-up at the farm, so the on-farm pick-up hasn’t changed drastically.

Although the on-farm pick-up is half the Salem pick-up (12 on-farm vs 25 in Salem), from my perspective the CSA is split in half between Lebanon and Salem.  This is because another 16 shares-worth of produce is picked up each week by the Linn Benton Food Share for distribution in Lebanon and sometimes Albany through their network of food banks and soup kitchens.  This is the third year we’ve partnered with the Food Share to send fresh, organic produce directly to these locations.  They’ve purchased the shares ahead of time, just like other CSA members.  The Linn Benton Food Share has been a really fantastic organization to work with and their commitment to the local food economy is always surprising to me.  Although our small quantities don’t make the largest impact on hunger in this community, the Food Share does value the variety and freshness that is not always available from their other gleaning and bulk purchase outlets.

To recap, I’m harvesting 53 shares-worth of produce each week.  12 members pick-up on the farm, 25 members pick-up in Salem, and 16 shares are picked up by the Food Share.  That’s a little over half the number of shares we had last year.  Hopefully this has helped clear up some of the mystery behind the CSA member numbers.  I know it’s probably difficult to get a sense of the whole program as a member who picks up each week at either of the locations.  The sign-in sheets are short, there’s not usually a line, it all looks fairly simple.  I promise there’s more happening behind the scenes though.  And remember that 53 shares means 53 heads of cauliflower, 53 head of lettuce, 53 bunches of onions, 53 pints of cherry tomatoes, 106 bell peppers, 212 cucumbers etc.  Plus figuring out how to grow the produce to have available to harvest in the first place.  It’s a small victory each week and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Green Beans and Cucumbers with Miso Dressing

  • 3 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English hothouse cucumber
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 (1 1/2)-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1 serrano or Fresno chile, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions (for serving)

Lightly smash cucumbers with a rolling pin, then tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit to allow salt to penetrate.

Meanwhile, place green beans in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and smash with rolling pin until most of the beans are split open and bruised. Whisk ginger, chile, garlic, vinegar, miso, olive oil, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing to beans and toss around in bag to coat; season with salt.

Drain cucumbers and add to bag with beans. Shake gently to combine. Transfer salad to a platter and top with sesame seeds and scallions.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Chris Morroco, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-beans-and-cucumbers-with-miso-dressing

.

Corn and Tomato Scramble

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped, keeping white parts and greens separate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups corn kernels (from about 8 ears)

Whisk together oil, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss tomatoes with dressing.

While tomatoes marinate, cook white parts of scallions in butter with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add corn and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Stir together corn, tomatoes, and scallion greens.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Ian Knauer, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-and-tomato-scramble-354230

.

Cheesy Baked Pasta with Cauliflower

  • 1 pound pasta, such as medium shell or tube pasta
  • 1 (14-ounce) can cherry tomatoes, lightly crushed by hand
  • 8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
  • 4 ounces provolone or other mildly sharp cheese (such as more of the cheddar below), coarsely grated
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • Room-temperature butter or nonstick cooking oil spray (for pan)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until about halfway cooked (it needs to be very firm at this stage so that it doesn’t overcook when baked). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

Lightly crush cherry tomatoes with your hands in a large bowl. Add mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, Parmesan, cream, and reserved ½ cup pasta cooking liquid and mix to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower and cooked pasta and toss to coat. Butter (or lightly coat) a 3-qt. or 13x9x2″ baking dish with butter. Scrape in pasta mixture and spread out into an even layer. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake pasta until hot throughout and steaming when foil is lifted, 20–25 minutes.

Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 425°F. Continue to bake pasta until sauce is bubbling and top is browned and crunchy in spots, 25–30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Chris Morocco, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cheesy-baked-pasta-with-cauliflower

.

.

 

 

Summer CSA Share – #8

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

  • Red Cabbage
  • Orange Beets
  • Cauliflower – orange and white this week
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Persian, picklers, and lemon!
  • Fennel
  • Salad Mix – a mix of several lettuces
  • Sweet Onion
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Sweet Corn
  • Shishito Peppers – Just the first handful of of these delicious little ‘roulette’ peppers. Some are hot, most are not.  They are delicious however you eat them, but blistered in hot oil and tossed with a little salt is our favorite.  Click here for that recipe.
  • Tomatoes – slicers and cherries!

