This Weeks Box 11/14/2015

Hey all! The volunteer, friends and member work party at Blue Sky Ranch is goingto happen on Saturday the 12th of December. All the details are here

Now do you see why it is called Blue Sky Ranch?
It is a dirt thing. Any gardener knows this feeling. Everything/anything is possible from this point of total completion. The cake is baked. All the ingredients have been added. Compost, worm castings, rock dust and minerals. Sweat. Angst. Love. A squished finger. Add another quick pinch of worm castings for good measure before mixing. A little more sweat. An unintentional dash of hopelessness followed by some laughter. Rake out  the lumps. Get distracted by the time. A raven swoops in from above as if to inspect the process. The raspy swish of his wing-beat is enough to bring me back into the to the present moment. Then the most difficult, yet most rewarding ingredient. I squeak out a smidgen of gratitude for being blessed to do such simple yet deeply meaningful work.

There is no turning back now. The drip lines will be laid. The trusty and fearless greenhouse starter veggies will get plucked in like green leafy candles on our super rich chocolate cake of fertile earthy goodness. It is all up to mother nature now. I don’t even make a wish anymore. She knows my wish better than me. It has already been granted.

Here is the list

Purple cabbage
Satsuma tangerines from Hellhole canyon
Small bag of lettuce mix with spinach and chard.
Eggplant “these are real beauties”.
Small, young white potatoes
Zutano Avocado “these are new season. And will need to be brown bagged for over a week”
Honeydew melon.
One or two small asian pears
Fuyu persommons from Ramona.
Lemons and limes
Spaghetti squash or pumpkin.

Eggplant stew with butter
This seems like a pretty good, basic eggplant stew recipe to get a little creative with. I had the pleasure of using this recipe. I also used zucchini. I added pre boiled potatoes into the stew pot before leaving it all on the stove to simmer for almost 45 minutes. Oh. The stew likes Gnocchi. And I bet it would love to be served over spaghetti squash. Speaking of spaghetti squash, this might be the last spaghetti squash of the year. This announcement always brings boo’s and aplause every year. But hey. That is what CSA is all about. Right?


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CSA Member and Volunteer Work Party

The Blue Sky Ranch quarterly volunteer/member CSA work party is about to happen!!


Meet us at the farm at 9 am Saturday the 12th of December. 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 and volunteers.  Our farm work parties are always such an energizing way to start a Saturday. Hope to see you there. Please RSVP. for more details and directions.


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This Weeks Box 11/7/2015


Let’s get started right away on one of the best recipes of the year. We are making  Pumpkin and Sweet Potato soup with caramelized Persimmon and Asian pear.

You need:
2 persimmons cubed
1 asian pear, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 of a big sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups of pumpkin, kabocha or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 small zucchini peeled and cubed
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup Pepitas or sunflower seeds
3 cups vegetable broth
Creme fraiche or marscapone or sour creme or something creamy and white like yogurt even.

In a saute pan, caramelize the onion, persimmon and asian pear in butter. Throw 1/2 of the seeds in there too. Coconut oil works quite well if you do not want to use butter.

Throw pumpkin, zucchini and sweet potato into the steamer pot for a few minutes. The zucchini will go to mush. That is ok.  And the potato will take the longest to get soft. But make sure it does.

Now dump the caramelized stuff and the steamed stuff into a food processor. Pour in the vegetable broth a little at a time as you run the motor. Blend it all thoroughly.

Put the pureed soup into a pot and simmer on low. Now you can spice it one of a few ways. You can go the curry route with a couple tsp of curry powder. Or, just a little powdered turmeric and ginger with salt and powdered coriander makes it a little more middle eastern. Or you can do a few drops fish oil, cinnamon, chile powder and star anise for kind of a thai flavor. Either way, a tiny bit of lime zest stirred into the pot right before serving really wakes it up regardless of which spice route you take. A dollup of creme and some seeds go into the middle of each bowl.  Enjoy!

asian pear
Well, hello asian pear. You are like 4 months out of season. But we are truly happy to have you. Hope to see you next week too!

You have two types of persimmons in your box this week. Make sure you can tell the difference before you start to work with either of them.

Here is the list of items in the CSA box this week

Fuyu persimmon
red lettuce
big sweet potato
asian pear
brown onion
hachia persimmon

Save the date!! December 12th will be the next volunteer, member CSA work party at Blue Sky Ranch. Everyone is welcome. The ranch is looking extra beautiful with the extra rain, I hope you all can get out here on the land and enjoy the morning with us. The time will be from 9 to 11:30, with a little potluck and refreshments at the end.

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This Weeks Box 10/17/2015

Good morning!!

llyson del

This wonderful lady is Allyson. I am so pleased and grateful to announce that she is still the Blue Sky Ranch CSA delivery driver. Even after all these years. Aside from being an accomplished scientist, San Dieg Zoo volunteer, beer brewer, event organizer, avid traveling, multiple cat owning, wonderfully nerdy person she also comes out to the ranch and picks up CSA boxes every Saturday morning and delivers them to the pick up locations. She has such a cool story. I am so happy to be a part of it!

