September 15, 2020


What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Eggplant, Plums, Italian Long Peppers, Basil, Tomatoes, Butternut Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, Shishitos


Bread this week: Sourdough Baguette or Whole Wheat-your choice of one





This Week on the Farm

This last week an old Girl Scout friend that lives in Longview, Washington asked me where she could donate for the fire victims. Why would a person in Washington want to help someone in California? I looked at a map of fires and there are red dot fire hot spots all the way up the entire west coast all the way to Canada.  There are stories that explain, and this one goes back to the days when Kathy, my friend that now lives in Washington, was my best High School friend (although we didn’t go to the same high school, but were in Girl Scouts together), who eventually moved to Davis with her husband for several years and we were able to establish a deeper friendship in those special years. So Kathy not only grew up in California, lived in Davis, loved the Davis Farmers Market and of course the farmers that came to the market. In the year before my mom passed away Kathy and I decided to have a Girl Scout reunion-as my mom was the leader of our troop and she affected all of our lives, helping us become the people we are today. She was brave enough to take a herd of boy crazy teens into the mountains year after year camping and backpacking. This gave Kathy and I and a few other girls another opportunity to reconnect and we have been having reunions every year since; which leads to another story that has an impact on today’s story. In 2018, As another Girl Scout friend and I were driving north to meet in Kathy in Longview for our second reunion, just outside of Willows on Highway 5 we saw this huge black smoke cloud that stretched from the east to the west horizon. I said to Diane who was driving that is the black cloud from the land of Mordor, and the fires of Mount Doom, and indeed it was! We learned later that was the first day of the Paradise fire. And as that fire raged all I could think of is how to help that community, what can I do, who can I send food to….anything, and I mostly felt helpless in assisting in the little bit of connections that I made with food deliveries.

There are so many tidbits that make up one’s life, thoughts, and actions…my cousin who lived up in Kenwood on the edge of Sugar Loaf lost her house, orchards, gardens, sheds…everything that her father built was lost in the 2017 Santa Rosa fire.  She never asked or accepted help in the aftermath, but has made small comments that she has no photographs to pass to her grandchildren. Slowly I have sent her photographs that are in my mom’s family album files. Those comments gave me pause to think as the fires came closer to our farm here in Capay, and also as the evacuation zones came closer to our family home in Santa Rosa.  I have never had to evacuate, or had to think about what I would do if a fire was at my backdoor. This time as our friends in the Capay Valley were battling the fires that were coming down the west hills into the valley, it felt like the danger was at our backdoor and I told Jeff that we need to think about what is important and have a bag ready to go, Jeff said at the time everything we have has a memory to it, so how do you decide? How do you figure out if you lose everything what you can’t replace, and I just sat and thought about losing everything that we have worked our career building. So I pulled all of the family photo albums down from the shelf, gathered all of our important papers and put them in one spot easy to grab and felt relieved that I figured out what was important to try to save that could not be replaced.

To answer Kathy’s question I started googling fire victims and came up with the Red Cross or Fire Family Foundation which is for the firefighter Families, both good organizations to support. Then I guess the light went on, it does take a little help from our friends to bring one back to the reality of the moment. I know farms in Yolo, Solano and Santa Cruz that are victims from these fires. Donating to larger organizations is helpful, but if we know families that have experienced loss, can we not just help them directly? It feels more like helping when you know the stories, or the face or someone you know knows them.

There is a couple that lives in English Hills that used to sell goat milk soap at the Davis Farmers Market made from their 1000 prize goats, they have lost everything home, farm, goats. They didn’t have time to grab, or plan or figure out what was important to take in case of a fire, there was no time. After the fire was out, in returning to their home they did miraculously find about 30 goats still alive. Nicole and Zach are good friends with this couple, and have been in communication with them after the fire. Nicole is a great supporter especially in the Firefighters circle and knows what needs to happen and has gathered donations of clothing for them. They feel awkward in asking for things and help but people keep asking what they can do for them. Nicole told her that even though other people haven’t lost their homes or things, we hurt and need to heal too, and helping others is how we can heal. Sarah and Andy of Castle Rock Farm have a GoFundMe account, and also a list of what they could use to start building the farm back up and tending to the live goats. I am heading to Ace Hardware this afternoon and am going to fill Nicole’s car with tools, hoses and whatever I can find that they need.

There is a good friend that I traveled to Japan and India with years ago with our kids, that has a farm in the Santa Cruz area. The fires raged near his education farm and they thought they were in the clear when an ember landed on their 1800 old farm house/office and it burned to the ground. I don’t know the details of their loss besides the old historic farmhouse, but they too have a GoFundMe for Pie Ranch.

I don’t know as well but know about is Soul Food Farm in Vacaville. They lost 80% of their farm, and I know there are so many others. They have a GoFundMe campaign going.

