January 7, 2020

 

What’s in this Week’s

VEGGIE BOX: Broccoli, Kale, Carrots, Arugula, Fennel, Spinach and Butternut Squash

What’s in your FRUIT BAG? Meyer Lemons, Oranges, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Almonds

 

This week on the Farm

Oh what a beautiful day to start the new year of vegetable deliveries for the 2020. The roaring 20’s once again, only in a new freshness with the unknown in front of us. We took our two week holiday, a time to celebrate the season of winter with family and friends, but also a time for all of us at the farm to shut down from the farms day to day routine. A time to take a breath, care take the other sides of our selves, to find a place for rejuvenation and strength to start another season, another year and decade. This year is going to take us down different roads creating another decade unique to us all. This is not the same as any other year, we at the farm are facing new challenges, Jeff and my aging, our personal transitions and the farm management transitions along with the continue difficulties with labor issues that seem to not find solutions. We all knew much of this was coming, but it is roaring upon us quite rapidly. On the other side of this human perspective, the farm is the steady rock in the midst of winter solitude with the silence of dormant orchards, the fields slowly growing with the winter warm days, the hills west of us turning from the California golden brown to a furry blush of green.

            With these transitions we have started (yesterday) a weekly farm meeting to discuss what is happening each week so everyone is in the know what everyone else if thinking and feeling pressure with. In the past it has been just Jeff and I juggling these daily, weekly decisions, but with the girls working closer with us we feel that we need to make sure there is a clear open line of communication happening. Even to include our son and his wife Zach and Nicole who are not part of the daily operation, but are still a part of what is happening here, and they are on the verge of building a house on the “Back Ten” property where the winter vegetables are growing.

            So it is exciting to start a new year, yes it mostly feels overwhelming, and much of it seems impossible to make the adjustments that might be upon us. But I feel like new dreams are being formed, starting to incubate, the seeds are being planted for a whole new set of possibilities and we have a few moments here to spend time contemplating them, planning, scheming, but come spring (in February) we will once again be in the throes of the farm full force so we had better get our ducks lined up as best we can. Have a great week, season, and year and here we go~Annie

 

 

HOW DIVIRSIFIVED FARMS RESHAPE WILD BIRD COMMUNITIES

When a group from UC Davis or other schools asks to do a study on the farm, we generally say yes and let them use our farm for research. This study was done in the 2016-2017 which our farm was one of the 52 farms surveyed. We don’t always know how they turn out, or take the time to review the results, but we just received the conclusion of the study at the end of this year. It was a long scientific report so I pulled out what I thought you might find interesting. I am always am curious in our bird population; we have seen it dramatically change since we first started farming here on an open field, and I know both Jeff and I find that while we farm for food production, we feel an immense need to create habitat for the wild animal population at the same time.

 

How do Highly Diversified Farming Systems Reshape Wild Bird Communities by OLIVIA M. SMITH from the School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington.

Agricultural intensification is a leading threat to bird conservation. Highly diversified farming systems that integrate livestock and crop production might promote a diversity of habitats useful to native birds foraging across otherwise-simplified landscapes. At the same time, these features might be attractive to nonnative birds linked to a broad range of disservices to both crop and livestock production. We evaluated the influence of crop–livestock integration on wild bird richness and density along a north-south transect spanning the U.S. West Coast. We surveyed birds on 52 farms that grew primarily mixed vegetables and fruits alone or integrated livestock into production.

RESULTS

We detected 11,597 individual birds from 134 species. The most abundant were European Starling, Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus), and American Robin (Turdus migratorius). We detected one species that is redlisted, the Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi), and 31 that are listed as sensitive, threatened, or endangered by the U.S. federal government or by state agencies in at least one of the states in the study region. We observed one or more individuals classified as sensitive, threatened, or endangered on all farms on at least one survey occasion.

Wild bird populations have continued to decline in agricultural landscapes due to intensified production so identifying in what systems and landscapes various agricultural diversification strategies are most effective for which species is crucial to inform agricultural policy aimed at conservation. We found farms with livestock attracted non-native birds, which were also most abundant on farms in less natural landscapes. Farms with livestock had more diverse and abundant native birds in less natural landscapes, while farms with only crops had more birds in more natural landscapes. This could be because more diversified crop-livestock farms can provide limited resources to birds in less natural landscapes such as food and nesting areas, whereas birds in more natural landscapes can obtain resources from the natural habitat around a farm and may not utilize the actual farm as much. We also found that smaller farms had more birds per farmed area, which could be due to smaller fields and greater per-area habitat diversity. On an average Good Humus had more wild and non native birds than on other farms. Good to know! And if we incorporate an animal component to the farm that might change the average even more.

