This Weeks CSA 2/17/2018

Good morning. I just want to say again how thrilled we are that you are eating this food. As long as you continue to appreciate and be nourished by our offerings. We are honored to continue to care for it while it grows.

It appears that we have secured a second growing area for our CSA farm. We will be farming at the original location of the Alpine Ranch. George Washington Webb was one of  the original Alpines settlers. He built the Julian-to-Banner Toll Road, which was completed in 1871. A year later, Mr. Webb and his family moved into his “Alpine Ranch”, in what is now called Harbison Canyon. This location was near the new wagon road he was building through Valle de las Viejas and Guatay up to the gold fields of Julian. This road connected San Diego with Julian through Alpine. In 1885, the small community that had grown and prospered along this busy roadway took the Webb Ranch name for their new town–Alpine.

Image result for alpine ca historical images

The current caretakers of the ranch have had 5 generations of their family living on this land. They are working diligently with family, friends, the local permaculture community and the community at large through education and service programs in order continue to make this beautiful piece of land and special part of living Alpine history thrive.

There’s an old olive grove and new citrus plantings.  There’s also an antique well and new permaculture gardens. The property boasts  horse stables and a few charming century+ old farm houses. There’s even an old “what appears to be” Farm All tractor at the entrance that clearly indicates that you are about to enter a magical time capsule.

I think this land will make splendid food for us. From the sandy loamy soil to the deep crystal clean water well. We’re going to be good and spoiled. Pictures will come soon of course. We will definitely be getting as many of you as possible out here for a member work day, once it is up and running.

Here is what we are eating this week

Bunch of Italian parsley
Naval oranges picked off of a terrifying hillside while on a ladder in Hell Hole canyon!
Sweet baby carrots
Giant heads of Romain lettuce
Salad mix with Oakleaf, SalaNova and Red Sails lettuce
Bunch of Cilantro
Head of Cabbage
Microgreens mix.  Amaranth, Calendula, Beets, Brassica Mix, Radish
Baby Bok Choy

This weeks star players in the microgreens mix

Oh! Don’t  forget eggs. Everyone got a handful of eggs this week.

Gluten Free Fish Taco Lettuce Wraps
Make sure to add some cilantro, cabbage and shredded carrot to your tacos!

Cheezy Vegan Kale Chips

Image result for kale chips recipe

If you are not a parsley convert yet. Check out these great parsley ideas. If you decide to go with the orange parsley salad, make sure to sprinkle some microgreens on it!






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This weeks produce share 1/26/2018

Hi everyone. Its time to catch you all up with what’s going on at the farm!



Greenhouse is up and running!

The microgreen project has gone so well since we started, that we built a greenhouse to further our progress and help facilitate sustained success in this endeavor. Another unexpected benefit that we have realized since using the greenhouse is that we have been able to root and grow starts of our regular crops with better success than ever before. As you all know, we are working with less square footage since we left the ranch. We have found that starting our regular crops in the greenhouse has quickened our ability to get our regular crops to maturity without taking up precious “ground space”. We are finding that we can grow crops almost halfway, before actually having to put them in the ground. This reality has proven to be somewhat of a game changer!

As for the microgreens, we have learned a lot. I expect that I will continue to learn a lot. So far, we seem to have been able to perfect our ability to grow the radish sprouts with continued success. If you remember, since the beginning, it has been our intention to gain proficiency in growing a combo of three stable microgreen crops. We tried sunflower sprouts. But we have still not been able to get good results. We are still trying…. Because they are so yummy. Brassica and beets have been hit and miss. I feel that I am not germinating these properly. I think my seed density is wrong.  I’m sure of it. The sweet peas have done well. But pea seeds are so damn expensive that they are not going to be able to be in the top three for now. So far, red amaranth has proven the second best performer. You will all see amaranth in the mix in a couple weeks. We will surely keep you updated. I’ll be going to a workshop on growing microgreens in two weeks. I have a list of questions for the facilitator. And I look forward to gaining more knowledge on the subject. Stay tuned!

I wanted to to talk about a few of the crops that are in the box right now….

