Learning To Be A Farmer

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Where do I start, how do I begin? It is a daunting and overwhelming challenge for me. As Connie’s last project on the farm, she helped me work on structuring an idea for a project Nigel had planned on doing for some years now.  We have a 1,000 foot strip at the North end of the farm. Nigel intended to plant two rows of trees, as part of his permaculture project. I have been interested in growing Pineapple Guavas because they produce a crazy amount of fruit, and you can harvest into December. I also want to add a row of Persimmons. On a farm walk some weeks ago, we discovered Nigel had planted about 6 persimmon trees, three varieties, down the row with the mulberries. They are now producing fruit, which tells me we can grow them on our farm. The idea is to do one row of pineapple guava and one row of persimmons. When the time comes, I plan on enlisting the help of y’all by making this a planting party, actually it will be a couple of planting parties.  The nice thing about this project is it is on a small strip, therefore, a rather manageable first attempt. The more I read about the pineapple guava, the more excited I become, and ultimately the closer I feel to Nigel.  So stay tuned, I will be writing more on this project as I learn more!

I Need Baking Physical Therapy

“Physical therapy attempts to address the illnesses, or injuries that limit a person's abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.” — Wikipedia

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This morning, I am baking the Plum Torte one of our members posted on Slack. It got rave reviews from a couple of you, so I thought I would give it a try. I don’t bake much. For some reason when I started cooking a thousand years ago, I got stuck at dinners.  I feel completely comfortable in the kitchen around my stove. Everything is an easy flow for me, like a fish swimming in a peaceful stream. This morning I was trying to figure out why I don’t have the same experience baking. I realized the movements are a little different. Physically, it isn’t the same thing and the thought came to me that I need some Baking Physical Therapy. I need to learn to be comfortable with baking movements like mixing the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl, etc. This led me to understanding why others struggle in the kitchen, it isn’t just not having a zillion recipes in your head, it is how comfortable we are with our movements. So, if I may offer a couple of tips to help all of us in our culinary journeys and growth:

 

#1 Read the recipe all the way through and scan ingredients just to/ This gives me the information I need regarding timing, task order, tools and ingredients

#2 Get your tools out and in a convenient place to get to when you need them. It is a bummer when you are right in the middle of pouring out a thick sauce and you have to stop to go find a scraper.

#3 Get your ingredients out and organized. Again read the recipe instructions, quite often it is helpful to prep things like onions, garlic, or vegetables, by chopping before you get to your cooking.  I am an enormous fan of pinch bowls in all sizes!

#4 Remember to preheat that oven if you are putting anything in it, and along the same line if you need a big pot of boiling water, get that going before you start on everything else.  If the water comes to the boil before you are ready you can pop a lid on it, turn the heat down to low, and it will wait for you.

#5 Practice, practice, practice!  Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, we all do, ALL our lives. I still make (typically really stupid) mistakes, most often it is because I allow myself to get distracted.  Embrace your time cooking almost as a meditation, allow your mind to focus on your task and let go of the day, preferably with a glass of nice wine and some good music. 

 

I know your day is long, and often making dinner is not at the top of the list of fun things to do when you are tired, but trust me, if you can take a moment and a good deep breath to let the day go, dive in with a smile on your face, you will most likely find it becomes your special time.  

 

As Jacques Pepin always says, “Happy Cooking!”

