Friday, June 20, 2014

2014 season - Weekly Newsletter 3

Things have been a little crazy here on the farm as I am scrambling to tie up loose ends before Matt and I take the kids on a 2 week long road trip to a family reunion in South Dakota.  We have never been away from the farm for so long during the summer, but we are fortunate to have an awesome crew of farmhands to keep things running while we are gone.  As we venture into the heart of the country where big industrial-ag rules I am expecting to see plenty of large cornfields.  I am really hoping we will see some little family farms too! 

The Casalegno Family’s Red Italian Garlic
This specialty garlic was originally brought over from Italy by one of the Casalegno brothers sometime in the early 1900’s.  We have been cultivating the same strain ever since.  We love this garlic for it’s rich full flavor and use it for everything.  If yours is still a little dirty from the earth that is because it was just pulled! Wipe it with a dry cloth, but don’t get it wet.  It may still be a little soft because it is so fresh but is perfectly good to use.  It will harden up as it dries out. Keep somewhere relatively dark, dry and cool to cure and it will last for many months!

Chard and Leek Tart


·               1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
·               2 tablespoons butter
·               3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
·               1 teaspoon dried thyme
·               1/2 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed, leaves chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
·               1 1/4 cups whipping cream
·               3 large eggs
·               2 large egg yolks
·               1 teaspoon salt
·               1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
·               Pinch of ground nutmeg


Roll out pastry on floured work surface to 12-inch square. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold under; crimp edges. Cover; chill. • Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chard; saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool. • Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in cooled leek mixture. Pour filling into crust. • Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.

Moroccan-Spiced Cabbage, Carrot and Radish Salad


·                                 Finely grated zest of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)

·                                 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
·                                 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
·                                 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
·                                 2 tablespoons honey
·                                 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
·                                 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
·                                 1/3  cup extra-virgin olive oil
·                                 Salt and ground black pepper
·                     ½ head cabbage very (about 1 pound), quartered, cored and sliced very thinly
·                     4 small carrots (or 2 large), peeled and shredded
·                     6 to 8 radishes, sliced
·                     1/2 cup lightly packed chopped fresh cilantro (can add mint or parsley also if desired)

To make vinaigrette: Combine orange zest, cumin, coriander, cayenne, honey, sugar, vinegar and oil and mix or process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
To make salad: Combine cabbage, carrots, radishes and cilantro in large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat cabbage mixture evenly. Serve immediately.

Zucchini Gratin

·        6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, plus extra for topping
·        1 yellow onion, cut in 1/2 and sliced
·        2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini)
·        2 teaspoons kosher salt
·        1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
·        1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·        2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
·        1 cup hot milk
·        3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
·        3/4 cup grated cheese – Cheddar, Gruyere or Jack
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 10 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.
Combine the bread crumbs and cheese and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned

Friday, June 13, 2014

2014 season - Weekly Newsletter 2

To me this week really feels like the beginning of summer, even though the solstice is still a week away.  Not only because school is officially out, but an event that I look forward to all year also occurred today.  Matt brought me the first ripe Santa Rosa plum of the season! It was absolute sweet-tangy-juicy-delicious PERFECTION! It is still a little on the early side to begin really harvesting since they do not usually fully ripen until early July.  However it has been a warm spring so you may see them in your box sooner than later!

This week I have assembled some tips on food storage so you know the best ways to keep the contents of your box fresh all week.  Just a few extra steps will ensure optimal nutrient content and flavor of your produce.
Lettuce and Greens: Always remove rubber bands or produce ties before preparing to store lettuce, kale or chard.  Rinse greens, but it is best to dry the lettuce leaves before placing them in the proper container.  A salad spinner works great.  Store your lettuce in a dry sealable plastic bag or container with lid. Condensation will gather on the inside of the container even though the greens have been dried so line the container with paper towels before adding the dry greens. This will keep greens fresh for about a week.   
Potatoes:  The potatoes you are receiving in your boxes are extremely freshly dug, so it is best not to wash them before storing.  A dark place is best, but never store them next to onions as the gases emitted  by each will spoil the other.
Carrots, radishes and beets:  First remove the greens, since they draw away moisture from the root. Tightly seal unwashed root veggies in a plastic bag in the coolest part refrigerator. Wash just before using since the added moisture in the bag could cause spoilage. Carrots, beets and radishes begin to go limp once exposed to air, especially tender roots like these, so wrap them up asap.
Strawberries: Do not rinse strawberries until just before using.  Store dry berries in a plastic container lined with paper towels, if they last that long!
Broccoli: Broccoli likes a little moisture as well as air circulation, so store with a damp paper towel inside a perforated bag if possible.

Roasted radishes with soy and sesame
This recipe was REALLY good! It had kind of an Asian influenced flavor, with just a little bite.  If you are not crazy about eating radishes raw, or just need a new way to prepare them, then this recipe is perfect!
1.Preheat the oven to 375°.
2. Slice the radishes lengthwise into about 4 thin slices. Toss with oil on a large baking sheet. (I used sesame oil, but you can use any oil you like or have on hand)
3. Roast for 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until the radishes are tender and beginning to brown.
4. Drizzle soy sauce over the roasted radishes and toss with chopped onion (I used yellow onion, but green onion would be great, and even red would work)
5. Roast for a further 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and, if desired, cilantro.

