Winter CSA Share #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022/2023 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mixed Radicchio Heads – Great for robust winter salads with punchy dressings and nuts and strong cheese and citrus. Like radicchio’s bitter friends chocolate and coffee, think about pairing it with sweet and/or fat to balance your taste for the bitter. Holds up to a little warming too. We’ll eat it with oven baked salmon, rice, and creamy dressing for a quick dinner at least once a week. Seriously, we at it last night. Soaking cut leaves in ice water for 30 minutes or more can help reduce the bitterness if needed.
  • Arugula Rapini – Lots of leaves but some flowering shoots too, the rapini may be best cooked a little. And don’t forget you can pesto it up too.
  • Cooking Greens Mix – A vibrant mix of kales, collards, and chard. Colorful and tasty!
  • Brussels Sprouts – Pop the sprouts off the stalk and enjoy them in your favorite recipes. We usually just cut the sprouts in half, toss with a little oil/salt/pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for ~20 minutes.
  • Purple & White Daikon Radishes – Tasty raw, pickled, or roasted and we’ll have saute bits and throw it in our ramen lunch.
  • Carrots
  • Rutabaga
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Bunching Onions
  • Yellow Onions
  • Garlic – 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 garlic wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Acorn Squash
  • Dried Apples – After a less than stellar apple growing year we decided to buy in some apples from another local farm. These are Airlie Red apples, a red-fleshed variety discovered locally in Kings Valley, that we purchased from RainShine Family Farm located west of Corvallis. We did the drying and bagging.

The Summer CSA is full! Thanks to everyone’s enthusiasm for local, organic vegetables the Summer CSA filled up in record time. If you missed out on snagging a spot you can add yourself to the waitlist over on the Summer CSA page. – (Many thanks to those who have signed-on for the upcoming season. We appreciate your support!)

Spring spinach just after germinating (left) and quail (can you see them?) on their morning pass through our front yard (right).

We’ve made it to February and the 5th winter CSA share! This share marks the halfway point in our winter vegetable journey. It’s hard to believe we’re already so deep into this winter season. The days are getting longer and we’ve just passed the return of 10 hours of daylight. Soon we won’t even need lights at the CSA pick-ups. Plants in the field are putting on new growth, the garlic has jumped up, and we’re seeing good germination on the greens we sowed in a greenhouse a few of weeks back. Though our fall spinach was a bust, the spring spinach is thriving! Things are looking up.

Harvesting and washing cooing greens.

Although we welcome the slower pace of the Winter season, the winter weather has a knack for making us nervous. The wind, the rain, and the freezing temperatures all bring challenges for both field and storage crops. We’re a little haunted by the winter of 2013 when we found ourselves experiencing single digit temperatures in December, just as the Winter CSA was beginning.

We’ve had some cold weather over the past month or so and two weeks ago we had a low temp of 16 here on the farm. It’s been a few years since we’ve been below 20, which is the magic number we’re always on the lookout for. We try to choose the hardiest winter vegetable varieties but some plants can’t survive the colder temperatures. Anything below 20 degrees is a roll of the dice as to whether plants will make it through. Thankfully we ramped up to the recent cold temperatures and the plants had acclimated to the winter weather. Things in the fields looked a little sad just after that 16 degree night but we didn’t seem to lose any plants this time around. Hopefully that was our lowest temp for a while.

We took a day off and drove to the woods. Whoa.

Our winter schedule has been mostly filled with work projects here on the farm over the past couple of months. Cleaning up after the last season, organizing and creating better work spaces, harvesting winter root crops for storage. The past couple of weeks we did take some time for personal goals amidst the work of the farm. Jeff has been upping his basket making game and learning new techniques with willow processing. I’m always amazed at what he can do with willow he’s harvested from our hedgerow. I was inspired by CSA member Greta B.and I broke out my sewing machine for a couple of small quilting/blanket projects. It had been a while since I’ve used this tool, but it turns out sewing is a little like riding a bike and it comes back to you pretty quickly. And, as evidenced by the photos above, we took a trip to the forest. Though we didn’t quite make it to the snow, we did enjoy exploring a beautiful area that is not the farm.

The coming weeks will hopefully see a mix of on and off farm adventures again. It’s nearly time to start sowing seeds for the first summer crops and we’ll be getting more early greenhouse crops in the ground soon. The 2023 growing season is headed our way quickly!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pasta with Gorgonzola, Radicchio, Walnuts, and Orange

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pounds pasta, such as penne or gemelli, see notes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 to 2 heads radicchio, preferably Treviso (if you can find it), cut into 1-inch-wide ribbons, see notes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces crumbled gorgonzola or other mild blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • zest of 1 orange, plus the juice (optional)
  • grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano, for serving, optional

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and toast them over medium-low heat for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently so they do not burn. Remove and set aside. Wipe out skillet.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and return to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package directions.

While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce: Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the radicchio and season with salt and pepper. Cook the radicchio until it begins to wilt and brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the gorgonzola and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water directly from the pot and simmer for 3 minutes more. The water should emulsify the cheese and create a velvety texture.

Scoop the cooked pasta directly into the skillet (alternatively, drain, reserving plenty of the pasta cooking liquid) and toss to combine the pasta with the sauce. Add the walnuts and parsley and toss again until glossy, adding 1/4 cup of pasta water or more (up to 1 cup), as needed to loosen up the sauce. Add the zest and toss to combine. Taste. Adjust as needed with more salt and pepper. I’ve been juicing the orange directly into the pot—I like the acidity/flavor/sweetness—but this is optional.

Plate in bowls and pass the grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiana Reggiano.

From Food52.com by Alexandra Stafford, https://food52.com/recipes/74469-pasta-with-gorgonzola-radicchio-walnuts-and-orange

Triple Radish Yum

  • Roasted Radishes
  • 3 large watermelon radishes (about 2 1/2- to 3-inch diameter)
  • 1 daikon radish (about 1 & 1/4 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Chèvre Horseradish Dressing
  • fresh horseradish
  • zest from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chèvre
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400º F, with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with a light coat of cooking spray. Set aside.

Remove ends and peel radishes. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut each half-moon slice into halves or thirds as needed to maintain fairly evenly sized pieces. The narrower end of the daikon may be left in half moons.

Toss radish pieces with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl to coat evenly. Distribute the radish pieces in an even layer on the baking sheet. (Set bowl aside.) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Radishes should have some browning, and retain some firmness when they are done.

While radishes are roasting, grate about 2 to 3 packed tablespoons worth of fresh horseradish using a microplane. Thoroughly combine 1 & 1/2 tablespoons of the grated horseradish with the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, chèvre, and 1/8th teaspoon salt in the reserved bowl. Taste, and if the horseradish flavor is not strong enough add more.

Once radishes have finished roasting, transfer them to the bowl with the dressing. Toss to coat. Taste and add salt if needed. Transfer to serving bowl and grind some fresh black pepper over the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

From Food52.com by HardLikeArmour, https://food52.com/recipes/10774-triple-radish-yum

Squash Panzanella with Bagna Cauda

  • Squash Panzanella
  • 3 pounds root vegetables (such as carrots, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and rutabaga)
  • 2 pounds squash (such as delicata, acorn, butternut, kuri, and kabocha)
  • 1 loaf crusty bread or 2 baguettes, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • Olive oil and salt, for roasting
  • Bagna Cauda
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 ounces arugula (or 1 handful per person)

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Cut all of the root vegetables and squash into 1-inch chunks. Transfer to a bowl and coat with a hefty glug of olive oil and a couple big pinches of salt.

Transfer to a parchment- or foil-lined sheet pan and roast until tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside, about 40 minutes.

When the veg are just about done, toss the bread with another glug of olive oil and pinch of salt, and add to the vegetable roasting tray. Return to the oven to crisp and lightly brown the croutons while you make the bagna cauda.

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over low to medium heat. Add the rosemary sprig and chili flakes to fry lightly, about 30 seconds. Add the anchovies and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the garlic is soft, lowering the heat as needed so it doesn’t brown. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig, then add the lemon zest and butter, and stir to combine.

When the vegetables and bread are finished roasting (after about 10 minutes), remove from the oven and transfer to a large, heat-proof mixing bowl. Pour the bagna cauda on top, then add the vinegar and arugula. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Eat warm or at room temperature.

