April 13, 2016

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Carrots - From our friends at Riverdog Farm. Whisk together orange juice, orange zest, minced ginger (some minced garlic, too, if you wish), and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the carrots in the marinade (reserve about 1/4 cup, to toss with the carrots after cooking). Spread the carrots out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and roast at 425°F for about 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring once or twice until browned and tender, about 30 minutes more.

  • Little Gem Lettuce - The star of this week’s recipe!

  • Chard - Blanch the whole leaf and use it as a wrap!

  • Kale - Chopped kale is an excellent addition to any stir fry, you don’t even have to de-stem it!

  • Snap Peas- For blistered snap peas with mint - Preheat the oven to 500°F. Set a large, ovenproof skillet over high heat until very hot, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tbsp pure olive oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add 2 lbs snap peas, toss a few times and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for 2 minutes, then carefully toss the peas a few times. Return the skillet to the oven and cook for 2 minutes longer, until the peas are crisp-tender. Toss the peas with 1 ½ tsp lemon oil and season with flaky sea salt. Transfer to a serving bowl. Scatter ¼ c torn mint leaves on top and serve. NOTES: Olive oil pressed or infused with lemon is available at most supermarkets and specialty food stores.

  • Mint - How to best store mint: snip off the bases of the stems and remove any discolored or wilted leaves. Transfer them to a large mason jar with an inch of water in the bottom. Seal the jar with the lid (if it fits), or cover the top of the jar with an overturned plastic bag sealed with a rubber band. Store in the refrigerator.  When stored properly, mint should last up to 2 weeks!

 

 

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

 

 

Vegetable Forecast

 

Carrots, Green Garlic, Snap Peas, Chard, Salanova (baby red and green oak and butterleaf lettuce), Mint

 

News

 

Most of the ecological practices that we have implemented on our farm are meant sown with the aim of reaping long term benefits.  It’s really great to see that a couple implemented last year are already bearing fruit.


Our 1000’ by 10’ native pollinator strip is alive and gorgeous!  It greets us each morning as we drive in along the gravel driveway on the northern border of our fields.  It was designed to have a succession of blooms throughout the year, but right now the poppies, lupines, and blue bells are some serious eye candy that warms the soul.  

If you can remember back to November, we had students from Granite Bay High School help on the farm in building wildlife structures to install in our fields: raptor perches, bee blocks, bat boxes, owl and bluebird boxes.  Well, last week, I noticed some dirt around the entrance hole of one of the boxes, so I quickly and nimbly stuck my phone in and snapped a shot to see what was inside.  The rustling startled both me and the inhabitant, but thanks to my iPhone we got to meet our first guest - a mama and her 4 eggs!  Barn owls are such stunningly beautiful and alien-looking creatures, it was a thrill to know that they are sweeping our fields at night.  One study I’ve seen claims that a family of two adults and 6 young can feed on over 1000 rodents during the three month nesting period!  We’re honored to be their hosts.

 

Logistic reminder that we are entering the warm parts of spring and still eating cool weather crops - probably for the next 6 weeks or so.  It’s in everyone’s best interest to pick up your box asap and get those items refrigerated!

 

 

 

Recipe

 

 

 

English Peas with Grilled Little Gems, Green Garlic, and Mint  (Serves 2-4)

 

It’s spring! This spectacularly seasonal grilled salad uses 2 box ingredients -- and you could easily sub some chopped snap peas for the English ones they mention and make it 3!  This recipe comes via Mark Bittman and the New York Times, modeled after a dish at the popular Oakland restaurant, Camino.

  • 2 to 3 stalks green garlic (or use 2 cloves garlic)

  • 2 heads Little Gem lettuce

  • Olive oil

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1 ½ cups shelled English peas

  • Handful of spearmint or Persian mint leaves, torn or roughly chopped into large pieces

Prepare a wood or charcoal grill for direct-heat grilling, or use a grill pan on top of the stove. Trim the tops of the green garlic where the leaves begin to branch out. Peel an outside layer of the stalks and slice thinly on the bias. Or very thinly slice the garlic cloves. Set aside.

 

Cut the lettuce in quarters lengthwise and brush all over with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Place the lettuce cut-side down on the grill and cook until it has darkish grill marks, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip lettuce quarters to the other cut side and grill for another couple of minutes, then grill on the leafy side briefly. Remove from grill when done.

 

 

Heat 1 cup water, a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt in a large skillet over high heat. When the liquid is at a roaring boil, add the peas and garlic and cook, tasting often for seasoning and adding more water as needed, 3 to 8 minutes, or until the peas are just tender. Add the mint leaves and cook 1 minute. The goal is to have just enough water at the end of the cooking time to emulsify with the oil and thicken slightly.

 

 

To serve, spread the lettuce on a platter and pour the peas and their minty, garlicky juices over it. Serve with grilled chicken, roast duck or by itself.

 

 

Pics of the Week:

 

Rex Dufour of NCAT-ATTRA checks in on the pollinator strip he helped design along with Neal Williams lab at UC Davis. 

I've yet to get a photo that captures the beauty and magnitude of the pollinator strip. 

Say hello to our little friend.