Jeff and the Farmall (left) blanketflowers at sunset (middle) cherry tomatoes (right)

First off, many thanks to the folks that made their way out to the farm for the open house.  It was a fun afternoon of good food, kite flying, kiddie pool fun, and a farm tour.  Hopefully you had a good time too!  We’ll do it again the first weekend in October, so if you didn’t make it this time you’ve got another chance.

This past week has been a blur of weeding and harvest and irrigating.  July is the height of the season as the planting continues, the weeds take over, and harvesting can be epic.  Lucky for me Jeff got our Farmall Cub cultivating tractor back in action and I was able to take it through some beds that otherwise would have needed the hoe.  Any efficiencies found in July are welcome!  The week ahead will be more of the same.  It’s time to dig deep and wrestle some measure of control back into the farmscape.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Cauliflower with Onions and Fennel

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), cored, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions (about 1/2 pound each), halved lengthwise, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached, peeled
  • 2 fresh fennel bulbs (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached
  • 8 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 15 fresh marjoram sprigs

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to rimmed baking sheet.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add onion wedges. Cook until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Using spatula, carefully transfer onions to baking sheet with cauliflower, arranging wedges browned side up. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add fennel; sauté until fennel softens slightly and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to same baking sheet. Scatter garlic and marjoram over vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-onions-and-fennel-237336

.

Blood Orange, Beet, and Fennel Salad

  • medium red beets, tops trimmed
  • 2 medium golden beets, tops trimmed
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 medium navel orange (preferably Cara Cara)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup)
  • Good-quality extra-virgin olive, pumpkin seed, or walnut oil (for drizzling)
  • Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro and/or chervil leaves

Preheat oven to 400°. Wash beets, leaving some water on skins. Wrap individually in foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from all oranges; discard. Working over a medium bowl, cut between membranes of 2 blood oranges to release segments into bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl and discard membranes. Slice remaining blood orange and Cara Cara orange crosswise into thin rounds. Place sliced oranges in bowl with the segments. Add lemon juice and lime juice.

Peel cooled beets. Slice 2 beets crosswise into thin rounds. Cut remaining 2 beets into wedges. Strain citrus juices; reserve. Layer beets and oranges on plates, dividing evenly. Arrange fennel and onion over beets. Spoon reserved citrus juices over, then drizzle salad generously with oil. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and pepper. Let salad stand for 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Garnish salad with cilantro leaves.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/blood-orange-beet-and-fennel-salad-378345

.

Beet and Red Cabbage Slaw

  • 6 medium beets, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2/3 cup corn oil
  • 8 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about half of large head)
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh dill
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, coarsely grated (about 3 cups)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets in foil, enclosing completely. Bake beets until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool. Peel and coarsely grate beets. Whisk vinegar, sugar, mustard and caraway seeds in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Add cabbage, onion and grated beets to dressing and toss to coat. Let stand 45 minutes, tossing occasionally. Stir in dill. Season generously with salt and pepper. Line large bowl with lettuce. Mix 2 1/2 cups carrots into cabbage mixture. Spoon salad atop lettuce in bowl. Sprinkle remaining grated carrots over and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beet-and-red-cabbage-slaw-101845

.

.

 

Summer CSA Share – #7

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

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Carrots & New Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Persian, picklers, and lemon!
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Salad Mix – a mix of several lettuces
  • Big Bunching Onions
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Sweet Corn
  • Tomatoes!

Farm Open House This Saturday!  Come out and visit your vegetables in the field, meet other CSA members, and take a tour around the farm.  Click here for the details.

Zinnias adding a little color to the lettuce bed (left) and me, feeling the heatwave this weekend (right)

It’s been all about beating the heat this week. Summer suddenly showed up in force, meaning adjustments to the work schedule.  I’ve been trying to get field work done in the mornings and evenings while still attempting to be productive in the heat of the afternoons.  This is maybe the busiest time of the season as farm maintenance is center stage but planting for fall and winter succession continues on.  The long work days of summer are here, and hopefully the heat will take a breather sometime soon.

Jeff, working on our 1947 cultivating tractor (left) and a frog found in the kale (right)

I discovered last week that I’d accidentally added diesel fuel to our gas tractor the week before, so Jeff has been kind enough to take up the repair project.  It’s involved draining the fuel tank, replacing the fuel filter, and dis-assembling the engine to clean out the pistons after they’d seized up.  It’s no longer seized, but we’re not quite back to working order yet.  Lesson learned!  Pay attention to the fuel!

