This Weeks Share 10/3/2018

According to my favorite tree in all of Alpine, it is now, officially fall. And that’s good enough for me. Time to plant broccoli and all that other wonderful green stuff we have been missing. Thanks for the heads up dead tree! We shall be dining on Bok Choy, Microgreens and Romanesco Broccoli in no time.

Between the giant red Amaranth and these Sunflowers, you are never alone in the garden.

Blank slate….77ftx4ft of Alpines finest sandy, clay loam amended with worm castings, compost, kelp, rock dust, two smidgens of love, an ounce of hope, two tablespoons of gratitude, a swear word or two, three tears and a “woohooo!”, upon completion. Over the years, it has become abundantly clear to this farmer why he is not living in a mansion and driving a Ferrari. For good and for worse, this fecund and fertile lump of infinite earthy potential moves my gut and my heart like no bag of money ever could! So there you go.

I am so happy about this years tomato crop. We have had some good years in the past. But, we have gotten our ass kicked more times than I care to reminisce. I used to talk up the tomato crop and all the stuff I was doing to ensure that we would have a good crop that season. This year, I said nothing. This year was a good year. The tomatoes are just now peaking. Get ready to do some canning or freezing. Because, this weeks bag is loaded with tomato fruit. The image above is an heirloom called, Black Krim. Everyone got at least two in their share this week. She is sweet, smokey and salty. She is art in motion and music to my ears.

In all this summer heat, we finally got a small patch of lettuce to come up. Thanks for your patience. Honestly, We were going through lettuce withdrawls. The heads are small and a little bitter. But they are lettuce from the farm and they are good.

Here is an awesome line up of 8 recipes for Chile Poblano. We had a great year with Poblanos. They are going to be around for months still to come. We have stuffed them. We have sauteed them with eggs. But, We are looking forward to using a couple of these new recipes this week.

Limes are Back!! These are coming from our old growing grounds at Blue Sky Ranch. We are so pleased to still have access to the wonderful fruit being grown there. We also put a few Blue Sky Ranch Tangelos in the shares this week.

Here is the list of what is in the bag this week

Purple Basil
Butternut Squash
Chard
Kale
Parsley
Hungarian Sweet Peppers.
Poblano Peppers
Red Romain Lettuce
Summer Squash
Massive amount of tomatoes
Lots of limes
Bell Peppers
Japanese Eggplant

Secret Spot #39 at Alpine Ranch

In case, you don’t know, or can’t remember, here is exactly what the broad side of a barn looks like….Can you hit it? Of course you can. Appreciate Yall!
You got the best food coming out of East County, if not all of San Diego. You got this. We got this. Have a great week!

This Weeks Produce Share 9/13/2018

Cucumber
Summer Squash
Carrots
Mix of Three Hot Peppers…(Fresno Chile, Jalapeno and Cayenne)
Orange
Bell Pepper
Eggplant
Russet Potato
Long Beans
String Beans
Tomatoes
Kale
Basil
Lemon Balm

Long Beans and Green Beans are one of the stars this week.

Braised Long Beans with Tomato and Garlic

During the Summer, Kale gets a bit tough and mildly bitter. But it still one of the most nutritious foods on the farm. And there are good ways to use it. We tend to stay away from making raw salads with it right now. But as chips and in a soup, kale is good to go.

8 Kale Chip Recipes

If you find yourself needing a quick way to use up most of your CSA share in one big recipe, this time of year always calls for three different crowd pleasing favorites.

A chicken soup can easily use almost everything up in this share. Google is your friend. Just google “chicken soup” and then start adding items from the share behind it. Or do like we do and just chop everything up “except maybe the orange and the cucumber” boil it with with a whole chicken and spices. A curry can even be a little easier. Once again, aside from the cucumber and the orange, these items are all digs for a curry. Just grab a little jar of curry paste and a can of coconut milk on the way home, and you have something healthy and super fresh to dig into all week. And remember, basil and lemon balm love curry. The lemon balm mimics lemon grass quite well.

Also, make yourself cucumber orange salad

 

 

 

 

 

This Weeks CSA Share 8\16\2018

Here is what we are eating this week!

Your weekly vitality kit from the farm in Alpine!


Mixed Cucumbers  Cucumber Raitha Recipe


Bell Peppers Stuffed Bell Pepper Recipe


Tam, No Heat Jalapeno. Yes, this is one of the new “coolapenos” it has 1/3 the heat but all the flavor. Impress your friends with your jalapeno eating skills.


Fresno Chile   (HOT!)


