July 14, 2020
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Summer Squash, Purple Basil, Red Long Beans, Peaches, Cherry Tomatoes, Chard, Topped Beets
Bread this week: Barbari or Round Lavain
Fruit Special Orders Options
Peaches: 1 layer box for $30
Please email us with your order to email@example.com and we will deliver to your location next week July 21st.
This Week on The Farm
It is midsummer here at the farm, the summer solstice is usually considered midsummer, but it really is a month early. We are in the midst of harvesting everything from peaches, plums, squash, cucumber, string and long beans, basil, eggplant has begun, potatoes are waiting (not too patiently) to be dug, green onions and looking great, and finally we are starting to see the first of the cherry and soon the large slicing tomatoes coming in. What a bounty this hot Mediterranean climate can produce, with water and tending we are in the flow of the overflowing cornucopia of California. With the start of apricot season everything and everyone starts to shift from trying to get all the projects completed, water lines laid, plants transplanted or seeded, beds weeded, because once the fruit harvest starts everything, did I say everything, yes everything else gets dropped. There is a hope, a pinch, a spark of possibilities that we can finish tying the tomatoes, or staking the beans, putting those waterlines on the next squash plantings but if one were a realist and not a romantic they would know there is no chance of finishing those tasks. And indeed there is not a chance because we are harvesting, sorting, washing, packing the bounty form 6am to 6,7,8,9pm. If you want to find Jeff he is in the squash or cucumber patch, Rogelio will be in the fruit trees, Francisco in the basil or cherry tomatoes, Celia in the flower and herb patch, Ali well she is the hardest to find, as she is like a humming bird and is all over the farm harvesting, Claire and I will be in the packing shed doing the tail end of the job of getting all the produce into the cooler.
I will be honest to say that midsummer does bring exhaustion, long days, and yes sometimes short tempers or the inability to let comments roll off easily. And the remedy to that is someone saying to the other “its midsummer, just remember it is midsummer” this too will pass. And that helps bring the reality to light, that we are a team working to bring the midsummer harvest onto our tables and yes that is sure a pleasure to eat the bounty of summer.
In years past I was sure that summer would kill me, that this time I would not make it to the fall, I would say to Jeff “I will never do that again”, I have was always frightened of the summer months. Year after year, I would make it to fall one way or another until finally I realized I might get exhausted but I most likely would not die from the long hot days of summer. That may sound dramatic, and it probably is, but I much prefer the freshness of spring, or smell and feeling of fall or cozy months of winter to the days of long days summer, except of course for the eating delights that summer provides. This year as we were all racing, pushing in the spring to do all those pre-summer projects, Ali said to me “I am really looking forward to summer, to the challenge of the harvest”. Huh, now that is a new perspective, and what is so interesting is, that comment was infectious, she lives with the challenge, not the fear of what is to come, and it helped lightened my path some.
So here we are in midsummer, our heads have been down, noses to the earth harvesting away, as fast as we can, and as much as possible each day, I take a moment to look up beyond by hats shade and focus my eyes to see what is happening in the greater world of my garden. As I walk into my garden and see the grass a foot tall desperately needing to be mowed, I see fallen tree branches (I mean big tree branches) from the spring wind down in multiple places in my garden, I see the Bermuda grass, the survivor that it is marching quite rapidly to conquer the garden as fast as it can while I’m not looking. The nut grass is also doing the same, let’s got here and there, she won’t notice. Those wonderful Salavio Maffei heirloom beans that I so want to harvest so much and dedicated a newsletter to, never got onto a trellis, and are now climbing their neighbor the Cramers Amazon Celosia, and do I have to mention the weeds that are also going wild and free? And each day I water the nursery plants twice and have to work on not being depressed that all the baby herbs never got planted into the new garden space that is to this day new in my mind because it never got cleaned, tilled or bedded up. You know the list can never end to what was left unfinished at the start of Apricot season.