From Food52.com by Abraberens, https://food52.com/recipes/84407-squash-panzanella-with-bagna-cauda-recipe

Winter CSA Share #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022/2023 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Chioggia Radicchio – Great for robust winter salads with punchy dressings and nuts and strong cheese and citrus. Like radicchio’s bitter friends chocolate and coffee, think about pairing it with sweet and/or fat to balance your taste for the bitter. Holds up to a little warming too. We’ll eat it with oven baked salmon, rice, and creamy dressing for a quick dinner. Soaking cut leaves in ice water for 30 minutes or more can help reduce the bitterness if needed.
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussels Sprouts – Pop the sprouts off the stalk and enjoy them in your favorite recipes. We usually just cut the sprouts in half, toss with a little oil/salt/pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for ~20 minutes.
  • Winter Kohlrabi Don’t be afraid of the giant winter kohlrabi.  It’s delicious and wants to be eaten up raw, or fermented, or roasted, or in a savory pudding (recipe below). 
  • French Fingerling Potatoes – Red skins and red streaked yellow flesh, great boiled or roasted.
  • Sweet Potatoes – The very last of the sweet potatoes, small but tasty!
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Yellow & Red Onions
  • Garlic
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Dried Apples – After a less than stellar apple growing year we decided to buy in some apples from another local farm. These are Airlie Red apples, a red-fleshed variety discovered locally in Kings Valley, that we purchased from RainShine Family Farm located west of Corvallis. We did the drying and bagging.
Rainbow on the farm this past week, framing some of our greenhouses and our red osier dogwood patch.

Happy new year farm friends! What better way to kick off the new year than with a fridge full of seasonal vegetables? With more time to spend in the kitchen this time of year we’ve been enjoying some of those meals that take a little longer to prep like butternut squash and kale strata and roasted Brussels sprouts with winter squash mac n’ cheese. Of course our oven baked salmon/rice/radicchio/creamy dressing combo continues to be a quick go-to as well. Winter vegetables are some of our favorites, and they’re made even better by the less hectic schedule we run during the winter season.

The windblown greenhouse (left) and the empty spot , from a distance, where it was once but is no longer (right).

The past couple of weeks have found us cleaning up from the big wind storm that blew through a couple of weeks back. Jeff spent many of his daylight hours last week cleaning up the greenhouse we lost in the wind. That meant lots of cutting metal and wood into manageable pieces, wrangling windblown plastic sheeting, pulling out concrete footings, and clearing the cheap ground cloth we’d installed ten years ago. After salvaging what he could and then a trip to the landfill/metal recycling bins, the space where the greenhouse had stood is looking rather empty. Which, considering it was prone to flooding in late winter, probably isn’t the worst scenario. Evidently there’s an insurance check headed our way, so a replacement in a new location may be in the works later this season.

During the rainier days and evenings Jeff found time to do some 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor maintenance. He’s finally undertaking his dream of upgrading the battery from 6 volt to 12 volt, which requires re-wiring the whole tractor and adding an alternator, I think. Between the re-wiring and hunting down an oil leak he seems to be making progress and we both look forward to a solid season of cultivating crops in the coming months.

While Jeff ping ponged between greenhouse cleanup and tractor repair (plus a number of willow basketry projects at night), I hunkered down with the seed catalogs and crop planning spreadsheets. We’d done a crop planning overview together previously where we’d discussed planting dates, crop quantities, and general varieties. I then had to do the deep dive of figuring out variety specifics, seed sources, amount of seed needed, and keep the spreadsheets updated with those details along the way. Then came the seed orders, including orders from 8 separate seed companies totaling just over $3600, which is in addition to the $2500 we’d pre-paid last month toward seed and seed potatoes. Whoa! The 2023 growing season just got real!

Lacinato kale harvest!

Now that we’ve made it through this week’s harvest we’ll be focusing again on the list of winter projects that’s been looming for the past month. First, Jeff received the final tractor part in the mail yesterday and is ready to see if his cultivating tractor fixes/conversion has worked. I’ve got farm budgeting and 2023 Summer CSA details to finalize. And it’s time to get some greenhouse space prepped for the first direct sowing of the year. The list goes on with plenty of weed whacking, orchard pruning, year-end paperwork, greenhouse weeding, apple drying, root harvesting, and general spring cleaning to get to as well. Also, Jeff bought us snowshoes for my birthday and we’re looking forward to an off-farm winter adventure soon.

Watch your email for Summer CSA sign-ups to begin in the next week or two.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Squash Mac n’ Cheese

  • 3 cups dried noodle (elbows, shells, spirals, or similar)
  • 2.5 cups roasted and pureed squash (like ‘Sweet Mama,’ ‘Winter Sweet,’ or ‘N. Georgia Candy Roaster’)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cup milk or milk alternative
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: a pinch of nutmeg, a sprinkle of garlic powder, ground mustard, or celery seed

Cook noodles according to the package instructions.

Cut squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast in the oven until soft. Scoop the squash from the skin into a blender or food processor and puree. Alternatively, mash with potato masher, fork, or other kitchen tool. In a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring until just starting to brown. Add milk and stir until the roux starts to thicken. Add salt, pepper and any other spices. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese and squash puree. Pour over the noodles and stir until well combined.

My favorite additions: peas, corn and veggie sausage.

From EatWinterVegetables.com by Laura Brown, https://www.eatwintervegetables.com/squash-mac-n-cheese

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo Beer Hash

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts (outside leaves removed)
  • 3 Chorizo links, outer casing removed and crumbled (can also use dried)
  • 1 cup beer (I used Great Lakes Dortmunder)
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 4 Medium blue or red potatoes, halved
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Bring 2 medium pots of salted water to a boil. Toss your whole Brussels sprouts into one for 5 minutes. Toss your potatoes into the other for 10. Drain both.

In a large sauté pan with high sides, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 3 minutes. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

Trim the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Add your Brussels sprouts to the pan with the chorizo and cook for about 7 minutes, until they have started to brown. Note that the bottom of your pan will start to build a bit of a crust. Worry not: you will de-glaze it with the beer shortly.

Peel the skin off the potatoes, and cut into 1 inch cubes. Toss into the pan after the brussels sprouts have browned. Add a little more salt and pepper to the dish. De-glaze the bottom of the pan with the beer. Let the potatoes cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown a little bit. Add more beer if necessary to make sure you get all the flavors off the bottom of the pan.

Cook your eggs in butter with a dash of salt in a separate pan, for about 2-3 minutes, just until the egg white is no longer runny, but the yolk still is.

Serve the egg over the hash while both are still piping hot! Enjoy.

From Food52.com by Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast, https://food52.com/recipes/15140-brussels-sprout-and-chorizo-beer-hash

This recipe was shared with us years ago (2014 maybe?) by a winter CSA member. Was that you Kim M.? It’s a delicious, if dairy indulgent, way to transform a lot of kohlrabi into a tasty savory pudding.

Kohlrabi Pudding

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 to 3 small kohlrabi, stem, root and ends trimmed, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 ounces neufchâtel reduced-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup low-fat milk, buttermilk, yogurt, light sour cream, oat or rice milk, or, if feeling devil-may-care and you have it on hand, half and half or heavy cream
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Pickapeppa sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 or 4 gratings of nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spray a 9-inch square baking dish or six individual 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the kohlrabi and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a food processor and puree. Measure out 3 cups of the puree, saving leftovers for another use (such as a chilled soup). Set the puree aside.

Place the eggs with the neufchâtel, milk, cornstarch, Pickapeppa, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in the food processor. Buzz until very smooth. Add the 3 cups puree and half of the Parmesan and buzz to incorporate. Taste and, if necessary season with more pepper.

Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared baking dish or into the individual ramekins. Place the dish or ramekins in a larger pan with hot water to come ½ inch up the sides of the dish or ramekins. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Return to the oven and continue baking until the cheese is melted and golden and the pudding is firm, browned, and does not stick to your finger when you touch its surface, another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve, hot or warm, cut into squares or inverted out of the ramekins.

From Cookstr.com by Dairy Hollow House, https://www.cookstr.com/recipes/dairy-hollow-house-kohlrabi-pudding

Northern Spy’s Kale Salad

  • 1/2 cup cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
  • 1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot clothbound cheddar (or any good, aged cheddar — if you can’t find aged cheddar, use Parmesan)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)

Heat oven to 425° F. Toss squash cubes in just enough olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (lined with parchment for easier cleanup), leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10-15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved pecorino cheese, if desired, and serve.

From Food52.com by Genius Recipes, https://food52.com/recipes/15584-northern-spy-s-kale-salad

Winter CSA Share #1

Welcome to the 1st share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022/2023 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Rosalba Radicchio – Great for robust winter salads with punchy dressings and nuts and strong cheese and citrus. Holds up to a little warming too. We’ll eat it with oven baked salmon, rice, and creamy dressing for a quick dinner. Soaking in ice water can help reduce the bitterness if needed. Click here for some tips if you think radicchio and chicories bring too much bitter to the table.
  • Romaine Lettuce Bites – Mini romaine heads, peeled down to the best leaves.
  • Red Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts – Pop the sprouts off the stalk and enjoy them in your favorite recipes. We usually just cut the sprouts in half, toss with a little oil/salt/pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for ~20 minutes. Don’t forget to check out the recipe index here on our website if you’re looking for suggestions.
  • Celery
  • Alpine Daikon Radishes – A short Korean daikon variety traditionally used in kimchi but tasty on salads or roasted.
  • Pinto Fingerling Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes – In an effort to prolong their storage life we’re giving these out unwashed. You may want to give them a soak pre-scrubbing. Enjoy!
  • Carrots
  • Yellow & Red Onions
  • Garlic
  • Candystick Dessert Delicata Squash – We tend to roast most of our winter squashes by cutting them in half and baking cut side down at 400 degrees until tender.
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Dried Apples – After a less than stellar apple growing year we decided to buy in some apples from another local farm. These are Airlie Red apples, a red-fleshed variety discovered locally in Kings Valley, that we purchased from RainShine Family Farm located west of Corvallis. We did the drying and bagging.
Pink chicories and pink apples! (up top) plus the chicory field (bottom left) and a winter rainbow (bottom right).

