March 19, 2019

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Lettuce, Escarole, Cilantro, Carrots, Collards, Oranges, Asparagus and Cauliflower

What’s in your FLOWER BOUQUET: Rosemary, Tulips, Anemones, Daffodils and Ranunculus

 

 

This Week on The Farm

It is a bit bright out these days; at the market customers were having a hard time seeing what was on our stand to buy with the bright sunshine glaring in their faces in the early morning. I know many have gotten pretty tired of the wet weather we have been experiencing, for me this cold wet weather has been like a shroud covering us for these winter months. It’s been darker longer more rainy than usual for our normally short winter here in California and with the passing of my mom in January I have to say that this weather has really helped me stay within myself and helped my grieving process. It’s been hard to go to market and be out-going with folks. Yet with this sunshine and warmth it feels like a brand new world, a bit dazzling and hard to wrap my brain around, but it is also easy to get excited by the sunshine and beautiful days. Like waking up from a long nap, a bit fuzzy getting started: where am I, which way to go, which project to start, which bed of plants to weed? Being lost and envelopedby the winter’s rain clouds, so much work has been left for the sunnier days. We are late in planting the greenhouse with veggies and flowers, which means I am behind in growing plants for our plant sale in April. A concern that I am not sure how to navigate, so I am right now just living with the hope that what we have planted will catch up, especially with the new bottom heating cables Jeff has put in the greenhouse. Maybe that warmth from below will give our summer veggies a boost that will make them grow with leaps and bounds and they will be nice and big for our April Plant Sale. But one cannot get away from what the sun shine is bringing: an explosion of flowers!!! On Sunday Jeff and I went out to do the daily tulip harvest, and the anemones and ranunculus were all wide open singing to the bright sun too. The apricot trees have delayed blooming (which is good I think, as they were not flowering during all the down pours) usually their blooms start the first week of March, they are just now finally in full bloom at the same time with the peaches. The flowering crabapples are ready to burst, and it just seems everything is coming to life all at once. It is my favorite time when I can look at the hills to the west of us with their vibrant velvety green folds and the oak trees right at this moment with that bright chartreuse color coming from their first leaves of the season. The soil is drying out quickly with the north breezes, the ground has a hard pounded thick crust tough to penetrate with a hoe or even the rototiller from all of the pounding rains, but we are starting to literally break ground. (Rogelio had to irrigate the carrot beds in order to pull them up for your box). We are beginning 

 

 

another season, getting ground ready for our summer plantings. Because of the rain we actually were not able to put in a mid-winter greens planting so it may be slim pickings for a while waiting from the next planting to reach maturity. Thank goodness for our neighbor and organic farmer Jim Durst for growing asparagus!

            These last two nights the girls and I have been going to Full Belly for dinner to join a group of women from Southern Oregon League of Women Farmers that are participating in a Woman in Ag Capay Valley farm tour. They all work on farms in and around the Williams, Ashland area and have been part of an organization to support women that work in agriculture for the past twelve years. Pretty neat, makes me wish we had created such a support group. Many of them are flower growers or are in charge of the flower portion of their farms.  I joined a flower CSA this last fall where I get packets of flower seeds 4 times a year, and I met the women that raise the seeds last evening! Well it is a small world as I hired her partner years ago to be the farmer at the Davis Waldorf School Farm, who since has gone on to farm and now grows vegetable seeds for his company Siskiyou Seeds. Our farming friends and colleagues Liz and Ryan moved to this same area 18 years ago and one of the women that is part of this group lives right next door to them grows medicinal herbs. Another woman knows Jeff’s brother from Medford who works in the forest reforestation in the Ashland watershed. It is a small world! But it is also exciting to sit and talk flowers, or medicinal herbs, I guess I could do that until the cows come home, and then some. They will be visiting Good Humus this afternoon, with a farm tour and talk about our farm preservation easement. We women from the Capay Valley that have joined the group are all ready to go north and visit and tour their farms-it has been a wonderful exchange. Have a great week~Annie

            

Escarole Salad with Apples, Blue Cheese 

This classic salad features fall flavors dressed with a light and tangy mustard-shallot vinaigrette. 

