June 15, 2021
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Red Sweet Onions, Kale, Carrots, Zucchini, Spearmint, Potatoes, and Apricots
Bread this week: French Baguette OR Lavain, your choice of one
Apricots Special Orders:
If you ordered a box for today it will be there for you today. Please double check to make sure you are taking the box with your name on it.
This Week on the Farm
One of the more beautiful characteristics of farmers that I have seen, is that often times they are closeted (or not) romantics. You might come across an old farmer at the market, and see his or her sun leathered, stress wrinkled face, with tattered dirty clothes, and find it hard to see this human as a dreamer, but from my experience, they are. It may take some time to access that portion of the old farmer, but it is the avenue of survival on the farmer’s journey.
I am always a little surprised at myself when life on the farm here is spiraling, weeds are winning, animals are invading, insects are overwhelming, but I can look at a field of potatoes coming on and think, “wow, look at us go!” This year is no different. We are experiencing an unprecedented amount of stress and uncertainty, but in the midst of a fabulous apricot harvest, I can look into my picking bucket and feel nothing but success and hope. I can look to our tomatoes, which Rojelio and I spent a Saturday planting, two whole weeks ahead of last year, and forget that half of our zucchini and cucumber crop got eaten by squirrels. All I feel is validated by my extra effort, and dream about that first big juicy heirloom on the lunch table.
For me, the lesson I have learned and settled into is to release my need for control. The world of science and education pushes us into controlling whatever it is we are studying, breaking down each part so we can dissect the problem and come up with a solution. This is NOT how farming works and it has taken me some time to understand that. One of my favorite pastimes while on the farm, or talking with neighboring farmers, is to discuss why one of the many problems occurred. Whether it was the tomatoes dying, the cucumbers being misshapen, or the zinnias wilting, we all sit around and speculate as to what it COULD be. Then, after the appropriate amount of time, with no conclusion, or each a different conclusion, we just sort of part ways and keep moving on. I believe conventional farming is the result of farmers being unwilling to let go of that control, and organic farming being the opposite. We plant in a manner that makes us resilient to loss and more able to weather the storm. We accept a certain amount of damage from pests, and try our best to just keep moving when inevitably a new wrench is thrown at us each season. Flexibility and resiliency are the organic farmer’s tools, and of course, dreams.
The future of California’s agrarian industry seems dire today, it’s hard to imagine how we can possibly survive the climate we are heading into, but the dreamer in me latches to our resiliency as a small diverse farm, with our ability to be flexible, and change with the times, and hope for a really really reaallllyyy rainy winter. So, I wake up early, climb the ladders into the last couple days of our Apricot harvest, smell the fruit, enjoy the cool morning breeze, and relish the moment of success.
I do also want to add, that while everything I have talked about is very true, I also believe we are in a time that needs action, and to address the manner in which Californian Agriculture is operating. While we do get very wrapped up in our day to day labors here, it is absolutely essential that we keep our eyes on the horizon, to our community, and be actively working towards a more sustainable and secure future. This will be an ongoing conversation for future newsletters as we adjust to an ever changing drier, warmer climate. Have a great week! ~Ali
Stay Cool this week!
Sparkling Apricot Mint Sours
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup simple syrup
12 fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 cup apricot nectar
12 ounces gin
Crushed ice, for serving
For the sour mix: Mix together the lemon juice, lime juice and simple syrup. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Muddle the mint in a pitcher with the sugar. Pour in the apricot nectar, gin and sour mix and mix until combined. Serve in rocks glasses over crushed ice. Top with splashes of prosecco and garnish with mint sprigs.
Kale & Mint Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing
1 bunch kale, chopped very small, almost minced
1 cup fresh mint, minced
1 cup walnuts, chopped
For the spicy peanut dressing
3 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
Toss the chopped kale, chopped mint and the walnuts together. If you haven't made the dressing yet, do that next. Put the peanut butter, warm water, garlic, rice wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, soy sauce, minced ginger, sesame oil and red chili flakes into a blender and whirl away at high speed until everything is smooth.
Toss the dressing with the salad. Maybe not all at one time. Pour and toss about half of the dressing and then decide if it needs more.
Dairy free potato kale soup
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced or press
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 - 15 oz. cans whole coconut milk, well-shaken
2 cups vegetable broth
4 cups red potatoes, cubed
½ to 1 Tablespoon sea salt, to taste
1 Tablespoon black pepper
2 cups kale
For Coconut Bacon (Optional)
1 cup coconut shreds
1 Tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
Soup: In a large pot, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to medium low. Add onion and thyme. Sauté for 5 minutes until onion is softened. Add garlic and sauté 3 minutes.
Add white wine vinegar and stir quickly to deglaze the pot.
Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Decrease heat to simmer and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes. Scoop out 2 cups of the soup from the pot and add to a blender. Give it a quick pulse, then pour back into the pot. Add kale and stir to combine. Cover and cook 5 minutes minutes until kale is tender and wilted. Serve it up with warm baguette, crispy coconut bacon, fresh herbs, or whatever you fancy – then enjoy! Coconut Bacon: Preheat oven to 325º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine tamari/soy sauce, maple syrup, pepper, and paprika in a small mason jar and shake well to combine. You could also whisk it together in a bowl, but I find the mason jar method so much easier! Add coconut shreds to a Ziploc bag and pour in the liquid mixture. Shake well to make sure it's all coated. Spread the shreds onto the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. Do NOT overcook. They crisp up as they cool.
Slow-Cooked Moroccan Chicken
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 large onions, halved and sliced
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut up, skin removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots (Might work with fresh)
1/2 cup raisins
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon pepper
Hot cooked couscous
Place carrots and onions in a greased 5-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle chicken with salt; add to slow cooker. Top with apricots and raisins. In a small bowl, whisk broth, tomato paste, flour, lemon juice, garlic and seasonings until blended; add to slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low until chicken is tender, 6-7 hours. Serve with hot cooked couscous.
POTATO AND CARROT MASH
3 med carrots Carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
4 med Potato, peeled and cut into rough chunks/cubed
1/4 cup Milk
1 tbsp Butter
Place the carrot and potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer until very tender (around 20 mins) Drain the potato and carrots and return to the pan. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and milk together. Add to the potato and carrots and mash until smooth. Season to taste.
CARROTS & POTATOES ROASTED W/ ONION AND GARLIC
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 cloves garlic, diced
6 tablespoons butter, melted
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine carrots, potatoes, onion and garlic with melted butter in 8x8" square glass pan. Season generously with salt and pepper, toss. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, stir and continue baking for another 30 minutes (or until browned to your satisfaction), stirring occasionally to lift bottom portions to top to allow to brown and crisp.
Lamb Pasta with Kale & Mint Pesto
1 lb. lumache or other medium-size shell pasta
3 cups chopped stemmed kale
2 cups fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 lb. ground lamb
1/4 cup crumbled feta
In large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water. In food processor, puree kale, mint, oil, and garlic; season pesto. In skillet, cook lamb over high heat, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes; season. Mix in pasta, pesto, and feta.