This Weeks Box 7/ 25/ 2015

basil
tomatoes
baby carrots
pasilla pepper
summer squash
nectarines
salad mix
valencia oranges
oro blanci grapefruit
limescucumbers
passion fruit
Hey guys. It feels great to sit down and  give a little farm update. making these posts is actually one of my favorite parts of doing this work. So I am glad that things are starting to level off enough for me to get back here more often. I sure wish all of you could be here today. The water last week did some amazing things for the plants. Sometimes I feel a little guilty because I am often the only one around here to experience the grace and beauty of all this. If I could package and put the feeling I get from being on the land on days like this, we would be the biggest CSA in the U.S.

We have a few new things in the box this week. So I want to make sure we cover those. The most unusual one is probably the okra. This has to be the very first time we had okra. First of all. Don’t panic. Okra is easy. You just cook dickens out of it. And it is good. okra has a flavor profile that is very hearty and savory. And the right recipe will make you a fan forever. If you are not already. This is basically the recipe that made me fall in love with okra.  And like the author, I came across it while eating at a mediterranian restaurant.

Next, we have the nectarines. Now, these are not from here. They are from an organic orchard in Julian. I swapped a crate of tomatoes for these. And after you taste them, I think you will agree that we made  good deal. Here is a recipe that makes me happy. You do not have to use mint. Basil is amazing in this one too. And vanilla ice cream substitutes the ricotta quite nicely.

grilledpeacheswithricotta Recipe: Grilled Peaches with Ricotta Cheese

Here is a barbecue sauce that can be made with nectarines.

romaine
The lettuce is back!

Now that tomato and basil are here for the summer, I feel like we can do just about anything. Check out this caprese crostini with pesto!

caprese crostini with pesto

At the last CSA work party and potluck, our Ms Stacey knocked everyone out with the most flavorful passion fruit bread.

This is it:

  • 250g (approximately 2 cups) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 200g (approximately ¾ cup) superfine sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • ½ cup passion fruit pulp (I pushed the seeds and pulp through a sieve then added back 2 teaspoons of seeds)

STEPS

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  4. Pour the yoghurt mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until a skewer inserted comes out clean. If you find the cake is darkening too much for your liking, simply cover it with a piece of foil half way through baking.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing the cakes from the tin.Who needs a shovel, when one can dig with his face?

    shovel

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This Weeks Box 7/11/2015

Good morning. I sit here, happily typing with purple hands. Why? Cuz mulberries! That’s right. Mulberries are back. It takes a significant amount of time to pick enough mulberries for the CSA. But it is so worth it. For one, I get a mulberry for every 10 I pick for the CSA. And two,  I get so many sweet complimentary emails from customers during mulberry season. I save them in a special file. And I read them when I need a boost. I have to warn you though, these are magical mulberries. And I suggest you put your CSA box in the trunk for the drive home. Because if you leave the box on the front seat, they will mysteriously disappear by the time you get home.

The List

tomatoes. woot! woot!
baby carrots
summer squash
cucumbers
white and purple potatoes
lemon thyme
cantaloupe woot!
mulberries woot! woot! woot!
avocado
cilantro
valencia oranges
pink lemons

Thyme Fries when you are having fun with purple and white potatoes

I am not much of a fry person, but these purple potatoes love to be cut up super thin and fried in coconut oil until they get crispy. Take em right out of the pan when they are done, and put em on a paper towel. grind a little sea salt on them and sprinkle fresh chopped thyme allover them.

Cantaloupe mulberry popsicles

 Roasted zucchini and carrots

This was Tocayo’s first time in the garden 2-1/2 years ago. He still will not lie down anywhere except on a bed of carrots. I guess some things always stay the same.

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This Weeks Box 5/27/2012

bobcat at eucs
The name wildcat canyon is all finally starting to make sense now babybob
The youngster closebabybob
And a close up.

