May Showers Bring June Vegetables

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All our thanks!

Your farmers – Carri & Jeff

Winter CSA Share #10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weeding carrots, slow but rewarding!
Tomato planting day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Clever Oven Parsnip Soup

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fried Cauliflower Sandwich

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roasted Sausage, Swiss Chard, and Cannellini Beans

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

Heat oven to 400° F.

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

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

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

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

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

Winter CSA Share #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Cauliflower
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Mixed Brassica Rapini – Choose from kale, cabbage, and collard rapini bunches. Prepare it like you would sprouting broccoli or kale.
  • Arugula Rapini
  • Bok Choy
  • Spinach
  • Mixed Magic Molly & French Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots – After a long winter of hanging out in the ground, we suggest these carrots are going to be best cooked.
  • Red & Purple Radishes – Too many radishes? We suggest trying them roasted with other roots or cooked into soups and curries.
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.  Converting the inulin to fructose through cooking with vinegar or fermenting seems to be a good solution.
  • Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions sooner than later.
  • Tetsukabuto Winter Squash – A cross between butternut and kabocha = the best of both worlds!
  • Dried Apples
April harvests look like purple sprouting broccoli from the field and radishes, bok choy, spinach, and arugula from a field house.

We’ve made it to the penultimate share of the 2021-2022 Winter CSA season! We’ll see you all again in two weeks for the final share of the season to wrap things up.

Spring is springing here on the farm. The plum and pear trees are flowering and the beekeepers brought some beehives back to the farm this past week just in time. The lengthening days and some recent warmer temps have got the grass, weeds, and crops all growing like crazy.

Back on January 15th we direct sowed arugula, bok choy, and spinach, all of which are making an appearance in this week’s share. It always feels like a leap of faith to put seeds in the ground and expect food to appear, and never more so than in the dead of winter. Somehow it’s worked again and we’re all going to be eating well for the next couple of weeks thanks to the miracle of seeds and soil and water and sunlight.

It’s time to get planting!

The most exciting news from the farm is that we’ve officially begun the transplanting season! After a fall/winter of chasing tractor repairs we seem to be back in business with the repairs behind us for the moment. Our tractor is an integral part of how we make this farming thing work with just two people and it’s back in action just in time. The first successions of chard, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage all found a place in the field this weekend. Fingers crossed the weather settles itself soon and we’re able to continue to make planting progress.

Here’s a little video of the first transplanting of the season. Actions shots of just how we get those plants in the ground using our water wheel transplanter, plus a lot of ball throwing with Leo.

Fertilizing blueberries (top left) propagation house scene (top right), and snap peas! (bottom).

While we attempted to patiently wait for a new radiator to be built for the tractor over the last couple of weeks we tried to make progress on other spring projects. The blueberries got some attention as we weeded and fertilized them. There was plenty to do in the propagation house between sowing seeds, moving flats out to harden off for planting, potting up celery into larger cells, and sowing more seeds. And we’re trying out a new trellising method for the peas this year and Jeff managed to get the infrastructure installed and ready for trellising.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be transplanting onions, lettuce, kohlrabi, and fennel as the weather allows. We’ll also transplant the tomatoes into a high tunnel shortly. There’s lots of propagation to undertake as it’s time to start summer squash and zucchini and cucumbers. And we’ll be preparing for the final harvest of the Winter CSA! It’s starting to get busy over here!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Sunchokes with Hazelnut Gremolata

Roasted sunchokes

  • 2 pounds sunchokes, peeled and cut into 3/4″ chunks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Hazelnut gremolata

  • 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
  • 1 small clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
  1. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to a stock pot of boiling water. Add the sunchokes and boil until tender, about 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size of your chunks. Drain the sunchokes and pour out the water in the pot. Add the sunchokes back to the warmed pot to steam off the excess water. Add the olive oil and toss, season with kosher salt and pepper.
  2. In a pre-heated 425 degree oven, cook the sunchokes on a baking sheet unti crispy. Another 15 – 20 more minutes.
  3. Toss all of the gremolata ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. Serve the sunchokes with gremolata sprinkled over top.

From Food52.com by Megantv01, https://food52.com/recipes/14599-roasted-sunchokes-with-hazelnut-gremolata

Slow-Cooker Moroccan-Spiced Lentil Soup

2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
3 cups chopped cauliflower
1 3/4 cups French green lentils or brown lentils
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chopped fresh spinach or 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Combine onions, carrots, garlic, oil, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until well combined.
  2. Cover and cook until the lentils are tender, 4 to 5 hours on High or 8 to 10 hours on Low.
  3. Add spinach to the slow cooker. Stir, cover and cook on High for 30 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, stir in cilantro and lemon juice.

From Food52.com via Eating Well Soups, https://food52.com/recipes/78164-slow-cooker-moroccan-spiced-lentil-soup

Roasted Radish and Potato Salad with Black Mustard and Cumin Seed

1 large Yukon gold potato, cut into bite sized pieces
8-10 radishes, can be a variety of sizes and types (I had small – large Easter egg radishes and French breakfast radishes), ends trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 tablespoons whole milk yogurt
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
2 tablespoons lemon juice mixed with ½ t salt and ½ t sugar in a small bowl, until salt and sugar are dissolved

