This Weeks Box 1/10/2014

Here is another reminder that the fall volunteer work party/potluck is next week. We will meet at the farm at 9 am Saturday the 17th of January. Everyone will get a chance to do some harvesting, planting and seed starting. If you cannot make it as early as 9, but you want to come, please try and make it when you can.  At around 11, we will wrap up under the pine tree, on the picnic tables. There we will enjoy a fresh farm salad and some refreshments. Along with the salad, we will have some some light “snack like” pot luck sides brought by members. For an extra special treat, Ingrid Coffin, the founder of Blue Sky Ranch has offered to do a brief talk for us about the land and the community. I hope you all can make it. It is always such an energizing way to start a Saturday. Please RSVP.

The list

purple cabbage
sweet young carrots
meyers lemons
bell peppers
cara cara oranges from our friends ranch in Hell hole canyon
dancy tangerines from Hell hole canyon
persian cucumbers
sugar snap peas
big bag of lettuce

Well, it is before 5:30 Saturday morning. We have not even packed the boxes. I can tell that this one is going to be a colorful box though.


One thing about making the newsletter before we pack the boxes is that sometimes we do not always do exactly what we say we are going to do the way we said we were going to do it. Last week, we made a big deal about calendula being in the salad mix. Was the calendula in the salad mix? No. Will it be this week? Yes.

Orange Avocado Dressing

Grilled Cabbage Wedges with Spicy Lime Salsa

Super Orange Juice with Carrots, Oranges, Cucumber & PearCarrot Cucumber Orange Smoothie

Late Summer Salad Kale, Avocado, Cabbage Apple Salad

One bunch of kale
A large wedge of a purple cabbage
One large apple
One avocado

Tahini Dressing
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp tahini
zest and juice 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Cut the stalks out of the kale leaves, then finely ribbon the kale. Very finely chop the cabbage, with pieces about 3 inches long (cut the long strips in half if they’re much too long). Quarter the apple, then cut into thin pieces. For the avocado, cut in half, then make a line in each half lengthwise. Then make many cuts perpendicularly and scoop out each half.

In a small jar, combine all ingredients for the dressing then shake vigorously. Or, combine garlic, honey and 1 tbsp oil in a bowl, whisk with a fork until combined, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, then toss with the tahini dressing. This salad can sit for up to an hour in the fridge before serving, and actually gets a little better after at least 20 minutes.




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This Weeks Box 1/3/2015

The list

green tomatoes
bag of salad greens
bell peppers
persian cucumbers
kale bunch
bag of chard
potatoes red and white
summer squash
zutano avocado
meyers lemons
navel oranges
a few tangerines


What is this yellow awesomeness in my salad mix? Calendula is an edible flower. From time to time, we pull the petals off the calyxes and sprinkle them in the salad mix. If you ever feel like doing a little homework, google the health benefits of this flower. It is pretty amazing. I love em because they are a rare winter blooming flower that reminds me of summer.

Green tomatoes are a once a year thing. When the first frosts show up, the tomatoes stop growing and turning green. Then we pick them all and give you the opportunity to do something with them.

Here is a couple recipes:

Green Tomato Jam
Fried Green Tomatoes

We put a small sample of a sauerkraut we made here at the ranch last week. It has a little turmeric powder and some fennel seeds. Once again, if you are feeling studious, check the health benefits of raw sauerkraut. Or turmeric. Or fennel seeds for that matter!

Here is a recipe for a simple batch of sauer kraut that you can make right in a mason jar.

Baked Kale Chips


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This Weeks Box 12/13/2014

hole in the passion fruit vine 2

Here is the list.

Bag of salad Mix
Small head of Bib lettuce
Zutano and Haas avocaos
Bell pepper
Meyers Lemon
Head of cabbage
A few small squash

This weeks box is pretty full. We could barely close some of them. There is something great about rain kissed produce. I think it gives us extra energy. Sometimes, after a big salad of vibrant produce like what we have this week, I like to go out front and try and lift the car. Just to see. I am always checking. You know.

We postponed the work party. Too many of us were worried that it was going to rain right through the morning. So, we closed the circle on it yesterday afternoon. What is great about this is that we have re scheduled already. Our next member, volunteer, friends and family work party/potluck is going to happen on January 17th from 9 until noonish. It looks like it is going to be a good turnout. Feel free to bring the kids. If you have not been to the ranch yet, it is a great way to to get acquainted with the land, other members and the people behind the scenes of the farm. I highly suggest it. There is something for everyone to do.

