Summer CSA Share #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Red Butter/Romaine Lettuce
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Celery
  • Cilantro
  • Flowering Dill
  • French Breakfast Radishes – We don’t typically attempt radishes in July, but a month ago things we’re looking a little bleak so we sowed some in an empty high tunnel bed. They’re now ready to spice up your salads and vegetable sautes!
  • Strawberry Paw Red Skinned Potatoes
  • Yellow Onions
  • Fresh Garlic – We’re sharing the bulbs that have exposed cloves and won’t store very long. It’s also not as dry as fully cured garlic will be as it’s straight out of the field. Not for storage, use it up.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green & yellow zucchini and yellow summer squash.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and some lemon cukes.
Zucchini/Summer Squash harvest (top left), squash flower (top right), freshly washed radishes (bottom left), and lots of green tomatoes (bottom right).

Another week in the books, and we’re suddenly two months into this Summer CSA season. The rough spring planting conditions continue to have an effect on crops in the field, but it’s a little less each week as we progress further into the season. Soon enough we’ll be through the worst of those spring planted crops and the high summer crops will hopefully have caught up too. I’m talking tomatoes and peppers and corn! As with everything this season, they’re a little delayed but hopefully they’re worth the wait.

Transplanting, what’s new?

July is a transition month as we work to maintain the crops in the field and continue the planting push, now made up of fall and winter crops. Last week’s big propagation week included sowing next spring’s purple sprouting broccoli and overwintering cauliflower as well as fall broccoli and cauliflower and storage beets. We also sowed our final round of carrots for the season and transplanted fall crops like rutabaga and kohlrabi. Just about the time we get the hang of this summer season it’s time to shift focus to winter again.

As with each week that passes, we have high hopes of doing some catch-up in the week ahead. Everywhere we turn there are projects that could use some time and energy to tackle. I see carrot weeding and tomato trellising in our future. And there’s more seeds to sow and transplanting to get in the ground. And mowing, still more mowing. Plus it’s time to get serious about a fall/winter greenhouse plan as we transition spring crops out of the houses. It’s mid-July and there’s plenty to be doing around here.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Jane Grigson’s Celery Soup

  • 1/2 pound celery, chopped (outside stalks or celeriac — about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced potato
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk (optional, up to 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed (2 teaspoons for fresh dill)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cream

Stew celery, onion, and potato gently in the butter in a covered pan for 10 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables brown. Add stock or water and 1/2 teaspoon of dill weed. Simmer for 20 minutes if you have a blender, 40 minutes if you use a food mill.

Blend or purée the soup. Pour through a strainer into a clean pan (to remove the last few threads of celery), adding a little milk if too thick. Bring slowly to just under the boil, seasoning with salt, pepper and more dill weed if required.

Put the cream into the soup dish, and pour the soup in on top. Swirl round with the ladle before serving, to mix in the cream.

From Food52.com by Genius Recipes, https://food52.com/recipes/26523-jane-grigson-s-celery-soup

Marinated Zucchini, Kalamata Olive, and Mozzarella Salad

  • 4 medium yellow or green zucchini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 balls buffalo mozzarella
  • 16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 handful fresh basil and oregano leaves (cilantro and mint work well, too), finely chopped

Cut the zucchini into ribbons with a mandoline or a vegetable peeler. Put them in a bowl and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the mozzarella into small pieces and add them, the olives, and the chopped herbs to the chilled zucchini. Stir well and serve!

From Food52.com, https://food52.com/recipes/37137-marinated-zucchini-kalamata-olive-mozzarella-salad

Potato-Kale Hash with Chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2-3 medium baked and cold potatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup cooked chick peas (or canned)
  • 2-3 cups shredded tuscan kale
  • salt to taste
  • nanami togarashi (Japanese pepper blend) to taste

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the potatoes and let them cook on one side for a couple minutes. Turn the potatoes to allow the other sides to color. Give each side 2-3 minutes, the idea is to add a little color and crisp, not to char the potatoes. If they are getting dark, lower the heat. If the pan is dry, add additional oil, a few drops at a time or give it a spritz with spray oil.

When the potatoes are almost completely browned, add the garlic, chickpeas and kale and continue to saute, turning the mixture as you go, until the kale is wilted and the chickpeas have gained a little color.

Season with salt, sprinkle the nanami togarashi over the top as a garnish and serve immediately.

From Food52.com by JaneOfManyTrade, https://food52.com/recipes/33741-potato-kale-hash-with-chickpeas

Summer CSA Share #7

Welcome to the 7th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mayan Jaguar Romaine Lettuce
  • Crispino Iceberg Lettuce
  • Green Cabbage
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Broccoli – We’re into the dreaded July brassica planting, which was transplanted back in early May when a planting window between rainstorms for prepping ground and transplanting was all of two days. Though the broccoli coming out of this planting is not stellar, we’re happy to be harvesting anything at all.
  • Basil – Don’t forget that basil doesn’t love cold temps. We find it best to store it on the counter in a glass of water like a bunch of flowers.
  • Carrots
  • Mixed Fresh Onion – These are from our winter onion crop and include some sweet, some torpedo, and some yellow onions.
  • Fresh Garlic – We harvested the garlic this past week and we’re sharing the bulbs that have exposed cloves and won’t store very long. It’s also not as dry as cured garlic will be as it’s straight out of the field. Not for storage, use it up.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – The cukes are on! I see quick pickles in our future.
  • Leek Flowers – Pluck off the tiny florets from these leek flowers and add to salads or sautes for a delicious oniony garnish.
An irrigation manager’s work is never done (left) and the cleanest leeks we’ve managed to have in a few years (right).

Another week in the books! It’s starting to feel awfully summery around here thanks to some higher temps and maturing summer vegetables. After a slow start it looks like we might keep this season on the rails after all.

As you know, we’ve been playing catch-up for a couple of months now. From spring rain to a couple of mild summer heatwaves, we’ve been pushing forward, prioritizing and re-prioritizing all the tasks that need doing. We’re really in the thick of the season now, working some of the longest days of the year. We’re mostly managing to keep up and we’re slowly ticking things off the perpetual To Do list. There are even a few highlights, including the fact that Jeff’s been able to sneak in some important cultivating with our Farmall Cub, albeit often just before dark. The leeks and celeriac are looking cleaner than they have in years. You’ve got to take the wins where you can find them sometimes.

Garlic harvest 2022!

Having put off the epic task of harvesting the garlic a little too long (that rain last week wasn’t great timing) as we caught up on transplanting the week before, we managed to get the garlic out of the field this past week. A few years back we had a local fabrication shop build an undercutter tool for out tractor. It’s a basic rectangular design with a blade across the bottom and it hooks up to the 3-point on our big tractor. As the tractor drags it forward the undercutter blade digs into the ground, cutting under the roots of the garlic plants. This tool has been a game changer for our garlic harvest, making it much easier to get the garlic out of the field without having to use a digging fork.

After undercutting the garlic we bunch the plants into groups of 15 and then tie a bunch to each end of a length of baling twine. These get hung in our tractor barn to dry down further. This year’s cold, wet spring has resulted in smaller average bulb size but we’re still happy enough with the harvest. Note we’ll be sharing the bulbs with the least wrapping first as they won’t store as long as other well-wrapped bulbs.

