Fresh Facts: You REALLY Love California Farmers!

By August 15, 2013Newsletter

Volume 6, Week 50, August 9-10, 2013

So, we took us a nice little survey of what you guys enjoy most about Abundant Harvest Organics, why you participate in this adventure, your likes, dislikes, and suggestions. We really appreciate everyone who took the time to do this, and hope you enjoyed the Zee Lady peaches. We had a 37 percent participation rate which I’m told is really good and gives a reliable, actionable snapshot of what you co-producers are thinking. So what are you thinking, anyhow? Well, you REALLY love California farmers. That was the #1 reason to participate. (We love you too.) You’re happy. Most of you wouldn’t change a single thing as far as the composition of the box.  Of the ones who would tweak it, more fruit was about 25% and more veg was about 5%; that made the fruit farmer happy. They say “opinions are like belly buttons, everybody’s got one.” Well, you had literally thousands of great comments. We are so fortunate to have a new team member—Jessica—whose very first assignment was to read and tally them all. This was actually a great first experience because it really gave her right out of the shoot the pulse and feel of AHO co-producers. As I read just the first 100 or so, they were quite random and contradictory, but taken as a whole, definite patterns came through. Fewer potatoes were a recurring theme, but we had already moved them to every other week status a few weeks before the survey. The most valuable piece of information you like is the “What’s coming in my box this week” page; so that page is now directly linked from your weekly receipt. One click on the blue link in that email takes you see your box contents. What you overwhelmingly asked for was more recipe suggestions. I’ve long maintained that inspiration is merely the ability to copy creatively. So, just like one click from your receipt takes you to what’s coming, there is a button there that takes you to the Abundant Harvest Kitchen blog where you’ll find a half dozen suggestions for each box in a post called “Recipes Inspired by Your Box.” Two clicks, wham bam. Your receipt comes about 10:00 in the morning on your charge day, Erik doesn’t finish sorting out with our farmers till about noon what’s actually ready to be harvested for that box—Lord willing. And when the list is in, Jessica starts working on getting recipes for that box posted on our blog. Should be ready by the end of the following day, so look for those posts Tuesdays and Fridays. She’s working with a network of you food bloggers who’d like to help too, so keep watching the posts to see this twice weekly offering get fuller, richer, and more delicious. And the truth is, while there are huge differences in the seasonal box composition, the box to box and week to week changes are much more subtle, so chances are really good that if the top suggestions don’t tickle your fancy, you can just scroll down through some of the previous week’s postings until you find something that does. This continues to be a most amazing journey. We’re grateful for your enduring encouragement.


Chicken and Melon Salad


1 honeydew melon

½ c sour cream

6 c cubed, cooked chicken

½ c plain yogurt

2 c chopped celery

1½ tsp curry powder

2 c seedless grapes

1 8 oz can of sliced water chestnuts (optional)

salt and pepper to taste


Cut melon in half and remove seeds. With a melon baler, scoop out melon balls and place in a large salad bowl. Add chicken, celery, and grapes to melon. Add water chestnuts if you choose. In a small bowl mix sour cream, yogurt, and curry powder. Stir into salad. Season to taste.

Melon Smoothies


1½ c seeded and chopped watermelon

1½ c seeded and chopped honeydew melon

Juice of two limes

1 c vanilla lowfat yogurt

1 c ice cubes


Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. May use other melons, fresh pineapple, or flavored



The fresh savory in your box this week pairs well with veggies like peas, cabbage, and tomatoes. It complements rice, beans, egg dishes, all meats, poultry, and fish dishes. You can also add fresh savory leaves to green salads to take advantage of its peppery, thyme like flavor. Fresh savory is a great companion to or even substitute for parsley. You can use the fresh leaves, as well as the tender portions of the stalk in your cooking. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge. To dry, spread out on a pan in a low-temperature oven, about 200°, for a couple hours.