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, combine potato pieces with a glug or two of olive oil, a good sprinkling of sea salt, and a few grinds of black pepper, tossing evenly to coat. Roast potatoes in a single layer on a foil lined baking sheet for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, halve and slice any large radishes into wedges, leaving smaller ones whole. Using the same bowl that you tossed the potatoes in, combine radishes with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper; mix well to evenly coat.
  3. Once the potatoes have roasted for 10 minutes, using a wooden spatula or spoon, gently push potatoes around, being careful to keep skin intact (as best as possible). Push potatoes to one side of pan, adding radishes in a single layer to the other side. Continue to roast for another 10-12 minutes or until potatoes and radishes are tender, shaking pan midway through (at 10 minutes start checking to make sure radishes do not overcook).
  4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add black mustard seeds and whole cumin seeds and gently mix. Cook for about a minute, until fragrant, being mindful that black mustard seeds will start to pop. I used my wooden spoon to shield the seeds from popping all over the place. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
  5. Remove pan from oven and allow vegetables to completely cool (making it easy to remove from pan without sticking – especially the potatoes). Halve small radishes. Transfer roasted radishes and potatoes to a bowl. Add yogurt, black mustard/cumin seed mixture and green onions, folding with a spatula to combine. Add lemon juice mixture by the teaspoonful until you reach desired taste. I added one and a half teaspoons of lemon juice-salt-sugar mixture. Fold to combine. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to develop. Bring salad to room temperature before enjoying.

From Food52.com by Gingerroot, https://food52.com/recipes/6642-roasted-radish-and-potato-salad-with-black-mustard-and-cumin-seed

Winter CSA Share #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – A cross between Brussels and kale, pop off the kale florets and use them like kale, or Brussels sprouts. Roast them, saute them, salad them, you get the idea.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and arugula.
  • Spinach Mix
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Carrots – After a long winter of hanging out in the ground, we suggest these carrots are going to be best cooked.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Bunching Onions
  • Red Onion – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. We’re getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions sooner than later.
  • Tetsukabuto Winter Squash – A cross between butternut and kabocha = the best of both worlds!
  • Dried Apples
Bunching onions and sprouting broccoli bringing the purple this week!

The vernal equinox on Sunday officially marked the first day of spring and the crossing into more daylight hours than dark hours. We’ve made it through another dark winter! The recent time change has a way of emphasizing the arrival of spring with the push of the clock forward and a later setting sun. Things here on the farm are about to get very busy.

The propagation house is filling up fast.

Much of my (Carri’s) time is spent managing the propagation house these days. We’re into a weekly seed sowing schedule now which means a weekly session of filling flats with soil mix, getting seeds into the flats, and stacking the flats into the germination chamber. We keep the germ. chamber heated to 75-85 degrees depending on the seeds and it generally takes a few days for the first seeds to sprout.

Once the first signs of germination are noticed the flats are quickly moved into the propagation house. Heat loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are put on heat tables and other crops are set out on wooden benches. This time of year the nights can still get fairly chilly so we cover flats with row cover and cover the heats tables with both row cover and a plastic sheet as needed.

We aim to begin transplanting into the field at the beginning of April and it takes some crops longer to get to transplanting size than others. That means the propagation house is already filling up with the plants we’ll be transplanting in a couple of weeks plus the crops like tomatoes and peppers that will get transplanted in late April and May. A walk through the propagation house is a glimpse into our future work and our future food.

Drone views of the farm in March.

If you recall the journey of tractor repairs I mentioned two weeks ago you might wonder where we ended up. Well, we may have predicted it, but we discovered we needed to replace the radiator in addition to the numerous other parts we’d already dealt with. Down side of a radiator replacement is that our Italian tractor came with a specialized Italian radiator that was not easily found on the internet unlike the other parts thus far. Upside is that we discovered that the world headquarters for Radiator Supply House, a radiator manufacturing and repair company, is located just up the road in Sweet Home. They’re building us a new radiator as I write and we hope to be back in business with tractor work by the end of the week. Fingers crossed that’s the last tractor repair for a while.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Miso Brown Sugar Cabbage

1 tablespoon white miso
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 cups cabbage, shredded into 1/4-inch thick pieces (about 1/2 a head of cabbage)
1 pinch salt

In a small bowl, using a fork, mix together the miso, soy sauce and brown sugar until well combined. Set aside.

Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat. Once hot, add the sesame oil. Add all of the cabbage. You should hear a sizzle when it hits the pan. Cook, without stirring, until the cabbage bigs to char, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the mixture just once and then let sit for another 1 to 2 minutes to let the cabbage char a bit more. Remove the pan from the heat, add the sauce and toss to combine.

Plate onto a shallow bowl and serve warm.

From Food52.com by Grant Melton, https://food52.com/recipes/82533-miso-brown-sugar-cabbage

Chard Gratin

1 pound chard, stems and leaves
Salt
Butter, for the baking dish
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
A handful of grated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the chard leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into short lengths, then cook briefly in boiling, lightly salted water until crisply tender. Remove the stems. Drip the leaves in the boiling water briefly, until they relax. Drain, let cool, and wring out the leaves. Spread the stems and leaves in a buttered shallow ovenproof dish.

Put the mustard in a bowl and stir in the cream and a grinding of salt and black pepper. Pour the seasoned cream over the stems and leaves, cover with grated Parmesan, and bake, 35 to 40 minutes, until the top has a light crust the color of honey.

From Food52.com by Amanda Hesser, https://food52.com/recipes/22420-chard-gratin

Radish and Butter Tartine

1 slice good bread, toasted
Best-quality salted butter, at room temperature
A few small radishes, sliced
Flaky salt, like Maldon or Jacobsen

Smear the butter on one side of bread; it’s best when the bread is no longer hot, since you don’t want the butter to melt. Top with radishes, then sprinkle with good flaky salt.

