March 15th, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Lettuce, Carrots, Grapefruit, Asparagus, Oranges, Cilantro, And Collard
Bread this week: Walnut OR Puligese your choice of one
~Mother’s Day Hats & High Tea~
Saturday May 7th 2-5PM
If you are interested in joining us please email Claire for ticket availability as they are limited. See the website for more information on the event.
~April Plant Sale~
Order by April 8th, for April 26th delivery
We are once again offering plant starts for you home gardening needs. If you would like starts delivered to your drop site, please fill out the plant form and send to Claire. Some plants are limited, and it will be a first come first serve, so make sure to get your orders in.
Late Lane Oranges ~ 5# for $9.00 or 10# for $18.00
Please place your order by 5pm Friday evening so we can have your order ready for Tuesday March 22nd
This week on the farm
Let’s talk about water. Because we have always recognized that Good Humus Farm is a lot like those little magic gardens that could be ordered from the back of kid’s magazines. From nothing, through the magic of adding a little water, a fantastic multi-colored garden would grow. Just like Good Humus…all we do is add water and the most wonderful things happen. Let’s talk about water because this week water and its future on our farm is what are happening on the Farm.
Let’s talk about water because that is what most farmers are talking about this week. All over the world, in the boardrooms of investment corporations and their farm management subsidiaries, the talk is about getting enough water for the California investments. The farm families that have farmed in California for 1,2,3,4,or 5 generations, whether they raise walnuts, almond, grapes, tomatoes, alfalfa, mixed vegetables or chickens, pigs and cattle, whether they have access to surface water or groundwater, whether they farm 10,100,1000, or 10,000 acres are talking in family, friend, and business meetings about water for the summer. Being one of them for my entire working career, I understand the optimism, the can-do spirit, the dogged refusal to let go what has gotten us through whatever disasters we had to go through to get here, and the hope, perhaps even belief that this drought is yet another test of our perseverance. We are not alone. In the halls of research, in the legislative chambers, around the dinner tables at homes, we are all hoping to see the end of this hard time. We are hoping to return to a time when, by tightening the belt a little, by finding a new technological miracle, by passing a few laws, the crisis passes. But this week on the Farm, this feels different.
So often here on the farm, reality is what we make of it, ruled by our perceptions. We admit to having only in the last eight years come to realize that our groundwater, the renewable source of water at Good Humus, is at risk. For years, we felt that our levels of use were totally sustainable, and that our groundwater was safe from overuse by others because of our remote location. But the period between 2010 and 2020 changed our mind. In that decade, as our Hungry Hollow home and the rest of California slid into a decade long drought, the world wide agricultural investment community found and focused on the fine Mediterranean climate, the access to major shipping routes, the relatively cheap undeveloped hill and valley land, as a new investment opportunity. Fueled by the opening of emerging international markets and a favorable world financial climate in agricultural products such as almonds, wine, olives and pistachios, the agricultural development of the Hungry Hollow to Colusa borderlands approached a feeding frenzy. All that were needed were money and water. Wells down to over 1000 ft, double the previous deepest wells, were drilled as large parcels near us changed hands, often two or three times before first harvest, as each successive owner found adequate return on sale. At more or less the same time, the State of California, through the example of the extraction to the point of disappearance of the groundwater of the Western and Central San Joaquin Valley, decided it must move to regulate and limit groundwater extraction.
I attended the meetings in 2015 for agricultural producers with a minimum of interest, as the State rolled out the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). At these meetings, they talked about the scientific confirmation of climate change, the chance of impending drought in California, the delegation to local county jurisdiction of preparing plans by 2022, the future enforcement of those plans, and the achievement of a sustainable groundwater extraction system in California by 2042.
The next few years, as Good Humus hired a friend to monitor the increasing depth to water in our well, as we observed the increased development and groundwater extraction in our home region in the midst of what has become a serious drought, as several neighbors had to drill new wells for drinking and household water, our entire family became concerned that Good Humus might not have a future for our children’s children. Annie and Alison led the drive within our family to become involved in the process, in the hopes that there could be a future in the balancing of the enforcement unknowns of governmental regulation and the appetite of the agricultural investment community to cancel the most egregious acts of each, to provide a future for the families, old and new, residing and/or farming in Hungry Hollow.
