Summer CSA Share – #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Fennel – A little anise flavor for your dishes this week. The fennel bulb is the star of the show here, but the fronds can be used too. The bulb can be sliced and roasted, braised, pickled, or eaten raw shaved into salads. Check out the recipes at the end of the post for some inspiration.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower – Cauli is a tricky spring crop and we’re pretty excited about these heads. However, we did notice a lot of black beetles hiding in between the florets, something we’ve never seen before. This is to say, don’t be too surprised if a black beetle pops out to say hello. We did try to rescue most of them, but we wanted to give you a heads up.
  • Mixed Potatoes – We are rapidly coming to the end of our storage potatoes from last season. This week is a bit of a grab bag of varieties. New potatoes will be here soon!
  • Sweet Onion – These big sweets are grown from Walla Walla seed, though to be called a Walla Walla sweet onion they must be grown in the legal production zone in SE Washington, so we won’t call them that. They’re still a lovely mild sweet onion that successfully overwintered from being transplanted last October. Eat them up soon as they won’t store long.
  • Garlic Scapes – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production. Note that we have fewer scapes to give out this year because I switched up our garlic varieties and we’re growing fewer hardneck types. You can use the scapes like you would a bunching onion.
  • Mixed Snap Peas
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Seascape Strawberries – The rain this week (and even today while we were harvesting for Salem) was not kind to the strawberry patch this week. We’re getting you a taste, but hopefully they’re happier (and cleaner) and next week.
Beneficial syrphid fly on a collard start in the prop house. (top left), weeding carrots (top right), transplanting sweet corn (bottom left), and the first ripe tomato of the season (bottom right).

Another whirlwind of a week is in the books here on the farm. As we head toward the summer solstice on June 20th, the ever lengthening days mean ever lengthening plants. The recent rain combined with warm weather has helped everything jump and we’re trying our best to keep up. We’re now well into the standard growing season cycle of sowing seeds, transplanting, prepping ground, transplanting, cultivating, and harvesting. Deciding which task is most important can be the challenge though. The farm is a giant multi-dimensional puzzle, and we are fitting the pieces together as best we can.

Though similarly productive, this past week was not as orderly as the week before. We transplanted the third round of sweet corn into the field, while I was simultaneously trying to get the fourth round sowed back in the propagation house. Sometimes the puzzles pieces seem to overlap. But most of the things that needed to happen got done and now we’ve got a whole new week to tackle the other things.

Planting sweet potato slips!

We welcomed the return of sweet potatoes to the farm this week. After a semi-successful effort with them in 2019 and then not being able to source plants in 2020, we were glad the slips arrived on time and not too worse for wear after spending several days in the mail en route from Kansas. Although we didn’t have trouble getting the plants this year, we did run into a hiccup with the ground cover we plant them on to help suppress weeds. Our preferred 6-foot wide rolls weren’t available and we had to go with 5-foot wide rolls, meaning we’ve got some gaps in the paths we’ll have to weed. The plants should vine out and cover the entire area before too long, so hopefully that canopy will help keep the weeds under control in those strips. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to the fall harvest!

In the week ahead you can find us here on the farm doing much of the same. There’s some lettuce to transplant, some ground to prep for the next round of brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale), some carrots to weed, some seed crops to harvest, some seeds to sow, and the list goes on. It must be June!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Shaved Cauliflower Salad

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 10 ounces cauliflower florets (from about 1/2 of a small head), very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups (1-inch-wide strips) lollo rosso lettuce or romaine
  • 2 cups torn frisée (or more lettuce)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated, divided

Whisk lime zest, lime juice, mustard, and honey in a large bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil; whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Add cauliflower and 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast to dressing; toss to combine. Add lettuce, frisée, and half of Parmesan and toss again; season with salt and pepper.

Transfer salad to a platter and top with remaining Parmesan and remaining 1 tsp. nutritional yeast.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Jeremy Strubel, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shaved-cauliflower-salad

Roasted Cauliflower with Onions and Fennel

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

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

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

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

Summer Salmon Cakes with Zucchini Fennel Slaw

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 pound skinless salmon fillet, chopped
  • 4 Ritz or saltine crackers, coarsely crushed
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk together mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, chives, mustard, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Stir together salmon, crackers, 3/4 cup zucchini, and half of mayonnaise mixture in another bowl.

Add fennel and remaining zucchini and lemon juice to mayonnaise mixture in medium bowl and toss to combine slaw.

Form salmon mixture into 2 (3-inch) patties. Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, then cook salmon cakes, carefully turning once, until golden and salmon is just cooked through, about 6 minutes total.

Serve with slaw.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Melissa Roberts, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-salmon-cakes-with-zucchini-fennel-slaw-354151

Summer CSA Share – #1

Welcome to the 1st share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Spinach – The timing got ahead of us on this first round of spinach. It grew up into adult spinach!
  • Broccoli
  • Purple Moon Cauliflower – spring cauliflower is always a gamble for us, but here’s a small taste for you.
  • Radishes & Turnips – A mix of radishes and salad turnips ready for salad season!
  • 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.
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Ailsa Craig Spanish Onions – Somewhere between hard storage onions and softer sweet onions you’ll find the mildly sweet Spanish onion. These are not long keepers and we’re sending them out first because they also didn’t do as well over the winter for us and a majority of them have bolted. Though we chose the non-bolted bulbs to send your way, you may see evidence of a bolt in the center of your onion. No worries, just discard and eat up the rest of the bulb.
  • Fava Beans – For the true fava experience you’ll want to shell the beans, blanch them, then remove the outer skin and eat the green inner bean. We often skip that last step and eat the shelled beans directly. Also, grilling the entire pods make them quicker to shell and the beans get steamed inside, so they don’t need to be blanched.
  • Zucchini
  • Corn FlourWe grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing flour and next week we’ll share the polenta. You can use this flour in any recipe calling for corn flour or cornmeal. We like to use it for perfect cornbread but I happened across this Cornmeal-Blueberry Pancake recipe that looks tasty too.
  • Tomato Plants – We have enough tomato starts for everyone to take home at least two! We’ll also have some extra pepper and eggplant starts, but those aren’t in individual pots and will need to be planted soon.
Adult spinach! (top left), bee friend in the pea flowers (top right), overwintered onions headed your way (bottom left), and the bolted onions vs. the non-bolted onions (bottom right).

It’s happening! We’re finally kicking off the 2021 P&C Summer CSA season! As we get things underway we’re excited to welcome back previous members (81% of you!) and welcome new members to the group. We’re also excited to begin our first biweekly summer share offerings. We’ll see some of you biweekly members this week and some next week. Biweekly members should let us know if you’re not sure when you’re starting.

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

As we get going, a few words regarding COVID-19. This will be our first CSA pick-up since the change in guidance regarding mask wearing. Masks are no longer required outdoors and vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks in most settings. We believe the CSA pick-ups can operate safely without members wearing masks. Of course that is a personal choice and we understand if some members choose to continue to wear masks at the pick-up. Please respect each member’s choice regarding masking.