From Food52.com by Marian Bull, https://food52.com/recipes/28345-radish-and-butter-tartine

Winter CSA Share #7

Welcome to the 7th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – a cross between Brussels and kale, pop off the kale florets and use them like kale, or Brussels sprouts. Roast them, saute them, salad them, you get the idea.
  • Purple Cape Cauliflower – a cauliflower form of purple sprouting broccoli. Treat it the same.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cooking Greens Mix – A mix of braising greens including lacinato kale rapini, curly kale, rainbow chard, and collard greens.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and spinach.
  • French Fingerling Potatoes
  • Parsnips – Roasted and mashed parsnips are delicious, but also don’t forget about parsnip cake!
  • Celeriac
  • Salad Turnips & Daikon Radishes
  • Leeks
  • GarlicThis is the last of our 2021 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 Squash
  • Shishito Pepper Powder – We dried and powdered the red shishito peppers that we harvested ahead of the frost last fall. This is a little taste of last summer’s sunshine!
  • Dried Apples

Amazingly we’ve only got 2.5 weekly (or 5 biweekly) shares remaining in the Summer CSA! It’s time to reserve your spot if you want to 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.

Leeks, started last week and just starting to stand up (left) and leeks, freshly harvested from the field (right).

We’ve rounded the corner of winter and it’s been feeling like spring is beginning to show up in these parts. After successfully making it through the scare of low temperatures two weeks back, we’ve been enjoying the return of some rain as well as some pleasantly sunny days. As we head deeper into the Winter CSA season we’re now arriving at those couple of months in late winter/early spring known as the hunger gap. The storage crops from the previous season begin running low and the newly sown crops in greenhouses are just getting going. If we’ve planned well and the weather and remaining field crops all cooperate we’ll make it through to the end with no problems. This week seems to have come together without a hitch!

Mixing propagation soil mix (top left), the first starts of the season in the propagation greenhouse (top right), Jeff repairing an irrigation leak near a high tunnel (bottom left), and seeding peas and carrots (bottom right).

We’re now beginning to countdown to the start of the Summer CSA. Part of our crop planning is to count the weeks backwards from the first Summer CSA share to help determine when to start and transplant the crops we want to be ready for the first few shares. Last week we started the first rounds of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, chard, and fennel, all of which should get transplanted in about a month and then be ready to harvest throughout June.

We also sowed the first round of carrots for summer shares and the snap peas that will show up in early summer shares. These get direct sown, where we put the seed directly in the ground instead of transplanting.

Jeff built a new fence to keep deer and turkeys out of the two high tunnels at the back of the farm. The fence looks great and has worked so far, though he did hit a buried irrigation line during the installation. While it’s nice to have much of the irrigation infrastructure on the farm buried, any issues require first digging to locate the problem which makes for a more involved project. Let’s just say Jeff has gained a lot of experience over the years with digging and pvc repair.

Jeff, summoning all his mechanic skills this past week.

Over the last month Jeff’s main focus has been on tractor repair. He’s been methodically working through a seemingly endless list of minor and more major repairs on our main tractor all winter actually. First it was installing a new instrument panel, then repairing a leaking fuel line, then it became obvious we’d need a new water pump soon. Unfortunately the water pump repair was taking place during the big cold snap a couple of weeks back and the tractor had more water than coolant in its system. The freezing temperatures led to an oil cooler cover crack and subsequent repair. Once the new water pump and oil cooler cover were both installed there was a fluke incident with a broken weld on a hydraulic cylinder attached to the tractor’s loader, which ended up being the fasted repair actually due to not having to wait for a part in the mail but instead taking the whole thing into a local metal shop. Today a new water connection tube should be arriving in our mailbox, which is hopefully the last of the repairs for the time being.

It’s been a learn-as-you go situation and Jeff has been a trooper tackling each new issue that pops up. He says he’s not a mechanic but he’s sure learning a lot about diesel engines and I’ve been impressed with his willingness to take on these repairs. I’ve been little help, though I’ve taken on the part research and sourcing role and I feel like I’ve also got a better understanding of the inner workings of our tractor’s engine as I’ve searched the internet for Perkins engine details, manuals, and parts. Sometimes farming is more than plants and seeds and weeds and growing things. Though honestly I think we’re both ready to get back to that stuff.

Red, ripe shishito peppers gathered last fall ahead of the first frost, then dried and recently ground into powder. A taste of summer!

As we wrap up the tractor repairs (fingers crossed!) we’ll be turning our attention back to spring preparations. There’s ground to fertilize and prep for transplanting, seeds to sow (peppers and eggplants this week), grass to weed out of the garlic and overwintering onions, and supplies to order. Just like the lengthening days, the work is starting to ramp up for the season ahead. Perhaps we’ll also get in a day off the farm again before things get too busy.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Skillet Strata with Bacon, Cheddar, and Greens

6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 scallions, thinly sliced (or how about leeks)
4 ounces cheddar or fontina cheese, shredded or cubed, about a cup
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped (a scant cup)
3 cups packed 1-inch cubes bread (6 to 7 ounces)
3 ounces kale or chard leaves, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped, about 2 heaping cups

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 425° F. Beat eggs and milk together until thoroughly combined. Stir in scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the cheddar.
  2. Cook bacon in a 9- or 10-inch cast iron pan over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a small dish, leaving the fat behind. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the bread, carefully fold into onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat, add reserved bacon, and fold in the egg mixture. Add half of the greens and fold into the mixture until combined. Add remaining greens and fold again until combined. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until center of strata is puffed and set and edges have browned and pulled away slightly from the sides of the skillet, about 15 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking. Let strata cool for 5 minutes before serving.

