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Showing posts from 2011

Harvest Ticket Dec. 27-28 Page One

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Click on image to enlarge for easier reading. See Page Two below.



So we're just starting the very earliest part of our avocado harvest. Actually we always start with our pollinators, which did their pollination job this year, but didn't fruit much. Anyway, there are Fuerte's and a few very early to appear Hass in the Large shares this week. Actually, the real Hass harvest doesn't start for a couple more weeks, usually.



Oddly, the macadamia harvest is weeks later than usual. We're only NOW raking up any quantity worth getting excited about. Normally, by October we are raking away. So, too the kumquats are much later. I have always enjoyed combining kumquats with cranberries for Thanksgiving, indicating that we actually HAVE kumquats in November, which isn't the case by a milestone this year. I'm guessing late February. So the climate at least on this farm, is changing in a huge way.

You'll notice the sprouts are back again this week. They take almost 2 week…

Harvest Ticket Dec. 27-28 2011 page Two

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Save time, Save the Environment

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As a busy farmer, every now and then I come up with a time saving device that I'd like to offer to others for their consideration. Here it is: I've given this a lot of thought and I think that matching socks is an expectation foisted upon people by the sock industry and I have decided to no longer be victimized by their oppressive social manipulation. Who made the rule that donning unmatched socks was a social faux pas, anyway? I'll tell you who! The Sock People, that's who. And why? Because perfectly good, but unmatched, socks by the boatload are thrown away each and every day, filling up our landfills and our childrens' environmental futures. Those unnecessarily discarded socks have to be replaced, with the only beneficiary being, you guessed it, the sock people. Oh, there's more. Have you ever stopped to consider the opportunity cost of all that time you have spent MATCHING socks? I bet you haven't. Well, I have. And it's a boatload, there, too. I s…

Barn Cat Demands Entry

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Okay, so no goats in the house. We're all on the same page with that. But a cat would be welcome. We've had a beautiful feral cat hanging around our packing house for a while, an inport from a local elementary school whose principal asked a member of our crew to take him to our farm as a "mouser." A few days ago he made his way up to our home, and invited himself inside. He either is a genius, or at some point in his life was an inside cat, because he immediately plopped himself down on my bed and fell asleep. He knows all about cat boxes, we've discovered, and hasn't stopped purring. He's been here for 3 days now, and the mouse in the house is gone. Since there's no dead mice pieces lying around, my guess is, his very presence is a deterent, the very best, pest management of all.





At first he refused to venture outside, perhaps fearful that we'd not let him back in if he left. This morning was his first post-home invasion, outdoor excursion. He hu…

Harvest Ticket Dec. 20-21 Page One

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We're excited this week to include a bag of passion fruit in the large shares. And another week of spaghetti squash. This squash has an unusual characteristic. When opened and cooked, it takes on the appearance of spaghetti. I didn't even believe it until I tried it, the whole spaghetti thing seems so unlikely. I cook in the oven, often when the oven is on anyway while cooking something else. (Open the squash lengthwise with a sharp knife, or do as we do and slam the thing on the pavement to open. Using a knife can be dicey, don't take a chance if you're at all nervous. Take it out front and slam on your sidewalk or pavement. No, it doesn't open with perfect edges, but who cares?) Cook at 350 with a little olive oil (try Temecula Olive Oil's local stuff, (website here: http://www.temeculaoliveoil.com/) , salt, pepper, and crushed garlic. Once the strings are easily loosened from the shell pieces, I remove from the ov…

Harvest Ticket Dec. 20-21 Page Two

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Harvest Ticket Dec. 13-14 Page One

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Harvest Ticket Dec. 13-14 Page Two

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Dangerous Stuff Coming Out of the Sky

You know, I've always thought of goats as rugged animals, survivalists even. A beast that can eat your shoe, or a piece of your car on a bad day, is no sissy. So I am really entertained to discover that they're afraid of rain. This isn't an individual trait, but the whole herd's. Even a little mist is viewed with suspicion, but the actual downpour that we received in the last couple days has been met with herd-wide alarm. Our off-limits farmhouse door is only 40 or so feet from the goat's barn, but when a few sprinkles landed on them, they roared into my house which offered a closer refuge than the barn door. Like the actual 10 feet more had they gone in the opposite direction to their barn, was too dicey. And then resolutely stood their ground when invited to leave. I know we've gone over this before; no goats in the livingroom. But getting a goat to move toward something they're afraid of is like trying to argue with arugula. Each one had to be unbrella&#…