Stuffed Baked Zucchini Blossoms


Cherry and Heirloom Tomatoes


Lemon Verbena and purple Basil  (We put a handful of Lemon Verbena and Basil in our water bottle every day)

Chard Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup Recipe

Kale Kale Chip Recipe

Carrots


Eggplant

Russet Potato

Valencia Orange

Here are two recipe suggestions for this week. Try going to google and typing in eggplant, bell pepper, carrot, potato, tomato, chile Curry. You will be surprised to find that there is a curry for at least half of the ingredients in this weeks share. Remember the Cucumber Raita recipe we posted with the cucumbers? That goes wonderfully with a warm vegetable curry. Lemon Verbena makes a wonderful substitution to lemon grass. It goes well in almost any curry!

The second recipe suggestion for this week is Ratatoulie

Enjoy!!

Ready Set………CORN!!

We started with a sweet corn. These transplants should be ready in a month. Next week, we will direct seed  an indigenous, yellow Mexican corn.

Here is our first pickling pickle. We also have Armenian, slicing, Persian and and lemon cucumbers in the new stages of growth.

Check out the pole beans in the south garden!!

Carrots are here to stay for a while. Yaay!!

The tomatoes are doing great. We have about 175 plants in the ground. At the least, we will have a decent year for tomatoes. I feel confident enough in there they are at to make that prediction. We could actually have a stellar year if things go well.

Tomorrow, you will get some microsquash with blossoms. The basil is here to stay. It is going to become a staple from here out. I am going to cut some kholrabbi for everyone. And I can say that we WILL have lettuce tomorrow. Not a lot. But we will all get a head. Last week we all went without lettuce. We had an issue with rabbits making it through the fence. Sadly, we lost most of our lettuce. Its coming back now.

We will send out a full list tomorrow.

This Weeks CSA Share 6/21/2018

Nothing says summer solstice like fertile and bulging poppy pods. Pretty soon, these pods will harden and turn brown. At the top, just under the skirt, holes will open up like windows to a spaceship. Then, during the first of the heavy onshore winds of summer, the pods will dance and sway as their axis begins to tilt enough for hundreds of seeds to begin spewing forth upon the garden floor.

And that pretty much sums up summer for you in a nutshell. Or should I say, “in a poppy pod”?

Here is what we are eating!!

Carrots are finally here!

Pickling Cucumbers

Potatoes

Valencia Oranges

Kale

Beets

Basil

Spring Onions

This weeks list is short, but the portions seem big. The bags were on the heavy side.

We don’t grow scallions. We grow the seeds used for full sized onions. We harvest them early while the bulb is small and the greens are sweet. There are green, bunching onion seeds out there. We don’t think the flavor of those match the sweetness and complexity of the early harvested full sized onions.

Quick and easy pickle recipe

The pickle cukes can be eaten raw guys. They have a full cucumber flavor. We have more exciting cucumbers on the way.

Have a great week.

This Weeks CSA June-14-2018

Good Morning. Here is what we are eating this week.

Zucchini  “NEW”

Lil Gem Lettuce Head

Wild Arugula

Bunch of Parsley

A few Potatoes

Golden Nugget Tangerines

Carrots “NEW”

Dinosaur Kale

Beets

Green Bell Pepper “NEW”

Basil “NEW”

Swiss Chard

Baby spring Onions “NEW”

Cluster of Sunflowers for your table!!

Six Pack of Eggs

Tomatoes are beefing up. Cucumbers, Eggplant, Corn, Melons, Peppers, Squash and all the other summer stuff is coming along. Zucchini and Basil in the box this week. Having those ought to feel a little like summer. Carrots are always a crowd pleaser. We are always glad to have carrots around.

Kale Potato Onion Fritata

We are still putting a lot of chard in the shares. Many of the leafy greens are growing  much better in this new soil. Portions are bigger.

Pureed swiss chard soup

Pureed Swiss Chard Soup

Since our Basil crop is just starting, the portion is small. Might I suggest making a pesto with Chard leaves and Basil? Your pesto will still have that basil kick. You’ll just get a lot more to eat since Chard is abundant in the share this week.

Check out this post about grilling beets. The preparation includes Arugula and Bell Pepper

Don’t forget to cook and eat your bet greens. The weather is not too hot yet. The beet greens are still coming out pretty sweet.

We expect you will enjoy your farm food this week. This week end is supposed to be cooler than usual. We will be taking advantage of the weather to put in some more summer yummies before it gets too hot to plant.

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
Chard
Kale
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!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

This weeks produce share 1/26/2018

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

 

image3.JPG

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. https://southernbite.com/turnip-green-dip/

Microgreens

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…http://blog.blueapron.com/how-to-enjoy-sprouts-and-microgreens/

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!


Polly

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

Cilantro

Parsley

Romaine head

Cauliflower

Spaghetti squash

Chard

Kale

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.

Enjoy!

 

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
Persimmon
Salad mix with micro-greens
Tomatoes
Cucumbers
Chard and Kale
Jalapeño
Bell pepper
Ramona grown pineapple
5 Uber-Organic nutrient dense vibrant colored home grown chicken eggs!
Basil

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!