December 11, 2018

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Braising Mix, Cilantro, Spinach mix, Beets, Leeks, Butternut Squash, and Lemons

What’s in this Week’s FRUIT BOX: Mandarin Oranges, Apples, Pomegranates, and Mixed Dried Fruit

 

 

NO DELIVERY SCHEDULE

December 25 and 29

January 1 and 5th

 

YOUR HOLIDAY GIFTS ORDERS

We will be delivering your orders at you drop site today. Look for your name on the boxes or bags for your order, and please check them out to make sure we filled your order correctly. Contact us if there are any problems.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

 

This Week on the Farm

California has yellow, maybe not the reds of the fall in the East, but we sure do yellows real good. As I walk through the meadow area of the farm the birch trees are all shaking and shimmering yellow leaves, and with the breezier days those leaves have been silently, gracefully “falling” to what was once the green grassy lawn below. It is a mixture of yellows of the birch, the big leaf oak trees, the Ladakh apricot, to the yellows of the grapes, with touches of red of from the Chinese Tallow to greens that haven’t turned yellow that make me pause, and realize we are in a definite moment of change. I’m not an East Coast Gal, so these yellows are the fall of California, and with the sun light filtering through them, it becomes a very magical time of year. With the storms we have been having the leaves are definitely falling, fading making their way to the browns and leaving exposed the trees structure. The trees powerful arms are starting to be exposed showing us the muscle the curves and their beauty that holds up the leaves so they can shade the life under it, the summers fruits hanging far out on the limbs, and those arms stretching up to the sun to bring life to them. I think that I love this time of year, as the leaves are each truing their own color of yellow, at their own speed and dropping at their own pace, but dropping they will as we approach the winter solstice. Quite amazing that it is December and we are still able to enjoy the multitude of the California fall colors of yellow. And for awhile here the fall colors will be on the ground-waiting for a rake. I keep thinking I will rake the oak leaves for my special oak leaf mulch compost that I use only for the soil mix for the veggie starts in the greenhouse. Then I look up in the oak tree and

there are so many still hanging on, and I think no I’ll wait just a bit longer so I only need to do one raking session. I do get

pleasure of walking through the carpet of leaves, kicking as a child would do, listening to the crispness of them, or if a rain has just past the feel of now a soft cushion that the thick carpet

 

is creating. There is so much life that these leaves have been a part of, not only their own, but for those living in the trees, under the trees, or giving life to the fruit.  You know most of the year, they are there and we may give thanks for the shade, but we really don’t notice them, but right now they are in their glory shouting out look at us, you will miss us, keep a look out in the spring when we will start all over again. I can’t help but bring the time of the season back to our human selves, this is a time for slowing down, dropping the craziness of summer, letting go of the have to do jobs, and going inward. Getting back to the bareness of who we are, and storing up energy, building reserve, for the explosion of springtime. Maybe that’s why I love fall so much-it is yellow beauty time of transition into the dark, quiet, warm winter cave. Have a great week~Annie

 

I went out to pick some of the last of the undersized, cracked apples this morning, as we have a small order for a canning project.  We don’t sell the apples, or even give them to you in the box, because this is not good apple country, I am poor at managing this crop that doesn’t do well without some management, and we have good organic farming friends who do them well down near Dixon.  Despite all this, there are small, ugly, good tasting gifts from the trees this year for the first time that I can remember.  So we have eaten some as we pass by occasionally, noticed the (relatively) large crop and sold the first 30 pounds ever from those 20 trees.  Old heirloom trees and varieties, they have survived the rigors of Good Humus, given us a pretty backdrop in the fall, and finally, in their 25th year, been welcomed to the ranks of the cash crops of our farm.   Good Humus is not for the faint-of-heart varieties, and we find that we do better with some of the older varieties that have had a chance to acclimate to our minimal management system.  Not for us the coddled, highly specialized varieties that require precise spray schedules, extra attention to soil content of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus compounds, and complete protection from competing wildlife.  So we live with the occasional species or variety that takes awhile to tell us what its real needs are, and is content to maintain itself in the raucous diversity of soil plant and animal life that we try to encourage until ten or fifteen or twenty-five years later we wander by and recognize a few pounds of fruit.  Does this way of farming work?  Well, of course, in moderation.  But it is sure fun to see a long suffering tree or vine decide that this year, this moment in time, is just right for that first try at an apple, or a bunch of grapes, or an orange, or a pear that we can gather in and offer to our extended community. 