Pasta with Bacon and Leeks

12 ounces short pasta
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced and rinsed well
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Chopped fresh parsley, for topping

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.
Add the leeks to the drippings in the skillet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until it begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.
Add the pasta to the skillet along with the parmesan, half of the bacon and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat, adding enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen. To serve, top with the remaining bacon, more parmesan and parsley.

1.                   2 cups salted water
2.                   1 cup quinoa
3.                   1 bunch kale, rib removed and chopped into 1” lengths
4.                   Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
5.                   2 scallions, minced
6.                   1 tablespoon olive oil
7.                   3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
8.                   1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese  (grated parmesan would be great too!)
9.                   salt and pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, combine the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, olive oil, pine nuts, and goat cheese in a large bowl.. Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed -- the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff with a fork and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Friday, June 6, 2014

2014 season - Weekly Newsletter 1

This is what we live for!
We are all excited here at the farm to kick off our CSA season with the first shares going out to members this weekend.
It always amazes me when June rolls around and we find ourselves back at the beginning of the harvest season.  Every year is unique.  There are so many factors that are at play, especially here on such a small farm.  We have had many successes already and are looking forward to sharing them with you and your families.
Many thanks and much gratitude to all of our members for making this connection from our farm to your home.  The boxes will be full of the best of our harvest and we encourage and challenge all of you to find ways to make the most of your box.  By adding fresh fruits and veggies to every meal, planning your meals around your produce and trying some new ideas you will be eating in a way that is not only healthy for your body but also the best for our planet.  This is the future of food and the path to a sustainable food system! Thank you for being a part of it, whether through our CSA or by stopping by the farm stand.

This weeks box:
lacinato kale
garlic scapes
zucchini and summer squash

Oven Roasted Potatoes & Leeks

  • 2 lbs. Potatoes, Russet, Red, or Golden
  • 2-3 Leeks
  • 4 cloves of Garlic - minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Water or Broth
  • You can also add your favorite herbs and seasonings as well!
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Clean the leeks, they are probably full of dirt! Cut and remove the deep, dark green portions (leaves) of your leeks and throw them away. Cut your leeks in half, lengthwise, and then cut into 1.5 inch portions. Fill a deep bowl with water and plunge the cut leeks in. Separate the half-rings and let them sit. The dirt will settle to the bottom.
  3. Rinse and cut your potatoes into 1.5 in chunks if large or use whole if they are small. Place them in a large roasting pan.
  4. Remove leeks from the water with hands and shake the excess water off of them.
  5. Add all ingredients to the potatoes and toss until well coated.
  6. Add your water or broth and cover with lid or aluminum foil.
  7. Cook for 30 minutes, Remove foil, Continue to cook for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender and beginning to turn golden.

Sesame Ginger Cabbage Salad


  • 6 cups green cabbage (sliced in strips, about 1/2 large head of cabbage)
  • 2 tbsps sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 2 tbsps peanuts (or more)
  • 2 tbsps rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1/8 tsp ginger (grated)
  • OPTIONAL – few drops of favorite hot sauce
Mix vinegar, oil, agave (or honey), garlic, ginger and optional hot sauce in a small bowl.  Pour over sliced cabbage and top with peanuts and sesame seeds.


We are pleased to be able to include in the share boxes a basket of sweet berries grown by Farmer Max out in Freedom.  He has an amazing outdoor hydroponic operation that produces these wonderful fruit as well as blackberries, peppers and tomatoes.  This hydroponic method wastes zero water and of course is not sprayed at all so environmental impact is as minimal as it gets!  We have partnered with Max to create another connection for small-scale local farmers to support each other and feed our community.  Enjoy!

If you have a garden at home and have been meaning to get a tomato plant into the ground, this weekend is the perfect time. Come by our farm stand to pick up FREE TOMATO PLANTS! We really would like to see these guys go to a good home.  The farm stand will also be stocked up with lots of other good things as well, like potatoes, leeks, kale, flowers and plenty of zucchini and summer squash.

CSA REGISTRATION still taking place!

How does it work?

We are still accepting registration for members to begin receiving shares in July.  Our program runs in 8 week sessions and you may join at any time.  Membership fees will be pro-rated accordingly. You will pay in advance for your session, and then receive your weekly share box once your session begins.
Pick up days are Friday after 2:30 pm 
Deliveries are made on Fridays in a fuel efficient Prius and will be at your home by 7 pm.

How much does it cost?
$200 - Basic Produce Box ($25/week pick up at farm)
$240 - With flowers ($5/week)
+$40 - With delivery ($5/week)
+$80 - With Hidden Fortress Farm Add-On ($10/week) options include sustainable coffee, jam and muffins and hand crafted apple cider vinegar
Add-On with delivery - 50% off delivery fee!

Returning CSA members take 5% off your Produce box (before Add-On and delivery fees)