October 4, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Zucchini, Sweet peppers, Eggplant, butternut squash, basil, French breakfast radish and potatoes
Bread this week: Puligese OR Asiago, your choice of one
Come and celebrate the Capay Valley with us!
The day will feature a multi-course dinner prepared by local and guest chefs featuring produce, meats and other products sourced from the Capay Valley’s diverse farms. All proceeds benefit our local fire departments that are essential to our community. This year’s event will be at the beautiful Luna Lavender Farms in Guinda. Guests will enjoy wines, beer and olive oils from the region. The event will also include music, silent auction and even a live auction during dinner.
This week on the farm
Everyone scattered to the wind this morning, Ali and Jeff out to pick peppers, Claire up to the office to organize today’s CSA run, leaving me with the short straw to write the newsletter. It has been really nice to be able to share the newsletter writings; I have heard that folks enjoy hearing from the girls, as I too am fascinated to read what is living inside them. So as I sit down with nothing jumping out to share with you, I look back at last years, and the year before newsletters to get inspiration as I search for topics, and it is quite amazing that there really are many to choose from.
Last year at this time we were asking you to make comments about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). We all make quite an impression with the SGMA director of Yolo County as they received most of their comments from the Good Humus community. That makes me proud of our CSA community and what we are able to do when called to action! And now a year later coming into the fall with our first rain of the season, our farm is very active giving our voices for water conservation. The Hungry Hollow neighborhood continues to experience a decrease is well levels as we watch an increase in large perennial orchards continuing to be planted. This summer our water level decreased 14 feet for two months in a row, our neighbors well went dry and another neighbor had to lower their pump to the bottom of their well. Ali and I are on a committee with the Hungry Hollow farmers and the staff of our County SGMA trying to make changes in how we can better manages our groundwater and surface water, how we can change our agricultural practices to increase water infiltration when it rains. I think more than anything it is an opportunity to bring our local community together to get to know and trust each other, and to open up the conversation about how we can together use our water resources. We are working with CAFF (Community Alliance for Family Farmers) to advocate for small farmers in the SGMA Plan and they invited State Legislators out on a farm visit this summer to talk about drought and the water issues. Ali and I are being asked to talk at conferences about SGMA and how it affects small farmers, and our message is to stand up and participate with your local SGMA organization and speak up. What is really apparent is that those sitting on the boards, or who has been part of the decisions about water in my opinion have the perspective of “we just need to bring more water in form outside our basin to fix all our water problems”. My perspective is we need to live within our means-how much water do we have and how best can we use it without depleting our aquifers. I am reading a very eye opening book The Big Thirst where the author Charles Fishman takes you on a journey on how water literally runs our world from the moons of Saturn to the hotels of Las Vegas. Here is a paragraph from the Big Thirst “If we are going to re-master our relationship to water, we need to understand the life of water itself. The oldest rock discovered so far on Earth in Northern Quebec is 4.28 billion years old. All the water on Earth was delivered here when earth was formed or shortly thereafter about 4.4 or 4.5 billion years ago all the water on earth came from space in exactly the form it is in now: H2O. Water not only came from space, it was created out in space. It is, in fact, cosmic juice, formed hundreds of millions, or even billion, of years before the solar system itself. All the water on Earth-the thunderheads, the snow cover ski slopes, Old Faithful, and the current of the Mississippi River, started out as the finest mist, the smallest ice cubes, drifting around inside an interstellar dust cloud. WOW who knew???
