January 28, 2020

What’s in this Week’s

VEGGIE BOX: Spinach, Lettuce, Kale, Broccoli, Arugula, Beets, Oranges, Lemons, Leeks, and Sunchokes

What’s in your FRUIT BAG? Eureka Lemons, Oranges, Oro Blanco Grapefruit and Tangelos

 

 IMPORTANT CSA STUFF

 

BRINGING IN NEW MEMBERS

We are offering a 10% discount on your next quarter to members who refer a friend, just let your friend know to use your name when signing up and save!

LAND PARK NEW LOCATION-518 Flint Way (4 minutes from the current location)

POCKET AREA We are looking for more members to boost the numbers so we can re-start the Pocket drop.

ALL DROP HOSTS- Starting next quarter in all location we would like to offer as an incentive to host either free weekly bread or 4 flower bouquets each quarter to say thank you for being a host.

BI-WEEKLY OPTION-We would also like to let you know that we now have a list for bi-weekly box sharing. If you are trying to find someone to share your box with, but just aren’t able to find anyone, let us know and we will add you to our list, and as soon as we find someone else in your area that is also looking to share a box we will connect the two of you.

 

This Week on The Farm 

The cusp of the changing of the month and the farm is moving ahead at a good pace for this time of year.  Right now we are fighting the rank growth of winter rye grass that threatens to overwhelm our spring flowers and vegetables, are looking at a beautiful crop of oranges coming up, are worried about getting our winter spraying and pruning finished before bloom in three weeks or so, and are navigating new schedules and responsibilities for everyone as we move into a serious transition between generations.  So much to talk about, never a dull moment on the farm.  That’s why we love it so much.  The “b” word (rhymes with soaring) is seldom heard around here.  Today I woke up with a head and chest cold and was tempted to spend some extra hours at rest.  But in the kitchen I could hear them wondering where I was, I knew that the day had been planned with Annie, Claire and Ali off to do jam at the certified kitchen and with me depended on to do the CSA drive.  Quite a motivator, plus I have been here before and know that I’m much better off getting up, moving around, stirring the blood, getting my mind off the aches and letting nature take its course. 

               Broccoli is a small part of the box today, and before we get into the week’s happenings, I would like to talk about what it means to have broccoli in the box, what the process is that ends with a few end-of-the-first-crop sideshoots for your salads or cooking.  In the field, broccoli requires a pretty exacting confluence of several natural cycles to come to the point where it begins to go to flower, ideally forming a big center head on an elongating stalk that is the start of its effort to reproduce and the part we most often eat.  The temperatures of the summer are just too hot, the dampness of the foggy days that come to the valley, or too much rain without a drying time, will bring on rot in the tightly packed heads.  The interplay of the cycles of pests (cabbage loopers, rabbits, gophers, weeds and aphids) with the cycles of predators (parasitic wasps, ladybird beetles, lacewings, praying mantids, birds, bobcats, foxes, ferrel cats) must combine to produce that crop that allows the farmers to look it over, shake their heads, and wonder how such a miracle could happen.  Anything less than that, such as an untimely hot or cold, wet or dry spell, the loss of a bobcat or fox, the inadequate attention paid to retaining food and habitat for predators, getting too busy to cultivate or pre-irrigate correctly, will make the crop less.  Depending on all these factors, and our answers to their challenges, we will be able to bring more or less broccoli to your table.  One of our tools is to plant two or more small plantings, hoping that one will come at that mythical perfect time.  The truth is that the perfect time never happens, and every planting is impacted by those cycles.  But nature provides for all, and after shares of our broccoli have been taken, we usually get enough to fill our needs. 

From planting the seed until harvesting these last sideshoots in today’s box, I would say we have about a 50% yield measured against the perfect crop.  As I look at the winter rye grass growing above the broccoli heads, I envision cover from the rain for the soil and a root mass growing to inhabit the entire top 12” or more of the soil.  The enlivening, diversifying and structural changes this brings about in and on the soil cannot be duplicated by outside inputs and it is my belief that its full value is beyond our scientific and intellectual comprehension.  So it’s ok, looked at in that way.   As I look at the extra labor we must do in order to bring to you a broccoli stem free of aphids, I also recognize that aphids are the essential food source of an uncounted universe of life that depends on them as an essential and continuous source of food, and that will soon overwhelm the immense reproductive capabilities of the aphids that is their best defense.  So leaving these aphids to the time of picking and then using a high pressure wash to remove them is really our way of contributing to the survival of so many essential parts of the ecosystem while bringing to you a healthy, palatable product.  Makes the job easier.  Each and every item in your box goes through a similar process to come to you, as we balance ours and your needs with the needs of what we hope remains a vibrant and long-lasting cornucopia for all life.  That’s it for broccoli.  A new crop is a few weeks away.

In many ways it has been a privilege to be part of the life of our family in the last several months, as we will relate over time.  I have watched as Annie has walked around her ancestral home and garden and have seen it begin to enter her being.  From her researches, it has become apparent to me that she is the heir apparent to a long line of women who have made that home and that garden their life’s work.  And the amazing thing is that it survives.  The house sits on an oak studded knoll that has been the residence of her family for somewhere near 150 years.  From her Great-Grandmother Anna, through her Grandmother Amelie, her Mother Maysel, and Sister-in-Law Sue, each woman has contributed parts of the garden that surrounds the house and has chronicled that garden’s creation and life.  And now Annie is coming into contact with all that energy and devotion of years past and feeling out her role as the next gardener at Oak Knoll Ranch.  Watching this come alive in her has been rare and wonderful.

