winter csa share – week 9

winter csa share week 9

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

  • Arugula Rapini
  • Garlic
  • Carrots – Remember, winter carrots are rough, but peel ‘em up and they’re tasty as ever.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Red Russian Kale Rapini
  • Collard Rapini
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Braising Mix – a mix of kales, chard, cabbage rapini, and mustards that will do well braised or for the more adventurous would make a lovely winter salad.
  • Bunching Onions
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!
  • Spaghetti Winter Squash
  • Dry Bean Mix – Those of you that joined us last summer will remember these beans from summer shares.  Our extra green beans left to dry, now making up this colorful mix.  We’ve been enjoying them in burritos of late.

I imagine when you joined the Winter CSA, it was all winter squash and roots and hardy greens that you saw filling your shares.  Thanks to the mild winter we’ve been able to include  a diversity of other items, and this week is rapini madness!  The overwintered kale and cabbage and collards are all ready to go to flower but bunching up those tender, sweet bolts is oh so hard to avoid.  We’ve been eating rapini in stir frys, over eggs, in burritos, in pies, and of course straight out of the field!  We love rapini season to bits, and hope you do too.  Isn’t it fun to see and taste the differences between the arugula, kale, and collards?  Which is your favorite?

spring potluck

Many thanks to the few folks that made it to the farm this past Saturday for the Winter CSA potluck.  It was a small showing, but a great day for a farm visit.  The rain held off all day and the wind was just right for kites.  While we love to see a big crowd enjoying the farm, we really appreciated the opportunity to chat with those members that made it out.

Apologies again for forgetting to include a reminder two weeks ago in the newsletter.  Hopefully everyone received my belated email reminder last week.  We realize now that we scheduled it for the first weekend of spring break, which is a very hard thing to compete with indeed.

seeding

In the past two weeks, since we last met, we’ve been keeping busy filling up the propagation house, doing a little transplanting and seed sowing in the field and in high tunnels, and prepping the ground for transplanting into the fields.  It’s been a fantastic start to the growing season and for once we feel nearly right on track with things.

We’ve potted-up most of our tomatoes from 72-cell trays into 3-inch pots and moved them out of the propagation house and into a smaller greenhouse shack.  This gives the growing tomatoes enough room to size up properly and allows us to move the next successions of tomatoes and peppers to the limited space on the heat tables in the prop. house.  It’s a delicate dance this time of year trying to leave the heat-loving plants on bottom heat as long as possible.  The tomatoes are doing well and we’re already looking forward to the summer fruits.

I’ve been doing some research on cut flowers recently and am hoping to finalize a plan for successions of a few varieties of flowers soon.  The photo above is of calendula seeds, which don’t make for the best cut flowers but do have amazing seeds that look like they washed up on a beach to me.  I’d love to hear you favorite cut flower suggestions!

transplanter

We transplanted strawberries for the inaugural use of our new water wheel transplanter.  If you remember, we bought the transplanter late last year just after the new tractor arrived and we hadn’t had a chance to use it yet.  It worked like a dream and we now have over 1000 strawberry plants growing happily in very straight rows and with very even spacing.  Plus our backs were especially thankful.

For those interested, here’s a bit about how the transplanter works.  It’s pulled by the tractor down the beds.  As it moves along the bed, a wheel with triangular punches turns and makes holes at even intervals.  A tank on top of the transplanter holds water, and sometimes fertilizer, that flows into the wheel and thus into the holes the wheel makes.  The person riding on the back of the transplanter plants starts directly into the watery holes by hand. It’s a simple design that also allows for variability and customization along the way.

This week’s rain came just in time for us to focus on the CSA harvest, but soon the sun will return and we’ll be back in the field.  Spring is officially here and it’s time to get farming!

