June 29, 2021
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Red Onions, Collards, Carrots, Zucchini, Rosemary, Potatoes, Garlic and Peaches
Bread this week: Garlic Parmesan OR Sourdough Baguette, your choice of one
These are the last carrots of the season; we hope you have enjoyed them!!
This Week on the Farm
This last week officially brought the first day of summer, although here in California we have a jump started on the seasons. We are in the middle of the year with the longest days, with it brings light so bright it can chase away shadows. Summer is a time of transformation and acceptance, a purifying time that can create new opportunities. The sun is, literally, all fire. It is a time to soak up all that fierce, intense, electrifying, invigorating, exhilarating energy. The solstice represents a time for us to reflect on ourselves, to realize what we need to do to meet our long-term goals and do the things that suit us. It's a motivating time to start something new.
That all sounds good, exciting, and certainly true in this expanding time we are now in. We can travel again, go camping, free to chat at the market…mostly, and give each other hugs once again. We are searching for what is our new normal, what do we want to bring back into our lives and what do we want to shed from our past normal lives. I really feel that this is a potential turning point, an opportunity to take the fork in the path of life…if we want to.
I think you may have gotten some insights from past newsletters as to what has been happening here at the farm these past several months. We are finding ourselves in the position of redefining Good Humus Produce on so many levels. The pandemic forced our two girls to step up into the management rolls, sooner than they were ready, as Jeff and I as older members of the team were forced to step back and stay home. Ali has become the person that folks see at the CSA delivery sites as she drops off boxes. Claire is the one you communicate with and hear from week to week about special orders. Zach is also part of the partnership even though he does not work on a day to day basis at the farm, he is part of the decision making, and does what he can when he is not working for CALFIRE. He has been showing up on Fridays and helping where ever he can, even bunching flowers with us until late in the eve. He is good at trouble shooting mechanics, a quick lawn mow, or doing research for us for a new vehicle, or equipment that is needed. The three of them have stepped gracefully into their positions, each taking very much a leadership role. They are each learning to navigate each other as siblings and as team partners and we all are working on leaving a sole proprietorship to a five person partnership as a business. That means Jeff and I need to learn letting go of the sole decision making, and needing to talk it through with the kids. Sometimes that works, but mostly it is all a learning work in progress.
This year has brought new challenges to Good Humus besides working on farm succession and a transition. In fact it feels like transformation is the new norm for us and it keeps coming round even after each new challenge arises. We had main underground water pipes breaking in the spring that stopped the irrigation for about four days while Jeff was digging, cutting, gluing and repairing the 6 inch pipes. We navigated that with some innovative irrigation lines set up to try to keep the water flowing. It took us awhile to realize that there was not going to be enough winter rains coming, even in the spring time and that we are in a full blown drought. We were late in getting the orchard and perennial trees water they needed, and defiantly saw the effects of lack of winter water on crops, so we started irrigating more to make up for it. At the kitchen sink one morning the water was murky and started sputtering air…hmmm better check that out to see what is happening to the well. It seems it is the year of water, or lack of water. That sputtering was the sign that our pump was not always sucking water, but sometimes pulling air. Meaning that we have a major problem! With a few weeks of waiting for the pump company to find well pipe extensions were able to lower the “bowls” of the pump down 65 feet. We have seen in the last few months a decline in our water lever of 13 feet a month. It is hard to not throw blame to what is happening in the agriculture community. But what we are seeing are many new huge almond orchards going on what was once non irrigated dry farm land. And of course they are putting in deep 1000 foot wells, meaning there are more straws, longer straws than ours sucking up our ground water. So the drought is here this year, but extensive additional agriculture is here also. The water situation is no longer a problem of the future that we can deal with later…if we want to continue farming we need to rethink how we will farm with a limited water supply. So that has brought up a completely new conversation for our partnership. It’s exciting to be thinking of how to be innovative with new systems for drought farming, implementing no till practices, what crops will survive little water. Yet it is very scary and it has been a subconscious burdened for a very long time that we can no longer live in denial.
Ok, so here we are, looking to a new future adjusting to drought, long term water issues, getting our heads adjusted for the fork we are taking here…and then the cooler unit dies during three consecutive days at 110 degrees. Jeff is gone to Santa Rosa, and it is just the girls and I at home to solve a problem. I noticed that the cooler was warm on Wednesday, and then Thursday morning with the last 75 or so boxes of apricots in the cooler, flowers, produce everything sitting in 60-70 degree temperatures. Here is the story, the girls are young and sharp, Ali is a bossy, headstrong smart cookie and takes the reins. She calls our refrigeration man and gets him out. Claire contacts the Co-ops and sells all that she can; I contacted Apple Farm who has already taken 200 cases of apricots to see if they want more. Claire sells away the cases, Apple Farm come to the rescue, and our farming neighbors Jim and Deborah Durst open their cooler doors to us as we need. We cancel the farmers market and by Friday night at 9:30pm our coolers are up and running again. It was a sight to behold, watching our two girls navigate the catastrophe. Ali literally was all fire; she was full of fierce, intense, energy getting the problem solved. Claire stepped back and was her solid silent support person that she is; she backed up Ali doing everything she could to help. It was something to see, proof in the pudding that they can handle this farm and all the wrenches it throws at us from all directions. One conversation Ali had with Jim Durst as she was putting cases into their cooler was about water, and how will we navigate the future. Jim told Ali that whatever we do, that we cannot go out of business and that if we ever needed land with water, cooler space, equipment that Durst Farms is there for us, just ask. Now that puts community into perspective, there is a glimpse of what role we play here and Ali and Claire both heard Jim, that as a new young farmers what being a part of a farming community means.
