This Weeks Box 2/2/2012

Attention farm pick up customers:
 Tomorrow, a reporter and photographer from Angies List will be at the farm in Lakeside interviewing customers about their CSA experience with Blue Sky Ranch. She said it will be real quick, while you pick up your share. They will be here between 12:30 and 1:30 pm. Whether you are brand new to the CSA, or you are a seasoned veteran, we would love your input for the article and support for the farm if you can make it then. Thanks!
Ticket to ride on the ladybog highway
That’s our man. Keeping rif raf off the streets. That drip tape runs 120 feet. The ladybugs monitor it like they’re cops on the 5 freeway. Only, they do not give tickets for defacing or destroying the flora. They just eat you. That’s right. LadyBugPatrol in the house! 
Full share boxes are 132 dollars for the month of February

The list
small heads of romaine and or red leaf lettuce
bag of arugula
chard or beets
fuerte and or bacon avocados
bag of spring salad mix
naval oranges
a real small bunch of broccoli rappini
bag of spinach
chard greens or beet greens
We were low on carrots this week. So we got some from Ramona organics farm stand today.
This handsome young man is Tony. Tim is the one wearing a hat.
I wrote a new farmer friend recently. He and his wife were in their second year of trying to make farming a second income. They were taking some of their recent upsets to heart and considering doing something else. I realized that I ought to share what I wrote. I wrote something like this.

 It took me a few years of growing food part time to have have enough wares to even cover a farmers market table one day a week.  I have found my learning process in growing food to be exponential as the seasons pass by. The nourishment to spirit has been exponential too. But in this process of learning to farm, I have had my heart bent if not temporarily broken more than once. There is no bureau of nature fairness in the phone book that you can call for representation when a gaze of raccoons decides to make war on your potato patch.

I cannot count how many times I have stood at the end of an eaten, flooded or windblown row of food, and just been floored by the sight of it. As emotions of disgust, grief, and anger circulate,  A more primal emotion creeps in. A a fear that says, “what am I going to do with myself after this wave passes?”.  Because for me, it has been those heart wrenching moments when I stood in a field alone, with no one to blame for my condition but the wind, water and gods creatures. Standing in peak frustration and terrified that if this energy of anger, and uncertainty leaves me, what am I left with then? The terrifying unknown. Do I even have the salt?   I remember a time.  It happened two years into my crazy plan to become a farmer. I was getting my proverbial hiny kicked by weather, critters and most of all, my own stubbornness and inexperience. I was spending lots of time and money building contraptions for keeping critters out of the crops. And they were looking pretty mad scientist. A teacher of mine from the ranch came by and I told her, “I must look crazy here”.  You see, I was pretty sure I was ready to give up then. And I was looking for feedback that would confirm the ridiculosity of my endeavors. She warmly smiled and said yes, you totally do look crazy. and certainly you cannot give up now. Looking back, I think that was a turning point for me. That was when I finally gave myself permission to be a nut. Full on. Because I think that is what most farmers are. They are nuts. But they are not crazy. Anyone with a few life seasons under their belt will probably attest that it has been in those moments standing alone at end of our resources and facing the edge of our own understanding, that the growth and resolve manifests from. And if we have been through it a few times, we begin to see the proof in our own footprints, that time and time again, we not only walk through. we walk out a tiny bit bigger. 

Naturally, it goes without saying, the analogy applies to any lifes work. I think now, more than ever, It is time to be a nut and just go for it. Don’t you think?

Avocado Tzatziki
Serves 8

1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbs chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the avocado, garlic, lemon juice, sour cream, and cucumber. Mash with a fork until smooth. Season with red pepper flakes, cilantro, mint, salt, and pepper. cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
Slow Cooker Collard Greens
Serves 16

4 bunches collard greens, rinsed, trimmed and chopped
1 lb ham shanks
4 pickles jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp olive oil
Ground black pepper to taste
Garlic power to taste
1. Fill a large pot about 1/2 full with water. Place the ham shanks into the water, and as many of the greens as you can fit. Bring to a gentle boil. 
2. As soon as the greens begin wilting, start transferring the greens to the slow cooker. Alternate layers of greens with the ham shanks and jalapeno until the slow cooker is full. Stir in the baking soda, olive oil, pepper, and garlic powder. Cover and bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat to low and cook for 8 to 10 hours.
Chayote Soup
Serves 4

2 cubes chicken bouillon, crumbled
2 cups hot water
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 chayote squashes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1. Dissolve the bouillon in the hot water.
2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion, garlic, and red pepper in the butter until the onion is soft. Add the squash, 2 Tbs cilantro, salt, and pepper and stir continually for 5 minutes. Stir in the bouillon mixture and 1 Tbs cilantro. Simmer about 20 minutes.
3. Pour the mixture into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into bowls and garnish with a spring of cilantro to serve.
Oven Baked Zucchini Fries
Serves 4

3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp seasoned salt
1 9-inch zucchini, peeled
1/4 cup butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil lightly greased with cooking spray.
2. Cut the peeled zucchini in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Slice the zucchini into 1/2 x 1/2 x 4 inch pieces.
3. Combine teh bread crumbs, cheese, and seasoned salt in a pie plate. Dip the zucchini fries into the melted butter, then press into bread crumbs. Gently toss between your hands so any bread crumbs that haven’t stuck can fall away. Place the breaded zucchini onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake the zucchini in the oven until the fries are golden and tender, about 15 minutes.
French Leek Pie
Makes 1 9-inch pie

1 9-inch pie crust
2 tsp butter
3 leeks, chopped
1 pinch salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup light cream
1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in leeks, cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and cheese, and warm through. Pour mixture into pie shell.
3. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until custard is set and golden on top. Allow to sit 10 minutes before cutting pie into wedges.

One thought on “This Weeks Box 2/2/2012

  1. Love that pumpkin – it's beautiful! Going to try planting some of the seeds and see what happens….Also, your note to the struggling farmers is exactly what I needed to hear. Be a nut and just go for it! My new motto!

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