December 20, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Mandarins, Napa Cabbage, Lettuce, Cauliflower, Carrots, Bay and Chili Bunch, trail mix (Almonds, Raisins, Dried fruit and walnuts)
Bread this week: Puligese OR Whole Wheat your choice of one
Holiday Special Order
If you have placed and order please look for a bag or box with your name on it this week at your drop site. There may be multiple boxes/bags if you placed a larger order, please make sure you grab all your items.
Good Humus will be closed from December 21st-January 7th.
No CSA delivery December 24th, 27th, 31st, January 3rd or 7th
Saturday December 24th boxes will be delivered today December 20th to your normal drop site
This week on the farm
We are going into this dark cold time of the year; tomorrow we are at the peak of equal day and night length with the winter solstice. The holiday cards are arriving, the small lights are twinkling in the neighborhoods and around our Christmas trees, most of the trees outside have lost all of the leaves… almost. I can just imagine that the trees are putting the landscape to sleep, tucking their leaves around all the plants around and under them, so they will stay warm toasty for the winter. I too crave to be tucked in to the quiet foggy, rainy weather so I can reflect, incubate my inner most thoughts, feelings, and my physical and spiritual workings and just hibernate. Loose the negative aspects of the year, plant the seed of positivity and hopefulness.
This is our last CSA delivery of the year, with one more day deliveries to the Coops and our local buyers and then we are officially finished work for 2022 We are all thinking about how we are going to spend our time off, how to find personal rest, nurturing and rejuvenation so we can start a new year. Maybe I say this every year, but this year sure seem like it was a dozy, zapping all of our juices dry.
Thinking back over this year it is always good to take a look at what happened; maybe get a glimpse at what was so overwhelming, and be reassured it was not just from my age of turning 70 years old.
A highlight of the year was Ali and Eric getting married in the spring. Not only did it create the excuse to do a major farm clean up, but it brought our community together to celebrate a union. The two of them are embarking on a life’s journey, for them possibly terrifying unknown yet quite exciting. Eric is an incredible guy, willing to do anything when he has time to be at the farm, and became the Good Humus Winemaker! We have a full barrel of red wine and it tastes good in its green stages!!! The two of them are in transition of bringing their lives together; dancing the dance of individual to a couple, fun to be able to watch them.
For me the drought and our water issues was forefront in my thoughts throughout the year. Will we have rain this fall and winter? How can we work with our surrounding community to understand the groundwater problems and find solutions in working together? Our farm stands out with all the greenery that surrounds our home and for the mature native species hedgerows that run through it. We are acutely aware that all this is only possible through the use of ancient water that lies in gravel beds 300 feet below us laid down millions of years ago. Without the use of that water, in natural circumstances, this might be a blue oak over story, perhaps a valley oak here and there, perhaps with chaparral and other brush fields, and open grasslands. So we have changed the natural landscape drastically and I am certain that it is pretty unsustainable without the addition of all that water. We are in the midst answering the question of groundwater sustainability, and starting to make decisions in changing our farming management practices to do our part to find the balance of water in and water out here at Good Humus. These are essential questions in this time when it has become evident that our species is responsible for changes in the forces of nature and that the world surrounding us has more need of protection from us than we have from it. With that in mind we have started to plant a forest at the Back Ten for a wind break, water retention and plant diversity for the native wildlife. We have worked with an incredible team, NRCS, RCD, SLEWS and CAFF to start this hedgerow forest. You will see a call for donations to the SLEWS project in your box. They provided all the labor to plant 1000s of native plants for our baby forest.
We have spent the last year working with Farm
Link an organization dedicated to helping farmers transition from one generation to the next. We all spent one day a month in a full daylong meeting in Rancho Cordova meeting lawyers, accountants, estate planners, and talking about the harder decisions of farm transitions. They helped us learn to communicate better with each other, and in the end Jeff and I for the first time have a Living Trust set of documents, what a relief! It took a lot of effort for all of us, family meetings talking about inheritance, health care directives…some pretty big topics that are easier to avoid. But we progressed leaps and bounds physically and emotionally, there is more work to be done, but we have Farm Link there to continue to guide us.