Welcome to the first week of the Winter CSA! We’re excited to kick off our tenth winter CSA season and hope you are too! Whether you’re a returning member who is already well versed in seasonal eating or a new member joining us for the first time, we hope you know we’ll be trying our darndest to bring you the best organic vegetables we can grow to each CSA pick-up over the next five months.

As you know already, winter weather can be unpredictable and growing conditions are the most challenging through the winter months. Ice and snow can be game changers. Short cold days mean not much plant growth is happening at the moment so we’re relying on the planning and planting that happened last summer and fall. That’s all to say that while winter may like to keep us on our toes, there will be vegetables to eat and hopefully they’ll include a wide diversity. So far, so good!

A snowy jaunt in the woods (top) and flame weeding garlic, first walking and then with the tractor (bottom).

We often get questions about how we spent the two week break between the end of the Summer CSA season and the beginning of the Winter CSA season. After a long, rough growing season we chose to hunker down at home for a short but restful break from farm projects. Jeff focused on his willow basket hobby (if you’re in the market for a willow coffin, hit him up) and I relaxed into wrangling our house back into some semblance of order, cooking slightly more ambitious meals than we find time for during the growing season, and evaluating 2023 health insurance plans. Fun!

Of course it wasn’t all fun hobby time. We had an assortment of random projects that needed some attention. When we last left you our 90s era F150 truck needed repair. Luckily Jeff swapped out the computer and was back in action in no time, plus the repair required a quick trip to the hills to get the computer acclimated to highway speeds. Bonus! We also managed to upgrade our washer/dryer after a washer failure a few days into the break. That involved too much time spent researching the mysterious inner workings of new washing machines, eventually discovering we couldn’t diagnose the problem properly to repair ourselves, realizing no one will repair the brand, and laying down some money for new repairable machines that are equally (if not more) mysterious. And Jeff sold his duck flock on Craigslist to a small farm in Oregon City looking to up their duck game. Herding and catching 22 very wary ducks in muddy conditions is definitely a project.

We did ease back into farm tasks too. Jeff worked on flame weeding the garlic first with a handheld propane torch and then with a wider propane torch with multiple burners that he attached to the tractor. Hopefully he can keep the grass at bay long enough for a dry spell when we can truly cultivate to clean up the beds. We also moved the dry corn out of the prop house where it had been drying down since harvest. Not wanting it to languish in the barn I went ahead and shelled it, resulting in 300ish pounds of dry corn for future flour/polenta milling. Plus there was some apple drying, root harvesting and washing, composting, barn cleaning, bin washing etc. We’ve still got a long list of winter projects to get through but it was nice to get a slow start on some of them.

That’s all to say it was a successful working staycation and we’re looking forward to getting into the swing of the Winter CSA!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Chicken Caesar Lettuce Wraps

  • For the Caesar dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (2-ounce) can anchovy fillets, drained, and minced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • For the chicken lettuce wraps:
  • 4 chicken breasts, halved horizontally
  • 6 slices bread, ideally crusty and rustic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 small head radicchio, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 3 hearts of romaine, broken into leafs for lettuce cups

For the Caesar dressing:

Make the Caesar dressing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust accordingly.

For the chicken lettuce wraps:

Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to a big plastic bag and add 1/2 cup Caesar dressing. Mush around to completely coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge or up to 1 day.

Get your grill going. For charcoal: Set up for one-zone, high-temperature cooking. For gas: Heat to high until the temperature reaches about 600° F. Make sure the grill grates are clean, then lightly oil them.

Grill the chicken over direct heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until charred on the outside and cooked (about 165° F) on the inside. Transfer to a plate to rest.

Now grill the bread. First drizzle with olive oil, then grill over direct heat until charred, a couple minutes per side. Transfer to a plate to cool and crisp.

Chop the chicken into chicken chunks. Add to a bowl along with the radicchio, parmesan, and capers. Dress with the remaining Caesar dressing—use however much feels right to you. Taste and adjust salt accordingly.

Tear the grilled bread slices into crumbs.

Serve as such: lettuce cups on one plate, chicken salad in a bowl, crumbs on another plate. To assemble: Fill a lettuce cup with chicken salad and top with breadcrumbs.

From Food52.com by Emma Laperruque, https://food52.com/recipes/77670-grilled-chicken-caesar-lettuce-wraps

Coconut & Chile Braised Winter Squash

  • 2 to 3 pounds winter squash (such as 1 large butternut, or 2 medium delicata)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 13.5 ounces can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat)
  • 3 tablespoons chile sauce, such as harissa, or to taste (see author note)
  • Couscous or rice, for serving

To prep the squash: Peel the squash if using butternut; no need to peel delicata. Halve lengthwise and remove seeds and stringy flesh. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks.

On a sheet pan, toss the squash with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, or just enough to coat. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper.

Heat the broiler with an oven rack about 4 to 5 inches from the heating element. Broil the squash until nicely charred on the first side, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and broil about 1 to 2 minutes longer. (The total time will depend on the intensity of your broiler, so keep a close eye on the squash!)

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender, about 5 minutes (a little browning around the edges is fine) then add the garlic, coriander, and rosemary and sauté a minute longer. Add the charred squash, stirring to coat it evenly in the oil.

Add the coconut milk, harissa, and another pinch or two of salt, and bring to a simmer. Half cover the pan with the lid, and braise for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Add a little water (using the empty can to get every last bit of coconut milk!), as needed, if the sauce starts to get a little dry.

Adjust salt to taste, and add more chile sauce if desired. Serve warm with couscous or rice as a complete meal, or as a side to virtually any protein.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/84649-coconut-braised-winter-squash-recipe

Sweet Potato Nachos

  • Nachos
  • 2 pounds (about 6 medium) sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Smashed Black Beans (see recipe below)
  • 16 ounces (about 4 cups) shredded cheese (I like a mix of Monterey Jack, pepperjack, and yellow cheddar)
  • 1/3 cup salsa or pico de gallo
  • 1 or 2 ripe avocados, sliced (or, for a bit more excitement, 1 or 2 batches of the Chunkiest, Herbiest, Greenest Guacamole)
  • For serving: thinly sliced (daikon) radishes, shredded cabbage, thinly sliced raw or pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced raw or pickled onions, thinly sliced scallions, sour cream (for dolloping), gently crushed tortilla chips, roughly chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Smashed Black Beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black (or pinto) beans, liquid reserved
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Nachos

Heat the oven to 450ºF.

Slice the (unpeeled) sweet potatoes into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Err on the thin side for more charred, crispy potatoes; thicker for creamier—both are excellent!

In a large bowl (or directly on two rimmed sheet pans) toss the potatoes with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Bake, with one pan on a rack in the top of the oven and the other on the bottom, for 12 to 14 minutes, until well charred. Flip the potatoes, swap the positions of the sheet pans, and continue cooking until cooked through and charred on the other side, another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven and toss the potatoes to ensure none are stuck to the pan.

Reduce the heat to 350ºF. Spread about half the beans and sprinkle half the cheese over one tray of potatoes. Return the tray to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Building on the one tray, layer the remaining sweet potatoes over the melted cheese. Cover the second layer of potatoes with spoonfuls of the beans (use the rest of the batch or however much you’d like). Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Dot the surface of the nachos with large spoonfuls of salsa or pico de gallo. Scatter avocado over the nachos (or dot with large spoonfuls of guacamole). Finish with the remaining desired toppings and serve immediately, with lime wedges for squeezing.

Smashed Black Beans

While the potatoes are cooking, make the beans. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring regularly, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Make a well in the center and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Stir in the paprika and cumin and let sizzle for 30 seconds, until the spices are fragrant.

Dump the entire can of beans (yes, liquid, too!) into the pot. Fill the can halfway with water, pour into the pot as well, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Use the side of a spoon or spatula to gently smash the beans up a bit. Let cool slightly, then mix in the vinegar before serving.

