April 8, 2014

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Red Butterhead Lettuces – Throw together shelled peas, snap peas, and thinly sliced radishes with your lettuce, and add this creamy dressing for a great spring salad: Mix together ¾ cup olive oil and ¾ cup vegetable oil. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whip attachment, combine 2 egg yolks, 1 minced shallot, 1 tsp kosher salt, and ¼ tsp white pepper. On the medium speed whip the egg mixture and then slowly add half the oil mixture, a little at a time. When the mixture begins to resemble a thick mayonnaise add a little vinegar. Continue slowly adding oil and then vinegar until all the liquids have been fully incorporated (1/2 c white balsamic vinegar total).  Taste and adjust seasoning. (Makes approximately 2 cups.)
  • Pea Shoots – The star of this week’s recipe!
  • Lacinato Kale – Braising kale tenderizes and adds flavor. Slow-cook a pound of greens in ½ to ¾ cup of seasoned cooking liquid (chicken or vegetable stock or wine) or water for about 20 minutes or until greens are tender and ready to eat.  Yum!
  • Rainbow Chard – Unlike many vegetables, larger chard leaves aren't necessarily tougher than smaller ones.
  • Green Cabbage Yes, you can (and should!) grill cabbage! It turns a bit sweet, picks up crispy blackened edges, and gets a slightly softened but still crunchy texture. Heat a grill to high heat. Meanwhile, trim cabbage and cut into 8 wedges, being careful to keep a bit of the core in each cabbage wedge so it holds together somewhat.  Skewer each cabbage wedge onto a grill-proof skewer. Brush cabbage wedges lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place skewered cabbage wedges on a hot grill and cook until the edges or blackened and crispy and center of the cabbage wedges are warm, turning to color all sides, 10-15 minutes.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. You can serve the grilled cabbage as wedges or remove it from the skewers and chop before serving.
  • Fresh Sage


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 

Batavian Lettuce, Grapefruit, Kale, Chard, Broccoleaf or Peas



When you start a farm, you hear all of these stories about how so-and-so found an amazing deal at an auction, and how this piece of equipment is now the center of their farm or they couldn’t live without it, and at such a good price!  Well I spent five years trolling around farm auctions to pretty much no avail.  I mostly paid too much for a pile of rusty steel junk that seemed like a good deal at the time and whose most useful purpose is to be scavenged for scrap steel for something else we’re working on.   Not this week!  This was a week for the farm record books.

Right in our backyard, we found used Gaspardo vacuum seeder. This 3-row machine enables us to plant small seeds at precise spacings.  And unlike our current modern plastic version (the Jang seeder), this is built of steel and made to last.  It was such a good deal I assumed the seeder was junk and thought it was a steal of a deal just for the steel parts.  But the seeder parts seems to be in fairly good working order, save for a few fixings.  I thought the real challenge would be finding parts since most people have moved on to Monosem planters. 

Simultaneously, Paul Muller of Fully Belly Farms reached out to me to help set us up with parts from John Deere 71 planters - the cadillac platers of their day, especially for larger seeds.  His brothers had these parts around and Paul knew we were trying to come up with a better system for planting cucurbits and other larger seeds.  We inherited decades of knowledge and specialty parts that make them even more useful and valuable.   They not only ended up pretty much giving them away, they also offered to come out to our farm and help us get them setup and working properly.  As if they didn’t have better things to do!  

We are so grateful to be farming in Yolo County amongst a community of farmers who help each other out and genuinely care about each others’ success.  Its a great sense of camaraderie.  Our goal now is to get these planters setup and be able to loan them out to other small vegetable farmers and pass on the goodwill.  Look for pics to come of these things in action.

The reverse rotary drill rig.

Meanwhile, this morning we welcomed 800 new baby chicks.  As I type, we’re proud to report that every single one is peeping and off to a great start.  I’ll be sleeping here on the farm to be sure they stay warm throughout the night.

Also as I type, the drill rig for our well continues to grind away under the night work lights.  They reached the bottom of the hole last night and are beginning to assemble the casing that will line our well.  We've been building up to this for almost a year and wait anxiously to see the outcome.

Its an exciting time on the farm!  Be sure to join us for this year’s farm party to partake and celebrate, May 23.




Asparagus, Fava Bean, and Pea Shoot Salad (Serves 4-6) 

Wow, what a seasonal triumvirate we have here!  This dish is an epic celebration of spring deliciousness, yet straightforward enough to allow these veggies’ bright flavors to shine through.  Shucking the fava beans may take a little time, but it’s worth it!  Thank you Food52 for the recipe.

  • 2-3 oz fresh pea shoots 
  • 2 lbs asparagus, blanched, and cut into 1/4" discs 
  • 3 lbs fava beans, shelled, blanched, and peeled 
  • 2-3 oz Pecorino cheese, coarsely grated 
  • Drizzles of the very best extra virgin olive oil you have 
  • Best flaked salt you have (sea salt, kosher, etc.) 
  • Freshly cracked peppercorns 

Blanch asparagus until bright green, then plunge into ice water bath to shock it and prevent further cooking. Drain well: use towels if needed to dry the stems. Cut stems into 1/4" pieces, leaving tips intact. Set aside. 

Shell the fava beans, and blanch them for 2-3 minutes. Cool quickly in ice water, and drain well. Remove the skins (or not, if you prefer; I don't mind the extra work for the results), and set aside. 

Coarsely chop the pea shoots into thirds and put them on a platter (12"-14" or so). Top with the asparagus and fava beans, strewn evenly over. 

Drizzle the olive oil gently back and forth, without using too heavy a hand. Add the grated Pecorino (you can substitute Parmigiano Reggiano), and delicately hand salt the salad. Add a small amount of cracked pepper, and you're done. (You may also add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, but I think the salad is perfect without it.) 


Pics of the week

The coop was made mobile and we sprinted to the finish to have it ready for the baby chicks.

Welcome to Say Hay little chick! We source our chicks from Vega Farms in Davis and have them drinking yogurt tonics within hours of hatch.

Jess, Sean and Maggie on the welcome crew.

Spreading compost.

Snow peas have arrived.

Jon moving our bat box from the old barn to the edge of the field.