Watermelon radish

Watermelon radish are more like a turnip than a radish. They can be eaten raw or cooked in the oven like a turnip. There are many pickled watermelon radish recipes on the internet if you feel so inclined as to use your google finger on the subject. They can be grated over a greens salad too. I want to make sure that you know that their greens are equivalent to turnip greens. Here’s a fun and decadent way to prepare your greens for eating.


Microgreens can be eaten alone like a salad. They can be mixed with your salad mix in the share this week. There are many more other ways to enjoy them here…

Farm fresh eggs

Despite the cold weather, most of our girls continue to lay. We are happy to be able to put a hand-full of eggs in each share, as well as offer a dozen to any member who chooses to add them to their weekly allotment. We just added 5 new girls to the flock, a neighbor had to move on short notice. They asked us to take these girls on. Being the chicken magnets we are, we had to say yes! We are now managing 26 birds.

2 Auracana. 2 Leghorn and one Buff Orpington. All have settled in and are happy living in their new home with the rest of the girls….and Joe.

Remember the two poor girls we rescued 5 months ago? Well, here’s a happy update.

Above are 5 month old pictures of Seagull and the white one that we lovingly call Pigpen. Notice the horrible spots of missing feathers and exposed chapped skin.

Here they are today!!

2 of the most elegant and beautiful girls we’ve ever seen….Heart thump! Heart thump! Talk about a Cinderella story! They are currently living in their own private apartment since leaving their abusive situation. In spring, it our intention to introduce them to the main flock. One step at a time.

Say hello again, to Polly and Carter!



These two feral rescues couldn’t be more different. But they are best buddies. Nothing can separate them. Polly has turned out to be the master mouser. Carter likes to hang around the garage, waiting for his daily, dry food portion. Although, he is quite the lizard killer, for what it is worth?!

The fields are looking great. Especially for Mid January. The unusual warm weather has been very kind. We have not had to bring out the cloth “crop protection” once this season. We have been adding one 33′ by 33″ row every couple weeks. That’s 200 square foot of growing space every month! This might not seem like much square footage to a giant farm. But it’s quite progressive for our small CSA. Especially since we always make sure to grow as biointensively as possible.

I want to say something that I say every few months. Mainly, I say this for the new members. But also, in case you need to be reminded. We grow our food starting with the best quality organic, non GMO seeds. We amend our soil with more quality ingredients, love and intention than any farm around. We use crystal clear, deep well water to nourish our crops. We always make sure to wait until the last minute to pick our produce before dropping off shares at the pick up locations. Most of our members supplement their weekly shares with food they buy at the grocery store. Just remember, this food is your weekly energy kit. Its more than just food. Its a bundle of flavor, nutrition, vitality and life that you cannot find anywhere else. Make sure to add even just a little of the produce from your weekly CSA share to all your daily meals. This way, you can add energy to your life each time you sit down to eat! Most importantly, remember, you are not eating alone. There is a group of diverse San Diegans from all over the city who are partaking in the same special food as you are. We are so happy that you have chosen to be a part of our little food speakeasy. Our group may be relatively small. But our impact is great. We are honored to be growing for you, “us”. As always.


Here’s what we are eating this week….

Salad mix with multi color lettuce, arugula and Bloomsdale spinach

Bag of microgreens

Farm fresh eggs



Romaine head


Spaghetti squash



Naval oranges

Watermelon radish bunch

Baby carrot bunch

A few edible calendula flower heads so that you can add bling or “sparkle” to any dish you choose.



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This Weeks CSA 10-28-2017

Radish Greens

Good morning all you healthy eaters! We are in the process of starting a microgreens crop rotation for the CSA. We started a flat of half pea shoots and half radish 7 days ago. Yesterday, the radish side was already harvestable after 7 days. That little half flat of radish greens only netted a few handfuls. But once we get going with these, I can’t see any reason why we cannot run 30 full flats per week of micro-greens. As we continue trials with different seed types and seed densities in the flats, we can start growing out multiple flats of micro-greens that have proven to be successful for our CSA. Right now, radish is clearly going to be one solid microgreen. We are hoping to get a good brassica like kale or broccoli. We expect that sunflower is going to be a good grower too. Everything I have read and everyone tells me sunflower shoots will be a solid micro-green. I am still waiting on my order from Peaceful Valley seeds to give sunflower a go. I can’t wait to try them because they are supposed to be big, fast and tasty. Red amaranth looks beautiful in a mix. But she took a long time and barely netted us any weight from a whole flat. We might just run her on special occasions. Pea shoots are going to be a good producer. They are just taking a little longer than some others.