From Food52.com by Rebecca Firkser, https://food52.com/recipes/84941-best-sweet-potato-nachos-recipe

Summer CSA Share #22

Welcome to the 22nd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Cauliflower or Napa Cabbage
  • Cilantro
  • Diana Radishes
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Delectable” Sweet Corn – This is the last of this season’s sweet corn harvest. It was a good run!
  • Zucchini – Including green zucchini and “Mexicana” zucchini. We’re rapidly approaching the end of summer squash/zucchini season. Enjoy them while you can!
  • Sweet Pepper
  • Thai or Carrot HOT Peppers – Many of our pepper plants didn’t get off to a good start but we wanted to share what we have. Choose from red Thai or orange Bulgarian Carrot peppers. Both are hot.
  • Numex Suave Orange Habanero Pepper – A low heat version of the fruity, usually hot pepper type. Wish we had more to share!
  • Pie Pumpkin
Farmscapes: Sunrise (top), foggy morning (bottom left), and flying geese (can you see them?) (bottom right).

Hey, we finally got some measurable rain! The seasonal shift hit this week and it was just blustery and wet enough to feel like fall but there were still some sunny moments too, so we don’t quite have seasonal whiplash. We’re easing into mud season. Hurrah for the rain!

As a reminder, the Summer CSA season has four weeks left and then we’ll be taking a two week break before the start of the Winter CSA season for those of you intrepid eaters that were able and willing to jump on board. That’s to say, the end will be here before we know it. As the days continue to get shorter and the weather actually feels like fall, it’s become obvious it’s time to think about eating in the winter months ahead.

For anyone looking to purchase extra winter staples we suggest checking out one of the Fill Your Pantry events happening around the state in the coming month. These are single day markets, some with pre-ordering still available, where you can purchase varying quantities of locally grown produce and other staples like meats, honey, grains, and beans. Although it will require heading to Corvallis, Eugene, or Bend, you’ll be able to fill your winter pantry in a single trip. Check out the event pages below depending on which location suits your needs best.

Harvest Day Scenes: In the kale (top), in the radishes (bottom left), and in the leeks (bottom right).

We’re continuing to fill our own pantry here on the farm. Or rather fill all the storage spaces we can come up with. This past week we began the sweet potato digging and the temperature controlled room we use as a seed germinating chamber has shifted to use as sweet potato curing chamber. We also managed to thresh and winnow the dry beans and they’re ready for future CSA shares. We also got our 2023 garlic crop in the ground as well as our overwintering onions. Slow and steady progress.

In the week ahead we’ll continue the potato and sweet potato harvests, do a little weeding in a couple of greenhouse spaces, get some cover crop seed in the ground, and generally try to stay ahead of any cold snaps that may be headed our way any time now. Four more weeks until the end of the Summer CSA season!

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:

Triple Surprise Kale Salad

  • 1 small Sugar Pie pumpkin (about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling the pumpkin
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 long slices (about 5 ounces) of thick bacon, cut into big bite-size squares
  • About 1 1/2 teaspoons of brown sugar, divided
  • A pinch of cinnamon (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) blanched almonds, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 12 ounces kale
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Chop the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into slices, remove the skin, and then cut the flesh into 3/4-inch cubes. Drizzle the cubes with a little olive oil, season with black pepper, and toss to combine. Place the cubes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30 minutes, until nicely caramelized and soft (but not soft enough that the pumpkin is falling apart). Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool. (You will not have to use all of the pumpkin cubes for this dish — probably only about half — but they are a good leftover to have.)

Decrease the oven temperature to 325° F. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the bacon slices on the sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the bacon with about 1/2 teaspoon of the brown sugar, the cinnamon, and the cayenne. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bacon is caramelized and very crispy, and all of the fat has rendered out. Let the bacon cool completely and then cut it into 3/4-inch pieces. (The bacon will crisp more as it cools.)

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the almonds, and toast them for about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Stir frequently to make sure that the almonds do not burn. Remove the almonds from the skillet and add the remaining 1 teaspoon of brown sugar to the skillet. When the sugar melts, return the almonds to the skillet, mix them with caramelized sugar, and sprinkle with one teaspoon of coarse sea salt. Remove the skillet from the heat, pour the almonds onto a plate, and let them cool completely. Brush any remaining salt in the skillet onto the almonds.

Wash the kale and dry it thoroughly. Remove the hard steams and chop the kale into 3/4-inch strips. Heat a cast iron skillet or casserole dish over medium heat. Place the kale into the skillet and “dry-sauté” over medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Resist the temptation to add any water to the skillet. Remove from the heat when the kale begins to soften. Let the kale cool completely.

Prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and cider vinegar and season with freshly ground black pepper. Whisk until well blended and creamy.

In a large bowl toss the kale with the vinaigrette. Arrange the kale on a large platter and top with the pumpkin cubes and bacon. Sprinkle with the sea salt-almond crust and serve.

From Food52.com by QueenSashy, https://food52.com/recipes/31255-triple-surprise-kale-salad

3-Ingredient Potato Leek Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 4 leeks
  • 1 1/4 pounds potatoes (I prefer Yukon gold)
  • 6 cups water
  • salt, to taste

Clean the leeks carefully, then slice them into thin half-moons. Scrub and dice the potatoes into small cubes.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the leeks soften.

Add the potatoes and the water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15-30 minutes: The soup is ready when the potatoes can be easily poked with a fork. The timing will vary depending on the type of potatoes you use.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. (If you don’t have one, transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Be very careful with the hot liquid!) Taste the soup and season with more salt if needed.

From Food52.com by Posie (Harwood) Brien, https://food52.com/recipes/74363-3-ingredient-potato-leek-soup

Harissa Chicken with Leeks, Potatoes, and Yogurt

  • 1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 by 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons harissa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole-milk (if using Greek, thin it down with a little milk to make it drizzle-able
  • 1 small garlic clover
  • 1 cup mixed soft fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, mint, and/or cilantro leaves
  • 1 splash fresh lemon juice, as needed

Combine the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season them with 2½ teaspoons of the salt and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the harissa, cumin, and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pour this mixture over the chicken and potatoes, and toss to combine. Let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the leeks, lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and the remaining 1½ tablespoons olive oil.

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Arrange the chicken and potatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, and roast for 20 minutes. Then toss the potatoes lightly, and scatter the leeks over the baking sheet. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 20 to 25 minutes longer.

While the chicken cooks, place the yogurt in a small bowl. Grate the garlic clove over the yogurt, and season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Spoon the yogurt over the chicken and vegetables in the baking sheet (or you can transfer everything to a platter if you want to be fancy about it). Scatter the herbs over the yogurt, drizzle some olive oil and lemon juice over the top, and serve.

From Food52.com by Melissa Clark, https://food52.com/recipes/68405-harissa-chicken-with-leeks-potatoes-and-yogurt

Summer CSA Share #19

Welcome to the 19th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Italian Basil
  • Strawberry Paw or LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sweetness” Sweet Corn
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini. We’re rapidly approaching the end of summer squash/zucchini season. Enjoy them while you can!
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes. Cucumbers are on the way out!
  • Poblano & Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomato
  • Tomatillos – A little like green tomatoes, tomatillos make excellent salsa verde and enchilada sauce. Check out this website for more details and recipes.
  • Melon – Choose from Tuscan, Lambkin (aka Christmas), Honey Orange honeydew, and some watermelons.
The pumpkins are ready for the big day!

Hello October! We’re welcoming the shorter days, foggy mornings, and pumpkins! We’re both suckers for a good pumpkin. The recent temps could be a little lower, just saying, but the heat doesn’t linger like it does in August so we’ll take it. Though we need some rain, and we’ll appreciate it when it finally arrives, the extended sunshine has helped offset the rough start to the season back in June.

It looks like the good weather is going to hold through this coming Saturday and the annual CSA member pumpkin patch farm visit. We invite all CSA members out to the farm to grab some pumpkins, take a walk around the farm, and maybe even hop onboard for a tractor ride. You can find the details in your weekly member email.

Harvest day!

Shorter days mean more strategic harvesting. We’ve been beginning the weekly harvest on Sundays to make sure we get through the list of items appearing in your shares. But Mondays are still the biggest harvest days when we focus on bringing in the bulk of the vegetables. We start with greens, to get them into the cooler before the heat of the day strikes, and then move through the list generally from most time consuming to least time consuming. Sometimes we’ll knock off an item of unsure quantity to make sure we can mitigate the results. For example: Not enough cauliflower for everyone? We’ve got extra broccoli and can make it a choice scenario. We keep at it through the day and often we find ourselves harvesting corn as the sun is fading.

Harvest day tools include clean harvest bins, sharp knives, and tally counters we use to count most items. If you get to choose from a bin of cucumbers or broccoli or bunches of basil at the pick-up, they’ve been counted in the field and again after washing to make sure the correct number makes it to each pick-up location. Anything you receive bagged is generally weighed in the field then the bags are counted as the item is bagged. This is how we make sure there’s enough of everything but also don’t harvest more than we’ll need each week.