Butternut Pie

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Line a pie pan with pie dough. I often cheat and use Trader Joe's pie dough, which comes frozen. For a while there, they were having a problem with quality control, but the product now is excellent and a big time saver; especially if you don't make alot of pies and don't have a system. There was a time when I made a couple pies or quiches a week, and I really had the whole pie dough thing down to a science. Now, not so much and though a Slow Food Advocate, I use Trader's product.
Preheat oven to 425.
Here's the recipe:


2 cups of cooked squash or edible pumpkin. Do NOT try using a decorative pumpkin in this recipe. I've tried it, and it was awful, just watery and not flavorful at all.


1.5 cups of organic cream. Watch out for the weird stuff grocery stores are now putting in "cream." Trader Joes is good, and Henry's and Sprouts have products without the garbage, too.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon …

Butternut Squash Soup

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Ha, this is so easy it hardly counts as a recipe, but here it is:


The most difficult step is getting this hard, winter squash open. I never chance injuring myself by using a knife. I take the squash outside and slam it on the driveway. No, it doesn't open perfectly, but there's no chance of the knife slipping off the thing and slicing fingers. Scoop out the seeds and compost those. Then, I bake the pieces with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic (smaller pieces cook faster) until they're soft.

Remove from oven, (oh--you can use the microwave if you'd prefer) and let cool enough to handle. Scoop out and put in your blender or Cuisinart. I have a Vitamix, but this is so soft even an inexpensive blender will work. The key to amazing soup is getting it smooth, so blend until you've reached a really nice, smooth puree.Add liquid to consistency you desire for soup. Some people like chicken stock, others use milk, and I sometimes just use water. I add a dash of Taba…

Harvest Ticket Dec. 6-7 Page One

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New this week is the amazing butternut squash. Check out the recipes below! The perfect foundation for soups, mashed squash, "pumpkin" bread, pie and vegan gravies and sauces.

Again you'll find our baby Asian green, mizuna in clamshells this week. I like this spritely green raw, but I know others use it in stir fries.

Quick reminder: we hope you'll consider joining us for our farm day this coming Saturday. Just let us know you're coming so we can figure parking out! I'll post a note separately with directions in a couple days.

Harvest Ticket Dec. 6-7, page 2

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December 10th is Farm Day

Our CSA members, their friends and family are invited to a Morning Song farm day on Saturday, December 10th between 9-12. Rain cancels. As always, if you could RSVP at: donna@morningsongfarm.com so we can plan ahead for parking issues, that would be appreciated. Sometimes we have only a single participant, and sometimes the skies part and we have a deluge. It's always nice to know ahead of time which it might be, as we are a hillside farm with limited flat spots for parking. We always figure it out, but it IS easier to know ahead of time.

Many have asked about saving their left over veggies for us; we'd love to have them--- so if you're planning on coming, start saving! If you aren't composting yourself, we sure can use it here.

Meet our pets; llamas, goats and chickens. We'll have llama treats here if you'd like to interact with Dreamie and Couscou, and the goats aren't picky. Goat favorites are crunchy granola bars, saltine crackers and pretzels. Actually, …

Harvest Ticket Nov 29-30 Page One

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Harvest Ticket Nov. 29-30 Page Two

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We trialed another sprout mix, (all certified organic seed: clover, alfalfa, broccoli, fenugreek, sesame and garlic chives) but goofed on the timing as this mix takes longer than last week's trial mix. So only large shares will receive these amazing sprouts unless between today and tomorrow half our trays demonstrate miraculous growth. Barring that, our chickens will be dining on a week's worth of amazing sprouts in a couple days.


Because we harvest on Tuesdays for San Diego/Temecula and Wednesdays for OC, we split our sprouting start days in half, with the first half ready on Tuesday and the 2nd half on Wednesday. Unfortunately only the first half will be ready at all this week. Uggr!