A sample mix with baby arugula radish and amaranth micro-green with calendula leaf. This is an example of the type of mixed we want to be providing every week. Beautiful, nutritious, flavorful and packed full of sun energy!

Until we get into production with a few solid greens in multiple flats each, there is not going to be enough micro-greens for everyone to get a bag. This week, we added a few pinches of the trial cuts into your regular bag of salad greens. At least this way, you can all get a taste of what is going on.

Our vision is to make a bag of micro-greens a stand alone addition the weekly CSA share.

The greenhouse materials are already onsite. And it will start going up next week. This is perfect timing because the greenhouse is where most of the micro-greens will need to be produced. For now, it is still warm enough to keep growing the micro greens outside. We just have them laid out in benches and tables wherever we can. I guarantee that you will be hearing , seeing and tasting more about microgreens in the weeks to come. They’ve been so neat to work with. They are definitely my new kind of fun.

Here is what we are eating.

A few zucchini
Salad mix with micro-greens
Chard and Kale
Bell pepper
Ramona grown pineapple
5 Uber-Organic nutrient dense vibrant colored home grown chicken eggs!

Here is a housecleaning tip that I make sure to share since we are always getting new members. Clean your greens and your salad mix before eating. All we do at the farm is “field wash” your veggies. Cleaning your own greens is one way, as a group, that we are able to keep the cost of the CSA low.

The basil this week is good and fresh. It is a little limp though. The absent minded farmer left it in a basket between the broccoli and the tomatoes for over an hour as he was chasing a stray chicken. When he got back it was looking a little limp. “The basil, not the chicken”.

Image result for rocky catches chicken

Last week, we mixed sun dried tomatoes with basil almonds parmesan olive oil and garlic. That pesto went on almost everything for a week. Then one night we seemed to be out of salad dressing. So, some balsamic and more olive oil got dumped into the half empty pesto bowl and now it’s dressing!

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This Weeks CSA 9-23-2016

The balanced and illustrious, effortlessly coordinated and heartbreakingly harmonious sky of the new fall. All it takes is a sleep and a morrow for her brush to not only remove any evidence of summer, but completely erase him from memory. As if there never even was.

Here is what we are eating this weekend

Lots of tomatoes
Summer Squash
Bouqet of three herbs…Dill, Basil and Chocolate mint.
Large bunch of Chard
Bag of mixed salad greens
Bag of jalapenos
Bell Peppers
Red grapefruit
Valencia orange
Honey crisp apple
Handful of eggs

They eat what we eat. And we eat what they eat. We have only had these birds since March 6th. And I am just beginning to understand the circle of life dance we are participating in here. They eat what we eat. Literally. They eat everything you see coming in the boxes plus more. Oversized zucchini or cucumbers? Give it to the girls. Leafy greens with holes or bugs? Give it to the girls. Cracked tomatoes. Definitely, the girls. I never knew chickens liked tomatoes so much. Aside from their regular grains, these girls eat more tomatoes than anything. And here is the curious thing, I feel like I can see the yolks getting redder! Is that crazy? I don’t know. But I eat em. And I like what I am getting.

We have been going through a diet change process on the farm. Cutting out carbohydrates from the diet has created some new habits and ways of looking at our food. Vegetables are more important than ever. And so are quality proteins. It is good to start from scratch with a new mind and a bit of curiosity. The fall shift can really help facilitate the taking in of new spirit to be braided into our daily habits.

I want to share a few efficient and practical things we have been doing with our CSA food. Then, I want to describe the most decadent thing we did all season. And it only involved a cauliflower, three eggs and an oven. We will introduce you to one of the best all natural beverage recipes on the planet. Lastly, I will share a few random recipes I stole off the internet for us.

