April 23, 2019

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Oranges, Carrots, Oranges, Onions, Dandelion, Fennel and Asparagus

What’s in your FLOWER BOUQUET: Rosemary, Flax, Dianthus, Lilac, Stock, Calendulas, Snapdragons, Anemones, and Ranunculus

 

 

Up and Coming Events 

HATS AND HIGH TEA

Saturday May 11

We have 6 tickets left e-mail us at humus@cal.net

 

CAPAY VALLEY GAREN TOUR

May 12, from 10-5pm

www.thecapayvalleygardentour.com

 

 

This Week on The Farm

Better late than never. That piece of wisdom must have originated from a farming community celebrating the return of spring and its north winds, long sunlight hours and climbing temperatures.  The spring that couldn’t make up its mind has finally had its hand forced and we are finally able to get onto the ground without sinking up to our axles.  This kind of spring creates the sleepless nights and long hours that farmers are famous for as we all rush to recover the 3 weeks to a month of normal planting season. But out here on the farm there is also the incredible reward of stunning plant growth and flower displays that are encouraged by the plentiful rains and completely watered soil profiles.  So I can report to you that once the distractions of work have been set aside, every morning, every evening and every day is another Easter Sunday; a time made for stopping our constant forward motion and sitting with all our senses alive to the display of color and smell and motion and texture and raw exuberance that magically appears all around us.  

Still, Easter Sunday provided something special in awakening us to what life on the farm can bring. As the extended family walked our blooming, growing, slightly wild and chaotic garden looking for brightly colored eggs and then sat down to two long trestle tables in the shade of the oaks near the house, this grandfather was able to sit in a timeless but ever-changing scene.  For the first time, our parents were not visible, Annie’s mom May having gone on in January.  There were nine of us that were mostly Grandfathers and Grandmothers.  Among us sat 15 of our sons and daughters and their friends.  And then, miraculously, three of our grandchildren have taken their places at the table.  May they someday have the chance to sit at their table on a beautiful spring Sunday and have the same gifts showered on them.

Monday came, as it always does, and we resume the task of helping to bring food to our community and of caretaking the place where that can occur.  It is going to be a tough couple of months coming up.  The spring hiatus has come to roost as we have missed the planting that we generally rely on to fill April and May boxes and stores until the coming of mulberries and apricots in late May and June.  So our purpose now is to empty the greenhouse of its tomato, pepper, eggplant and basil plants; the cooler of its potatoes; the ground of its weeds; the seed bags of their treasure; our minds of worry. It is a great reward for this Grandfather’s years of endeavor to come to this place in the spring with a sense of familiarity in having watched it unfold in all its magnificent variations so many times before.  And I am grateful for the health to participate in all this sound and fury yet another time. As Annie and I sat at that table on Sunday afternoon and I looked at the lively, conversing, laughing people gathered around all the plenty, I felt again the beauty that was on display for the asking.  And I realized, as I do in writing these words today, that a farm needs people, the land needs people, and people need the land.  The laughter and enlivening of each is enhanced by the participation of the other, and the value of that cannot be calculated. Jeff

 

Jeff and I both wrote for the newsletter this morning, maybe it is over 40 years living together or experiencing the farm this timeof year for over 40 years, but here are two versions of spring that compliment each other.

Spring Breakis a misnomer! It is more like spring rush, or spring run, jump and mad dash. We had our plant sale which was the sweetest family gathering with kids running around playing, lots of pizza making and plants gathered for this year’s gardens. Our first farm to school visit with the César Chavez 2ndgraders-the first of the season is always a bit crazy to pull together. Dentist appointments, Zach’s 35thbirthday, and then an Easter celebration in the garden with 27 family and friends. Our granddaughter’s first Easter basket hunt and our grandson (age 3+) Nolan’s first conscience understand of what Easter brings. (Somehow the Easter Bunny left him a toy garbage truck that was better than a basket of candy!) In between Jeff is mowing winter weeds, disking, repairing disks, repairing tractor tongues, vans needing smogging and more disking getting everything ready for planting. With the help of  Francisco’s he and I are weeded the house garden and started getting the watering system back up and running from the earwig and insects who find warm winter lodging in my spitter heads hide until spring. But with all the work from the crew and us doing the spring hustle and with the plants doing the routine annual transformation spring has not only broken, but exploded! Iris are blooming, the one wisteria that is 40 feet long was covered with blooms and bees, the white orange blossoms are opening and wafting sweet fragrance for the entire farm to smell, and peonies planted last year are surprising us with a first bloom and then there is the lilacs-they are phenomenal this year-we took 40 bunches to market on Saturday!!!. The spring flowers are slow to get going, but you will notice that in this week’s bouquet the snapdragons are starting, as are the calendulas, dianthus and stock. When it came to Sunday the last day of “Spring Break” I was conked out on the couch, body had just tossed the towel in and would not move. But it is Monday and spring leaves no room for couch potatoes of the night before. So we are starting the days earlier-the crew is coming at 6:30 now as the days are getting hotter, and everything needs to be harvested earlier. With all of the ground preparation we are on the verge of planting potatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, tomatoes, peppers eggplant, sunflowers, and cosmos! 

