October 12, 2009

12 Oct

It appears that we will get our first rains of the season this week and the land and farmers look forward to a good soaking. We will still go out and harvest your produce, despite the weather, but it does mean there may be a short break in the fields coming for us. And I must say I am ready for one. It has seemed like a really long year for us, with multiple staff layoffs, what seemed like an endless amount of beans to pick, the coordination of six apprentices (our most ever), another huge building project, including the installation of a sewer pipe and new road, combined with issues facing the farm stand, of which I will comment on in the next few weeks.

The summer weeks fluctuated between really hot and foggy and cool. Some crops did well and others had difficulties handling the changes in weather. The beans, corn, strawberries, tomatoes, summer squash, peppers and all the greens, surprisingly, yielded very well. The cucumbers, basil, eggplant, all the stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots), avocados and apples were a big disappointment.  To give you an idea of the poor yields this year; in 2008 we harvested 550 boxes of peaches and 150 boxes in 2009.  If we get some colder nights this coming winter, hopefully the fruit set will be better next summer.  

I had hoped to have some more diversity in the shares the last couple of weeks and for the next couple, but nature didn’t quite cooperate with us. We had some problems with ground squirrels and something else (we’re not sure what) that took out beds of beets, turnips, cilantro and spinach, all in one section of our field. Unfortunately it does not seem as though we will include beets in the coming weeks, but the turnips, cilantro and spinach are fast growers and we should have some in about 30 days. In the meantime we can all find some new ways to eat our tomatoes, peppers and squash and appreciate the last few weeks before it gets too cold for them.

We are considering a cooperative CSA for next year, where Fairview would grow the majority of the share or all of it during most weeks, while having the option of purchasing items from other organic farmers in the region when we experience crop losses or when we are short on diversity, such as will always be the case with fruit, considering the limited amount of trees we have of each variety. We are exploring some of the benefits of such collaboration such as increasing the economic security of regional farmers, while providing greater diversity to you.

It appears I made a mistake by not drying out all the popcorn fully.  So if your popcorn turned out as bad as mine did the other night, I apologize and am embarrassed for the mistake.  We will have some more for you in a few weeks, when it is definitely all dry.

Enjoy the weather that is hopefully coming.

Sincerely,

Toby McPartland, Farm Manager

Farm Needs:

Pre-used Paper: Every day we print reports, documents, and newsletters on blank paper. We will reuse paper that has only been printed on one side. We take white or colored paper. Bring it by the paper bags or box loads. Drop off any time at CSA pick-up and it will make its way up to the office. Thank you in advance.

Upcoming Events:

What: Fresh Greens; dance to the new green beat… SBCC Adult Education Class presented by The Sustainability Project; taught by CSA member and architect John Kelly

When: Tuesdays in October 2009, 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Where: The Faulkner Gallery, SB Central Library

Description: How can we thrive in a world of economic uncertainty, peak oil, and climate change? Hear personal stories about simple, affordable, everyday sustainable lifestyles and share your experiences with green living. Visit green homes and gardens.

Discuss how our ongoing crisis is an opportunity to create the next major green movement. For more information about each class see attached flyer or go to

http://www.sbcc.edu/adulted

What: Carbon Economy Series (for more detailed information about the series and registration fees and discounts go to www.CarbonEconomySB.com)

Soil Food Web and Compost Technologies with Dr. Elaine Ingham

When: October 30-November 1, 2009 Training at Orella Ranch, Gaviota, CA
Description: In this course, you’ll look at the elements of a healthy soil food web, learn how to analyze and improve your own soil, and learn how to make composts and extracts to strengthen the soil food web.  The Soil Food Web course provides knowledge and research findings for those at the grass roots level of working with soils. That includes not just farmers who grow crops, but also those who graze cattle, sheep and other livestock, fruit and vegetable growers, greens keepers, parks and gardens workers, nursery operators – in fact anyone who grows things.  The course offers a way of improving the soils we work with now and a way to keep soils in this healthier state without damaging any other eco-system.

Sustainable Land Management with Darren Doherty and Kirk Gadzia

When:  November 10-15, 2009 Two Part Training at Orella Ranch, Gaviota, CA

Description: Sustainable grazing and agricultural land management practices emphasizing soil building, water conservation, and long range planning for productivity and health. Benefits include: Improving soil health and biodiversity of rangelands and pastures. Increasing grazing and wildlife capacity.  Increasing annual profits and enhancing livelihoods. Optimally using rainfall and conserving water.  Growing healthier crops and achieving higher yields. Reversing desertification in brittle environments. Breaking the cycle of food and water insecurity. Enhancing family relationships.