Blended soups. I cannot say how many times I blended almost an entire CSA bag into 2 gallons of soup. One time, I did everything but a bag of lettuce and a pomegranate. The pomegranate did end up sprinkled on top of the creamy soup though!

Just by looking at the picture of this weekends share, I can easily imagine cubing up the yellow squash and the apple and steaming them. While the squash and apple are steaming, saute a few bell peppers with some garlic and a couple jalapenos “if you like spicy”.  Put the steamed apple, squash and the steam water in a pot together with the sauteed veggies 4 quartered tomatoes, half of the raw chard and kale greens “chopped”. Put some basil and dill leaves in there too. Add some of your favorite type of broth and get it to a boil. Bring it down and let it lightly boil for 10-15 minutes. Turn it down to warm and stick an immersion blender in there and blend away until you get desired consistency. If you want it more creamy, add a can of coconut milk. Or just add heavy creme. it is up to you. If you have some leftover cooked cauliflower or potato from last weeks share, throw those in there and blend them up too. Both potato and cauliflower make great soup thickeners without changing the flavor of the soup.

Why do we put so many greens in the CSA share? Because the architect of this world we live in, saw fit to endow leafy greens with the ability to pull nutrients from the earth, chelate and prepare those nutrients in a way that only a plant can do. The plants continue to this in a way that guys in lab coats have not come close to in their labs with their expensive pills. It is really simple. EAT YOUR GREENS! No matter what, no matter how. EAT THEM! We will repeat this message in about three months.

Here is a good chard pesto recipe. We like to add basil to this one.

If you have not eaten last weeks melon, pull that sucker out. Because you are not going to want to miss this cooling beverage. I am sure you can find a more precise recipe online, but here is what we do. You can take it from there. chop the flesh only of a melon. Any melon. It does not matter. Watermelon gives the most water though. Add the chunks of melon to the blender. If you have 4 cups of fruit, add 4 cups of water to the blender and so on. Blend until the melon is completely mush. Pour the contents of the blender through the strainer. What you have now is super delicious and nutritious melon water. It is probably sweet enough. But you can add a few drops of stevia or honey. A dash if lime is nice if you like. Mottle the chocolate mint leaves and put them in a teabag and place it at the bottom of a pitcher with the melon water. Stick it in the fridge. Warning…This beverage is frighteningly invigorating. People have been known to drink too much. I have received reports of individuals accidentally pulling car doors off the hinges. Be careful.

Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette

Loosen your belt and drop all judgements. Check out this recipe if you are into pure pleasure. This recipe came about when we were looking for new ways to cook all these eggs we have been getting. It turns out that there is a really simple way to make amazing hollandaise sauce. It requires a stick blender though. If you do not have one, you are going to have to whip it. Turns out that hand whipping is pretty easy too.

Separate three yolks and keep them in a small dish. Put 2/3 of a stick of butter in a sauce pan and start warming it. Put a pinch of salt, squeeze of lime and a few drops of vinegar in the bottom of a wide mouth mason jar. Dropp the egg yolks in the jar. Insert the stick blender and start to blend as you slowly add the liquid butter. It is fast and easy.

Next, we need the perfect “slave” to the hollandaise. Enter Cauliflower……

Our “slave to Hollandaise” candidate has been presteamed and then brushed lightly with butter. Then it gets a light drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Stick it on the broil rack and get it good and caramelized. Above is our candidate right before taking the hollandaise bath. Things got a little frenzied and blurry after this point. We forgot to take a picture of the gooey sauce allover the crispy, chewy cauliflower head. Okay, truth is, we really did not care about much of anything but pleasure at this point.


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Produce Haul for August 5th CSA

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This Weeks Box 9/3/2017

Enjoying a less rare and very local eclipse.

Lettuce is coming back! It has been such a mild summer this year, that we have been able to seed and grow a few rows of lettuce during a part of the season when this is usually not possible. We should see lettuce in the boxes in a few weeks.