Meanwhile as we are dealing with coolers, water, the deer, turkeys, squirrels, and birds are dealing with their own issues of water and food and have moved into the center of the farm. We have lost so much to the wildlife this year, so much that we are going to have to put up permanent fencing around the farm. The squirrels have eaten half our squash patch, all of our sunflowers for cutting, any lower branches on any of the trees; it is almost like what has the wildlife not eaten?
And one last mention and not meaning the least at all, our labor situation as been difficult for the last five years, so we rely more than heavily on our crew that is here. Francisco has taken his wife to Mexico for medical treatment for Diabetes and back problems, and has been gone for several weeks. Francisco at age 75 has been the backbone of the farm since 1980, he loves to hoe and do his part, and as the tomatoes are starting to ripen we are hoping that his wife is getting the treatment necessary and that he will return soon, he is the sole cherry tomato picker extraordinaire. Celia, our shop manager, flower picker and Jill of all trades has not been able to come to work this past week, as her husband had a stroke and she has been by his side in the hospital helping him recover. We are a family here, backing up each other when in need, trying to help each other during life crisis. In moments it is overwhelming, other moments we keep sight of the extraordinary beauty of the vibrant life that surrounds us, looking for the positive energy that keeps the summer flame going. We are blessed~ Have a GREAT week ~Annie
Peach Bourbon Cocktail with Rosemary
Author: Kathryn, WornSlapout
For the simple syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup rosemary leaves (about 4-5 large sprigs)
To make the cocktail:
2 peaches, peeled, seed removed and chopped
2 Tablespoons rosemary simple syrup
3 ounces bourbon (or 2 shots)
½ lemon, squeezed
Sliced peaches and sprigs of rosemary, optional for garnish
To make simple syrup, combine sugar, water, and rosemary leaves in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring until all of the sugar dissolves. Simmer for another couple of minutes, then remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes before straining. Once simple syrup is cooled, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. In a food processor, combine the peaches, simple syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon. Process for about 15 seconds or until mixture is smooth. Pour cocktail into two glasses and top with ice. Enjoy with rosemary and peach garnish.
Crock Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds red potatoes, cut into 2 inch pieces 1/2 cup sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Add chopped potatoes. Cover and cook 2-3 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Add sour cream, milk, garlic, salt, and pepper to potatoes. Use a hand mixer to blend together all ingredients.
Give them a taste and add more salt if desired. Serve plain, or with any favorite toppings such as gravy, or cheese and bacon
Kickin' Collard Greens
Author: Ken Adams, Allrecipes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound fresh collard greens, cut into 2-inch pieces
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to the pan. Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant. Add collard greens, and fry until they start to wilt. Pour in chicken broth, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender.
Caramelized Mushroom & Onion Bruschetta with Rosemary Aioli
Author: LOUBABY, Food52
1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar (cheap kind)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
16-18 ounces pkg Portobello Mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups sliced red onions (2 large)
2 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 French Baguette, 24-36 rounds
3/4 cup Mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 375. Mix vinegar, honey, sugar and rosemary in bowl. Reserve ½ cup marinade. Place mushrooms in shallow glass baking dish. Pour marinade over mushrooms, Cover with foil and bake til tender about 40 minutes. Remove mushrooms from marinade; cool slightly and chop. (Marinade can be saved for another time in refrigerator or discard.). Heat 2 Tbl oil in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Pour reserved ½ cup marinade over onions and cook until liquid is absorbed and onions are glazed, about 6 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms and mix lightly. Can be prepared 1 day in advance in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving. Char peppers until blackened in oven broiler or on grill; enclose in paper bag and let stand 10 minutes (or use jarred roasted peppers). Peel, seed and chop peppers. Combine peppers with shallot, basil and oil and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Can be prepared 1 day in advance in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.
Whisk all ingredients for aioli. Refrigerate ahead to blend flavors. Strain mixture in a small mesh strainer before placing in a plastic squeeze bottle. Just use a spoon if you don't have a squeeze bottle and you don't need to strain. Be sure to have your toppings at room temperature if not warm. You can warm them in the microwave. Preheat oven to 375. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Brush lightly with olive oil. Layer mushroom & onion mixture on Bruschetta; top with pepper mixture. Drizzle Bruschetta with a squirt of Rosemary Aioli.
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Onions
Author: Dora Daily, Dora’s Dish
8 Medium Red Potatoes Diced into large Bite-sized Pieces
1 Medium Onion Sliced thick
2 Tbs Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary
3 Cloves Finely Chopped Garlic
1 Cup Pepper Chopped into Bite-sized Pieces
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
Combine everything together in a bowl and mix together until evenly distributed. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are browned and tender.