From Food52.com by Alexandra Stafford, https://food52.com/recipes/55148-skillet-strata-with-bacon-cheddar-and-greens

Mashed Potato, Rutabaga, and Parsnip Casserole with Caramelized Onions

  • 7 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 pounds parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Butter 13 x 9×2-inch glass baking dish. Combine first 7 ingredients in large pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add 1/2 cup butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until mashed but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed vegetables to prepared dish.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over mashed vegetables. (Casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake casserole uncovered until heated through and top begins to crisp, about 25 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/mashed-potato-rutabaga-and-parsnip-casserole-with-caramelized-onions-2607

Barley & Root Vegetable Rainbow Stew

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups mixed, peeled and 1/2-inch diced root vegetables, such as parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, white potato, and yellow beets
1/2 cup pearled barley, rinsed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped dill, plus more for serving

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the root vegetables and cook until they are browned in spots, another 5 minutes.

Add the barley and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and barley are tender, about 25 minutes.

Transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the zest, sour cream, and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with more sour cream and dill to serve.

From Food52.com by Samantha Seneviratne, https://food52.com/recipes/86601-root-vegetable-soup-recipe-with-barley

Best Sage Quiche

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
4 slices prosciutto, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 10-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on a greased cookie sheet and drizzle evenly with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake squash for 25-30 minutes at 400°F or until tender. Lower oven heat to 350°F.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and saute leeks for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute one additional minute.

Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl until well mixed. Mix in butternut squash, leeks, prosciutto, cheese, sage, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Line a 10-inch pie pan with prepared pie crust; pour in quiche mixture. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until set. Cool slightly and cut into 8 wedges. Makes 8 servings.

From Food52.com by Kerstin, https://food52.com/recipes/8125-roasted-butternut-squash-prosciutto-and-sage-quiche

Winter CSA Share #6

Welcome to the 6th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Savoy Cabbage – Wrinkled, crinkled, sweet and tasty. Winter cabbage is the best!
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cooking Greens Mix – A mix of braising greens including lacinato kale, curly kale, rainbow chard, and collard greens.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and spinach.
  • Parsley
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Rutabaga– Less pungent than most turnips, but similar, we like rutabagas mashed with potatoes or oven roasted with their rooty friends.
  • Kohlrabi – Giant kohlrabi are a winter wonder. Generally not pithy, they’re frost-sweetened and just the ticket for kohlrabi and peanut butter snacks.
  • Bunching Onions
  • GarlicSee the note below about onions.
  • Shallots
  • Red Onion – 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 – Choose from acorns, delicata, spaghetti, kabocha, and butternut.
  • Polenta (aka grits) – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing polenta and last time we shared the flour. You can use this polenta in recipes calling for uncooked polenta or corn grits. We like to cook it in our rice cooker at a 1 cup polenta to 3 cups water ratio. It’s even better if you add some butter and cheese once cooked.
  • Dried Apples

Amazingly we are somehow over 97% full for the Summer CSA! It’s time to reserve your spot if you want to 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.

Sunset at the on-farm CSA pick-up two weeks back. This maple tree is slated to be cut by the power company soon so I’ve been trying to enjoy it while it’s still with us.

We may be over halfway through winter, but that doesn’t mean the winter weather is done with us. We’ve got some cold nights on deck this week including tonight’s current projected low of 18, which is actually better than the 13 that was projected a few days back. Winter farming is always a gamble and it looks like we landed in some especially unpredictable territory this week. We get nervous when the temps drop below 20, but we’ll know soon enough which of our surviving field crops takes a hit in these cold temperatures. Fingers crossed the past winter weather has toughened up the remaining plants to take this cold snap in stride.

Fall-planted spinach ready for another harvest (left) and Jeff planting early potatoes (right).

Despite this week’s return to chilly temperatures, things here on the farm have been feeling rather springy lately. The fall-sown spinach and lettuce that you’ve seen in shares planted in one of our high tunnels has been re-growing nicely thanks to some warm sunny days. The newly sown radishes, arugula, and spinach in another tunnel are putting on their first true leaves. Jeff prepped three other tunnels this past week and we filled up two with potatoes, mizuna, radishes, lettuce, and kale. The third house will be planted out with carrots and peas next week. So many tasty treats in our future!

Tomato seeds (left) and baby tomato plants (right).

After several months of an empty propagation house it was time to start growing transplants for the upcoming season. We start things off with tomatoes because they’ll be headed into the new high tunnel in April and can use a good head start. After many days in the warm germination chamber we’ve had high germination rates and now they’re happily growing stronger having been moved to the heat tables in the propagation house. Forty-five flats of onions and leeks are now filling the shelves in the germ. chamber. This cycle of mixing prop. mix, filling flats, sowing seeds, waiting for germination, and moving flats into the prop. house until they’re ready for transplanting will continue on through October when we finish up the last of the transplanting in 2022. The propagation fun is just beginning.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be continuing to add flats of baby transplants to the propagation house. We’re about a month out from transplanting in the field if the weather cooperates so we’ve got lots of seeds to get started. We’ve also got a tractor repair to undertake, a high tunnel to sow seeds in, and some orchard and blueberry maintenance to get done. We’ll be keeping busy!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Desperation Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cups finely chopped “pantry” vegetables (carrots, fennel, leeks, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, etc.)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
one 15-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
one 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup green vegetables (zucchini, green beans, peas, leafy greens, broccoli, etc.), finely chopped
1/2 cup gluten-free elbows, orzo, or orecchiette (optional)
1/2 cup herbs (basil, chives, parsley, tarragon, or a combination), roughly chopped or torn
Shaved Parmesan or Pecorino, for serving (optional)

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Sauté the onions and pantry vegetables over medium-high heat until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Pour in the tomatoes and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the tomato chunks have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the beans, green vegetables, and pasta (if using), then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Off the heat, stir in herbs and taste for seasoning. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved Parmesan or Pecorino for a salty bite.