There’s a lot going on here at the farm that doesn’t involve counting vegetables too. Of course we keep busy growing the vegetables, but there are lots of other critters going about their own business. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a family of quail seemingly using the farm to hunker down for hunting season, hawks swooping through hunting rodents, and lots of deer and turkeys enjoying the salad bar that is the farm. There are all the types of bees (and wasps and hornets), so many tree frogs that show up in unsuspecting places (like the pumpkin leaf in the photo above), and yesterday we saw a hummingbird drinking from a flowering tobacco plant. Noticing all of these other creatures is a bonus to the farmwork day after day. That’s just to say that it’s not all counting vegetables here on the farm.

This past week we managed to get the last greenhouse planted to lettuce, cilantro, dill, and bok choy plus some direct sown kale and tatsoi for late fall and winter harvests. It’s a relief to have the majority of the planting out of the way. Soon we’ll be getting the garlic and overwintering onions in the ground and wrapping up the planting season for the year.

This week we’ll be focused on getting things ready for the CSA farm event on Saturday. We’ll make sure the tractor is ready to pull and the trailer is ready to roll. We’ll also get the farm map updated and signs posted for the self-guided tour. And as usual, there’s plenty of mowing, cultivating, and potato, dry bean, and flour corn harvesting to get done as well.

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:

Mexican Corn Pudding Served With Smoky Chipotle Sauce

  • Butter for greasing the dish
  • 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs to coat the bottom of the dish
  • 8 medium-sized ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob
  • 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 ounces queso fresco
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (4 1/2 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 3 peeled cloves garlic
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo
  • salt to taste

PREP: Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and then cover the bottom with an even layer of bread crumbs. With a sharp knife, cut the corn off of the cobs into a large bowl (or the bowl of a food processor if you have one).

COMBINE: Add remaining ingredients to the corn and stir to combine. If you are using a food processor, pulse until mixture is smooth. If you do not have a food processor, puree the mixture in batches in a blender until smooth.

COOK: Pour the corn mixture into the baking pan and bake 1 hour.

WHILE CORN PUDDING COOKS, MAKE THE SAUCE: Lay garlic and tomatillos (cut-side down) in a non-stick skillet and saute over MEDIUM HIGH heat until tomatillos are brown, about 4 minutes. Turn over and brown the other side. Transfer everything to a blender. Add chiles + 1/4 cup water and blend until coarse. Season with salt to taste. Pour into a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.

SERVE: Serve corn pudding warm with smoky chipotle sauce drizzled to taste. It is nice and hot, so start off with just a little.

From Food52.com by Waverly, https://food52.com/recipes/6322-mexican-corn-pudding-served-with-smoky-chipotle-sauce

Cauliflower Pizza Bake

  • 1/2 pound (about 2 links) uncooked Italian sausage, removed from casings and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small, bite-sized florets
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan, plus more for finishing dish
  • Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup black olives (I like to use the sliced, canned kind)
  • 1/4 cup slivered or halved sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (drained of oil before using)
  • 2 to 3 ounces pepperoni
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (sold in rounds or logs), torn into bite-sized pieces
  • A big handful of fresh basil leaves, torn

Heat oven to 425 F. Place a parchment-lined sheet pan in the oven while it heats. The hot pan will help the sausage to get nicely browned, fast!

Working quickly, transfer the sausage to the preheated sheet pan in a single, even layer. (Careful, the pan will be hot!) Drizzle the sausage with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sausage is starting to brown (set a timer).

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cauliflower florets with 1/4 cup pizza sauce, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss. You want the pizza sauce to lightly yet thoroughly coat the florets; add another tablespoon of sauce, if needed. Add olives and sun-dried tomatoes to the bowl and toss again.

When the timer for the sausage goes off, add the cauliflower mixture to the sheet pan, stirring a few times to coat the cauliflower in the sausage fat. Arrange pepperoni evenly across the top.

Roast for 15 more minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and the pepperoni has browned. (Taste a piece of cauliflower; if it isn’t approaching tender, return to the oven for a few more minutes before proceeding to Step 6. Season with a little more salt and pepper, if needed.)

Remove sheet pan from oven, and spoon 1/4 cup more sauce over the cauliflower mixture; add a little extra, if desired, for a saucier version. Arrange bites of torn mozzarella over (and in between) the cauliflower florets (avoid putting it directly on the bottom of the sheet pan). Roast in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is warmed and cheese is melted.

Cool for about 5 minutes, then grate more parmesan on top and scatter the basil. Serve warm.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/81160-cauliflower-pizza-bake

Cantaloupe & Cucumber Salad with Basil & Feta

  • 1/2 of a medium cantaloupe, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (any variety will do, but I prefer a hothouse — seedless, with a thinner skin — for this salad)
  • 6 large basil leaves, chiffonaded (see note)
  • 3 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 3 tablespoons shelled raw sunflower seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Ground pepper

To toast the sunflower seeds, place in a dry pan over medium heat. Toast 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant.

In a bowl, combine the cantaloupe, cucumber, feta, and half the basil. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Serve the salad topped with the toasted sunflower seeds, flaky salt, and more pepper.

From Food52.com by Kendra Vaculin, https://food52.com/recipes/30433-cantaloupe-cucumber-salad-with-basil-feta

Summertime Potluck Puttanesca

  • 2 handfuls broccoli florets
  • 1 pound tubular pasta, such as campanelle or penne
  • 2 medium summer squash, preferably yellow, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced very thinly crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (remove any green shoots first)
  • about 1/4 cups basil chiffonade (a moderate handful: 10 or so large leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 20 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • Lemon juice to taste (start with half a lemon and adjust from there)
  • 1 28-ounce can good quality crushed tomatoes (like San Marzano)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil (it should be so salty that it tastes like sea water). Have a large bowl of ice water ready, as well. Blanch the broccoli florets for 2 minutes, then remove them with a spider or slotted spoon and shock them in ice water. Drain and set aside. Cook the pasta until al dente in the same water used to blanch the broccoli.

While the pasta is cooking, combine the broccoli florets and all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl. Adjust for salt, pepper, lemon juice, and hot pepper. The dish is equally good warm or cold, but I’d recommend allowing it to sit for at least an hour or, if planning ahead, let it sit overnight to extract the maximum flavor potential.

From Food52.com by Chris Hagan, https://food52.com/recipes/22621-summertime-potluck-puttanesca

Summer CSA Share #17

Welcome to the 17th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix
  • Broccoli
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Fennel – We know members like roasted fennel, fennel pickles, and shaved fennel salads. Our favorite way to eat fennel is caramelized onion and fennel tart. We cook down the onion and fennel, toss it into a pastry galette style, top it whatever mix of cheeses we have on hand and bake until the pastry it cooked.
  • Beets Click here for a flashback to a standby recipe suggestion for beets and parsley. Scroll up on that page for a glimpse at farm life back in 2013.
  • Sweet Onions
  • Delectable” Sweet Corn
  • Romano Beans – Mixed green and purple striped beans, great for use in your favorite green bean recipes.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes.
  • Sweet & Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Pears – Asian & Bartlett
A preying mantis friend in the winter squash field (top left), zinnia enjoyment (top right), and picking beans (bottom).

Thursday marks the autumnal equinox, the point in the year when the light hours and dark hours are equal lengths. Going forward we’ll be losing daylight hours until we reach the winter solstice on December 21st. If you weren’t already feeling the seasonal shift I imagine it will start to become apparent as we’re plunged into more time in the dark. The shift has certainly been happening on the farm as plant growth has slowed and powdery mildew has begun to set in on some crops. The zucchinis are putting on fewer fruits, the cucumbers are slowing down, the tomatoes are on the decline.

Winter squash!

One harbinger of autumn for us is the ripening and harvesting of winter squash. We grew 12 different types of winter squash this season including varieties of pumpkins, kabocha, spaghetti, delicata, butternut, and acorn squash. Some will make appearances in upcoming fall shares but most will be headed to Winter CSA shares.

The wet start to the season made for rough conditions for cultivating the winter squash field right out of the gate. It wasn’t dry enough to get the cultivating tractor through the beds before a sea of grass took hold. A couple of times we made inroads through hoeing and hand weeding once the plants started to spread out and the tractor really couldn’t make a pass, but the grass wasn’t deterred and our half acre of winter squash was a mess most of the season. Needless to say we dreaded the harvest and assumed the worst.

This past week we finally made time to tackle the harvest project. Thankfully it wasn’t quite as dismal as we’d expected, though in the end it was maybe half of last year’s haul. Upside, it takes up less space in the barn. Downside of course, we’ve got less squash to share in the coming months. Thankfully we will have some to share though; there will be pumpkin pies this year!

Smoky sunset last night.