Here is the list:

Half a purple cabbage
Haas avocado
Green beans
Baby carrots
Brown onion
Monster eggplant
Summer squash
Fuyu persimmons
Bell Peppers
Passion fruit

Baba Ghanoush Can enjoyed whether you like eggplant or not because it brings out the best of this vegetable without the “sliminess” that turns some people off of eggplant. I personally like to put a few roasted bell peppers in before blending. We tried some fresh tarragon, chopped up fine, as a garnish. Instead of parsley. Very nice

Grilled Green Beans

  1. Put green beans on a sheet of aluminum foil large enough to fold and seal. You may need to fold two sheets together.
  2. Note: I also use one sheet of foil to set the pouch on. This way if any liquid seeps out or it pulls apart it doesn’t leave a mess.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the beans.
  4. Add minced garlic and crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Toss green beans with tongs until well coated.
  6. Add water and fold aluminum foil together at the top and pinch the sides closed.
  7. Cook green bean pouch on the grill.
  8. Notes: When I put my main dish on the grill I open the beans and toss with tongs. If all the water is gone, add a little more, reseal and move to top rack. If I lift the grill lid to flip main dish I usually give the pouch a shake.

This Red Cabbage Avocado Salad

Red Cabbage, Bacon and Avocado Salad

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This Weeks Box 9/27/2015


Here is what is in this weeks box

Romaine lettuce
assorted peppers
Along with the regular bell peppers and jalapenos this week, everyone got at least one or two of these Cubanelle peppers You can treat them just like a bell pepper.

Armenian and Persian cucumbers. If you have not learned about the Armenian cucumbers yet, check out the link. Armenian and Persian are the two cucumbers that can be comfortably eaten with their skin on. Take a close look at the Armenian this week. Did you  know that they are closer, genetically to the Honeydew melon than the cucumber?

Jujubees. I thought it was a joke when I first read it. But apparently, it is true. One of Jujubee’s  active ingredients, “Jujubocide”, can be used to treat both insomnia and anxiety. You might not want to eat these first thing in the morning! They are a good source of anti oxidants. And are supposed to be a powerful immune stimulant. Jujubocide! Ha Ha. I love it.

butternut or spaghetti squash

black eyed peas

I am most excited about the black eyed beans this week. Here is how to cook them…. First, boil them in water with a little salt for 2o minutes or so. Then take them out and let them cool. Chop the beans in about 4 or 5 pieces. If you do not cut them, the string along the spine will be distracting as you are trying to eat them whole. If you cut them, you do not notice the string. And everything chews perfectly. Very important…Cut each bean in a few pieces after boiling. From this point, you can do just abut anything. We just put a piece of bacon in the iron skillet with some coconut oil, garlic, celery seeds and tomato sauce. We sauteed for 20 minutes. And served it with some candied butternut, cucumber salad and bread. It turned out to be way more of a “soul food” experience than any of us were expecting. These beans are hearty, meaty and full of rich flavor. You do not have to do anything fancy to have some of the best beans ever here. You do have to love them as you are cooking. There is no other way.  You must cook them with love.  They are expecting you too.

brown onion
summer squash

Ok. So, that is the list. Now. I want to take a minute and talk about the tomatoes. We had a very unfortunate year for tomatoes. I will not go into the gruesome details of failure. But I love so much. And I know most of you do too. I am so grateful the early commercial varieties did produce some earlier on, because if they did not, we would have gone practically without any tomatoes at all. We put some more cold tolerant varieties last week. They have names like “Glacier, Oregon Mist, Siberien and Manitoba”, Feel free to hold a point on a successful late tomato harvest. Heaven knows we have put in enough work in order to get a return. Thank you all for your patience on the matter.

Before we say goodbye Here are a couple things to look forward too….

Corn has a few weeks to go.

We still have a few more sets of watermelon and cantaloupe to harvest before it gets too cold for them to survive.

We have some promising heirloom pumpkins that are starting to take shape. We planted for sweetness and flavor. These will take the place of the spaghetti and butternuts. I am personally looking forward to a different type of hard squash flesh.

9:27 pumpkin

Fuyu Persimmon. Next week if things go well.

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This Weeks Box 9/5/2015

I was talking with a member as she was unpacking her CSA yesterday. We both ended up having a good laugh over the idea that this might be the most “Mexican” box we ever had!

Cactus Fruit

This week, we just put a few red ones in the box. To get you ready. But they are coming in season, and we hope to offer a few good helpings of them in the near future. This week, we picked red ones. But when we go out to the big fields in Ramona, we harvest Yellows or #4 in the picture above.  We will make sure to find some good recipes for these before we dump them on you. This year, I think I would like to use the dehydrator and make some caactus candy. I had some from Trader Joe’s. Only thing is that a little bag cost me 7.50. I think we can do better than that. Did I mention they are basically, a super food. And one of the best diabetic foods you can eat?