A good friend that was a bee keeper in the Pleasants Valley lost everything, fortunately he retired a few years ago and sold his apiary business, but he lost his shop, house, renovated school house, and the woman that bought his Canadian Queen Bee business lost everything that was in his shop. Pope Canyon Queens also has a GoFundMe.

A local organization California Alliance for Family Farmers has a 2020 Fire Relief fund going too.

To date 1,666,286 acres have burned in California and we have had about 30 consecutive days of smoke polluting air with very poor visibility-like a winter fog with ash dust settling into every nook and cranny of our lives. I am grateful that I don’t see fire flames out my backdoor. We are experiencing transformations on every aspect of our lives; how to live with Covid-19, Black Lives Matter, Politics, Fires, reinventing how to  teach our children…I feel we are rethinking what is important to us, what do we want to keep, and how do we move into the future as individuals, as a community and a world. Jeff and I had a conversation and he said he wished he could talk to his dad and ask “what is the value of his life, it is like a small drop in this large ocean that really amounts to a quick blink of the eye in history”. It takes me time to think of what to make of these conversations, it certainly was a moment of darkness for him that is not his usual space to be in. But then I thought of the that small drop, and the ripples that is makes, that can go far and wide where no one can see or what it touches up against., and it is worth living, just to see if we can see where and how we can contribute to that ripple of change and transformation.

In closing, because I am who I am, because my mother took me into the mountains to experience nature, the wild and what we are all connected with, if we stop to look, think and realize… “Do not forget that the ashes falling from the sky are all that remains of the pine and grass and thistle and bear and coyote and deer and mouse that could not escape. Scoop some up in a sacred manner. Take it to your altar. Offer prayers for these beings. Honor their death. Pray for life. Call in rain. Remind Fire that it is full, has gobbled enough, and can rest. May all beings be safe. May all beings be loved. May all beings be remembered. May all beings be mourned”. ~ Sadee Whip

And may we all be willing to be transformed into something positive, honoring, respectful of all lives.  Have a great week~ Annie Main

Smoky butternut, eggplant & pepper salad

¼ cup avocado or vegetable oil

½ butternut squash - peeled and diced, about 2 cups

1 medium eggplant - diced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 red bell pepper*

Coarse salt

3 sprigs scallion - chopped

Olive oil

1 heaping tespoon harissa

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.

Put the butternut squash and eggplant dice on a baking tray. Pour over the avocado oil, sprinkle salt and paprika and toss to coat the veggies in the oil. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the veggies are tender and have golden spots.*Now, you can burn the pepper over the stove or electric stove, which gives it a burnt smoky flavor, or dice it and bake it with the butternut and eggplant. It’s more effort to burn but more flavorful. Put the pepper over the flame and burn until the skin is black, flip and burn until the pepper is black. Remove from the fire and soak it immediately in cold water for 15 seconds. Remove and peel the burnt skin with wet hands (I fill the same bowl I used with water to dip my fingers when I peel). Cut the stem off, remove the seeds, then dice the pepper. Put the butternut squash and eggplant in a medium bowl, add the diced pepper and the rest of the ingredients, and mix. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve as a mezze or side.

Stuffed Shishito Peppers

1/2 lb shishito peppers

8 oz cream cheese softened

4 oz dry salami diced

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

Take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature. Move oven rack to middle of oven and turn broiler on. Dice the salami into small pieces and add to a bowl with the cream cheese. Add the garlic powder and black pepper. Stir to blend thoroughly. Lay the shishito peppers out on a lined baking sheet and see how they lay. With a small paring knife cut a slit down the side facing up on each one (from below stem to almost the tip). Using a teaspoon, fill the pepper cavity and press sides together to hold cheese salami filling. Spray all of the stuffed shishitos with cooing spray or olive oil. Place tray in oven and broil for 5 minutes. Shishito peppers should blister and cheese filling turns a golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 30+ depending on size of shishito peppers.


Roasted Eggplant with Tahini and Plum Salsa

For the eggplants:

1 eggplant washed and dried

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

dash salt and pepper

For the Yogurt Tahini Sauce:

1 cup greek yogurt

1/4 cup tahini

1 garlic clove minced

1 Tbsp lemon juice

dash salt and pepper

For the Plum Salsa:

4 ripe plums diced

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove minced

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp honey

1 jalapeno seeded and minced

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

dash salt and pepper


Cilantro or basil chopped

Sesame seeds

For the eggplants:

Preheat oven to 475 degree and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the eggplant into slices  and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, paprika, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Arrange the slices cut side down and bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until soft.

For the Yogurt Tahini Sauce:

Whisk all the ingredient together and season with salt and pepper.

For the Plum Salsa:

Stir all ingredients together until combined. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice (if needed). Store in the fridge until ready to use.

To Assemble:

Spread the yogurt tahini sauce evenly across the bottom of a small platter. Lay eggplants over the tahini sauce and top with plum salsa. Garnish with fresh cilantro or basil and sesame seeds. Serve right away.