Another week of transplanting complete!

After spending Thursday and Friday getting the garlic into storage it was time to get back on the transplanting train. We planted the fourth round of sweet corn and beets, the fifth round of lettuce, plus escarole, parsley, and celery. Then it was time to squeeze in a little cultivating to attempt to keep the weeds at bay. How quickly a week can fly by!

This week we’ve got kohlrabi, cauliflower, and rutabagas headed to the field. Hopefully we’ll have more time to spend tackling weeds and there’s a big propagation push on the schedule for overwintering crops including purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower that was supposed to happen last week, but didn’t. And there’s lots of mowing to get through too. Looks like we’ll be keeping busy.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Minestrone with Basil

  • 1/2 cup dried red beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled, left whole
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled, diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup small shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place beans in medium bowl. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches; soak overnight. Drain.

Place beans in large Dutch oven. Add 5 cups water and next 11 ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Transfer 2 cups soup and whole potato to blender and puree. Return puree to soup in pot. Add pasta and 1/4 cup basil; simmer uncovered until pasta is cooked through and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/4 cup basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit via Caffe Trinity, San Francisco, CA, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/minestrone-with-basil-1180

Classic Wedge Salad

  • 1 medium iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup croutons
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing, or added to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, or added to taste

Rinse and remove any wilted leaves from the iceberg lettuce. Cut the lettuce in half and then cut in half again, resulting in four quarters. Cut off fibrous stems. Gently rinse and pat dry the quarters to remove any hidden dirt.

Add a wedge to a plate and drizzle the salad dressing over the lettuce and then top with the tomatoes, bacon, eggs, croutons, and crumbled blue cheese.

Repeat with the remaining wedges and the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.

From NatashasKitchen.com by Natasha Kravchuk, https://natashaskitchen.com/wedge-salad-recipe/

Classic Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1/2 large cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon), divided
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill, mint, or a half-bunch of each, stemmed and leaves roughly chopped

In a medium-size bowl, coarsely grate the cucumber (a Microplane extra coarse grater does this perfectly). Sprinkle the salt over the grated cucumber, stir, and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

In a small bowl or ramekin, mix together the crushed garlic and olive oil and leave to one side.

Tip the yogurt into a large bowl. Give the cucumber a good squeeze over the sink to remove most of the water (do not rinse it; we want some of that saltiness to stay) and stir it into the yogurt. Add the garlic and oil mix, stir, then add half the lemon juice and stir again.

Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for few hours so the flavors can mingle—even better if you can give it overnight.

When ready to serve the tzatziki, remove from the fridge and gradually add the herbs a little at a time until the flavor is to your liking. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice as desired, then serve with warm pita.

From Food52.com via Elaine Lemm, https://food52.com/recipes/85669-best-tzatziki-sauce-recipe

Summer CSA Share #6

Welcome to the 6th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mikola Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli – We’re into the dreaded July brassica planting, which was transplanted back in early May when a planting window between rainstorms for prepping ground and transplanting was all of two days. Though the broccoli and cauliflower coming out of this planting are not stellar, we’re happy to be harvesting anything at all.
  • Cilantro
  • Flowering Dill
  • Fennel – A little anise flavor for your dishes this week. The fennel bulb is the star of the show here, but the fronds can be used too. The bulb can be sliced and roasted, braised, pickled, or eaten raw shaved into salads. Check out the recipes at the end of the post for some inspiration.
  • Red or Yellow Beets
  • Fresh Onion
  • Sugar Snap Peas – This is the last of our peas for this season. Enjoy!
  • Fava Beans – For the true fava experience you’ll want to shell the beans, blanch them, then remove the outer skin and eat the green inner bean. We often skip that last step and eat the shelled beans sauteed and over pasta or in salads. Check out the fava bean dip recipe down below too. Also, grilling the entire pods make them quicker to shell and the beans get steamed inside, so they don’t need to be blanched.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers
Farm highlights: syrphid fly in the flowering cilantro (top left), August brassica patch (top right), irrigating the potatoes (bottom left), and the peppers and beyond (bottom right).

Hello again! Somehow we’ve made it to July and the sixth week of the Summer CSA season. After an extended spring we’re excited to see harvestable summery crops finally making an appearance. When the zucchini and cucumbers show up to the party, summer feels official. We’re also on the cusp of tomato season, with a few ripe cherry tomatoes coloring up in the tomato house. We don’t have quite enough to begin harvesting them for the CSA, but they aren’t too far off now.

In an attempt to get a look at the farm from above we took the drone out for a stroll one evening this past week. It got a little dark on us and we had a high resolution video error, but Jeff managed to put together a video that might give you a sense of the July farmscape. Take a look below.

Quick twilight drone tour of the farm this past week put together by Jeff!

There are definitely some highlights and lowlights happening out there. It’s looking to be a great potato year and the first few rounds of corn are really taking off. The peppers and melons are just starting to settle in so time will tell with them. There are a handful of weedy areas, some of the winter squash beds are probably the worst spots. The garlic and overwintering storage onions need to be harvested and the peas need to be taken down. Overall I think the take away is that there’s a lot going on out there and so very many vegetables headed your way over the next 20 remaining weeks of the season, plus this coming winter.

Transplanting September brassicas including broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower (left) and kale ready to find a home in the field (right).

We’re just about caught up with the backlog of transplanting hiccups that rippled through our planting plan a couple of months back. We’ve got corn, celery, parsley, and lettuce on deck for transplanting this week. We’ll be getting back on track just in time to get serious about starting late fall and winter crops. How is it time to start thinking about next spring’s purple sprouting broccoli? We’ll also hopefully get the garlic harvested, get the winter squash weeded, and keep up with tomato trellising.

Having made it through the slog of May and June, this is the point in the summer that I start dreaming of a day or two off the farm too. Hopefully we’ll make a dent in the big tasks that need doing and we’ll make time for an off-farm adventure soon.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pickled Beet and Cucumber Salads

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 10 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pounds small red beets, trimmed
  • 2 large English hothouse cucumbers (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh chives

Stir vinegar, shallots and 6 teaspoons sugar in small bowl to blend. Let marinade stand while preparing vegetables.

Cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes; drain. Peel beets. Cut into wedges. Transfer to medium bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of marinade to coat.

Place cucumbers in large bowl. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons sugar over. Toss with remaining marinade. Season salads to taste with salt and pepper. Cover separately and refrigerate 1 day, stirring occasionally. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Drain salads separately; return to bowls. Mix half of chives into each salad. Arrange salads on platter and serve.

From Epicurious, via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pickled-Beet-and-Cucumber-Salads-5409

Fava Bean Dip aka Fake Guacamole

  • Fava beans
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, diced
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. plain goat cheese

Blanch fava beans. Shell beans from the large pod. Peel off the second layer of skin, revealing a tiny, bright green bean.

In a food processor, combine beans, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice and goat cheese. Add more water if needed to make it creamy.

Serve as a dip, or as filling between grilled corn tortillas.