                But what I wanted to say is that on my way out to pick the apples that I had noticed, I passed by the seedling oak that we have left in the middle of the apple row.  The leaves had dropped, most of them, but I saw one lonely acorn cap sitting at the end of a branch.  Now we have several varieties of oak on the farm, and they have decided they like it here, because each year we see lots of new oak seedlings.  In earlier times this was an oak woodland or grassland, and there must be some memory of those times remaining to welcome them back.  Perhaps some indestructible compound or life form in the soil that is essential for oak life.   But the varieties tend to cross with each other like many other species including apple.  And so each seed of an apple, each acorn of an oak can give us a brand new variant what has ever existed before.  And in looking at that acorn cap, I thought I saw the influence of our mighty bur oak that covers the barnyard, of the valley oaks that we planted because we love them, and of the blue oaks that still remain on the hillsides above us.  But, that small seedling has a distinctive cap all its own, and I can imagine the life that is growing there could be something better adapted to what the future portends for our farm.  Vivid imagination of course, but sometimes the truth communicates that way.  Who knows?  But I am bringing that cap back in to show Annie this morning, because for sure, it is the first and only of its own special self.   Enjoy this beautiful time of year, that is enough!   Jeff

 

Chicken and Rice Soup with Lime & Cilantro
Canola oil
1 onion, diced small
4 carrots, peeled and diced small
3 celery ribs, diced small
Salt & Black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon chili powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
5 cups chicken stock
3 – 3 ½ cups cooked, shredded chicken breast (*see note)
½ cup frozen peas, thawed
½ corn kernels
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 cups cooked rice

Jalapeño slices, tortilla strips, and lime wedges, for garnish
(*To prepare the chicken breasts, use 2 split chicken breasts, bone-in and skin on, about 1 ½ pounds, total; sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt and pepper over them, and roast them at 400° for 40 minutes; once cool enough to handle, remove skin and discard bones, and shred the meat.) Place a medium-large soup pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 4 tablespoons of oil; once the oil gets hot, add in the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper, plus the cumin, coriander, chili powder, and pinch of cayenne pepper, and saute for a few more minutes, until the veggies begin to become tender. Stir in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in the chicken stock. Bring the soup up to a rolling simmer, and then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Finish the soup by adding in the shredded chicken breasts, peas, corn kernels, lime zest, lime juice, and chopped cilantro; check to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed. To serve, add some of the rice (about ½ cup of so) to the bottom of your bowl, and ladle over the hot soup; garnish with additional lime, some sliced jalapenos, or some crispy tortilla strips. By Ingrid Beer Yield: Serves 4-6

 

Beets with Lemon, Cilantro and Mint

Serve with Yogurt cheese or Havarti with dill and dark bread to make a salad meal.

1 ½ pounds beets, cooked and peeled

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon plus 2 tablespoons juice

2 tablespoons finely diced red onions

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons chopped mint

½ teaspoon ground coriander

Salt and Pepper

6 tablespoon olive oil

4 handfuls salad greens

¼ cup oil cured black olives

Cut the beets into quarters or sixths. Whisk together the lemon and juice, onion, herbs, coriander, ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the oil in a small bowl. Taste the dressing on a beet and correct the seasoning if needed. Toss the beets with enough dressing to coat lightly. Toss the greens with the remaining dressing and arrange them on salad plates. Add the beets and olives and serve.

 

Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Braising Greens

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters, then cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons melted

1 tablespoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

3 medium baking apples, such as Sierra Beauty or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters

6 cups loosely packed braising greens such as kale, chard, or collard greens, stems removed and torn into 2-inch strips

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F. On foil-lined baking sheet, toss potato slices with 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake until cooked through and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Keep warm. In heavy medium skillet over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add apples and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Keep warm. In heavy large pot over moderate heat, combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons water. Add greens and sauté, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to moderately low and add sweet potatoes and apples. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in parsley, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Serve hot. Yield: 10 servings from Epicurious

 

Leek Fritters with Green Garlic & Lemon

For the Batter:

1 bunch of Leeks

1/4 cup grated carrots (optional)

1/4 teaspoon Salt

2 scallions trimmed and halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1/4 cup all purpose flour 

1 teaspoon baking powder

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

Olive oil for frying. 

For the Garlic Lemon Cream:

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

pinch of lemon zest

pinch of salt

1 garlic minced

To prepare the batter: Trim the leeks leaving only the white and pale green parts. Halve them lengthwise and wash them if needed. Cut halves into 1/4-inch strips. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and then cook the leeks for 3-4 minutes or until they are slightly softened. Drain the leeks and wring them out in dish towel to remove excess water. Transfer the leeks to a large bowl and stir in the scallions and carrots. In a small dish swish together the flour, salt, baking powder and pepper. Stir together the dry ingredient, leeks and the egg until the mixture in uniformly coated. 

To fry the fritters: Heat your oven to 250º and place a baking sheet inside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy skillet and then turn down to med-low heat. Place spoonfuls of batter into the pan, being careful not to crowd them, and fry on one side for 3 min or until golden brown. Flatten the fritter on the top side with a spatula and then flip and fry until golden brown on the other side. Place fritters in the oven after you have fried them and then after the last batch keep them in the oven for an extra 10 min to finish cooking. 

To serve: Whisk together the lemon garlic cream ingredients until smooth. Spoon onto each fritter before serving!