July 13th, 2021

 

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Cherry Tomatoes, Kale, Nectarines, Green Onions, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, And Eggplant

 

Bread this week: Walnut OR Round Lavain, your choice of one

 

 

If you placed an order for peaches, please look for the box with your name on it. They ALL have names, so if you don’t see it, look on the back of the box. If you do not see your name please email and we will help you. Please do not take another box with someone else’s name. If you are having someone new pick up for you, please tell them what to look for.

 

Special Order

~ Suncrest Peaches~

 

1sts-1 layer flat - $30                                                    2nds- 1 Layer Flat (Softer) - $25

 

Please have you order in by Friday July 9th at 5PM, we will drop them off next week at your drop location.

 

 

This Week on the Farm

Well, it is nice to be back writing the newsletter.  My daughters and wife have set down their pens for the week and let Dad fill a few moments. Seems hard to believe that I can go several weeks without discussing farm life with you all and they fill in so admirably. It boggles my mind to think back to 1993 and the start of the CSA box and the weekly newsletters. Handwritten in cursive, duplicated at the copier in the drugstore on the corner near our first drop in Sacramento, and put in the boxes in the parking lot there. Annie still goes back on occasion to those first years for some inspiration when time runs short for this week’s newsletter. What she finds often is that we do tend to talk about the things that legend and myth ascribe to farmer’s conversations, namely weather, crops, prices, soil and equipment.  And while life choices, society morals and values, financial and information systems and our relationship to the earth continue to evolve, farmer’s conversations still revolve around those mundane subjects that form the essentials of our relationship to the land and it’s magnificent processes from which we all fulfill our most basic and necessary needs. 

            So what about the crops?  I look out over our planted sections and I see an explosion coming.  Not hard to see, it happens every year. Big heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, tied to their posts, looking very well cared for, stretch in 300 ft rows that are filled with nearly ripe tomatoes, green tomatoes, half-size tomatoes, button tomatoes, tomato flowers, and growing vines. Beautiful! Exciting! And daunting in a hold-on-to-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of way.  A vibrant growing half acre of 5-6 ft tall tomatoes creates its own microclimate down in the rows. In shade or sun, the humidity, lack of wind and heat create the toughest conditions for picking on the farm and the perfect conditions for ripening this essentially tropical fruit.  Not much politics in there.

            I have so many personal favorites, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini, slicing cucumbers,… items that I have spent entire summers picking and that have rewarded our family with their support for years.  Big sweet red onions and a pungent variety of garlic, three different potatoes, and each vegetable variety selected through the years for taste first and eye catching appeal second.  Peaches, nectarines, apricots,...California’s world famous stone fruit that led me into farming in the first place. These are all part of the summer onslaught that leaves us drained but with an intense satisfaction in having completed an overwhelming job sometime in September or October. I do wish that I could take the time to tell you the lengthy process by which each of those named crops and a dozen more like them just in the summer have come into our lives. Some like potatoes took several failures and seeking advice to finally grow well. Some like sweet red onions, I grew up watching grow in my Dad’s garden, and those memories were sufficient to grow onions he would be proud of.  And then there are those like apples and grapes, which I grow year after year, fail year after year, but continue on just because the sight of them and the potential each year that this might be the year won’t allow me to let go.  Maybe next year will be the year…

            You have been hearing a little bit about the challenges that we have faced this year, and I can tell you that it is only in details that it differs from all other years.  But now all that has been passed through and we are approaching the summer harvest, indescribable in intensity, in stress, in reward, and in vulnerability. And the thing that has not changed since 1993 is that for the next three months… (hooboy, sticking my neck out here for the fates to chop off!) for the next three months you will get some of the best food California is capable of bringing to you. Our promise is that we will do everything that we can do to do our part to get it to you. Thanks for all you do and have a great week ~ Jeff

 

 

Penne Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Olive

Source: Barefeet in the kitchen

 