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Squash and Root Vegetable Slaw

  • 1 1/2 cups each shredded raw kabocha or butternut squash, rutabaga, and sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded raw celery root
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 peeled, quartered, cored apples cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup 1″ pieces chives
  • 3/4 cup Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Combine 1 1/2 cups each shredded raw kabocha or butternut squash, rutabaga, and sweet potato in a large resealable plastic bag. Place 1 1/2 cups shredded raw celery root in a large bowl of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to prevent browning; cover. Chill shredded vegetables overnight. Drain celery root. Transfer shredded vegetables to a large bowl. Add 2 peeled, quartered, cored apples cut into matchstick-size pieces (we love crisp, balanced Fuji). Add 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and 1/2 cup 1″ pieces chives. Add 3/4 cup Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette; toss to coat. Add more vinaigrette, if desired. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Kay Chun, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/squash-and-root-vegetable-slaw-51124270

.

Orange and Radish Salad

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange-flavor water*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 2 large radishes, preferably with leaves, reserving small leaves for garnish,
  • *available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets.

In a small bowl stir together lemon juice, orange-flower water, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt until sugar is dissolved.

With a serrated knife cut away orange peels and pith, discarding them, and cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange orange slices on a platter and pour lemon juice mixture over them. Let orange slices macerate 30 minutes.

Trim radishes and halve lengthwise. Cut radishes into thin half circles and scatter over orange slices. Garnish salad with radish leaves.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/orange-and-radish-salad-12479

.

Spiced Squash Pancakes

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 small jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash, patted dry
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots, jalapenos, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in cumin and coriander and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly, 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in squash, eggs, and flour. Wipe out skillet, then lightly coat skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium. In batches, add batter in 1/4 cupfuls to skillet and cook until pancakes are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer pancakes to oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter.

From marthastewart.com via Everyday Food, http://www.marthastewart.com/873338/spiced-squash-pancakes#Spaghetti%20Squash%20Recipes|/275670/spaghetti-squash-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide|873338

.

.

winter csa share – week 2

winter csa week 2

Welcome to the 2nd week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Mizuna & Arugula Mix
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good roasted and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.
  • Bok Choy
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Brussels Sprouts – a purple stalk and a green stalk
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Carnival Winter Squash
  • Dried Apples – I’m thinking these Dried-Apple Stack Cakes are in our future.

seeds

We’re nearing the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the official start of winter.  This is always a reflective time of the year for us.  Perhaps it’s due to the natural change in seasons and the transition into a new year.  Or perhaps we just have more time to spend contemplating things near the woodstove.

Thinking about the past growing season and making plans for the one to come, we’re especially thankful this year.  We feel so very lucky to be doing this work.  The support of CSA members is especially heartening as we continue to grow into our roles here on the farm and figure out just what we’re doing here.

Taking a walk through the farm this morning, I was struck by just how much life is out there.  So many vegetables hanging on through the cold and wet.  Evidence of rodents in the field edges.  A burst of pheasants from the Brussels sprout beds.  And seeds!  Many plants are past their prime eating, but some have gone to seed and are waiting for warmer weather to grow again.  So much life out there, so much hope.

the viewIt’s hard to take a walk through the farm without thinking of the work to be done.  We’ve been working at a slower pace the past couple of weeks, but there are many projects yet to be accomplished before the routine of the next season begins.  Jeff has been busy with tractor and implement maintenance, and it continues.  I’ve been getting in computer time with website updates and year-end accounting tasks.  In the coming weeks we’ll be keeping busy with fence building, t-post removal, and crop planning.  A good mix of physical and mental labor.

We hope winter is treating you well and that you’re able to spend some time reflecting on things in a cozy spot too.

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Jerusalem Artichoke and Arugula Salad with Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, trimmed, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 5-ounce bag arugula
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

Whisk orange juice, vinegar, and mustard in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Combine Jerusalem artichokes, arugula, and Parmesan in large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Divide among 6 plates and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Jerusalem-Artichoke-and-Arugula-Salad-with-Parmesan-230920

.

Carrots and Brussels Sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot (from 1 medium)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Cook shallot in 2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add carrots, Brussels sprouts, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add water and cover skillet, then cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar, remaining tablespoon butter, and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Ian Knauer, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Carrots-and-Brussels-Sprouts-241514

.