Okay! Now, back to food.
Here is what we are eating this week.
multi colored carrots
summer squash
bag of lettuce
spring onions
red and purple potatoes. “right from the ground”
large cantaloup
oranges
cucumber
meyers lemons
a few limes.
haas avocados

From time to time, I like to make an announcement about how we box our food for you. We call it field washed. We give the veggies a rinse right after pulling them out of the ground. This knocks off the field heat and cools them down. It cleans them off mostly. And it helps keep them from wilting while they are in the CSA box. Any further processing and cleaning would take significant man hours. And most of our customers have always agreed that they would prefer that we spend our time farming. Thanks for understanding!

Potato salad “hold the mayo”

peach salsaAvocado peach salsa

5 Tips for getting more out of your CSA Box by Kate Mcdonough. Author of “The City Cook” The first time I purchased a CSA membership I smugly congratulated myself for a case of culinary doing good while doing well. I could feel good about supporting a local farmer because by pre-paying for my fruits and vegetables the farmer got income early. And I’d do well because every week I’d get really wonderful ingredients. While both of these were true, once the season started I got humbled. I hadn’t anticipated the challenge of planning meals around what the farmer harvested instead of what I wanted to cook. Or how to work with a share’s uneven quantities (Parsley? Again? And what am I supposed to do with only these two small beets?). And having to spend more of my grocery budget filling in the ingredient gaps for essentials like onions or garlic. And then there was the boredom: weeks of zucchini and yellow squash when what I really wanted was red peppers and tomatoes. CSA newbies can get discouraged by expecting the same food we’d buy at the farmer’s market but delivered in a different way, only to find that it’s more like having to cook from what we grow in our back yards. Certainly for the urban home cook who has never grown a potted tomato plant, this is a radical concept. But we shouldn’t give up nor feel enslaved to a box of vegetables. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to enjoy cooking from a CSA share: 1. Most of us usually plan a menu, sketch a shopping list, and then buy our groceries. That’s because we cook from the recipe, not from its ingredients. With CSA cooking we need to start from the opposite direction, planning your meals after you pick up your share. At first this can seem limiting and even annoying. But all it really means is cooking with what’s in season, and it’s a good habit to have even without a CSA share. 2. View a week’s fruits and vegetables in both major and minor recipe roles. For example, one of the most common CSA complaints is that shares include lots of lettuce; more than you can eat before it rots. That’s easy to happen if we only use lettuce in a salad. But if you add it to pea and lettuce soup, or make lettuce wraps, or add it to stir fries, you can quickly use up that lettuce. Likewise that other CSA bounty: zucchini. Use it with pasta or in risotto, in gratins and lasagna, shredded into fritters, in a sweet tea bread, or in soup. One of my favorite uses for the uniquely tender and sweet zucchini that comes in my CSA is raw in a simple salad with curls of Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil, served in a way that Italians call zucchini carpaccio. 3. If you get something in small amounts, treat it as a kind of garnish. For example, those two small beets can be cooked and cut into matchsticks and tossed with a salad. Or store them carefully because next week you may get more, as often a crop will arrive gradually and the first time you get a little of something may be a prediction of more to come. Be supple. 4. Freezing and canning can be a solution but unless you have a huge freezer or lots of storage space for all those glass jars, think about which ingredients make sense to preserve. Plus if you’re going through all the effort of pickling and canning, you may need to buy more of an ingredient than your share will provide as I found to be the case with both strawberries and sour cherries. Also you can freeze foods both raw or after they’re cooked. For example, that overload of zucchini can be shredded and frozen, but it may be a better idea to make zucchini and rice soup or loaves of zucchini bread and freeze those instead. Being used to buying my produce in more “normal” amounts, I wasn’t prepared for my share’s uneven quantities, from tiny to huge. But it’s the harvest that determines how much you get. So your week’s share may include beautiful basil, but not enough to make a full portion of pesto. That means you need another use for those two stems of fragrant green leaves, such as adding them to Caprese salad with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Or else make your pesto by supplementing your CSA basil with more bought from the farmer’s market. Be ready for your share to increase as the summer goes on. At the start of most CSAs, the first deliveries can seem skimpy. But by the end of the harvest, things will be coming at you in full force and you’ll go from one shopping bag to three. This may be the best time to do your freezing and canning. 5. A final choice: give it away and share. Make jars of red pepper jelly, bake a spicy pumpkin bread, or share some cold borscht made with golden beets and a sprig of CSA dill. Or simply hand over your eggplant overflow; its amazing flavor just may inspire a future CSA member.