Please RSVP if you think you are going to come. We will post more details about the work party as the event gets closer.

Beet Greens Pie Recipe

I love this persimmon dressing. I have made it three different ways. And it always comes out great. Here is the basic recipe though. I use 1/2 yogurt and 1/2 mayo for the creamy base. I have tried yogurt only and it was good. But with the yogurt alone, it seemed a little more “deserty” than with mayo.

4 persimmons
1 meyer lemon
1 orange or tangerine
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil. Needs to be 70 degrees or warmer to be liquid. You want it to be liquid when you mix it in.
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup mayo

Cut the skin off the persimmons and put them in a blender. take the lemon and the orange and get some zest off of a few square inches of each fruit. Not much. Just about a thumbnails worth of rind from each fruit. Put it in the blender with the salt , vinegar and wine. Squeeze the juice of the orange and the juice of the lemon into the blender. Add the mayo ad yogurt. Start your blender. Once everything is looking kind of like a creamy orange smoothy, pour in the coconut as you are blending. It is actually pretty amazing how much this looks like thousand island dressing. But it tastes a thousand miles away from it.


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This Weeks Box 11/29/2014

I would like to announce our “very short notice” fall volunteer work party/potluck. We will meet at the farm at 9 am Saturday the 13th of December. Everyone will get a chance to do some harvesting, planting and seed starting. At around 11, we will wrap up under the pine tree, on the picnic tables. There we will enjoy a fresh farm salad with persimmon dressing harvested by us. Along with the salad, we will have some some light “snack like” pot luck sides brought by members. For an extra special treat, Ingrid Coffin, the founder of Blue Sky Ranch has offered to do a brief talk for us about the land and the community. I hope you all can make it. It is always such an energizing way to start a Saturday. Please RSVP.

2014 Spring work party.

owl Ears like a cat, yet wings like a bird?? Weird.

Baby Lettuce
Our lettuce is spoiled. Seriously. It even gets tucked in at night with a blanket.

The list
Russet potatoes
Red leaf lettuce
Thai basil
Pink lemons
Winter squash
Summer squash
A small tomato or two

Tomatoes with Thai Basil Dressing
Potato Leek Gratin
Leek and Potato Soup with Oregano
Creamy Thai Carrot Soup with Basil

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This Weeks Box 11/14/2014

blue sky

I had never been to a “post rain” rain dance til recently. Actually, I had never heard of one. I always thought you were supposed to do it before the rain. But the rain dance is not quite what I wanted to share about yet. The recent rain has brought a distinct close to an old paradigm of thought and relation with nature for me. It has planted new seeds and begun to water them with passion and curiosity.  I feel fortunate to have been having fertile dialogue around the topic of how nature and humans relate. Some meaningful insights are seeming more perennial than ever.  I really think there is a fundamental difference between intelligence in humans and intelligence in nature. If we can come to terms with the difference, we can realize where and how a productive relationship might begin. Human intelligence operates with an element of free will. The fundamental element at work in natural intelligence is Inherent balance. Reality in nature does not contain free will. Likewise,  human consciousness reality does not contain inherent balance. For me, these few sentences had to be repeated a few hundred times before the light bulb really kicked on. Fortunately, some of you are not as hard headed as myself.  If we hold onto this realization about the elemental differences between man and nature, I think we can imagine even more wisdom from it. Although human reality, by nature, is not inherently balanced, we crave inherent balance. From our deepest levels. We are at our best, when we are in a state of inherent balance. For me, this understanding somewhat sets the stage for the beginning of a productive relationship. We can begin to visualize what the bridge between us and nature would look like. We can even imagine the direction that the intelligence would flow.

Something keeps circulating in my mind. It goes like this…..When it comes to nature, it is never what you think. There is a quote that I heard when I first started gardening. It said something like…Humans seem to think that a garden is an expression of nature. But if you ask nature she will tell you that a garden is actually an expression of humans. I find a lot of truth in this. And if most people sat down and actually asked nature what nature wanted from them, they would be astounded at what nature might have to say.

