November 26, 2019

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Lettuce, Potatoes, Carrots, Sunchokes, Pie Pumpkin, Sage, Parsley, and Leeks

What’s in your FRUIT BAG? Apples, Pomegranates, Meyer Lemons and Satsuma Mandarins

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Last week I encouraged communication from you in the newsletter and we got some wonderful responses-we very much appreciate hearing what you think that I wanted to share what some folks sent in. We are not searching for praise, but a dialogue exchange, wanting to keep the stories as to how your family uses the box,

 likes and dislikes, so I thought I would share in today’s Thanksgiving newsletter. It makes a difference, and can shift next season’s box spin-you have a voice in what we do!

 

“I love all the garlic, onions, leeks etc. We were a bit heavy on eggplant and green peppers but it was fun to be able to give and share with others. My daughter and I have been enjoying the veggies and fruits. She is almost 9 so she is more into eating carrots, cauliflower, green beans, broccoli, potatoes though she slowly is getting more into eating greens. I made a butternut squash soup and that was well received and roasted the seeds and she loved them. She really wanted another butternut squash last week so she could have seeds. But instead we made the spaghetti squash and roasted those seeds-yummy. She only likes zucchini if it’s baked in bread or muffin, so been doing that. And we love the persimmons, apples, pomegranates and guava. So yummy. We truly feel so blessed to be receiving this abundance of food full of vitality.

 

”In this season of Thanksgiving I am extremely grateful for Good Humus & always thrilled with my box. It wouldn’t matter if I got a box with 20 #’s of potatoes only…& I love the tiny apples! And all that you share with us humanoids through the exhausting work at Good Humus Farm. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Happy Thanksgiving...everyday!  & much Gratitude for all you do”.

 

Apples from Coco Ranch

There are some things that we just don’t do well here at Good Humus, and apples are one of those crops. We have more than a dozen trees of different varieties, but every year they are forgotten in the their care and spray program and end up pretty wormy and drop before they are ripe. So over the years we have purchased apples from Greg House who owns and runs Coco Ranch growing acres of apples west of Davis. This year’s apples have been small and really not up to what we usually see from Coco Ranch so I asked Greg to write up a paragraph for you about this year’s apple harvest. “Although nutritious, fully mature and tasty, Coco Ranch’s apples were smaller this year than in years past. Why? You probably noticed the spots on the apples as well; these healed corky scars were caused by a plant disease called “apple scab” which thrives during cool wet weather in apple orchards. Indeed we did have an exceptionally wet spring. The springtime infection was so severe this year that we made an economic decision not to thin our apple crop because the cost of doing so would have exceeded the market value of the remaining apples.  Most years we thin the crop by removing a majority of the immature apples early in the season when they are all still quite small; this stimulates the remaining apples to grow larger. So we left them as is, and you got the biggest and the best of the mature crop. For us as farmers, there are times when we make the decision to stay in business long-term over a shorter-term harvest gain. Thank you for your loyalty”. This is the last week of Coco Ranch apples until next year. Bon appetit!

 

This week on the Farm, Thanksgiving, 2019

               The farm is quiet this morning. Waiting for the first life-giving drops of rain to fall, we are all expectant, of course.  The first moments of lightening in the east catch us quietly, slowly going about our business.  It is similar to the end of a long journey, when exhausted by the effort; we mechanically go about the last steps necessary to bring us home.  Like home, the beauty of the advancing fall and the first cool and moist signs of winter await the chance to bring us into their closeness and security.  What better way to come into the season of Thanksgiving than opening the door to the peacefulness and reflection available to us in this season. 

            In California farming, to make it to Thanksgiving these days is to make it to the finish line.  It has felt like a long hot summer, even though the summer was not overly long, nor was it overly hot.  The months of July and August were remarkably cool in fact, only a few days above 100.  And the late spring, with cooling and wetting rains into June made for a short summer.  Nevertheless, as we prepare for the first rain, my primary sense is that it was a long hot summer.  As I look back over the last six months I am becoming aware that it was not the temperature and the length in time that made it long, rather it is my own personal space and focus that made it feel like such a long road, as if the days were to be grindingly endured, not enjoyed with gratitude.

            A careful farmer is an optimist.   That farmer believes in their ability to confront, to fix, to negotiate, and ultimately, to persevere.  That farmer believes that at the bottom of it all, what they are doing is right, not wrong in some eternal way.  That farmer believes that there will always be a ‘next year’.   A careful farmer is in love with the career that has chosen them because that careful farmer has been lavishly rewarded with community of the earth and of the people, has been presented with enough trials and tribulations to sharpen their mental and physical abilities, has learned more about more than they could have imagined, has been made aware of the task’s unending connection to the infinity of time. 