From The Veg Table by Mary Altman, http://legacy.culinate.com/content/279467/index.html

Beet & Fennel Galette with Walnuts

Make the dough:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Make the filling:

  • 3/4 pound beets, greens trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Make the dough:

  • In a food processor, combine flour and salt. Add in butter and pulse until small pebbles form.
  • In a small bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice, and water. Add to food processor and pulse until mixture comes together and forms dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to two days.

Make the filling:

  • Bring a medium-sized saucepan of salted water to boil. Add in beets and cook until they soften, about 20-30 minutes, depending on size. Beets don’t need to be cooked all the way through, but you should be able to pierce them with a fork relatively easily.
  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Let beets cool. Peel off skins and grate on a box grater or in a food processor. Transfer to bowl.
  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add in onion and cook until translucent. Stir in fennel and garlic, season with salt, and cook until fennel softens.
  • Add fennel mixture to bowl with beets. Stir in walnuts, herbs, and sour cream.
  • Roll out dough into about a 12 inch round. Place vegetables in the center, leaving about a 1½ – 2 inch border around the sides. Use your hands to scatter goat cheese evenly across the top. Fold the edges of the dough in, overlapping where there is extra.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg yolk and a drop of water. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes, until dough is nicely browned. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

From Food52.com by Vicky | Things I Made Today, https://food52.com/recipes/59902-beet-fennel-galette-with-walnuts

Summer CSA Share #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Green Leaf Lettuce Head
  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Basil
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi – The classic CSA vegetable, kohlrabi is often new to folks who are new to CSAs. Why else would you come home with such a strange looking vegetable? We like them chopped up and raw, like a carrot stick, but they can be roasted, or added to mashed potatoes, or shaved super thin into salads. I’ve heard kohlrabi and peanut butter can be a pretty great snack too.
  • Bunching Onions
  • Garlic Scapes – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production. You can use the scapes like you would a bunching onion or in place of garlic.
  • Zucchini – Hey, finally a little zucchini!
  • Cucumber – The first of the season!
The potatoes have loved the wet start to the season! Flowering potatoes (left) and Jeff hilling potatoes (right).

The summer solstice last week brought both the arrival of summer and the arrival of our first summer heatwave. After the long, wet, cold spring we’ve had this year we were ready for a break in the rain and we got it with the first 80 degree day quickly followed by several days above 90 degrees. A year ago we’d hit 116 this week here at the farm, so I’m not complaining.

Though it was hot (relatively speaking) it was also nice to plan for the work of the week without factoring in rain for the first time in a long time. There’s a lot to be done this time of year on the farm as we continue planting successions of crops and try to stay on top of irrigation, weeds, and general crop maintenance. That work is all made a little easier when we’re in charge of the rain schedule.

Heat delirious farmers, a glimpse of the farm, and a glamour shot of our cultivating tractor.

This past week was all about small gains. We caught up on transplanting by getting the flour corn in the ground. The potatoes got cultivated and hilled. Most of the tomatoes got pruned and trellised. Some of the winter squash got weeded. The next round of broccoli was started and we direct sowed beans. Above all we managed to work through the heat to keep checking things off the To Do list while simultaneously keeping everything on the farm irrigated.

A full prop house, kale & cauliflower transplants, and transplanting the flour corn last week.

Looking ahead, this week is going to be a busy one. It’s time to harvest the garlic crop. We’ve also got a big round of propagation scheduled as it’s time to get some overwintering crops started, like purple sprouting broccoli and chicories. There’s lots of transplanting on deck including the next rounds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, cilantro, dill, and celery. There’s more winter squash to weed before the plants start spreading too much. The tomatoes will need more trellising. There’s lots of mowing and weed whacking to catch-up on too. Thankfully the weather is looking pleasantly warm and for the first week in months we won’t be fighting rain or a heatwave. Time to get some things done!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cauliflower Couscous

For the lemon sauce

  • 10 large (about 1 cup loosely packed) basil leaves
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons preferably Meyer
  • 1/2 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the cauliflower couscous

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion finely diced
  • 1 medium head cauliflower stalks and stems discarded, florets finely diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon sauce
  • 2 tablespoons basil chiffonade

Make the lemon sauce

  • Combine the basil, lemon zest and juice, oil, and maple syrup in a blender and purée. (You can keep the sauce in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 7 to 10 days.)

Make the cauliflower couscous

  • Reach for a skillet or wok large that’s enough to hold all the cauliflower, place it over medium-high heat, and melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until the onion softens, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower, stir thoroughly, salt and pepper liberally, and cook until the cauliflower softens, about 10 minutes.
  • Add 2 tablespoons lemon sauce and cook until the cauliflower is tender and fragrant, another 10 minutes. Adjust the salt, add the remaining 2 tablespoons sauce, mix thoroughly, and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the basil chiffonade.

From LeitesCulinaria.com, https://leitesculinaria.com/7276/recipes-cauliflower-couscous.html

Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 1 cup garlic scapes, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Add the scapes and pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is broken up a bit. Then turn the processor back on, and with it running, add the oil a little at a time until it’s fully incorporated.

Add cheese, pulse, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

This won’t brown like basil pesto will, so if you’re not using immediately, just store in a container in the fridge. It will last a week.

From Food52.com by Kenzi Wilbur, https://food52.com/recipes/22491-garlic-scape-pesto

Kohlrabi Salad

  • 1 head kohlrabi
  • 1/2 apple, such as Gala
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 bird’s eye chili
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

With a sharp knife, cut off the “branches” of the kohlrabi. Peel it with a vegetable peeler.

Cut the kohlrabi into matchsticks either using a sharp knife of a mandolin (I used the latter). Do the same with the apple.

Toss the kohlrabi and the apple with the remaining ingredients and chill before eating.

From Food52.com by Sassyradish, https://food52.com/recipes/8689-kohlrabi-salad

Summer CSA Share #4

Welcome to the 4th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Red Ursa Kale – I don’t think we’ve relied on our spring kale crop this much for years. Hopefully you’re learning to love kale, because it’s one thing we’ve got in abundance at the moment. This stuff is straight out of the greenhouse and is tender as can be. Great for salads or wilting into soups or pasta dishes.
  • Romaine Lettuce Heads
  • Cauliflower – Small, a little rough, but still tasty.
  • Sugar Snap Peas – Lots of peas this week!!
  • Diana Purple Radishes – I think this is the last of the radishes for a while. The greens are rough this time but the roots are happy.
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi – The classic CSA vegetable, kohlrabi is often new to folks who are new to CSAs. Why else would you come home with such a strange looking vegetable? We like them chopped up and raw, like a carrot stick, but they can be roasted, or added to mashed potatoes, or shaved super thin into salads. I’ve heard kohlrabi and peanut butter can be a pretty great snack too.
  • Purple Bunching Onions
  • Garlic Scapes – – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production. You can use the scapes like you would a bunching onion or in place of garlic.

Happy Summer Solstice! Today marks the longest day of the year and the official start of summer. Right on queue, the summer weather has decided to show up to the party. After a slog of a spring featuring seemingly ceaseless rain a glance at the 10-day forecast shows clear skies ahead. I’d started to doubt we’d get a dry summer and suddenly we’re looking at our first temps above 80 and possibly into the 90s over the weekend. Whoa!

