Winter CSA Share #2

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

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

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

Notes about this week’s pick-up:

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

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

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

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

Snow day!

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Celery Root and Carrot Soup

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

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

Serve soup topped with celery leaves and apple.

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

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

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

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

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

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

Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Scallions

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

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

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

Chicory, Bacon, and Poached Egg Salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winter CSA Share – #10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tomato planting!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

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

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

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

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

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

Pickled Radishes

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

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

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

Cauliflower and Broccoli Flan with Spinach Bechamel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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