We are already seeding fall crops in hopes that we do not get many more heat waves in the next month and a half. It would be nice to move straight into fall foods without experiencing a gap in production…. In farming, we always attempt to do the footwork for the best possible scenario. Every effort we put forth does not always work out. But at least we were prepared for the best outcome to manifest.

Meet Seagull and Pigpen. These girls are rescue birds. We took them in a couple months ago, when their owner could not stop the rooster from pecking them incessantly. They are recovering very well in their own private two bedroom apartment. Seagull is missing almost half her feathers. Pigpen, she lost a few less feathers than her sister. We have been using the calendula salve on their sun exposed areas with good results. We hope that they can fully feather out again after molting season. In two months, their egg quality has improved greatly. They now have shells as hard and yolks as yellow as the other girls. They are laying everyday. If you get a medium to large, light blue egg from us, it came from Seagull or Pigpen.

Can you guess why her name is Pigpen?………Disgustingly cute!

Here is what is in the bag this week.

Sugar Kiss Melon
Bel Peppers
Carrots Bunch
Large Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Bunch of Chard or Kale Greens
Multi Color Beets
Handful of multi color Chicken Eggs
Summer Squash

Baked ratatouille

I usually wait as long as possible to bring out the Rattatouli Recipe  until later in the summer season. Why, you ask? because it is so damn simple. And after a long season of being creative, it is nice to pull out a recipe that uses half the bag and is extremely versatile

Grilled Peaches with Basil and Black Pepper


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This Weeks CSA 8-19-2017

A lone bee ponders the fractal geometry of of the sunflower.

Hillside garden stretches its arms.

Rachel approves of the 78 degree weather this last week. Not much beats wearing a sweater in mid August.

Joe flies the coop and takes a dirt bath

Tocayo jumps the kitchen garden fence and takes a carrot nap.

The girls get their first taste of Amaranth

Here is what “WE” will be tasting this week!

#1 Limes

#2 Super Sweet Oranges

#3 Carrots are back this week

#4 Tomatoes

#5 Handful of Eggs

#6 Cucumbers

#7 Bell peppers, jalapenos and cayenne peppers

#8 Oranges

#9 Summer Squash

#10 Kale or chard greens

#11 Bag of cherry tomatoes

#12 Large Potato

#13 Bag of Calendula seeds

Raitha is an Indian yogurt dish “condiment” that always has cucumber, some kind of fresh herbs and some spices. Lately, we eat it with almost everything here at the farm. We have evolved this dish our taste over the last few months. With all of the seasons bounty of vegetables and herbs, modifying and diversifying has been easy to do. Summer is a nice time for raitha because it is so wonderfully cooling. I was glad to find a comprehensive article on the basics as well as an intro to some different versions of this wonderful yogurt dish that loves to have anything to do with vegetables, rice, meat or bread.

One of our basic recipes uses plain 6 cups yogurt.

1 medium cucumber.

1 lime

1 small carrot

Few pinches of salt

1 Calendula flower

15 to 20 Mustard or coriander seeds

Cayenne pepper fresh chopped fine

Small turnip grated

Fresh dill, basil, chervil or even mint!

Grate 1/2 of the cucumber and sweat it in a bowl by adding a pinch or two of salt to the grated cucumber and then stirring it a few times over a few minutes.
Squeeze the slightly salty juice out of the cucumber into the 6 cups yogurt. Chop the other 1/2 of cucumber “or just grate” and add to the yogurt as well.
Crush some coriander or mustard seeds into the developing raitha.

Add the chopped cayenne pepper

Squeeze in 1/2 a lime

Pull off the Calendula petals and drop them in the raitha. “I love the splash of golden sunshine that calendula gives to rice, soups, salads, dips, pickled dishes and more.

Chop your fresh herb finely and then stir everything in. If everything goes to plan, you will be talking about how and when you are going to make your next raitha before you are even done with your first batch!!


Wondering what to do with those giant cucumbers that come in the bag once in a while?? Check this cucumber water recipe out.

Pickle………… EVERYTHING! Left…Chard stems-Middle…Jalapeno, Cayenne-Right…Cukes.


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