This Weeks Box May 23 2015


Here is the list

baby carrots
pink lemons
white rose potatoes
green onions
head of lettuce
1 zucchini
2 avocados
large cucumber
brown onion
fresh oregano
1 small jicama

There is no rain scheduled  for The Spring CSA Member and Volunteer Work Party tomorrow morning!!  Looks like we will be doing some potato planting. And potato hilling. We will meet up at 9am under the pine tree next to the produce shack where everyone picks up. There will be a couple hours of moderate work for us. This will give us all an opportunity to learn, socialize and get our hands into the earth where this amazingly vibrant food is created. We will wrap up under the pine tree again. And then we will have light potluck snacks and beverages before moving on with our weekend. Please RSVP
Here are some directions to the meeting spot on the ranch.

Mr Pib and Tocayo take a dirt nap after a bout of fierce playing

Jicama..the next superfood?

This slightly sweet and crunchy root vegetable may lack the marketing budgets of acai and coconut juice, but it acts as a prebiotic to promote “friendly” bacteria in the gut. Plus it is said to boost collagen and fight wrinkles.

Rich in vitamin C and minerals, jicama, also known as Mexican yam or water chestnut, can be cooked, mashed, or baked, or served raw in slaws, salads, and stir-fries, after you peel its thick skin.

While predictions are swirling that jicama will soon take an honorary place alongside carrots and kale, at this point you’re still likely only to find the vegetable at farmers’ markets, in a CSA or Mexican grocery store.

Jicama, like Jerusalem artichokes, is a source of inulin, a prebiotic that can promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Munching on jicama might also boost the look of your skin, thanks to its vitamin C content (one cup of raw jicama slices provides more than 24 mg of vitamin C). Eating vitamin C-rich foods can increase collagen production, which can help improve skin texture, speed wound healing, and give you a healthy glow.

Spicy Jicama Fries

Cucumber Mango Avocado Bruschetta

So, here is my suggested adjustment for the above recipe. Just sub the mango for peach. An add jicama.

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This Weeks Box 5/8/2015

csa box may
Nice looking boxes this morning. We harvested everything yesterday and into the evening. It was still raining when we were done, so we just left all the vegetables out on the packing tables. I swear, they looked better and more alive this morning than yesterday, right after picking them. Something magical truly happens when rain kisses vegetables all night. I left a large bunch of cut calendula flowers on its side on the table outside. By this morning, each little flower head had turned 180 degrees to face the rising sun. This was a poignant reminder for me about how lucky we are to be eating food that is still alive. Keep that in mind as you sprinkle some calendula flowers on your salad or in your kale today. We are part of something special here. And each one of your participation is making it happen. And the best part is that the plants themselves are in kahoots with our intention to be more healthy and sustainable. Just ask the calendula. She’ll tell you.

The List

large cucumber
edible calendula flowers
a few small early peaches
salad mix and a few small heads of lettuce too
a few tasty radishes Give these a try. Even if you are not a radish fan
bag “o” kale
beets with greens
naval oranges
small avocados
fresh oregano and rosemary
a few green onions
red and white potatoes

Just another reminder that life can show up anywhere at anytime. Even an old pair of shoes in a shed can take on a whole new significance.

What Can I Expect To See In My Box In The Near Future?

Thanks for asking this question Paula. It has been a while since we gave an update. Well, the very next new thing will be fennel. Probably next week. Apricots and Mulberries are about three weeks away. Heirloom tomatoes are growing nicely, but we have never kicked off tomato season until after the fourth of July, so those are still a couple months away. patty pan, gold zucchini and crookneck squash are about three to 4 weeks out. Lemon cucumbers and Armenian cucumbers are about a month out. Pepper plants are just going in the ground. They will start producing after a month. We have a lot of sweet frying varieties that I am excited to try this year. Then there are the melons. Lot’s of them. Cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew and more. The melons, the Butternut, Hubbard and Spaghetti squash are all just coming up in the seed trays. So, they are at least a couple months off.

pomegranate may
Here is one that will not be ready til October. But you gotta love how the flower of a pomegranate turns right into the fruit it is becoming.

This image was kind of grainy. But I just had to show you guys the progress on our specialty potato patch from just a little over a month ago. For those of you who have never seen potatoes grow, those are the leaves. And the potatoes are growing in the mounds below.

Here is that same patch on planting day..march 28th. Cannot wait to fry up some of those purples and fingerlings!!

We also went big on echinacea this year. We are trying a few different medicinals that we are hoping to provide for our local herbalists on a consistent basis, For now, nettles, elderflower, calendula and echinacea are the top contenders. If you are interested in hearing more about our medicinal herbs and products. Send us an email. We would be happy to talk to you about it.

Caldo Verde (“green soup”) is a classic Portuguese dish that combines kale with potatoes and sausage. This recippe is modified from Savoring Spain & Portugal cookbook.
Caldo Verde / Green Soup

3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups of chopped kale
2 links of chicken chorizo sausage
4 cups chicken stock
2 Tbs. fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until they’re soft. Add minced garlic and potato pieces; cook for a couple minutes and then add the chicken stock. Let this cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes can be broken with a fork. In a separate pan, cook the sausage. When the potato mixture is cooked, add the sausage bits and heat through. Add the chopped kale and turn off the heat. Season to taste and garnish with fresh parsley. Enjoy it with a good crusty bread!

Cucumber Carot Relish

Beet Carrot Cucumber Juice and Salad Combo

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This Weeks Box 4/23/2015

permaculture class

josh presents 2

It was a privilege for us at the ranch to host one weekend of the permaculture design course by Josh Robinson from the San Diego Sustainable living Institute. Josh is a dynamic and extremely knowledgeable teacher of practical ways to make simple, daily changes that promote a more harmonious balance between humans and the earth.
Find out more about the Sustainable living institute here

The list

brown onions
more of those amazing gold nugget tangerines
passion fruit
big bag of lettuce
a few sprigs of mint
2 broccoli heads
green onions
small haas avocado

Spicy Linguini With Swiss Chard and Mint Pesto

Passion Fruit And Lime Vinaigrette This one is easy. Just whisk it up and keep it in a bottle in the fridge for a few weeks!

  • ½ cup key lime juice (about 12 small fresh key limes or use bottled key lime juice)
  • 1 cup passion fruit nectar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup clover honey
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper or to taste

Celery Salad With Feta And Mint

Avocado And Tangerine Salad With Jalapeno Vinaigrette

Pan Cooked Celery With Tomato And Parsley






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This Weeks Box 4/11/2015

The List

baby carrots
russet potatoes
bag of mixed salad greenslimes
bunch of lavender sage and mint
persian cucumbers
small head of cabbage

Looking back, this weeks box seems to be lacking the crowd pleasers that our last few boxes had. After the honey, the avocados, the snap peas and tomatoes, I am looking at this weeks box and I am feeling just a little bit bored.  But hey, that’s what CSA is about sometimes right? I got a call from our neighbor across the street. He says the golden nugget tangerines are ready for us to pick. In order to remember these gems, you need to have been a member for over two years because Toby’s trees did not produce last year. So it has been a while since we had these. I really think these are the best little orange fruit candies I ever had. Also, I am spying about a case worth of avocados in the lower orchard. And I am feeling like my week will not be complete if I do not get up there and get those little guys. So if all goes well, we should have some amazing avocados and gold nugget tangerines in our box next week.

So, I want to talk about tomatoes. Before I do. I want to re post this image from two summers ago.

tomato truck-2

This is the image I am holding in my mind and heart for this summer. As many of you know, It was a rough year for tomatoes. We were completely unprepared for the deer invasion that ensued last year. Within a matter of days, we lost the majority of our planting of tomatoes. I remember sharing about Rachel, Tocayo and I actually camping out at night in the gardens until the fences could be raised. Unfortunately, the later plantings did not bring us the bounty that most of us were used too. This year, we are taking better precautions. And it is likely that we may actually end up with more tomatoes than our small group of workers and volunteers can keep up with. I so look forward to those kind of challenges.

I hope I am not coming off too negative with my post this week. I know that I usually prefer to share the part of farming and community that fills my heart and soul. But I feel like it is unfair to you guys to not share some of the real things that go on inside me too. Especially those of you who have stuck with us through thick and thin, year in and year out. It is obvious that my weekly writing is not the only reason why you have stuck with the CSA for so long. So I guess I do not need to be so worried about it then. I recently started doing some roof construction again. Not because I do not want to farm anymore. But because I want to keep farming. It is crazy. I spend 8-10 hours on a roof in east county and all I can think about is hurrying back home so that I can farm until sunset. It is definitely forcing me to manage my time better. And with the extra money, I feel like we can take care of some of the infrastructure issues that have been going unattended. So, things are definitely happening and changing. And I think that in the end, it is better for the farm.