Sneak Peek:

Small Share

Lettuce           

Arugula or Radish

Kale

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Peppers

Pumpkins

Garlic  

Large Share

Lettuce

Arugula or Radish       

Kale

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Peppers

Pumpkin

Garlic

Recipes (thanks to CSA member and my mom, Jane Higa for contributing):

Glazed Vegetables (from my mom’s SBCC Adult Education cooking class taught by Michele Molony)- radishes become sweet and tender

The Veggies:

Pearl onions

Radishes, leaving a little stem on, cut in half

Carrots (cut into chucks the same size as the onions and radishes)

For 1 lb of veggies:

Season the veggies with salt and pepper, place in a pan in a single layer

Add enough water to come half-way up the veggies

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp sugar

Bring to a simmer, covered it with a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit the pan (I did this, but took it off after 12 minutes because I thought it was taking too long to simmer the liquid off)

Keep at a simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (start checking at around 15 minutes). Toss the veggies around in the pan to cover them with the glaze, and serve! (If all of the liquid has evaporated, add a tbsp of water to the pan; it will help un-stick the glaze and cover the veggies) A great side dish with risotto, meat, or fish.

Green Chile Cheese Enchiladas (from momma Higa, Los Angeles Times September 23, 2009 issue)
Green Chile sauce:
3 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup diced salt pork (I think bacon would have been fine)
1/2 cup finely diced onion
4 tsp minced garlic
3 tablespoon flour
2 cup chopped green chile (use your Anaheim or Poblano peppers)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add the salt pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until it gives up most of its fat and shrivels, about 5 minutes.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add the flour, and stir to evenly coat the onion and pork.  Stir in the chile and the cumin and then whisk in the broth.   Bring to a bare simmer and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes to thicken the sauce and cook out the flour flavor.  (Stir the bottom of the pan to prevent the flour from sticking and burning.)  Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  This makes about 4 cup sauce.  Keep the sauce warm if using immediately, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. Warm the sauce before using.

Enchiladas and assembly:
3 c shredded cheese (preferably a mix of cheddar and jack)
3/4 cup finely diced white onion
Oil
12 corn tortillas
Green chile sauce (see above)
6 eggs, fried over-medium (optional)

1.  This works best if you set it up assembly-line fashion.  Combine the cheese and onion in a large bowl.  Have ready a large skillet to fry the tortillas and the saucepan of hot green chile sauce.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Heat 2 tablespoon oil in the large skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry a tortilla on both sides until it is puffy and slightly softened about 1 minute total.  Dip the fried tortilla in the chile sauce and place it on an oven proof plate.  Sprinkle over about 1/3 cup of cheese and spoon over a little more chile sauce.  Fry a second tortilla, dip it in the sauce and place it on top of the first prepared tortilla, top it with a fried egg (if using), then spoon over more chile sauce and cheese, to make one serving.  Repeat with remaining tortillas to make 6 servings.

3.  Place prepared plates in the oven and bake until the cheese melts, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.  (NOTE:  I melted the cheese by placing individual plate into the microwave….and then didn’t need to worry about whether my plates were oven proof or not)

Risotto with Tuscan Kale and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds (from Gourmet | September 2002 Recipe by Kemp Minifie)

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups low-sodium fat-free chicken broth (can you vegetable broth)
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 pound Tuscan kale (also called black or lacinato kale)
1 1/4 cups finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, minced (I like risotto… with lots of garlic, so feel free to add more)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Accompaniment: toasted pumpkin seeds (or goat cheese)

Directions:

Bring broth and water to a boil with 3/4 teaspoon sea salt in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, cut stems and center ribs from kale and discard. Stir kale into broth in batches and simmer (all of kale), stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer kale with tongs to a large sieve set over a bowl and gently press on greens to extract more liquid. Add liquid in bowl to simmering broth and keep at a bare simmer, covered. Chop kale.

Cook onion in oil and 1 tablespoon butter with remaining 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a wide 4-quart heavy pot, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to moderate, then add garlic and cook, uncovered, stirring, 1 minute. Add rice and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add wine and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until absorbed. Stir in 1/2 cup simmering broth and simmer briskly, stirring constantly, until broth is absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is creamy-looking but still al dente (it should be the consistency of thick soup), 17 to 18 minutes. (There will be leftover broth.)

Stir in kale, cheese, and remaining tablespoon butter and cook, stirring, until heated through and butter is incorporated, about 1 minute. Season risotto with sea salt and pepper and, if desired, thin with some of remaining broth. Serve sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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