Strange view, no clouds! (top left), another nest in the peas (top right), the very first ripe tomatoes (bottom left), happy potato plants (bottom right).

As we turn the corner on this growing season we’re looking ahead to more bountiful times. The nature of farming is to always be looking ahead to future harvests and this moment is no different. Vegetables we planted in March and April have been filling shares here in June. The rough planting conditions back in May are going to be evident in July harvests. The seeds we’re sowing now are for fall crops.

Luckily June has warmed up a bit and we’ve hit every small weather window we could with planting spurts. Plants are finally growing! Tomatoes are setting fruit! The cucumbers are cucumbering! We’ll be glad to get through July and put this spring fully in our rear view and maybe even stop obsessing about the rain for bit.

Transplanting sweet corn (top) and sweet potato slips (bottom).

This past week was another in the long line of trying to make progress around the rain. We got the third round of sweet corn in the ground before Thursday’s rainstorm and then managed to finish the week’s planting of basil, dill, beets, lettuce, and cucumbers on Saturday morning. Our sweet potato slips arrived in the mail on Friday afternoon, suddenly making them a priority planting project. After quickly getting the beds prepped with ground cover we also managed to stick them in the ground Saturday.

Jeff cultivating with our 1947 Farmall Cub tractor in the second succession of zucchini and third succession of broccoli/cauliflower.

This past Friday was wet so in between our two planting days we focused on weeding carrots, weed whacking the orchards, sowing seeds in the propagation house, and trellising tomatoes. Sunday was filled with pea picking, tractor cultivation, and setting up irrigation for all the things in anticipation of this week’s change in weather.

This week we’ll plant the flour corn and then focus on lots of crop maintenance. We’ll tackle the grass in the winter squash, continue the tractor cultivation work, trellis and prune the tomatoes (again), weed the first round of basil, and make sure everything gets enough water.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sautéed 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 (try garlic scapes here)
  • 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. Toss kale with kohlrabi and pistachios.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sauteed-Kale-with-Kohlrabi-354974

Shredded Kohlrabi Quick Pickle

  • 2 pounds kohlrabi
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated (or try garlic scapes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/4 red chili flakes
  1. Wash and dry two quart jars. Set aside.
  2. Clean and trim kohlrabi bulbs. Using a mandoline slicer or a food processor, slice kohlrabi into thin sticks.
  3. Divide the shreds evenly between the two jars.
  4. Combine vinegar, water, honey, pickling salt, ginger, garlic, black peppercorns and red chili flakes in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Once brine is boiling vigorously, remove it from the heat and carefully pour the brine over the kohlrabi.
  6. Place lids on the jars and let them sit until cool.
  7. Once jars are cool to the touch, refrigerate the pickles and eat with salads, sandwiches or meat dishes.

From Serious Eats by Marisa McClellan, http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/11/shredded-kohlrabi-quick-pickle-recipe.html

Sliced Baguette with Radishes and Anchovy Butter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 to 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 16 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette
  • 10 radishes (such as French Breakfast), trimmed, thinly sliced on diagonal
  • Additional chopped fresh chives (for garnish)

Mix butter, 2 chopped anchovy fillets, and 2 tablespoons chives in small bowl, adding 1 more chopped anchovy fillet to taste, if desired. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread anchovy butter over 1 side of each baguette slice. Top each baguette slice with radish slices, overlapping slightly to cover bread. Garnish with additional chopped chives and serve.

From Epicurious.com, via Bon Appetit by Tasha de Serio, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sliced-Baguette-with-Radishes-and-Anchovy-Butter-364610

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Summer CSA Share – #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lacinato Kale
  • Flowering Arugula – Hit by flea beetles early on, we hoped this arugula crop would grow out of the holy leaf stage. Instead it bolted last week. Rather than miss out on arugula altogether we decided a little arugula rapini/flowers would hit the spot. Add a little peppery goodness to your salads this week.
  • Northern QueenButter Lettuce – Lettuce wraps anyone?
  • “EruptionMini Red Romaine Lettuce – This is a new variety for us and it seems to be a great addition! A lovely package of red tips, green to pink blushed interiors, and all the crunch you want in your romaine.
  • Cilantro – A little bolty but still tender and packed with cilantro flavor.
  • Broccoli
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Carrots
  • Green Garlic – Immature garlic bulbs that tend to be milder than mature, cured garlic. Use it raw, sliced into salads, or cooked as you would onions or mature garlic cloves. Click here for a good rundown on green garlic if you’d like more details.
Peas, carrots, and radishes… it must be salad season!

Let’s go week 3! Usually this is about the time we’re ready to settle in for a summer of long days and a flood of produce. Often the rain has subsided, the temperatures have risen, and the plants are growing gangbusters. This year, well, we’re a little more thankful for each crop we’re able to harvest and send your way. We’re more uncertain than ever before what will be in next week’s share, and the week after, and the week after, but we’re trying out darnedest to make good decisions given the growing season we’ve been dealt.

We paused for a selfie last week after cleaning up the tomato house. Jeff on the weed whacker and Carri on trellising duty. The tomato plants have put on a lot of growth in the past two weeks thanks to slightly warmer temps.

One advantage to growing the diversity of crops that we do is that we can generally find some bright spots on the farm. For instance the potatoes are loving the mild temperatures and steady rain. They’ve taken off over the past couple of weeks and we’re hoping for a good potato harvest later in the season.

The tomatoes have appreciated some slightly warmer temps too and have jumped up. It’s time to get serious about pruning and trellising in the tomato house. Thankfully we’re starting to see some fruit set and are eagerly anticipating the first tomato harvests of the season.

Sea of winter squash, and weeds!

Thanks to weekend rains for the past several weeks, the majority of our field work has been condensed into a day or two mid-week. With rain in the forecast beginning last Thursday evening Jeff managed to prep ground Thursday morning for planting our Brussels sprouts, kalettes, carving pumpkins, and the next successions of dill, cilantro, and chard. We got through all that transplanting and sneaked in some direct sown beans and carrots just as the rain started to fall. Hopefully we’ll be so lucky this week too.

Despite the rain, or in part because of it, the weeds are growing, growing, growing, but the wet soil is making it difficult to keep up with cultivating. Case in point is the winter squash that has thankfully happily taken to life in the field but is currently surrounded by a sea of grass. Jeff was mostly able to clean up the paths after I took the photos up above but there’s still plenty of work to get the field in shape before the squash vines take off and we can no longer get the tractor through to deal with the weeds.

In the week ahead we’ll be weeding and cultivating, transplanting, sowing more seeds, trellising and pruning, fertilizing, mowing, and more. The rain doesn’t stop the work, just makes it more difficult. Fortunately this week’s weekend rain appears to call for fewer inches.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

This kale salad recipe was suggested by Bonnie G., a fellow CSA member. She says she’s made it multiple times and can vouch that it’s tasty!

Kale Waldorf Salad

  • 4 cups packed finely chopped kale, preferably dinosaur/lacinato kale
  • 1 large apple, like a Honeycrisp, chopped, divided
  • 3 large celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons raisins, divided
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Place kale in a large bowl.