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This Weeks Box 6/6/2016

The list

carrots
2 heads of lettuce
large leek
cilantro
large haas avocado
bag of salad mix
persian cucumbers
limes
chard
mixed squash
oranges
lemons
small fennel head

fennel

To me, leeks and fennel exist in a small aristocratic class of the vegetable world. Like royalty, it takes considerable time and attention to raise them properly. When done right though, They are unmistakeably complex in their flavor and aroma. They have an inherent ability to round out and deepen the flavors of other aromatic vegetables if not overused. Yet they can be flexible and quite versatile and can partner with a variety of different foods.

First, I will share my favorite way to get these regal delights into my own belly. And then I will put up some links to recipes I have either already done. Or want to do.

Roasting is my favorite way for both of these vegetables. When I roast leeks or fennel, I always look to see if I have some onions and cabbage that I can wedge and roast along with them. I recently had both fennel and leeks with turnips, onion and cabbage wedges altogether. I used a few tablespoons of coconut oil and a spoonful of butter in the roasting pan. Drizzled a little honey and balsamic vinegar over the top. Sprinkled some fresh basil, peppercorns and parmesan. Lastly, stuffed some medjool dates evenly throughout the pan.
Cover tightly with foil. And bake for 2 1/2 hours at 275 degrees. Come back. Peel the foil off. Sprinkle a little more parmesan and roast on the top rack in order to caramelize the tops of the veggies and make the cheese crispy. I find that hese roasted veggies go well with a rice pilaf. Rissoto or couscous.

The reason I like this soup recipe for fennel and leeks is because it calls for a pur’ee and to use the fronds as garnish. And since the fennel bulbs are pretty small, this recipe allows you to use the stems in the soup as well as the small bulb since they get saute’d and blended anyway.

Here is a recipe from a woman who used chard, fennel and leek from her CSA to make risotto.

And lastly…leek fennel and swiss chard tart from “The Four Seasons”

squash blossoms

Squash blossoms are on their way. And so are those little micro squash. We have 5 variety of squash about to come on the scene. As the squash plants move into production. We pick them almost daily. Because we prefer to harvest them super small with the blossom still in tact and attached. The smaller squash are more tender and nutty tasting. Plus, we try to put enough that you can make a handfull of stuffed squash blossoms on the side. So, starting next week, you will see more and smaller squash with their flowers on.

potatoes111

Well. Here is our last and final shot of the potato foliage. No more space between the rows. Just a sea of green with 4 different color blossoms.  I say this is our last shot of the foliage, because soon the leaves will start to die back in order to give the last of the plants nutrients to the tubers underground.

The potatoes underground are mature enough that we will do a small harvest next week so that everyone can experience the flavor and texture of new potatoes right from the garden.

speckled trout

A couple stars of the box this week. Speckled Trout lettuce. Go ahead and splurge on the expensive salad dressing this week. Or make something special with the ingredients of the box this week. Cuz lettuce is abundant in the boxes lately.

avocado cilantro lime dressing

Lastly…All hail to the brave and intrepid volunteers and members who refused to take notice of the rainy weather and showed up to our quarterly work party. Here is some images that some of you regular work party goers might appreciate.

wpdt

Anyone remember this work party?

wp1

Or this one?

cale44

Well. Great job guys. Cuz check out the results of your work!

wp99

And here we are closing the circle. Harvesting the flowers of our labor. So cool!

cb

Just a random crazy beautiful day at the ranch

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This Weeks Box May 23 2015

cap

Here is the list

baby carrots
celery
pink lemons
white rose potatoes
green onions
head of lettuce
1 zucchini
mandarins
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.

TocPib
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
zucchini
carrots
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
mandarins
limes

bw
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.

potatoes
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.

IMG_0498
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 http://sdsustainable.org/about-us/who-we-are/

The list

carrots
brown onions
more of those amazing gold nugget tangerines
lemons
celery
limes
passion fruit
big bag of lettuce
arugula
a few sprigs of mint
2 broccoli heads
green onions
chard
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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