March 14, 2023
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Beets, Oranges, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Kale, Bok Choy, & Parsley
Bread this week: Puligese OR Whole Wheat your choice of one
~Good Humus Plant Sale~
Saturday April 15th time TBD
~Mother’s Day Hats & High Tea~
Saturday May 13th 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.
This week on the farm
The rain, oh how wonderful the rain is continuing to water the hills above the farm, deep deep deep it goes into the ground for this year and possibly the next, for the roots of those so thirsty oaks up there, standing tall for so many years. Such a story they could tell us if we could understand their language. I will not complain of the rain, and the consequences it may have on what is not in our veggie box this year. Having this rain for the longevity of this farm, this community of farmers is more important now than a loss of an apricots harvest.
This following story is from our neighbor Jim Durst who owns with his wife Durst Organic Growers and who you see many veggie items in your box from their farm. His great grandfather came from Switzerland via Wisconsin in 1870s and his family has been farming this area, including the land where our farm sits. His father and neighbor farmed 900 acres of dry farmed wheat by the three F’s principals: Farm a year, Feed the land for a year and Fallow the land another, then repeat. I hope you enjoy Jim’s reflections, it sure touched me as I read them, hitting on some of my own memories walking and discovering these beautiful hills that frame our farm.
Many months have come and gone
Since I wandered from my home
In those Oklahoma Hills where I was born
Many a page of life has turned
Many a lesson I have learned
Yet I feel like in those hills, I still belong…
I have always found it comforting to live next to the hills surrounding our farm and home in western Yolo County. As children, these hills were like an extension of our family, always watching over us, providing space to explore (day care), providing trees for shade on a warm day, snacks if you knew where to look, and wildflowers and beauty in abundance during wet spring months.
Lying on our back lawn on a warm summer evening with my head propped up on a pillow, I imagined the oak trees lining the upper hilltops would take on the shape of dinosaurs, trucks, wagon trains, and many more images that crept into my young mind. And as the sun gradually set, the colors and shadows would subtlety change from green to gray to brown to black. The gold color of the dry grass would outline the trees with vivid texture and accentuate the shapes.
As I grew older, these same hills became our play ground for hiking and exploring, ignoring fences, gates, and private property signs. Not because we had malicious intent but because our curiosity drove us to explore what was just over the next rise in the road. And in our exploration we would come upon ponds in the spring teeming with insect life, surrounded by wildflowers. Footprints around the edges told of visitors who came here for refreshment. Or live springs gurgling forth from a seep in the side of a small draw, joining with others to become a small stream.
And in the summers we would find reservoirs still holding water in August, a watering hole for livestock and wildness alike.
Each slough would contain its own geology lesson, with its history laid bare when a slide revealed the open wound of soils and rocks that existed before time as we know it. Many of these hills were grazed with cattle and sheep, and farmed with grain. And as harvest crews rode their pull harvesters around and around during grain harvest, the kids explored the terrain. We hiked up canyons, and slid down the hillsides on cardboard like a toboggan on a track of slippery wild oats or barley straw. We followed deer and livestock trails across steep hillsides, and crept through thickets of Manzanita and coyote bush. We followed arroyos for what seemed like miles winding like a snakes through gullies so deep we couldn’t climb out.
We had our senses awakened to the smell of sages, dry grass, tar weed, and livestock dung.
Morning smells were different than evening smells. Morning colors were different from evening colors. The pallet was never boring. You don’t realize that these sensations are filed away in your mind until a certain trigger occurs that allows them to emerge and transport you back to that particular time and place in life.
And then there is the reward of sitting underneath a digger pine tree eating lunch, with the gentle sound of the breeze blowing through the needles. And soon the breeze becomes a lullaby. I feel my body relax and I drift off into a nap, like a hobbit in the shire. Exquisite.
I remember sometimes in the evening, as the first stars would begin to flicker in the sky, my dad would put the pickup in neutral at the top of the hill, turn off the ignition, and see how far we could coast without having to start the motor again; drifting along on the dusty roads in the evening silence, like the hawk moving silently in its search, taking notice as the deer come out of hiding to feed on the dry grasses. I knew we were being moved by gravity, but it almost felt like weightlessness.