Scenes from the propgation house (top left), broccoli ready to harvest (top right), Jeff cultivating with the tractor (bottom left), and the potatoes are up (bottom right).

Leading up to the first share of each season always makes us a little nervous, even after all these years. Getting those first seeding dates just right so we’ve got vegetables now, but not two weeks ago and not until two weeks from now, can be tricky. It’s weather dependent and weed dependent. Was it too hot, or too rainy, or too weedy and the crops didn’t grow well? It’s always exciting to see the share come together, to see that once again we grew enough to round it out. We’re already looking ahead to next week, and the week after. And they’re looking pretty tasty.

As we begin the Summer CSA season, we hope you’re excited for the adventure ahead. The greens of spring will inevitably give way to the fruits of summer over time, and hopefully we’ll have a few surprises along the way.

Thank you for choosing to support our farm as you also choose to eat seasonally, locally, and organically!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sesame Spinach and Broccoli

  • 1/2 bunch broccoli (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch spinach (about 1 pound)
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Cut broccoli into 1-inch florets and cut stems lengthwise into 2 x 1/4-inch sticks. Mince garlic. In a dry 10-inch heavy skillet toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and transfer to a small bowl. In skillet heat vegetable oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook broccoli, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and toss vegetables with sesame oil, seeds, and salt to taste.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sesame-spinach-and-broccoli-101099

Sauteed Kale with Kohlrabi

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

Very thinly slice kohlrabi with slicer.

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

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

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

Tuna and Fava Crostini

  • 18 thin baguette slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces fresh fava bean pods
  • 1 6- to 7-ounce can solid light tuna in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion (or sweet onions)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus 18 leaves for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet; brush slices with 3 tablespoons oil. Bake until bread is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Bring medium saucepan of water to boil. Shell fava beans, then drop beans into boiling water and cook 1 minute. Drain. Slip beans out of skins. Place beans in small bowl; add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and toss to coat.

Combine tuna with its oil, minced red onion, chopped parsley, and lemon juice in small bowl. Using fork, mash tuna mixture to coarse paste. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Baguette slices, fava beans, and tuna mixture can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let baguette slices stand at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate fava beans and tuna mixture separately.

Divide tuna mixture among baguette slices. Top with fava beans and garnish each with 1 parsley leaf.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Tori Ritchie, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tuna-and-fava-crostini-235146

Winter CSA Share – #10

Welcome to the 10th, and final, share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a seasonal treat, this PSB was planted back in August! Like broccoli heads you can eat the stems and leaves too.
  • Cauliflower – We know we’re sending you home with a lot of cauliflower. It’s a chance to break out all the cauliflower recipes!
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Parsnips and Carrots – Roasted and mashed parsnips are delicious, but also don’t forget about parsnip cake! Also, we had just enough extra carrots to toss in a few into each bag of parsnips.
  • Rutabaga
  • Banana Fingerling Potatoes
  • Bunching Onions
  • Yellow Onions
  • Wolverine’s Orca Dry Beans – Dry beans are a labor of love at our scale and we’ve chosen to only grow this one variety. They’re a tasty, plump bean and we hope you enjoy them.
  • Dried Cherry Tomatoes – A taste of last year’s summer sunshine!
  • Tetsukabuto Winter Squash – The last winter squash standing!
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some apples. These are non-organic apples grown in Washington and purchased from the the Four Seasons produce market just up the road from the farm. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

Welcome to the last share of the Winter CSA season! This week seemed so far away when we began the season back in mid-December. 10 winter-vegetable-filled shares later here we are wrapping up another CSA season. We hope you’ve enjoyed the past five months of local, seasonal eating and are looking forward to continuing to eat with the seasons. Whether you’ve decided to join us for the Summer CSA, are looking forward to harvesting from your own garden, or are hoping to support other farms at your local farmers market, there are plenty of options for delicious local and seasonal produce available.

We’ll be working toward another plentiful Winter CSA in the coming months and hope to see you again on the flip side. We usually open up Winter shares in August or September, so lookout for an email from us then if you want to join us for the 2021-2022 Winter CSA.

Baby plants! Celery (top left), a look inside the prop house (top right), spinach (bottom left), and transplanting greens (bottom right).

The sunny weather over the past couple of weeks has kept us busy in the field planting, irrigating, and cultivating. The transition from winter to spring is usually full of surprises, and this year we’ve been surprised with sun. Though the cold, frosty nights seemed to persist longer than usual, the sunny days have meant early season irrigation has been imperative. We continue to appreciate the well pump upgrade we invested in last season. Getting water to plants in the field, whether they be newly planted transplants or the overwintered garlic crop, is key to happy vegetables for future CSA shares.

This past week we planted lettuce, beets, shallots, spinach, kohlrabi, and direct sowed snap beans, cilantro, arugula, kale, and carrots. It’s going to be a tasty summer! We also managed to get the tomato house prepped and planted!

Tomato planting!

Tomato planting used to take a full day of arranging flats and flats of too-tall tomato plants in 3″ pots (that had been potted up from smaller cells), driving them to the field in stages, and working together to layout too many beds of too many unruly plants. Once planted we then had to pick up the numerous 3″ pots, a last step that always felt epic. It was a lot.

Along the way we’ve figured out how to cut out the worst aspects of the overwhelming process. And we’ve boosted the number of tomatoes making it to shares too. We’ve pushed back our tomato start dates to February, eliminated the potting up step and kept tomatoes in their smaller cell flats. This means smaller, happier plants, no 3″ pots to deal with, and only 12ish flats of tomatoes to arrange instead of over 30. What was a whole day of tomato plant wrangling is done in a couple of hours. It’s one of the more obvious efficiencies we’ve made on the farm and it’s one that makes me very happy every time we plant tomatoes now.

Irrigating the baby blueberry bushes (left) and cultivating the garlic (right).

As we wrap up the final Winter CSA share for this season we’ll be taking a break from harvesting until June. Our May will be filled with planting, planting, irrigating, cultivating, mowing, and more planting. We’re looking forward to a fun and tasty summer! And we’ll even be planting for next winter’s food. Potatoes will go in the ground soon, and leeks, and onions, and winter squash, and dry beans!

We can’t thank you enough for joining us for this past season. The CSA model only works when members choose to invest in their future food, and in our farm, and we appreciate your willingness to do just that.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see Summer CSA members in June for the start of the Summer CSA season!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

  • 1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
  • 1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/indian-spiced-cauliflower-and-potatoes-109118

Pickled Radishes

  • 10 red radishes, trimmed, unpeeled, quartered
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Combine first 3 ingredients in a clean 1 quart glass jar. Add vinegar, salt, and sugar. Cover; shake until sugar and salt begin to dissolve. Refrigerate for at least 3 days, shaking once a day. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. (The flavor mellows the longer the mixture pickles.) Keep chilled.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Eric Werner, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pickled-radishes-366455

Cauliflower and Broccoli Flan with Spinach Bechamel

  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets (or use purple sprouting broccoli)
  • 2 6-ounce bags baby spinach leaves
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook cauliflower and broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup cooking liquid. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Cool.