Missing Nigel

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One morning last year, I was sitting at my computer writing the newsletter. The sun was beginning to rise, and looking out our sliding doors the world was beautiful. Nigel and the boys had just left for his radiation treatment in SF.  “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” by Colin Hay was playing on the stereo. I remember thinking how we are just waiting for our real life to begin after all the treatments were finished and Nigel was better.  A little more than a year later, I sit at my computer doing work, hearing the same song, realizing never did it occur to me that the real life would be a life without him. I know I have to keep going, I know this is my life now, but to be honest I am just so broken. Nigel and I met rather late in life, but we knew right away that we were always destined to be together, so it is impossible for me to understand how or why he was taken from us so soon. This man who gave so much to all of us, who was so open, and willing to share his knowledge, his passion, his love and his farm. It makes no sense to me. For all of you members who had the chance to meet him, especially those of you who knew him well, you know what I am talking about. How does this make any sense? Seriously, why him? There just is no bright side to this, but it is my life now. So I will take a deep breath, after the tears, listen to more music, and get back to work.  Tonight, it’s reconciling our checking account. And just to be clear, I have no option but to continue his work. He is in me, this was our life, and I will keep moving forward. Now, it is my life, and honestly, I have so many of you to thank for that. You really do make it worthwhile, you were always the reason Nigel lived this crazy life, and your love and support is why I will live this crazy life, because you have got my back.

This Week's Box: September 11th- 17th

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CONTENTS:

  1. In the box - and how to store it

  2. This week's Recipes

  3. Shopping List

  4. Link to Digital Copy of Newsletter

1. IN THE BOX (IN ORDER OF WHAT TO EAT FIRST):

*Items in Box for 2

Melon - Leave at room temperature until they have reached desired ripeness - eat 'em! Last 1-4 days depending on ripeness to start.

Zucchini - Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage. Do not wash until ready to eat. Lasts 4-5 days.

*Basil - Trim the ends and place basil in a glass containing about 1 inch of water; then cover with a loose-fitting plastic bag and leave at room temp. Replace the water whenever it gets cloudy. Should keep for 4-5 days.

*Nectarines- Store at room temperature until ripe — this usually takes 2 to 3 days. A ripe fruit will yield a bit when pressed gently. To speed up the ripening process, place in a paper bag and store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Storing ripe stone fruit in the crisper drawer will prolong its eating life — it should keep for up to a week when refrigerated.  

Grapes- Store, unwashed, in your refrigerator's fruit drawer. They last up to a week. 

*Peppers- Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as moisture decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple of days, place in the crisper if longer storage is needed. Lasts up to one week. 

Radishes- Store radishes in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator and they should keep for at least a week. If your radishes have leaves attached, it is best to remove them, as they tend to leach moisture from the root.

*Tomatoes - Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.

*Plums- Store ripe plums in the refrigerator. This will keep them in top shape and prevent fast deterioration. Place them in an open plastic bag - not a sealed one. Plums stored in the refrigerator will last two to four weeks.

*Sweet Potatoes- Store in a cool, dark, well‐ventilated place. Never refrigerate ‐ sweet potatoes don't like the cold. Lasts up to 3 weeks if stored properly. 

Potatoes- Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Should keep for a week or more easily. If you want to store them for longer, say 2 or 3 months, keep them between 45-55 degrees, again in a dry place out of the light.
 

2. THIS WEEK'S RECIPES

Potato, Sweet Potato, & Onion Latkes

Purple Plum Torte

Liz’s Fresh Tomato Coctel de Camarones

3. SHOPPING LIST FOR ALL RECIPES (ASSUMES YOU HAVE BASIC SALT AND PEPPER):

Shopping list for Purple Plum Torte

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder 

1 cup granulated Sugar, plus 1 to 2 TB (depending on sweetness of plums)

1/2 cup (8 TB) unsalted Butter

2 large Eggs

2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

Shopping list for Potato, Sweet Potato, & Onion Latkes

1/4 large White Onion

1 large Egg

2 TB All-Purpose Flour

Vegetable Oil

Shopping list for Liz’s Fresh Tomato Coctel de Camarones

1 medium onion (or a couple of those purple torpedo onions are great!)

6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed OR 1.5 lb frozen bay shrimp

1 8oz bottle clam juice

2 juicy limes, reserving 2 wedges for serving

1 juicy lemon 

1/2 tbsp Mexican hot sauce, to taste

1 medium cucumber, chopped (or try with this week’s zucchini instead)

2 medium avocados, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Tortilla chips (optional)

4. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEWSLETTERS PAGE AT WWW.EATWELL.COM. CLICK ON THE DATE OF THE NEWSLETTER TO DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER IN COLOR.