From Food52.com via The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine, https://food52.com/recipes/73204-desperation-minestrone-soup

Irish Banger Skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Irish banger sausage
1/2 pound red skinned potatoes, sliced thinly crosswise
1 medium onion, sliced thinly crosswise
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a 10-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil starts to glisten and moire, carefully add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally until browned. Transfer the sausages to a plate. Into the pan, over a medium heat, layer in half of the onion, potatoes and cabbage. Layer the remaining onions, potatoes and cabbage. Sprinkle with carrots and add 1 teaspoon of the thyme. Pour 3/4 cup of broth over the vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover tightly. Simmer for 10 minutes.

After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, nestle the sausages into the potato mixture, along with any accumulated juices. Add the remaining broth and thyme, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are very tender. Remove the sausages and cut them into chunks. Return the sausages to the pan and serve.

From Food52.com by Garlic and Zest, https://food52.com/recipes/41662-irish-banger-skillet

Kohlrabi Salad

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

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

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

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

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

Winter CSA Share #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – a cross between Brussels and kale, pop off the kale florets and use them like kale, or Brussels sprouts. Roast them, saute them, salad them, you get the idea.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Arugula or Tatsoi Rapini – The tunnel greens are starting to go to seed. Luckily for all of us they’re super delicious at this stage. (Salem, only arugula for you!)
  • Mixed Radicchio These frost-sweetened heads are 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.
  • Spinach Mix
  • Cilantro – Leaves and roots! Check out this info on cilantro roots for prep and recipe information.
  • Red Chieftan Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.  Converting the inulin to fructose through cooking with vinegar or fermenting seems to be a good solution.
  • Bunching Onions
  • GarlicSee the note below about onions.
  • Onion – 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.
  • Black Futsu Winter Squash – A Japanese heirloom squash related to butternut, it’s bright orange on the inside and some say it has a hint of hazelnut taste. Use it in an recipe calling for winter squash or butternut.
  • Butternut Squash
  • Corn Flour– We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing flour and next week we’ll share the polenta. You can use this flour in any recipe calling for corn flour or cornmeal. We like to use it for perfect cornbread.
  • Dried Apples

We are already over 85% full for the Summer CSA! It’s time to reserve your spot if you want to 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.

Sunny winter sunset on the farm!

Winter is flying by and somehow here we are halfway through the Winter CSA season. We’ll be firing up the germination chamber later this week and getting the first seeds of the upcoming summer season started. Our first order of organic fertilizer is scheduled for delivery on Thursday. The 2022 growing season is about to get real!

Soil sample day (left) and digging carrots (right).

There’s been plenty of behind the scenes preparation already happening for the season ahead. Inventorying of seed orders as they arrive in the mail, budgeting for growing supplies that we’ll need in the upcoming months, sending in soil samples and analyzing the results. This is when we’re able to plan ahead, stockpile supplies, and spend time contemplating the months ahead. Before we know it we’ll be in the thick of things. I’ll be managing temperatures and watering schedules in the propagation house. Jeff will be on mowing and ground prep duty. Our days will be consumed with the acts of growing vegetables. But for this brief moment, that’s all ahead of us.

Sifting corn flour.

In between the continued planning for the upcoming growing season and getting through the paperwork of the past season (taxes and annual loan paperwork requirements mostly) we’ve been trying to stay on top of the current CSA season too. We try to include some fun pantry items throughout the winter season and those often take a little more time like the dried apples. This week we’re also bringing you corn flour, milled from the Cascade Ruby Gold flint corn we grew. It’s a fun, if fiddly, process that begins with printing labels for the bags and grinding the corn using our electric stone flour mill and ends with sifting the flour from the polenta and bagging it all up.

In the weeks ahead we’ll be straightening up the propagation house and starting those first seeds. We’ll also be prepping to plant our first round of potatoes in a greenhouse. The next season is sneaking in as we work on finishing up digging carrots and harvesting the last of the other roots from the field.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic Vinegar

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

Pasta with Butternut Squash and Spinach

  • 6 ounces cavatappi or other spiral-shaped pasta
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound) (or sub. another type of winter squash)
  • 5 cups packed spinach leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)

Fill a 4-quart kettle three fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for cooking pasta.

Quarter, seed, and peel squash. Cut squash into 1/2-inch cubes. Coarsely chop spinach and mince garlic.

In a large heavy skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté squash with salt to taste, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 7 minutes.

While squash is cooking, cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta in a colander.

Add spinach and garlic to skillet with squash and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until any liquid is evaporated. Add pasta and reserved cooking water and bring to a boil. Season pasta with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Remove skillet from heat and toss pasta with Parmesan.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pasta-with-butternut-squash-and-spinach-14581

Chicory Salad with Bacon, Crispy Potatoes, and Fried Egg

  • 1/2 lb sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 lb boiling potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb chicory, chopped (6 cups)

Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain, leaving fat in skillet.

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Cook in bacon fat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

While potatoes are cooking, combine shallot and vinegar in a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Stir in mustard and then olive oil until combined well.

Just before serving, slowly fry eggs to desired doneness in vegetable oil with salt and pepper to taste in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat.