Fresh Savory Butter Sauce

Toss together:

1 cup chopped savory

1 cup chopped parsley

1 clove crushed garlic

Cook herb mix over medium-low heat in 4 tablespoons of butter for about five minutes. Add in a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook about a minute more. Pour overcooked mushrooms, eggplant, or cauliflower.

Summer Savory Potato Salad

Wash and peel about a pound and a half of potatoes. Slice or cut into chunks and add to a pot of boiling water to cook until tender. In a separate bowl, mix 1 tablespoon minced onion, with 1½ tablespoons of white wine vinegar. Over low heat, warm 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh savory in ¼ cup olive oil (don’t let the oil heat to the point of sizzling). When herbs are slightly darkened and tender, pour oil mix into vinegar mixture and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over warm potatoes, serve warm or at room temperature. For a variation, add chopped, cooked fresh green beans.


Cherry tomatoes are generally sweeter than tomatoes, though a few of the varieties, like the oblong bright red Juliet, have more of a full bodied tomato taste. As with regular tomatoes, store your cherry tomatoes on the counter at room temperature. They ought to last from five days to a week, but keep an eye on them and eat them soon. They can be stored in the fridge for a short time after they have been cut. Here are a few ways to enjoy them.

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Cut the tomatoes in half from top to bottom and place them cut side up on a pan. Sprinkle with sea salt, ground pepper, and a fresh herb of your choosing. Drizzle with olive oil and place in a 200° oven for 6 to 8 hours. They will collapse, yet still retain some moisture. Let them cool and serve with your favorite soft cheese and crackers. (You can stick your savory in to dry at the same time!)

Broiled Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes

If you’re in the mood for something you can enjoy without the long wait, cut your tomatoes, toss with some crushed garlic, coat with olive oil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Let them brown under the broiler for about ten minutes. Use the resulting sauce over pasta, fish or steak.


Figs are right up there with grapes as one of the oldest cultivated fruits. They are mentioned in ancient literature and were given as tokens of honor in ancient Greece. Figs, a fruit in the mulberry family, are among the fancier fruits you receive every year in your produce boxes. Their aesthetic appeal or their affinity for pairing with gourmet foods, and the fact that they are not technically a fruit at all makes them stand out. Each fig is a cluster of flowers and seeds contained inside a stem—an inverted flower. The small round “eye” of the fig is located opposite the stem end and serves as the fruit’s communication with the environment around it.

They are often called the sweetest fruit, and do not get any riper or sweeter after harvest, which makes picking them at the perfect time all the more important. Figs are delicate, and should be among the first items consumed from your box. Eat them fresh out of hand, quartered in salads, with cheeses, or baked into desserts. They can be poached, grilled, baked, or made into jams and preserves. Figs are highly perishable and bruise easily. They’ll last several days unwashed in a single layer, sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, or stored in the basket they are packed in the fridge. Just remember to give them plenty of room for air circulation and eat them quickly!


The Black Mission figs in your box this week represent the first variety of fig cultivated in California by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s. Yours come from farmer Bob Steinacher of Maywood Farms in olive country, Corning, CA. The purple-black skin of the Mission fig is edible, though some prefer to peel the fruit starting at the stem end and peeling downward in strips. Pair them with tart yogurt, cheeses, and savory, salty dishes as well as sweet desserts.



Thai basil is the herb responsible for the distinct flavor in many Thai dishes. You’ll notice hints of anise or licorice in its flavor, even so, Thai Basil can be used in place of sweet basil or Italian basil. 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 figs and Thai basil in your box this week are excellent partners! Use them together with goat cheese for a fig appetizer, paired in a salad with a peppery/sweet vinaigrette dressing, or as pizza toppers.



-Seasonal Stone Fruit

The Peterson Family, Kingsburg


-Black Mission Figs

Maywood Farms, Corning

-Honeydew Melon#

Couture Farms, Kettleman City

-Green Beans

Silveira Farms, Atwater


-Summer Squash


JND Farms, Madera



-Thai Basil


-Summer Squash

-Cherry Tomatoes

-Summer Savory

-Sweet Peppers

KMK Farms, Kingsburg

*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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