With the winter squash harvest behind us and that field mowed we can now focus on cleaning up some other areas. In the week ahead you can find us weeding, cultivating, mowing, and weed whacking in order to wrestle some semblance of control back in several areas. We’ve got a greenhouse to transplant into and an organic fertilizer run to make before that can happen. And we’ve got flint corn to harvest for future corn flour and polenta eating. The days may be getting shorter but we’ve still got plenty of things that need doing to pack into them.

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:

Baked Olive, Tomato, and Feta Dip

  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought (a teeny amount! so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom! a perfect use for leftovers or the dregs of the jar)
  • 8 ounces block of feta cheese, drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted and roughly chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 1/3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • a few turns fresh ground pepper
  • toast, crackers, pita, and/or a spoon for eating

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a small oven-safe dish (I used a 6–inch round). Place the feta in the center and press to slightly break the block apart. This is a rough-crumbly-spreading situation, not a make-a-clean-cheese-layer situation.

In a medium bowl, mix the olives, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and pepper — you don’t need to season with salt, as the feta is salty enough on its own. Pour the mixture evenly over the cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes. Your kitchen will smell like pizza and the feta will get warm and spreadable. Top with the parsley once it’s out of the oven.

Serve to guests with toast or crackers, or stuff into a pita pocket with a fried egg and arugula for a meal for yourself.

From Food52.com by Kendra Vaculin, https://food52.com/recipes/37883-baked-olive-tomato-and-feta-dip

Cabbage, Italian Sausage, and Orzo Soup with Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (mild or spicy), bulk or with casings removed
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 large Napa or Savoy cabbage (about 2 pounds), trimmed, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 1 or 2 Parmesan rinds
  • 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage in a single layer and brown, breaking it into bite-sized pieces and stirring occasionally, until it is just cooked through and no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.

Add the onion and several big pinches of kosher salt and black pepper. Saute for about 4 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for another 1 minute. Lower the heat, and add the tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot, until it caramelizes and starts to change in color from bright to brick red, about 3 minutes. (Don’t rush this step; the caramelized paste adds depth and complexity to the soup.)

Add the cabbage, chicken stock, water, orzo, Parmesan rind(s), and another big pinch or two of salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot occasionally to ensure nothing sticks. Add sausage and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes longer, stirring and scraping occasionally, until the orzo and cabbage are tender. Remove and discard rinds.

At the end, add parsley and red wine vinegar. Adjust salt and acidity to taste. Serve the soup in bowls, topped with grated Parmesan.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/84039-sausage-cabbage-soup-recipe-with-orzo-parmesan

Quinoa with Roasted Beets and Pear

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (I prefer red)
  • 2 medium-sized beets, scrubbed (I like a mix of colors)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 large pear, cubed
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 1 splash Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400° F.

Slice off the leaves at the top of the beets. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and then wrap each individually and loosely in tin foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until soft enough that you can easily stab one with a fork and it doesn’t give you any problems. Unwrap and set aside to let cool; once touchable, run the beets under water to slide the skin off. Cut beets into cubes.

Lower your oven temperature to 350° F. Spread walnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Allow the nuts to cool before giving them a rough chop.

Assemble the salad by dumping everything together into a bowl because you, brilliant human, know that that’s how salads work. Quinoa, beet cubes, pear cubes, walnuts and feta, a.k.a. the dream team. Toss with a slight drizzle of balsamic, a little olive oil, and some coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Did you know this is awesome warm or cold? It is. Bring it to work for lunch the next day because it will be bitchin’ straight from the fridge, and your coworkers will be like ughhhhhhh.

From Food52.com by Kendra Vaculin, https://food52.com/recipes/31742-quinoa-with-roasted-beets-and-pear

Summer CSA Share #16

Welcome to the 16th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Head Lettuce – Choose from Mayan Jaguar romaine and green leaf lettuce.
  • Broccoli
  • Purple Cauliflower
  • Basil
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Sweet Onions
  • Sweetness” Sweet Corn – small but tasty!
  • Romano Beans – Mixed green and purple striped beans, great for use in your favorite green bean recipes.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes.
  • Poblano Peppers – Mild chile peppers.
  • Shishito Peppers – These Japanese frying peppers are delicious quickly blistered in hot oil and tossed with a little salt. Mostly mild, 1 in 10 can be hot.
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Mixed Melons – Choose from Tuscan melons, “Honey Orange” honeydews, “Lambkin” aka Christmas melons, and several watermelon varieties.

Thanks to smokey skies this past weekend, we made it through the projected 101 degree heatwave with a high of only 94. It was an eerie couple of days with ash falling and a very red sun looming overhead. Thankfully things have cleared up and we even had a tenth of an inch of rain overnight Sunday. This week’s weather forecast looks downright pleasant with highs in the 60s and 70s and a chance of rain Saturday. After so many hot days this summer we’re ready for a cool down!

After a long wait we’re finally enjoying some of the best fruits of summer, melons! Our melon patch got off to a rough start back at the end of May thanks to a series of weather events. Would we have expected any different this season? A cold, rainy May meant very little field prep time but a switch in weather at the end of the month saw our first flash of heat. We managed to get the melons in the ground during the handful of warm days. Unfortunately a wind/rain storm brought havoc the next week. Plants were pummeled and the landscaping fabric we use to control weed pressure came unstapled, tearing out watermleon transplants and flapping over on the next bed and thus taking out those plants too. Our newly planted melon patch quickly became a disaster zone.

We re-planted where we could, using the leftover transplants we had on hand and direct sowing some extra seeds. Not finding any organic watermelon transplants available to purchase we re-sowed flats of watermelons in the propagation house. A month late, we managed to re-plant the watermelon patch and crossed our fingers for melons in September. Well, here we are with some ripe watermelons plus plenty of Tuscan and honeydew melons too. Better late than never!

This past week we sowed three greenhouses to fall and winter crops including arugula, kale, radishes, turnips, cilantro, tatsoi, mizuna, mustards and more. We also dug more potatoes, cleaned out the spring pea/carrot house (finally), and transplanted the last round of salad mix and bunching onions into the field. We’ll be focusing on transplanting into that last greenhouse in the coming weeks. In the week ahead we’ll harvest the winter squash, get the storage onions into storage, and continue digging potatoes for storage too. And of course there’s more mowing, weeding, and irrigating to undertake.

As promised a couple weeks back I finally managed a couple of photos of the surprise ducklings. Jeff has counted 17! Duck mania!

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:

Grilled Corn with Basil Butter

  • Grilled Corn
  • 8 ears of corn, shucked
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Basil Butter
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup basil, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt

Preheat grill to medium hot.

Roll corn in a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. When grill is hot, add corn and close the lid. Rotate the corn a few times, until some of the kernels are blistered and the rest a bright and shiny yellow. This shouldn’t take longer than 8 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, or the corn will be dry.

Meanwhile, add the butter, basil, and salt to a food processer and let it rip. You may need to scrape down the sides once or twice. When the basil is finely chopped and the butter has a light green tint, it’s done.

When the corn comes off the grill, slather it with the basil butter. Sprinkle with a little more salt if desired. Eat immediately.

Note: basil butter can be made ahead and extra basil butter will keep for about a week or two in the fridge. You can roll it into a log with plastic wrap and slice it off as you need it. It’s AMAZING on toast.

From Food52.com by Lisina, https://food52.com/recipes/21960-grilled-corn-with-basil-butter

Marcella’s Broccoli and Potato Soup

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onion, julienned
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, medium dice
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets, no stems
  • 3 1/2 cups stock, chicken or vegetable
  • 6 smallish fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated

In a 3 1/2-quart heavy-bottomed pot, combine the olive oil and half the butter. Place the pot over medium heat. Once the butter begins to melt, add the onions. Season them with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Saute the onions until they become golden. Don’t rush this step and adjust the heat as necessary to keep them from browning too fast. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the potatoes. Stir them to coat with oil and let them sizzle away for a minute or two. Add the broccoli and do the same as you did with the potatoes. Add the stock.

Bring the stock to a boil. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning. Go easy on the salt though because the Parmesan has lots and will act as seasoning as well.

Simmer the soup until the broccoli and potatoes are tender. The broccoli is not going to remain vibrant green, but if it is good broccoli it won’t be olive drab either.

Once the potatoes have cooked through, add the parmesan, the remaining butter, and the basil. Stir to combine and serve with more black pepper.

From Food52.com by thirschfeld, https://food52.com/recipes/24592-marcella-s-broccoli-and-potato-soup

Grilled Summer Salad with Tonnato Verde

  • Salad
  • 1 pound romano, wax, or green beans (or a mix)
  • 1 pound small escarole and/or little Gem heads, halved lengthwise through the core (Or how about Mayan Jaguar)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 baguette, halved lengthwise
  • 1 ear fresh corn, husked
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • Tonnato Verde
  • 2 (7-ounce) cans high-quality water-or oil-packed tuna, drained
  • 4 ounces soft tofu
  • 3 salt-or oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup (packed) Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Make the salad: Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the grates.