8 ounces mini penne pasta or regular penne pasta

4 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt, adjust to taste

1 teaspoon fresh black pepper, adjust to taste

2 cups cucumbers, chopped small

6 ounce can whole black olives, drained and halved

1/4 cup red onion, sliced very thin and chopped small

10 large fresh basil leaves, sliced very thin

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped small

Bring a large pot of water to a boil along with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, but do not rinse the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, combine the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium-size bowl. Stir and let sit while assembling the rest of the salad.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the cucumbers, olives, red onion, and cooked pasta. Add the tomatoes and all of the juices from the bowl. Stir to coat everything in the dressing. Sprinkle with basil and parsley and toss again. Taste the salad and add more salt and pepper as needed. Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

Polenta Bowl with Garlicky Summer Squash & Kale

Source: Dishing up the Dirt

 

Polenta 

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup instant polenta

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Garlicky Summer Squash & Kale

2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 medium-small summer squash, cut into thin rounds

1 (14.5 ounce) can chickpeas, drained

1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed and torn into pieces

Fried eggs for serving

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water plus the salt to a boil. While the polenta water heats up prepare the other veggies. Heat 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute. Add the garlic, summer squash and chickpeas. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the summer squash and chickpeas are golden brown and the mixture is fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the veggies from the pan to a large bowl, (no need to wipe out the pan.) Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of the oil. Toss in the kale and cook, stirring often, until the kale is bright green and beginning to brown up a bit, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low, add the squash and chickpea mixture back to the pan and keep on very low heat. While the veggies cook fry a few eggs in some olive oil until the whites are set and the yokes are still slightly runny. Meanwhile, add the polenta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Add the parmesan and butter and divide the polenta between bowls. Top each bowl with the veggie mixture, fried eggs, salt and pepper, pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, and extra Parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

Cherry Tomato Pico De Gallo

Source: Better Homes & Garden

 

3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered

¾ cup finely chopped unpeeled cucumber 

½ cup finely chopped red onion

3 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice 

2 teaspoons finely chopped serrano chile peppers seeded if desired

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 

½ teaspoon kosher salt

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. If desired, season to taste with additional lime juice and salt.

 

Marinated Eggplant with Orzo

Source: Nicole Coudal from My delicious Blog

 

Marinade

1/2 c. Low sodium soy sauce

1/2 c. Rice vinegar

3Tb. Light brown sugar

3-4 cloves Garlic, finely minced

1" piece Fresh ginger, peeled & grated (or finely minced)

1/8 tsp. Fresh black pepper

Veggies

6-8 Small/medium eggplant stems removed, skin-on, cut into 1/2" chunks 

1 medium Red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or small pieces

8-10 Fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 medium Zucchini, cut into thin strips or small pieces

2 Tb. Vegetable oil (divided)

3-4 Tb. Toasted sesame seeds or chopped green onions

Orzo, brown rice or pasta (prepare according to package directions for 4 servings)

Whisk marinade ingredients in a large bowl and allow to sit a few minutes so the brown sugar dissolves. Add eggplant pieces to marinade; mix well. Cover and leave at room temperature about 20 minutes. Prepare orzo (or brown rice or pasta) according to package directions for 4 servings. When cooked, drain and/or set aside and keep warm until ready to combine with veggies. Add vegetable oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms and cook until tender and slightly brown (about 5 minutes). Transfer veggies to a large mixing bowl and cover to keep warm. In the same pan, over medium heat, add 1 Tb. vegetable oil, then eggplant pieces (but leave the marinade in the bowl). Cook and stir eggplant until the edges are brown and pieces are soft (about 5 minutes). Then add 3-4 tablespoons of the marinade, cover the pan, turn off the heat and allow it to sit 8-10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant (and any liquid) to the mixing/serving bowl; add the cooked orzo/rice/pasta. Add several tablespoons of the remaining marinade, mix, taste, and keep adding a little at a time, to taste. Add salt, if needed. Top with toasted sesame seeds or chopped green onions (optional) and serve.

 

NECTARINE THYME-TINI

1 nectarine

1 oz. thyme infused simple syrup

2 oz. gin (or vodka)

1/2 oz. St. Germain liqueur

1/2 lime, juiced

1 oz. club soda

Puree nectarine and simple syrup in blender. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a spatula to get all the juice out of the pulp. You should have about 2 ounces. Reserve puree juice and throw out the remaining pulp. You can skip the straining if you don’t mind the pulp in your cocktail. Add puree to cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin or vodka, St. Germain, lime juice, and club soda. Shake well and strain into martini glass. Garnish with sprig of thyme.