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Fresh Facts : Simply Visiting the Family Farm

By August 1, 2013Newsletter

Volume 6, Week 48, July 26-27 2013

Amy Beth being a fabulous tour host. Inspiring others for the group photo!

Amy Beth here, reporting back on our most recent round of farm tours in hopes of bringing more of y’all out for the next event. Thanks to all of you who have already come out to see us! For most of you, simply visiting the family farm would mean a drive of three and a half hours or less. And for those of you in the far north and far south, the Central Valley has a lot to offer by way of natural wonder and amazement to round out your trip (i.e. the world’s most massive trees in Sequoia, breathtaking Yosemite Valley, Kings Canyon, Mineral King, all sorts of lesser-known lakes and trails in the “range of light” Sierra Nevada Mountains, and our share of tributes to John Muir). We hope you might consider using our next farm tour as a reason to finally come this way if you haven’t yet. On our end, the tours require a bit of planning ahead, coordinating busy farmers’ schedules, and putting out loads of painted plywood signs that make up for the inadequacies of GPS on our country roads. When everyone gets here, our team is happily along for the ride and gets to enjoy the moments of inspiration as they hit. Seeing a fruit packing shed in action for the first time, for instance, is like stepping into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but fruit instead. All movement, and color, and mechanics—a demonstration of efficient systems that still require a human touch, which is what we want, and need, the food system always to remain.

My takeaway “it’s all worth it” moment during the spring farm tours in April was delivered via the expression of a Fresno County teenager after he unearthed what had to be the world’s largest Daikon radish from an old planting at the KMK home place. The look of excitement on his face could have softened the hardest of hearts. And after this round of tours, I’ve laughed over and over again remembering the delight of four brothers, ages twelve to five, when they encountered a few members of the packing crew chopping off the ends of corn cobs so the corn would fit in your boxes. “Corn and knives!” was the resounding exclamation, the combination of two favorite things. That was the best. Both moments involved a certain something you could see in the eyes. I think it’s contagious, and I like being around it. There’s another stop on the tours where I know I can always get an inspiration fix, and that’s with your vegetable farmers at KMK. I can’t say enough good things about Kyle and Michele. You couldn’t stop the two of them from planting, growing, and harvesting if you dropped them off in the middle of the desert without a shovel. They just have to farm. I’m sure they’d find a way. No matter the task at hand, Kyle always has a look in his eyes that tells you he’s got a reserve of passion and new ideas that bring him joy. Michele’s honest conviction and knack for experimenting creates a chemistry that has given birth to a spirit of creativity and adventure, evidenced every week by the color and variety that come out of their fields. You can’t look at what Kyle and Michele are doing without knowing there’s artistic expression in farming—a touch adding depth and richness to the eating experience that doesn’t have to be proven or documented for it to be true; it’s something you know when you feel it, see it, taste it. There’s plenty to go around, and we love to see what happens when y’all get your hands in the soil and add your observations to mix. When the time comes, you can spend your drive watching the way the crops change as you come through the Valley, wondering about the water and where it comes from and who takes care of it, wishing there were more organic farm stands along the way, and then digging in deep to soak it all up when you get to the farm to share lunch with your farmer and EAT HEALTHY!!!

RECIPES

Corn Crostini

Toss together:

1 cup of cooked corn kernels

1 cup of diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

1 cup of mozzarella cheese

1 cup of diced sweet peppers

2 tbsp of white wine vinegar

2 tbsp of olive oil

Spoon onto a toasted baguette slice. Serve with a salad, grilled fish, or pasta.

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad

Ingredients:

1-2 lbs of red skinned potatoes, quartered (or whichever type you have)

1 lb bacon, chopped

2 large eggs

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

¾ c olive oil or mayonnaise

3 tbsp whole grain mustard

1 medium red onion, diced

2 diced sweet peppers

1 tbsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Saute the bacon in a skillet or cook in microwave until it is just beginning to get crispy. Chop after it has been cooked. Boil the eggs and let cool, peel and chop. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, peppers, and sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place all ingredients in a bowl and fold in dressings. Serve at room temperature.

ITALIAN SWEET RED ONION

In your box this week are sweet red onions from T&D Willey in Madera. Sweet onions are less pungent than your standard storage onions, with thinner layers and a shorter shelf life. You can keep sweet onions in the fridge. It’s best to keep them sealed in a plastic bag or air-tight container so other foods won’t absorb the onion’s odor. Onions should also be stored separately from potatoes, as onions can encourage sprouting in potatoes (especially organic potatoes!). Sweet red onions are generally used raw in chopped salads, barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, pizza, or in salsas for both their flavor and color. Cooking the red onion washes out the color, but these Italian sweet reds do caramelize well. If the flavor of a raw sweet onion is still too potent for your liking, you can tone it down by soaking the sliced onion in cold water for at least ten minutes before serving. This can also restore some of the onion’s crispness. Try making a sweet red onion marmalade to add a memorable condiment to your summer table.

Sweet Red Onion Marmalade

Melt half a tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan. Add one sweet red onion, thinly sliced, a small clove of minced garlic, ¼ cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground pepper and stir to combine. Cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the onion has browned. Add ¼ cup red wine vinegar and ¼ cup dry red wine. Cook for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed by the onions and the mixture is sticky. Let marmalade cool then use on grilled cheese or roast beef sandwiches, over meat dishes, or with soft cheese and crackers. It should last in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

EGGPLANT

Eggplant can be grilled, stuffed, roasted, and added to casseroles. It can also be marinated and added to a salad. It can be served hot or cold, peeled or unpeeled. This versatile veggie pairs well with tomatoes, garlic, and onions, and is complemented by the flavors of herbs such as basil, bay leaves, sage, oregano, thyme, parsley, and marjoram. If you are going to roast or grill your eggplant whole, leave the skin on and be sure and pierce it a few times with a fork to keep it from exploding. Eggplant is quite perishable and care should be taken not to cut or puncture the skin until you are ready to prepare it or it will start to spoil. Store your eggplant in perforated plastic bag or plastic produce bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Unwashed, properly stored eggplant should keep in the fridge for about a week. Not sure what to try with your eggplant? We recommend baba ghanoush! It’s pretty simple and tastes great.

First Time Baba Ghanoush

Slice your eggplant in half lengthwise, and place face down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake until tender in a 350° oven, about a half hour. Let the eggplant cool until you can work with it, then scoop out the soft inside and discard the skin. In a food processor, mix the eggplant pulp with 2 minced cloves of garlic, ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup tahini, ½ cup plain yogurt (optional), ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp salt, black and cayenne pepper to taste. Let it chill and top with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped parsley to serve with fresh bread, crackers, or as a dip for veggies.

What’s in this Week’s box:

  -Seasonal Stone Fruit

The Peterson Family, Kingsburg

Vernon@abundantharvestorganics.com 

-Lettuce

Silveira Farms, Atwater

silveiradavid@hotmail.com

-Sweet Corn

Huckabay Family Farms, Kingsburg 

-Potatoes

-Summer Squash

-Melon#

JND Farms, Madera

Jacob@jndfarmsinc.com

-Cherry Tomatoes*

-Eggplant

-Rosemary

-Summer Squash

-Sweet Peppers*

-Tomatoes

KMK Farms, Kingsburg

kmkfarms@hotmail.com

-Sugar Baby Watermelon*

-Sweet Red Onions

T&D Willey, Madera

CSA@tdwilleyfarms.com

 

*Denotes Large Box Only

#Denotes Small Box Only

+Certified by QAI

All farmers certified by CCOF

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

Author Jessica Lessard

More posts by Jessica Lessard

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