And speaking of rare and wonderful, As Annie and I drove off to work at Oak Knoll over the weekend, we both were aware that our children had just given us the gift of their presence as fully engaged caretakers of Good Humus Produce and the farm at Hungry Hollow.  We left knowing that Claire would drive the van into the Davis Farmer’s Market making CSA stops along the way and then set up and run the market, Zach would come to the Market and pick up and deliver an order to the Davis Food Coop and return to help at the Market, and Ali would make the delivery to the Sacramento Food Coop and then do a tasting at the Sac Coop.  They had worked together to coordinate the entire plan and carried it out without oversight on our part.  It was certainly a moment for us.  Have a great week-Jeff

 

Cock-a-Leekie

This porridge like soup has Scottish roots. Barley makes it thick, and prunes give it a slightly sweet note; white wine and vegetables, including leeks, add flavor. It's a popular lunch bowl that hits the spot. If you make this soup ahead, you may need to add a bit of water or stock when reheating.

4 pieces skinless chicken thighs

3 pieces skinless chicken breast halves

14 1/2-ounce cans low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups white wine or water

2 large celery ribs, halved crosswise

1 large carrot, peeled

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

6 leeks, white and light-green parts only,

12 pitted prunes, quartered (2/3 cup packed)

1/2 cup barley

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat a 6-quart Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add thighs; cook until browned, turning once, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with breasts. Add broth, wine, celery, carrot, and garlic to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; scrape any browned bits from pot; return chicken to pot, reduce heat, and simmer, skimming as necessary, for 1 hour. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool. Transfer vegetables to another plate; reserve. Add leeks, prunes, and barley to broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thick, about 40 minutes more. Once chicken has cooled, shred meat. Finely dice carrot and celery. Stir chicken, carrot, celery, and parsley into soup, heat through, and serve. From marthastewart.com Serves 6

 

Greek Farro Salad

This fresh and healthy farro salad is full of bold Greek flavors! You’ll have plenty of time to prepare the ingredients while the farro cooks.

1 cup dried farro, rinsed

5 cups lightly packed arugula (or give it a few chops into smaller pieces)

1 ½ cups chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 large cucumber

1 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper

20 Kalamata olives, sliced into thin rounds (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dressing

1/3 cup olive oil

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste

2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed farro with at least three cups water (enough water to cover the farro by a couple of inches). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy (pearled farro will take around 15 minutes; unprocessed farro will take 25 to 40 minutes). Drain off the excess water and return the farro to the pot. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and a little splash of the dressing. Set aside for just a few minutes to cool. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, combine the arugula, chickpeas, cucumber, peppers, olives and parsley. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper until emulsified. Add the warm farro to the serving bowl and drizzle in the remaining dressing. Toss to combine. Add the feta, toss again, and season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Author: Cookie and Kate Recipe adapted from Arugula, Carrot and Chickpea Salad with Wheat Berries.
Yields 4 servings

 

Kale over Polenta

1 onion chopped

1-2 cloves garlic minced

½ pound Kale or braising mix

1-2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used fig which was yummy. Sauté chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil until translucent add chopped braising mix and cook until mostly wilted, then add the balsamic vinegar, you could add a goat cheese too. Make the polenta by bringing to 2 cups water boil, then adding 1 cup of polenta. Simmer slowly until done, add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of butter, and stir in. Pour into a flat pan and let cool a bit until it sets firm enough to cut into wedges. Serve with greens on top.

 

Coconut and Marmalade Cake

This cake is a light-in-texture-but-heavy-in-flavor take on the ubiquitous Eastern Mediterranean semolina cake. this is the kind of recipe where you get to put your own stamp on it and it will still be amazing. Mix in some coconut with the yogurt at the end? Use olive oil instead of sunflower oil? This cake is ah-may-zing the next day, toasted, for breakfast.

3/4 cup sunflower oil (a light olive oil will also work)

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup orange marmalade

4 eggs, at room temperature

Zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup shredded coconut

3/4 cup (all purpose) flour

1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons semolina (fine or coarse, or cornmeal flour)

2 tbsp ground almonds (also known as almond meal or almond flour;

2 tsp baking powder

For the syrup:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp orange blossom water 

Yogurt topping:

Greek Yogurt
1-2 drops orange blossom water

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, orange juice, marmalade, eggs and orange zest until the marmalade is smooth and well incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, coconut, flour, semolina, almonds and baking powder.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined into a (quite) runny batter. Grease 2 standard bread loaf tins. Pour half of the batter into each tin, and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the top is a golden, orangey brown.  (I found 45 minutes was enough) While the cake is baking, bring the sugar, water and orange blossom water to the boil in a small saucepan. Let boil until all of the sugar has been dissolved in the water, then remove from the heat. Remove the cakes from the oven and immediately brush each with half of the syrup, letting the syrup soak into the holes.  It will seem like a lot of syrup; however, it needs to permeate the whole of the cake, and it's what makes this cake moist and flavorful.  Allow the syrup to soak into the cake and then brush on more. This will take a few goes. Mix a few spoonfuls of plain yogurt with sugar and orange blossom flower, to sweeten. Serve with slices of the cake. Yield: 1 loaf, and 1 mini-Bundt cake Ottolenghi's Semolina, Adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook