Good morning from the ranch! Here is what we are eating this week>>>
Pomegranate…These are early season pomes..so they are a little bit hit and miss. Most of the fruit we sampled were ruby red inside. But some were still only pink. Still good, but more tart than sweet. We could not wait though. So, let’s get the pomegranate party started.
Summer Squash…Everyone got a mexican squash. Those are the green and white striated ones. Plus, we put a few small zuch’s, crooknecks or yellows in the bag too.
Oranges…These sweet little babies are still hanging on. The rains surely did them some good. We will serve them as long as we have them. Who knows how long this run is going to last!!
Acorn Squash… Here is a traditional recipe We got these from one of our Partners in Ramona.
Limes…We think we have some of the best limes in San Diego. Next time you are in your favorite Mexican Restaurant, mention us. We will be happy to talk to them about getting our limes in their kitchens.
Asian pear…juicier and sweeter. Compliments of the season.
Bell peppers…One of my favorite shoulder season veggies. They start late in the summer and hang on laet into fall when most of the other summer stuff has stopped
Romaine Lettuce. Soon, look forward to the more delicate cool weather lettuces.
Dinosaur Kale. Dinasour for sure. Our trusty Italian kale has been producing for over 9 months!!
Thanks on behalf of all the plants, humans and animals at the ranch for your constant thoughts of rain.
Pomegranate Pear Avocado Salad
Good morning from the ranch. Anyone feeling the the first hints of fall in the air?? Dare we whisper the “F” word yet?
Well, we ran into this guy down at the Barona gas station. This guy apparently is aware that Thanksgiving is still a couple months away.
Since we are on the topic of birds, In my 10 years at the ranch, this is without a doubt…the first daytime owl ever.
Okay. Here is what we are eating
Piece of rhubarb
Fresh Russet potatoes “right from the ground”.
Why does the skin on the oranges and grapefruit sometimes soft and a little mooshy??? Because it is mooshy. The Valencia oranges and the Oro Blanco grapefruit trees would have been completely stripped and shipped if we were a large commercial outfit. We like to keep a few trees loaded for a few months longer than that. This allows us to extend the season of these fruit. The mooshyness comes from a slight amount of water loss in the fruit as it sits on the tree through the hot summer. The water loss also contributes to some of the sweetest and flavorful oranges and grapefruit. I have to cut my orange juice with about half water because the fruit is so syrupy sweet. Rest assured though, that these fruit are not “old” and they are not mooshy because they sat around in a crate for a long time. They are fresh picked like everything else. They are already mooshy before we pick em.
The key to making okra work in a stew is to steam it for 45 minutes before adding it in the the rest of the ingredients. Okra adds a meaty gaminess as well as a thick consistency to a stew like no other vegetable. An even better method for getting the okra really soft is a pressure cooker like this one.
14 minutes in the pressure cooker and okra will do anything you ask of it.
Cut bell peppers, onion, squash, tomatoes and eggplant. Add oil to the pan and saute everything for 15-20 minutes. Add okrah, tomato sauce, spices add 1 can of veggie broth. cook on low for at least an hour. Stirring and checking every 15 minutes to make sure liquid level is sufficient.
The middle eastern version of such a stew calls for a lamb shank. Beef shank works well too. But meat is not necessary for a wonderful and flavorful stew.
Serve over rice with fresh dill. There are many Ratatoulie recipes out there that use all the vegetables in the previous recipe except okra. French style Ratatoulie loves to be served over pasta or gnochi
Pear Strawberry Pie
Ms Jade tying up the “maters”.
A few tomatoes
Gigantic butternut squash
A couple small bell peppers
Sprig of Rosemary
Beets with Greens
Strawberry Caprese Bruschetta
First tomatoes of the 2016 season…Let’s get this party started!!
Well. that 106 degree weather we had a few weeks ago, slowed us down a bit. But the tomatoes are finally rolling in. These are standard reds. “Hybrids”.. Not quite as colorful and complex as the heirlooms. But they are juicy. And packed full of a flavor that no grocery store can begin to match. We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed growing and picking them for you!
Heirlooms on deck “Mortgage lifter” tomato. Don’t worry you juicy gem, we know you are worth the wait.
A few red tomatoes
Super sweet valencia oranges “fruit candy”! yum
Small green bell peppers
Beautiful green leaf or red leaf lettuce
Large bunch of dyno and curly kale together in one bunch
Sprig of basil “because the first tomatoes of the year must arrive with basil”!
Crookneck and green zucchini squash
Watermelon radish or turnip “There is not enough of either to fill all the boxes. So half will get turnip. And half will get watermelon radish”.
Four herbs for making herbed lemonade… holy basil, mint, sage and lemon verbena
“Hales Jumbo” cantaloupe.
Colin and I are making this zucchini fritter recipe for the ranch members, for lunch this Sunday. We will make sure to let you know how it went. I rarely follow “exact” directions though, so, I am already envisioning some basil and red onion in our cakes.