 

Roasted Squash Soup with Turkey Croquettes

Leftover turkey, breadcrumbs and egg combine to make crisp croquettes that nestle in velvety squash soup.

Soup:

2 pound squash

1-tablespoon honey

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1-teaspoon oil

¾ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped carrot

¼ cup finely chopped celery

3 garlic cloves minced

4 cups chicken broth

1-cup milk

¼ teaspoon salt

Croquettes

2 cups cooked turkey finely chopped

1-¼ cups breadcrumbs divided

2 tablespoons milk

1-½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage

½ teaspoon salt

1 large egg beaten

1 egg white

 2-½ tablespoons oil divided

Preheat oven to 400

Cut squash in half, discard seeds and membrane. Place squash cut sides up on a baking dish. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour or until tender, cool. Scoop out squash with spoon and discard skin. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat; add onion, carrots celery, and garlic, and sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Remove ¾ cup vegetable, set aside. Add broth cook over medium heat for 12 minutes. Stir in squash, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Place soup in food processor, until smooth, add milk salt and pepper, and set aside. To prepare croquettes, combine reserved vegetables, turkey, ¼ cup breadcrumbs and next 6 ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm. Shape into patties, press patties onto breadcrumbs. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add patties cook 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove keep warm, repeat with remaining patties. Reheat soup; divide among 6 bowls, top with croquettes. Garnish with sage.

 

Arugula Salad with Broiled Lemon

This salad uses sugared broiled lemons to add sweet and tart to sharp arugula for a refreshing, addictive salad.

2 lemons

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

3 tablespoon lemon crushed extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

6 – 8 cups arugula

Scrub lemons clean and slice them as thinly as possible. Put the slices and any juice you can wrangle from the cutting board into a medium bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar and a teaspoon of salt. Toss to combine everything and to dissolve the sugar and salt. Let lemons sit at least 1 hour and up to a day. Heat your broiler. Cover a baking pan with foil. Spread the lemon slices in as single a layer as possible given the number of slices and the size of your pan. Drizzle any juice in the bowl over the lemons. Broil lemons until they start to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. In a large salad bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and any juices left from the pan of broiled lemons. Taste and add salt to taste if you like.  Add the arugula to the bowl and toss to coat with the dressing. Top with the broiled lemon slices and serve.

 

Broccoli & Carrots with Toasted Almonds

Toast the almonds and blanch the vegetables a day ahead to ease the preparation during the day’s rush.

1/3 cup sliced almonds

1 pound 1-inch diagonally cut carrots about 3 cups

6 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon butter

¼ cup finely chopped onions or shallots

½ cup turkey stock

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan and bake for 7 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Cool completely and set aside. Place carrots in a large saucepan of boiling water, cook 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Plunge into ice water and drain. Place broccoli in boiling water cook 2 minutes, drain and plunge in ice water, drain. Melt the butter in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté 2 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add carrots, broccoli, turkey stock, salt and pepper, cover and cook 6 minutes or until carrots and broccoli are crisp tender. Sprinkle with almonds, serve immediately. Yield 12 1/3 cup servings

 

Braised Fennel and Greens

The natural sweetness of fennel makes it a good partner for greens like kale, mustard, turnip, beet or collards.

¼ cup olive oil

1 medium onion minced

1 medium fennel about 1 pound, fronds removed, minced and reserved (1 tablespoon): bulb trimmed, halved and thinly sliced

Salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 pound spaghetti

¾ pound greens, washed thoroughly and chopped

¼ cup parmesan cheese. Plus more for passing

Heat oil in large braising pan with cover. Add onion; sauté over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in fennel, sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add ½ cup water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium low heat until fennel is tender, about 8 minutes longer. Stir in vinegar; simmer to blend flavors 1 minute longer. Adjust seasoning. Meanwhile bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta return to boil, add kale; continue to cook until pasta is al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain pasta and greens; toss with fennel mixture and cheese. Transfer portions to warm pasta bowls, garnish with minced fennel fronds and serve immediately with more cheese passed separately.