Fresh Facts: Everyone Has A Unique Story

By July 25, 2013Newsletter

Volume 6,  Week 47, July 19-20, 2013

Amy Beth and Jessica organized the best farm tours, and they even let me drive the hayride tractor! I’m always so impressed with the quality of our co-producers and their families. Everyone has a unique story, and when I heard Merlin’s, I asked if he’d share it with you guys. So, without further ado, here’s Merlin’s story.


Today, I visited an open house at Abundant Harvest Organics in Kingsburg, California and met with“Uncle Vern” Peterson, as he is affectionately known to many friends and neighbors. When I arrived, the Abundant Harvest Organics open house was in full swing. The fragrance of fresh produce, cheery voices of hardworking employees, and happy conversation of visitors filled the warm summer air. This was the backdrop to a very exciting, memorable visit and learning experience. It was exciting to visualize this very important aspect of the food distribution network in action. The abundant bounty of many vibrant, brightly colored, fresh fruits and vegetables represented the culmination of many untold months of labor that began in the fields and groves by diligent, hardworking, dedicated farm workers. It is a 150 mile, two and a half hour drive to Abundant Harvest Organics from my home, but actually, my initial unforeseen path to AHO began five years earlier. It was 2008 and I had recently read There Is a Cure for Diabetes, by Gabriel Cousens, M.D. It’s about an innovative approach to the prevention and healing of diabetes through proper diet and nutrition. Dr. Cousens focuses on reversing diabetes to health and well-being by resetting the genetic expression of a person’s DNA. Not long after reading the book, my wife was diagnosed with diabetes. Knowing that diabetes is a curable disease we decided to employ diet and exercise as a treatment choice, plus she was seen regularly by her endocrinologist and she gave serious consideration to his recommendations as well. We replaced our diet with a moderate-low complex carbohydrate, live food, plant-source-only diet. We recognize the importance of eating pesticide, herbicide, and synthetic-chemical free foods. Our diet was a 100 percent organic diet of freshly prepared vegetables juices, complex grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, supplemented with daily exercise. After eight weeks we added organic meats and poultry. We found and prepared many new recipes that are delicious and satisfying. She experienced weight loss consistent with normal age/height/weight recommendations. After a year of regular monthly visits, my wife’s endocrinologist discharged her from his care with no evidence of diabetes. For the last four years she feels better than ever, more youthful and energetic. Almost two years ago, a new family moved into our neighborhood and introduced us to Abundant Harvest Organics weekly fruit and vegetable boxes. We look forward to continuing our relationship with AHO as we co-host a new delivery site in the South Bay. I strongly recommend a visit to tour Abundant Harvest Organics, if you haven’t already done so. It is well worth the drive.


Dr. Merlin Williams


*Note from AHO: We just wrapped up our summer tours (had a blast!) and we’ll have another wave of tours this fall, think grapes and apples.


Peach or Nectarine Streusel Muffins

¼ c butter softened

⅓ c sugar

1 egg

2⅓ c flour

1tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¾ c milk

1 tsp vanilla

1½ c fresh peaches or nectarines, chopped and peeled


¼ c sugar

3 tbsp flour

¼ tsp cinnamon

2 ½ tbsp chilled butter

Preheat oven to 375°

1. Beat the softened butter, sugar and egg until creamy and well blended.

2. In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk

until everything is mixed well.

3. Stir in the peaches and vanilla.

4. Prepare your muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray. Fill muffin tins with mixture. I used an ice cream


5. In a small bowl mix the streusel topping ingredients until it becomes a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the topping

mixture on top of muffins.

6. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

*You may substitute the egg with 1 c mashed banana, 1 c yogurt, or ⅓ c applesauce for a variety.



In general, basil is best used fresh, as its flavor changes substantially when dried. Lemon basil is perfect for curries, soups, and stir fries. It adds great flavor to standard lemon and basil recipes including cakes, roast chicken, pasta, fish, and potatoes. Add it at the very end of cooking to preserve the flavor. To store, snip off the stem ends and place your basil in a jar with an inch of water then cover loosely with a plastic bag and store on a cool counter top at room temperature. The cold temperatures of the fridge will cause basil to brown prematurely. The tender deep green leaves of the basil plant are the best part to use in cooking, but thinner stalks can also be used. The thicker parts of the stem tend to be more bitter and should be thrown out. To freeze chop the leaves and toss them in olive oil. The oil should keep the leaves from going dark in the freezer. Transfer to ice cube trays or small containers to freeze in usable quantities. You can also chop the leaves and freeze in water in ice cube trays.

Lemon Basil Green Beans

Boil beans in salted water until tender. Rinse with cold water and let them cool to room temperature. Toss with salt and 1 cup chopped lemon basil leaves for every half pound of green beans.

Lemon Basil Potatoes

Place the potatoes, 2 cups of your favorite stock, 1 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain the potatoes, place in a serving bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. Add a  teaspoon lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of chopped, fresh lemon basil. Toss well and garnish with more basil.


The melons in this week’s box are a mix of cantaloupe and a new JND farms “mystery melon” called the Tamara. The Tamara is a type of ananas melon, much like last year’s Sharlyn melon–a netted, creamy-yellow, high-sugar, complex taste. We hope you love it!

Is It Ripe?

The melons we send out in our AHO produce boxes should be just about ready when you get them home. Though, the melon might need a day at room temperature to finish ripening. You’ll know your melon is ready when the spots between the netting are yellow instead of green, the ends give a little when lightly squeezed, and the scent is nice and fragrant. Let the melon ripen before putting it in the fridge to store.

Melon Storage

When ripe, store your melon in the fridge. Whole melons should last about a week, and cut melons should be eaten within a few days. These melons can absorb odors from other foods in the fridge so keep it wrapped in plastic, or store cut melon a sealed container. Cut melon also freezes well. Once frozen, the melon is best if used within about a month, and if you plan to serve it plain, it’s best if eaten before the pieces fully thaw.

      What’s in this Week’s box:

  -Seasonal Stone Fruit

The Peterson Family, Kingsburg

-Sweet Corn

Huckabay Family Farms, Kingsburg


ASA Organics, Soledad+

-Green Beans

Silveira Farms, Atwater



-Summer Squash*

JND Farms, Madera

-Cherry Tomatoes


-Heirloom Tomatoes

-Lemon Basil

-Summer Squash*

KMK Farms, Kingsburg

*Denotes Large Box Only 

+Certified by QAI

All farmers certified by CCOF

Due to availability contents may
vary on the day of delivery.


Author AHO Kitchen Team

More posts by AHO Kitchen Team

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