Orange Basil Mojitos
We picked our first apples this week. I have no idea what the two varieties that we picked are called. But one is a baking apple. And the other is tart and sweet. And appears to be an eater. We put the “eaters” in a bag . The “bakers” are loose with all the other fruits and vegetables. Baked apples stuffed with Oatmeal
Here is what is in the box
head of romaine
baking and eating apples
Good morning from the ranch…Uh Oh! Looks like we had some construction going on in the road to the produce shack last night. Better proceed with caution
A little ways up the road, father quail plays crossing guard as his entire covey and mama cross the road into the north field.
And then, we spot….”The Kaya!” She is slug whisperer of the Blue Sky Ranch. We watch in awe and wonder as she patiently and skillfully tames these feral snails. Just another crazy morning commute at the ranch!
Fresh Basil and Mint
Oro Blanco Grapefruit
Tree forts. Capture the flag. Riding bikes. Hide and go seek. Cutting through a new swath of wild land to get home before the sun goes down. Finding a creek. Spend a whole summer hunting crawdads. Marvel at the dragonflies, the polywogs, moss, fish, mud, cattails and those really mean geese. Ponder the question of,”why does this root beer can float if it is made of metal?” Try to build a raft. Have your raft fail. Think about it for day or two while skipping rocks and counting clouds. Build a better raft. Have that one fail too. Go to the library. Do some research. Try harder. And finally build a raft that floats. Then build a raft that floats you and a friend. Make a rabbit trap. You know the one I am talking about. The one with the carrot dangling under a box. Hide behind a rock for from lunchtime to dark. Just like the Wily Coyote did on that cartoon. Sitting motionless for hours. Holding the string with a continuity of excitement and anticipation that only a child can so effortlessly direct. Get completely skunked. As a result, come to the realization at the ripe age of 10, that cartoons are bullshit. And should be best left alone as much as possible. Go out for a whole day with nothing but some curiosity and energy to spend. Throwing rocks. Kicking cans. Exploring. Gathering various fruit from the trees that hang over the fences. Have a feast on top of the water tower. Have a fruit fight with the leftovers. Drink water from strangers water hoses. (It was ok). Yeah. It was all ok. Thank you trees. Thank you long dirt roads. Thank you big rocks. Thank you lizards. And even you, big black Labrador. I sincerely thank you. You used to chase me from your driveway and all the way down to Foss Lane. Thanks for teaching me to be aware of my surroundings. Thank for teaching me about real dangers. And how to anticipate and navigate them successfully. Thank you mom and dad for trusting that the world worked well enough for a 10 year old to go out and have a genuine worthwhile experience without an I phone or even a watch for that matter. Yet still return himself home before dark and on his own volition. Most of all, thank you nature. For being there to help wash away frustrations of the sometimes difficult and complicated world of humans. Always still. I have found that upon years of observation, as well as much close inspection, it is eminently clear that you do nothing uselessly. I’ve never seen you tire. You never ask for anything. You are pure service. Forever giving. The ultimate teacher for those of us lucky enough who have been educated instead of schooled.
Come and join the farm to face revolution! Blue Sky Ranch is proud to be hosting our first in a series of total immersion classes that pay special attention to the importance of using only the freshest ingredients for making and effective plant based medicines for the wellness of our own bodies and of those we love. The herb farm crew at Blue Sky Ranch will be opening up the land on June 25th, from 10:30 am to 1pm for anyone interested in stepping into our evolving process of honoring, growing, harvesting and preparing our upcoming line of tinctures, salves and beauty cremes.
The class will be held on the land at Blue Sky Ranch in the southern herb gardens. And will be facilitated by Blue Sky Ranch herb farm members Taj Chaffin, Nate Bazydlo and Kelly Gillotti. Among a handful of herbs and fruits, we will be working with on this day, you will have an opportunity to meet and learn how to harvest the mighty Calendula. Our flagship herb. What a plant! You will receive instruction while helping prepare the herbs for drying. You will also get to help prepare some of the herbal tinctures we are using in our face creams. You will participate in our process of infusing whole plants for oil infusions for our salves and cremes. Many of our finished products will also be available for sample and purchase. It is a totally different experience to sample a product after you have been playing and communing with it’s main ingredients throughout the day!
This class is for anyone from the experienced herbalist to the individual who knows nothing about herbs and farming. And is just curious. At the close of the day, we will all gather in the meditation garden for some inspiring closing words from Ingrid Coffin, the founder of Blue Sky Ranch. This is always a treat. And for the piece de resistance, if the Calendula is is in the right mood, which we expect he will be, prepare yourself for a live musical performance from the star of the day. We are in possession of a rare midi device that syncs with a system that measures impedances between the root and leaf of a plant and turns those changing impulses into live music. To learn a little more about music of the plants go here This will definitely be something that you will want to stay to the end for.
Cost of the class is 35 dollars for the early birds. Regular price on the day of the event is 45 dollars. Upon signing up, you will receive a class welcome, directions and a more detailed description of the class.
Sign up for the class
We have some beautiful shares for you all this week.
golden beets with greens
chard or kale