Most of us, including governments, want to do the right thing for the planet. And we think we know what it is. So we go about supporting nature in the way we “think” nature needs to be supported. But did we ask first? Do we really understand her enough to do well by her? I think of women’s rights and the recent evolutionary shift in how women express themselves in relationships, families, communities and the world. This expression has not come about from a group of men getting together and “thinking” about how to support women so they can have better lives. On the contrary, has it not been more of a case of women naturally expressing themselves. And ideally, does not the meaningful support for this shift come from all people being receptive to what is being naturally expressed? The same goes in nature. Thinking that we can trust nature to conform to our will is one of the perennial follies of mankind. But to stop there as if there is no space for understanding and growth and meaningful relation would be unproductive.

I do look forward to sharing some of the particular experiences that have helped me along as of late. Some of them might prove quite interesting to some of you. But for now, I will say that one of the most valuable tool I have learned is that intellect is not the bridge. Rather, receptiveness, being present and accepting things as they are in the moment, seem to be the best foundation for opening a dialogue and begin to understand in a way that does not lay our expectation, fears and judgements in a heaping pile on the bridge between ourselves and nature.

I was lusting for rain for six month straight. I blocked my bridge between myself and nature with fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of losing control. “As if I am in control” Ha. And I also blocked it with misplaced care and concern. I missed out on 6 months of teachings and insights. Finally, I snapped. I could not handle the weight anymore. It is good to snap once in a while. Especially when you are being a hard head. What a relief.

A few days later, I went for a hike behind the ranch on the El Capitan Space Preserve 


It was as if I was seeing the land for the first time. Not how I needed it to be. But, as it was. I was finally in the moment. Just witnessing. Being receptive. No agenda. No expectation. No timeline. Just receiving. I saw how dry everything was. Even some of our own majestic coastal sage natives were dying. There seemed to be less birds. Less of everything really. Yet, I sensed life. The life that was present seemed animated. Like it was charged the way it always has been. I is this? It was as if the only thing different was some slight shifts in form of things as I had been previously used to. Like, the colors and the density of the plants and the number of animals. Yet, beneath the mundane physicality of the space was also nature. A different level. Maybe it is the level we do not see until we have no agenda but too experience? But beneath all the physicality , beneath my emotional filter, was a humming radiance.  Something I have been lucky enough to tap into from time to time in my life. A humming radiance emanating from all around and everything including myself. In it, was a calmness. A peace. But most of all, an inherent balance. I realized that nature was not one bit worried. Never was. And that the current state of the physical form of things was exactly what and how she was expressing. And that no part of it was an accident. It was as if the entire landscape. And the clouds and the air, all the way to the horizon were in on it’s own current state of being.

A few days later, it rained. A lot. I was present to it. It was nice. And I was in awe at what was being expressed. Because it was what was being expressed.

Another expression of nature. Hurricane Tocayo! “Destroyer of Narcissus flowers”. Just doing what he does. A joy to be present to.

Here is the list

bunch of carrots
big bag of 5 lettuce and spinach salad mixbaby bok choy
red onion
sweet peppers
a few baby Squash
butternut or spaghetti squash
fuyu persimmons
chard or kale

Indian Spiced Grilled Baby Squash With Red Onion

Apple and Pomegranate Quinoa and Kale Salad with Feta in a Curried Maple Dijon…
Holiday Kale Salad With Persimmon and Pomegranate

Swiss Chard and Avocado Tomato Salad

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash With Black Bean Guacamole

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This Weeks Box 10/18/2014

Here is the list.

CarrotsPassion Fruit
Summer Squash
Bell Peppers
A lot of Limes
Winter Squash
Beets with wonderful greens on them
Lemon“, “Armenian“, or “regular” cucumber

wall passion
The Great Wall of Passion Fruit!

basket passionHarvesting Passion Fruit is like an Easter egg hunt every day. They just fall when they are ready, And we pick em up.

{Stuffed Summer Squash}

Each box has at least one large summer squash this week. So we thought you might appreciate a special way to eat it.

{Tomato Braised Butternut Squash with Chickpeas and Chard}


Steamed rice as needed if desired
1 pound peeled and 1-inch cubed butternut squash (see hints below)
1/2  cup thinly chopped onion
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cloves garlic, minced
approx. 1/4 gallon no-salt added tomato juice (see hints)
one large bunch Swiss chard (see procedure
scant 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 can well drained  low sodium chickpeas

Start the cooking process by sauteing the chopped onion in a large pan in olive oil.