Over the last few weeks, we have seen these same hills come alive with greenness as the last vestiges of a two-year drought are erased by rain and even snow, the source of all aliveness. The songbirds are busy with nesting and gathering. The cycle of life has begun again. And my understanding of this cycle, my participation in it, is what keeps all things new, never boring. The natural world is ever revealing itself to us, even in the memories we keep filed away. ~Jim Durst of Durst Organic Growers
“All that we behold is full of blessings”
Spicy Kale, Red Grapefruit and Crispy Rice Salad
Source: Food Matters
4 cups cold cooked brown rice
Olive oil or coconut oil for frying
1 bunch of kale stems removed and leaves torn
2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ruby red grapefruit
A handful of basil leaves, torn
3⁄4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1⁄2 cup peanuts, toasted and finely chopped
1⁄3 cup crispy fried shallots
Sea salt and black
Lime wedges, to serve
SPICY LIME DRESSING
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
Juice of 1⁄2 lime, plus extra if necessary
2 teaspoons sesame oil
About 2 tablespoons maple syrup or coconut sugar
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
Sea salt and black pepper
Spread the cooked brown rice over a large baking tray. When cool, place in the fridge, uncovered, to dry out for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight. Place a saucepan over medium-high heat and fill with rice bran or vegetable oil to a depth of about 2.5 cm. When the oil is hot enough (test with a wooden chopstick; if it sizzles, the oil is ready), very carefully add 1 cup of rice – stand back, the oil will spit. Do not stir (the grains should stick together). Once the rice is golden, use a slotted spoon to transfer the grains to drain on paper towels. Break up the grains a little and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining rice. Place the kale in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil, add a pinch of sea salt and massage into the leaves, just for a few seconds to soften slightly. Set aside. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the top and bottom off each grapefruit and stand them up on a chopping board. Working top to bottom, cut away the peel, making sure to remove as much of the white pith as possible. Holding a peeled grapefruit over a bowl to catch any juices, cut between the membranes to segment. Squeeze out any juice from the leftover membrane into the bowl and keep it for the dressing. Repeat with the second grapefruit. To make the dressing, combine the grapefruit juice, lime juice, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, tamari, and chilli. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the lime, sugar, and salt until you have a balanced sweet, salty and spicy dressing. Add the crispy rice to the kale along with the basil leaves and half the coconut and peanuts. Pour over the dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Add the grapefruit and lightly toss again. Top with the crispy shallots and the remaining coconut and peanuts, and serve with lime wedges on the side.
Moroccan Beet Salad
6 to 8 medium beets
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1teaspoon cumin, or to taste
Salt and black pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup diced fresh parsley
Place water in a 3-quart saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add beets, and simmer until beets are tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Cool, peel, and cut beets into bite-size pieces. Place in a serving bowl. Place lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil, then toss with beets. Let sit a few hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with parsley.
Orange Beef with Bok Choy & Scallion Rice
10 oz Thinly Sliced Beef
2 Tbsps Soy Glaze
Wash and dry the fresh produce. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Halve the orange; squeeze the juice into a medium bowl. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Cut off and discard the root end of the bok choy; roughly chop. In a small pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced white bottoms of the scallions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the rice, a big pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water (carefully, as the liquid may splatter). Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, without stirring, 12 to 14 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork. Cover to keep warm. While the rice cooks, to the bowl of orange juice, add the chopped garlic, vinegar, soy glaze, and as much of the sambal oelek as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Stir to combine. While the rice continues to cook, using your hands, separate the beef; pat dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned beef in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 2 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Add the chopped bok choy to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the leaves are slightly wilted. Add the sauce and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the bok choy leaves are wilted. Serve the finished beef over the scallion rice. Garnish with the sliced green tops of the scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Black Soy Bean, Beet, & Bok Choy Bowl With Garlic Ginger Tahini Dressing
Black Soy Bean Bowl
1 15 oz. can Black Soy Beans, drained and rinsed
3–4 medium beets, scrubbed, peeled, and diced
2 heads baby bok choy
2 scallions, sliced
1 1/2 cup quinoa cooked to package instructions
Garlic Ginger Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup filtered water + more for thinning out
1/4 cup runny tahini
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
Cook the quinoa in advance by following package directions. Refrigerate until ready for use. Scrub, peel, and chop the beets into 1/2″ cubes. Prepare the baby bok choy by slicing away the leaves from the hard center core and rinsing them under running water. Heat a large saucepan with an inch of water and bring to a rolling boil. Once it’s boiling, add the beets and bok choy to a steamer basket and steam them on the stovetop for 5-8 minutes, or until its fork tender and vibrant green and red. While the veggies are steaming, rinse and slice the scallion. Drain and rinse the black soy beans and set them aside. Make the garlic ginger dressing by adding all ingredients to a high-speed blender and processing until it’s smooth and creamy. Add more filtered water as needed to reach desired consistency. (I like mine a bit thicker here!) To assemble the bowls, divide the quinoa among bowls and top it with steamed baby bok choy and the beets, and black soy beans. Garnish the bowls with diced scallion and lots of garlic ginger tahini. Enjoy immediately! Store the leftovers separately in the refrigerator for 3-5 days, though best when fresh. Garlic ginger tahini keeps in the fridge for up to one week.