The week ahead looks like another hot one.  There’s plenty of field work to  be doing and some clean up for Saturday’s farm open house.  Hopefully it won’t be too hot for you to come out for a visit.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Romaine and Cucumber Salad with Garlic Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 heads of romaine, torn into bite-size pieces, rinsed, and spun dry (about 14 cups)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced crosswise

In a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, the garlic paste, and pepper to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the vinaigrette until it is emulsified. Add the romaine and the cucumbers and toss the salad well.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/romaine-and-cucumber-salad-with-garlic-vinaigrette-12280

.

Cauliflower Steaks with Coconut-Turmeric Relish

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt and Coconut-Turmeric Relish (for serving; optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove the toughest outer leaves from cauliflower (leave the tender inner leaves) and trim stem. Resting cauliflower on stem, cut in half from top to bottom, creating two lobes with stem attached. Trim off outer rounded edge of each piece to create two 1 1/2″-thick steaks; reserve trimmed off florets for making cauliflower rice or roasted cauliflower.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Cook cauliflower, gently lifting up occasionally to let oil run underneath, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil to skillet, turn steaks over, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until second side is golden brown, about 3 minutes, then transfer skillet to oven. Roast just until stems are tender when pierced with a cake tester or toothpick, 8–12 minutes. Let cool slightly.

If using relish, swipe some yogurt over each plate and place a steak on top. Spoon one-quarter of relish over each. Season with more salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Claire Saffitz, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-steaks-with-coconut-turmeric-relish

.

Summer Vegetable Frittata

 

  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 oz prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb medium zucchini (about 3), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 5 medium Swiss chard leaves, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 12 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 5 zucchini blossoms*
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Preheat broiler.

Whisk together eggs, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Cook prosciutto in oil in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until edges begin to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and chard and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Add scallions and zucchini blossoms and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook, lifting up cooked egg around edge using a spatula to let as much raw egg as possible flow underneath, until edge is set, about 2 minutes (top and center will still be very loose). Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.

Broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed, and golden, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

Cool frittata 5 minutes, then loosen edge with a clean spatula and slide onto a large plate. Cut into wedges.

*Available at many farmers markets and specialty produce markets.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Angelo Pellegrini, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-vegetable-frittata-109668

.

.

 

Summer CSA Share – #6

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

  • Red Ursa Kale
  • New Potatoes – Don’t forget, these new potatoes are freshly dug and don’t have much of a protective skin so they won’t store as long as other potatoes.
  • Broccoli
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Persian, picklers, and lemon!
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips
  • Parsley
  • Salad Mix – a mix of several lettuces
  • Fresh Torpedo Onions – Sweet red onions from southern Italy
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Tomatoes!

Planting the next round of broccoli and cauliflower last Saturday morning (left) and irrigating after planting (right)

As with many things on the farm this week, I’ve just about run out of time to write this newsletter.  It must be July!  I’m headed out to finish this week’s harvest and then it’s on to bagging up salad mix and potatoes, snapping a picture of the share and sending out the member email, loading up the truck, and heading to Salem for tonight’s pick-up.  Things are truckign along here on the farm.  The work of sowing seeds, weeding, irrigating, transplanting, and of course harvests all continue to get done, mostly.

Our new finger weeder set-up for the 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor (left) and this week’s torpedo onions (right)

I finally remembered to get a picture of our new finger weeder set-up on our cultivating tractor.  Finger weeders, as seen above, are taking the small-farming world by storm and I jumped on the bandwagon.  The rubber fingers rotate in between plants, disturbing the weeds that would otherwise be hard to get with a tractor and would need to be hoed out on foot. Jeff was a champ at helping me get them set-up on the tractor.  We found a metal bar at a local metal scrapyard and he cut it and painted it for mounting the brackets.  He then mounted everything to my specifications.  The new rig has been an asset already, I only wish I’d had it earlier in the season.

That’s a glimpse of what we’ve been up to here on the farm.  The week ahead will be all about staying cool and hydrated and keeping everything well irrigated in the fields.  It’s going to be a hot one!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Spicy Lamb Pizza with Parsley-Red Onion Salad

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 12 ounces ground lamb
  • All-purpose flour (for dusting)
  • 8 ounces prepared pizza dough, cut in half, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)

Place a baking sheet on a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 500°. Mix garlic, tomato paste, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, and ¾ tsp. salt in a large bowl. Mix in lamb.

Working with 1 piece of dough and keeping remaining piece covered, gently stretch dough into a 10×8″ oval and transfer to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet. (If dough springs back, cover and let rest 10 minutes, then stretch again, resting as needed.) Crumble half of the lamb mixture over dough and brush edges with 1 Tbsp. oil. Slide onto preheated baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer pizza to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough, lamb mixture, and 1 Tbsp. oil. Drizzle pizzas with more oil.

