December 18, 2018

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Carrots, Sunchokes, Cauliflower, Rosemary, Turnips, Butternut Squash, Cayenne Peppers and Grecian Bay Bundle and Mandarins

What’s in this Week’s FRUIT BOX: Mandarin Oranges, Raisins and Grapefruit




December 25 and 29

January 1 and 5th


This Week on the Farm

Ho, boy, the last newsletter of the year.  I remember in March saying how fast the first three months had gone by, in June that it couldn’t be summer already, reawakening to a world burning up in the last gasps of summer in November (yeah, I know it should be September, and I am as fearful about that as anyone) and now thankful that the ground is moist, it is cool, and another year has passed in an eye blink.  What has happened at Good Humus?

            We are deep into the attitude and positioning that precedes the transitioning of a family farm.  For the first time as far as I know, the thoughts of the need for a following generation have been foremost in our minds and based on some reality checks.  Annie and I both have to admit the diminishment of our physical and mental capabilities in carrying out the mountain of tasks that go into the daily work of a working small family farm.  Alison and Claire have both paused in their pursuit of life in the 21st century to return several days a week to the more physical, closer ties to the earth that are part of our farm life.  Zach and Nicole are completing the first steps in their dream of building a home on the 10 acre piece next door that we bought together, and that Good Humus is farming.  Francisco and I have both stepped back somewhat from the day-to-day responsibility of year round hand field work, and are leaving so much of it in the hands of Rogelio and Niles, both in their 30’s, fast learners and willing, above all and for the moment, to be part of the intense physicality of our farm. 

            The emotionally charged moment of the placing of the long-awaited Easement on Good Humus has passed, and we are just beginning to experience to value of what it is bringing to the farm.  The passion of the Community of people that completed the placement of the easement has resulted in the paying off of several construction and land purchase loans that were integral to the building of Good Humus Produce.  So while we are owners of this 20 acres the burden of financial overhead has been reduced from a mountain to a molehill, and the transition to the next farmer will involve a farm unencumbered by debt and sold at a price about a quarter of the market value.  So while all the fears brought by modern connectivity continue to color our nights, there is a lot that has happened this year that we can point to in the belief that the transition of the Good Humus Farm is of adequate value to both the community that supported it for so long and to the generation coming to take up the responsibility for stewardship of the land and production of sustenance for that community.

            Walking down the center lane of the farm, I am continually impressed by the feel of what is growing here.  The leaves have fallen into the ruts and puddles of the small path, almost a trail although it is rutted by the passage of our small tractors and equipment.  The flowering fruit trees on both sides make it almost an enclosed area, the fields on both sides barely visible.   The rain of recent days has made the ground soft, spongy, and in places slippery, so it is easy to pay attention to where we place our feet, to where we are.  The grasses that will grow so fast in February are still just a little cover sticking up through the matted end of summer growth or living in the shadow of the winter crops that will be harvested soon.  The soil on both sides has benefitted from some gypsum that we have spread in the last few years, a few tons at a time.  It loosens overworked soil, moderates the acid or salt in the soil and promotes the aeration that soil needs for healthy life.  As I walk, I am thankful for the new piece of ground that we are planting, not so much to increase our production, but to reduce my tendency to overwork the soil, to not give time for natural replenishment following the intense manipulation of soils needed to prime them for high production of food.  So I can appreciate the parts of the fields I pass that are just fallow, growing a cover of the longer season plants that grow here without our bidding.  I pass by the mulberries planted among the last remnants of our first peach orchard.  I planted them because I expected the peaches to die of their own accord, but growing among the mulberries, they still give a few buckets of peaches on trees that look like gnarled old men that have given so much to the process of life.  Meanwhile, the mulberries have grown to cover the area, and the branches are ready to trellis outward to provide a canopy of fruit short enough to reach from a small orchard ladder.

            I am so glad that I can look at the farm and see that there is a lot right about it, day in and day out.  The problems exist, some serious, some my imagination, but there are so many results of the dreams of this place, dreams that have turned out fine, and that are just plain beautiful and inspirational.  It is my belief that this farm has had another good year.  As the next year passes in a blur, we hope to see you at the end of the year with another good year in tow, a year filled with all the life that happens ‘This Year on the Farm’.