While the onion is softening up, finely mince 1 cloves of garlic and also cut the stalks on the Swiss chard crosswise into thin slices.

Once the onion is translucent, add the minced garlic and the chard stems and then add the butternut squash and add just enough tomato juice to almost cover the squash.

Turn the heat up a bit on that and bring it up to a simmer and then adjust the heat so it’s just simmering along.

While that’s happening, use a knife to rough chop the large bunch of Swiss chard leaves.

You can add an optional sprinkling of ground cinnamon to the simmering squash if you like and, once the squash is just about cooked through, add the Swiss chard leaves and stir those in to wilt and then add one well drained 15-ounce can of low sodium chick peas and stir those in.

And then serve it with steamed rice for a complete vegetarian meal.

Make sure to use no salt added tomato juice because it would get too salty otherwise as the juice cooked down. Substitute low sodium vegetable broth or water instead and add some no-salt added diced tomatoes.

You can peel and cube the squash yourself or buy already peeled and cut squash.
The pre peeled and and cut squash will probably need to be cut into smaller uniform cubes though.
This makes a large amount so feel free to start with 1 pound of squash instead and cut the rest of the ingredients in half as well.

{Spaghetti Squash, Chard, Spicy Nuts and Tomato Stack Recipe}

Beets and Greens Recipe with Canellini Beans


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This Weeks Box 10/10/2014

Bell peppers
Cherry tomatoes
Red lettuce
White and red potatoes
Passion fruit
Baby squash
Super sweet oranges
Spaghetti or Butternut squash
Small haas avocado

Hi everyone. I wanted to share something I have been doing with the Sapote Fruit. I have been pulling off as much skin as I can and then de seeding and blending them. Then I add them to soups as a thickener/ sweetener. I added two to about 2 quarts of a spicy, middle eastern lamb stew. It thickened it up a bit and added a mild, pleasant sweetness. Next was a butternut, carrot potato pureed soup. Sapote made a real nice addition there as well.

Everything is going pretty good on the farm front. It is starting to feel like the beast of hotter days is past us. Tomatoes are finally coming in strong. I was getting worried there for a while. But like magic, they finally are putting on some color for us. There will be both Cherry and large tomatoes in the box tomorrow. I did not get out with a camera today. But I will tell you about these Zutano avocado trees that are hanging out on the north east end of the main garden. I cannot wait to get these beautiful fruit in the box. They are amazing looking. According the our local Ag dept, Zutano’s are set to be released around the middle of November this year. We will do a local sample at the end of October though. I have never been accused of following rules very well.

I want to make a first mention about our fall  work party. Last Spring’s work party was a real success and a good time. There is no date as of yet. But we better get one set quick, with the holidays just around the corner.

The volunteer force is starting to bubble up again. A few new faces this week, plus our hand full of regulars has really helped move things along.

On a technical note, I want to remind all our members that there is a link at the top of the page for Members to Log in to your account. From that page, you can check your next delivery, put a box on hold, make a payment. And more. If you do not know your password. Or you think you never got one. Email us here. For those of you who are not so tech savvy. I am one of you. Just send us an email. We can answer any question or make any change to your account that you need.

The Big question for this week is: Are you going to spaghetti squash heaven, or butternut squash heaven?

 This recipe is from Nate and Jade. Our fearless and super creative volunteers

1 cup soaked cashews
1cup veggie broth (veggie bouillon)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
Homemade bread crumbs (bread and c olive bread)
Soak cashews for 2 hours
Roast the butternut squash 45 minutes at 400 degrees
Puree the cashews with veggie broth until smooth (in food processor or good blender)
Add the butternut to the cashew puree and blend until smooth
Add in the salt, rosemary and thyme
Cook pasta till al dente
Mix pasta and puree together
Top with homemade bread crumbs*
Cook uncovered in oven at 350 for 30minutes.
Serve with sautéed greens for a delicious meal

*to make homemade bread crumbs, make small cubes out of your old bread toss into pan and coat with olive oil and cook on medium heat for 7mins.



 Spaghetti squash


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