            The aging process is one really potent threat to the optimism and love of that farmer.  It casts previously unimagined doubts on ability.  It creates anxiety about worth, it reduces treasured portions of community, it changes the concept of ‘next year’.  As I bask in the pleasure of this cloudy morning, I am coming to grips with my age, which, like many farmers I have refused to acknowledge, and I can recognize the part it plays in my ‘long hot summer’.  Recognizing and acknowledging this aging process, especially that in my brain, promises to keep me occupied for ‘next year’.  As I look at it from the vantage point of a beautiful autumn  day, as so many friends and family nearby carry the joys and burdens of Good Humus Produce, I am encouraged to accept this reality, and to glean from it all that I can.  I am hopeful that all of us, on this Thanksgiving holiday, can enjoy the many forms that gratitude must take in these times.  Best wishes for the Season from our farm to you.  Jeff

 

Autumn  Apple and Spinach Salad

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

¼ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ cup thinly vertically sliced red onion

8 cups baby spinach (8 ounces)

1 large sweet-tart cored thinly slice apple

¼ cups crumbled blue cheese

Combine first 6 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk

Combine onion, spinach, and apple in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing, toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Yield 6 servings

 

Moist & Savory Turkey Stuffing

Four ingredients and a dash of pepper mix together quickly to make this baked stuffing - it's delicious as is, but it's also a great foundation recipe that you can customize with your family's favorite add-ins.

2 1/2 cups Turkey Broth (cook the giblets from the turkey, neck, gizzard covered in water and use as broth)
1 dash ground black pepper
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)

1 cup chopped parsley
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 package (14 ounces) Herb Seasoned Stuffing

1 cube of butter

1 tablespoon sage if fresh-chopped

½ pound pork sausage

1 cup water Sunchokes instead of water chestnuts

Melt the butter and sauté the onion until soft, add the celery and sage. Once all is cooked add the stuffing, mix thoroughly. Then slowly add the broth-but be careful not to add so much that the stuffing is too wet. You most likely will not use all the broth. If you stuff the turkey with the dressing it will gain more moisture from the turkey. Make sure to taste the dressing to make sure it has enough salt and such. Before stuffing the turkey you must let the dressing cool to room temp-best to make the night before and refrigerate. Their directions say: Heat the broth, black pepper, celery and onion in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, stirring often. Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Add the stuffing and mix lightly. What is left over you can: Spoon the stuffing mixture into a greased 3-quart shallow baking dish.  Cover the baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until the stuffing mixture is hot. Serves: 10

You can also use a 3-quart casserole for this recipe.
For crunchier stuffing, bake the stuffing uncovered.
For Cranberry & Pecan Stuffing, stir 1/2 cup each dried cranberries and chopped pecans into the stuffing mixture before baking.
For Sausage & Mushroom Stuffing, add 1 cup sliced mushrooms to the vegetables during cooking.  Stir 1/2 pound pork sausage, cooked and crumbled, into the stuffing mixture before baking.

Potato and Turnip Au Gratin with Leeks

1 pound potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 pound b of turnips, peeled and thinly sliced

3 leeks white section only thoroughly washed and thinly sliced

1 cup of whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

2 cup shredded Gouda

3 large cloves of minced garlic

2 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 365 degrees In a saucepan combine milk, cream, garlic and salt and pepper over medium heat and cook until almost boiling. Do not boil. Reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes, then set aside.  Don’t be shy on the salt; it will help flavor the potatoes and turnips. In a small pan melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and add leeks. Cook for 7or 8 minutes until leeks start to brown, stirring frequently, then set aside. Spread remaining butter around 9x12 baking dish, covering all sides. Assemble potatoes and turnips in dish alternating each vegetable. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of Gruyere and cooked leeks on top of first layer. Pour cream mixture over the top just barely covering. Layer remaining vegetables seasoning with salt and pepper. Top last layer with remaining cheese and cover with cream mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes until top is golden brown and potatoes can be pierced easily with sharp knife.  Serves 6 Courtesy of Market Chef David Cannata, Yolo Catering Company

 

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

This is what I remember at Thanksgiving that my Aunt Francis would make and bring to the dessert table. It was the best pumpkin pie ever, light and yummy, so I went through my mom’s recipe box last night looking for the recipe. It is a bit complicated, with the gelatin, but worth the effort!

¾ cup brown sugar

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

3 slightly beaten egg yolks

3/4 cup milk

1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree

3 egg whites

1/3 cup granulated sugar

 1 pie crust

In a saucepan combine brown sugar, gelatin, salt and species. Combine egg yolks and milk stir in brown sugar mixture. Cook stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin. Chill till mixture until slightly thickened or mounds slightly when spooned. (Test every now and then don’t let the mixture get too stiff or it will be hard to folk in egg whites later).Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add granulated sugar beating to stiff peaks. Fold pumpkin mixture thoroughly into egg whites meringue. Turn into cooled baked pie shell. Chill until firm and serve with whipped cream