Then there is the harvest of 2022-the apricots harvest was the biggest ever, and what is so amazing is that our family sorted every last apricot. In years passed we have had Elvira, Cuca and Celia to help us sort, box and dry our fruit, but they have moved on, leaving us to take care of our harvest. It was a beautiful crop, apricots being our pride and joy. Every year (for the last few years) Claire has put our crops in order of how much income they brought in for the year, and the game lover that she is, we have to guess the order from 1 to 10 what was the most productive crop. This year she has already giving us the first two because they stand out so significantly: Apricots and flowers! Now we will have to see if she will give us any clues for the next 8???
One last exciting highlight is that Zach and Nicole, Nolan and Zoe moved into their new house at the Back Ten. They might still have boxes left to unpack, but they are getting settled in. Zach comes over for lunch when he is home working alone, it is such a different feeling having them so close. Our dogs seem to know they have moved in too, and when we are not home, they make a bee line for the Back Ten family!
The most positive outcome of this year for me was to see and be a part of our family, and farm crew learning to work together to becoming as a smooth as a greased wheal, learning how each responds to unknown crisis, verbalize our fears and the rest of us taking that information in working together to navigate these situations without judgments and become a fabulous team. And what kept me filled with joy, keep my feet moving, my heart filled to the brim and able to look forward to each week was to be able to see, play and be with our grandkids. Simple pleasures of seasonal tasks that they are happy to do with me. Here is to a quiet introspective peaceful, foggy, rainy New Year~Annie
Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
1 small head cauliflower, chopped (6 1/2 cups florets)
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, honey, or agave
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
½ tsp powdered ginger
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
1/4 cup water
sesame seeds and scallions, for garnish
Preheat your oven to 450 F. Grease a baking pan or line with parchment. Cut cauliflower into florets, then slice so one side of each floret is flat. Arrange in a single layer in the greased pan. Bake 10 minutes on the center rack. Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, sweetener, vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. While waiting, stir together the cornstarch and water until cornstarch dissolves fully, then slowly whisk this into the saucepan as soon as it boils. Turn heat to medium and cook 2 minutes, stirring more frequently once it returns to a boil. Cook until thick. You can also make the sauce ahead of time if desired, and it thickens more as it sits in the fridge. Flip cauliflower florets and bake 10 additional minutes. If desired, you can now move the pan to the top rack and broil 1-2 minutes. Pour sauce over florets. Sprinkle sesame seeds and optional scallions on top, and serve.
Chinese Restaurant Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage
1 tablespoon vegetable or salad oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 napa cabbage (~1 pound), sliced into bite size pieces
1 small carrot, sliced into strips
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon potato starch or cornstarch mixed with 6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and ground white pepper, to taste
Place a large pan over high heat and wait 1 minute. When the pan is hot, add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add cabbage and carrots and stir fry for 4 minutes Add oyster sauce, soy sauce and garlic – and cook for 1 minute. Next, add potato starch and water mixture and cook for one minute, stirring until the sauce thickens. Add sesame oil, stir well and turn the heat off. Season with salt and ground white pepper and serve.
Mandarin & bay leaf olive loaf
160 ml (5½ fl oz/⅔ cup) mild extra-virgin olive oil
4fresh bay leaves, crumpled/bruised, plus extra to decorate
5–6 mandarins (1 lb 5 oz),
1½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup apple purée
⅓ cup buttermilk
4 large apples (1 lb 12 oz)
For the apple purée, peel, core and roughly chop the apples. Put the apples and a splash of water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until tender. Stir and mash the apples, still over the heat, until broken down – they should be mushy and quite thick. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. It is fine to have a little bit of texture, but if you prefer a smooth sauce, whiz in a food processor or use a hand-held blender and purée until smooth. Olive Loaf Heat the olive oil and bay leaves in a small saucepan over low heat for about 10 minutes or until bubbles start to form around the leaves. Set aside to cool and infuse, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves, reserving the oil. Finely zest and juice 3 mandarins – you need 2 tsp of zest and 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) juice. Thinly slice the remaining whole unpeeled mandarins. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F (fan-forced). Grease a loaf (bar) tin (11.5 cm x 21.5 cm/4½ in x 8½ in; 1.25 litre/42 fl oz capacity) and line the base and two long sides with a piece of non-stick baking paper, extending the paper about 4 cm (1½ in) above the sides of the tin to assist with the removal of the cooked loaf. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the cooled olive oil, apple purée, mandarin zest and juice, buttermilk and eggs together in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour into the prepared tin and top with the mandarin slices, slightly overlapping them along the centre, as they will spread out as the cake rises. Bake for 45–50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely, mandarin-side up. This cake will keep for 2–3 days in an airtight container.