Summer CSA Share #9

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

  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower – We’re straddling the July and August cauliflower plantings. Though we’re happy to be getting something out of the dreaded July planting, we’re happy to be moving on to the next succession.
  • Cilantro
  • Thai Basil – Popular in SE Asian dishes, this basil has an anise-flavor kick. Click here for info on the differences between Thai basil and Italian basil.
  • French Breakfast Radishes – We don’t typically attempt radishes in July, but a month ago things we’re looking a little bleak so we sowed some in an empty high tunnel bed. They’re now ready to spice up your salads and vegetable sautes!
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onion
  • Green or Purple Pepper – These are both the immature versions of these pepper varieties. Treat them all like green peppers.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green & yellow zucchini and yellow summer squash.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and some lemon cukes.

We’ve got a mantra-like phrase that we say fairly often around here: It could be worse. This week’s heatwave has put us firmly in this mindset. The heat for yesterday’s harvest was pretty intense, but at least there was generally a breeze and it wasn’t the 116 degrees that we hit last year. It could have been worse. These scenarios generally devolve further, often ending in a reference to one of the many rough endings in the classic 1980s Oregon Trail computer game. It could be worse; your wagon axle could break, your oxen could die while fording the river, and you could have dysentery.

Needless to say it’s hot out there and there’s not a lot to be done about it but start early, work late, take breaks, and drink water. Lots of water. On the bright side we’ve got electricity to keep the well pumping!

Watering transplants (top left), shade cloth over the hardening off tables (top right), future head lettuce (bottom left), and winter salad chicories (bottom right).

We passed a milestone on the transplanting front this past week. The fifth and final succession of sweet corn went in the ground. We hope to be harvesting the first round in the next couple of weeks, as it was delayed due to the cold spring, (remember the cold spring?) and then we should be in the corn for the next few months.

It’s a turning point in the season when we start to wrap up the big plantings. In this case it means we’re running out of time to get a successful harvest from corn varieties that need 70-80 days to fully mature plus factoring in the loss of daylight hours over the next couple of months. That puts us squarely in October when we hope to be harvesting this final round before the first frosts. Getting this last round in gives us hope that before too long fall will be here once again.

Starting to look familiar? Transplanting again!

In the coming week we’ll be hiding from the heat some, but the work goes on. There’s weeding, and cultivating, and weed whacking, and trellising tomatoes, and mowing, and all the irrigation to be done. We’ll also be transplanting lettuce, chicories, fall/winter cabbage, winter kohlrabi, cilantro, and dill later this weekend on the backside of the heatwave. Luckily we’ll be eating well thanks to this week’s tasty harvest in between sessions of battling the heat. It could be worse.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Summer Thai Inspired Salad

Marinated Vegetables and Dressing

  • 1 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Thai chiles/1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 2 zucchini, julienned
  • 2 red/orange/yellow peppers, julienned
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 peaches or 1 mango, pitted (I peeled the mango but not the peaches)
  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro

Salad

  • 1 head romaine, cut into ribbons
  • 3-4 handfuls arugula/spinach/lettuce of your choice
  • 1 handful fresh basil, roll into cigar shape and cut thin ribbons
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 pound grilled shrimp or lump crabmeat
  • 1 peach or mango (chop the peach and julienne the mango)

VEGETABLE MARINADE: Combine the brown rice vinegar through to peppers (first 8 ingredients) in a bowl and let sit for an hour. When ready to assemble the salad, you will be removing the vegetables from the marinade. I usually reserve the marinade, puree it, and use it in dressings over the week.

DRESSING: Combine in a blender until smooth.

WHOLE SALAD ASSEMBLY: In a large wide bowl, combine the romaine, lettuce of your choice, basil, and mint. Lightly toss the marinated vegetables with the salad ingredients.

Put the grilled shrimp or crabmeat on top and dress the whole salad with the dressing. Lightly toss and serve.