The good news, is that we are moving beyond radish sprouts and have sourced organic sprout seeds from a trusted provider that has some very nice mixes that I think we'll all enjoy. We just need to get the timing down right! And of course, as it gets colder, the timing will change, but hopefull…

Negotiated Goat/Human Truce at Risk

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Well, last time I wrote about our goats, I was satisfied with the understanding that I thought we had reached after some discussions. I don't sleep in the goat barn, and they don't hang out in my house. Everyone at Morning Song was satisfied with that arrangement and I thought we could move on to more pressing issues. Apparently not. I came home today to discover the entire herd LOCKED in my otherwise unoccupied house. I think it's Carl AKA Goat Man as pointman. He's never been much of a rule observer, and I think he has figured out how to open doors with his front hooves. He doesn't do this in front of humans. I think it's some kind of goat rule. But the evidence can't be argued with. Once he entered; and I'm saying he, because I think it's Goat Man, the whole herd followed. Had he made a quick mission into forbidden territory and exited, I might not have known. But for one reason or another (a breeze? a door tussle? a piece of paper behind the doo…

Harvest Ticket Nov 22-23 Page One

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Tropical Guavas are here! We're excited to bring you the first of our tropical guava harvest this week. We have mixed three varieties in our boxes, as we don't have enough of any one kind. The three varieties are:
1. Mexican Guavas which are green on the outside and pink on the inside. They have a passionfruit kind of flavor.
2. Malaysian Guavas which are reddish green on the outside and bright pink colored on the inside. They have a berry flavor.
3. Taiwanese Guavas which are green on the outside just like Mexican Guavas, and yellow on the inside. They have a smooth, lemon/banana flavor. These are being harvested just hours before putting in your boxes and are best (in my humble opinion) when they've been allowed to ripen on your counter. You can tell they're ripe if they give slightly, and have a sweet aroma. From my days at the farmers' markets, I know some people like them hard..right off the tree, but if you eat them right away, you'll miss out on the perfume…

Harvest Ticket Nov. 22-23 Page Two

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Collard greens aren't as common as spinach, and I have no idea why! I have to admit their name isn't as delicious sounding as Swiss chard. Maybe we should rename them? Ambrosia leaf? Just kidding. Collards are great just steamed as you would Swiss chard or spinach. Just make certain you don't overcook this amazing green, because like all cruciferous veggies, overcooked collards give off an unpleasant sulfer smell when overcooked. You won't want to overcook them anyway, because doing so reduces the vitamin content of this just picked, leafy green. Steamed collard greens have a more powerful cholesterol lowering ability than any of the other cruciferous veggies; including mustard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage. The cancer preventive qualities of collards can be attributed to 4 glucosinolates found in the veggie's leaves, which are converted into an isothiocyanate that is said to lower cancer risk by aiding in the human body's detox and anti-imflam…

Another Thanksgiving Week Reminder

I know I posted this last week, but I want to just circle back and say it again: to avoid the Wednesday holiday traffic next week, we are doing a marathan harvest on Tuesday and splitting the OC/San Diego deliveries into two trucks, but both on Tuesday. That doesn't make any difference at all to San Diego subscribers who receive their shares on Tuesdays anyway, but Wednesday subscribers will be picking up a day earlier!





On a related topic: Morning Song Farm will actually be shutting down from Tuesday evening until Saturday for the Thanksgiving holiday. I haven't actually taken a day off in years, not even when I've gone out of town with my daughter. I bring a laptop and an I-phone and continue my office and customer service work unabated. This holiday will be different as my partner, Lance, has suggested that all computer connections and phones will be checked at the door as we exit for 4 days out of town. Actually, I think the word, "suggestion" is a little light…

Harvest Ticket Nov. 15-16

Sorry, I'm having printing problems today and can't post our normal image ticket until later. But I thought I'd post the ticket, sans images right now:
Below is what went into the large share, then a slash, then what went into the small shares: x/x

