September 28th, 2021
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Apples, Cherry Tomatoes, Eggplant, Parsley, Cucumber, Squash, Bell Peppers, and green beans
Bread this week: Asiago Cheese OR Round Lavain, your choice of one
This week on the Farm
With today’s drought and the effects of Climate Change on my mind, I have felt paralyzed not knowing what I can do. When Jeff and Ali testified to the State Legislature community on how the drought has affected our farm it became clear to me that now is the time to voice what is happening to us and around us in Yolo County. We are asking for your attention, action and involvement with the issue we all are facing concerning groundwater.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) will be going into effect starting in 2022, requiring all of California to monitor groundwater basins and determine plans of action to become sustainable by 2042. Sustainability means that we do not draw more water from our groundwater than what is recharged each year. At the rate of what is happening with more and more new wells being drilled on historically non irrigated land, we feel that it will be too late by 2042.
Yolo County has a Subbasin Agency that wants to hear comments, suggestions, and concerns from everyone-and the more voices they hear the more powerful are the comments. So with that came this letter asking you to take action right now on what the future of our county will take…everyone uses water, groundwater, surface water, this affects all of us.
To Our Friends, Residents, Farmers and Community Members of Hungry Hollow, and to you our CSA members and supporters:
We are in the middle of experiencing the worst drought period since 1977, accompanied by the increased probability of multi-year droughts in years to come. Amid the growing amount of investment agriculture developing land and water resources on unirrigated lands in our area we are being forced to reexamine our farm’s viability in the daunting future ahead.
Here at Good Humus Produce on the northeast corner of Rd 15B and Rd 84A, we’ve been watching our water level drop each time there is a drought period and then rebound to a somewhat lower level in wetter years. In 1987 our water level stood 100 ft below the ground. By the end of the 2012-2016 drought period, the water level had dropped to 181 ft below the ground, and following this winter’s drought, early in the spring, the water level had dropped an additional 26 feet. We are unable to avoid the correlation between lowering water levels in our well and the drought conditions prevalent in the last decade, and now in the current year. We admit to some complacency to the evidence of a low level of unsustainability in our aquifer before 2015, willing to accept a 1-2 ft drop per year on the average. We based that low level of concern on the stable state of water extraction in the irrigated and unirrigated lands to the north of us, which it is our understanding overlay the deep (greater than 250’ below ground level) aquifers of extremely high quality water that are the sources of all the water for our farm.
This complacency has changed drastically since 2016. In the middle of an unusually dry decade accompanied by longer, hotter summer seasons Jeff attended a public meeting marking the rollout of information regarding the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), requiring groundwater basin plans of action by 2022 and full monitoring and sustainability by 2042. His reaction was guardedly hopeful that the Act would fulfill it promises and slow and then stop the lowering of water in our wells, the threat of ground subsidence, and the increases in cost associated with falling water levels. But the reaction of the agricultural investment community appears to have been very different.
The Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency (YSGA) has records showing that from 1997 to 2016, perennial crops have more than doubled, increasing by 47,000 acres in Yolo County— 72% of this acreage was planted on land not previously irrigated. In our area north of Capay, it is obvious that the speed of development of land and water resources has increased from a dull roar to a frenzy in the years since 2016. In the last ten years (2010-2020?), 800 new wells have been drilled, the question is how many of these wells were to accommodate for this boom of investment agriculture? The majority of this previously non-irrigated land now holds irrigated perennial almonds, pistachios, grapes and olives generally produced and sold in nationwide and worldwide export markets, and are accompanied by an obvious increase in groundwater extracted from an apparently declining aquifer.
As we talk to our neighbors whose sole access to water is groundwater, it is clear that the lowering of the groundwater in Hungry Hollow has spread additional costs for well drilling, pump lowering, and operating costs across a wide area and involves both homeowners and farmers. It appears, anecdotally, that this condition is showing itself in other areas west of I-505, increasing in severity as it moves west and north.
As residents of Hungry Hollow for nearly 40 years, we would like to see this area continue to support the people who choose to live and work in the area. We are aware that current proposals for continued development of unirrigated land, while currently legal, inadequately address the costs to the residents of Hungry Hollow.
As the groundwater declines during drought conditions and during an unprecedented development of our diminishing groundwater resource, we would like to ask neighbors and friends to join together participating in:
A neighborhood webinar with Max Stevenson of Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
A request to our YFCWCD for a moratorium on further well drilling and groundwater extraction for development of new irrigated lands in Western Yolo County until we understand the consequences for sustainable groundwater management.
A ongoing forum through webinars, farm tours, and educational workshops that will inform our community with regard to any new information, research or experimentations being done to increase groundwater recharge and decrease water usage for a sustainable vision for our future
Writing to YGSA about any problems you have had with well water drops.