Purple Plum Torte

Original Recipe from NYT by Marian Burros. This recipe was shared on our CSA Slack, by member Diego, and mentioned on the other side of this newsletter.

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder 

Large pinch of Salt

1 cup granulated Sugar, plus 1 to 2 TB (depending on sweetness of plums)

1/2 cup (8 TB) unsalted Butter, softened

2 large Eggs

12 smallish Plums, halved, and pitted - this is tricky with our plums as they do not pit easily, so I am trying to cut as much off of the pit as possible

2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 F.  Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  In a larger bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color.  Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Spoon batter into an uncreased 9” springform panand smooth the top.  Arrange the plums, skin side up, all over the batter, covering it.  Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon, then remaining sugar.  Bak until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into a center part of the cake coms out free of batter, about 45 to 59 minutes.  Cool on rack.  Once cool, leave it covered at room temperature overnight as this cake is e even better on the second d day, when those plum juices further release into the cake around it.

Potato, Sweet Potato, & Onion Latkes

Recipe from Martha Steward Living December/January 1994

10 oz Potatoes, peeled

10 oz Sweet Potatoes, peeled

1/4 large White Onion, peeled

1 large Egg, room temp

2 TB All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Salt, or more to taste

1/4 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Vegetable Oil, for frying

Grate potatoes and onion using the largest holes of a four-sided grater.  Combine ina small bowl; add egg, flour, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine.  Heat 1 TB oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the pan, and cook until golden brown around the edges, about 3 minutes more.  Continue cooking latkes in batches until batter is used up.  Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Liz’s Fresh Tomato Coctel de Camarones

Recipe by CSA Member and site host, Liz Young

Working at the farm changed me and I can no longer let a summer go by without canning at least 60 lbs of Eatwell tomatoes!  I don’t think I have bought many canned tomatoes or sauce, if any, from the store in the last 7 years because I now religiously dedicate a couple of summer days to canning them.  Since I wasn’t able to make it to any of the sauce parties this summer (boo!), I ordered a couple of 20lb boxes to come with my CSA delivery.  In addition to roasting and saucing tomatoes, I also like to can them whole.  I end up running the discarded skins through the food mill and out comes bright crimson/fuschia tomato deliciousness.  Since paring with pasta is the obvious and usual choice of what to do with the leftover tomato sauce from canning, I decided to do something different, something cool and refreshing.  Mexican-style Shrimp Cocktail sounded like just the right thing!

 

1 medium onion (or a couple of those purple torpedo onions are great!)

6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons kosher salt, more to taste

1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed OR 1.5 lb frozen bay shrimp

1 cup tomato puree/sauce

1 8oz bottle clam juice

2 juicy limes, reserving 2 wedges for serving

1 juicy lemon 

1/2 tbsp Mexican hot sauce, to taste 

3 large or 4 smaller radishes, chopped 

3 or 4 lunchbox peppers, chopped

1 medium cucumber, chopped (or try with this week’s zucchini instead)

2 medium avocados, choppe

1 heirloom tomato, chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

Tortilla chips (optional)

 

Cut onion in half.  Cut one half into large chunks and dice the other, setting aside diced pieces for now.  Fill a saucepan with water, add large onion chunks and chopped garlic, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then add shrimp and turn off heat.  Let sit for a minute until shrimp are cooked (or if using frozen, until they are heated).  Drain and let shrimp cool, removing and discarding onion and garlic.

 

In a separate bowl combine tomato puree, clam juice, lime and lemon juice, and hot sauce.  You can start with the 1/2 tbsp of hot sauce (or less if you are sensitive to heat.  If you LOVE spicy and have one of those Serrano chilis left from last week, remove the seeds and membranes and dice one and throw it in!)

