August 12, 2014

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Charentais Melon Like many French towns, Cavaillon in Provence fiercely promotes and protects its local delicacy: the Charantais melon. In 1987, an outfit named The Knights of the Order of the Melon was set up to this effect. All melons have to pass stringent quality controls and the majority are consumed locally rather than exported.  Legend has it that they were introduced to the area from Italy in the 14th century by the popes, who lived in nearby Avignon, although their fame spread only along with the expansion of the French railways 500 years later.  Don’t you feel lucky to have them in California?!
  • Valley Girl TomatoesThe flavor of a tomato is a result of an interaction between sugars, acids, and multiple volatile compounds. If you've ever stored your tomatoes in the fridge, you may have noticed a change in both taste and texture. This isn't a coincidence – French researchers have found that storing a tomato at room temperature allows it to not only maintain its existing volatiles, but also to produce more of them.  The flavor of a tomato left to ripen on the counter will only continue to improve (to a point, of course). If you want your tomatoes to continue to ripen, the ideal temperature range is 65-70°F.
  • Black Globe Eggplant In Renaissance Italy, eggplant was called a mala insana or “crazy apple”.
  • Marketmore CucumbersTry juicing your cukes into cocktails, agua frescas and smoothies.
  • Basil - One way of long-term storage that works well comes to us from Italy - pack dry basil leaves in layers in glass jars.  Place a pinch of salt between each layer. When full, pour oil to the top and seal tightly.  This should keep indefinitely in your refrigerator or a cool cupboard.  Savor it because this is the last Say Hay basil of summer.


Egg Shares include eggs from our certified organic, pasture-raised, happy hens.


Don’t forget – you can always add extra items to your order at our Online Market.


Vegetable Forecast

Tomatillos, Poblano Peppers, Jalapenos, Tomatoes, Zucchini



Melon season is in full swing.  And it’ll be over before you know it.  Enjoy this bounty of fruit as it comes.  And come visit us at market too if you have the opportunity – we’re sampling 6 or 7 varieties of melons most weeks.

Planting keeps underway as we get ready for our fall crops – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, beets, carrots, etc.  It’s hard to remember what a wet winter feels like, so we’re planning ahead just in case we do end up with a wet/normal winter.  Sure would be welcome.

We start harvesting the first variety of almonds this Thursday.  It’ll be a fun and laborious experiment as we figure out how to hand harvest efficiently.  Look for pics on our facebook page and budding instagram account later this week.

The winter squash crop is looking nice!  That is, what’s remaining after the ground squirrels ravaged the young seedlings.  In a drought, animals are hard pressed for good feed and water, and a nicely sprouted green seedling next to some wet drip tape sure looks tasty.  We lost almost an acre of winter squash to squirrels; mostly the rows next to the fence lines where they like to burrow.  You can still look forward to an exceptional butternut, buttercup, hubbard, kuri, acorn and delicata squash starting in October. 



Pics of the week

  •  May surveys the winter squash
  • Dusty hauls in a load of melons from the field
  • Dusty sorts melons in the box truck while Camper supervises




Eggplant Fries (serves 6)


These flavorful frites are not only a clever riff on a fried standard, they're also lamb's best friend. The Middle Eastern accents in the za'atar spice blend pair well with the gamey meat and intensify the eggplant’s flavor. After many experiments, Terzo Piano chef Meg Colleran Sahs discovered that a rice-flour coating resulted in the highest crunch factor.  Thanks to Epicurious for this one.


Dipping sauce:

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped kosher pickle or pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • 1-pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2" rounds, then into 1/2"-thick strips
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons za'atar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more for seasoning

Ingredient Info:Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that includes sumac, herbs, and sesame seeds. It's available at specialty foods stores, Middle Eastern markets, and



For dipping sauce:Whisk yogurt, chopped pickle, lemon zest, and oregano in a small bowl to blend. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

For fries:Place eggplant in a large bowl. Add 2 cups ice and enough water to cover. Place a plate on top of eggplant to weigh it down. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.

Pour oil into a large deep pot to a depth of 2". Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of pot and heat oil over medium heat to 325°F.

Meanwhile, whisk rice flour, lemon zest, za'atar, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon sea salt in a medium bowl to blend. Drain eggplant. Working in batches, toss damp eggplant in flour mixture to coat.

Working in batches, fry eggplant, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per batch. (Reheat oil to 325°F between batches.) Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with lemon juice and sea salt. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

May surveys kuri and butternut squash.

Dusty hauling melons.

Sorting and Snoring