IF YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THIS:
Each county has a subbasin: https://www.yologroundwater.org/yolo-subbasin-land-use-change
HUNGRY HOLLOW GROUNDWATER MEETING
Thursday, October 7, 2021 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
To learn more about and ask questions to someone who is living with this on the webinar with Max Stevenson here is the meeting link you can share:
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or Smartphone. https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/296046693
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (669) 224-3412
Access Code: 296-046-693
PARTICIPATE IN THE OPEN COMMENT PERIOD FOR YOLO COUNTY.
The draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Yolo Subbasin Groundwater Agency is available for a 60-day public commenting period, ending October 27.
It is very important that enough of us who will carry the burden of future impacts to tell YSGA so they know there is a problem in our area.
Please comment on the plan specifics-go to their survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KB7DXYV.
Share your personal experiences with your well water issues go to YSGA via email at: email@example.com
If you have concerns about future development go to YSGA via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you support proposing a moratorium on further groundwater extraction for development of unirrigated lands, please let them know when you comment on their survey.
If you want an educational process to help us go into the future on how we each can participate in increasing groundwater recharge and decrease water usage-add that to your comments in the survey.
Have a great Week~ Annie
Masaledar Sem (Spicy Green Beans)
Source: Alexandra Stafford from Food52
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
1 piece fresh ginger 1 1/2 inches long and 1 inch thick, peeled and coarsely chopped
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 1/2 cups water, divided
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 dried hot chile, lightly crushed in a mortar or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 medium tomatoes, peeled (optional) and finely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (or more or less to taste)
1 lemon, halved
1 teaspoon ground, roasted cumin
Freshly cracked black pepper
Trim the beans and cut them crosswise into 1/2-inch lengths. Put the ginger and garlic into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 1/2 cup of water and blend until fairly smooth. Put the oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium heat. When hot, put in the cumin seeds. Five seconds later, put in the crushed chile or crushed red pepper flakes. As soon as it darkens, pour in the ginger-garlic paste. Stir and cook for about a minute. Put in the coriander. Stir a few times. Add the chopped tomatoes. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes, mashing up the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon as you do. Put in the beans, salt (maybe not all of it to start), and the remaining water. Bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the beans are tender. Remove the cover and add the juice of half a lemon, the ground roasted cumin seeds (if using), and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and adjust with more lemon, salt, or pepper as necessary.
Penne With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Source: MYT cooking from Paola di Mauro
1 pound small cherry tomatoes, halved
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons for tossing
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup freshly grated pecorino romano, more for serving
¼ cup bread crumbs
½ pound penne
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line bottom of casserole dish with cherry tomatoes in a single layer, halved side up. Pour oil on top, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs on top. Bake until tomatoes have wilted, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with enough sea salt so that water tastes mildly of salt. When tomatoes are just about done, add penne to water and cook until al dente (it should be pliable, but still firm in center). Scoop out about a cup of pasta water and reserve. Drain pasta and add to casserole. Fold tomatoes and pasta together, adding another 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning. If it is dry, add a little reserved pasta water. Serve, passing more grated cheese at the table.
Tomato, Eggplant, Zucchini Bake with Garlic & Parmesan
Source: Well Plated by Erin
3 medium zucchini about 1 1/2 pounds
1 small/medium eggplant about 3/4 pound
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley divided
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a deep 9x9-inch baking dish or similar 3 1/2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Quarter the zucchini then cut into 1/2-inch slices and place in a large mixing bowl (each piece of zucchini should be roughly 1/2 to 3/4 inches in size). Next, slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch rounds, then stack the rounds and cut into roughly 3/4-inch pieces. Add to the bowl with the zucchini. Halve the cherry tomatoes and add them to the bowl. Drizzle the cut vegetables with the olive oil, then add the garlic, salt, pepper, 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese, and half of the basil and parsley. Toss gently to combine. Transfer the vegetables to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, cover the pan with aluminum foil, then continue baking for 10 to 20 additional minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese, basil, and parsley. Serve warm.
Wheat Berry, Apple and Parsley
Source: Food52 by Greenevi
1 cup wheat berries (soaked overnight)
1 bunch parsley
3 celery stalks
2/3 cup almonds
1 tablespoon tahini
1 lemon, juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
Pinch red pepper flakes
Cook wheat berries in salted water for about 25-30 minutes.
While wheat berries are cooking roast almonds. Cut roasted almonds, apple, celery into smaller pieces, chop parsley finely and add to a large bowl. For the dressing mix together tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water and seasoning. Drain wheat berries, add to the salad with the dressing and mix everything together.