Hats and High Teais around the corner and this year Amanda Hawkins who is our chef in the kitchen for the tea sweets and savories these past five years is unable to grace us with her kitchen talents. With much thought, Claire, Ali and I decided that we could make the savories ourselves with all of our farm products and have asked our neighbor at the Farmers Market who has a catering business to make the sweets for us. So last week we girls went to a cheese making class and learned how to make Chevre, Ricotta and Mozzarella cheese that we will use at the tea party. For Easter appetizers we did make some Chevre Cheese and added it to trials of some of the tea sandwiches and open faced taste treats we are going to serve, it is very scary to think we can take it on but also fun and but also very exciting. Have a great spring week~Annie

 

Asparagus, Mushroom, and Tomato Frittata 

Frittatasare a great meal-in-one-dish, and this one does not disappoint. Since it is loaded with mushrooms, potatoes, asparagus, and tomatoes, you get a full complement of vegetables. Eggs, bacon, and Parmesan cheese provide the protein. Turkey bacon is used to cut the calories down, but you may substitute traditional bacon or even vegetarian bacon, if you wish. It's great for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and fast to make.

6 eggs

6 egg whites

1 ounce Parmesancheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup sliced basilleaves

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided use

1 small onion, diced

6 slices (3 ounces) turkey bacon, diced

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 cup (4 ounces) cooked, sliced potato

1/2 pound asparagus, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces

1 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400 F. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, Parmesan cheese, pepper, and basil; reserve in refrigerator until ready to use. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly golden, 7 to 9 minutes. Add turkey bacon and cook, stirring, until crisped, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add potato, asparagus, and tomatoes; cook 2 more minutes until asparagus just begins to soften. Add remaining oil to skillet and stir to incorporate with bacon and vegetables. Add egg mixture and tilt pan to evenly distribute eggs. Cook until eggs just begin to set, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake until top is lightly browned and eggs are fully set, 11 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Cut into 6 equal-size wedges. (Note: Can be served warm or at room temperature.) Yield: 6 servings

 

Dandelion Greens Omelet

3 ½ ounces dandelion greens (three cups loosely packed) rinsed patted dry and trimmed

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons water

Sea salt and black pepper

4 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/8inch deiced pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic; peeled and finely chopped

Cut the dandelion leaves if they are very long, leave the base of each plant intact. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs the water just until blended. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside. Sauté the bacon in a large shallow skillet or omelet pan over medium heat until it is cooked and tender but not too crisp, 4-5 minutes. If the bacon is very fatty, drain off the fat, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the skillet. If it is not fatty enough, add the olive oil. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook stirring until it begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Then add the dandelion greens and cook until they are wilted, about 3 minutes. Pour the eggs over the dandelion greens and bacon, as the eggs cook; pull them away from the edge toward the center. Cover the omelet with a large lid and let the omelet cook until it is nearly solid on top, about 2 minutes. The top of the omelet should still be slightly runny.

 

Caramelized Pancetta and Fennel Salad

1 bulb fennel, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges 

5 slices pancetta 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

2 tablespoons brown sugar 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

5 ounces (about 6 to 7 cups) mixed salad greens 

Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, toss together fennel, pancetta, garlic, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the ingredients on the baking sheet in a single layer. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the fennel is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, place the salad greens, crumbled pancetta, and caramelized fennel. Toss the salad with the Red Wine Vinaigrette and serve immediately. By Giada De Laurentiis

 

Red Wine Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar 

1 tablespoon lemon juice 

1/2 teaspoon honey 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a blender. With the machine running gradually blend in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with more