Rinse spinach, then toss in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze spinach dry; finely chop.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and reserved 2/3 cup vegetable cooking liquid. Whisk constantly over medium heat until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach and cheese.

Using fingers, coarsely crumble cauliflower and broccoli in bowl. Add spinach béchamel sauce; stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Spread vegetable mixture in prepared dish. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake flan until puffed and heated through, about 25 minutes if at room temperature and 35 minutes if chilled. Serve hot.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-and-broccoli-flan-with-spinach-bechamel-232078

Winter CSA Share – #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Collard Rapini – Like the kale rapini from past shares, this is the first shoots the collard plants have sent up to eventually flower and make seed. It’s delicious at this tender stage and can be eaten like kale or broccoli, stems and leaves and all.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a seasonal treat, this PSB was planted back in August! Like broccoli heads you can eat the stems and leaves too.
  • Cauliflower or more Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Mixed Spinach
  • Mixed Head Lettuce
  • Arugula Rapini
  • Cilantro
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Parade Bunching Onions
  • Shallots
  • Polenta – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. Two weeks back we shared the flour and this week we’re sharing the polenta. We like to cook this polenta in our rice maker using the same 1 part polenta to 2 parts water ratio we use with rice. Many polenta recipes call for more liquid and longer cooking, which I’ve read will help develop the flavor more.
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some apples. These are non-organic apples grown in Washington and purchased from the the Four Seasons produce market just up the road from the farm. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

2021 Summer CSA is full! – All our thanks to those of you who have decided to join us for the upcoming Summer CSA season! Thanks to your early commitments we’ve filled up the Summer CSA faster than ever before, even though we added a number of shares. We’re hard at work getting plants in the ground and we’re looking forward to a fantastic season ahead!

The vetch/oat/fava cover crop (right) and the garlic (left) have been growing up thanks to the recent sunshine.

After making it through some fierce winds and rains the sky has cleared up over the past week and we’ve been able to keep the spring farm show on track without too much trouble. The sunny days have made for pleasant field conditions, both for growing crops and working farmers alike.

The cover crops have put on some really lovely lush growth, which will make an excellent green manure when they’re mowed and worked into the field soon. The garlic and overwintering onions have also shot up. Many of the overwintering brassicas like kale and kalettes and collards are well into rapini season. Thanks to the mild winter weather we’ve still got lots of plants out in the field, many of them now flowering for the bees.

The prop house dance is on! Flats come in, plants grow up, flats head out, and more flats take their place.

At the end of March the propagation house dance begins for real. Flats of transplants have grown up and are ready to head out to hardening off table and then to the field. It’s an easy life in the prop. house so we set the plants outside for a bit to acclimate to the real world before finding their home in the field. After a few days or a week of adjusting it’s time to transplant! This cycle has just begun for the season and the weekly sowing and transplanting won’t end until September.

Transplanting has begun!

Somehow we managed to get the first of the transplants in the ground on the day we had noted on our planting plan. If that’s not an alignment of the universe, I don’t know what is. Since last Thursday we’ve planted the first rounds of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, chard, fennel, bunching onions, sweet onions, and 2400 strawberries. Hurrah for more strawberries! This week the rest of the onions and shallots will join the field party and the potatoes are chitting (sitting out, growing sprouts) and they’ll be planted soon too. And we’ll be clearing out a high tunnel for the big tomato planting to commence. Goodbye bolting winter cilantro, hello tomatoes!

Of course as the prop. house dance continues on more plants will be filling it up. This week I’ll be starting the first of the sweet corn, all the melons, and the tomatillos. Fingers crossed the nighttime temperatures warm up some before these warmer season plants make their move to the field.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks for the final Winter share of the season!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Bacon and Egg Sandwiches with Pickled Spring Onions

  1. Pickled spring onions:
    • 4 spring onions or 6 scallions, whites only, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  2. Maple bacon and spicy mayo:
    • 12 slices thick-cut bacon
    • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  3. Fried eggs and assembly:
    • 8 slices white sandwich bread, such as Pullman
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 4 large eggs
    • Kosher salt, ground pepper
    • 1 cup arugula leaves

For pickled spring onions:

Combine onions, vinegar, sugar, salt, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and toss to combine; let stand for 30 minutes.

For maple bacon and spicy mayo:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place bacon on a foil-lined large rimmed baking sheet; brush both sides with syrup. Bake until bacon begins to crisp but is still pliable, 20-25 minutes.

Mix mayonnaise and Sriracha in a small bowl to combine; set aside.

For fried eggs and assembly:

Spread 1 side of bread slices with plain mayonnaise. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, cook bread, mayonnaise side down, until brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Wipe out skillet.

Melt butter in same skillet over medium heat; crack eggs into skillet. Cook, occasionally basting with butter in skillet, until whites are set, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread untoasted side of each bread slice with spicy mayo. Build sandwiches with bread, bacon, eggs, pickled spring onions, and arugula.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Noble Sandwich Company, Austin, TX, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bacon-and-egg-sandwiches-with-pickled-spring-onions-51155270

Cabbage Stir-Fry With Coconut and Lemon

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened grated coconut (fresh, frozen, or dried)
  • 2 tablespoons mild-flavored oil, such as canola
  • 1 teaspoon yellow or black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons chana dal (the split kernel of a variety of chickpea) and/or urad dal (black gram beans), or 2 teaspoons lightly crushed yellow split peas
  • 1–2 dried red chiles, broken in half
  • 1 small head of cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed, cored, finely chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 3/4 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) fresh lemon juice

Thaw frozen coconut or soak dried coconut in a little hot water to plump up.

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium until shimmering. Add 1 mustard seed. When seed sizzles and pops, add remaining mustard seeds, cover, and cook until seeds start popping, about 10 seconds. When popping starts to subside, immediately add chana dal. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, tossing constantly, until dals are reddish golden brown and smell nutty, about 2 minutes. Add chiles and toss to coat. Add cabbage, salt, and turmeric and cook, stirring, until cabbage wilts but still has a little crunch, 3–5 minutes. Add coconut and cook until heated through, about 1 minute more.

Remove from heat. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt if needed.

From Epicurious.com by Chitra Agrawal, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cabbage-stir-fry-with-coconut-and-lemon

Steak Tacos with Cilantro-Radish Salsa

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 pound skirt or flank steak
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems, divided
  • 4 radishes, trimmed, chopped
  • 2 spring onions or 4 scallions, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 serrano chile or jalapeño, seeds removed if desired, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 2 ounces queso fresco or Cotija cheese, crumbled

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Let steak rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop half of cilantro and toss with radishes, onions, chile, lime juice, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl. Season radish salsa with salt and pepper.