Add chicory to dressing, tossing to coat. Add bacon and potatoes, tossing, and season with salt and pepper. Serve salad topped with eggs.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicory-salad-with-bacon-044-crispy-potatoes-044-and-fried-egg-104541

Winter CSA Share #2

Welcome to the 2nd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Rosalba Radicchio – A blush pink winter salad treat that stands up to all the creamy dressings, citrus dressings, and hearty toppings you can find.
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Fava Leaves – These are leaves from the fava plants that would eventually produce fava beans. The leaves taste a little green-beany and are tasty in salads, sauteed, or made into pesto.
  • Rainbowish Carrots – Mostly orange, but you’ll find a few purple and yellow roots mixed too.
  • Strawberry Paw Red-Skinned Potatoes
  • Rutabaga – Less pungent than most turnips, but similar, we like rutabagas mashed with potatoes or oven roasted with their rooty friends.
  • Celeriac – A celery flavored root! Eat it roasted, mashed, in soups or stews, or in savory pies.
  • Purple Daikon Radishes
  • Bunching Onions – Call them scallions, green onions, or whatever, just eat them!
  • Garlic
  • Yellow Onion
  • Butternut Squash
  • Starry Night Acorn Squash – A new-to-us acorn squash said to be sweet and smooth.
  • Wolverine’s Orca Dry Beans – Our favorite dry bean, and the only one we grow these days, these orca beans are more substantial than some dry beans and hold up well in stews or chili. Named for a Secwepemc elder Wolverine William Ignace, who you can read more about over on Adaptive Seeds website.
  • Dried Farm Apples!

Many thanks to everyone who responded to our winter weather watch email.  It was really helpful to know our message about a possible CSA pick-up delay had gotten through to most members.  We think the weather has cleared enough for us to go ahead with the pick-ups as previously planned. 

Notes about this week’s pick-up:

  • Come to the Salem or Farm pick-up as early as 2pm this week for more daylight driving. We’ll stay until everyone picks-up or 6pm, whichever comes first.
  • Shoot us an email at farmers@pitchforkandcrow.com if you can’t safely make it to your pick-up and we’ll make alternative arrangements for Saturday.
Snow day number two!

We’re really bringing the winter to the Winter CSA this week! We’ve been keeping an eye on the forecast since the last pick-up, hoping for clear days to make progress on our newest high tunnel building project. Instead we got 3.5 inches of rain in 48 hours last week and now 5 inches of snow! As the cold temperatures and snow called for in the ten day forecast solidified and appeared to be the real deal we made plans to get extra storage crops out of the field. Carrots, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and celeriac all found space in the very full walk-in coolers.

Impending winter weather meant a week full of early harvesting and row covering crops in the field.

As the week progressed it became apparent that we needed to harvest early for the CSA too. We harvested the hearty roots earlier in the week followed by the more tender greens this weekend just ahead of this lovely blanket of snow. That’s how we ended up harvesting on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for the first time in nine seasons of Winter CSAing. Thanks to this early planning and work we’re bring you a full share of the winter bounty!

Snow day!

Over the years we’ve generally lucked out with winter weather. There have been a couple of big snowstorms and a couple of very low temperature events in memory, but overall the valley is a pretty okay place to be undertaking this winter farming adventure. Our luck has held again this time around and we were gifted with just 5 inches of powdery light snow on Sunday that required a single round of sweeping the greenhouses. We’d invested in a couple of handy roof rakes several years back and it took just an hour and a half to clear the six houses that required clearing.

First step of building a new high tunnel done. The footings are set and ready for the bows to be added when we get another spell of less wintry weather.

We’re looking forward to getting this share in the books and hope we can get everyone through the pick-ups safely. As the snow melts and the farmscape returns to normal, we plan on making more progress on the high tunnel building project, finishing up our seed inventory and 2022 crop plan, and maybe even getting off the farm for a belated holiday celebration.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Celery Root and Carrot Soup

  • 1/2 large celery root (celeriac), peeled, chopped
  • 1/2 pound carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Celery leaves and chopped Granny Smith apple (for serving)

Place celery root and carrots in a large pot; add 6 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook until tender, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly. Purée in a blender with yogurt, honey, coriander, and ginger until smooth; season with salt and pepper.

Serve soup topped with celery leaves and apple.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/celery-root-and-carrot-soup

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, cut into 3×1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 1/4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), cut into 2×3/4-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine squash, rutabagas, and sweet potatoes in large bowl. Add oil and cayenne and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread vegetable mixture on prepared baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are tender, stirring and turning occasionally, about 1 hour. (Vegetables can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let stand on baking sheet at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.)

Transfer vegetable mixture to bowl. Add red onion, chives, and vinegar; toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-autumn-vegetables-231105

Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Scallions

  • a 10-ounce container Brussels sprouts (about 26), trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin diagonally
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, or to taste

Cut sprouts in half and slice thin lengthwise. In a heavy skillet melt butter over moderately high heat until foam subsides and sauté sprouts and scallions, stirring, until tender and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. In a bowl toss vegetables with lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shredded-brussels-sprouts-and-scallions-11807

Chicory, Bacon, and Poached Egg Salad

  • 4 oz. Parmesan
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz. slab or thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 (8″-long) sprigs rosemary
  • 1 lb. mixed wild mushrooms (such as shiitake, maitake, and/or oyster), woody stems removed
  • 1 lb. chicory (such as radicchio, escarole, and/or frisée), leaves torn into 3″ pieces
  • 4 large eggs

Finely grate half of the Parmesan into a large bowl. Add shallot, vinegar, honey, and 5 Tbsp. oil and whisk well; season dressing with salt and pepper.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add rosemary and cook, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon and rosemary to paper towels.

