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 

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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 thought..how 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.

tokayo1
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
pomegranate
avocado
limes
lavender
oregano
chard or kale
tomatoes

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.

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

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.

Squash
{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}

Ingredients

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
Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Red lettuce
White and red potatoes
Passion fruit
Sapote
Baby squash
Limes
Super sweet oranges
Muskmelon
Spaghetti or Butternut squash
Cucumbers
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.

IMG_6390

 

 Spaghetti squash

 

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This Weeks Box 9/27/2014

Posted Image

Tree forts. Capture the flag. Riding bikes. Hide and go seek. Cutting through a new swath of wild land to get home before the sun goes down. Finding a creek. Spending a whole summer experiencing crawdads, submerged and partially decayed logs, dragonflies, polywogs, moss, fish, mud, cattails and some really mean geese. Try to build a raft. Have your raft fail. Think about it. Try again. Build a better raft. Have that one fail. Try harder. Finally build a raft that floats. Then build a raft that floats you and a friend. Make a rabbit trap. You know the one I am talking about. The one with the carrot dangling under a box. Hide behind a rock for 7 hours straight. Like wily Coyote, holding the string in anticipation. Get completely skunked. As a result, come to the realization at a very young age that cartoons are bullshit. Go out for a whole day with nothing but some curiosity and energy to spend. Throwing rocks. Kicking cans. Exploring. Gathering various fruit from the trees that hang over the fences. Have a feast on top of the water tower. Have a fruit fight with the leftovers. Drink water from strangers water hoses. (It was ok). It was all ok. Thank you trees. Thank you long dirt roads. Thank you rocks. Thank you dead lizards.  Thank you Mr Neidenmeyers’ black lab who used to chase me from his driveway and all the way to Foss Lane. Thanks for teaching me to be aware of my surroundings. Thank you black lab. For teaching me about real dangers and how to anticipate and navigate them successfully. And thank you mom and dad for trusting that the world works well enough for a 10 year old to go out and have a genuine worthwhile experience without an I phone or even a watch for that matter. Yet still return himself home before dark and on his own volition. Most of all, thank you nature. For being there. Always still.  I have found that upon years of observation, as well as much close inspection, it is eminently clear that you do nothing uselessly. I’ve never seen you tire. You never ask for anything. You are pure service. Forever giving. The ultimate teacher for those of us lucky enough who have taken the time to be educated instead of schooled.

The list
Beets
Summer squash
Limes
Potatoes
Pomegranates
Sweet melons
Tomatoes
Lettuce
Bell peppers, Jalapenos and Sweet frying peppers
Butternut, or Spaghetti or Fairytale pumpkin squash
Cucumbers
Fresh Basil
Fresh Oregano

Tried & True Sungold F1 Tomato

These amazing Sungold cherry tomatoes are back. All hail! the candy of fruit. You know that you have been a member of a local farm food group for over a year when……………..
You had something you really liked in your box. And then it went away for a long time. And then it came back. If you remember these from before, welcome to your second season with the farm at Blue Sky Ranch! Unless it is your third. Or fourth season of course.

The jalapenos are all ripe. That means they are red. a little soft. And sweeter than green jalapenos. The the two varieties of pepper in the box are Cubanelle and hungarian sweet. They are both sweet frying varieties. So, there are no peppers in this weeks box that are going to send you running to get a glass of ice water. Promise.

I want to share how I like to work with the spaghetti squash. We harvest them a little earlier than the store. So, sometimes they are not fully stringy yet. But they are still wonderful. We cut them in half, pull out the seeds, steam both halves until the flesh gets soft. Pull out the two halves and let them cool a little. Then hold the warm half squash in one hand and scrape the squash out into a bowl with a fork in the other. Repeat with the other half and than add a drizzle of coconut oil and a squirt of lime. Stir and serve. Totally refreshing! Fresh pesto instead of coconut oil and lime is another favorite.

Butternuts and Fairytails are interchangeable in recipes.  Here is a real hearty and cheap soup…Pinto Bean and Tomato, Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Tomato, Squash & Coconut Milk Bisque

1/2 onion
1cloves garlic
2 tomatoes halved. 1 cup cherry tomatoes works too.
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 can light coconut milk
3/4 cups vegetable stock or water
Vegetable oil
Lemon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Rub oil over both sides of the tomatoes. Place the squash on another baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Rub oil over all sides of the squash. Roast the tomatoes and squash for 30 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through. The tomatoes should be shriveling but not bursting and the squash should look nicely browned.