Carrot Bunches: 1/1
Beets, tops removed, 2 pounds/1 pound
Green Beans: 1.25 pounds/.75 pounds
Swiss Chard Bunches: 2/1
Pink Lady Apples: 2 pounds/1 pound
Mizuna leafy green: 1/0 on Wednesday, 1/1 on Tuesday
Limes: 9/6
Sprouts: 1/1 clamshell
Pineapple Guavas: 2 pounds/1 pound
Parsley: 1/0 on Wednesday only
Arugula 1/0 on Tuesday, 1/1 on Wednesday

Radish Sprouts have Hairy Roots, Not Mold

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Yes indeed. Although we've only had one inquiry, I think it's worth posting about in case other subscribers were worried and just tossing our sprouts. Lots of people who have tried growing radish sprouts have thought that their radish sprouts had sprouted some weird white mold. See the photo at left. Those hairy white things are actually tiny root hairs, not fungus. After 5 days, the root hairs of each seed combine in a kind of mat. A mat of healthy, white, root hairs; not fungus. Not mold. If we harvest sooner than 5 days, there isn't enough leafy green to classify the sprout as, well a sprout.

Sproutpeople.com makes this comment in their tech section intended for growers, in response to a complaint by a new grower that her radish sprouts were moldy:

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"99.9% of you aren't seeing mold--you are seeing root hairs. If you are browing broccoli, radish, or another brassica or grain, and you see this "fuzz", just before you rinse that is ROOT HAIRS. Just rinse-…

Thanksgiving Week Schedule Changes!

In an effort to get our truck, and our amazingly serene driver Bruce, off the pre-holiday packed freeways, we are scheduling all of our deliveries for the week of Thanksgiving on TUESDAY instead of splitting between Tuesday and Wednesday. Normally, OC subscribers' boxes are delivered on Wednesdays, but November 23rd's deliveries will be done on November 22nd. Please note your calendars!

Harvest Ticket Nov. 8-9 Page One

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We're excited to begin our passionfruit harvest now that it's getting a little cool in the evenings. We harvest when they're dead ripe; they'll sweeten a little on your counter, and can be refrigerated for weeks if you choose. When they are especially wrinkled and ugly, they are at their sweetest. Any other fruit that landed on my table that wrinkled and old looking, would get tossed in the compost pile post haste. But passionfruit is best after a few days of sitting on your counter; although I have to admit I love these gems as a much anticipated dessert, I rarely wait for wrinkles. That said, the easiest way to serve is simple to cut lengthwise, like you might a hard boiled egg. Sometimes I sprinkle a little sugar, sometimes I don't. As a dessert, nothing but the naked fruit will serve admirably.












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Harvest Ticket Nov. 8-9-, Page two

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Harvest Ticket, Nov. 1 2011 Page One

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Click on image to enlarge for easier viewing. This is a pre-harvest estimate of what we have slated to harvest later this morning and tomorrow. I'm heading out of town at dawn, to yet another day at trial; and wanted this posted prior to. If I hear later today that I errored in my estimates, I'll circle back and revise.

Harvest Ticket, Nov. 1 Page Two

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Harvest Ticket, October 24-25 page one

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Harvest Ticket, October 24-25 page two

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Harvest Ticket, October 18-19 Page One

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Click on image to enlarge for easier viewing. See recipes below!

Harvest Ticket, October 18-19 Page Two

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Lime Meringue Pie

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I'm not going to include a pie shell recipe here. You'll need to have your baked shell ready. This recipe is not a typical restaurant lime pie. It's got a good bit more zap to it..meaning if you like sweet lime pie, certainly add more sugar. Or go to Denny's. I like my lime pie to roll just this side of too sour. With the fruit of 200 lime trees to experiment with, I've fiddled with this recipe for years. It's not for sweet tooths. I think it's the best lime pie on earth.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together and set aside for a minute.
Combine 1 cup fresh lime juice, 3 beaten egg yolks, 2 tablespoons butter, and 3/4 cup boiling water. Add dry ingredients slowly, blending thoroughly. Bring entire mixutre to a full boil. cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick. This happens fast! Dump pudding-like mixture into pie shell and cool.

