Click for fennel recipes

I can remember back to a time that I just didn’t get the appeal of fennel. This course, stringy, strongly scented vegetable didn’t seem worth the trouble to cook. But now I can honestly say that it is among my very favorite vegetables. I fully realize that there are many of our CSA members who still don’t “get” fennel, and if you are among these, you simply must try Jeanne’s recipe for roast fennel and onions.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

kale-lacinato

Click for kale recipes

Kale is a type of cabbage that does not form a head from the central leaves.We grow three varieties of kale, green curly leaf or Scotch kale, Lacinato or Dinosaur kale, and Red Russian kale.  Kale is high in beta carotene, vitamin K and vitamin C and calcium.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

kohlrabiKohlrabi is an odd vegetable that I think is often bought more for appearance than for the desire to eat it. Looking like something from a science-fiction movie, they come in lovely deep purple or jade green, and the leaves come up from all over what seems to be the root.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 
Lettuce Rows

Lettuce Rows

Click for salad recipes

Lettuces grow exceptionally well here at our home farm near the coast. They love the cool foggy summer weather. We grow Red Leaf, Green Leaf, Butter Lettuces, Little Gem, and Romaine varieties and offer a mix of baby salad greens in our early spring boxes.

Continue reading »

Think of how often a dish starts with a sauté of onions, carrots, and celery. In Italy this combination is called soffritto. In France it is cooked with butter and called mirepoix, but for general purposes I like it cooked with a light flavored olive oil or even grapeseed oil, which is neutrally flavored, so I call it by the Italian name. I like to make this in larger batches, removing some when it is still pale, or blond, then cooking the remaining amount until it is a darker shade of amber, giving it a caramelized flavor. I sometimes even let some go until it is quite dark, like tobacco, for a very deep flavor. I then freeze it in batches. I use large zip bags and flatten out the soffritto in the bags, making it easier to stack and easier to simply break off the amount I wish to use. Some people freeze it in ice trays as you might pesto. However you store it, having this in the freezer is like having a time machine. It can make having good tasting food on the table much quicker, or if you have several pans going at once it is quite helpful as well as it is easy to burn smaller amounts of onions.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Vinaigrettes are usually thought of as oil and vinegar dressing. In actuality, vinaigrettes can be used as a sauce, especially for fish and poultry, on sandwiches, as a marinade, or even as a pasta sauce. Vinaigrettes are great poured over roasted vegetables such as potatoes, parsnips, and beets, while still warm so the flavors are absorbed. This makes an excellent salad, and is, in fact, how German potato salad is made.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of beets
1 teaspoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of water
1-2 tablespoons vinegar such as white balsamic or sherry

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Another recipe for the Quickles file. Romanesco lends itself beautifully to quickling-it maintains it crisp texture yet no longer tastes raw. This iteration was made for a Sicilian influenced salad, but it is easy enough to change your destination by changing your herbs and spices. Use these in the salad recipe or serve with plates of salami and charcuterie, burgers, or braises. Good with grilled salmon as well. If you just want these as a snack, see notes about adding lemon.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Here’s a nice crunchy salad with some tang to spark the appetite when it is hot. This salad would be good as a foil to fatty grilled meats.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Although a simple dish, there is plenty of subtle flavor, and this is a great side for spicy or boldly flavored dishes.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Allis Chalmers G cultivatingWhen I give farm tours people often seem surprised when I say that organic farmers are at more of a disadvantage, compared to their conventional counterparts, in the area of weed control versus pest and disease pressure. Conventional growers commonly use pre-emergence herbicides at planting time that prevent weeds from germinating in the strip of soil where their crop seeds are sown. Selective, post-emergence herbicides, which kill most of the surrounding weeds but leave the crops unscathed, are also used for many crops. Conventional strawberry growers in our area fumigate at planting time with materials that kill most of the weed seeds in the soil.

Continue reading »

 

Strawberries have enough tartness to stand out in a salad. The ones you want are the ones that have a little firmness to them still, not the really soft ones.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This dressing is for a salad of soft lettuces and strawberries, but would go with cold pasta salad with tomato and cucumber, with cold chicken for a hot summer day, poached salmon hot or cold, or something with cabbage or kales, as well as salads made up of Romaine or Little Gems.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Carrots and mint, carrots and basil, these seem a natural combo. Adding the caramelized Tokyo turnips adds just a touch of bitter to the mix which contrasts nicely with the sweet carrots. If using purple carrots, keep the turnips separate until serving so the color of the carrots doesn’t make the turnips look smudgy. As bunches of everything vary, you want an equal amount, or slightly more carrots than turnips.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