Sunchoke and Cauliflower Soup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter,

2 teaspoons softened butter

1 small celery rib minced

1/2 small onion minced

2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

3/4 cup whole milk

1 pound cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

6 ounces sunchokes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 thyme sprig

1 small garlic clove, minced


Four 1/4-inch-thick baguette slices, cut on the bias

1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup sunflower sprouts

In a large saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the celery and onion and cook over low heat until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the stock and milk and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the cauliflower, sunchokes and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the sunchokes are very tender, about 30 minutes; discard the thyme sprig. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, mix the 2 teaspoons of softened butter with the garlic and season with salt. Spread the garlic butter on the baguette slices and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for about 8 minutes, until crisp. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan; season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with the sprouts. Serve with the cheese toasts. July 2007, Food and Wine Magazine


Lemon and Rosemary Marinade

This is a great marinade recipe for chicken. It gives you that lemon-herb flavor that you find on so many store made chickens, but this is better.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Yield: Makes about 1 cup of marinade

3 large lemons

1/4 cup fresh rosemary (2 tablespoons dried rosemary)

1/4 cup of olive or salad oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Cut lemons in half and squeeze out the juice into a nonreactive bowl or re-sealable plastic bag. Add in remaining ingredients, mix well. Great for chicken. Marinate for 2 hours.


Dressed Turnips With Greens

1 bunch turnips with tops
2 cubanelle peppers, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
¼ cup finely minced parsley
Lemon Tamari dressing, to taste
Carefully wash turnips and greens. Finely chops greens and place in bottom of pan. Slice turnips and
place on top of greens. Place 1” of water in bottom of pan, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce  the heat and simmer until tender. Drain, saving water for stock. Place on serving plate. Top with peppers, scallions, parsley and dressing.
Lemon Tamari Dressing
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons shoyu or tamari
1 or more cloves garlic, pressed
 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional)
1 teaspoon tarragon
Place all ingredients in a small glass jar. Cover tightly and shake well. Serve on green salads, cooked greens, marinated vegetable salads, even over hot vegetables. Recipes provided by Vicki Chelf Yield: 2-4 servings Yield: About 2/3 cup

Homemade Cayenne Pepper

I use cayenne and jalapeno peppers, pepper flakes or cayenne powder in Hot Pepper JellySalsaTomato JamStewsPopcorn Seasoning and tons of other recipes.  

After harvesting hot peppers from the garden, hang them up to dry by threading with a standard needle and thread.  Poke the needle through each pepper at the very top sometimes through the green stem, sometime right underneath the stem.  After threading them all, hang them up for several weeks until they’re completely dry and wrinkly. They will store in a glass container or plastic bag for months – possibly years (assuming no moisture gets to them at all).

To make the Cayenne Pepper

 Place pieces of dried peppers into grinder-yup I use our coffee grinder-the following cup of coffee is always special! Grind peppers a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. A coarse grind (just a couple of pulses) will give you hot pepper flakes. A few more pulses will give you a much finer powder-cayenne pepper. Transfer powder into a spice jar. Label and enjoy in your favorite recipes.  But be warned, we find our homemade cayenne powder is much spicier than store bought powder-use small amounts, taste and adjust accordingly. Have a different variety of hot pepper, no problem!  As long as those peppers have been thoroughly dried, you can use any variety to make hot pepper flakes or powder. by Getty Stewart


Chili Lime Seasoning

Great for popcorn, chicken, fajitas, tortillas, taco salad

2 tablespoon dried lime zest (4 limes)

4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon chili powder

1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less - you decide!)

If using fresh limes, zest limes the night before and leave on a plate overnight so the zest has a chance to dry out. Mix all ingredients together well. Pour into a small jar. For extra lime flavor, squeeze a little lime juice over the popcorn. After zesting the limes, squeeze and collect the juice. If you don't need it right away, freeze it in ice cube trays for later use. Yields enough to fill a 1 ounce jar. by Getty Stewart

Winter Squash Sage Polenta

2 ½ cups low fat milk

2 cups water

¾ cups pureed winter squash

1 ¼ cups salt

1 ¼ cups polenta

¾ cups fresh Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

¼ cup shaved fresh Parmesan

Bring milk and water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pumpkin and salt, stir with a whisk. Reduce heat to low, and gradually whisk in polenta, cook 1 minute or until thick. Remove from heat. Add ¾ cup grated Parmesan, cream cheese, and sage, stir until cheese melts. Top with shaved Parmesan, serve immediately.