For the meringue:
Ingredients:
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon of crea…

A Crust-free Quiche To Remember

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This is my favorite use of cookable leafy greens. I alternate kale, Swiss Chard, Arugula, Bok Choi; and sometimes mix them all. This week's mild flavored Swiss Chard is perfect for this recipe:

I have to admit it's a little more complicated than the typical Farmer Donna recipe, but it's worth the effort. By omitting the crust you are saving some time and really not reducing the wonder of this recipe.

Ingredients:
3 cups of cut up Swiss Chard; washed chopped and set aside.
single onion, diced
1 Tablespoon flour
3 pieces of cooked bacon
3 cloves of California garlic
Handful of mushrooms
5 eggs
2 cups goats' or cows' milk
1/2 cup walnuts
Salt, pepper, dash of Tabasco
Olive oil
One cup of grated cheese of your choice

Combine chard, half the onions, bacon, eggs, flour, milk, walnuts. Set aside.

Throw mushrooms, other half of onions, and garlic in saute pan with olive oil and saute. Dump everything together and spoon into individual, oven safe cups, and bake at 350 luntil done; about 35…

Harvest Ticket, October 11-12 Page One

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Harvest Ticket, October 11-12 Page Two

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Goats

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This is Rosie at left, one of our wonderful Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats. She isn't interested in having her photo taken unless the camera is edible, so this is the best I could do today. Goats figured out how to get into their treat bag last night and then, having gorged, couldn't be coaxed to the milking stand this morning. In my pajamas and flip flops with a flashlight at 6:00 a.m., I discovered I had been outsmarted. Although those pajamas look like I lost in a mud tug of war, I did indeed win the battle. However, hairy foot ended up in the milking bucket, so maybe we'll call it a "draw." I'll be making soap (critical not to misspell as "soup," here) of today's milk. Basically, the goats and I have an understanding. They get treated like princesses and are bribed with treats, that no doubt preclude any hope of ever being a profitable dairy. I get to milk in peace. There's also a subsidiary rule that although they know how to open my front…

Harvest Ticket, October 4-5; page one

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I'm heading out of town mid-harvest this morning, so will have to circle back later and revise this entry for errors; but this is what we've planned for today and tomorrow's harvest. Light on fruit :( ...we ended our orange harvest last week; and don't start apples until next week. We still have some oranges hanging on the trees; but they're really over ripe and have a nanosecond of shelf life once picked. Click on the harvest ticket below to enlarge the image for easier viewing.



Tenative Harvet Ticket October 4-5 page two

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Harvest Ticket, Page One, September 27-28

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We got a little carried away with the baby lettuce Spring Mix, and don't have large enough containers; so large shares are receiving three clamshell containers, and small will receive two. After finishing up our trial case; we'll find a larger version for our large shares... I know some of you might fault me for using the plastic clam shell containers that we're trialing this week. But in my defense; they keep our herbs and tender greens in such better condition for you, the subscriber (and me the farmer in my own frig.) I looked around for recyclable product and am trialing a local vendor's offerings. Any feedback would be appreciated. We've tried putting say, sprouts in brown paper bags and then switched to small plastic bags; and neither were as nice as the clamshells we're trying today. At the end of the day, if produce is getting thrown away because it's not stored properly and goes bad; that's not a goo…

Harvest Ticket, Page Two: September 27-28

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Orange Parsley Stuffing

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Ingredients:


10 cups for so of dry bread crumbs. You can purchase "ready made," or toast your chosen bread and then "Cuisinart" into bread crumbs. If you choose the Cuisinart method, go ahead and add the spices into your mixture at that point.



1 cup of finely chopped onion


1 cup chopped parsley


2 Tablespoons orange peel, finely chopped


2 teaspoons dried margoram


1 teaspoon dried thyme


1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary


3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 eggs

1 cup melted butter

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

Combine all dry ingredients and mix. Then in a separate bowl combine eggs, butter, water and juice. Toss two bowls together with a few quick wisks. Don't over work.


Use mixture to stuff turkey, chicken or this week's peppers!

Parsley Potatoes

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Here's a quick recipe for this week's amazing parsley:


2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut


1/2 cup butter, melted (if you've never churned your own butter, this is a great recipe to try with your own butter....simply choose pure cream (no additives...yes read the label..most basic grocery stores order and sell cream with preservatives). Pour into a mixer's bowl. Whip until the buttermilk separates from the butter. Pour off buttermilk and reserve for another use. What remains is pure butter. Salt lightly to taste.