Add half the apple to kale along with celery, ¼ cup walnuts and ¼ cup raisins.

Put remaining apple in a blender along with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, remaining 2 tablespoons raisins, mustard, 2 tablespoons water, vinegar and salt.

Purée until well combined and slightly thick, adding water if needed to thin. Pour dressing over kale salad and toss to combine.

From Whole Foods Market, https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/kale-waldorf-salad

Asian Vegetable Rolls

2 oz. thin rice noodles
1 cup bean sprouts
10 soft lettuce leaves
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
2 to 3 green onions, finely chopped
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup cilantro leaves
8 rice paper wrappers (about 8” square)

Drop noodles into boiling water, remove from heat and let stand for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again.

Lay out noodles and vegetables in an assembly line. Heat a pan of water until it’s almost too hot to handle. Soak one rice paper wrapper in the hot water for 15-20 seconds, then take it out and lay it flat. Flatten out one lettuce leaf on top (this helps prevent other fillings from poking through the wrapper). Next, place a finger-sized bunch of noodles close to one side of the paper and roll that side over the noodles. Continue this same pattern for the vegetable fillings, laying each ingredient parallel to the noodles and rolling the paper over. After the mint and cilantro leaves have gone in, fold the ends of the wrapper in, then fold the remaining side over them to secure. Set roll on a platter, seam side down. Keep rolls moist until served, and separated so they don’t stick together (the wrappers will rip).

Serve whole or cut in half, with your choice of spicy dipping sauce. One simple option is to add a few tablespoons of rice vinegar and sesame oil to a half cup of soy sauce.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver

Also available here: http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/recipes-spring-asian-vegetable-rolls.htm

Farfalle with Green Garlic, Peas, and Herbed Ricotta

  • 1¼ cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 oz. fine-grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup fine-chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme, marjoram)
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • 12 oz. farfalle pasta
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, or sugar-snap peas, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch green garlic, root end and tough top greens trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced thinly on the bias

Steps

  1. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, and herbs in bowl and mix until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add lemon juice to taste; set aside.
  2. Bring large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Season water liberally with salt and cook pasta according to directions on package. Three minutes before the pasta is to be done, stir in peas; drain.
  3. While pasta cooks, combine butter and oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add garlic and large pinch salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is wilted and soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Toss pasta with sautéed garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide equally among warmed bowls, top with large dollop of ricotta mixture, and serve immediately.

From Culinate.com by Matthew Card, http://legacy.culinate.com/content/179108/index.html

Summer CSA Share #2

Welcome to the 2nd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Spinach
  • Red Ursa Kale – Tender greenhouse kale, great for cooking or kale salads.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of four lettuces.
  • Broccoli
  • Small Purple Cauliflower
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Purple Radishes
  • German Butterball Potatoes – We’re using up the last of last season’s potato crop. Eat them up!
  • Carrots
  • Overwintered Sweet Onions – Planted last October, we’re excited to get into some fresh onions! These are Tropea and Ailsa Craig varieties, both on the sweeter end of things. You can use the green tops too.
  • Dried Apples
  • Polenta (aka grits) – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing polenta and last week we shared the flour. You can use this polenta in recipes calling for uncooked polenta or corn grits. We like to cook it in our rice cooker at a 1 cup polenta to 3 cups water ratio. It’s even better if you add some butter and cheese once cooked.
  • Second Chance at Tomato Plants – More plants to take home!
Harvest shots: washing carrots (top left), cutting lettuce (top right), spinach bunched (bottom left), and baby birds in the peas (bottom right).

Here we are, week 2 of the Summer CSA! After kicking the season off last week with an anxious start we can’t say enough how thankful we are for your support. As we’d noted previously, the last couple of months have been very cold and wet resulting in a rough time for getting crops established in the field. We appreciate your willingness to stick with us as we ride out the results of the rough start to this growing season. Hopefully it will just make later season harvests that much more welcome!

Looking at the weather forecast this week it looks like we’ve got some warmer weather and then more rain headed this way over the weekend. As the temperature slowly climbs into the high 70s I’m reminded that a year ago we had a heatwave and it hit 97 here the first week of June. At least we won’t be losing any crops to heat just yet!

A rainy day ends with a double rainbow (left) but we managed to get some transplanting done this past week despite the rain (right).

Though we’re still watching the forecast for rainstorms we did manage to get caught up a little with planting this past week. With a longer dry window the soil was easier to prep for planting leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and the second round of zucchini. Hopefully our lucky streak will continue and we’ll get the next rounds of corn, chard, cilantro, dill, basil, and beets in the ground this week before we get rained out again.

Rainy days this past weekend did help us make time for non-planting tasks too. I got caught up on propagation and started flour corn, plus more broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, cilantro, dill, and parsley. Jeff managed some carrot weeding and pea wrangling after attempting a fix to a leak in the mainline of our irrigation system. Unfortunately the fix didn’t take and he spent several hours last night re-doing that work. Fingers crossed it holds this time! We’re going to need to get some irrigating happening this week before the rain returns again.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

My Husband’s Broccoli-Nut Salad

4 cups broccoli florets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, peeled then grated
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
3/4 cup chopped candied walnuts
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar, plus more as desired
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

In a mixing bowl, toss together the broccoli, carrot, onion, and walnuts. Set aside while you prepare the dressing.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, honey, and vinegar. Taste the dressing. If it is a little too sweet for you, add another tablespoon of vinegar. Add the salt, combine, and pour over the vegetables and walnuts.

Toss the salad until the vegetables are well coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Before serving, toss the salad once again and serve it chilled.

From Food52.com by Janeofmanytrade, https://food52.com/recipes/28636-my-husband-s-broccoli-nut-salad

Creamy Polenta Bowl with Pan Roasted Vegetables

2.5 cups stock: chicken or vegetable
1 teaspoon salt
.5 cups polenta, instant or traditional
.5 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled and slivered
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
.5 pounds green beans, trimmed and rinsed
2 cups fresh kale, rinsed with stalks removed and cut into thin slivers
2 radishes, rinsed trimmed and cut into thin circles
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Fresh thyme leaves
Cup pea shoots, rinsed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the polenta, bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt. Slowly drizzle in the polenta, stirring the entire time to assure it does not lump up. Lower the heat to a simmer, then continue stirring until the polenta is cooked. Instant polenta will be ready in about 5 minutes; traditional polenta in about 50 minutes. The polenta is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the pan. It should be runny. Remove from heat. Stir in the freshly grated parmesan. Cover and keep warm.

To cook the vegetables, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and carrots. Cook until they begin to soften, just a couple of minutes, then add the green beans. Let the beans brown on all sides and continue cooking until they are tender, another 5 minutes or so. Add the kale. Continue cooking until the kale is wilted and all vegetables are cooked to your liking*. Add the balsamic vinegar and give everything a good stir.

To serve, divide the cooked polenta between 4 serving bowls. Top with cooked vegetables. Garnish with thyme leaves and pea shoots. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Enjoy.

