Feb 19, 2019
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Bok Choy, Lettuce, Broccoli, Oranges, Cilantro, Meyer Lemons and Collards
What’s in this Week’s FRUIT BOX: Tangelos, Oranges, Meyer Lemons and Oro Blanco Grapefruit
Spring Quarter starts NEXT WEEK
Payment Is Due February 22-THAT IS THIS WEEK. Please let us know what your plans are for this quarter, even if your plans are to not continue. It is really helpful if you send in the form with your order so it is clear to us what you would like this quarter.
Some Dates to remember:
NO DELIVERY April 16th & 20th
Plant Sale & Family Picnic at the Farm April 13
Hats & High Tea May 11
Mother’s Day Garden Tour May 12
This Week on The Farm
Bundled up against the chilly morning outside, clicking away at the newsletter this morning, there is no doubt but that spring is on its way. Cold mornings aren’t enough any longer to hold at bay the warming influence of the lengthening days. The almond trees have started to bloom right on schedule. The old North Wind, our spring nemesis and friend, is kicking up the last few days. Just a breeze really, but enough to hasten drying of exposed ground and reduce to memories the recent days of roof pounding rain and ankle deep mud and rivers of runoff from the hills to be blockaded and directed into our grasslands. The seed potatoes are sitting in the cooler waiting for the ground to dry enough to plant. We are looking at the date and, distressed at our tardiness, are filling flats with greenhouse soil and new seeds of pepper, tomato, eggplant, basil and parsley. As I write this, I remember from long experience that a few days does not a springtime make, and I do try to restrain my excitement. But today is the day for first excitement, even though it may be momentary; this is the first reminder of the inevitable advent of the California Spring and beyond it, the California Summer. I check myself for that feeling of excitement, because yesterday, driving among the first blooms of the spring I was aware of a feeling of anxiety and even a touch of despair that the bloom season had come and I had not finished the jobs of the winter. A car lay half fixed in the barn, and a long list still in my head. But this morning, there it is... the lift to my spirits. Perhaps the excitement is a natural response to the anxiety of yesterday. Ali drives in, Claire is home with a sore throat, Rogelio and Niles start the day in the dark of 6:00 packing your boxes. Yes, sure enough it is exciting to feel the changes as a new day starts. There is no question about it…after four decades of farming, both the feeling of anxiety at the end of the winter project season and the first stirrings of the excitement, of the stream of adrenaline that augments the Spring merry-go-round ride are both familiar friends that I can enjoy. I enjoy the chance to participate yet again in being a human participant in all these physical and emotional ties to the season. So I can call my friend Paul Muller and report in to him, “Hey, I’m still excited about the Spring. Do you think we can make it another season?” He’ll laugh and we will trade some stories and both know that old farmers are like old racehorses, the sound of the bell still raises the blood.
Jeff and I both started writing the newsletter this morning, not knowing what we each were clicking away on at our separate desks. Well funny how it works, sharing a career for the last 40 odd years, we are both on the same subject with different perspectives, so instead of changing the subject I will share mine and you can see the spring coming from both sides of Good Humus!
Yesterday I was making deliveries and someone asked me how I was enjoying the cold weather. I told her that we farm and the fruit trees need the cold, so I was ok with it-not the answer she was looking for I don’t think. It doesn’t take much to get me headed down a thought path-especially if while driving I keep the radio turned off and am just with my own thoughts. And where I went was the contentment I feel with the cold, wet weather. The other day as it was raining I was sitting in the house thinking maybe this year I will get cabin fever, just waiting for the days that we can go outside. Well that never happens in California, and there is a part of me that would like to experience it. But then here after a floody rain spell we get such beautiful clear weather even though it is cold, I just have to go outside with mud boots on and tromp around-mostly because something needs to be picked like blooming tulips or flowering apricot branches for orders or markets, and I do love to muck it up with my boots on-the little kid never leaves me with puddles to play in. I think on the East Coast where folks do experience “Cabin Fever” nothing is blooming this time of year except snow crystals. But where I went in my mind was that it feels good to be wrapped up in warm sweaters and scarves, in a drought year I never get to put on the puffy warm jackets. There is something really satisfying to be outside feeling the chill, walking under the bare skeletons of the sleeping orchard trees, their pulse going at a slower pace, and mine too with which makes me want to sleep more with the longer darkness, and with more personal time to just listen to the day.
