July 28, 2020

 

What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX: Eggplant, Cherry Tomatoes, Grapes, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Basil, Beets

Bread this week: Puligese or Walnut Lavain

 

 

Good Humus Peach Party

 

We are sad to announce that our peach party is cancelled for this year. We hope to see you in 2021

 

NEW QUARTER STARTING AUG 18th!

Payment due Aug 11th

We will be taking 1 week off during the next quarter, date TBD

Fall Quarter Aug 18th-Novembver 10th

 

This Week on The Farm

This week’s newsletter is written to me after he read the newsletter on our hedgerows, This is from a family friend who went to Davis Waldorf School with our son Zach from 1st to 8th grade. I was their gardening teacher for five years at the school, and Nick and his parents remain close to our family. Nick is a film maker, writer, now married with his own family, expecting their second child soon, and is a CSA member of Good Humus. Now as a family man, father and in the world of life the universe and everything there comes a lot of new things and realizations. Nick took to his writing skills and has been so kind to share with us how his world has changed since our gardening classes so many years ago.

               And along with this comes the good news that we did get chosen and approved in the RCD lottery system, so we will start to implement a 3 year project on planting new hedgerows for the next generation of bug lovers on our "Back Ten" piece of property.

Have a good week~Annie Main

 

A “City Folk” Realization About Bugs

Of course a lot of people appreciate seeing things through a child’s eyes, but if you asked me to remember my thoughts of bugs when I was kid it was mostly unpleasant. I remember being scared of spiders, bees, and thinking of anything creeping and crawling as “dirty.” One of my earliest memories is being in childcare and being told to stay still until a wasp left my leg, only to be stung for my patience! As I grew up I did what many people do when they have fear toward something, go on the offense. No longer was I scared kid, I was the bug smasher and spider slayer, establishing a layer of sanitary space around me. I was aware that not all bugs were bad -- I was merciful to ladybugs and earthworms — but on the whole if something was crawling around my house I was killing it.  But then in visits to your farm and in gardening class at Davis Waldorf, I began to hear some odd ideas: bees and wasps weren’t stinging insects, they were pollinators, beetles and other creepy crawlers could help a compost pile or chase off other predatory insects and maintain balance. In addition, bugs provided food for a whole plethora of animals and  wildlife. Having recently read your letter about the tree lines, it reminded me where these philosophical ideas came from and the knowledge that, despite my discomfort around them, insects are more beneficial than I initially thought. But despite philosophical knowledge, my adult life has still comprised of keeping my house (and my yard) pretty much pest free.  With all the knowledge about farming you have given me through the years, I felt inspired to share what I know with my 2-year old daughter and have constructed 4 raised beds in my backyard. Currently, we’re growing calendula, cilantro, bok choy, basil, chard, rosemary, thyme, yellow squash, zucchini, bell, shishito, and serrano peppers, and a whole variety of tomatoes. I’m also working on a mini greenhouse for seedlings. And while it’s been a blast, there has simultaneously been an explosion of bugs. Ew! Slugs, snails, dragonflies, wasps, bees, hummingbirds, cockroaches, beetles, earwigs, regular birds (we have two nests in our backyard), butterflies, black soldier flies, house flies, and a slew of spiders who have come to feast on them — the list goes on and on.  Basically my entire life I’ve been happy to avoid bugs. I was pretty sure they were just there to either sting me, or eat my food, or spread disease. But while I expected the benefits of enjoying fresh vegetables to be the main benefit for my daughter Lily and myself in starting our micro-farm, it turns out the life lessons might be the real reward. The more I see Lily explore our garden and all its' new inhabitants, the more I’ve come to embrace the abundance and diversity of life in my garden. The more curious Lily gets, the more I research what kind of bugs we have and their benefits. I’ve learned cockroaches can be great for compost piles, bumblebees and wasps are a sign of healthy pollination, and some beetles can help maintain balance with ants and smaller insects. Not to mention spiders. Spiders (my old nemesis) are in fact our main guardians against this onslaught of wings and legs. The entire environment has become this world of research, exploration, discovery, and knowledge, not just for Lily but for me too.  Every wasp is a lesson in caution and patience, every ladybug we hold is a chance to practice respect and tenderness. Lessons I try and teach Lily indoors are echoed in the yard: watch where you step, look before you grab, be cautious but curious. From the scratchy feel of the zucchini to sounds of the bumblebees in our hibiscus tree, the bustle of life in our garden is constantly filled with new experiences for Lily that spike her imagination and curiosity of the outside world. Long story short, I still kill the unlucky black widows and cockroaches that make it into our house, but outside our house, what a shift, a yard I used to view as a project I was constantly maintaining.

Have a Good week. ~ Nick

Bolognaise Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant, halved lengthways

Bolognaise sauce (recipe below)

1 pint basket cherry tomatoes sliced

2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Fresh basil leaves, to serve

Bolognaise sauce

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds lean beef, minced

4 celery sticks, finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled, finely grated

1 brown onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

16 ounce can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup red wine

3 dried bay leaves, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 sprigs fresh oregano

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Scoop the flesh from the eggplant halves, leaving a 1cm-thick border. Set aside. Reserve scooped out center for the bolognaise sauce. Panfry the mince in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion, reserved eggplant and garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until vegetables soften .Add the mince, tomato, tomato paste, wine, bay leaves, thyme and oregano and stir until well combined. Cover and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 F. Uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Remove the bay leaves, oregano and thyme sprigs. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the bolognaise mixture evenly among the eggplant cavities. Place the stuffed eggplant in a large baking dish or roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until eggplant is tender. Sprinkle with cherry tomatoes, parmesan and basil leaves and serve.

Eggplant and Cucumber Crunch Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

1 cup quinoa

1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch chunks

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

3 scallions, minced, white and light green parts only

1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch chunks

1 bunch of parsley, diced

2 cups cooked chickpeas-if canned rinsed and drained

salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup water

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the quinoa by combining 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until quinoa has absorbed the liquid and can easily be fluffed with a fork. Prepare the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together until smooth. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary. Slice the eggplants into 1/4 inch chunks (no need to peel) and lightly salt them and set aside on a dish cloth. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add scallions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the eggplant and chickpeas and continue to cook stirring often until eggplants begin to brown on all sides and chickpeas become lightly toasted. About 8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and eggplant/chickpea mixture. Stir in the parsley and toss until well combined.  Drizzle with dressing and season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Beet Baba Ganoush-Roasted Eggplant Dip with Beets

1 medium eggplant

1 small beet (or 1/2 large beet)

2-4 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)

1 tablespoon fresh parsley leaves, optional

Ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray it with olive oil or non-stick spray. Cut the eggplant in two and place cut side up on the baking sheet. Peel and cut the beet into small wedges. Peel the garlic. Wrap the sliced beet and peeled garlic in foil, spray with olive oil, and place on the baking sheet next to the eggplant. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the beets are fully cooked. Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool until it's safe to touch. Use a fork or a spoon to scoop the roasted eggplant insides from the skin and place in a bowl. Discard the skins. Place the roasted garlic and beets into the food processor. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, and pepper. Process for several seconds until you have a chunky mixture. Add the eggplant (leave any released eggplant juice in the bowl). Process for a minute or two until you reach a desired consistency - I like mine to be a little chunky. Taste and see if you need more lemon juice, salt, or pepper. Add the chopped parsley (if using), and pulse to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled, drizzling with extra olive oil and garnishing with fresh parsley. Serve with crackers, cut veggies, fresh or toasted pita, or use as a spread on sandwiches and wraps.