1/2 cup finely chopped parsley. I use a Cuisinart for this, but a good knife will do the job


one crushed garlic clove





Cook potatoes until tender but DONT overdo. Drain and combine with butter and parsley; and garlic. Gently toss ingredients and salt to taste. Serve warm.

Greek Salad with Sahuaro Peppers

Ingredients:
3 Tomatoes, chopped
1 medium pepper
1 cup Greek olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
half small head of lettuce

Dressing:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup California olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash ground pepper

Roasted Peppers

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The Sahuaro Peppers in this week's shares aren't blazing hot, but aren't "sweet," either. I think they have the perfect balance between heat and meat. Here's a quick marinate to use before roasting on your barbeque:


For every 6 peppers, crush 3 garlic cloves, and blend with 1/2 cup of vinegar; and salt to taste.





Soak peppers and then cut in halves and place on a low flame until done to your satisfaction. You can reserve the sauce and serve on the side or as a dip.

Love That Purslane

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Since the herb purslane is so nutrient packed, we've played around with different ways to serve it and here's a farm favorite. Similar to how brocolli is often served with a dipping sauce, arrange your purslane branches around a dip of your choice and serve chilled. Easy and fun enough for kids and veggie-haters alike to enjoy! As soon as the nights get a little cooler, we won't have anymore in the gardens...purslane is definately a summer herb.

Chicken News

I'm not sure where to begin. There are times when I suppose all farmers feel like farming is handing them their ass. This month could certainly count as that for me. Six months ago predators killed our egg laying chickens and after a few months of reflecting, we ordered more through the mail. Determined to protect these new pets, we built what neighbors and friends have jokingly referred to as "Chicken Fort Knox." We encirlced a portion of the macadamia grove with six foot coyote proof fencing, and then electrified the whole thing for good measure. Every one of us here at one time or another has made the mistake of leaning against the fencing and gotten blasted. There's a reason an electrical jolt is called a "shock." It truly is shocking; as in mometarily enducing tears. Don't let the little solar powered gizmo that sends the power into this fence fool you. It means business. So I guess we were fairly confident of our chickens' safety.

We planned to…

Harvest Ticket, Page One, September 20-21

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Harvest Ticket, Page Two: September 20-21

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Harvest Ticket, Page One

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Collards are here this week. Mild flavored and nutrient dense, these leafy greens are often overlooked but are worth a try! Be careful not to overcook--like other cruciferous veggies--overcooked collards have an unpleasant odor. A cancer preventing cruciferous vegetable--recent studies indicate that steamed collard greens have the greatest cholesteral-lowering ability of all leafy greens. Read more about collards at this link: http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=138&tname=foodspice





Mizuna is new in our boxes this week, too. Milder flavored than typical arugula; this popular Japanese leafy green will add some zip to an otherwise mundane salad. The sawtoothed spicy leaves can be added to soups, added as a raw chopped garnish on a cooked dish, or steamed like spinach with perhaps some drizzled Califiornia olive oil and a dash of well aged parmesan cheese.






Finally, Ghandi's reportedly favorite food: purslane is here for a few weeks before the cold kills it back. The herb is…

Page Two; September 12-13 Harvest Ticket

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Harvest Ticket August 23-24 2011 Page One

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Everything in our boxes this week is pretty self explanatory except perhaps some subscribers are unfamiliar with sorrel and or okra. Check out images below. I enjoy sorrel raw in salads. It has a lemon-tart flavor that isn't overpowering. Although there's some great okra recipes out there, my favorite continues to be basic fried okra. I make a simple toasted bread crumb with my cuisinart (although you can just skip that step and buy bread crumbs), roll in egg yolk, toss in the crumbs and fry in olive oil.

Harvest Ticket August 23-24, 2011 Page Two

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Harvest Ticket July 26-27 Page One of Two

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Page Two of Two, Harvest Ticket July 26-27

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Harvest Ticket July 12-13 2011 Page One

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