From Food52.com by denatbray, https://food52.com/recipes/27279-creamy-polenta-bowl-with-pan-roasted-vegetables

Spinach, Potato and Cheese Frittata

1 tablespoon Butter
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon Aleppo Pepper Flakes
3 Large Potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
1 Medium Onion, diced (about 1 cup)
8 Large Eggs
1 Box (10 oz.) Frozen Spinach, blanched and drained, or any sauteed dark green (1&1/2 cups))
1 1/2 cups Sharp cheese, cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup Grated Romano or Pamesean cheese

Add the butter and olive oil to a 10-inch nonstick or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Once the butter has foamed (the water cooks off), add the potatoes and cook gently, covered for 5 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes more, turning occasionally, until nearly cooked through. Add the diced onions, and cook 5 minutes until translucent, but not brown. Add the salt, pepper, and Aleppo pepper flakes.

While the potatoes and onions are cooking, place the frozen spinach in a small covered saucepan with ¼ cup of water. Bring water to a full boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium. Cover & cook 8 minutes. Separate with a fork and cook 2 more minutes. Drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the liquid with a clean dish towel or your bare hand. You can also use a sturdy sieve and press with a rubber spatula. Remove as much moisture as possible.

With a fork or whisk, beat 8 large eggs in a medium bowl vigorously until well mixed and no visible separation of whites and yolks is evident. Add the cooked, cooled spinach and half the cubed cheese and half the grated cheese.

Pour the eggs mixture over the potatoes evenly in the pan. Dot the top of the frittata with the rest of the cheese cubes, and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Lower heat to medium low. Cook covered for 10 minutes, then uncovered for another 10. Check bottom with a flexible spatula. When it is firming up the frittata will begin to pull away from the sides.

If your pan is oven safe, you can place the frittata in a 300-degree oven to finish cooking through. I prefer to slide the frittata out of the pan onto a tray or plate, and using pot holders to hold the underside of the pan, flip the top side back in so it is now on the bottom. Usually this only needs two minutes to firm up and finish cooking, then I flip it back out, onto a plate, then transfer to a wire rack so the bottom does not get soggy.

Let it rest for at least 15 minutes to firm up, and let the flavors further meld. Ideally, let it rest for 60 to 90 minutes so it is just barely warm. Slice in wedges and serve with a tart green salad, and some crusty bread.

From Food52.com by Gary Schiro, https://food52.com/recipes/87913-spinach-potato-and-cheese-frittata

Summer CSA Share #1

Welcome to the 1st share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Fava Greens – These are the leaves of the fava bean plant. They taste a little green beany and are great sauteed or tossed with pasta or into soups.
  • Red Ursa Kale – Tender greenhouse kale, great for cooking or kale salads.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of four lettuces.
  • Strawberry Paw Potatoes – We’re using up the last of last season’s potato crop. Eat them up!
  • Carrots
  • Mostly Purple Radishes
  • Leek Scapes – This time of year leeks produce a tall stalk that eventually become a flower. Before they become too woody they stalks are a seasonal leeky treat that can be diced up and used i place of leeks or onions.
  • Shallots – Drier than most onions, shallots are a little more pungent but can be used in place of onions in any recipe.
  • Dried Apples
  • Corn Flour – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing flour and next week we’ll share the polenta. You can use this flour in any recipe calling for corn flour or cornmeal. We like to use it for perfect cornbread but we also recently made corn dogs with some locally sourced beef franks and it was just like the county fair.
  • Tomato PlantsWe have enough tomato starts for everyone to take home at least two!
Transplant starts ready to head to the field: corn (top left) cucumbers (top right), lettuce (bottom left), and cauliflower (bottom right).

It’s happening! We’re finally kicking off the 2022 P&C Summer CSA season! As we get things underway we’re happy to welcome back previous members (85% of you!) and welcome new members to the group.

Hopefully you’ve been reading the member emails over the past couple of weeks and preparing for the season to begin. (Check your spam or promotions folders if you haven’t been seeing our emails and let us know if you don’t find them there.) By now most of your questions should have been answered by the CSA Member Handbook. Don’t forget, you can find lots of logistics reminders over on the CSA Member Resources page and extra helpful tips and info about vegetables on the Secret Member Resources page.

Transplanting celeriac last week (top left), dealing with mud and the transplanter (top right), covering winter squash (bottom left), and cultivating onions (bottom right).

Leading up to the first share of each season always makes us nervous, even after all these years. Getting those first seeding dates just right so we’ve got vegetables now, but not two weeks ago and not until two weeks from now, can be tricky. It’s weather dependent and weed dependent and every year it’s different. Was it too hot or too cold or too rainy, and the crops didn’t grow well?

Last year at this time we’d missed the window on the first round of broccoli and bok choy. They’d grown too fast due to the very warm spring weather and they’d gone to flower before the season started. This year we’re in the opposite boat. The extended cold and wet spring has delayed many crops and made the start to this growing season a slog in the field. This has been the wettest, coldest, and longest spring we’ve experienced since 2009 when we started this journey.

As we begin this CSA season we want to be upfront with our expectations for the coming months. In all honesty we think the shares for the first couple of months of this season are going to be quite a bit smaller than in past years due to the poor field conditions we’ve been experiencing. Though we’ve been working hard to keep planting schedules on track and we kept hoping for a change in weather to get things growing, it just hasn’t happened. The sunny weather windows in April and May haven’t been long enough to properly dry out ground to prep for planting. We’ve had to plant into less than ideal conditions and we’re seeing the plants respond to that stress.

We’re committed to getting things back on track now that the weather is clearing for longer periods and warming up. It’s going to take some time before we’re experiencing the bounty we’ve become familiar with from past seasons. There will be vegetables from week to week, just not the mix and quantity we’d like.

We appreciate your support and hope you know we’re doing all we can to get you the vegetables we all love. That said, please let us know if you’d prefer to part ways and we’ll get you a refund. We don’t want to disappoint anyone who had chosen to join us and understand if you need to change your mind.

Sunset after another rainy day (top left), so many things ready to be transplanted (top right), prepping for pepper and melon planting (bottom left), a double rainbow (bottom right).

In the week ahead we’ll be evaluating crops and making some tough decisions about how to proceed now that the sun has arrived to the party. We believe some crops will rebound with warmer weather and drier soil. I’m sure there will be some things that won’t make the cut and will get tilled under to make room for healthier transplants waiting in the wings. We’ve got the third rounds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and corn, the second rounds of dill and cilantro and summer squash, and the leeks all ready to go into the field as soon as possible. Needless to say, we’ll be keeping busy.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Kale

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1/8 teaspoon fish sauce, plus an extra dash at the end
2 tablespoons peanut butter (any type)
3 ounces udon or soba noodles
1/2 bunch kale, deribbed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (1 packed cup)
Chopped scallions, for serving
Chili flakes, for serving
Chopped peanuts, for serving

Heat 1 quart of water in a saucepan to boil.

In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, add sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, Sriracha, and fish sauce. Stir ingredients or rotate pan to combine and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add peanut butter, stir to combine, then turn off heat.

When water is boiling, blanch kale for about 15 seconds. Drain the kale and add it to the sauce in the sauté pan and stir to coat.

Bring clean water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Fresh noodles will cook very quickly; dry noodles will cook in 3 to 4 minutes.