Add remaining 2 Tbsp. oil to skillet and heat over medium-high. Arrange mushrooms in pan in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, toss, and continue to cook, tossing often, until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with dressing, but don’t toss. Strip rosemary leaves off stems into bowl and add chicory.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat so water is at a bare simmer. Crack an egg into a small bowl; gently slide egg into water. Quickly repeat with remaining eggs. Poach, rotating eggs gently with a large slotted spoon, until whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss salad to coat leaves; season with salt and divide among plates. Shave remaining Parmesan over and top with bacon and poached eggs.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicory-bacon-and-poached-egg-salad

Summer CSA Share #26

Welcome to the 26th and final share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Cooking Greens Mix – A braising mix of chard, collards, and four types of kale.
  • Redarling Brussels Sprouts
  • Castelfranco Radicchio Mix – Great for salads with punchy dressings like vinaigrette and toppings like citrus, strong cheese, and olives. You can also cook radicchio to bring out some of the sweetness as in the two recipes at the bottom of this post.
  • Cauliflower – Some of these got a little frost damaged this week, but they should still be tasty.
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Strawberry Paw Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes – We managed to grow a handful of sweet potatoes this season. Even though we didn’t water them well enough and had to re-plant most of them, thus getting them started a month late, and then the deer ate most of the leaves and the gophers and voles ate many of the tubers, we have sweet potatoes! We don’t have many, but some is better than none, right?
  • Beets – Choose from red and orange!
  • Fresh Onions
  • Garlic
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Polenta (aka grits) – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing polenta and last week we shared the flour. You can use this polenta in recipes calling for uncooked polenta or corn grits. We like to cook it in our rice cooker at a 1 cup polenta to 3 cups water ratio. It’s even better if you add some butter and cheese once cooked.

As we wrap up the 2021 Summer CSA season and also celebrate Thanksgiving this week I wanted to take a moment to say thanks. Thank you for supporting our farm this season. Thank you for choosing to eat local and seasonal vegetables for the past six months. Thank you for showing up week after week. We know things have been difficult these past couple of years and we appreciate your willingness to make the CSA a part of your lives.

Here are some season stats: This year each weekly share consisted of an average of 17.65lbs per week for 26 weeks. That’s 459lbs of organic vegetables for each weekly share over the season. All combined that means Jeff and I distributed approximately 51,408lbs of produce this season. Through our partnership with the Linn Benton Food Share, 9,180lbs of those organic vegetables went directly to the Lebanon Soup Kitchen and Lebanon food pantries. Not bad for a two-person operation, if I do say so.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this past season as much as we have. We know the CSA can seem overwhelming at times but hopefully you’ve found a rhythm to the season and had some fun in the kitchen along the way. Though we’re focused on growing and harvesting the best vegetables we can, the magic really happens in each of your kitchens as you prep. and cook and eat them. Thanks for taking our vegetables on your kitchen adventures!

Because we take a short break between seasons most of you will be headed to the produce department of the grocery store sooner than later, either in person or virtually. As you ponder your options, experiencing all the choices in the world, we hope you’ll take a bit of your CSA experience with you. Hopefully you’ll be more curious to know where that produce was grown, not just what country but what farm? How far did it travel? Is it seasonal? What were the growing practices? Who were the people that grew and harvested it?

Scenes from the final Summer CSA harvest.

We’ll see many of you in a few weeks for the start of the Winter CSA. We’re excited to see what the winter season has in store for us and hope you are too! For everyone else we hope you have a fantastic winter! Keep an eye out for an email from us in early January as we gear up for the 2022 Summer CSA! Hopefully you’ll consider joining us for another round of local, seasonal, organic vegetables.

Have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the vegetables! We’ll see Winter CSA members on December 14th & 15th for the beginning of the Winter season.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin with Pine Nut-Breadcrumb Topping

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, quartered lengthwise through core
  • 1 1 1/2-to 1 3/4-pound head of cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small florets
  • 2 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 11/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Fill large bowl with ice and cold water. Cook brussels sprouts in large pot of generously salted boiling water 2 minutes. Add cauliflower to same pot; cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain. Transfer vegetables to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.

Combine cream, shallots, and sage in large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 21/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs; stir until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl; cool. Stir in pine nuts and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; arrange half of vegetables in dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then 1 1/2 cups Parmesan. Arrange remaining vegetables evenly over, then sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups Parmesan. Pour cream mixture evenly over. DO AHEAD: Breadcrumb topping and gratin can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover gratin with foil. Bake covered 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle breadcrumb topping over and bake uncovered 15 minutes longer.

From Epicurious.com by Lora Zarubin, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-and-brussels-sprout-gratin-with-pine-nut-breadcrumb-topping-350452

Butternut Squash and Roasted-Garlic Bisque

  • 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub cut surfaces of garlic with oil. Put halves back together to reassemble heads. Wrap each tightly in foil; bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Cool garlic in foil.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; sauté until onions are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add squash, broth and 2 tablespoons sage. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until squash is tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, unwrap garlic. Squeeze from skin into small bowl. Discard skin. Mash garlic with fork until smooth.

Stir garlic into soup. Working in batches, purée soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cold. Cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Stir in 1/2 cup cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer soup to tureen. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon cream.

Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sage.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butternut-squash-and-roasted-garlic-bisque-104280

Sheet-Pan Roasted Squash and Feta Salad

  • 1 large or 2 small acorn or delicata squash (about 1½ lb. total), halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into ¼” slices (or any winter squash really)
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 4 slices country bread, cut into 1″ cubes (about 4 cups)
  • ½ lb. Greek feta, cut into 1″ cubes
  • ¼ cup sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 head of radicchio or ½ head of escarole, leaves separated, torn into large pieces
  • Aleppo-style pepper (for serving; optional)

Arrange a rack in top third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Toss squash, black pepper, 2 Tbsp. oil, and 1 tsp. salt on an 18×13″ rimmed baking sheet and arrange in an even layer. Roast until squash is beginning to brown on one side, 10–15 minutes. Turn squash, then arrange bread and feta over. Roast until bread is lightly toasted and feta is soft and warmed through, 8–10 minutes.

Whisk vinegar, honey, thyme, and remaining 6 Tbsp. oil and ½ tsp. salt in a large bowl until well combined. Add radicchio and hot squash mixture and toss to combine.

Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper (if using).

From Epicurious.com by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sheet-pan-roasted-squash-and-feta-salad

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.

Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons vinegar in small bowl. Drizzle over salad. Add feta cheese; toss to coat.

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

Summer CSA Share #25

Welcome to the 25th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Collards or Rainbow Chard
  • Arugula – A peppery addition to soups, pasta, or salads, toss them in at the end of cooking for a quick wilting.
  • Escarole
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Thyme
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Purple Bunching Onions
  • Fresh Onions
  • Garlic
  • Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Acorn Squash – An heirloom squash from Missouri, said to be creamy smooth and sweet.
  • 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.
Collard bunches (left) and purple bunching onions (right).

What a blustery harvest day we had yesterday! Though we only got a quarter inch of rain, it certainly felt like more as we were soaked while bunching collards and chard. Whew! The farm weather station says we had a max wind speed of 32mph and wind gust of 37.6mph yesterday. It was a windy one and we’re glad it calmed down as quickly as it started up.

Wind storms are maybe our least favorite here on the farm. Wind and greenhouse plastic can fight to the death, and it’s never pretty when the wind wins those battles. Luckily this time around the wind blew through and left all of our greenhouses intact.

Corn grinding! From left to right: flint corn kernels, flint corn milled, corn flour sifted out from the polenta, and polenta.

The wind and the rain are putting the exclamation point on the fact that we’ve made it to November. Leaves are falling, the days are shortening, and we’re just about to wrap up this Summer CSA season! In fact this is the final week for the “Group A” biweekly members.

This is the first season we’ve offered this option and it’s a little strange to be saying goodbye to some members one week early after so many years of wrapping things up the week of Thanksgiving. We’ve been harvesting 112 weekly shares this season, and 14 of them went to members who chose the option to pick-up every other week. By which I mean 28 members signed on for the biweekly pick-ups and 14 picked-up each week. It’s been an interesting experiment this biweekly option, and I think we’ll continue to offer it in the future. Though we’ve been worse at learning some biweekly member’s names, this option does seem to fill a need for those members who want to participate in the CSA but need fewer vegetables in their lives.

We want to say thank you to the biweekly members who jumped in this season. Hopefully you found the CSA to be a good fit for you and we look forward to seeing you all again in the future, including those of you we’ll see in a few weeks for the start of the Winter CSA.

A tractor fix (left) and early sunset (right).

This past week we kept busy with some indoor projects like cleaning onions, grinding corn, and updating the Winter CSA member handbook and website details. We also managed to get some early harvesting done in the field. But there’s one task that beat out the others.

Sometimes a project takes some working up to. You’ve got to mentally prepare for the worst outcome and hope for the best. This season that project has been a diesel fuel leak on our main field work tractor.

At some point this season it became apparent that we had a fuel leak and then as the season progressed so did the smoke and fumes caused by the leak. Repeated visual inspections did not help locate the leak, as everything on the tractor motor appeared to be covered in diesel. We cautiously continued the work of the season, the problem worsening. Mechanical problems like this are never easy to face. Our tractor is unique and the dealer/mechanic is up in Aurora, which is far away enough that taking the tractor in to be worked on is an expensive endeavor before they ever set eyes on the thing. Also, neither of us are mechanics, though Jeff certainly knows more about engines than I do. Thus, an ever-worsening problem such as we were facing was rather daunting.

We finally made it to a point this past week where Jeff was ready to fully investigate, preparing for the worst. He’d researched, he’d finished the majority of field work, we’d budgeted for an expensive fix. So it’s really impressive that after taking off the tractor loader and the hood, some back and forth with diesel mechanic videos on Youtube, and a couple of trips to the auto parts store he was able to diagnose and fix the problem! A leaky fuel injector was the culprit and some new hose and a clamp was all it took to fix. An expensive trip to the tractor repair shop has been averted and we’re both relieved to have the tractor in working order again.

With the tractor fixed, this week we’ll be preparing for the final week of the CSA season. Here’s our tentative harvest list for next week as you begin your Thanksgiving shopping:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Butternut Squash
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Onions
  • Sage
  • Parsley
  • Potatoes
  • Mizuna
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Chicory Mix
  • Kale Mix
  • Polenta

We’ll see the majority of you next week for the final share of the Summer CSA!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Lemony Pasta with Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Arugula

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup drained capers, patted dry
  • 1 small or 1/2 large head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into small florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, patted dry
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, divided
  • 8 ounces casarecce, gemelli, or other medium pasta
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups baby arugula

Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high. Add capers and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until they burst and are crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer capers to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reserve oil in skillet.

Cook cauliflower in same skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover and cook until cauliflower begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to high. Add chickpeas, 2 Tbsp. butter, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and chickpeas are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

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

Remove skillet from heat and add lemon juice, 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Add pasta, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until coated.

Divide arugula and pasta among bowls, stirring to combine. Top with reserved crispy capers.

From Epicurious.com by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lemony-pasta-with-cauliflower-chickpeas-and-arugula

Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower with Chives

  • 3 large russet (baking) potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh chives plus 8 whole chives for garnish if desired

Peel the potatoes, with a melon-ball cutter scoop out as many balls as possible from them, and in a jelly-roll pan toss the balls with the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast the potatoes in the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven, turning them occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the cauliflower, toss the mixture well, and roast it for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and golden in spots. Toss the vegetables with the sliced chives and salt and pepper to taste and serve them garnished with the whole chives.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-potatoes-and-cauliflower-with-chives-12742

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyère Croutons

Soup

  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds) (or any other winter squash)
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Croutons

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

For soup:

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and sugar; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

For croutons:

Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/winter-squash-soup-with-gruyere-croutons-2997