January 14, 2015

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Arugula – On its own or mixed in with other greens, arugula makes a great salad. It can stand up to a stronger vinaigrette but is often paired with a sweeter balsamic, which balances well with its peppery notes.
  • Chioggia Beets – The star of this week’s recipe!  Let them eat Beet Cake!  Or use them boiled and sliced to appreciate the concentric circles in this variety’s inner flesh.
  • Nelson Carrots In the European Union, carrots are sometimes…a fruit. In the member states of the EU, jam can only be produced from fruit and as such, the production of the Portugese national delicacy, carrot jam, was placed in jeopardy.  In order for Portugal to be able to legitimately trade the product between EU nations, it had to conform to the European Commission’s requirements. So, is it a fruit or a vegetable? The carrot is classified as a vegetable under the European Commission’s food categorization, but when in Portugal’s proud preserve, it is a fruit!
  • Spring Onions The reason that the onion is so much more active in its raw state than when cooked, is that it contains a variety of organic sulphur compounds, contained in a volatile oil, that provide the health benefits. These are partly destroyed by heat. When eaten raw, its juice can act as an irritant and some people find it difficult to digest. Onions baked in their skins, in a similar way to baked potatoes, are also delicious. This method of cooking keeps all the goodness inside, but the resulting flavour is milder and more aromatic than that of raw onions.
  • Red Curly KalePreheat the oven to 400°F. Rinse the kale under cold running water and dry the leaves very well, in a salad spinner if you have one. Cut out the center stalks, then chop the kale into 2-in pieces. Place the kale on a baking tray and drizzle over 2 tsp sesame and 1 tbsp olive oils, scatter over 1 tbsp sesame seeds and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until crisp at the edges.
  • Navel OrangesOranges have relatively thick rinds and can store at room temperature for several days. To keep them longer, refrigerate them.


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

Navel Oranges, Kale, Beets, Carrots, Onions



Ok, the holidays are over… Time to get back to it! No rest for the California vegetable farmer.

Although we wish it were raining, this break has dried things up enough to allow us to catch up/get ahead on fieldwork.  We’re busy getting beds turned over and ready for the late winter/early spring plantings.  With rains flirting out in the 7-10 day forecasts, were working late to make sure we have things ready for when it rains (fingers crossed!). 

This involves Dusty and Sean ripping up the buried drip tape and spooling it on a hydraulic reel for reuse.  Thursday morning we’ll spread compost and disk the field to give a microbial and nutrient boost to the next crop while slowly adding organic matter.  Friday and Saturday we’ll ‘list’ (mark out) and shape beds.  Then we’ll have a couple weeks for hopeful rains or irrigation (if necessary) to sprout the first flush of weeds that we can kill prior to seeding or transplanting – that’s the “stale bed” process we’ve talked about in previous Weeklys.  Tomorrow Dusty’s also catching up on cultivation with the Allis Chalmers electric G while the tilth is good and weeds are young.

We’ll be planting your spring peas first thing next week.  We’re also making final preparations for the madhouse that is sowing season for the early summer crops: onions, peppers, and tomatoes take a while and are the first to be sown.  We’re trialing over 15 varieties of onions and almost 40 varieties of peppers this year for careful study of how they taste, produce, and in the case of onions, store, so we can continue to get better at what we do on our farm!

Next Weekly we'll (re) introduce you to our orange grove tenders. 



Chocolate Beet Cake (Serves 8)

Who knew that beets could help achieve the holy grail of cake characteristics: moistness.  Plus, it’s fun to use vegetables in more decadent ways than usual!  Throw in some Say Hay eggs and you’re all set to enjoy an indulgent dessert that sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Thanks to Nigel Slater and Food52 for the recipe!

  • 8 oz fresh beets
  • 7 oz fine dark chocolate (70%)
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 5 Say Hay farm-fresh eggs
  • Scant 1 cup superfine sugar
  • Crème fraîche and poppy seeds, to serve

Lightly butter an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the base with a round of baking parchment. Heat the oven to 350°F.

Cook the beets, whole and unpeeled, in boiling unsalted water. Depending on their size, they will be tender within 30 to 40 minutes. Young ones may take slightly less. Drain them, let them cool under running water, then peel them, slice off their stem and root, and process in a blender or food processor until a coarse purée.

Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, in a small bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Don’t stir. When the chocolate looks almost melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once. Cut the butter into small pieces -- the smaller the better -- and add to the melted chocolate. Push the butter down under the surface of the chocolate with a spoon (as best you can) and leave to soften.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl. Stir the yolks together.

Now, working quickly but gently, remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has melted into the chocolate. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the egg yolks. Do this quickly, mixing firmly and evenly so the eggs blend into the mixture. Fold in the beets. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold in the sugar. Firmly but gently, fold the beaten egg whites and sugar into the chocolate mixture. A large metal spoon is what you want here; work in a deep, figure-eight movement but take care not to over-mix. Lastly, fold in the flour and cocoa.

Transfer quickly to the prepared cake pan and put in the oven, decreasing the heat immediately to 325°F. Bake for 40 minutes. The rim of the cake will feel spongy, the inner part should still wobble a little when gently shaken. Test with a cake tester or toothpick too -- if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester.

Set the cake aside to cool (it will sink a tad in the center), loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so. It is not a good idea to remove the cake from its pan until it is completely cold. Serve in thick slices, with crème fraîche and poppy seeds.


Pics of the week

Working late, reeling tape.  Mr. Mooney.

A compost spreader.