October 23, 2018

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Parsley, Mixed Peppers, Leeks, Sugar Pie Pumpkin, Radishes, Potatoes & Arugula

What’s in this Week’s FRUIT BOX: Apples, Pineapple Guavas, Quince and Pomegranate


This Week on the Farm

Folks at the market are asking if we are slowing down for the season, and as much as I want to say no, I have to say yes. It’s a mixed bag really, as with the shorter days we definitely have less time to be out working, so that is a change. But we are pushing to get the fall planting in, and as I mentioned last week, Jeff is working really hard, keeping his focus on getting the “Back Ten” cleared up, doing ground work and getting it ready for more planting. I have 6600 tulips coming in November so I’m hoping that he will have the remaining beds ready for them to plant. Yesterday he and Zach pulled the last of the seedling almond trees out of the field so he can disc this morning. It is looking so pretty out there with the veggies seedlings just coming up. No matter how many years or how many seasons we have farmed, there is something magical about fresh turned and planted beds that are so exciting, always with the possibilities of new hopes and dreams coming to fruition once again. Every season brings its own set of challenges, marketing possibilities, crops failures, new flower varieties and colors, loss from insect or weather, and all of these aspects twine together, swirl in creative brew pot and works on our mental determination to make the new season different from the last, to correct the problems, choose different varieties, and do a better job on managing the different crops. This year Ali and I struggled with the perennial flower garden and the weeds that seemed to never end, and didn’t have the capacity to keep under control. That defiantly hurt the production of the flowers there. With much discussion we have come up with a plan for the coming year; it is the third year of the perennial flower garden, which I told Ali when we planted that they will need to be divide and replanted to invigorate them. So as we replant, or plant new plugs we are going to do a trial with a paper mulch.  Most farms are widely using plastic mulch that they burn holes into to plant their transplants through. At the end of the season they then have a pile of plastic to pick up and …….but in the landfill. That concept really is not a very sustainable one, and I just could not morally use the plastic. The paper mulch will decompose in 1-2 years which fits perfectly in the perennial flowers life cycle. They should be big enough to cover the beds to outcompete the weeds by the second and third year. The other weed management tool is to plant the perennial flowers tighter in the bed, which leaves very little room for weeds to grow. Right now we leave the middle part of the beds open so we can rototill the middle weeds down, but with some plants after the first year they are bit too big and the rototiller can’t go down the middle with the machine, leaving more to hoe, or in this year’s case, not to hoe and get very weedy.  This summer I fell prey to my flower rep, when he sent offerings of peonies plants. I have to say peonies are one of my top favorite flowers, and one of the most expensive bulbs to plant. The few peonies I have in the garden came from my grandmother’s garden in Santa Rosa. I have divided them which they do not like, moved them, which they don’t like either, and what does bloom I don’t cut, because I have to admit ( I have not told anyone this) that I don’t want to share them, I want them all for me! So when this offer came I decided to splurge and buy 100 plants! Well they arrived this week, are waiting in the cooler to get into the ground. We actually have worked the bed up and they are ready to go in, so maybe in 3 years you might see an abundance of the beauties (if all goes well) and yes then I will share with you!

As this season ends, and the crops are winding down, you can see we are working on getting everything planted for winter and spring making some changes as we go, hopefully moving what needs to be moved, planted all the transplants in the green house, seeded all that needs to be seeded, done all the weeding that we can before the rain comes (and it will come), so there is a push during this window of time. We are starting to make winter plans creating the light at the end of the long summer season. The last few years Ali has taken off two months starting in November and has gone traveling. This year she is moving to Davis and has vowed to make time for doing art work-not for work, but just to create art. I asked if I could join her once a week and try to do some water color painting with her. Claire has been looking for a place to stay at the beach for all of us in January. One of the best breaks that we took a number of years ago was what I called a month of Sundays-a month at Bodega Bay. I think Jeff loved it as much as I did, I would be there all week, and he would come over on the weekends to walk the beach together and have some real hibernation time. Claire just booked a house this morning near the beach for 2 weeks in January. So once everything is planted I think we can give a sign of relief and slow down and enjoy the shorter days, cooler nights cozying up with a down comforter and rest these weary bones, and then I can say confidently with certainty that yes we are slowing down.

Have a Great Week!