Slice steak and serve on tortillas topped with radish salsa, queso fresco, and remaining cilantro.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/steak-tacos-with-cilantro-radish-salsa-51235400

Winter CSA Share – #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mixed Kale Rapini – This week’s kale rapini is a mix between green leafy and purple varieties. Rapini, or raab, is the result of overwintered plants heading into seed production. It’s delicious at this tender stage and can be eaten like kale or broccoli, stems and leaves and all.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a seasonal treat, this PSB was planted back in August and only starts forming florets now. Like broccoli heads you can eat the stems and leaves too.
  • Purple Cape or Medallion Cauliflower – Purple Cape is very similar to purple sprouting broccoli in taste and texture but it forms a head like cauliflower and thus gets categorized as a cauli. Medallion is the first of our overwintered white cauliflower to form heads.
  • Red Cabbage
  • Mizuna – A mild Asian mustard green good for salads and quickly wilting in soups and sautes.
  • Mixed Head Lettuce
  • Arugula – A little more grown-up than the arugula from two weeks back, but still delicate and tasty.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Banana Fingerling Potatoes
  • Summer Island Bunching Onions
  • Yellow Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Corn Flour – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing flour and in two weeks we’ll share the polenta. You can use this flour in any recipe calling for corn flour or cornmeal. We like to use it for perfect cornbread.
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some apples. These are non-organic apples grown in Washington and purchased from the the Four Seasons produce market just up the road from the farm. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

2021 Summer CSA spots are filling-up! As of today we only have 5 spots remaining. We hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details, including info. on the new bi-weekly option, over on the Summer CSA page.

All our thanks to those of you who have already decided to join us for the upcoming Summer CSA season! Your early commitments are helping us get this season off to a great start! Don’t forget your first payment for the upcoming season is due by March 31st.

Purple Cape “cauliflower” (left) and happy harvesting inside a hoop house (right).

It’s college basketball tournament season and I (Carri) have been watching games between projects this past weekend. The Oregon State men’s team has been on a run after coming from behind to win the pac-12 tournament and has been a fun team to watch. Having grown up in Corvallis and gone to OSU it’s nice to cheer for the hometown team for once, but maybe more so when it’s a surprising winning streak. Why is victory sweeter when the underdog wins?

That’s also kind of how I feel about winter vegetables. In August we’re swimming in tomatoes and zucchini and salad greens; but when we’re in late March and can pull off a solid and diverse share of vegetables, the harvest is just a little more rewarding. Winter vegetables are the come-from-behind winners in my book!

The new propagation house is filling up! (top right) New temp sensor (top left), tomatoes growing up (bottom left), and baby cabbages (bottom right).

I recently came across a note card from last season where I’d tallied the germination and success rate for the tomato starts. In years past the conditions in our propagation house were adequate but not ideal and we often had trouble getting heat loving crops to germinate evenly. I’d have to re-start peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes multiple times to get enough plants to fill our planting plan. As I was tossing the outdated note card it occurred to me that I hadn’t had to re-start any tomatoes this season! The peppers and eggplants are just now germinating, but they’re also looking very promising. The biggest difference seems to be the new prop. house. Not only is the first round germination success a time and expense saver (not filling extra flats and using extra seed has its advantages) but it’s also a stress reliever. Whoa, there’s enough tomatoes of the varieties we’d planned for to plant on time? I guess I’ll have to find something else to worry about for now.

The temperature in the prop. house won’t be that new worrisome thing though. A week ago we added a new temperature sensor that’s connected to our weather station. Alerts can be set for notifications when the temperature rises above or below a set temp. It’s already been handy to get text alerts when the temp is too high and fans need to be turned on or when the temp. comes back down on its own. I can also check the temperature and humidity in the prop. house from my phone to monitor it when we’re away from the farm. Pretty fancy for this little farm.

Jeff’s been making baskets! (left) and the first of the pear blossoms (right).

While I’ve been focused on the prop. house, getting seeds to germinate, and filling up the Summer CSA, Jeff’s been busy with seemingly everything else. He’s been doing tractor maintenance and upgrades, undertaking blackberry management, planting more willow in the hedgerow, making the first ground prep. passes in the field, irrigating and mowing crops in high tunnels, arranging for organic fertilizer and compost deliveries, and the list goes on. Luckily he’s also been finding time to have some fun. Ever the hobbyist, he wasn’t wasting time with college basketball this past weekend, he was making willow baskets! The latest, shown above, is his first pack basket.

As I look across the farm it feels like we’re getting this season off to a good start. The first of the pears are blooming, joining the wild cherries and plums. The winter crops are headed to seed, the garlic is growing taller, the seasonal shift is happening. Who knows what twists and turns will come our way in the next nine months, but right now the farm feels ready to get another growing season underway. But first we’ll finish up the Winter CSA. Two more shares headed your way!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Lime and Honey-Glazed Salmon with Basmati and Broccolini

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lime peel
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for sprinkling
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots (about 3 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice (9 to 10 ounces)
  • 3 1/4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 5-to 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 bunch broccolini, bottom inch trimmed, stalks separated if necessary (or Purple Sprouting Broccoli or Kale Rapini)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Whisk lime juice, lime peel, honey, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and soy sauce in small bowl; set aside. Heat oil in large deep ovenproof skillet or casserole (with lid) over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in rice, then 3 1/4 cups broth; bring to boil. Cover skillet tightly with lid; place in oven and bake 10 minutes (rice will be almost cooked through and most of broth will be absorbed; mix in more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if dry).

Remove skillet from oven. Sprinkle rice lightly with salt. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and arrange on rice, pressing in lightly. Tuck broccolini in around fish, with stems anchored in rice. Spoon 1 tablespoon lime mixture over each salmon fillet. Cover skillet tightly and return to oven; bake until salmon is just opaque in center and broccolini is crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drizzle remaining lime mixture over fish and rice; sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro and serve from skillet.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lime-and-honey-glazed-salmon-with-basmati-and-broccolini-355189

Rotisserie Chicken Salad with Charred Scallion Dressing

  • 5 ounce country-style bread, crusts removed, torn into 1″ pieces
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 scallions
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s (Best Foods)
  • 1 small rotisserie chicken, meat pulled from bones and shredded
  • 6 radishes, trimmed, cut into wedges
  • 1 head of Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
  • 1 avocado, sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss bread and 3 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and crisp around the edges, 8–12 minutes; let croutons cool.

Meanwhile, separate scallion whites from greens. Finely chop whites; place in a large bowl. Finely chop greens. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium. Cook greens, stirring often, until blackened around edges and crisp, about 3 minutes. Scrape into bowl with whites, then whisk in lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and mayonnaise; season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in remaining 6 Tbsp. oil.

Pour half of dressing into a small bowl; set aside. Add chicken, radishes, and croutons to bowl with remaining dressing and toss to coat.