Use tongs to add the noodles straight from the water to the sauté pan with the peanut sauce and the kale. The unstrained noodles will carry enough water to dilute the peanut sauce; if you decide to strain the noodles and then add them to the sauce, add 1 tablespoon water, as well. Add a dash of fish sauce to finish.

Garnish with chopped scallions, chili flakes, and chopped peanuts.

From Food52.com by Laura, https://food52.com/recipes/26169-spicy-peanutty-udon-with-kale

Spring Vegetable Jumble with Tarragon Butter

  • For the vegetables:
  • 8 small fingerling or new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
  • 8 radishes, tops removed except for a 1/4 inch of stem, cleaned, and halved
  • 8 baby carrots (actual baby carrots, not those bagged ones that are pieces of big carrots), halved, or 1 larger carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Olive oil
  • 1 young leek, white and light green portions only, cleaned well and cut into thin slices (or leek scapes)
  • 1/2 cup English peas (fresh, if possible)
  • Lemon-Tarragon Butter (recipe below)
  • Sea salt and white pepper, to taste
  • Fresh tarragon, to garnish (optional)
  • For the Lemon-Tarragon Butter:
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

For the vegetables:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and lower heat to a low boil. After about 3 minutes, add the radishes and carrots. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add in the asparagus and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables and run under cold water to stop them from cooking further. Spread them out onto a clean towel or baking sheet to hang out while you sauté the leek.

In a large sautée pan, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced leek and cook until softened. Add the potatoes, radishes, carrots, asparagus, and peas to the pan.

Stir in the Lemon-Tarragon Butter (recipe below), stirring to coat the vegetables well. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes, until everything is just reheated. Season to taste with salt and white pepper and serve warm. Garnish with a bit more minced tarragon if desired.

For the Lemon-Tarragon Butter:

In a small saucepan, combine the shallot and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes, until the juice is approximately reduced by half.

Stir in the cream and reduce to a simmer for 1 minute. Then, turn down the stove to the lowest possible heat. Stir in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly as it melts and adding each one as the one before it disappears. Take off the heat and stir in the tarragon. Use immediately with the spring vegetables or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

From Food52 by fiveandspice, https://food52.com/recipes/11712-spring-vegetable-jumble-with-lemon-tarragon-butter

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 cup garlic scapes, thinly sliced crosswise (or try leek scapes!)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste

Add the scapes and pine nuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until everything is broken up a bit. Then turn the processor back on, and with it running, add the oil a little at a time until it’s fully incorporated.

Add cheese, pulse, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

This won’t brown like basil pesto will, so if you’re not using immediately, just store in a container in the fridge. It will last a week.

From Food52.com by Kenzi Wilbur, https://food52.com/recipes/22491-garlic-scape-pesto

May Showers Bring June Vegetables

We’re quickly approaching the start of the 13th P&C Summer CSA season! As we wait out another rainstorm it seemed like a good time for a spring farm update. Read on for a synopsis of what’s happening on the farm.

As many of you past farm members know, we take the month of May off from harvesting to focus on planting. Of course there’s also the pre-planting work that goes into prepping ground for planting, growing up the transplants, and then keeping everything watered (when it’s not raining) and weeded after we plant them. We’re thankful for your support as we take the time to focus on getting things in the ground and growing to ensure another successful CSA season.

Here are some photos and thoughts from spring on the farm:

That’s us, on a rare off-farm excursion to the coast between CSA seasons.

First off, how about we re-introduce ourselves. We are Jeff and Carri, and along with Leo the farm dog, we’re growing your vegetables this season! It really is just the two of us growing transplants, working the soil, planting, cultivating, irrigating, harvesting, and distributing your vegetables at the CSA pick-ups.

Jeff is the tractor driver, be it our diesel McCormick tractor pulling the disc, rototiller, or waterwheel transplanter or hopping on our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor and tackling the weeds. You can see him in action over on our instagram first pulling the transplanter with the McCormick while I plant potatoes and then using the Farmall Cub to cover them up. He also wrangles the irrigation pipe, maintains the irrigation system, is king of the weed whacker, pounds t-posts, sows the cover crops, mows everything, and fixes all the stuff as needed.

Carri (that’s me!) gets to play in the propagation house starting seeds, growing transplants, and getting plants ready for life in the field. I’m the transplanter, and as Jeff drives slowly in straight lines I sit on the back of our water wheel transplanter plugging plants into the ground, which you can also see over on our instagram or here on our website. And while Jeff is the head of field cultivation I tend to take on the greenhouses, trellising tomatoes and peas and managing the weeds with hand tools. I also handle all things business, seed orders, website, and CSA member communication.

Together we harvest, wash, and pack your vegetables ahead of CSA pick-up days. You’ll find us at both the Salem and on-farm pick-ups ready to answer questions and chat about the past week.

Of course it’s a team effort with Leo the German Shepherd helping out with security, rodent patrols, and heading up the ball games.

Rain outside but happy transplants growing up inside the propagation house (right, top and bottom). Plus potting up the tomato plants we’ll share with CSA members the first couple of weeks of the season (bottom left).

Although we had some early weather breaks this spring, it’s been a cold and wet start to the growing season. We’ve mostly managed to stay on schedule with getting the earliest plants in the ground but the soil conditions have certainly not been ideal. Despite the rain the propagation house has already filled up and emptied and filled up again with vegetables transplants waiting for their turn to find a home in the field.

Transplanting onions (top left), a snapshot of early crops int he field (top right), potatoes ready to be covered up (bottom left), and salad mix transplants (bottom right).

Though the weather feels like it could easily still be April, we’ve managed to keep things on track and we’re only about a week behind on field transplanting. Yesterday we were able to sneak in the second succession of head lettuce and salad mix and the first succession of sweet corn. We’ve got successions of cilantro, dill, basil, spinach, bok choy, and beets all ready to jump into the field as soon as we see another workable break in the rain. Right behind them are peppers, leeks, celeriac, melons, and cucumbers!

Baby broccoli (top left), baby cucumber plants (top right), baby basil (bottom left), and baby lettuce (bottom right).

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll continue planting as the weather allows. We’ve got our fingers crossed that the sun shows up for longer stretches soon. Soon enough we’ll make the first harvest lists of the season, get back into the swing of harvesting, and before we know it we’ll be ready to bring you the first share of the 2022 Summer CSA season!

Until then we hope you’ve been getting our recent member emails. If you’ve signed up to join us for the Summer CSA and haven’t heard from us in your email inbox recently, try checking your spam folder for emails from us. If you don’t see them there let us know by dropping us a line at farmers@pitchforkandcrow.com.

Finally, here are a couple of things I’d like to pass on:

  • First is a suggestion to check out the new Local Resources page here on our website. – If you’re looking for local meat producers (pork, beef, or chicken) or other local services you might find what you need there.
  • Second is a fish recommendation – We’ve developed a love of salmon over the last couple of years and decided two years ago to start supporting salmon fisherman the way you support us. It’s become a highlight of dinnertime for us and once again we’ve joined the Iliamna Fish Company CSF (community supported fishery). We’re looking forward to filling our freezer full of salmon again come September.