Chicken with Roasted Apples and Garlic

The apples create a flavorful chunky sauce. Feel free to leave bits of peel on the apples to make this rustic dish even more colorful.

5 cups chopped peeled apples (about 1 ½ pounds)

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8-teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 garlic cloves, chopped

½ teaspoon salt, divided

8 chicken thighs (about 2 pounds) shinned

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 475

Combine first 5 ingredients, add ¼ teaspoon salt, toss well to coat. Spread apple mixture on a jellyroll pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and peppe4, and arrange on top of the apple mixture. Bake at 475 for 25 minutes or until chicken is done and apples are tender. Remove chicken from pan, keep warm. Partially mash apple mixture with a potato masher, and serve with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Yield 4 servings


Green Rice with Roasted Chiles and Leeks

A quick vegetable stock made with herb and vegetable trimmings packs flavor into the rice. The tough, green parts of leeks and the stems of parsley and cilantro impart great flavor. If time is tight, use water instead of stock, and add another ½ teaspoon sea salt to the rice.


6 cups water

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 cup thinly slice carrot

½ cup thinly sliced leek tops

½ cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley stems

½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro stems

1`/2 teaspoon sea salt

3 black peppercorns

1 fresh thyme sprig


2 Poblano chilies

2 cups chopped leeks

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 ½ cups uncooked long-grain rice

¾ teaspoon sea salt

1 bay leaf

1 cooked loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley

½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

To prepare stock: combine first 10 ingredients in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth lined colander into a bowl, and discard solids. Set aside 3 cups stock, reserve any remaining stock for another use. To prepare rice: Preheat broiler and place chilies on a foil lined baking sheet, broil 8 minutes or until blackened and charred turning after 4 minutes. Place in a zip top plastic bag and seal, let stand 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skins. Cut a lengthwise slit in each chili, discard seeds and stems, set aside. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat; add 2 cups leek and rice, sauté 5 minutes. Add 2 ¾  stock, ¾ salt and bay leaf, bring to boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and fluff with a fork. Combine ¼ cup stock, roasted chilies, parsley leaves, and cilantro leaves in a blender process until smooth. Gently fold chili mixture into the rice. Sprinkle with cheese. Yields 6 servings.

Arugula, Potato and Leek Soup

1 ½ tablespoons oil

2 medium leeks trimmed and chopped

1 medium onion sliced about 1 cup

1 teaspoon fennel seeds ground

1 ¼ pounds potatoes peeled and coarsely chopped

3 cups chicken broth

1 ½ cups water

1 bunch arugula washed

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoon ricard or pernod (both anise-flavored liqueurs)

12 tablespoons yogurt

4 arugula leaves finely slivered

Heat oil in a large pot, add leeks and onions. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring often until softened about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fennel and stir 30 seconds. Add potatoes, broth and water. Simmer 25 minutes, until soft. Add arugula and cook about 10 minutes longer, or until stems are soft. Add salt and pepper and liquor to taste. Puree to texture you like. Adjust seasoning. Serve hot or chilled topped with yogurt and garnish with arugula slivers. Arugula transforms this traditional soup base.


Guava Smoothies

guava smoothies BeverageGuava is a very versatile fruit that can be used as a base in sauces, drinks, desserts, and preserves. You can even freeze chunks of guava pulp for use later with other ingredients and recipes, like this one. This smoothie is an ideal refresher during a hot day, sure to please the whole family and especially the kids.

2 cups guava pulp

1 cup milk

3 tablespoons condensed milk

1 cup ice

Drops of lemon juice, to taste Hide Images

  • Purée all the ingredients until the ice has been crushed. Serve immediately.  Servings 4      


Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar

1 cup oil

4 eggs

2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash

3 ½ cup flour

2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons soda

½ teaspoon cloves

1-3 teaspoons nutmeg

1-3 teaspoons cinnamon

1-3 teaspoons allspice

2/3 cup water

Cook your fresh winter squash or pumpkin until soft in the oven whole or steam peeled and chopped. Remove seeds, peel off skin and you are ready to use in the pumpkin bread recipe. Mix sugar and oil, add sugar, and stir in pumpkin. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda and spices. Add alternately with water, Bake 1 hour at 350 makes 2 large loaves