From Food52.com by testkitchenette, https://food52.com/recipes/10749-summer-thai-inspired-salad

Cauliflower “Couscous” with Mint & Radish

  • 3 cups white or yellow cauliflower, stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or try cilantro)
  • 8 ounces radishes
  • 8 ounces cucumber
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • black pepper or red chili flakes
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Quarter and thinly slice cucumber and radishes. (peel cucumber first if skin is tough). Then finely chop parsley and mint. juice and zest lemon. toss all together in a large salad bowl.

In a food processor, pulse-chow the cauliflower florets until it resembles small-grain couscous. If you have a small food processor, do this in batches so that your processor is never more than half full. Do not over-process into a puree.

If you don’t own a food processor, simply use a large cutting board and finely chop small batches of cauliflower into the desired texture.

Add cauliflower “couscous” to salad bowl and toss gently with remaining ingredients. salt and pepper to taste.

From Food52.com by Aubrey | Drum Beets, https://food52.com/recipes/26581-cauliflower-couscous-with-mint-radish

Banh Mi Soft Tacos

  • 1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks (or try this week’s radishes)
  • 3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons Maggi seasoning
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 cup Thai barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • 1 package taco-size soft corn tortillas
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 queso fresco cheese round, broken into small pieces (optional)

Make the pickled vegetables: Put the white vinegar, rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a canning jar or container with a lid and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the daikon and carrot matchsticks. Make sure all the vegetables are covered. Refrigerate up to a month.

Make the “sauce”: Mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, and Maggi seasoning together until combined. Refrigerate.

Marinate the chicken in the Thai or teriyaki sauce for at least an hour or overnight. Barbecue, broil, or bake the chicken until brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cool and shred the chicken into small pieces.

To assemble tacos: Warm corn tortillas directly over a gas burner, under the broiler, or on the grill. (You can also wrap them them in a wet paper towel two or three at a time and microwave for 30 seconds.)

Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the sriracha sauce on each warm tortilla, then put shredded chicken on top. Add the pickled vegetables and chopped cucumbers and jalapeños. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Add more sriracha sauce on top.

If desired, sprinkle tacos with the soft queso fresco cheese.

This recipe is great with marinated beef or pork strips, too!

From Food52.com by Leith Devine, https://food52.com/recipes/36376-banh-mi-soft-tacos

Summer CSA Share #8

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

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

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

Transplanting, what’s new?

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Jane Grigson’s Celery Soup

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

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

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

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

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

Marinated Zucchini, Kalamata Olive, and Mozzarella Salad

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

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

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

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

Potato-Kale Hash with Chickpeas

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

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

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

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

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

Summer CSA Share #7

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

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

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

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

Garlic harvest 2022!

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

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

Another week of transplanting complete!

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Minestrone with Basil

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

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

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

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

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

Classic Wedge Salad

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

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

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

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

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

Classic Tzatziki Sauce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer CSA Share #6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pickled Beet and Cucumber Salads

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fava Bean Dip aka Fake Guacamole

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

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

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

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

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

Beet & Fennel Galette with Walnuts

Make the dough:

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

Make the filling:

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

Make the dough:

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

Make the filling:

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

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

Summer CSA Share #5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cauliflower Couscous

For the lemon sauce

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

For the cauliflower couscous

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

Make the lemon sauce

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

Make the cauliflower couscous

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

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

Garlic Scape Pesto

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

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

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

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

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

Kohlrabi Salad

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

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

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

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

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

Summer CSA Share #4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sautéed Kale with Kohlrabi

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

Very thinly slice kohlrabi with slicer.

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

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

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

Shredded Kohlrabi Quick Pickle

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

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

Sliced Baguette with Radishes and Anchovy Butter

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

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

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

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Summer CSA Share – #3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sea of winter squash, and weeds!

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

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

Kale Waldorf Salad

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

Place kale in a large bowl.