pumpkin greenThis week we finished planting all the winter squashes and pumpkins. We’re doing more delicatas this year since we ran out too early last year. All told there are 12 varieties of squash and pumpkins planted–delicata, carnival, spaghetti, Blue Ballet hubbard, orange and green kabocha, butternut, Marina di Chioggia, and blue kuri squashes. The pumpkin patch has winter luxury pie pumpkins, rouge vif d’etampes (Cinderellas), and Jack O’Lantern pumpkins.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Here in California, we have so many things to be thankful for when it comes to fresh food. Avocados are certainly one of those things, and they are in prime time right now. Given that California produces 95% of the avocados in the USA this is not surprising. Of those, the Haas is the most widely grown, as it is worldwide. Overall, the Haas accounts for 80% of avocados grown. However, at one time in California there was something like 100 varieties grown, with the majority of them in the Santa Barbara/Ventura area and further south.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Sort of a cross between a kale salad and a quickle. Allowing time to sit in the refrigerator will soften the cabbage a little without taking away the crunch. Caraway gives the salad a Nordic bent. Use cumin, coriander, and a little lime juice to take this in a South Western direction, or sub lemon or orange for lime and go Middle Eastern/North African. This salad keeps well, and is a great lunch box item as it travels well.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This is the dressing that goes with the above named recipe, but this, or any number of variants, could go with any salad of dense leaves such as the cabbages, kales, or things like mei quin choi or shredded carrot or celeriac. Lighter in oil, this recipe will not emulsify like a regular vinaigrette. Adding mustard will help the salad thicken, but be careful what mustard you use and how much lest you blow out the dressing and just have a thin and pungent mustard garnish for the salad.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This recipe is actually based on a chicken dish, but instead the broccoli gets the chicken treatment. This dish can be served hot with dinner or cold in small amounts as salad/snack/appetizer. You could also just blanch the broccoli until just crisp-tender and drop it into ice-water to stop the cooking, and then toss it in the sauce ingredients which were cooked together earlier and allowed to cool.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

By CalCAN

There are many environmental and health advantages of farming organically the way we do – fewer toxic chemicals released into the environment or consumed, safer conditions for farm workers not exposed to pesticides, safer food sources for pollinators, more attention to maintaining the diversity of both food crops and native flora and fauna, and a long list of other benefits. One area that is sometimes overlooked is the connection between farming and climate change.

We are happy to be connected with the California Climate and Agriculture Network. (We hosted a farm visit with CalCAN for state legislators including Mark Stone and Bill Monning in 2014.) CalCAN is involved in efforts to promote agricultural practices that will help to reduce climate change. Below is a brief discussion of the issues they have identified.  —  Jeanne

Continue reading »

 

Simple in make-up, but the flavors are refreshing and the contrasts of cold and warm and crisp and succulent make for an enjoyable salad. The dressing is made from the butter and oil used to roast the radishes, and are infused with fresh basil flavor.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Here is a dish that straddles the line between dinner and dessert, sweet and savory. Depending on how you season this, it could go either way. Here I was thinking dessert, but I tend to like not very sweet desserts, so this is not as sweet as you could make it.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This sauce is meant to go with a carrot custard, but would be wonderful with duck, chicken, or pork. Use with panna cotta or other desserts as well. You can make it sweeter by adding sugar or agave to it, as the sugar in the recipe here is just enough to wake up certain flavors in the berries. You could add liqueur to the sauce to sweeten it as well*. This will also intensify the berry flavor. If you want a perfectly smooth sauce, pureé all the berries instead of three-quarters as called for in the recipe.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

A variation on a theme, only here the butter and oil from roasting form part of a Meyer lemon dressing that garnishes the radishes and dresses the Little Gem lettuce salad this recipe is destined for. This recipe would be nice with fish, chicken or pork, or anything that would go with the word picatta.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

fennelI can remember back to a time that I just didn’t get the appeal of fennel. This course, stringy, strongly scented vegetable didn’t seem worth the trouble to cook. But now I can honestly say that it is among my very favorite vegetables. I fully realize that there are many of our CSA members who still don’t “get” fennel, and if you are among these, you simply must try Jeanne’s recipe for roast fennel and onions. The key is to cook it long enough and to use enough olive oil so the fennel doesn’t dry out. When the fennel and onions become soft on the inside, and carmelized on the outside, the combination is sublime. This simple dish was one of my step-father’s favorites when he came to visit us on the farm, and is one of mine as well.

Continue reading »

 

The Provençal accents here are fennel seeds and a hint of lavender to add a mysterious deep and floral note that pairs well with fennel. Make this with any summer squash you have, just try to cut all the slices the same thickness.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This dish uses ingredients that commonly are found in dishes that get named “Persian”. This is a pretty dish with the white cauliflower tinged with the deep purple of the syrup, and then the scattering of creamy pine nuts and green mint. If you are not a fan of mint, substitute fresh marjoram and some flat leaf parsley.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Simply flavored, easy to execute, simply delicious. Much of the secret lies in the thickness of the cut, and having fresh squash which are moist and not bitter. The rest lies with finding the sweet spot on the grill, where it is not scorchingly hot, nor where the heat is sort of feeble. The heat should be a 5-second heat, meaning it should take 5 seconds for your hand, 5 inches above the grill, to become painfully hot and you have to pull it away. This would be like medium-high on the stove.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

blueberry u-pickersWow! We had the highest turnout ever for a u-pick in our Blueberry patch on Saturday. Fortunately the berry bushes were loaded with fruit and there was plenty for everyone to pick. It was great to see a lot of old and new faces of CSA members and others from our community out in the berry patch! We’re planning another u-pick for Saturday, June 4th.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This dressing is to with the Arugula, Dried Apricots, and Pistachio salad, but it can be used with other components as well. Try with Butterleaf or oak leaf lettuces with plenty of sprouts.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This is a Provençal inspired recipe with a twist. Some people find that summer squash has a subtly bitter flavor, which is unpleasant for them. This recipe plays that flavor up, and also counters it, by using caramelized sugar on the surface of the cuts on the squash. Caramelized sugar has both a bitter quality and sweetness, as do the squash. Costata Romanesco, Cousa, and tromboncini squash (look for this unusual squash at markets) all have firmer flesh than zucchini or crookneck, and can be seared and browned without getting mushy as quickly the latter. If using a mélange of these, add the zucchini and crooknecks later than the rest. These squash also pick up an almond-like nutty flavor when caramelized.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This salad originated as a substitute for the salad that goes on Elephant Ears (see recipe on site), but has found its way onto grilled chicken, crisp multi-grain or mochi waffles, toast, mixed with seared scallops, and used as a side salad. Switch to hazelnuts and use hazelnut oil, do the same with almonds. Use fresh apricots when you find some that are fragrant, flavorful, but still a little firm.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

3carrotsAt this busy time of year I really appreciate the members of our dedicated, hardworking, and seasoned crew. As the years go by I find my role on the farm changing as I pass along many of the responsibilities that used to be mine. It’s taken time for me to realize that, when properly trained, certain employees are capable of doing things just as well, and in some cases better, than I could. This shift was partially necessitated by the fact that I simply don’t have the strength and stamina I once had, but also by a realization that our crew finds the work much more engaging and rewarding when they are given added responsibility.

Continue reading »

 

For this recipe you will need to find a Japanese market or a good fish market. In the Santa Cruz/Watsonville area you can find what you need at Yamashita Market in Watsonville. As the tuna is served raw, be careful in your selection. This recipe is a contrast of crunches and a synthesis of flavors. The tobiko pop, the cucumber crunches, and the tuna sort of melts and has a little chew to it at the same time. The clean wet taste of cucumber harmonizes with the briny roe while acting as a foil to the saltiness. The sweet, slightly oily, and umami flavors of the tuna are set off by the other elements. The dressing is used sparingly, as a surprise accent that pops up as a little jolt of bass-line to the rest of the salads higher notes of flavor. This is an appetizer, or part of a string of dishes. The recipe is written as a small appetizer-just a few bites, as in 3-4. If you wish a bit more, double the volume.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

I was having lunch out where a piece of steamed broccoli on the plate had gotten into the sauce from my chicken. An inspiring accident. I played with the idea a bit and landed here.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

This is a further experiment in the “vegetable as sauce” category, and takes salsa verde and pesto as inspiration, along the idea of Moroccan “salads”. Use this on fish, chicken or meats, spread on sandwiches, use as a side or in a salad.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

Westernized variations of traditional Japanese dips and sauces. For the Tuna Tobiko Cucumber dish, use sparingly. You can use this for sashimi, as a noodle dip, or on a salad.

Continue reading »

Tagged with:
 

SIGN UP FOR CSA PROGRAM

When you join our CSA, you sign up with the farm to receive a share of the harvest during our 36 week season from mid-March to mid-November. In return, you get a weekly box of organic vegetables and fruit (and optional flowers) delivered straight from our farm to a pick-up site in your neighborhood.

Signup for the CSA program >

View our CSA Members Page

This is where you can go to find out what's coming in your box each week, find recipes, identify your vegetables with pictures, and view or print the current and past newsletters. Check here for the information you need to use your box to the fullest.

Visit the CSA Members Page >