 

In another bowl, combine peppers, diced onion, radish, zucchini and/or cucumber, heirloom tomato, and avocado.  Pour tomato concoction and chopped herbs over veggies and toss to coat. Add salt, pepper, or hot sauce to taste. Place it fridge for 30 minutes (or stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill quickly).  

 

If you have them, break out the margarita or martini glasses to serve, lined with a lime wedge and eat the coctel alone or with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Parties & Events

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Our pumpkins are coming along rather nicely.  There are an awful lot of squirrels running around the farm so keep your fingers crossed they don’t decimate this year’s crop. If all goes well we will have a nice pumpkin party this year. It is the last event of the season, your final chance to come up with a group to have some fun on the farm. Nigel and I always found it rather amusing that the adults seemed to have more fun than the kids! Separate from actual farm events, I wanted to mention Wilderness Tora’s Sukkot On The Farm will be at Eatwell again this year.  I am really looking forward to the celebration of the harvest and to actually have the opportunity to experience it all. If you are interested tickets are available at wildernesstorah.org.

Saying Farewell To Connie

We met Connie at the annual California Farm Academy tour and dinner hosted here for its students. Shortly after she finished up their courses, she came to work here, taking over our herbs. When Emily left, Connie moved into the position of CSA manager. It was a role she wasn’t fully comfortable taking on since she feels more at home out in the field, but she did, including managing all of the events. This is no simple task. There are many pieces to making sure everyone’s share, eggs and extras end up on the right truck on the right day. Seasons change, produce changes, egg production goes up and down, members come and go.  There is just a lot, all the time.Yet, the biggest challenge Connie faced was doing much of this work on her own, during the worst of Nigel’s illness. We were gone so much of the time she was here, and I will never be able to thank her enough for the care and attention to detail she gave this job.  Never did we have to worry about tasks getting done. Everything I asked of Connie, she did and did it without mistakes. She always asked what else she could do to help. During such a hard time in our lives, it was an enormous comfort knowing the CSA was in good hands.  

 

With all of our CSA managers, one of the best things has been watching each one grow in their own special way. I know it was a stretch for Connie to take on the task of managing the events since she has always been a quiet person. The events are a pretty big deal here, but she did such a great job, all the way through our first big Sukkot on the Farm, with 300 people attending, and Nigel and I rushing off to the hospital.  That says a lot about a person.  

 

This coming weekend, Connie is packing up her car and moving back to the family farm in Illinois. I will miss her immensely.  The farm made it through an incredibly challenging time because of her calm and steady way of handling things, and for that, I could never thank her enough. Thank you, Connie, we all wish you the best of luck, and truly hope you come back to visit! 

P.S.: Connie was usually the one taking pictures, so I couldn’t find any good shots of her. Fortunately, while we were walking the farm last week I snapped this one!

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Rose Hips

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Walking the west side of the farm, you will find our mostly native hedge row. This includes a brambly rose that right now is covered in orange and red rose hips. The bushes are really lovely, but besides their beauty if made me think about all the benefits and uses of rose hips. Could this be something we could harvest? Or perhaps if anyone of you is interested in harvesting for yourselves, it could be another reason to come visit the farm? Rose hips are commonly used in jams and jellies, liqueurs, oils, dried for tea.  They are incredibly high in vitamin C. Rose hip oil is commonly used in skin care.  Something to consider for the future.  Would love to know if anyone has any interest in them? Text me 530-554-3971 or comment on Slack.

This week's Box: September 4th- 10th

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CONTENTS:

  1. In the box - and how to store it

  2. This week's Recipes

  3. Shopping List

  4. Link to Digital Copy of Newsletter

1. IN THE BOX (IN ORDER OF WHAT TO EAT FIRST):

*Items in Box for 2

Melon - Leave at room temperature until they have reached desired ripeness - eat 'em! Last 1-4 days depending on ripeness to start.

*Zucchini - Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage. Do not wash until ready to eat. Lasts 4-5 days.

Basil - Trim the ends and place basil in a glass containing about 1 inch of water; then cover with a loose-fitting plastic bag and leave at room temp. Replace the water whenever it gets cloudy. Should keep for 4-5 days.