Someone wrote that a farmer has two good years. His first year. And next year. This quote is painfully funny to me. Because I know it is true. And I do not care. I plant to farm next year and the year after that. And the year after that. I swear that this summer is going to be the best tomato season anyone has ever seen. I believe it. I can see it. And it makes me want to get up in the morning at 5 am. And no one can take that belief away from me. Have you ever laughed and cried at the same time? Well it is not that bad actually. It beets being boring!

A farmer that I really look up to wrote something about what I am talking about. Here it is…

Why I Farm

The following essay by Farmer John is reprinted from the Farm News: Week 11, September 10, 1994

I’ve written plenty in the last few weeks about the obstacles in farming – the decay of buildings, the unreliability of help, the capriciousness of weather, the uncertainty of bugs and blights, the financial horrors. So, do you wonder why I farm, why anyone would farm? It’s kind of hard to say…

Our neighbor showed up this week and said, “I got the arthritis bad, but why wouldn’t I after 30 years of beating up this body – broken bones all over. Broke my ribs twelve times working with those cows, broke both ankles, dislocated my shoulder, had to milk with one arm in the air. Whatcha’ gonna do? Cows gotta be milked. Couldn’t get any help. We offered sometimes up to ten dollars an hour, and we couldn’t get kids to show up more than two days. You gotta get the cows milked. It just got so I did it myself – didn’t care what was busted.”

Our neighbor didn’t say exactly why he farmed; it’s just not farmerly to talk about such things out here. But I noticed in his speaking that there was something he liked very much about farming, or he wouldn’t be doing it.

Another farm family nearby is legendary for getting their crops in first. They move fast, all ages, in a spritz of tobacco juice and beer. Even the 80 year old grandpa, his hip smashed by a bull, races to the barn at 5 in the morning. Several of them are missing toes and fingers from machinery accidents. The last finger the family lost didn’t even stop the haying.

It’s hard to explain just what causes a person to stay in such a life. For me, as I miraculously type with all ten digits, I think about when I suddenly went from a fleet of cars and trucks and an arsenal of machinery down to nothing in the early eighties.

My boots were worn out, and I didn’t have the money for another pair. My mother bought me boots. I will forever remember the exquisite sensation of walking what was left of this farm, secure in my shiny rubber boots, feeling somehow that those boots had restored me to the land. The land has a feel underfoot that melts me to it.

And then there’s the smell – our machine shed has a smell of eternity, a musty ancient fragrance from before my birth and into the hereafter. There’s the rhythm – the barn door opens and closes; the swallows return; the brome grass swishes.

On NPR, Susan Stanberg interviewed a Mayan girl in the Yucatan Peninsula (through a translator). She wanted to know why the girl weaved all day long. The girl didn’t answer to Susan’s satisfaction, so Susan persisted.

“Is it because you can sell your weavings for money?”


“Do you weave because your ancestors weaved and it’s a way to stay connected to your people?”


“Do you weave because you love the rhythm and the patterns of weaving?”


“Why do you weave, then?”

“I just weave.”

I don’t stay on this farm because brome grass swishes; that’s a fringe benefit. The closest I can describe my bond to farming is a shudder I get, an irrepressible vibration when it’s time to work the fields. I can be eating, sleeping, or having a great conversation, and when the time is right to plow or plant my body registers some mysterious sensation, an irresistible beckoning. My legs take me to the work, put me on the tractor; I am all surrender. And the joy of pushing dirt around, the ecstasy of spraying potentized silica, the thrill of organizing little dots of green into straight lines on bare soil – these invoke in me a subtle delirium.

For two years I toured rural Illinois with a play I wrote about a farm family losing its land. Audiences wept and laughed. Once an old man caught up to me backstage. He said, “Let me tell you how to farm. There’s only one way. You farm ’til you’re down to your last nickel. And then you keep farming until the nickel’s gone.”

Like a drug, the land can lure a person into destitution. It can overshadow ones love for others. The land can embolden, exhaust, ennoble. It can nurture, destroy, sustain.

I don’t know why I farm.

I just farm.

