April 15, 2015

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Romaine Lettuce – Don't store romaine near fruits that produce ethylene gases (like apples) as this will
  • increase brown spots on the lettuce leaves and speed up spoilage.
  • Yellow Grapefruit – Keep grapefruits at room temperature before juicing to get the most out of it. To prepare, quarter the fruit and peel off the skin.
  • Red Curly Kale – Blanching reduces bitterness and softens thick greens, which is great if you want to follow up with a quick sauté or freeze the greens for later use. To blanch kale, stir leaves into boiling water for a minute or two, drain, then run under cold water.  Blanched and frozen kale is so nice to have on hand! It can be easily crumbled into soups, stews, beans and simmering sauces.
  • Rainbow Chard – The star of this week’s recipe!
  • Broccoleaf Not sure about this ‘new’ veg? It’s the leaves of the broccoli plant and we cannot sing enough of broccoleaf’s praises! Great in stir frys, smoothies, sautees, soups, and more!  Use it like kale!
  • Snow Peas – The pea is only green when eaten because it is picked when still immature. A ripe pea is more yellow in colour. Eating peas when they are green became fashionable in the 1600s and 1700s but was described by the French as “madness”.


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 

Lettuce, Peas, Kohlrabi, Kale, Chard



In the field, crops are soaking up the warm sun and growing quickly.  The peas came on quick, and you can expect to enjoy these spring treats for the next month.  This year we grew a variety each of snow, snap, and shelling peas for our CSA members.  Many of this summers’ peppers and the first of the eggplant will be transplanted this week.  So we keep the tractor moving and try to keep up getting the ground prepped.

Our ag well process is coming to a resolution, or at least a milestone.  The process can be summed up like this:  First we drilled a 6” test hole, during which the drillers monitored the composition of the layers of material they drilled through.  Once that was complete, they sent down an electrical probe that measures resistance, called an “e-log,” to tell us where the ares of low resistance were, which when setup a certain way, indicates zones of gravel where water will flow more freely underground.  Once we decided on that test site, the drillers brought a different drilling rig that bored a 22” hole in the ground, 530 feet deep.  Based on the information from the e-log and drillers notes, they constructed into the hole a 10” PVC casing all the way to the bottom that is perforated in those areas where we identified gravel deposits.  The space in between casing and the outer circumference of the hole were filled with gravel to keep the hole from collapsing, keep the clay off the casing, and grossly filter the water passing through into the casing.  Then they completed a process called “airlift development” where they blow water out of the hole in small sections of a time to wash the gravel pack and slough off any clay that settled on the casing or outer edges of the hole during the process.  

Yesterday we started the next phase: the pumping process.  The pump company will begin by developing the hole a little further by surging water up and down the hole to continue to wash the gravel pack and casing.  Then they install a test pump to measure how much draw down in there is in the water level relative to how much power is being put to the pump (how much water is pumped out).  We’ll use this information to decide how much the well can sustain, what size pump to install, and at what depth to install it.  We hope to know this by the first of next week.  

The next phase is to hook up with PG&E and have them bring 3-phase 480V power to the site.  This can take up to 5 months.  Hopefully this gives you an idea of how long and involved of a process this is to ensure we have a reliable water source on our farm when surface water is unavailable.  This is definitely a resource we will treasure and protect.  




Farro and Chard Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette (Serves 4) 

A yummy combo of interesting flavors from the box, this recipe is both hearty and healthy.  And, a bonus salad dressing to add to your repertoire!  Thanks to The New York Times for the recipe!

For vinaigrette:

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 tsp mild honey or agave syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp sherry vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For salad:

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 c diced chard stems
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 c coarsely chopped blanched or steamed chard leaves (about 1/2 lb uncooked) (see note)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 c cooked farro
  • 1 oz broken walnuts (about 3 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/2 c grapefruit vinaigrette

Squeeze 1/2 of the grapefruit. Measure out 1/3 c of juice and place it in a small saucepan. Add the honey or agave and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to 1/4 c and remove from the heat. Whisk in salt, vinegar, and the oils.

Cut away the peel and pith from the remaining grapefruit half. Cut the sections away from the membranes that divide them and chop fine. Stir into the vinaigrette.

Note: To steam chard leaves, separate them from the ribs, wash thoroughly and place in a steaming basket over 1 to 2 inches boiling water. Cover and steam for 2 to 3 minutes, until wilted. Rinse briefly with cold water and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium size skillet and add the chard stems. Cook, stirring often, until the stems are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring, for another 30 seconds to a minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the chopped blanched or steamed Swiss chard leaves, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir the mixture until the chard is coated with oil, 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the farro, walnuts and parsley to the bowl. When ready to serve, toss with the dressing. Arrange on a platter or in a serving bowl.

Advance preparation: All of the components of this salad will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator. The salad can be composed a day ahead, but don’t toss with the dressing until ready to serve.


Pics of the week

CSA Potatoes! Loving the weather.

Shaping beds.

Setting concrete forms and shooting the grade in future packing barn.

Final steps of the well drillers - airlift development.