March 5, 2019


What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Lettuce, Broccoli, Leeks, Lemons, Beets, Collards and Cilantro

What’s in your FLOWER BOUQUET? Rosemary, Pussy Willow branches, Tulips, Anemones and Ranunculus



This Week on The Farm

This week on the Farm, March 5, 2019

            On Sunday, Annie and I had a little diversion.  We had preordered 25 heirloom fruit trees from a small nursery in North San Juan, set in the Gold Country on a ridge high above the Yuba River between French Corral and Nevada City.  And we fell right into two interconnected stories, one from Gold Rush times but new to us, and one from our own times and well known to us.

            From the time we met Amigo Bob in the mid 1970’s during the first stirrings of the latest organic food movement until the present moment, amigo has been the mover and the shaker, the researcher and entrepreneur, the outspoken and literate advocate, and the heart and most visible head of the Organic Food Movement.  From those heady moments of turning our dreams of credibility into the California Certified Organic Farmers and the California Organic Food Law, to the sad realization that growth into a National Organic Program and welcoming the corporate and industrial mainstream of America to organic farming means endless compromise of ethics and values, Amigo was our most visible advocate for the retention of the base of values that we brought to the table in 1974.  He has been a constant reminder of the need to retain our ethical standards around social justice, financial security, and ecosystem enhancement in our industry.  And it is safe to say that it is his heart and his fierce advocacy that have been among those most damaged by the process of assimilation into the mainstream of the American food system.  But these are my words not his, and they are really only my attempt to bring a background picture, a story of the man we had the privilege of visiting with on Sunday.  For it is just a background, a formative time that has contributed to bringing him to this point in his life.   And this is where we see the intermingling of two stories, because Amigo has spent the last several years resurrecting the life of a previously nearly forgotten pioneer of California agriculture, a man who from his nursery in Grass Valley between 1860 and 1900, either introduced or helped to introduce the Bartlett pear, the Blenheim apricot, the French prune, the Franquette walnut, the zinfandel, cabernet, and chardonnay grapes and the neplus almond into California agriculture.

            All during the years that Amigo was serving the Organic Food and Farming industry from his home in Nevada County, he kept hearing bits and pieces, mostly hidden in obscure family memories or an old prune tree in the front yard, or an abandoned orchard up on the ridge, or some article buried in the Grass Valley

archives, that began to piece together an amazing life.  As time went on, and he began to see the breadth of Felix Gillet’s accomplishments.  The idea took hold that perhaps, in all the old remaining specimen of those original introductions, there might exist qualities, now lost to our constant breeding for commercial success, that could enhance the disease resistance, the keeping quality, the resilience in the face of changing climate, the taste and nutrition of our fruits.  Thus came into being the Felix Gillet Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to the continuing work of mapping the locations, protecting the remaining examples, resurrecting the varieties, and preserving the story of Felix Gillet.

            As a lover of history, a native Californian and a long time Organic farmer, all of this is food for my table.  And so Annie and I are now waiting for drier ground to plant our Green Moonshine and Lake City Red peaches, Hootie’s Purple and Robes de Sargent plums, and Emmet’s cherry.  May they live long and prosper!   Jeff


Salsa in the Winter

This salsa is made with fresh tomatoes but for the winter when we are rolling in fresh cilantro I decided I didn’t have to wait for fresh tomatoes, and have been using diced canned tomatoes and it works great along with my pickled jalapeno peppers, and it is seasoned perfectly with cilantro and lime juice or lemon juice which is also in season now. Serve it with tacos, burritos, or as a party dip with tortilla roll-ups or tortilla chips. Check out the tips and variations for some add-in ideas and more.

3 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 small cloves garlic, minced

3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled chopped-or use 1 large can of chopped tomatoes

2 hot chile peppers, Serrano or Jalapeno, finely chopped

2 to 3 tablespoons minced cilantro

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lime juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put chopped onion and garlic in a strainer; pour 2 cups boiling water over them then let drain thoroughly. Discard water. Cool. Combine onions and garlic with chopped tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to blend the flavors. Serve as a dip or a condiment with Mexican style dishes. Can be refrigerated for up to 5 to 7 days.

Leek Tart

The Crust

1 cup milk

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter

½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoons salt

1 package dry yeast

4 cups flour

The Custard Topping

6 leeks or as many as you have on hand

½ pound bacon

1 cup cream or milk (use more eggs with milk)

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Salt and Pepper

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

Making the crust (You also could use a pastry crust)

Warm the milk to lukewarm, submerge the eggs in hot water for about 10 minutes to warm. Soften the butter to room temperature before putting them in to the dough mixture. Pour the milk in a large bowl and dissolve the sugar and salt, sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and wait 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, cut the butter into small pieces with one cup flour and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric beater. Add the second cup of flour and continue to stir. The mixture will be stiff, mix with your hands and gradually add more flour and work it until the dough is no longer sticky and it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough until it is smooth about 15 minutes. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl where it is warm until it doubles in size. Punch down when ready and roll out to ½”x 12x18 greased baking dish, let rise about 20 minutes.

Custard Topping-Clean leeks by cutting in half and washing the interior especially near the top where dirt can get stuck. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until crisp and then drain reserving a little fat for sautéing leeks. Sauté leeks for 5 minutes until soft, add bacon back, stir in the cream, caraway seeds and season with salt and pepper for about 5 more minutes. Cool before adding stirring in the eggs. Brush the crust with beaten egg yolk then spread the topping on the crust and bake at 350 degrees until the custard is set and the crust is golden brown, 25-30 minutes.


Roasted Beet Salad with Orange, Feta& Walnuts

While my choice of dressing and ingredients have evolved my love for salad has not lessened.  Cold or warm, lettuce or herbs – it really doesn’t matter for me as long as there is exciting flavor and an interesting combination of textures.  The color alone screams “I am good for you, eat me now!” And then paired with its soul mate, the orange, well, let’s just say it’s what basil is to tomatoes (awesome).


4 medium unpeeled beets, tops trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 ounce bag of spinach

1/4 medium run onion finely sliced

2 medium oranges, peeled with segments

1/2 crumbled feta cheese

1/4 toasted walnuts

Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss beets and oil in large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place beets in a row on a sheet of foil, wrap and secure tightly. Place directly on oven rack; roast until tender, 60 to 70 minutes. Open foil; cool 30 minutes. Rub skins off beets (to remove the glorious color from your hands simple wash with mild soap and coarse salt); cut each in half then in 1/4″ slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place spinach and onion in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Divide among plates (or arrange on large platter). Add beets segments to same bowl. Add 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange beets atop spinach; top with orange segments and sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Serve, passing any remaining vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette Dressing

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1 teaspoon honey

1/3 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

Whisk vinegar, mustard, orange zest, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 4 as a side, 2 main course


Easy Lemon and Garlic Broccoli

"This is an easy recipe for a delicious broccoli side that takes just a few minutes to make."

1 pound broccoli, separated into florets

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place broccoli florets in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir 2 teaspoons lemon juice into water in a small bowl and pour the mixture into the skillet. Cover and steam until broccoli is bright green and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. While broccoli is steaming, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in garlic and salt; turn heat to low and let the garlic gently fry until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Drain water from cooked broccoli and return to skillet; sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons lemon juice and the butter and garlic mixture. Sprinkle broccoli with black pepper, toss to combine, and season with a bit more pepper if desired. Recipe By:Upagainstawall