So here we are at the breakfast table, getting ready for another day, Jeff already off to conquer the squash and Ali and I are talking about midsummer. She stole a day to go to the beach, and last night I decided I needed to get out of Dodge and go to the Arboretum in Davis just to see a different world. And somehow I was complaining about all of the above, and what I have not gotten done, and what a wreak my garden is, and how a few Peach Parties ago I asked our guest not to judge me by my unkempt garden (that looked pretty much the way it does today). Right there Ali stopped me, raised her voice and said “YOUR GARDEN IS BEAUTIFUL”. “You never see how beautiful your garden is you always see the work that needs to get done and forget to see what is.” Your beans are full, incredibly healthy, the Celosia is strong, and she went to every area and said what was good about my garden. Ahh, such wisdom in such a young one, she must have the “force within her”. It was a bit of a slap, but you know a necessary one, because it is so easy to see the negative but somewhat harder to see the beauty of what surrounds our lives. And she is right, my garden (once mowed) is lush (with weeds) is there waiting for my return, but alive and well and as I have my nose to the ground to avoid the hot sun I am dreaming of the time that I will have to put in that new herb garden, release my plants from the marching Bermuda grass, and in the meantime enjoy the serenity shade and green beauty of what I have created. Most importantly the message that I want to share is that what is different from past midsummer’s is that there are four of us working together with our crew to get the harvest in, and we are working well, feeling like a cogged wheel going round smoothly, backing each other up when in need, but a team, each bringing different perspectives that can bring us exhausted but proud and content to the finish line of fall. Eat well my friends, and do enjoy your week~Annie
Peach Salad with Tomatoes and Beets
2 medium-sized beets
2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon honey
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
3 medium peeled peaches, sliced
3 tablespoons small fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 425°. Scrub beets and trim tops to 1 inch. Place beets in a glass or ceramic baking dish; fill dish one-third full with water. Cover with foil; bake at 425° for 1 hour or until beets are tender. Cool. Peel beets, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Core tomatoes; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the beet and tomato slices on a platter; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, oil, 1 tablespoon juice, honey, and shallot in a medium bowl. Toss peach slices with remaining 1 tablespoon juice. Add peach mixture to honey mixture; toss. Mound peach mixture on top of beet and tomato slices; sprinkle salad with the mint, thyme, and goat cheese.
2 cups packed tender young basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
1 teaspoon salt
2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with flat blade of a knife
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese,
Salt to taste
½ pound small potatoes, peeled & sliced 1/4-inch thick
¼ pound tender young green beans cut into 1-inch lengths
1 pound trenette, or other long, thin pasta
Make pesto: In the bowl of food processor, add basil, pine nuts, salt and garlic. Pulse until mixture is coarse and grainy. With the motor running, add oil in slow, steady stream. Add cheese; process just enough to mix well. If sauce is too dry, add a little more oil. Taste; add more cheese or salt, if desired. Bring 6 quarts water to rolling boil. Add at least 2 tablespoons salt and the potato slices. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until potatoes have started to soften but are not cooked through. Add green beans, and continue boiling another 5 minutes. Add pasta, and stir. Start testing pasta at 5 minutes. When it is done, and when potatoes and beans are tender, drain and turn pasta and vegetables immediately into preheated bowl. Add pesto, and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.
Creamy Cherry Tomato & Summer Squash Pasta
½ pound whole grain rotini or fusilli or penne pasta
1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
2 medium yellow squash, quartered vertically and then sliced into ¼-inch wide wedges
1 medium zucchini, quartered vertically and then sliced into ¼-inch wide wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
1 small clove garlic
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. On the baking sheet, toss the whole cherry tomatoes and sliced zucchini and squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer (or as close to a single layer as possible). Roast for about 25 minutes, tossing halfway, until the cherry tomatoes have burst and the squash is tender. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. While the pasta is hot, add the lemon juice, butter, goat cheese, garlic and red pepper flakes to the pot. Add about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and gently toss the pasta until the ingredients are evenly mixed together and the pasta is coated in a light sauce (add more reserved cooking water if the pasta seems dry). Once the tomatoes and squash are out of the oven, add them to the pot along with all of the tomato juices. Gently toss once again to combine. Season to taste with salt (I added more than ½ teaspoon) and freshly ground pepper, then sprinkle chopped basil over the pasta and divide into individual serving bowls. Serve immediately.
Shrimp with Ginger-Garlic Red Noodle Beans
1 pound red noodle or Chinese long beans, trimmed and cut into 4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup mirin (sweet rice wine)
2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add beans to pan; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well; pat dry.
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat; add oil to pan. Add beans and ginger; stir-fry 3 minutes or until beans start to brown. Add garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add shrimp; stir-fry 3 minutes. Combine mirin, soy sauce, and Sriracha in a small bowl. Add mirin mixture to bean mixture; cook 1 minute, tossing to coat. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.