Toss beans and lettuce with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the cut side of the baguette with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Grill the lettuce, beans, bread, and corn, turning occasionally, until lettuce is wilted, bread is toasted, and beans and corn are nicely charred and tender—this will take about 2 minutes for the lettuce and bread, about 5 minutes for the beans, and 10 to 12 minutes for the corn. Once cooked, transfer vegetables and bread to a cutting board to cool. Coarsely chop the cooled lettuce and bread, cut the corn kernels off of the cob, and set aside. Leave the beans whole.

Meanwhile, make the tonnato verde: In a food processor, add 2 ounces of the tuna, tofu, anchovies, garlic, parsley, chives, lemon juice, Parmesan, and capers. Pulse a few times to combine. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture is well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To a large bowl, add the grilled lettuce and beans; season with the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste, and toss to combine. Divide this mixture on 4 plates, then follow with the croutons, corn, tomatoes, capers and the remaining tuna, divided for each serving. Drizzle one-quarter of the dressing over each salad, then garnish with chives and more black pepper.

From Food52.com by Kay Chun, https://food52.com/recipes/86186-grilled-salad-recipe-with-tonnato-herb-sauce

Summer CSA Share #15

Welcome to the 15th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • “Florence” Leaf Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • “Red Long of Tropea” Torpedo Onions – Originally from southern Italy, these sweetish red onions are great raw or cooked.
  • Garlic
  • Delectable” Sweet Corn
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green & yellow zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes.
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Aji Marchant Hot Peppers– These peppers have an intriguing history that you can read about here. Though not too spicy when yellow and under-ripe they get hotter as they mature to red.
  • Tomatillos – A little like green tomatoes, tomatillos make excellent salsa verde and enchilada sauce. Check out this website for more details and recipes.
  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Tuscan or Honey Orange Melons – The Tuscans are similar to cantaloupes and the Honey Orange are orange fleshed honeydews. Both are delicious.
Frog friend in the corn (top left), Jeff harvesting corn (top right), tomatoes! (bottom left), and checking on melon ripeness (bottom right).

Labor Day has passed, and with it the unofficial end of Summer. Fortunately the vegetables in the field are still growing strong and we’ll get to continue enjoying the fruits of summer for a while longer. The wet, cold start to the season put us behind from the outset and in some ways it feels like we’re still playing catch-up with the summer even now. As kids head back to school and the days shorten noticeably it’s time to savor the summer bounty before it’s gone for good.

For instance, although the tomato plants had a rough start they’re now pumping out the tomatoes. Here’s a video Jeff made while harvesting cherry tomatoes last week:

Every year the tomatoes surprise me with how fast they grow from tiny seeds, to stout transplants, to a full-on jungle. It’s already time to be taking notes on varieties and trellising tips for next year. What a whirlwind.

Onions drying down in the prop house (top left), seeding overwintering onions (top right), onions and more onions (bottom right & left).

September 1st marks the date that we aim to seed our overwintering onions. These are cold hardy varieties bred to withstand the winter weather and short days and then bulb up the following spring for harvest in June. Seeded too early and they’ll bolt before forming a bulb. Seeded too late and they’ll be too small to transplant into the field before the rain returns.

This past week we finished up our main season onion harvest and the next day I seeded flats of overwintering onions. We try to have a steady supply of onions year round if we can. The main season bulbs are now drying down on empty benches in the prop house and will be headed out to members over the remaining fall shares and into the winter season.

Here’s a snippet of the onion harvest this past week. We use an undercutter bar that attaches to our tractor for cutting the roots of the onions to avoid digging the bulbs out with a digging fork or by hand. You may recall us using this tool for the garlic harvest too. In this video I’m standing on the top bar for a little extra weight to get the undercutter to dig under the onions. Although we still have to pick the onions up off the ground, undercutting makes the process much faster.

With the onion harvest behind us we’re looking ahead to the potato and winter squash harvest. In the week ahead we’ll be delving into those projects as well as working towards seeding greenhouses for fall/winter crops, undertaking some weeding and cultivating, mowing, and the perpetual irrigation and prop house chores. Jeff’s birthday is coming up at the end of the week too, so perhaps there will be some non-farm fun had as well.

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:

Greek Salad with Fennel

  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound Greek feta
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, with fronds
  • 6 cups roughly chopped Romaine (2/3 small head) (or how about leaf lettuce?)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1/4 cup green olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, whole

Thinly slice the onion and put the slices in a small bowl of cold water. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Taste and add more salt if you like, as well as a few grinds of pepper. Chop up about 1/4 of the feta and whisk into the dressing. Set aside.

Use a mandoline or a sharp knife to slice the fennel as thinly as possible, setting aside any nice fronds first. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of fennel when you’re through.

Add the lettuce, fennel, red pepper, olives and red onion (squeezed dry) to a large bowl. Drizzle about half the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Crumble the rest of the feta over the top of the salad and toss just a couple of times to combine. Garnish the salad with the fennel fronds and serve immediately.

From Food52.com by Merrill Stubbs, https://food52.com/recipes/14896-greek-salad-with-fennel

Salsa de Papaya y Tomatillo Cruda

  • 3 medium tomatillos (226 grams) husked, rinsed, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1/4 firm-ripe papaya (226 grams), peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1/4 medium white onion (98 grams), coarsely chopped
  • 3 chiles serranos (72 grams), stemmed and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 to 4 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • Morton kosher salt

In a medium bowl, toss the tomatillos, papaya, onion, chiles serranos, garlic, lime juice, and mint to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to come together. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Do ahead: The salsa cruda can be made up to 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

From Food52.com by Rick Martinez, https://food52.com/recipes/87904-salsa-de-papaya-y-tomatillo-cruda-recipe

Kachumber (Indian Salsa)

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 peeled cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Dice the onion, cucumber, and tomato into small pieces. Finely chop the cilantro.

Deseed and dice the jalapeno.

Mix all these ingredients in a bowl with the vinegar; salt to taste.

From Food52.com by Amreen, https://food52.com/recipes/1956-kachumber

Summer CSA Share #14

Welcome to the 14th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix
  • Escarole – A little hardier than lettuce, escarole will stand up to wilting or a little cooking. We like to use it as a base for warm pasta or salmon topped with your favorite sauce/dressing.
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Chioggia Beets
  • Onion
  • Delectable” Sweet Corn
  • Mixed Romano Snap Beans – Flat podded mixed yellow and purple striped snap beans, great for any snap bean/green bean recipe. Note, the first two rounds of our green beans mysteriously didn’t germinate but there will be green beans in the future.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green & yellow zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes.
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers & Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Tuscan Melons – Very similar to cantaloupes, these range fleshed melons and tasty!
Onions drying down in the prop house (top), dragon tongue beans (bottom left), and melons (bottom right).

As we wrap up the month of August we can’t say we’re sad to see it go. August is always a pinnacle in the growing season; a clash of all the things that need doing and never quite enough time to do the doing. August is coming to terms with the realities of the season, for better or worse. August is exhaustion.

We’re ready to welcome September and shorter days and (hopefully) cooler temps. Fall is just around the corner and we’re here for it.

Jeff and our cat Sam driving the tractor (left) and Jeff harvesting zucchini (right).

Last Thursday we had our annual organic inspection. The organic certification process begins with us outlining our organic system plan (OSP) comprised of descriptions of our farming practices. We submit updates to our OSP to our certifier, Oregon Tilth, and they review it to confirm we’re in line with the National Organic Program standards. It covers everything from seed sources to purchased inputs to potential contamination issues like neighbors overspraying or the use of conventional produce packaging.

Each year we are inspected and the inspector submits a report to the reviewer to confirm that what we’ve outlined appears to be true on the ground. This year’s inspection was fairly routine. We spend a couple of hours reviewing records like seed receipts, fertilizer sources and spreading records, and harvest records. We go through a couple of exercises to show that the amount of some crop that was harvested can be traced from seed source, transplant production, and field planting. Then we spend some time walking the farm. The inspector looks for things like buffers from conventional neighbors, weed and pest control measures, all materials that come in contact with organic products, and our backstock of organic fertilizer and inputs.

No big issues were flagged this time around. We’re glad to have made it through that process for the year and it’s always nice to have an outsider confirm we’re on the right track.

Frog friend at the Salem pick-up last week (left) and Carri and the transplants ready for planting (right).

We’ll be starting September off by harvesting the main season onions and sowing the overwintering onions. We’ll also be planting some spinach, weeding some beets and celeriac, making a plan for winter cover cropping, and prepping field houses for fall/winter cropping. Of course that’s in addition to the general irrigation management, weekly cultivation, and propagation house management. The calendar may be turning but there’s still plenty of doing left to be done.

A fun note, Jeff discovered today that one of his ducks has hatched out 7-9 ducklings recently. He’d wondered where that duck had gotten to, and it now looks like she’s been busy with her new tiny flock. We’ll try to get some photos to share soon.

