Showing posts from March, 2008

Tractor needs repair

As we have been adding more and more row crop to our little farm, it was suggested we fire up the old Kabota tractor to so some of the heavy work. Son in law Duane, a professional rancher for many years, came down from Sacramento this week and took the time to give me his opinion. Could the Kabota be repaired, or should it remain a "lawn ornament?" It's a pretty cruddy looking thing; you have to stick a knife in the ignition to get it to turn over, and it needs $1,000 worth of tires all around. There's not much remaining of the seat and the paint is so faded it looks like it belongs in the trash heap. It's missing part of the starter mechanism and a valve. He added up all the parts we need to get it running again, and it definately makes sense to repair. That's great news. Daughter Tessa says the most important thing is new paint.

Couple of different things in baskets this week

Plenty of the ususual stuff, but I want to mention a couple new things this week. There's a strange looking lemon that has a little cap on the top. That's the Pakastani Sweet Lemon. I use its zest; the juice isn't really sweet, and it's juice isn't really sour. It's the skin that's to die for. Use a potato peeler and shave off every bit of the outer layer of skin. Chop and use in a number of different recipes. I like to add to my sugar cookies, imparting a scented geranium note that is very unusual. I also add to a basic olive oil and lime juice salad dressing. Or make a limeaide with the juice limes in this week's basket, and then add the juice and very finely shopped zest of the Sweet Lemon.

There's a bunch of young garlic greens that looks something like the green onions (also in this week's basket). Use it chopped in stir fries, raw salads, soups, etc. to impart a gentle garlic flavor and aroma.

There's a large head of Kale in each basket;…

What's happening in March, 2008

At left San Clemente resident Marina Carson acts as photographer's assistant to Photographer/Writer David Karp with Ian Crown and Stephen Facciola.

We've planted all the new trees we purchased, and are now finishing up the new blackberries and the low-chill raspberries. Also we're planting rhubarb and more asparagus. We haven't had much luck with rhubarb and asparagus; it may not be cold enough in Rainbow, but I'm still trying. David Karp, well-known fruit writer came for a visit this week with his author friend, Stephen Facciola and Puerto Rican mangosteen grower Ian Crown. Some of you may have read Stephen's Sourcebook, Cornucopia II, A Source Book for Edible Plants. It's an incredible compilation of edible plants and their seed sources. He was kind enough to sign a copy for me! Many of the things that Ian grows in Puerto Rico I grow as well; although I have no chance of growing anything tropical, which Ian specializes in. We enjoyed comparing notes on the…

March 18/19 baskets

This week's baskets: Our juicy, juicy limes, pomellos, avocados, peas, tangalolos, blood oranges, navels, baby heirloom lettuce, heirloom new potatos, young heads of lettuce, Swiss chard, turnips (large baskets) beets, radishes. I know I've shared the lime merainge pie recipe before, but am including it here because there's so many new members.

Juice Lime Meringue Pie
Prepare a baked pie shell. For simplicity’s sake, I use Trader Joe’s ready-made. It doesn’t have any preservatives or chemicals and tastes the same as the ones I make myself. The following recipe makes a pretty tart pie. If you like your dessert a little sweeter, add more sugar.

Put into a saucepan: ¾ cup of sugar, 5 tablespoons cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 cup lime juice. Blend until smooth. Add 3 well-beaten egg yolks (save whites for the meringue), 2 tablespoons melted butter. ¾ cup warm water. Bring mixture to full boil, stirring gently. Mixture will thicken quickly. Remove from heat, pour into pie shell. …

Price Change for 2nd Quarter

Sorry to have to announce a small price increase this coming quarter of $2 per basket. Although operating costs have gone up a little in most areas, (wage, feed, fertilizer) fuel and delivery costs have doubled in the last year. Today, 3/17/08, diesel is 4.25 a gallon, with media commentary that higher prices should be expected soon. Effective for baskets delivered after April, 2008, small baskets will be 34.50, and large 44.50. I understand some of our fabulous supporters have to really budget thier food bills to participate, and apologize for the increase.

March 11-12 Harvest, What's happening

Here's what's in this week's baskets, barring harvest mishaps: Juice limes, pomellos, hass avocados, arugula, peas, tangalolos, blood oranges, baby red-leafed and green leafed lettuce, bagged; also our older head lettuce, Swiss chard (rainbow), dill, radish, and beets. Remember beet tops can be used as a steamed green, just like Swiss chard. We maybe went a little overboard on the lettuce this week, would appreciate comments!

We're going to dig our oldest potato planting of heirloom potatoes for next week's basket, and we're hoping to add radish sprouts from our sprouting system by next week, or week following.

All our new trees are finally in and many are happily flowering!

Farmer Donna continues to slog through the red tape of getting the recently dug well operational. SDGE won't put in the power pole until the County of San Diego issues an electrical permit. It's a 2 hour round trip to Kearny Mesa in San Diego to the County Planning Department for uninc…

What's coming up, Farmer Donna!

As much as I love winter vegetables, I sure am ready for something new! In the greenhouse are a beautiful array of heirloom tomatoes: Sun Golds, Romanian, the ever popular Brandywine, Pruden's Purple, Moskvich, Rosalita, and more. Also some nice heirloom eggplants: Black Beauty which is said to have a poor yield, but I love the fruit of this plant and haven't found a yield problem myself; of course the heirloom Listada de Gandia from France we grow every year and we're trialing Galine.

Herbs coming along: Lemon Balm, Stevia, Sage, and Orange Thyme. In ground we're just starting to harvest cilantro, and soon dill.

You'll notice this week the baby red-leafed romaine lettuce which is really tender and flavorful. We were having trouble getting it to germinate in the cold, but now we hope to be consistent with it each week.

In the greenhouse are plenty of peppers, mostly heirlooms. We have the Chocolate Beauty, the Red Knight, Kung Pao, and the Jalapeno.

We just put in our…

Aphids in Broc grossing kids out

Lester Ip, charter member from the Costa Mesa gang has kindly pointed out a broc issue that seems to come and go. Aphids love our broccoli almost as much as we do! Herein lies the downside of organic production. Without the pesticides to whack down the bug population, it seems like every aphid in town occassionally drops by the living salad bar at Morning Song to stake a claim. I could say wash, wash, wash. But I've noticed with brocolli, that washing isn't enough. Those darn aphids cling happily to their little brocolli world and have no intention of moving on. Here's what I've discovered to be helpful if you're not planning on eating it raw: get a pan of water going to a nice boil, drop in your washed brocolli for 60 seconds. Remove and rinse. Aphids are much more easily rinsed off at this point.