Arrange lettuce and half of avocado on a platter; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 3 Tbsp. reserved dressing; top with chicken salad. Tuck remaining avocado around; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Adam Rapoport, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rotisserie-chicken-salad-with-charred-scallion-dressing

Spiced Fillet of Beef with Mizuna Salad

For beef

  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 pounds center-cut beef tenderloin roast (fillet of beef), trimmed and, if necessary, tied
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For salad

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces mizuna or baby arugula, trimmed

For beef:

Preheat oven to 425°F.

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

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

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

Make salad and slice beef:

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

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

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

Winter CSA Share – #7

Welcome to the 7th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – This new-to-us brassica is a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. Instead of a sprout small kale flowers develop along the stalk. You can eat the leaves and stems of the sprouts and they can be prepared just like kale.
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – Rapini, or raab, is the result of overwintered plants heading into seed production. It’s delicious at this tender stage and can be eaten like kale or broccoli, stems and leaves and all.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a seasonal treat, this PSB was planted back in August and only starts forming florets now. Like broccoli heads you can eat the stems and leaves too.
  • Purple Cape Cauliflower – Purple Cape is very similar to purple sprouting broccoli in taste and texture but it forms a head like cauliflower and thus gets categorized as a cauli. Chop it and roast it or saute it just like PSB.
  • Mustard Rapini – The mustard greens are getting in on the rapini action this week!
  • Spinach Mix – A mix of four types of cold hardy spinach, including the red-veined Beaujolais variety.
  • Arugula!
  • Mixed Beets
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Yellow Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Mixed Winter Squash – Some butternut, some kabocha, and some tetsukabuto (a hybrid between butternut and kabocha).
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some no-spray apples from another orchard. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

Summer CSA sign-ups are happening! Memberships to the 2021 Summer CSA are open and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. As of today we only have 14 spots remaining. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Happy cover crops and willows!

Spring seems to be right on schedule here on the farm. The days have been oscillating between sun, rain, fog, and frost, sometimes all in the same 24 hours. But despite the fluctuations the fruit trees are beginning to bud out and the willow that looms above our produce wash station is full of pussy willows and we spotted the first daffodil. It’s an exciting time of year as the days lengthen and we can begin to glimpse the end of winter.

Purple Cape (left) and baby broccoli starts (right).

One of the annual markers we welcome each February/March is the heading up of the Purple Cape ‘Cauliflower’. A delicious crop that lands somewhere between purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower with the taste and texture of PSB but the heading habit of cauliflower. It’s one of the winter treats that we look forward to for months. It was seeded last July, transplanted last August, and hangs out in the field all fall and winter only to head up now, just in time for the arrival of the hunger gap as we begin to run low on storage crops and crave fresh vegetables.

Just as we’re rewarded with heads of purple cape we’re also rewarded with the first signs of life from the first round of brassicas for 2021. It’s a continuous cycle of seeding and growing and harvesting. We’re glad to have made it through another dark winter and to be once again finding the rhythm of a new growing season. The new propagation house has begun to fill up with baby tomatoes, onions, leeks, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, fennel, lettuce, and rainbow chard. This week eggplants and peppers will join the mix. In fact some of these earliest crops will make an appearance in Winter CSA a year from now. The onions and leeks in your share this week were seeded last February!

A recent farm sunset.

At the beginning of this winter we set out two main goals for the slower season. First we wanted to construct an improved propagation house after too many years of making do with the original greenhouse we set-up when we first arrived here. Second we wanted to make sure all the fruit trees were pruned back to human scale to make future harvest and maintenance a more realistic job. We’re excited to have marked both of these semi-epic tasks off the list! Time will tell whether or not we’ve whacked too much off the trees for fruit this first year, but the orchards are at least looking clean and manageable.

More propagation house upgrades!

And here are a few photos from the final build-out of the new propagation house. We’ve now installed new heat mats (that provide improved heat distribution!), we installed automatic shutter openers that open the vents as the temperatures rise, and we’ve set up a new hardening off area outside for plants to acclimate to the real world before being transplanted into the field. It’s been a longtime coming, but the new prop house has been a lovely workspace already.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Gratin of Yukon Gold Potatoes, Bacon, and Arugula

  • 12 ounces bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces arugula, trimmed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain.

Mix cream and milk in 4-cup measuring cup. Layer 1/3 of potatoes in prepared dish; overlap slightly. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top potatoes with half of arugula. Top with 1/3 of cheese and 1/3 of bacon. Pour 1 cup cream mixture over. Repeat layering. Top with remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, remaining cheese and bacon. Pour remaining cream mixture over.

Bake gratin uncovered until potatoes are tender and cream mixture thickens, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm, covered with foil, in 375°F oven about 30 minutes.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/gratin-of-yukon-gold-potatoes-bacon-and-arugula-102674

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Leeks

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups (about) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Bring stock to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep stock warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes longer. Add roasted squash, cream, Parmesan cheese and sage; stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Bread & Ink Cafe, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/risotto-with-butternut-squash-and-leeks-102617

Roasted Baby Beets and Arugula Salad with Lemon Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 cups roughly torn bite-size pieces French bread
  • 1/4 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, and rosemary)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 24 baby beets, trimmed, scrubbed
  • 8 ounces baby arugula (about 12 cups)

Place lemon juice and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup oil. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat remaining 1/3 cup oil in medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add bread pieces; toss to coat. Add herbs and garlic; toss to coat. Sauté until bread is crisp, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer croutons to plate in single layer. Cool.

Add beets to same skillet, tossing to coat with any remaining herbs and oil. Cover skillet with foil and transfer to oven. Roast until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Cool beets. Peel, if desired; cut in half.

Toss arugula with 1/2 cup dressing in large wide bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with beets and croutons and serve.

Test-kitchen tip:After being roasted, baby beets peel easily, but the skins are perfectly edible if you choose to leave them on.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Tina Miller, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-baby-beets-and-arugula-salad-with-lemon-gorgonzola-vinaigrette-234415

Winter CSA Share – #6

Welcome to the 6th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – This new-to-us brassica is a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. Instead of a sprout small kale flowers develop along the stalk. You can eat the leaves and stems of the sprouts and they can be prepared just like kale.
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – Rapini, or raab, is the result of overwintered plants heading into seed production. It’s delicious at this tender stage and can be eaten like kale or broccoli, stems and leaves and all.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a seasonal treat, this PSB was planted back in August and only starts forming florets now. Like broccoli heads you can eat the stems and leaves too.
  • Green Cabbage
  • Tatsoi Rapini
  • Lettuce & Spinach Mix
  • Cilantro
  • Sunchokes– These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.  Converting the inulin to fructose through cooking with vinegar or fermenting seems to be a good solution.
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Garlic – This is the very last of our 2020 garlic crop. Enjoy!
  • Yellow Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some no-spray apples from another orchard. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! Memberships to the 2021 Summer CSA are open and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. We’re already 80% full for the season, so get on the list early to reserve your share. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

A little ice, and a little maple sap.