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:

Lemony Pasta with Sardines & Escarole

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces short pasta, such as farfalle or rigatoni
  • 2 (3- to 5-ounce) tins sardines packed in olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mild chile flakes, such as Aleppo, piment d’Espelette, or gochugaru, plus more for serving
  • 1 (12-ounce) head escarole or romaine, washed and roughly torn
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) chopped fresh dill (fronds and stems), mint, or basil (or a mix)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. When it comes to a boil, add a handful of salt, then cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta cooks, transfer the sardines to a small plate and the cans’ oil to a large bowl. Use a Microplane to grate the garlic and lemon zest directly into the bowl. Add the chile flakes, then use a fork to combine the mixture.

Drain the pasta and immediately transfer to the large bowl with the garlicky oil and toss aggressively.

Halve the lemon and squeeze into the bowl. Add the escarole and dill, then toss to coat. Gently toss in the sardines. Season with salt and more chile flakes to taste. Drizzle each serving with olive oil, if desired.

From Food52.com by Rebecca Firkser, https://food52.com/recipes/87542-lemony-pasta-with-sardines-and-escarole-recipe

Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, and Herb Summer Salad

  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 very small red onion (or shallot)
  • Juice and zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne (or white wine) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sherry (or red wine) vinegar
  • 1 ear corn
  • 1 large tomato (or a pint of cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chives
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Set out a large mixing bowl. Mince the garlic and thinly slice the red onion; move them to the bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest and both vinegars. Spoon the liquid over the onion and garlic to coat so that their harshness starts to mellow.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a vigorous simmer. Remove the husk from the corn. Boil the corn for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on how deep you are into corn season. (Very fresh corn barely needs to be cooked at all.) Remove the corn from the water, and run it briefly under the tap, until it is cool enough to handle. Cut the kernels from the cob, and scoop them into the mixing bowl.

Dice the tomato or cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. Cut the cucumber into thin half moons. Add both to the bowl. Pour in the olive oil. Mince the chives and chiffonade the basil and then add those, too. Finish by adding the salt and black pepper. Give everything a generous stir, and then allow the salad to sit for 5 minutes; taste it, and add more olive oil, salt, and pepper if needed. If you have time, allow the salad to sit for another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with plenty of good bread, to mop up all the juices.

From Food52.com by Cristina Sciarra, https://food52.com/recipes/35737-tomato-cucumber-corn-and-herb-summer-salad

Best Way to Cook Beets

  • 1 bunch beets

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut off the leggy root and the tops. Then scrub the beets if they’re dirty.

Lay a large piece of foil on a baking sheet, leaving half the foil hanging off one end. Place the beets on top of the foil on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the beets with olive oil — just enough to dress them like salad greens — and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foli in half to make a packet and crimp the edges.

Bake until the beets are tender (you can check by piercing a fork through the foil). It usually takes 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Let them cool in the foil packets

When the beets are cool enough to touch, remove them from the packet and peel off the skins — they should slip off like Concord grape skins.

From Food52.com by Amanda Hesser, https://food52.com/recipes/4149-the-best-way-to-cook-beets

Sheet Pan Roast Chicken and Cabbage

  • 1 teaspoon neutral oil, for greasing
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or other)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional
  • 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head cabbage, 2 to 3 lbs.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Pour a teaspoon of neutral oil over a rimmed sheet pan. Rub to coat.

In a small bowl, stir together the sesame oil, coconut oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha, if using. Place chicken in a large bowl. Season all over with salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup of the prepared mixture over the chicken and let marinate while the oven preheats. (Chicken can marinate longer, too, but try, if time permits, to bring it to room temperature before cooking—the coconut oil will solidify in the fridge and look clumpy, which is fine.)

Cut the cabbage in half through the core. Cut again through each core and repeat this process until you are left with many wedges, no greater than 1-inch wide. Place the wedges in a large bowl, season all over with salt and pepper, and toss with the remaining dressing.

Place chicken on prepared sheet pan spreading it out evenly. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and nestle cabbage wedges all around the pieces, tucking it under if necessary—it will feel like a lot of cabbage. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes more or until chicken is golden and cooked through. Remove pan from oven, transfer chicken to a platter to rest. Return cabbage to the oven to roast for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until juices have reduced and edges of cabbage wedges are caramelized.

From Food52.com by Alexandra Stafford, https://food52.com/recipes/64451-sheet-pan-roast-chicken-and-cabbage

Summer CSA Share #13

Welcome to the 13th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Thai Basil
  • Dill
  • 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.
  • Munching Onions
  • Sweetness” Sweet Corn
  • Mixed Romano Snap Beans – Flat podded mixed yellow and purple striped snap beans, great for any snap bean/green bean recipe.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green & yellow zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes.
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers & Poblano Peppers
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Red & Yellow Farm Apples – These apples were planted on the farm before we got here, so we don’t know the varieties, but they’re tasty for fresh eating or cooking.
Summer colors!

Here we are, halfway through the Summer CSA season! Thirteen weeks down, thirteen to go. After a rough start it’s nice to have made it to the peak of tomato season. August is quickly fleeting though and only time will tell weather we’ll get an extended summer or shift to autumn weather-wise.

Farmall Cub clutch repair meant splitting the tractor in half, making the fix, and putting it back together again.

One task you hope to not be undertaking on the farm during August, the height of weeding season, is dealing with a repair on your cultivating tractor. A couple weeks back Jeff noticed an issue with the clutch on our little 1947 Farmall cub tractor. It appeared that somewhere along the way the thrust bearing had broken, requiring that the tractor be split in two to be replaced. Luckily he had the parts on hand and this past week he took a day to make the repair.

Although this tractor is designed to be split in two, it’s a complicated procedure requiring a lot of blocking and lifting and methodical removal of bolts and wires and anything else that spans the front and back halves of the tractor. The steering wheel, for instance, becomes a potential hang-up as the two ends are separated. Thanks to handy reference videos made by the company that sells replacement parts for these old tractors, Jeff was able to fairly efficiently get the tractor split, install the new clutch parts, re-unite the two tractor halves, and make the clutch adjustments in a day. Not great timing to deal with this repair in August, but he was a champ and got it done! Thankfully he was back to cultivating the next morning.

Sunrise to sunset.

In addition to weeding and cultivating and the clutch repair, we also managed to get the last of the broccoli and cauliflower transplanted this past week. We’ve got lettuce, bunching onions, dill and cilantro on deck for this week. The planting goes on.

On Thursday we’re scheduled to have our annual organic inspection. The past couple of years we’ve had inspections over Zoom, but this year we’ll be returning to an in-person inspection. Most of the inspection is spent reviewing records to ensure our inputs and methods all match our organic plan and the federal organic standards. We’ll also tour the inspector around the farm. It generally takes 3-4 hours in all. It will be nice to mark that one off the To Do list for this season. We’ll let you know the highlights next week.

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:

Minted Summer Succotash

  • 1/2 pound green beans (both haricot verts or Romano work well), trimmed and snapped in halves or thirds
  • 2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar, or more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • 8 ounces dried Christmas lima beans, cooked according to package instructions (regular lima beans can be substituted)
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 3 ears)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Add a generous amount of kosher salt, then the beans. Cook until tender but still slightly crisp in the middle (about 2 to 3 minutes for haricot verts and slightly longer for Romano beans). Transfer to the ice bath to stop the cooking and lock in the color. Drain and set aside.

Place vinegar in a small bowl, then gradually whisk in oil.

In a large bowl, combine green beans, Christmas limas, cherry tomatoes, corn, chives, mint, and 3/4 cup goat cheese. Pour dressing over salad, a little at a time, tasting as you go. Toss to coat. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup goat cheese. Serve at room temperature, with lime wedges on the side.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/12800-minted-summer-succotash

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 Bounty Frittata

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped into 1/8 inch-thick rounds
1 ear of corn, kernels removed
A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
A couple basil leaves, thinly sliced
6 large eggs
Salt and pepper

In a medium (around 9-inch) oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering. Stir in the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until they have softened and browned, around 5 minutes.

Stir in the zucchini rounds and corn kernels and cook until softening, about 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and basil leaves plus a couple pinches of salt and pepper and give a stir.

Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the veggies hang out until the tomatoes just start to soften, a minute or two. During that time, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with a few pinches of salt and pepper and turn your oven broiler on.

Pour the eggs over the vegetables and let the frittata cook until it is most of the way set, but the top is still uncooked, then transfer the frittata to the oven and broil just until the top is cooked. Remove from the oven. This frittata can be served warm, room temperature, or cold. It’s good with a salad and really yummy sandwiched between pieces of bread, especially with some pesto.

From Food52.com by FiveAndSpice, https://food52.com/recipes/30719-summer-bounty-frittata