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

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

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

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

Asian Vegetable Rolls

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farfalle with Green Garlic, Peas, and Herbed Ricotta

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

Steps

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

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

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

Summer CSA Share – #5

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

  • Green Cabbage – Our favorite early green cabbage, an heirloomy pointy headed variety called Early Jersey Wakefield.
  • New Potatoes – These are German Butterballs put in the ground early in a greenhouse. They’re freshly dug and and the skins haven’t toughened so they’re a bit more delicate. You’ll want to use them up sooner than later as they won’t want to store long.
  • Shallots and Yellow Onions – The very last of last season’s alliums this week. Shallots are drier than most onions but can be readily substituted in recipes. Given that these have been in storage since last fall, you may see some green growth in the centers, which is edible as well. Again, use them up sooner than later.
  • Green & Red One-Cut Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Shelling Peas – One last taste of this season’s peas! Though they are the same sugar snap varieties in past shares, you’ll likely enjoy them most by popping the pods open and eating the peas inside rather than the whole husk.
  • Celery – We usually like to give the celery a good long season to soak up a lot of water and nutrients and size up for big long tasty stalks. Unfortunately a pesky gopher has another idea and has been taking these heads out one by one. We decided it would be better to share some smaller celery than no celery. Hopefully more to come in the future if we can manage to keep it from the gopher.
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck and zucchini.
  • Cucumbers
  • Leek Flowers – Last season’s leeks have bolted and formed these beautiful flower heads. Both a fun novelty and a tasty and unique garnish for salads, or anything really. Just tear of the flowers and sprinkle away.
  • Cherry Tomatoes! Is this the first year we’ve shared tomatoes by the 4ith of July? Maybe so! Enjoy!
Freshly weeded leeks (left) and some happy zinnias for the bees, inter-planted between the celeriac and cucumbers (right).

Hello July! Summer is in full swing now that we’ve hit July, right? Well, the farm feels like it’s on the cusp of summer greatness anyhow. The melons and winter squash are vining and spreading further each day. The first round of corn is beginning to tassel. It’s already time to mow the first round of crops to make space for the next successions.

As we slide into the dog days ahead, and vacations get planned, and schedules get filled, it may be a good time to review the CSA member resources page.

  • Check out the Member Handbook for options for what to do when you need to miss a share (hint: send a friend to pick-up or arrange ahead of time to pick-up at the farm later).
  • Re-visit the Vegetable Exit Strategies on the P&C CSA Member app site for suggestions on how to use up extra vegetables before the next share arrives.
  • Take note of the important dates including the upcoming CSA farm day on July 20th and the second payment due date on July 31st for those who chose the two payment option.

Just like the farm, the CSA is also on the cusp of summer greatness! The summer squash and cucumbers are coming in strong and the tomatoes are just beginning to turn red (or yellow or orange…). Many other summery crops are right around the corner including peppers, eggplant, green beans, tomatillos! Hopefully you’re enjoying the vegetables and are looking forward to a lot more!

Thanks to a friend having a birthday last week, we were convinced to take a day trip off the farm and over to the coast for a hike and a little beach time. The weather was fantastic, the company was unbeatable, and it was fun to visit an area north of our usual coastal haunts. The only downside was the lack of wind for kite flying. I guess we’ll have to go back and try again soon.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Creamy Coleslaw with Chives and Shallots

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 2-pound head green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 14 cups)

Blend first 9 ingredients in blender. Place cabbage in large bowl. Pour dressing over cabbage and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours, tossing occasionally.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-coleslaw-with-chives-and-shallots-15569

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Roseanne Cash’s Potato Salad

  • 3 pounds medium red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed
  • 8 dill pickle spears, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup) (or try shallots)
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain; cool. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces and transfer to large bowl. Stir in pickles, celery, onion, eggs, mayonnaise, and mustard. Season potato salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rosanne-cashs-potato-salad-109605

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Indian Potatoes, Peas, and Cauliflower

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed (or fresh peas!)

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and ginger; sauté until potatoes are lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Mix in cauliflower, then salt, turmeric, chili powder and paprika; sauté 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Prem K. Singh, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/indian-potatoes-peas-and-cauliflower-102405

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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

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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

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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

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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

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