So that is not the theme I was going to write about, and as you can see, I could go on and on about water, and what is happening here in the Hungry Hollow around the issue. But what I wanted to spend some thought on is this time of year and what is happening inside and outside of those of us working the land. A few weeks ago it was the fall Equinox, very much a turning point in the suns movements, the shifting of the day length and the light. That change is definitely felt around here, our work days now being a half hour later at 7am. The days are shortening, it gets hot but not for as long. This is so needed for us all, we are tired and are looking forward to those cold dark days of winter, and with this shift, the changing light gives us a glimpse of what is to come, more time to rest, sleep and fill up the reserves that have been depleted, a let up of the pressures to go out the door everyday to plant, harvest and market. Jeff has been the beacon in the daily grind with his attitude, we joke about it, but really it is an attitude to model. A few years ago he took the task of harvesting summer squash every day, which included Sundays. To keep a positive attitude, he would say “nothing I would rather be doing than picking squash on Sundays” even though we all knew he didn’t. It was his way of looking forward to it, not dreading the task and making himself a victim of the squash. In harvesting everyday he was able to keep the size to exactly the perfect size to sell, one day and as you know squash can become baseball bat size. There is an article Dreading a dark winter lockdown? Think like a Norwegian. “During the darkest periods of the polar night, some places only receive two to three hours of indirect sunlight, shining into the sky from below the horizon. Yet its inhabitants do not show the kind of wintertime depression you might expect of a city cast in darkness. Mental framing of stressful events can powerfully influence the ways we are affected by them. People who see stressful events as “challenges”, with an opportunity to learn and adapt, tend to cope much better than those who focus more on the threatening aspects – like the possibility of failure, embarrassment or illness. These differences in mindset not only influence people’s mood, but also their physiological responses, such as changes in blood pressure and heart rate, and how quickly they recover after the event. And the impact can be long-lasting, even during major transitions. It is sometimes possible to change our appraisal of a situation consciously”. That is what Jeff would do every Sunday. It is the attitude we try to use every day we go out the door, summer or winter, hot sunny day or cold dark rainy days, most days it is forgotten, and then a comment comes up and Jeff’s quote gets brought back, rearranged to the situation of something that we don’t want to do with the reminder of “there is nothing better than like picking squash on Sunday, there is nothing better!” We laugh, and are reminded that it is all in our attitude and we indeed can shift that too. Fall is a time for shifting, from light to darkness, and a knowing the light will return and we will be fully re-charged, energized and ready for the challenges whatever they may be. Have a great week~Annie
Mashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
4 garlic cloves
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the oil and season with salt. Spread the squash on a nonstick baking sheet and roast, turning once, for about 25 minutes, until tender and lightly browned in spots. Transfer the squash to a food processor and puree until smooth.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, cover the potatoes and garlic with cold water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and garlic in a colander, shaking out the excess water. Add the half-and-half and butter to the pot and heat until melted. Remove from the heat. Press the potatoes and garlic through a ricer into the pot and season with salt. Stir in the butternut squash puree and cook over moderate heat until very hot. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a bowl and serve right away.
Potato Basil Soup
2 tablespoons Bartenura Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
5 potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 leeks chopped, white parts only
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
8 cups water or vegetable stock
2 cups fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tablespoon Gefen Pink Himalayan Salt
Prepare a large pot on high heat, add the olive oil and get hot. Add the potatoes, leeks, celery and onion, and cook for five minutes until translucent but not golden. Add the water and salt and let cook on high for 45 minutes or until the vegetables are really soft. Blend well. Salt to taste and add fresh basil right before serving.
Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant and Pepper
Source: Mediterranean living
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed (1” cubes)
3 red peppers, chopped (green peppers are fine as well) (green peppers are fine as well)
3 tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt (add more if needed)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch cilantro, stems removed and chopped
Add all ingredients except for cilantro to a large skillet or Dutch oven with a cover. Mix everything with a large spoon. Cook on medium heat covered for about 20 minutes or until all ingredients are soft, stirring every few minutes. Remove cover and stir in cilantro. Cook for a few more minutes uncovered.
Healthy Butternut Squash, Zucchini and Rosemary Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped
5 cups peeled and cubed Butternut squash
5 cups packed cubed unpeeled zucchini
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon dried Rosemary
2 cups fresh water
1 can cannellini beans, no salt added 13.4 ounces
1 cup grated aged hard cheese plus more to garnish
In a 5 to 6 QT pot, add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
Add garlic—cook and stir for ten seconds to release its aroma. Stir in the vegetables. Season royally with salt, pepper, and one tablespoon of dried Rosemary. Cook and frequently stir for 5 minutes. Pour in the water (the water should barely cover the vegetables). Cover the pot and bring to a steady simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes and stir on occasion. You might have to lower the heat to maintain a simmer and prevent the liquid from boiling. Stir in the beans and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes or until the squash is soft. Taste the broth and season with more salt or pepper, if needed. Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the cheese until completely melted into the soup. With a hand mixer, puree the vegetables until you get a beautiful yellow-orange soup. Serve with extra grated cheese.
Perciatelli with French Breakfast Radishes, Bacon & Greens
dried perciatelli, bucatini, or spaghetti
Several large bunches large French breakfast radishes, greens included
freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta 12 minutes, until just tender. Separate the radishes from the greens and slice enough radishes 1/8-inch thick to yield 1 cup. Measure out 3 cups of packed radish greens and coarsely chop. Cut the bacon into 1/3-inch strips. Cook in a very large sauté pan over high heat for 3 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is soft, not crispy. Add the oil, chopped radish leaves, and sliced radishes. Cook over high heat until the greens wilt and the radishes soften, 5 minutes.
Drain the pasta; add to the pan and cook 2 minutes. Toss with half the cheese, lots of coarsely cracked black pepper, and salt. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.