Toss onion, parsley, and lemon juice in a bowl; season with salt. Scatter over pizzas; sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

From Bon Appétit by Andy Baraghani, https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/spicy-lamb-pizza-with-parsley-red-onion-salad

.

New Potatoes with Parmesan, Black Pepper, and Gribiche Dressing

  • 1 pound new or other small waxy potatoes, halved if large
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ounce finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), divided
  • Gribiche Dressing (for serving)

Preheat oven to 425°. Drizzle potatoes with oil on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing once, until golden brown and tender, 20–25 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and scatter half of Parmesan over top. Roast until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Remove from oven and toss just to evenly coat potatoes.

Transfer potatoes to a platter and top with remaining Parmesan; season with pepper. Spoon dressing over top.

From Bon Appétit by Chris Morocco, https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/new-potatoes-with-parmesan-black-pepper-and-gribiche-dressing

.

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
  • 1½ teaspoons sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, divided
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, plus more for serving (or torpedo onion tops)
  • 1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 4 cups chopped  kale leaves
2 10-ounce packages fresh ramen noodles or two 3-ounce packages dried

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss broccoli with grated garlic, sambal oelek, 1 Tbsp. vinegar, and ¼ 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, ¼ tsp. pepper, and remaining ½ cup vinegar and ½ 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 Bon Appétit, https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cold-sesame-noodles-with-broccoli-and-kale

.

.

 

 

Summer CSA Share – #5

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

  • Green Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Mixed Cucumbers!
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Salad Mix – a mix of several lettuces
  • Leek FlowersRemember the leek scapes from last week?  If they hadn’t been harvested earlier this season they’d have eventually opened up into these amazing flowers.  The individual flowers make a wonderful peppery addition to salads, or anything really.
  • Green Beans
  • Scallions
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash

Farm Pick-up Members: There have been some questions about tomorrow’s pick-up and the holiday.  The on-farm pick-up will happen during the normal 4-6pm window on Wednesday.  If you can’t make it just shoot me an email to arrange a time later in the week to pick-up your share.  Thanks!

Scenes from today’s harvest: beets! (left) and honey bees digging the leek flowers (right)

We’ve made it to July!  Summer in the Pacific Northwest really gets underway in July, as do summer crops.  We’re on the cusp of the deluge of tomatoes and peppers and sweet corn and all the other heat loving vegetables that make summer delicious.  This first week of July we’ll have to settle for more spring greens, but hurrah for sweet beets and spicy leek flowers and the best of both lettuce worlds including butterhead lettuce and salad mix!  Not the worst way to wait out the arrival of summer crops.

Time to seed pumpkins (left) and weekend sweet corn planting (right)

On the farm things continue to truck along.  I harvested the overwintered kale seed crop and it is now drying down in the barn before threshing commences.  Every year we grow one or two brassica seed crops for our friends at Adaptive Seeds and this past year we grew Madeley Kale, a vigorous green heirloom from England.  After planting it out last August, this harvest has been a long time coming.

On Saturday Jeff got his farming on!  He was a huge help in getting some ground prepped and planted for the latest succession of sweet corn.  Faced with a sea of corn transplants on Saturday morning I wasn’t sure they were going to make it into the ground on time given the other tasks of the day.  I was thankful for his willingness to jump on the tractor and help chisel the ground, then hook up the fertilizer spreader,  then move irrigation pipe while I spread organic fertilizer, and then drive the tractor with the water wheel transplanter attached while I planted the four and half beds of corn.  My hero for reals!

We hiked up Bachelor Mountain (left) and the view of Mt. Jefferson from the top (right)

With the corn plants in the ground, the latest rounds of direct sown seeds planted, and somehow having caught up on irrigation, we headed for the hills on Sunday.  We hiked up Bachelor Mountain, just west of Mt. Jefferson, and enjoyed the views of the high Cascades from Mt. Adams up in Washington down to Mt. Shasta in California.  It’s a short two mile hike in, but some elevation gain slows the pace (especially for our our aging dog Ira Hayes), and the but the wildflowers were on display and a stroll in the woods was just the ticket.  It’s a whole different world up there and a wonderful contrast with the flat land of the farm down here in the valley.  It’s good to get a different perspective on things every now and then.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cabbage Wedges with Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette

  • 1 small head red or green cabbage (2 pounds or less)
  • 5 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
  • 4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.