Chop the onion, mince the garlic and grate the ginger. When the tomatoes and squash are almost done, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, squash, coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until squash is very soft. Taste and add salt if needed.

Let soup cool slightly and puree until very smooth with a stick blender or in batches with a countertop blender. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a squeeze of lemon if soup needs a little brightness. Serve immediately or let cool and freeze for up to 3 months.

 

 

 

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This Weeks Box 9-6-2014

boxThis mornings box contents
carrots
baby bok choy
summer squash
butternut squash
haas avocadoa
armenian cucumbers limes
persian cucumbers
bell peppers
peach

bag
This mornings bag contents
pomegranate
limes
oranges
pink lemon
sapote

I think that many of you have seen this animated clip by Chipotle. To be honest, the first time I saw it, I did not watch it to the end.  It looked a bit depressing. Also, knowing that the clip was sponsored by a large fast food chain, I think I was expecting some fantastic and gratuitous ending with lots of logos and B.S.  I finally watched it all the way through recently.

I can really relate with how it feels to be out in the world and on the street and in the stores. There are so many appealing signs. And we hear so many adds. We see the writing that says “all natural” or “local” but we know that these are hollow and even sometimes deceptive uses of language. So many people can be seen and heard acting out the memes that the advertisers are pumping out like the skillful artsmen and women they are.

Have you ever been in town doing a bunch of errands and got hungry? If so, have you ever looked around at the signs and the stores and felt like you must be from another planet? Like you do not fit in? I have to say that it has happened to me. And sometimes I really do feel like the scarecrow in the animated clip.

I eat for vibrancy as much as I do for hunger. I also eat for heart. There is nothing better than enjoying quality ingredients prepared by people who are happy. Ingredients from your garden a local farm prepared with friends is even better for the heart. We all have our moments where we settle for less. But it is always nice to know that the real farm on the hill is always there for you.

hairlooms
Heirlooms…Please hurry!

spaghetti
Spaghetti squash…………. looking good!

Grilled Bok Choy

Butternut Squash Ginger Carrot Soup. Feel free to throw a potato or two in there if you have any leftover from last week.

 

 

 

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8/16/2014

08fd0-bringontherain

If you took a moment to look back and contemplate every peak experience you have ever felt that was influenced by rain, could you hope for anything other than that rain for this moment? For this place. Our space?A couple years ago, we had a two day storm. It was the biggest of the year. I came outside during one of the downpours and I saw this little hummingbird out in the open. She was just getting pelted by rain. 2 hours later, there was a brief break in the rain. She was still right there. Waiting for the next downpour I presume. I never tried to figure out what was going through this birds little brain. All I know is that she was fearless in her resolve. It was as if she was saying to all creation “Screw it. Just let it rain!”I have been participating in an intention operation to manifest some rain. I am quite familiar with art and practice of manifesting . I just realized that what I have not done this time is take on this little birds attitude. And drop the the doubt and negativity about the process and just say “screw it. Let it rain!”

I don’t usually quote Clint Eastwood. But when I do, it is this cool thing he said:

I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will.

I absolutely love this quote. Thanks Mr. Eastwood. You must be pretty smart.

The List
cantaloupe
summer squash
bell peppers
hungarian sweet peppers
jalapenos
peaches
tomatoes
salad mix
basil
sapote
white potatoes
oranges
limes

 Grilled Mixed Sweet Peppers

Cantaloupe Basil Salad With Mozzarella

1 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
10-20 leaves of basil,  (reserve a few whole leaves for garnish)
10 green olives, sliced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh mozzarella balls, sliced into quarters
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss the cantaloupe, basil strips, olives, red onions and mozarella balls together. Lightly dress the salad with a long pour of olive oil and even longer drizzle of red wine vinegar. Toss with the lime juice. Generously salt and pepper the salad and taste.

This salad is great straight away but even better chilled for a few hours before serving, to allow the flavors to really meld.

Fish Fillet With Tomato Squash and Basil

Best Jalapeno Recipes Ever I can’t get over the peanut butter stuffed chocolate jalapeno!

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8/9/2014

well

Well number 5 is getting a new pump. Woohoo! This is good.

Last week, we said there was chard in the box. There was not. It was shorted at the last minute. Thanks

Here is the list for today’s CSA.

tomatoes

strawberries

carrots

green onions

red potatoes

lettuce mix

mexican squash

new type of cucumber.

cilantro

limes

sapote

cantaloupe

white nectarine.

 

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