Grapes- Store, unwashed, in your refrigerator's fruit drawer. They last up to a week. 


Cucumber- Cucumbers can be wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room. Lasts up to a week in the fridge. 

Peppers- Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as moisture decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple of days, place in the crisper if longer storage is needed. Lasts up to one week. 

*Radishes- Store radishes in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator and they should keep for at least a week. If your radishes have leaves attached, it is best to remove them, as they tend to leach moisture from the root.


*Tomatoes - Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.

*Plums- Store ripe plums in the refrigerator. This will keep them in top shape and prevent fast deterioration. Place them in an open plastic bag - not a sealed one. Plums stored in the refrigerator will last two to four weeks.

*Potatoes- Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Should keep for a week or more easily. If you want to store them for longer, say 2 or 3 months, keep them between 45-55 degrees, again in a dry place out of the light.
 

2. THIS WEEK'S RECIPES

Essential Chopped Tomato/Serrano Salsa

Purple Plum Torte

Cold Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Dill

Tartiflette Toastie

3. SHOPPING LIST FOR ALL RECIPES (ASSUMES YOU HAVE BASIC SALT AND PEPPER):

Shopping list for Essential Chopped Tomato/Serrano Salsa

12 or so sprigs of Cilantro

1 large clove Garlic

1 small White Onion

1 1/2 tsp fresh Lime Juice

Shopping list for Purple Plum Torte

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 cup granulated Sugar, plus 1 to 2 TB (depending on sweetness of plums)

1/2 cup (8 TB) unsalted Butter, softened

2 large Eggs

2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

Shopping list for Cold Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Dill

1 1/2 cups plain Greek Yogurt

3 TB fresh Lemon Juice

1 small Shallot, chopped

1 clove Garlic

1/3 cup loosely packed Dill

1/4 cup loosely packed Parsley

2 TB loosely packed Tarragon

1/2 cup Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped

Shopping list for Tartiflette Toastie

1 TB Olive Oil

2 slices Bacon or a slice of Cold Ham, cut into small strips

1 to 2 TB Heavy Cream or Creme Fraiche

1 large, thick slice Bread

3 to 4 thick slices (about 1 oz) semi-soft or semi-arid Cheese, such as Brie or Cheddar

Shopping list for all recipes:

12 or so sprigs of Cilantro

2 large clove Garlic

1 small White Onion

1 1/2 tsp fresh Lime Juice

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder 

1 cup granulated Sugar, plus 1 to 2 TB

1/2 cup (8 TB) unsalted Butter, softened

2 large Eggs

2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 1/2 cups plain Greek Yogurt

3 TB fresh Lemon Juice

1 small Shallot, chopped

1/3 cup loosely packed Dill

1/4 cup loosely packed Parsley

2 TB loosely packed Tarragon

3/4 cup of Olive Oil

1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped

2 slices Bacon or a slice of Cold Ham, cut into small strips

1 to 2 TB Heavy Cream or Creme Fraiche

1 large, thick slice Bread

3 to 4 thick slices (about 1 oz) semi-soft or semi-arid Cheese, such as Brie or Cheddar

4. CLICK HERE TO GO TO TE NEWSLETTERS PAGE AT WWW.EATWELL.COM. CLICK ON THE DATE OF THE NEWSLETTER TO DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER IN COLOR.

Cold Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Dill

Recipe by Andrew Zimmern

So a few weeks ago, our Andrew was working the market and actually got to chat with Andrew Zimmern while he was filming at the market.  Cool as a cucumber, our Andrew, said it was “no big deal, just another one of those TV chefs”.  Their Dad would be so proud.  So I couldn’t resist including this recipe.