Discard any discolored outer leaves from the cabbage, cut it into 8 wedges, then trim the stem a bit but leave enough on to keep the wedges together. Brush the cabbage on all sides with 2 tablespoons of the oil.

Put the cabbage on the grill directly over the fire, cut side down. Close the lid and cook until the bottom browns, about 5 minutes; turn and cook the other side. Transfer to a platter.

While the cabbage is grilling, put the pancetta in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it renders its fat and the meat crisps, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vinegar and remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and whisk to combine; taste and add some salt and pepper. (You can make the vinaigrette up to a day ahead; refrigerate and gently reheat it before using.) Pour the hot dressing over the cabbage wedges and serve.

From Epicurious via How to Grill Everything by Mark Bittman, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cabbage-wedges-with-warm-pancetta-vinaigrette

.

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

.

Coconut Zucchini Noodles and Spiced Meatballs

For the spiced meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pasture-raised lamb
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 scallions, sliced paper-thin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Red Boat is a Clean-approved brand)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

For the noodles:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
  • 1 red chile pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 broccoli crown, cut into small florets (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 to 1 pound zucchini, ends removed and sliced lengthwise with a peeler or mandoline into long pappardelle-like “noodles”
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

First, prepare the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix them thoroughly with your hands or a wooden spoon. Wet your hands, then form even-size balls. I usually go for about the size of a golf ball.

Heat a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Melt the coconut oil, and once it’s nice and hot, add the meatballs. Cook them for 30 to 45 seconds on each side, until they are all nicely browned. When they are about halfway done browning, make some space in the center of the pan and add the onions, garlic, lemongrass, and optional red chile. Continue to cook the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, then move the meatballs back into the center of the pan and add the coconut milk and water. Cover the pan and simmer for about 5 more minutes before adding the broccoli. Within a few minutes the broccoli should be tender and the coconut milk reduced and starting to thicken. Carefully fold in the zucchini noodles and allow them to cook in the liquid. Cook them just until the zucchini is tender. Salt to taste.

Serve with a garnish of cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

From Epicurious via Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/coconut-zucchini-noodles-and-spiced-meatballs

.

.

 

Summer CSA Share – #4

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

  • Mixed Spinach – More spinach?!  It’s true!  It’s hard not to bring you spinach when there is spinach to bring you.  It’s not long for this world, so enjoy it while we’ve got it!
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower – This past week’s sun has tinted some of the cauli a little purple, but it’s still tasty as ever.
  • Salad Mix – a mix of several lettuces
  • Fennel – A little anise flavor for your dishes this week.  Have you tried the fennel pickles recipe CSA member Chris A. shared with us last year?  Click here for a recipe.
  • Leek Scapes – If left on the leeks, these stalks would eventually form flowers and seed.  Harvested at the scape stage they are a delicious spring treat that you can chop up and use just like you would onions or leeks.
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Cherries! – Even with a low fruit set, somehow there is enough cherries from our single tree for everyone to get a taste.  A once a year treat!

Ira Hayes, always on the job (left) and tomatoes are coming! (right)

Now that we’re four weeks into the CSA season, I think I’m beginning to find some rhythm to the work of the farm.  Although this is our tenth season farming, and ninth CSA season, this is the first year I’m taking on the majority of the farming solo.  With Jeff working off the farm full-time, he’s playing the support role when it comes to the farm.  I’m thankful for everything he does to help out though.  He’s endeavoring to keep up on the endless mowing, he helps change implements on the tractor, he tills when it’s obvious I’m going to miss the weather window, he turns off irrigation water when I can’t get to it.  It’s nice to know he’s got my back if I need him.  But that leaves the daily choices, the daily work, to me.

After I made the choice to continue with the CSA back in February I’d figured out how to ramp up the work from the planning stages to the initial seed sowing and eventually ground prep, planting, and weeding.  The spring weather cooperated nicely and work progressed on time and to plan generally (for once!).  A few weeks back, when the CSA harvest began, I quickly remembered the summer schedule of harvest, distribution, and squeezing in everything else into the remaining days.