Hopefully you’ve all made it back to some semblance of normalcy after the big ice storm from a couple of weeks back. Luckily we were situated just south of the majority of the impact. We had some ice and lost internet/power over a couple of days but otherwise things on the farm came through relatively unscathed. A quick trip through south Salem early last week showed me just how much more had happened just north of us with downed trees and downed power lines. We’re glad to have better weather for this week’s pick-ups!

The icy weather inspired us to pull out our maple tree tapping supplies. We only have one maple tree on the farm, located at the front next to our driveway. It’s a bigleaf maple, which isn’t ideal for tapping, but does produce enough sap for a taste of maple goodness. The sap has been running the past couple of weeks and we’ve collected just under a half gallon, which we’ve boiled down to a half pint of watery syrup with a hint of maple. It’s always amazing how much sap you need for a small bit of maple syrup.

Winter field crops! Sunchokes and purple sprouting broccoli for the win.

Winter is always a gamble on the farm. Each storm that passes through is just another possibility for destruction. Wind can blow plastic off greenhouses and row cover off crops and into trees. Snow and ice can accumulate quickly and crush greenhouses. Rain can result in flooding once the soils are saturated. Through it all we expect winter crops in the field to keep standing, to keep growing. And as long as the temperatures stay out of the teens, the crops do keep growing. The repeated frosts and ice and occasional snows just sweeten the greens. The storms pass, the weeks go by, and suddenly we’re here in late February and the purple sprouting broccoli is forming its purple florets and the kale is sending up rapini shoots. Despite the recent ice storm, we’re on the cusp of spring!

Top: Installing the new hose hanging kits! Bottom: Baby tomatoes (left) and Jeff in the old prop. house during some minor flooding this past week (right).

The last couple of weeks have been productive here on the farm, despite the wintry weather. Jeff made lots of progress on wrangling the plum orchard back from the blackberries and managed to do a rough pruning through all the pear trees. I used the ice storm as a good excuse to finish up the winter paperwork season and managed to file both the business and our personal taxes and complete our annual USDA Farm Service Agency business paperwork for our loans. Whew!

We’ve also made more progress in the new propagation house. After a delay in shipping for our new heating mats we decided to bring in our old heat table system for the earliest crops. These tables have heat cables incorporated into them that provide some bottom heat for crops like tomatoes and peppers that prefer things warmer than the ambient temperature of the prop. house. Also, our new hose hanging kits arrived. After some basic reconfiguration to work in our situation we now have two hanging hoses that run on pulleys along wires running the length of the house. No more dragging hoses around corners; no more hoses kinking; no more tripping over hoses!

Perhaps my favorite February milestone is the starting of seeds. While Jeff worked on the orchards and gave our Farmall Cub cultivating tractor a winter tune-up I focused on filling flats and sowing the first round of tomatoes and onions and leeks. After several days in the germination chamber we now have the babiest of tomato plants! And they’re the first plants to grace the new propagation house. How revolutionary it all feels!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Slaw

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 4 green onions, minced (about 1/4 cup)

Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons lime juice, lime peel, chile, and garlic in large bowl. Stir in cilantro. Add cabbage and green onions; toss to incorporate evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Season slaw with more lime juice, salt, and pepper, if desired, just before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Rick Rodgers, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-cilantro-lime-slaw-359790

Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

  • 2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.

Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Molly Wizenberg, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butternut-squash-and-cheddar-bread-pudding-355792

Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds small Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), scrubbed, quartered
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron (you’ll need a lid), over mediumhigh heat. Add Jerusalem artichokes and 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until Jerusalem artichokes are fork-tender, 8–10 minutes.

Uncover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes longer; transfer to a platter.

Add rosemary and butter to skillet and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, about 4 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits. Spoon brown butter sauce and rosemary over Jerusalem artichokes.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crispy-jerusalem-artichokes-with-aged-balsamic-51255110

Winter CSA Share – #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – This new-to-us brassica is a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. Instead of a sprout small kale flowers develop along the stalk. We ate some for the first time this week and found them to be delicious and sweet! You can eat the leaves and stems of the sprouts and they can be prepared just like kale.
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a seasonal treat, this PSB was planted back in August and only starts forming florets now. Like broccoli heads you can eat the stems and leaves too.
  • Semi-Savoy Green Cabbage
  • Rutabaga – less turnipy than turnips, these rutabaga (aka Swedes) are especially sweet after sweetening up in the winter field. We like them roasted with other roots and ate some mashed up with potatoes this week, which made for a tasty soup the next night.
  • Banana Fingerling Potatoes – Classic yellow fingerlings.
  • Garlic
  • Yellow Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Leeks
  • Kabocha Winter Squash – Mostly pale blue Winter Sweet, but some dark green Sweet Mama too. These squash bother have dry, flaky flesh and make for tasty pies, curries, soups, and are excellent roasted. Looking for more squash inspiration? Check out the Eat Winter Squash site for lots of great ideas.
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some no-spray apples from another orchard. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! We’ve opened up memberships to the 2021 Summer CSA and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. It looks like we’ll fill up sooner than in years past, so get on the list early to reserve your share. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Say hello to Kalettes!

This week we’re passing the halfway mark of the Winter CSA. With snow in the forecast again later this week, I think we’ve got plenty of winter left, but each time the sun peeks out we’re reminded spring isn’t so far off. The vegetables in the field are showing signs of spring too. The kale and some cabbages are ready to ring in rapini season and we were also able to eek out the first of the purple sprouting broccoli this week. It’s a special, and very tasty, time of year that we look forward to for months.

Now that we’ve shared the many, many stalks of Brussels sprouts with you (man it was a good year for Brussels!) we’re excited to share a new crop. Kalettes! This cross between Brussels sprouts and kale made an appearance in seed catalogs a few years ago. After disregarding them as a gimmick we were finally convinced by our friend at Working Hands Farm up in Hillsboro that we should indeed add them to the winter line-up. Sometimes it takes us a while to catch on, but I’m sure glad we finally listened. Our first meal of kale sprouts this week was delicious and we hope you agree that these are keepers.

The new propagation house is nearly complete. Just in time as boxes of seeds have been rolling into our mailbox.

Most of our focus this past week between CSA harvests was on the new propagation house. We’d finished the basic structure and end walls when we last met. We managed to pull the plastic, dig trenches for irrigation, lay irrigation lines, and move in tables before it was time to harvest again.

We’re just about ready to get the seed-starting underway. We’ve got some new heat mats headed our way and we’ll be installing a hanging hose system too. Our seeding schedule was set to start last week with some direct sown radishes, but this week we’ll really get things going with tomatoes! They’ll spend some time in the germination chamber (a room that can be heated to help seeds germinate faster) and hopefully we’ll have the new heat tables in place once they’re ready to be transferred to the propagation house.

In the week ahead we’ll be putting the finishing touches on the new prop. house and then getting back to the epic orchard pruning project. Fingers crossed that snow in the forecast doesn’t make an appearance, or if it does, that it doesn’t stick around too long.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Rutabagas with Caramelized Onions

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 3/4 pounds onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 1/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons honey

Melt 5 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and sauté until brown, 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain well.