2 1/4 lb Cucumber, halved and seeded 1/2 cup finely diced, the rest coarsely chopped 

1 1/2 cups plain Greek Yogurt

3 TB fresh Lemon Juice

1 small Shallot, chopped

1 clove Garlic

1/3 cup loosely packed Dill

1/4 cup loosely packed Parsley

2 TB loosely packed Tarragon

1/2 cup Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling

Salt and freshly ground White Pepper 

1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped

 

In a blender, combine the chopped cucumber with the yogurt, lemon juice, shallot, garlic, dill, parsley, tarragon and the 1/4 cup olive oil.  Blend until smooth.  Season with salt and white pepper, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.  Season the soup again just before serving.  Pour the soup into bowls.  Garnish with the finely diced cucumber and red onion and drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.

Tartiflette Toastie

Recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage Everyday. 

This recipe is for 1 serving

1 TB Olive Oil

2 slices Bacon or a slice of Cold Ham, cut into small strips

1 cold cooked Potato, thickly sliced

1 to 2 TB Heavy Cream or Creme Fraiche

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

1 large, thick slice Bread

3 to 4 thick slices (about 1 oz) semisoft or semiarid Cheese, such as Brie or Cheddar

Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.  If you are using bacon , add it to the pan and fry for a few minutes, until cooked.  Add the potato and fry until it is heated through and starting to color a little.  If you’re using ham, add it now and stir until well heated through.  Stir Ibn the c ream or creme fraiche and allow it to bubble and reduce for a couple of minutes.  Remove from. The heat and season to taste.  Toast the bread, pile the mixture on top, then cover with the sliced cheese and put under a hot broiler.  As soon as the cheese is melted and bubbling, whip out from under the broiler and transfer to a plate.  Enjoy at once.  A nice side to this dish would be sliced radishes, some sliced tomatoes or a cherry tomato salad with basil.

Purple Plum Torte

Original Recipe from NYT by Marian Burros

This recipe was shared on our CSA Slack, by member Diego, so it comes highly recommended.

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder 

Large pinch of Salt

1 cup granulated Sugar, plus 1 to 2 TB (depending on sweetness of plums)

1/2 cup (8 TB) unsalted Butter, softened

2 large Eggs

12 smallish Plums, halved, and pitted - this is tricky with our plums as they do not pit easily, so I am trying to cut as much off of the pit as possible

2 tsp fresh Lemon Juice

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

 

Heat oven to 350 F.  Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  In a larger bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together with an electric mixer until fluffy and light in color.  Add the eggs, one at a time and scraping down the bowl, then the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Spoon batter into an uncreased 9” springform panand smooth the top.  Arrange the plums, skin side up, all over the batter, covering it.  Sprinkle the top with lemon juice, then cinnamon, then remaining sugar.  Bak until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into a center part of the cake coms out free of batter, about 45 to 59 minutes.  Cool on rack.  Once cool, leave it covered at room temperature overnight as this cake is e even better on the second d day, when those plum juices further release into the cake around it.

Essential Chopped Tomato/Serrano Salsa

Recipe by Rick Bayles

12 oz ripe tomatoes

Fresh Serrano Chiles to taste (roughly 1/2 to 1 oz total, more if you love the spice) stemmed

12 or so sprigs of Cilantro

1 large clove Garlic, peeled and very finely chopped (optional)

1 small White Onion

1 1/2 tsp fresh Lime Juice

Salt, about 3/4 tsp

Core the tomatoes, then cut in half widthwise and squeeze out the seeds if you wish (it will give the sauce a less rustic appearance).  Finely dice the flesh by slicing it into roughly 1/4” thick pieces, then cutting each slice into small dice.  Scoop into a bow.  Cut the chiles in half lengthwise (wear rubber gloves if your hands are sensitive to the piquancy of the chiles) and scrape out the seeds if you wish (not only will this make the sals less rustic, but it will make it less picante).  Chop the chiles as finely as you can, then add them to the tomatoes.  Carefully bunch up the cilantro sprigs, and, with a sharp knife, slice them 1/16” thick, stems and all, working your way down from the leafy end until you run out of leaves.  Scoop the chopped cilantro into the tomato mixture along with the optional garlic.  Next, finely dice the onion with a knife, scoop it into a small strainer, then rinse it under cold water.  Shake to remove the excess water and add tot he tomato mixture.  Taste and season with lime juice and salt, and let stand if you have a little time, for the flavors to meld before using or scooping into a salsa dish and serving.