After several weeks of this, I think I’ve found my feet again.  It requires a lot of list making and prioritizing and getting out there and doing the work.  And it requires stepping back and recognizing the accomplishments, small and large, and even occasionally shifting focus from the farm.  In the week ahead I’ll be weeding the melons, sowing seeds for the next successions of carrots and cucumbers, prepping ground for the next round of corn planting, trellising tomatoes, and keeping up on irrigating everything.  And after all that hard work, I look forward to a hike in the woods with Jeff and maybe seeing some out-of-town friends if I’m lucky.  Then it all starts again next week.  It’ summertime!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Cauliflower with Onions and Fennel

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), cored, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions (about 1/2 pound each), halved lengthwise, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached, peeled
  • 2 fresh fennel bulbs (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached
  • 8 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 15 fresh marjoram sprigs

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to rimmed baking sheet.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add onion wedges. Cook until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Using spatula, carefully transfer onions to baking sheet with cauliflower, arranging wedges browned side up. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add fennel; sauté until fennel softens slightly and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to same baking sheet. Scatter garlic and marjoram over vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-onions-and-fennel-237336

.

Zucchini and Spinach Soup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (try using the leek scapes here)
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 12-ounce russet potato, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add zucchini and potato; stir to coat. Add 4 cups broth and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potato is soft, about 15 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, adding some spinach and cilantro to each batch. Return puree to same pot. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Season soup with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm soup before serving.)

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-and-spinach-soup-107910

.

Bacon and Swiss Chard Pasta

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 12 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 very large red onion, halved, sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard, stemmed, chopped (about 12 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Drain all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet. Add onion and saut over medium-high heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add Swiss chard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add pasta cooking liquid to skillet. Toss until chard is wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle vinegar over; cook 1 minute.

Add linguine and oil to sauce in pot and toss to coat. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bacon-and-swiss-chard-pasta-242133

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #3

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

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – These mild turnips are excellent raw in salads!
  • New Potatoes – Freshly dug potatoes, so new they don’t have skins yet!  Eat them up soon as new potatoes don’t store as well as mature fully-skinned potatoes.
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Mayan Jaguar Romaine Lettuce
  • 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.
  • Red Scallions
  • Mixed Kabocha Winter Squash – The very last of last fall’s winter squash this week.

baby bartlett pear (left) and the winter squash field (right)

The arrival of the solstice on Thursday marks the official beginning of summer.  The days have been lengthening since the spring equinox and now we’ve made it to the longest day of the year.  Days will slowly get shorter from here on out, making life wrangling crops a little easier.    Much of the work of the season has been done and now tasks begin to shift more to maintenance mode.  Although planting will continue, mostly for overwintering crops, the majority of the season-long crops have found their home in the fields.

new potatoes (left) and this past week’s planting efforts (right)

This past week was a busy one.  After the vegetable distributions early in the week, it was on to sowing the next round of seeds including sweet corn, fall brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), and herbs like basil and parsley.  Then I planted out the third succession of brassicas and lettuce into the field.  Luckily while I was still focused on the CSA harvest Jeff had offered to till the beds early last week after the big rains before they dried out too much, so they were ready for planting Thursday.  It was back to weeding on Friday.  I was happy to find time to clean up the newest corn plantings.  I also uncovered the winter squash and finally cleaned up the paths before the squash plants close in too much, making weeding much more difficult.  More of the same on tap this week.

forest service cabin at Hawk Mountain (left) and Mt. Jefferson from the trail (right)

We’ve been trying to get off the farm more this early season.  In the past it was rare to take a full day off and although it hasn’t happened every week, Jeff’s work schedule has made taking advantage of weekends much easier.  This past Saturday we went on a hike to a former fire lookout site on Hawk Mountain up past Breitenbush outside of Detroit.  It was a lovely day in the woods, despite the threatening thunderstorms.  We’re looking forward to more fun on and off the farm as the summer sets in.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Fava Beans with Red Onion and Mint

  • 3 cups peeled shelled fresh fava beans (2 1/2 pounds in pod)
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium red onions, chopped
  • Fine sea salt
  • Generous handful of mint, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)

Cook fava beans with 1 teaspoon oil in boiling unsalted water until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, then drain.

Cook onions in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add beans and cook until just heated through, then season with sea salt and pepper. Toss in mint. Serve immediately.

Cooks’ note:
Fava beans can be shelled and peeled (but not cooked) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
.

Potato and Romaine Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing

For dressing

  • 3 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chilled whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

For salad

  • 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers

Make dressing:

Blend first 5 ingredients in processor. With machine running add oil in slow steady stream. Add cream; blend mixture until thick and creamy. Mix in herbs. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using, thinning with water if dressing becomes too thick.)