Kabocha or Acorn Squash


We have everything we need in the box to make this amazing salsa verde. And whether you are in the roasting or the cooking camp, it is going to turn out great.


Yellow Watemelon
Persian cucumbers
Summer Squash

Coming Soon>>>


Our first corn planting. Soakin up the rays!!


Blue lake Bush Beans….. Please Hurry!?


Jujubees. MMMnn. Fruit Candy.

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This Weeks Box 8/28/2015

Garnet Yams Steam em and drizzle some coconut oil, lime and honey on em. Thai Butternut and Yam soup

Sweet Corn We got this corn from Tim, in Ramona. Along with the onions and yams this week. I just couldn’t wait for corn any longer. Our first planting is only 2 feet high. So I harvested up some yams and onions while I was out there too. This “all white” sweet corn is pretty darn sweet. I have a feeling that our first harvest of bi color corn will be amazing too. Corn is one of those plants that is really hard to screw up. Which is great, because this farmer screwed up a few crops this year. “Big confident smile”.

We pretty much have all the ingredients necessary for this grilled corn salad

Black-bean-butternut-squash-millet stuffed Poblao peppers. I feel like I am hitting the jackpot with these recipes tonight. Either I am getting lucky, or google is just getting smarter and smarter every day. I cannot wait to eat these stuffed peppers. From the looks of it, we could probably get away with sticking some grilled corn up in there too.

Peppers We put exactly two big Poblano, 2 small Bell, and 2 small Jalapenos in the box. I have been getting reports about the heat that our little jalapenos are packing this year. I have to say that I agree. Take some caution. And make sure to wash your hands after preparing anything with jalapeno.

Melons There are a lot of melons floating around this week.
There is a honeydew/cantaloupe cross. It has rough skin, with yellow color. Or, you might get a sugar baby watermelon. There is regular honeydew. And there is the Canary melon. Canary is easy to identify because it’s smooth skin is truly, canary yellow. I liked the flavor of the Mississippi cob melon a little more than the sugar baby. We expected the sugar babies to be prolific with large grapefruit sized fruit that would fit easily into the box. Instead, the plants were kind of stingy with only one or two melons per plant. And they were at least the size of a bowling ball too.

sugar baby

The Sugar Babies really are a gorgeous dark green though. For next year, we already ordered seeds for a yellow variety of watermelon. As well as an orange flesh variety called, “orange sunshine”.

jumpin melons

Maybe you have to watch the whole thing unfold on a daily basis. But stuff like this just makes me laugh out loud.

jumpin watermelons 2
I have planted stuff above the wall and had it cascade down to the next level, like a waterfall. But these guys are climbing up from down below. Like salmon going upstream. Right? I just love em. Can’t wait to eat em too. These are those heirloom ones. Yum.

Sapote  Here is the scoop on Sapote. Put it on your counter and forget about it. It will get soft like an avocado after 10 days or so. There is no glamorous way to eat one of these suckers. If you figure one out, please share the video with us all. We would all love to see it.

In my years of searching for rare fruit instructional videos, I have come to the conclusion that no normal people post youtube videos on how to eat rare fruit. last year I posted a video of this one girl eating a sapote. She was a hoot. I cannot seem to find that gem though. Here is this guy

Passion fruit Should we have a passion fruit eating contest here at the farm? One of our volunteers can open, shotgun and spike a passion fruit in under 4 seconds. Yep.

Confused Tangelos I need to explain this. See, it is not Tangelo season. But every once in a while, a tree will put out a crop of what is called “sports”. A sport is a rare, “in between season”, setting of ripe fruit. When our Tangelo’s “sport”, the fruit never gets reddish orange they they do get in March. Sometimes they even stay partially green. The flavor is much more mild. And they are super juicy. Each fruit bag got three. So, enjoy.

Butternut or Spaghetti squash  Now check out this Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein recipe Allyson sent in. So unique and delicious.

Pot in pot cooler 1
Pot in Pot technology explained

This is one of the coolest hacks out there. It is an ancient way of keeping vegetables cool without electricity. This one guy put a huge amount of effort into reintroducing this technology back into parts of Africa, where they desperately needed a way to preserve their crops before bringing them to market.  I have tested this. And it truly keeps produce significantly cooler.

So, here is what I want. I want these at each CSA pick up location before the beginning of summer next year. All it takes is two big clay pots. They have to be clay. A lid can be fashioned. And the rest is sand and water. I would love it if everyone could keep their eyes open for big clay pots. And even better would be something like these….

Oh Yeah! Anyway. Feel free to shoot us an email if you get a lead on some cheap or free clay pots. I have a feeling they are going to be big though. So, the bigger, the better.

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