12/8/17 - Week 26 - last week 2017

Dear Members,

2018 CSA MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL: We can't wait for next season and we hope you can't either! We'll send out an email opening sign-ups in early January -- and you'll be first in line. 2018's CSA season will start in late May or early June. Tell your friends as we will be expanding the CSA next year. Thank you SO much for your support this year and we hope to see you on the farm this winter and next year!

THIS WEEKS HARVEST: California Bay Laurel Nuts, Painted Mountain Corn Flour, Jarrahdale Large Pumpkins, Delicata Squash, Butterscotch Butternut Squash, Bodega Red Potatoes, Cured Yellow Onions, Kohlrabi, Fennel, Celery, Broccoli Shoots, Cauliflower, "Kaitlin" Sauerkraut Cabbage, Mixed Beets, Carrots, Collards, Rainbow Chard, Dandelion Greens, Bunching Napa Cabbage Greens, Hon Tsai Tai Kailaan, Red Little Gems and Hearts-Aglow Lettuce Mix

New goodies this week: Bunching Napa cabbage and *Hon Tsai Tai Kailaan, Jarrahdale pumpkins, Painted Mountain cornflour, and California bay laurel nuts

*Hon Tsai Tai Kailaan a Chinese speciality green brassica with pencil-thin, red-purple, budded flower stems. It has a pleasing mild mustard taste for use raw in salads or lightly cooked in stir-fries or soups.

U-PICK in the GARDEN: 

  • Strawberry snacks (The strawberries are putting out a nice December flush)
  • Herbs: Lemongrass, Lemonbalm, Lemon Verbena, Anise Hyssop, Sorrel, Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Tarragon, French Culinary Lavender, Chocolate Mint, Julep Mint, and Peppermint

CALIFORNIA BAY NUTS:

We're excited to bring our first wild foraged native food to the share this week. 

The California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica aka Oregon myrtle, bay tree, pepperwood, spice-tree, California olive) is a tree endemic to California and southern Oregon. It thrives in coastal forests within 160 miles of the ocean and produces olive sized fruits with oily flesh and a seed shaped like a little avocado pit. 

The leaves and flesh of the fruit contain strong smelling volatile oils that kill germs, fungi, and even insects. (Woodrats nibble bay leaves and spread the around their homes to keep fleas and parasites away.) Bay leaves were used by native peoples as a medicine, a purifier, a food seasoning, and an insect repellent.

The fruits, both the flesh and the nut, were eaten by many native tribes. Ohlone and Pomo people ground dried nuts into "energy balls" or cakes eaten when traveling or hunting or sprinkled it on around food as a condiment. The nut contains a caffeine-like stimulant, so think twice before feeding them to the kids before bedtime! 

California laurel nuts mature and drop in late October and November.

(Info from Secrets of the Oak Woodlands by Kate Marianchild)

California Bay Nut Chocolates, adapted from livingwild.org

  • 1 cup California Bay nuts Umbellularia californica
  • 1 bar organic dark chocolate
  • Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Place unshelled nuts on a cookie sheet and bake for approximately 35 minutes to evaporate oils -- they are done when the nut inside the shell is somewhere between the color of coffee with cream and the color of chocolate. The most important indicator is that there are not enough of the essential oils left to create an unpleasant burning sensation in the back of your throat. The desirable flavor is reminiscent of unsweetened cacao or burnt popcorn.
3. Shell the outer protective hull of the nut with a nutcracker or you teeth, revealing the edible, two sided egg shaped nut within
4. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
5. Place one or two bay nuts in each compartment of an ice cube tray.

6. Pour melted chocolate over nuts, fulling ice cube trays

7. Sprinkle top with a little bit of salt
8. Set in freezer for about 15 minutes.

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Variation #1: The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center has a great Bay nut infused cheese cake recipe.

Variation #2: After roasting nuts, grind with sugar and cocoa powder to create a delicious chocolate-like dessert.

PAINTED MOUNTAIN CORN FLOUR:Grown next to the Jack-O-Lanterns, harvested by you(!), milled at Tierra Vegetables in Windsor, and to your table, we're excited to bring the Painted Mountain Cornflour to the share this week. Painted Mountain corn is a hearty heirloom from Montana bred as an early-harvesting, all-purpose flour corn. This fresh flour (harvested in October and ground last Thursday) can be used in infinite ways; pancakes, crepes, cornbread, etc. Here is a link to a great corn pancake recipe from Bob's Red Mill. 

 

FARMSTORE: A new supply of whole chickens from Parade the Land arrived at the Bramble Tail Creamery today. There's also beef raised 100% on Green Valley pasture, Hands Full Farm eggs, Bramble Tail milk and cheese (herdshare members only), new herbal remedies by Aubrie, and Firefly chocolate. A couple last frozen Hawk Hill Sourdough Bread loaves await you in the white freezer in our barn.

FARMER'S LOG:

It was a bittersweet harvest morning for Kayta and I today -- the last Friday morning harvest of our 2017 CSA season.

It has been such a wonderful year of growth, joy, and community... the highlight for us being getting to know each of you, your wonderful children, and seeing you interact with the farm. We cherished the presence you all brought to the farm this season and we will miss seeing you each week! 

We encourage you all to visit the farm at least once this winter -- to say hi, to pick some herbs or late strawberries. And, if you have a moment, to stand still for a moment in the fields.

There, you will find silence... broken only by the screech of a hawk or the soft chattering of a quail. A coolness will emanate up from damp soil, chilling your knees. Before you will lay the farm, the soft curves of the fields and hills draped under a blanket of green, asleep. But tread softly and listen closely....

  Next season's intensive veggie fields awash in long fall shadows

Next season's intensive veggie fields awash in long fall shadows

Within that slumber next season churns: The cover crop stretches its living roots deep into the soil below where subterranean creatures break down this year's crop residue, like so many memories, into the raw materials that will make up next year's bounty -- next year's story. Listen closely and you can hear the land dreaming.

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For now, it is time for your farmers to rest, to reflect, and to do a little dreaming ourselves. Thank you all so much for the memories this year, here's to many more to come.

See you in the fields,

David and Kayta (and Bilbo)