One more thing. We have a date for the spring CSA member work party. It is going to be Saturday May 23rd. From 9 to 11:30 and a potluck afterward. If you have never been to the ranch, this will be the time to come. Nothing beats the majestic beauty of Blue Sky Ranch in spring. We will post more details about the work part next weekk. Mark your calender!

Cabbage Carrot Potato Soup

In case you did not know, arugula is not just for salad. 20 Arugula Recipes

There are a lot of “herbed” lemonade recipes out there. An easy one is two lemons squeezed into a quart container. Bruise the heck out of one sprig of mint, sage and lavender. Put the bruised herb in the container and then squeeze in a little agave syrup. Fill the rest of the container with water. Let sit in the fridge for a few hours.



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Potatoes seeds move into their new home. Putting in some purples, reds and fingerlings.

Hey everyone. If you have not gotten a tour yet, now is the time to do it. I cannot put it into language this morning. I will just say that I never knew there could be so much life in one place. It is a real blessing to get to wake up to this ever day. I am not sure what I did to deserve this. But I will take it. We are all happy to share it with you any way we can. Just let us know.

Here is the list
big bunch of sweet baby carrots
passion fruit
small bag of arugula
bag of sugar snap peas
head of green cabbage
red potatoes
baby beets
bag of lettuce mix
pink lemons
persian cucumbers
small container of local avocado honey

We are looking at Saturday May 13 or 20th to have our spring volunteer and member work party here at the ranch. We will narrow it down next week. And give you all the details. It is going to be great. These quarterly events are one of my favorite things to be a part of. If you want to really experience the life and fertility of the ranch, the spring work party is the thing to do. Yah spring!

So I am strolling through the produce section (yes farmers shop too). And I just about fell over. 2 bucks for a passion fruit?! And they were tiny. Smaller than a kiwi. That is nothing though. Compared to the bunch of basil for 6.99. Seriously.

Cole Slaw

  • 1 head green cabbage
  • 2 large or 3 small sweet carrots peeled
  • 3/4 cup nuts soaked
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pink lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons avocado honey
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • Celtic sea salt or Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
  • Squeeze in half an orange citrus

I love it. It is a website called “Eat Your Beets . Com” Check out their recipe for Citrus and Honey Roasted Beets

Carrot Hummus Recipe

I got an idea. make some carrot hummus. dip your snap peas in it! Is that even legal?

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This Weeks Box 3/13/2015

Here is the list!
sweet young carrots
green onions
snap peas
persian cucumber
salad mix
fuerte avocado

csa box
Here is this weeks box. Minus the lemons and  tangelos
snap peasWall “O” snap peas. Yeah! they taste awesome.
A look inside Fuerte.


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This weeks box 3/7/2015

Here is the list

Two broccoli heads
2 Fuerte avocados
A few turnips
One or two beets
Purple cabbage
Baby bok choy
Navel oranges
Young chard or kale
Lettuce and spinach mix
Green onions

About half of us got chard. And the other half got kale this week. I want to mention that this is not just any chard and kale. Both of these items were “first harvest”. See, kale and chard are come again plants. We do not pull the whole thing up when we harvest. We just pick a few of the outer leaves off each plant in a row, until we have enough for a bunch. In cool weather, chard or kale can last months being picked on a weekly basis. What is special about the first harvest is that the particular plant is brand new and is the tenderest and mildest in flavor that it is ever going to be. Think of it like chard or kale veal! Take a moment to be present to what these greens have to offer this week. It is always nice to reconnect on a slightly deeper level. This would be a good time to do that

Beet chips are easy. And totally worth the effort. My favorite recipe uses pretty much the same recipe as this one, except I prefer coconut oil if I have it. And fried in an iron skillet. The recipe above works nicely though.

Easy Baked Rosemary Beet Chips! Fast, healthy and SO simple. #vegan #glutenfree
Grilled Baby Bok Choy

What is the difference between a Fuerte and a Haas avocado? Not much as far as flavor and creaminess goes. Fuerte used to be the avocado industry standard for decades. Until the Haas was finally adopted as the number one for it’s thick skin, which made it a better candidate for long distance shipping.

Did you know San Diego County, which produces 60 percent of all California Avocados, is the acknowledged avocado capital of the nation? Ever driven by Avocado blvd in El Cajon? How about Fuerte Dr? I recently discovered that Calavo dr in La Mesa was named that because the headquarters for the California Avocado Comission was right on that street. Sorry to be a nerd. But I love this history stuff.

Tasty Turnip Fries


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