6 ounces pecans, coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups) 

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 

1 tablespoon minced shallot 

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 

1 teaspoon sugar 

1/4 cup canola oil 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

Kosher salt 

Freshly ground pepper 

One 1 1/2-pound head of escarole—dark green leaves discarded, remaining leaves torn into bite-size pieces 

5 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise 

2 apples—halved, cored and sliced inch thick 

1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled (2 1/4 cups) 

Preheat the oven to 375° and spread the pecans in a pie plate. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the pecans are lightly browned. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the shallot, mustard and sugar; let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in the canola and olive oils and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Add the escarole, celery, apples and toasted pecans to the vinaigrette and toss to coat thoroughly. Season the salad with salt and pepper and transfer to a platter. Scatter the crumbled blue cheese on top and serve.

 

Collard Greens Basics

Move over, kale; the collard greens are coming. Collards are a staple in many Southern dishes and add healthy nutrients to any meal. Traditionally, collards are paired with ham hocks and other pork for flavor and richness, but we have plenty of delicious vegetarian options.

In Season:The peak season for collard greens is November through April 

What to look For:Choose collards with deep-green leaves. Avoid those that are limp or have yellow spots. The smaller the leaves, the tenderer they will be.

How to Store:Wrap unwashed collard greens in damp paper towels and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer. Stored like this, your greens will keep for up to five days. Wash thoroughly before cooking.

 

Minestrone with Collard Greens & White Beans 

Instead of the usual escarole or kale, use hearty collards in this familiar soup. The greens' slight bitterness plays nicely against the creamy beans and sweet tomatoes. 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 medium onion, chopped 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

Coarse salt and ground pepper 

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 pound (about 2 bunches) collard greens, stalks removed, leaves coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes 

2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained 

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice 

Grated Parmesan, for serving (optional) 

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until onion is coated, about 30 seconds. Add collard greens, thyme, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until collards start to wilt, it will take 2 to 4 minutes. Place 1/4 of beans in a bowl, and mash them with the back of a spoon (this will help thicken soup). Add all the beans to the pan, as well as tomatoes with juice and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer, until collards are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve with grated Parmesan, if desired. 

Servings: 4

 

Orange Cilantro Rice

Bright flavors meld to produce a one-of-a-kind rice dish. To really bring out the orange flavor, try using juice with lots of pulp.

      2 teaspoons butter 

      1/2 cup diced onion 

      1 cup uncooked long grain white rice 

      2 teaspoons ground cumin 

      1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

      1/2 teaspoon onion powder 

      1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 

      1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 

      Salt to taste 

      1 1/2 cups orange juice 

      1/2 cup chicken broth 

      1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro 

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, and cook until tender. Mix in rice, and    season with cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook and stir until rice is golden brown. Pour in orange juice and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Remove cooked rice from heat, and gently mix in cilantro to serve. From Allrecipes.com

 

Citrus with Orange Caramel Sauce

Making fruit based caramel sauces is something you don’t quite recognize, is it fruit or is it caramel? It’s a beguiling sauce for this dish and others like ice cream, custards, rice or semolina puddings and Swedish cream. As for the citrus, mix and match, using such fruits as blood oranges, tangelos grapefruit. Have your knife razor sharp makes peeling oranges a snap.

8 citrus fruit for the compote

1/3 cup organic sugar

½ cup fresh orange juice

1 short cinnamon stick

1 clove

A few drops orange-flower water

Pomegranate seeds or fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Remove a wide band of the zest from 1 orange and slice into thin strips. Boil for 1 minute, then drain and set aside. Peel the rest of the fruits, cut them into rounds and put them in a bowl. Melt the sugar over medium heat in a light colored skillet, stirring often until it turns a rich but not too dark caramel color. Standing back from the pan, pour in the juice. It will bubble ferociously, and the caramel will clench into a knot, but don’t worry. Add the reserved orange zest, cinnamon stick and clove. Continue cooking and after about 5 minute the caramel will have dissolved. Add the orange-flower water, slice in the fruits and swish them around, then pour the fruits and sauce into a bowl. Serve chilled or at room temperature, garnished with a handful of pomegranate seeds or sprigs of mint.