The Boys Are Back In School

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Eric and Andrew were home for a quick two week break before classes started up again. They both spent much of the summer in Ohio, Andrew worked at the sports stadium and Eric was reporting on games. It was so nice to have them here, getting out, and having a little bit of fun. Probably the highlight for me was floating down the Russian River with all the “kids,” but it was also awesome watching them take over the egg cooking for our last Sauce Party breakfast. Not many 20 year olds can handle making scrambled eggs for 50 people, but the boys can certainly add this to the list of their abilities. One never knows when these talents might come in handy!

Working On Seed/Plant Lists

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Probably the most important project Cameron has been working on is creating a comprehensive spread sheet with all the seeds and plants we order.  Sounds simple, but it is anything but.  He has been going through past year’s bills, entering everything in with dates, quantities, varieties, vendors etc.  But there is so much more to it.  For instance, when does each item go into the boxes and for how long?  Which seeds need to be packed up and sent to Headstart, or do we direct sow?  How often do we plant?  How far in advance do we have to place orders? Some seeds and plants need to be ordered months in advance; strawberries and potatoes are great examples. 

When I looked back through Quickbooks, I saw that Nigel would order strawberry starts anytime between end of March through May. We’ve picked up those starts in August to plant them for the following Spring. I remembered the strawberries sometime late in July, realizing there was a good chance Nigel hadn’t placed this year’s order.  We finally placed our order for plants, but not soon enough to get the exact varieties we wanted. Nigel is missed in real and challenging ways. Besides all the normal reasons, we miss our best friend and life partner.

Lettuces For Later

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Last week’s Headstart delivery brought us trays of mixed lettuces.  Seeing them sitting out on the ground waiting to be planted, I was struck by their delicate beauty. Nigel always mixed the seeds so our lettuce beds had different varieties growing. In the case of lettuce, this made picking for our mixed bags much easier because they are pre-mixed in the fields. It also helps us lower our cost with Headstart, their prices drop significantly as the quantity of seed goes up. For me as a ‘non-farmer’ farmer, I have to learn to resist the desire to want things in the ground sooner than they should be. Last week, the weather cooled significantly and I couldn’t help but think, “Maybe the intense heat is over so what delicate goodies can we plant now?” Of course, this week, we are smack in the middle of another heat wave. Thank goodness our crew knows what they are doing.

The Farm’s Circle of Life

I picked up one of Nigel’s books tonight “Fields of Farmers” by Joel Salatin. I had forgotten Nigel’s habit of highlighting passages he found particularly interesting. Seeing this little message he inadvertently left for me is another heartbreaking reminder. Yet, at the same time, it is wonderful knowing he is still teaching me. The first highlighted section I read was really quite profound, so I thought I would share it you all. 

“We are all utterly and completely dependent on soil, honey bees, raindrops, sunlight, fungi and bacteria. Neither the greatest scientific discovery nor the highest gain on Wall Street, compares to the importance of a functioning carbon cycle or dancing earthworms.”

Nigel understood the importance of the natural circle of life that lives in our soil, and buzzes in our fields. In these turbulent times sometimes, we humans need a reminder that without this delicate symphony Mother Nature orchestrates nothing else will matter. What he grew and nurtured here at Eatwell, has grown into a paradise for birds, frogs, lizards, bees, and an entire universe living in our soil.  Surrounded by mono-culture Eatwell stands as an island.  Our island, yours, mine and even those who don’t know anything about us. We are the stewards of this land, our responsibility is great.