Now, to bring this up to date, to This Week on the Farm. Yolo County, being an important source of agricultural products, has formed the Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency, and right on time, they have produced the study required by the State law. Hungry Hollow, because of the groundwater depletion in our area, has been designated as “an area of special interest” under the law, kind of a canary in the mine area. Our family is present on the group of agricultural interests of all kinds that is tasked with planning the water future for Hungry Hollow. To give you an idea of our place in the group, Annie asked herself the other day why we are the only small farmers in the group. Then she answered her own question; “Well, we are the only small farmers in the area.” But, as Alison said, “We cannot sit by without doing everything we can to preserve the future of our farm.” I agree. While one small farm may be unimportant in many ways, what each small farm represents is an essential component of a viable future for California. Hope you have a great week ~ Jeff
CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
2 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
1 lb asparagus, chopped
3 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/3 cup heavy cream
Fresh parsley, chopped
Creme fraiche, sour cream or Greek yogurt
In a large pot, melt butter over med-high heat. Sauté onions, garlic, lemon zest, salt & pepper and asparagus for 5-7 minutes until tender. Add in potatoes and chicken broth, then bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook and prepare any toppings of choice such as bacon. Remove lid, then stir in parmesan cheese and heavy cream. Blend with an immersion blender or wait until soup has cooled slightly and blend in a blender. Serve with toppings of choice and enjoy!
Spiced Carrot, Orange and Cilantro Soup
8 cups peeled and chopped carrots this can be done in a food processor to speed things up
2 onions roughly chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
4 small or 3 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
6 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons oil
3 plus 1 tablespoons of butter
2 liters vegetable stock
one small bunch of cilantro chopped
1/3 cup orange juice
Heat oil and 3 tablespoons of butter in a very large saucepan. Add onions and fry over a low heat for a few minutes. Add celery and potatoes and fry for a few more. Add carrots, cover pan and sweat over a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add stock and simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through. Remove from heat and blend soup in a food processor or with a hand held immersion blender. Fry spices in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of butter until fragrant, around 1 minute. Add toasted spices, cilantro and orange juice to the soup. Season to taste.
Grilled Romaine Salad with Caramelized Shallot Vinaigrette
½ lb raw sliced bacon
4 oz halved pecans
4 shallots, thinly sliced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
½ cup neutral-flavored oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 lb romaine hearts, roots trimmed + discarded
2 oz arugula
4 oz blue cheese, crumbled
Lay the bacon evenly in a 12” skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until rendered and crisp, about 30 minutes total, flipping halfway through. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and let cool. Raise the heat to medium and add the pecans. Toast until golden brown and fragrant, stirring often so they don’t burn. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pecans to another plate lined with paper towels. Immediately sprinkle with a good pinch of salt. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the skillet, along with the shallots. Sauté the shallots for about 6 minutes until caramelized, stirring often. Stir in the red wine vinegar, mustard, and honey. Bring to a simmer and cook for a minute or so. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously to emulsify. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat the grill over high heat. Coat the romaine lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place the romaine onto the grill and cook for just a minute, or until slightly charred and wilted (the leaves should still hold a crunch). Toss the arugula with ½ of the vinaigrette. Arrange it onto a large platter. Add the grilled romaine over top. Crumble the bacon and sprinkle it onto the salad, along with the pecans and blue cheese. Spoon more of the vinaigrette over top.
Spiced Collard Greens with Bacon and Eggs
2 thick slices bacon
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 pound collard greens, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon za'atar, divided
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
Cook the bacon in a large high-sided skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove the bacon with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the bacon fat in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic, half the scallions, and the cinnamon, turmeric, chili flakes, and cumin. Cook for just a minute until the garlic is softened, taking care not to let it brown, which will turn it bitter. Add the collard greens to the pan and toss to coat. Increase the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes until the collards are tender, stirring frequently to make sure the greens are cooking evenly. They'll wilt, but will retain their structure in the pot. When the collards are tender, add the remaining scallions and half the za'atar, and cook for another minute to combine the flavors. Pile the greens in a bowl and sprinkle with the remaining za'atar and fresh parsley. Crumble the reserved bacon over the greens, and top with the cooked eggs. Finish with a sprinkle of salt, a grind of pepper.