Pumpkin Agnolotti

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • 18 round or square wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • Pumpkin seeds, toasted and shelled

Mash pumpkin purée, Parmesan, sugar, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange wonton wrappers on a work surface. Brush edges with lightly beaten egg. Place 1 teaspoon filling on bottom half; fold top half over, gently pressing edges to seal. Boil ravioli in salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes.

Melt butter with crème fraîche in a sauté pan. Add ravioli and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with grated Parmesan and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Clayton Chapman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Agnolotti-368279

.

.

csa share – week 18

csa share week 18

Welcome to the 18th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix
  • Chesnok Red Garlic – a variety from the country of Georgia, great for cooking and baking
  • Bell Peppers
  • Colorful Carrots
  • Basil
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi
  • Collards
  • Mixed Tomatoes
  • Melons

glass gem corn

We’ve been celebrating the Autumnal Equinox this weekend with an appreciation of the bounty of the season.  We’re saying goodbye to an amazing summer and hello to all the goodness that fall has in store including long sleeves, hearty food, warm beverages, rain showers, and shorter days.  Of course we’re suckers for all the trappings of the season.  There’s something about leaves turning color and falling and the appearance of pumpkins and decorative gourds that simply makes me happy.

Hopefully you’re planning to join us on Saturday, October 18th for this season’s final CSA member gathering and celebration of the autumn.  We’ll have a potluck,  apple cidering, and our small pumpkin patch will be available for hunting up any pumpkins you can find.  We’ll send out reminders closer to the date.

work in FD

We’ve been soaking up the sun this week before it disappears behind rainclouds for good.  The extended heat wave has us looking forward to a little relief with the return of the rain, but it also finds us working to bring in storage crops while they’re still dry.  The summer green beans are finishing drying down in the propagation greenhouse for winter dry beans for instance.

Our focus has otherwise been on the continued weeding of everything and the sowing of cover crops.  The sunny September has meant lots of weed growth, but this week I finished weeding the last round of carrots, whoa!  Jeff has been focused on irrigating and working ground for seeding the rye grain and crimson clover that will fill most of the uncropped fields over the winter.  The cover crop will help keep our soil from eroding and leaching during the wet winter months.  Seeing cover crop seeds sprouting in previously barren ground is always a heartening sight.  A little like tucking in the field for the season.

seed garlic

Although the season is certainly shifting we’ve still got quite a bit of work to be done in the fields.  Before long we’ll be planting our seed garlic and overwintering onions and wrapping up the final planting for the season.  The harvesting of potatoes and winter squash needs to be finished.  Clearing out t-posts from trellising and finishing up sowing that cover crop seed.  And of course there are still weeds to kill.

That garlic up above is from the storage at Adaptive Seeds.  We’re bringing in some fresh garlic seed and new-to-us varieties this year and were excited to talk garlic with those good folks over the weekend.  If you’re serious about garlic and are thinking of getting some in the ground in your garden, they’ve got some beautiful seed stock for you to buy.

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Winter Salad with Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

Dressing:

  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup avocado oil or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • Fine sea salt

Salad:

  • 8 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce (about 8 large leaves)
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled jicama
  • 2 small carrots, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, sliced
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 cup 1/2-inch cubes peeled kohlrabi or peeled broccoli stems
  • 3/4 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 3/4 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Dressing:
Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Salad:
Toss lettuce and next 8 ingredients in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among plates; sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Salad-with-Lemon-Yogurt-Dressing-363722

.

Ratatouille on the Run

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant (unpeeled), diced
  • 2 green bell peppers, diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces goat cheese or Muenster cheese or a mixture of the two, diced (optional)

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add eggplant, green bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, zucchini and basil. Sauté 5 minutes. Cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Uncover pot and simmer until juice thickens, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in vinegar; season to taste with salt and pepper.(Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread ratatouille in 9-inch-diameter pie dish. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Ratatouille-on-the-Run-517

.

Collard and Pecan Pesto

  • 1/2 small bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Cook 1/2 small bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed, in a medium pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain; squeeze dry with paper towels. Blend greens, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup toasted pecans, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoons honey, and 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes in a food processor until a coarse purée forms; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Collard-and-Pecan-Pesto-51193030

.

.