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add rutabagas; sauté until heated through, about 10 minutes. Drizzle honey over. Gently stir in onions. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over medium-low heat.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rutabagas-with-caramelized-onions-4677

Fingerling Potato Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sea Scallops with Ham-Braised Cabbage and Kale

  • 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 large head Savoy cabbage (2 to 2 1/2 pounds), quartered, cored, and coarsely chopped (12 cups loosely packed)
  • Ham stock including meat
  • 1 1/4 pounds tender green kale (1 large bunch), stems and center ribs cut out and discarded and leaves coarsely chopped (12 cups loosely packed) (or Kalettes!)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 30 large sea scallops (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total), tough muscle removed from side of each if necessary
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Cook onion in 3 tablespoons oil with bay leaf in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add cabbage and increase heat to moderately high, then sauté, stirring occasionally, until cabbage starts to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add stock (with meat from ham hocks) and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in kale, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper (total). Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté scallops (without crowding), in 2 batches if necessary, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, about 5 minutes total per batch. Transfer scallops to a shallow baking dish and keep warm in oven.

Add wine to skillet and deglaze by boiling, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, until liquid is reduced to about 2/3 cup. Stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice, then add sauce to cabbage mixture. Season with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice if desired. Pour any scallop juices accumulated in baking dish into cabbage mixture, then serve mixture spooned over grits and topped with scallops.

Cooks’ note:Cabbage mixture can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat and add pan juices from scallops before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sea-scallops-with-ham-braised-cabbage-and-kale-230758

Winter CSA Share – #4

Welcome to the 4th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts – These are likely the last of the Brussels for the season. Enjoy!
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – As we edge ever closer to spring many of the overwintering plants in the field will be headed toward making seed. The interim stage is called rapini and is a delicious brocoli-like seasonal treat. This week some of the kale bunches include rapini, which can be eaten from stem to tip like broccoli.
  • Collards
  • Mustard Greens
  • Chicory MixThis frost-sweetened mix is just asking for creamy dressing, or something citrusy perhaps, and it also holds up well to warm toppings like bacon, chicken, or (our favorite) salmon. Look for recipes calling for radicchio, chicory, and castelfranco for inspiration.
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Magic Molly Blue Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Yellow & Red Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Cilantro
  • Mixed Winter Squash – Choose from Black Futsu, Spaghetti, and the last of the Long Pie Pumpkins.
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some no-spray apples from another orchard. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! We’ve opened up memberships to the 2021 Summer CSA and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Our new propagation greenhouse kit arrived last Tuesday! Above is the kit (top left), digging post holes (top right), setting the posts (bottom left), and attaching the end wall posts to the bows (bottom right).

It’s been a busy week here on the farm. Last Tuesday, as promised, the greenhouse kit for our new propagation house was delivered. When we first started this farming experiment back in 2009 we put up a 8′ x 16′ greenhouse in the backyard of our house in Salem. We started seeds in our kitchen, grew transplants in the backyard, and drove them out to our rented plot outside of town. When we began leasing this farm we were able to consolidate the operation and we turned an existing 20′ x 45′ greenhouse into our new prop. house.

Though not a strong structure, somehow that greenhouse has made it through a decade of high winds and snow storms. However, over the years it’s become obvious that our ideal prop. house would have better air flow within the house, improved venting during the hotter times of the year, and a double layer of plastic to allow for an insulating air layer for the cooler months. It’s been difficult to want to make these investments in our current prop. house due to the lack of strength of the structure itself and the location which happens to flood in the rainier months.

Last spring we built a dedicated room off our shop to use as a germination chamber and the new prop. house is located directly off that room. Once ready to leave the germination chamber, seeded flats will easily be transferred into the new prop. house rather than trekking them through an orchard first. We’re excited to consolidate the seeding and transplant growing into the same area again while also improving the transplant growing environment.

Prop. house building cont’d: We’ve got a structure! (top left), shutter,s fans, side boards and purlins installed (top right), installing the endwall poly carbonate sheets (bottom left), and finished endwalls (bottom right).

Not wanting to waste the beautiful weather we jumped into construction as soon as the greenhouse delivery driver was gone. On day one we rented an auger from a local rental shop and proceeded to dig 30 10″ wide x 18″ deep holes to set the posts. The best projects always seem to start with digging. The auger was a beast but the holes ended up roughly in the correct locations. On day two we set the posts in 55 bags of quikrete and got the top bows in place. Day three was interrupted by a previously scheduled dentist appointment but we managed to get the side boards in place and secured. Day four we installed the metal purlins that run the length of house and then focused on framing out the end walls. This is the first time we’ve purchased end walls with the kit and it was fun to see it come together so quickly. Day five we finished framing the end walls, installed the fans and ventilation shutters, installed the doors, and put up the poly carbonate plastic that encloses the ends.

More construction, but with rain!

I’d hope to get to the plastic-pulling stage on Saturday (day five) before the rain returned but it wasn’t in the cards. Instead we used day six to finish up cutting and securing the poly carbonate end walls, installing the wire lock channel that will be needed to keep the plastic in place, and installing the fancy door handles that came in the kit. It was a muddy day on the job site and though we could have pulled plastic in the afternoon, we decided to hold off for a drier day. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long.

Once we cover the house with the two layers of poly we’ll install a fan that will inflate the space between them to provide some insulating properties. We’ll also bring water over for future irrigation needs. Then comes the ground cloth to keep weeds at bay, tables for flats of transplants to sit on, and we’ll need to set up the hardening off area outside for transplants to shift to before getting transplanted into the field. There are plenty more things to do before we’re up and running but it doesn’t feel too far off now.

Our current prop. house and the field next to it that floods during high rain events (top left), wind storm damage from a couple weeks back (top right), curly willow on a foggy morning (bottom left), and a frosty farm sunrise (bottom right).

In addition to the remaining steps of the prop. house building project our next priority is pulling new plastic on one of our high tunnels that lost plastic in the wind storm we experienced a couple of weeks back. Plastic covered greenhouses and high wind events aren’t a great pairing. Last fall we lost plastic on a high tunnel in a high wind that ripped through just after the wildfires. This time we lost plastic on a different high tunnel, one that had a much older plastic covering thankfully. Luckily we already had the prop. house kit scheduled to arrive this past week and we were able to add the new plastic to our delivery. Now we wait for another couple of dry days to get these houses covered.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Red Onions

  • 4 pounds medium red onions (about 9)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Trim onions, keeping root ends intact, and cut each lengthwise into 6 wedges, keeping wedges intact. In a large bowl toss onions with oil and salt and pepper to taste. In 2 shallow baking pans arrange onions in one layer and roast in upper and lower thirds of oven 20 minutes. Carefully turn onions over and switch position of pans. Roast onions 20 minutes more, or until just tender and some edges are golden brown.

Trim Brussels sprouts and have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook sprouts until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, and drain in colander. Transfer sprouts to ice water to stop cooking and drain in colander. Vegetables may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled separately, covered.

