January 19, 2021

 

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Beets, Kale, Cilantro, Tangelos, Lemons, Fennel, and Butternut Squash

 

Bread this week: Barbari or Sourdough Baguette-your choice of one

 

Special Orders

 

~ Oranges      ~Tangelos

 

5# for $8 or 10# for $16

 

If you would like to place a special order please let us know by Friday at 5pm, and we will deliver to your drop on Tuesday January 26th.

 

 

This Week on The Farm

Well hello North Wind.  What a blow out here on the farm.  Following several gentle, warm days of spring in January, we were visited with a vengeance.  Our half finished greenhouse renovation is lying in tatters against the grapevines to the south, our internet is out and our phones won’t dial, but that is pretty small potatoes.  I grew up hating the chaos of the North Wind, the brassy skies, the dried, desiccated look of the world, the scratchy eyes, foul moods and sense that everything was out of whack.  Then I started farming, and forced myself to be out in that fierce wind because well, there was work to be done.  Being out among the broken leaves and burned tips of plants, watching the moisture evaporate from the soil, trying to find a case of cosmetically acceptable lettuce or kale did nothing to improve my mood.  The only black clouds in the sky were hovering right over my head.  Then, farming in and with the elements began to work on me.

It started with a random thought while hoeing the onions one day.  I thought, “The North Wind is going to be around a lot longer than I am”.  I noticed that no matter how much I cussed, groaned and moaned, the North Wind blew until it decided to stop.  It worked independent of my mood, didn’t seem to care what I thought, and just went about doing what it was good at.  What a concept!  Independent of me, not trying to incite me to thoughts of awful retribution and rant, not intending to rip the tarps off my piles, blows my boxes across the field, send my tin roof sailing.  Just doing its job.

Over the next few years, on other windy days, after I had finished with the rants and raves, I would notice that the fungi eating at the lettuce dried up in a North Wind, that the weeds that I hoed dried up right away, that I didn’t need to scrape the mud off of the hoe after every third or fourth stroke.  I noticed how clear it often was after a few days of North Wind, the snow caps of the Sierras seeming to move closer, Mt. Shasta visible from the barn roof.   Finally, after a few years more, I decided there was no point in not liking the North Wind, and I decided to tweak my thinking a little bit and to try to like the North Wind.  I am not a particularly fast mover, and it certainly has been years, and I have not made a complete shift, but I can say that I don’t hate, I can understand, and I even like the North Wind.  It scours the air and soil, freeing them from their built up loads. It mixes that air, water and soil, adding new elements to each, lifting and carrying others to far off places, aiding in the spread of life and nutrient.  It evaporates the stagnant waters, decreases the humidity, cools the air, thus drying the countryside.  Best of all, it does all this without the permission of me or anyone else.  It is just doing what it does, always has, always will. I have been reading a great book about the California Gold Rush, The World Rushed In, by J. S. Holliday, in which he makes the point that it was a special kind of American, Mexican, Asian, and European that came to California for gold.  In the first five years of the gold rush, several hundred thousand people, nearly all men, came to California to exploit the resource, to strike it rich.  The first of the Main family to come to California in the 1850’s bought land in the Santa Cruz mountains to cut timber, mostly redwood.  For the next hundred year, the legacy of the exploitive attitude of the Gold Rush worked to control the waters, the soils, the mountains, the climate and the life forms of California, indelibly changing much that they touched. As I look around at California today, I see the same attitude at work.  I see the so admirable qualities of perseverance, work ethic, creative problem solving, fortitude in the face of setbacks, industriousness all harnessed to the yoke of exploitation of resources.  As I look across our valley at the endless acres of almonds, grapes, olives, pistachios and walnuts, all for an export market that is a resource intensive bulwark against the endless expansion of our cities, I can hear echoes of the cry of “Gold in California!”  I think I like the North Wind.  Have a good Week ~Jeff

Tangelo Pork Stir-Fry

This pork and pepper stir-fry uses strips of tangelo zest and bright tangelo juice, which offers a little sunshine on a midwinter night.

2 Tangelos

3 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into thin strips

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

remove zest from tangelos in long strips. Cut the strips lengthwise into very thin pieces. Cut the tangelos in half and squeeze enough juice from them to get 1/2 cup. Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in 2 teaspoons oil, and then add pork and cook, stirring, until just cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan along with shallots, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper and the zest. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add bell peppers and celery and cook, stirring constantly, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tangelo juice and soy sauce; bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute. Whisk vinegar and cornstarch in a small bowl, then pour it into the pan along with the pork and its juices. Cook, stirring often, until thickened and bubbling and the pork is heated through, about 1 minute.

 

Coconut Quinoa and Kale with Tropical Pesto

Quinoa cooked in coconut milk, tossed with kale and cilantro-cashew “tropical” pesto—a warm salad. Healthy and vegan, yes, but delicious above all.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed under running water in a fine mesh colander for a couple of minutes

1 cup light coconut milk

1 small bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped (for a total of about 4 cups chopped kale)

1/3 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup large, unsweetened coconut flakes*

Tropical Cilantro-Cashew Pesto

2 cups cilantro, packed

scant 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 lime, juiced (or more, to taste)

pinch red pepper flakes, optional

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 15 to 17 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and mix in the red onion. Cover and set aside. Make the pesto: combine cilantro, cashews and garlic in a food processor. Start processing the mixture, and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, lime juice and red pepper flakes, all to taste, and blend well. In a medium serving bowl, combine the warm coconut quinoa, chopped kale and pesto. Mix well with a big spoon and season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary. In a skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut flakes for a few minutes until golden and fragrant, stirring often. Top the salad with coconut flakes and serve warm.

French Lentil Salad with Shocking Beet Vinaigrette

I am of the belief that this beet vinaigrette would be spectacular on greens too. It is tart and sweet and earthy.

2 cups French lentils
1 medium beet
4 garlic scapes, (onions flowers) cut into pieces
1/4 cup raisins
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown spicy mustard
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) salt
pepper to taste
1 avocado
diced tomato
Rinse lentils and then cover with at least two inches of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 35 minutes, or until lentils are just tender, not too chewy. Meanwhile, scrub and trim beet and cover in a saucepan with water. Boil (maybe with others too, for another use) until tender, about 30 minutes. When done, run cold water over them and slip off the skin. Cut into pieces. Meanwhile still...sauté scapes in a little water until bright green and tender. Do not overcook. Remove from pan and chop into smaller pieces. Combine beet, vinegar, salt, pepper, scapes, mustard and ginger in a food processor or blender and whirl until more or less smooth. With the processor still running, pour in the oil in a pencil-width stream and let whirl until smooth and emulsified. Dollop on lentils in individual bowls, where tomatoes are hidden beneath the surface. Slice some avocado on top. This vinaigrette is quite thick because of the raisins. If you wish to serve it on a salad and not lentils, or if its consistency unnerves you, add 3 tablespoons oil or water and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. Enjoy! From the blog of Amanda Hawkins-Enchanted Fig adapted from Vegetarian Planet

 

Beets with Lemon, Cilantro and Mint

These herbs also flatter the versatile beet.  Sever 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.