 

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This Week's Box: August 28th- September 3rd

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CONTENTS:

  1. In the box - and how to store it

  2. This week's Recipes

  3. Shopping List

  4. Link to Digital Copy of Newsletter

1. IN THE BOX (IN ORDER OF WHAT TO EAT FIRST):

*Items in Box for 2

*Garlic Chives- Store in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic. Should last 3-5 days.

*Zucchini - Does fine for a few days if left out on a cool counter, even after cut. Wrap in a cloth and refrigerate for longer storage. Do not wash until ready to eat. Lasts 4-5 days.

Basil - Trim the ends and place basil in a glass containing about 1 inch of water; then cover with a loose-fitting plastic bag and leave at room temp. Replace the water whenever it gets cloudy. Should keep for 4-5 days.

Grapes- Store, unwashed, in your refrigerator's fruit drawer. They last up to a week. 


Cucumber- Cucumbers can be wrapped in a moist towel in the fridge. If you’re planning on eating them within a day or two after buying them they should be fine left out in a cool room. Lasts up to a week in the fridge. 

Peppers- Only wash them right before you plan on eating them as moisture decreases storage time. Store in a cool room to use in a couple of days, place in the crisper if longer storage is needed. Lasts up to one week. 

*Radishes- Store radishes in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator and they should keep for at least a week. If your radishes have leaves attached, it is best to remove them, as they tend to leach moisture from the root.


*Tomatoes - Depending on ripeness, tomatoes can stay for up to two weeks on the counter. To hasten ripeness, place in a paper bag with an apple.

*Plums- Store ripe plums in the refrigerator. This will keep them in top shape and prevent fast deterioration. Place them in an open plastic bag - not a sealed one. Plums stored in the refrigerator will last two to four weeks.

*Potatoes- Store in a cool, dry, dark place. Should keep for a week or more easily. If you want to store them for longer, say 2 or 3 months, keep them between 45-55 degrees, again in a dry place out of the light.
 

2. THIS WEEK'S RECIPES

Gazpacho Andaluz

Jose Pizarro’s Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo

Provencal Tomato and Squash Gratin

3. SHOPPING LIST FOR ALL RECIPES (ASSUMES YOU HAVE BASIC SALT AND PEPPER):

Shopping list for Gazpacho Andaluz:

4 1/2” length of Bread, cut from a long narrow loaf, crusts removed

1 medium Onion, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Sugar

2 TB Sherry Vinegar

Shopping list for Jose Pizarro’s Salt-Crusted Potatoes with Cilantro Mojo:

Cilantro Mojo

3 large Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 Green Chili Pepper, seeded and chopped

Leaves from a bunch of fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

1 tsp freshly ground Cumin Seeds

Scant 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 tsps White Wine Vinegar, Muscatel if possible

Shopping list for Provencal Tomato and Squash Gratin:

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 large Garlic cloves, minced

1/2 medium or 1 small Onion

2 tsp fresh Thyme leaves, or 1 tsp crumbled dried Thyme OR replace the salt and thyme and use Eatwell Thyme Salt

1 cup cooked Rice, Farro or Barley

3 Eggs

2 oz Gruyere Cheese, grate 1/2 cup

Shopping list for all recipes:

4 1/2” length of Bread, cut from a long narrow loaf, crusts removed

1 tsp Sugar

2 TB Sherry Vinegar

Cilantro Mojo

1 Green Chili Pepper, seeded and chopped

Leaves from a bunch of fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

1 tsp freshly ground Cumin Seeds

2 tsps White Wine Vinegar, Muscatel if possible

1 1/2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

5 large Garlic cloves

2 Onions

2 tsp fresh Thyme leaves, or 1 tsp crumbled dried Thyme OR replace the salt and thyme and use Eatwell Thyme Salt

1 cup cooked Rice, Farro or Barley

3 Eggs

2 oz Gruyere Cheese, grate 1/2 cup

4. CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEWSLETTERS PAGE AT WWW.EATWELL.COM. CLICK ON THE DATE OF THE NEWSLETTER TO DOWNLOAD A PDF COPY OF THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER IN COLOR.

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