May 7, 2019
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Carrots, Gold Beets, Oranges, Spearmint, Strawberries, Mulberries, Lettuce and Onions
What’s in your FLOWER BOUQUET:, Snapdragons, Dianthus, Ornithogalum (star of Bethlehem), Flax, Statice, Larkspur, Godeitas, Salvia and Alstroemeria
SUMMER QUARTER Payment is due May 22
The summer quarter begins May 28 and ends August 13. Please fill out the Quarterly form and return it with you payment. Mail your payment or email us with your intensions EVEN if you DO NOT PLAN TO CONTINUE.
Mother’s Day in the Capay Valley Gardens Tour
This Sunday is Mother’s Day and the gardens tour is a fun way to spend your day, out in the country visiting some beautiful farms and gardens. Spend the day picnicking in your favorite garden amongst the flowers, and seeing all the local arts and crafts. All the proceeds go back into the community for restoration projects. We will be serving tea in the Garden at Good Humus. Lawns are mowed, big weed piles are being picked up, and the roses are blooming, the last hurrah before the summer envelopes us. Hope to see you here!
This Week on The Farm
Jeff has been on the tractor with the mower hooked up vibrating, gyrating and chopping down the tall winter grasses behind him. The mowing transforms the fields into a much tidier looking farm with all the weeds knocked down. I asked him to mow along the perimeter where we have perennial iris growing, as walking the tall grass with the rattlesnake season upon us makes all of us flower pickers a bit nervous. Yesterday Jeff uncovered a nest of baby kittens in the furrow in the orchard. He passed over them twice with the mower before he realized they were there, and fortunately the mower is set high enough that the kittens were safe and are now in our kitchen waiting for kitten formula. That is what happens to abundant species of the life that lives all over the farm during spring mowing season. Jeff says that insects are flying out in front of the tractor in swarms as he mows trying to escape the flail blades destroying their home, larva or eggs. Many don’t make it. I asked if Jeff wanted to write the newsletter this morning and he said “I just can’t”, it is hard on him and he does not enjoy what the mower is doing to the biodiversity of the farm, it is very destructive. We cannot get around the fact that in growing the crops for us to eat and live there lays the fact that we are destroying insect and other mammal life in the process.
A few years back I traveled with a friend to New Mexico for a CSA conference and took some side trips along the way. Driving through Nevada, Utah and New Mexico one could get the impression of expanse emptiness. Eric and I drove off the main road to Ruby Lakes in the Nevada Ruby Mountains; about 50 miles of dirt road one way to a lake bed oasis. We didn’t hit it in the best season, but I could imagine the life that travels for hundreds or possibly even thousands of miles to this watering hole. Swans, eagles, geese, all migrating birds find this lake on their way to nesting ground, or to their over wintering homes. There was another such place in Moab, Utah, a preserve that is the stopping place for refueling and resting for migratory birds. That image came to mind as Jeff and I were talking this morning about the effects of his spring mowing. If you drive to our farm you can see it for many miles before arriving. You can see the tall trees and the green oasis that we have planted here. It stands out from the more open mostly treeless farming landscape. Honestly I really didn’t have any idea what we were doing in the early life of Good Humus by planting all these hedgerows, just for the new concept called biodiversity. Now 30 odd years later, this farm is teeming with biodiversity, and it has become very clear what can happen by leaving uncultivated space available for “wildlife”; it is amazing to see. Jeff and I were the iris pickers on Sunday (right now the iris need to be cut daily) and as we passed by the Prunus ilicifolia (a native holly leaf cherry tree). It was in full bloom and the noise that was coming out of it stopped us in our tracks. There were native bees and the European honey bees, flies, wasps; everyone was gathering nectar and pollen, and they were all working hard and being very noisy eaters. I can only compare it to my granddaughter Zoe when she is happily eating-man she is noisy with her delight!