Make salad:

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling water until tender, abut 30 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel potatoes. Cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Transfer potatoes to large bowl. Sprinkle with cider vinegar. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Whisk oil and vinegar in another large bowl. Add lettuce and toss to coat. Add capers to potatoes. Mix enough dressing into potatoes to coat. Spoon potatoes atop greens and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-and-romaine-salad-with-creamy-dijon-dressing-4442

.

Kabocha Squash and Pork Stir-Fry

  • 2 cups (1-inch pieces) peeled kabocha squash
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 ounces pork sausage, casing removed
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Crushed salted, roasted peanuts and chopped cilantro (for serving)

Steam squash in a steamer basket set in a pot of simmering water until tender, 6–8 minutes. Let cool slightly. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and cook squash, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet, add sausage, and cook, breaking into large pieces and stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add scallions, garlic, chile, and ginger and cook, stirring often, just until softened, about 2 minutes. Add squash, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar; toss to combine.

Serve stir-fry topped with peanuts and cilantro.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Chris Morocco, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kabocha-squash-and-pork-stir-fry

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #2

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

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – These mild turnips are excellent raw in salads!
  • Kohlrabi – A versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Check out the pickle recipe at the bottom of the newsletter.
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Leeks Scapes – If left on the leeks, these stalks would eventually form flowers and seed.  Harvested at the scape stage they are a delicious spring treat that you can chop up and use just like you would onions or leeks.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Spaghetti Squash – More of last fall’s winter squash on tap this week.

June spinach! (left) and organic inspection day, complete with seeds and farm notebooks and digital records for reviewing plus plenty of coffee (right)

Hopefully your first week with the CSA was successful!  It was fun to see everyone last week at the pick-ups and to get this show on the road after so many months of planning and planting.  When it came time to put this newsletter together, I realized I didn’t have many photos from the past week, but it was another busy one here on the farm.

After harvest and distribution early in the week, it was time for our annual organic inspection on Thursday.  That means four hours of reviewing all the farm records including planting, seed purchasing, ground work, and fertilizing and a farm tour.  We went through the records and traced a crop (radishes this year) from the seed purchase in February to sowing in early May to harvest last week.  We also used the records to trace our organic fertilizer use from purchase to spreading in the field.  I was thankful for accurate records and systems that we’d put into place in years past!  I always look forward to the opportunity to have our records and systems reviewed by a third party and it was another successful inspection.

This weekend’s rain was a welcome change after not having any precipitation for weeks.  I definitely appreciated nature’s willingness to help get the farm caught up on irrigation.  I think we ended up getting around an inch and a quarter overall.  I’ll take it!  Rainy days are good for getting the next round of transplants started and catching up on paperwork.  Now it’s back to the fields!  The next succession of broccoli and cauliflower plus the Brussels sprouts are ready to find a home in the ground this week.  And this is the weediest time of the season, as we head toward the summer solstice and the days are still getting longer.  I see some cultivating in my future!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sugar Snap Peas and Pasta

  • 1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and strings discarded
  • 1 lb penne
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

Cook sugar snaps in an 8-quart pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes, then transfer 1 cup sugar snaps to a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Transfer cooled sugar snaps to a cutting board. Cook sugar snaps remaining in pot until tender, about 2 1/2 minutes more, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Measure out and save 1 cup cooking water, reserving remaining water in pot.

Return cooking water in pot to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, then drain in colander. While pasta is cooking, cut 1 cup sugar snaps (on cutting board) crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Purée half of sugar snaps from bowl, half of garlic paste, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 cup cheese, and 1/4 cup saved cooking water in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then force purée with a rubber spatula through a medium-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Purée another batch in same manner, forcing through sieve into bowl, and add cut sugar snaps.

Toss hot pasta with sugar snap sauce and, if necessary, enough of remaining 1/2 cup saved cooking water to thin sauce to desired consistency, then season pasta with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sugar-snap-peas-and-pasta-231793

.

Kohlrabi Pickles with Chile Oil

  • 1 pound small kohlrabies, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chile oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Toss kohlrabies and salt in a large bowl to coat; chill, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes. Drain, then toss in a clean large bowl with garlic, cilantro, vinegar, chile oil, lime zest, lime juice, sesame seeds, fish sauce, sugar, and sesame oil to combine.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Andy Baraghani, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kohlrabi-pickles-with-chile-oil

.

Spaghetti Squash Fritters

  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti squash, strands separated (from 1 large squash)
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch/flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 green onion, sliced (try the leek scapes here)
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil or cooking fat of your choice

Place the squash in a large bowl. If it’s too moist, wrap it in some paper towels and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Add the arrowroot starch/flour, salt, green onion, and bacon and stir to combine well.

Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, then add them to the squash mixture and stir to combine.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the pan, and when it’s hot, spoon the squash mixture to form fritters of your desired size; 1/4 cup per fritter works well.

When the fritters are crispy and browned on one side, about 5 minutes, use a spatula to flip them and continue cooking on the other side until crisped, about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.

From Epicurious via Weeknight Paleo by Julie Mayfield & Charles Mayfield, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spaghetti-squash-fritters

.

.

Summer CSA Share – #1

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

  • Mixed Spinach
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Yellow Onions – These are the last of the 2017 storage onions.  Use them up soon!
  • Broccoli
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Leeks – Some of these leeks include the scape in the center as they are 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
  • Butternut Winter Squash – Some of the winter squash has been stored well enough to keep enjoying it into the spring.  The flavor of this butternut is amazing!
  • Tomato Plants – Although our tomatoes have been in the ground for over a month, I potted up the extras and they’ll be available at this week’s pick-up.

early season irrigating (left) and snap pea progress (right)

Welcome to the ninth season of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  We’re  so glad you’ve decided to join us for the next 25 weeks of eating seasonally.  We’re excited to welcome back returning members and to welcome several new members to the group.

Most of you know we’ve scaled back the CSA this season, as Jeff has taken an off-farm job.  Although he’s been helping out on the farm some, you won’t be seeing him at pick-ups this year as he’ll be at work.  I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of pick-ups and seeing everyone each week.

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.

Jeff’s been helping out by driving the the tractor and water wheel transplanter (left) and freshly cultivated crops (right)

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

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.

That’s us! (left) and a frog friend (right)

As we begin the Summer CSA season, we hope you’re excited for the adventure ahead.  The greens of spring will inevitably give way to the fruits of 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!

Let’s get this season started!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sauteed Radishes and Sugar Snap Peas

  • 3 1/2 pounds sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 20 radishes (from 2 bunches), sliced 1/8 inch thick

Cook sugar snap peas in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels. Place in resealable plastic bag and refrigerate.) Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add radishes and sauté until translucent and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add sugar snap peas. Sauté until peas are heated through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer vegetables to bowl; serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-radishes-and-sugar-snap-peas-101405

.

Leek, Potato, and Sausage Soup

  • 1/4 teaspoon cuminseed
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • the white part of 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise, sliced thin crosswise, washed well, and drained (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 small boiling potato (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1/4 pound kielbasa, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and the slices quartered
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh spinach leaves (about 4)

In a dry heavy saucepan toast the cuminseed and the caraway seeds over moderate heat, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they are very fragrant, and transfer them to a plate. In the pan cook the leek in the butter, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until it is very soft, stir in the broth and the potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice, and bring the liquid to a boil. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, or until the potato is tender, stir in the toasted seeds, the kielbasa, the cream, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer the soup for 5 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the spinach.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/leek-potato-and-sausage-soup-11477

.

Butternut Squash and Kale Strata with Multigrain Bread

2 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
butter
2 lb. butternut squash
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 medium onions
1/2 small onion
3/4 lb. kale
2 clove garlic
1 pinch crushed red pepper
2 tsp. finely chopped thyme
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 1/2 c. milk
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. Crème fraîche
1 tsp. sugar
8 large eggs
1 lb. multigrain baguette
c. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and butter a 9- by- 13-inch baking dish. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 25 minutes, tossing once, until squash is just tender. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add sliced onions, season with salt, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 25 minutes. Scrape onions into a bowl.
  • In same skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Add kale, garlic, crushed red pepper, and 1 teaspoon of thyme and season with salt. Cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until kale is wilted and just tender, about 5 minutes. Scrape kale into bowl with cooked onions.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter. Add chopped onion and remaining 1 teaspoon of thyme and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add flour and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until a light golden paste forms, 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 cup of milk and cook, whisking, until very thick and no floury taste remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream, crème fraîche, sugar, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk. Let béchamel cool.
  • Beat eggs into cooled béchamel in saucepan. Pour into a bowl, add bread and vegetables, and mix well. Pour strata mixture into prepared baking dish and let stand for 30 minutes, pressing down bread occasionally.
  • Bake strata for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until almost set. Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees F. Sprinkle Parmigiano on strata and bake for about 10 minutes more, until top is lightly browned. Let strata stand for 15 minutes before serving.

From Delish, https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a20534/butternut-squash-kale-strata-multigrain-bread-recipe-fw0213/

.

.