We are now in February the start of the winter/spring transition, the flowering fruit trees are blooming, and the willow tree has leaves budding out, and my stomach gets a bit nervous, I have one foot in the darkness of winter, and the other foot getting twitchy with the light of spring not far away. The cold weather keeps this transition slowed down, keeps my mind a bit in the frozen zone and not starting to race with the potential of spring. Don’t get me wrong I love spring-it is my favorite season mostly because of the explosion of the spring flowers and all the beauty they bring, but it also brings a fullness to the day with the day get longer and life starts to speed up, and by the time we get to summer we are on the run for 10-12 hours in a day, the brain is at full tilt, the sun is shining bright no chance to stop and watch the day go by, it is a race race race to get it all done. So for right now, yes I am enjoying the cold, wetness, the darkness, the quietness of winter, seeing the Sierra full of snow down lower than ever on the foothills, knowing that the soil and the hillscape have been filled to capacity with the winter rains; it feels good.
I want to share a book that I have been reading over the winter that I have found has really feed the botanist in me, the caretaker of the land and the mother that I am. It is titled Braiding Sweetgrass- the author Robyn Kimmerer shares indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teaching of plants. It isn’t a novel, just perspectives-and mostly about the equations of reciprocity and responsibility, the whys and wherefores of building sustainable relationships with the land. She talks about the secret of happiness, and it is a perspective that ultimately is reciprocity; loving and being loved in return. She writes “just consider that the land loves us back… she loves us with beans, and tomatoes, with roasting ears of corn, and blackberries and birdsongs….knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street to a sacred bond.”
Have a wonderful wet, cold transitioning week! Annie
Noodle Soup with Chicken & Bok Choy
A flavorful soup, delicious and hearty meal in a bowl.
8 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic peeled
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh mint leaves
2 whole chicken breasts, bone in
1-pound bok choy chopped (or Napa cabbage)
¼ pound wide Vietnamese rice noodles
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
½ pound baby tatsoi
Tuong Ot Tao (Vietnamese hot sauce)
In a medium stockpot, bring chicken stock to a simmer over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, ¼ cup cilantro and mint leaves, and chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through about 30 minutes. Remove chicken and allow to cool. Tear each breast into about 6 pieces, discard bones. Strain broth and return to pot over low heat. Add bok choy (or Napa) and simmer 5-10 minutes.Soak noodles in hot water until softened, 5-10 minutes. Cook noodles in boiling water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water.
Divide noodles among 6 bowls. Add chicken pieces, scallions, remaining mint and cilantro, and tatsoi. Pour hot broth and bok choy over top. Serve with Tuong Ot Toi.
Kickin' Collard Greens
If you like greens you will love this recipe. The bacon and onions give them a wonderful flavor. Add more red pepper for a little more spice."
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to the pan. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt. Pour in chicken broth, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender. Recipe By: Ken Adams
Meyer Lemon Cream Salad Dressing
"Creamsicle" combination. A little cream rounds out the lemon's tang. Try it with lettuce or Escarole or any other favorite green salad.
2 tablespoons finely diced shallot
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
About 1/8 tsp. pepper
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Put shallot, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk in oil, and then whisk in 1/2 tsp. more salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and the cream. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you like. Stir before using. Makes 1 1/3 cups (serving size: 2 tbsp.) Make ahead: Up to 3 days, chilled.
Fresh Orange Compote
Fresh orange compote is an especially refreshing and not too sweet, it may be served alone or with shortbread or chocolate wafer cookies. Leftovers, should you have any, can be served the next day on vanilla ice cream or stirred into yogurt.
8 oranges (at least 2 cups peeled and sectioned)
¼ cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
Peel and section the oranges into a serving bowl. In another, smaller bowl, mix together the orange marmalade and liqueur to make a sauce. If necessary, add the juice from a few orange sections to the marmalade to reach a pourable consistency. Stir the sauce into the oranges. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes, and serve chilled. To section an orange quickly, cut both of the ends form the orange and place it cut side down on a cutting board. Slice down the sides of the orange with wide strokes, just deep enough to remove the peel and all of the white pith. Hold the peeled orange over the serving bowl to catch any drippings juice, and with a paring knife, carefully cut between the membrane and one side of each orange section and back out the other side to release it from the membrane. This can be done with one smooth in and out motion. When all of the sections are removed, squeeze any remaining juice from the membrane into the bowl. From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home