In my garden I have a bed of fava beans growing for a friend that does seed production. I wish you could see this bed of favas, as it reminds me of an international city from the future where there is housing in tall buildings, and planes, or space ships landing at all levels of the buildings-traffic going all different directions, small and large, some bright colored, some camouflaged. It must be a remembered image from the Harrison Ford movie Blade Runner where nothing in the images are from my world. Well it is from this world, just not what we usually see. The plants are entirely covered with black aphids, the plant stems are no longer green, but covered with black tiny polka dot aphids and aphid bodies, and the ants are running back and forth, up and down, frantically trying to keep their aphid farms under control. There are red dots of lady bugs everywhere, almost like the fava leaves had red spots on it. There were some pretty black and red beetles eating too. Then there are the airbornes that come flying in, the larger yellowish wasp and some smaller wasps collecting nectar, or parasitizing the aphids, along with several different kinds of flies that mimic the look of bees or just the plain old black houseflies landing and taking what they need. Right there is the visualization of what the diversity of this farm provides. The hedgerows are places that cannot be disturbed with mowers or disks, shovels or other farm implements. The native bees can go underground and have a safe haven for their young. The quail can live in the brush and know they have a hiding place when needed. The lady bugs have lots of grass to lay their eggs on that will eventually turn into the voracious lady bug larva. The praying mantis egg sacks can be seen on sticks and branches in the shrubbery, and yes the deer have their hiding and sleeping nooks too. In the middle of the farm Jeff has purposely left a small leak from the irrigation pipes, this is the Ruby Lakes of Good Humus, where there is a water source available for all migrating or indigenous life that comes through to drink from. Hoot the owl can be seen just above the “creek”. There is life and death happening daily here, hopefully in some form of balance. Have a great week~Annie
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
Healthy roasted beet salad with goat cheese is an easy to prepare dish! Fresh arugula and tender beets are drizzled with a sweet and tangy pomegranate dressing.
1 pound beets about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in size
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for roasting
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for roasting
Black pepper for roasting and seasoning
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
5 ounces baby arugula about 4 cups
1/4 cup goat cheese
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Set the oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim the tops off the beets, leaving 1/2 inch of the stem. Wash and scrub dirt from the beets and dry well.
Place beets on a piece of foil large enough to make a pouch. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat the beets, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap the beets tightly in the foil and place on a sheet tray. Roast the beets until fork tender, about 40 to 60 minutes; time will vary depending on the size of the beets. Check every 20 minutes for doneness. Allow beets to cool, peel and cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Set aside. Add pomegranate juice, apple cider vinegar, shallots and maple syrup to a blender. Blend on medium speed until smooth, about 15 seconds. Slowly add in 3/4 cups of olive oil to the running blender until the dressing has thickened and is emulsified. Season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. To serve top the arugula with sliced beets, goat cheese, pomegranate arils and chopped walnuts. Serve with pomegranate dressing. Servings: Author: Jessica Gavin4 servings
Don’t throw away those beet leaves!
Those edible parts can be washed, cut and eaten. Sauté the stems and green tops in a little bit of oil and seasoning for a tasty vegetable side dish that tastes similar to kale. You can also cut the greens into smaller shreds and add them right to the salad. However, they do have a slightly bitter taste which can be offset with the sweetness of the beet bulbs and dressing. By saving and eating the greens, you’ll receive a rich fiber source and various vitamins and minerals!
1-2 bunches of beet greens
1 onion sliced not diced
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1-2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
Heat pan up with olive oil. Sauté onions until nice and soft and brown add in your ribbon beet greens and cook to the doneness you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook it down a bit, when it looks ready to eat top with your chevre cheese. Serve as a side dish. By Annie Main
1.5 oz spinach
3-5 sprigs fresh mint - stemmed
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 teaspoon cacao nibs
1 cup water
1 cup ice
This decadent green smoothie gives you that thin mint fix without all those sugary additives. Refreshing and sweet, we don’t think there is a better combination than chocolate and mint. Aside from their great taste, cacao is rich in antioxidantsand mintis known to improve digestion. Both are natural stimulants, so your energy and your spirits will be lifted. Add in a banana for a healthy dose of potassium to keep you hydrated, and you’ve got one perfect smoothie! Blending Note: Blend everything except the cacao nibs for 1-3 minutes. Add in the cacao nibs and blend an additional 10-30 seconds. This will leave some of the nibs intact, which gives the smoothie a slight crunch. Mint is best when blended fresh.
Honey Roasted Carrots
This recipe for honey roasted carrots is whole carrots, bathed in honey and seasonings, then roasted over high heat until tender and caramelized. A super easy yet elegant side dish!
1 pound small carrots peeled and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional garnish: chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Place the carrots in a single layer on the baking pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, honey, salt and pepper. Pour the honey mixture over the carrots and toss to coat. Place in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until carrots are tender and browned. Roasting time may vary depending on the size of the carrots. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, sprinkled with parsley if desired. Author Sara Welch