In a small bowl stir together mustard and water. In a 12-inch heavy skillet cook onions and sprouts in butter over moderately high heat, stirring, until heated through and stir in mustard mixture and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/brussels-sprouts-and-roasted-red-onions-14464

Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew

  1. Stew
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Pinch of saffron
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 3 cups 1-inch cubes peeled butternut squash (from 1 1/2-pound squash) (or black futsu winter squash)
    • 2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled carrots
  2. Quinoa
    • 1 cup quinoa*
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, divided

For stew:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 8 ingredients. Add 1 cup water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For quinoa:

Rinse quinoa; drain. Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Cover; cook until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; sauté 1 minute. Add quinoa; stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Rewarm stew. Stir in half of cilantro and half of mint. Spoon quinoa onto platter, forming well in center. Spoon stew into well. Sprinkle remaining herbs over.

*A grain with a delicate flavor and a texture similar to couscous; available at natural foods stores.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Bruce Aidells & Nancy Oakes, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/quinoa-with-moroccan-winter-squash-and-carrot-stew-233714

Salad Pasta

  • 1 (2.2-oz.) can oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 head of radicchio, trimmed, quartered, leaves separated (or chicory mix)
  • 1 (5-oz.) package baby arugula
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn if large
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine anchovies, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until anchovies have disintegrated into oil and garlic is lightly browned, 6–8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Remove skillet with anchovy mixture from heat and stir in butter and lemon juice until butter is melted. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid and stir constantly until a thick glossy sauce forms, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed.

Place radicchio in a large bowl. Add pasta and sauce and toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed. Add arugula and basil but don’t toss; season with salt and black pepper.

Divide pasta among plates or bowls, very gently tossing so arugula gets coated in sauce but doesn’t wilt too much.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/salad-pasta

Winter CSA Share – #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Red Brussels Sprouts
  • January King Cabbage
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Chicory MixThis frost-sweetened mix is just asking for creamy dressing, or something citrusy perhaps, and it also holds up well to warm toppings like bacon, chicken, or (our favorite) salmon.
  • Mixed Beets
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Yellow & Red Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
  • Thyme
  • Sweet Mama Kabocha Winter Squash
  • Mixed Winter Squash – Choose from Delicata, Carnival Acorn, and Gill’s Golden Pippin Acorn.
  • Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some no-spray apples from another orchard. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! We’ve opened up memberships to the 2021 Summer CSA and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Farm sunrise (left) and a frosty morning in the mustard patch (right).

Here we are, share 3 of the Winter CSA and already well into January. The end of the year is always such a blur. Even this year, when the holiday gatherings were limited, December seemed to fly by. Mostly we were hunkered down with crop planning I think. We made a point to work through our crop planning early in order to make sure we got our seed orders in early too.

Seeds were one of those highly sought after items last spring as the realities of COVID19 set in and many seed companies were inundated with orders. It quickly became apparent that our regular carefully planned out triple round of seed ordering with staggered orders in January, April, and July was not going to work out due to seed availability, seed company order capacity, and shipping timelines. We bumped up the timeline last spring and adjusted our planning this season too. Although we weren’t the earliest to get our orders in this year, we did manage to mostly secure the varieties and quantities we’d planned for. Fingers crossed that backordered items come into stock before we need them and that the seeds for later in the season that we haven’t ordered yet are still available when we do.

Drying apples (left) and chicory mix (right)!

There’s something about investing $3200 on seeds for the upcoming season that suggests it’s time to open up the Summer CSA memberships. As soon as the seed orders were in I quickly shifted into budget forecasting and website updates and we met to finalize our thoughts on the season ahead. Most things have stayed the same, but there are some changes.

We’re excited (and a little nervous) to have added a bi-weekly pick-up option to the Summer CSA. We sometimes hear from members that a whole share is too much for their needs and we hope the bi-weekly option will offer a little more flexibility and less vegetable overwhelm over the season. We worried most members might choose to switch to the bi-weekly pick-ups, which means we’d have to find many more members to fill the CSA and meet our budget goals for the year. Fortunately so far the trend has been toward the weekly share option and we’re feeling hopeful we’ll make it to our goals before the season starts.

Jeff’s made a little time for winter basket making, including a new basket for the weekly CSA share photo!

Thankfully it hasn’t been all computer time and indoor work these past couple of weeks. In between orchard pruning and harvesting Jeff has found time to make a couple of willow baskets. He’s made many baskets over the years and tries to make a few each winter when the willow and red osier dogwood trees on the farm are dormant and ready to cut. This year he decided it was time to make a new basket for the weekly CSA share photo and it turned out really nice. It’s difficult to see it peeking out in the share photo, but if you pick-up at the farm you should check it out in person.

We’ll be keeping busy in the coming weeks in between winter storms with continued orchard pruning, more harvests, a little weeding in high tunnels, and more. Next week our new propagation greenhouse kit will be delivered which will lead to all sorts of fun!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Farro, Radicchio, and Roasted Beet Salad

  • 8 1- to 1 1/2-inch-diameter beets, tops trimmed to 1 inch
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-pearled farro or wheat berries
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 2 cups (packed) thinly sliced quartered radicchio (from about 1 medium head)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange beets in single layer in 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish. Drizzle with vegetable oil. Cover with foil and roast until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Cool. Trim beets; peel. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Cook farro in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Stir 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and garlic into hot farro. Cool to room temperature.

Cut each beet into 6 to 8 wedges. Add beets, radicchio, onion, and parsley to farro; toss to incorporate evenly. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Jeanne Kelley, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/farro-radicchio-and-roasted-beet-salad-359409

Kielbasa with Smothered Cabbage and Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 pound smoked kielbasa (Polish sausage), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 onion, sliced thin
  • 3/4 pound yellow-fleshed or russet (baking) potatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits

In a large heavy skillet heat the oil over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it brown the kielbasa. Add the cabbage and the onion and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is browned. Add 1 1/2 cups water and simmer the mixture, covered partially, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender.

While the mixture is simmering, in a steamer set over boiling water steam the potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces, covered, for 12 minutes, or until they are very tender, transfer them to a bowl, and mash them with a potato masher. Add the milk, scalded, 3 tablespoons hot water, the butter, and salt and pepper to taste and stir the potato mixture until the butter is melted. Serve the kielbasa mixture on the mashed potatoes.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kielbasa-with-smothered-cabbage-and-mashed-potatoes-12807

Seared Rainbow Chard with Leeks

  • 2 (1-lb) bunches rainbow chard or red and green Swiss chard
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Cut stems from chard (if leaves are large, cut out coarse portions of rib), then cut stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Stack chard leaves and roll into cylinders. Cut cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-thick strips of leaves.

Heat butter and oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté chard stems and leeks with sea salt and pepper to taste, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add chard leaves and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until wilted. (If greens begin to brown before they wilt, sprinkle with a few drops of water.)

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/seared-rainbow-chard-with-leeks-103721