On that note, let’s wrap up this update. Summer CSA members, keep an eye out for more emails from us as we continue the countdown to the start of the Summer CSA season!

All our thanks!

Your farmers – Carri & Jeff

Winter CSA Share #10

Welcome to the 10th, and final, share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Cauliflower
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Tatsoi – Somewhere between spinach and bok choy, this Asian green is great in salads and soups alike.
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Teenage Red Ursa Kale – Not baby kale, not full-sized adult kale, but right in the middle. Tender enough for salads and fast wilting for soups.
  • Spinach
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Red & Purple Radishes – Too many radishes? We suggest trying them roasted with other roots or cooked into soups and curries.
  • Leeks
  • Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions sooner than later.
  • Dried Cherry Tomatoes
  • Dried Apples
Rainbow Chard and Cauliflower headed to this week’s share!

We’ve made it to the final share of the Winter CSA season! Last week’s cold snap certainly reinforced the “Winter” part of the Winter CSA but the freezing temps, various hailstorms, and dusting of snow didn’t phase the crops in the field. We’re excited to be bringing you an abundance of goodness for this final share of the season.

Many thanks for joining us this season. We hope you enjoyed the past five months of local, seasonal eating. The weeks since we started back in December have flown by and it’s hard to believe we’re already wrapping up another season.

We’ll see most of you at the beginning of June for the start of the Summer CSA season and we hope to see everyone again next winter. We’ll be sure to reach out to all of you in late summer when we’re ready to sign-up members for next year’s Winter CSA.

Setting up pea trellising (left) and Jeff fixing a leak in the 6″pvc irrigation mainline after digging that giant hole (right).

April is usually when the planting begins ramping up here on the farm. Cold hardy crops make it into the field and the tomatoes get planted in a high tunnel. The rain and chilly overnight lows of the past two weeks meant a pause in planting while we waited for warmer temps and a dry spell and we tried to focus on other projects. We managed to get the trellising installed for the snap peas, stay on top of propagation and seed sowing, get a field prepped for planting between rain storms, and fix a leak in the mainline of our irrigation system among other things. We also weeded the early high tunnel carrots:

Weeding carrots, slow but rewarding!
Tomato planting day!

Once the overnight lows were once again out of the thirties on Sunday we hopped to it and planted the tomatoes!

528 tomato plants and 100 t-posts later, we’re ready for tomato trellising and eventually tomatoes!

The propagation house is filling up again (left) and fennel, onions, and kohlrabi starts hardening off outside and ready to be transplanted (right).

With the last Winter CSA harvest finished we’re now looking ahead to the Summer CSA and the work that needs to happen before it begins. Although we will be taking a break from harvesting for the next five weeks we’ve got plenty of other things to keep us busy. There’s ground to prep, transplants to plant, seeds to sow, grass to mow, blueberries to mulch, irrigation pipe to move, and the list goes on.

Thanks again for joining us for this past winter of vegetables! We couldn’t do this without you and we’re routinely humbled by your willingness to sign on to this adventure in eating. Thanks for letting us grow your food!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you many of you the first week of June for the start of the Summer CSA!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Clever Oven Parsnip Soup

1 small head of garlic
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil or ghee
2 pounds (1kg) parsnips
3 medium yellow onions
6 cups (1.5L) vegetable broth or water
1 1/2 cups (250g) (about one 15.5-oz. can) white beans, such as cannellini, great northern, or navy, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 teaspoons fine sea salt (use 1 teaspoon if using broth; 2 teaspoons if using water)
1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
Parsley leaves, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400° F (200° C). Slice off the stem of the garlic bulb and the portion just below the stem, revealing the open cloves. Spread the coconut oil on top, wrap the bulb tightly in aluminum foil, and set it on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes.

While the garlic is roasting, peel and roughly cut the parsnips into similarly sized chunks to ensure even roasting. Chop the onions. After the garlic has roasted for 15 minutes, add the parsnips and onions to the baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes.

Add the roasted parsnips and onions to a blender. Remove the foil from the garlic and squeeze the bulb from the bottom to extract the cloves into the blender. Add the broth, beans, salt, olive oil, and lemon juice, and blend on the highest setting until the soup is smooth and creamy. Transfer the soup to a stockpot and heat until steaming, if necessary.

Serve hot with a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper and parsley, if using.

From Food52.com via Naturally Nourished by Sarah Britton, https://food52.com/recipes/76146-clever-parsnip-oven-soup

Fried Cauliflower Sandwich

1/2 head cauliflower
2 cups lacinato kale (or similar)
2 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil (approximately)
Salt, to taste
2 ciabatta rolls (or similar good, crusty white bread)
2 tablespoons pickled banana pepper rings
4 slices provolone cheese

Trim the cauliflower, leaving the core intact, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (don’t worry if they don’t stay perfectly intact — as long as the have a relatively “flat” side they should brown up nicely). Set aside.

Slice the kale into thin ribbons and peel and mince the garlic. Set aside.

Pour enough oil in a heavy fry pan so that it completely coats the pan’s bottom and will slightly edge up the sides of the cauliflower pieces when you add them. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it’s very hot, add the cauliflower slices and let them sizzle, untouched, for 4 to 5 minutes (you may need to adjust heat so that they cook long enough to get brown and cook through). Flip the slices and cook them for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and sprinkle with a little salt.

Turn off the heat and add the kale and garlic to pan. Cook in the residual pan heat for a minute or two until the greens are wilted, then scrape onto a plate.

Turn the oven broiler on. Split and toast the ciabatta rolls. Take the two bottom halves and layer on the fried cauliflower slices, then the greens, and lastly, the peppers. Top with 2 slices of cheese and broil in oven just until melted. Top with the other ciabatta halves and enjoy.

Note: I highly recommend using a cast-iron skillet if you have one. If you don’t, they cost about $12 at your local hardware store. Otherwise, choose a very heavy pan so you get a nice crust on the cauliflower.

From Food52.com by Laurie from crunchygooey.blog, https://food52.com/recipes/24731-fried-cauliflower-sandwich

Roasted Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Cannellini Beans

1 bunch Swiss chard, stems and ribs removed and leaves roughly torn into 2-inch pieces
1 can cannellini beans (16 or 19 ounces, or about 2 cups), drained and rinsed
Finely grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from one lemon (reserving extra juice for finishing dish)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
16 ounces (about 3 or 4 links) good-quality chicken or pork sausage, removed from casings and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (can also use pre-cooked sausage, sliced into small pieces)
Finely grated Parmesan or pecorino, to serve

Heat oven to 400° F.

Combine chard and cannellini beans in a large casserole, baking dish, or ovenproof skillet. It will look like a lot of chard, but it will considerably cook down. Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and zest, Dijon mustard, smoked Spanish paprika, and olive oil. Add to chard and cannellini beans and toss well with hands to evenly coat. Evenly distribute the chard and beans in a single layer—or as close as you can get to a single layer. Nestle the pieces of sausage on top of the chard and beans.

Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chard is tender with crispy edges and the sausage is no longer pink. For extra security, you can toss about halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking.

Taste and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed. Top with grated parmesan or pecorino. Serve warm.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/35346-roasted-sausage-chard-and-cannellini-beans