Today’s CSA Box – Week of November 13, 2017

 

 

*Click on produce above for more information and Recipes

 

Veggie Tips

Dear loyal Thanksgiving week members,

All of you who are getting your CSA box some time between Friday 11/17 through Wednesday 11/22 are going to receive our special Thanksgiving box. Note that we are including 1/2-lb of walnuts in the box.  We are packing these in a zip lock bag.  If any of you have a nut allergy, we apologize — please let us know so that we can keep track of that for future reference. We usually put our nuts and sun dried fruit in your CSA boxes once or twice a year, usually around the holiday season.

Carrots – Included in this week’s Recipe of the Week.

Rutabagas – We have rutabaga recipes on our web site.  Rutabagas add a wonderful flavor to soups or roasted roots.

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Collards

Walnuts – Ready for breakfast yogurt or chocolate chip cookies.  It is also easy to toast them on a baking sheet in the oven, or a pan on the stovetop.  The toasted walnuts can be sprinkled over salad.

Potatoes – These freshly dug new potatoes are creamy and delicious.  

Dill – Great with the potatoes, or perhaps as a substitute for the cilantro in our Recipe of the Week.

Leeks

News From the Farm | November 13, 2017

Getting Dinner on the Table

Years ago at a Farmers Market, one of our CSA members opened his CSA box and said to me, sounding a bit exasperated, “I just need to get dinner on the table after work so the kids can go to bed on time.”   I don’t remember what it was about the box that he was responding to, but his comment worried me.  We hear similar expressions of frustration whenever we put too many pomegranates in the box — “So much time, so little return” –– or when there is 1/2 pound of spinach and the cook needs a whole pound to complete a chosen recipe.  

I have come to realize that we are in our own private produce reality at Full Belly, cracking open watermelons in the heat of the summer and devouring them whole, or crunching our way through an entire bunch of carrots from our ‘quality control’ CSA box before the rest of the vegetables have even been noticed.  You can find snacking-bowls full of pomegranate seeds in most of the kitchens around the farm these days, and huge oversized cabbages greeted with comments like, “I LOVE cabbage!” Full Belly interns often arrive at the farm with very little experience of beets, chard, rutabaga or daikon — but each of them is assigned to cook lunch for several dozen farm hands once a week.  Of course the results are varied, but I do think that those that arrive saying they can’t cook and don’t want to, leave the farm with more kitchen-confidence.

Recipes are one way to figure out your way around the challenge of getting dinner on the table — whether handed down as a family heirloom, borrowed from the internet, or found in a cookbook, the best ones are pearls of wisdom practiced over and over by the author until the kinks have been worked out. I have somehow collected an extensive library of cookbooks.  Many of them are beautiful books, full of evocative photos of people, ingredients, places and feasts.  Others in my library, like several editions of The Joy of Cooking, or The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl have no photos, just hundreds of recipes.

Several of the cookbooks that I enjoy the most take a relaxed approach to the use of recipes and I think that this is the approach that is needed for anyone preparing dinner out of a CSA box (or preparing for dinner by shopping at the farmers market).  It is the contents of the CSA box that inspire the cook more than the recipe. The relaxed approach starts with some basic ingredients and techniques, but admits endless variations from that point forward.  In our kitchen, we don’t often use our cookbooks at dinner time, but are more likely to read them when we have a few extra minutes over coffee and tea on Sunday morning.  When it comes to preparing an everyday dinner, vegetables are almost always the base, and using whatever is at hand is part of the challenge and fun.

Here are some chef comments from a few cookbooks in my collection (available at your local library):

“Anyone can cook anything and make it delicious.  Whether you’ve never picked up a knife or you’re an accomplished chef, there are only four basic factors that determine how good your food will taste: salt, which enhances flavor; fat, which amplifies flavor and makes appealing textures possible; acid, which brightens and balances; and heat, which ultimately determines the texture of food.” 

     Samin Nosrat, Salt Fat Acid Heat, Simon & Schuster, 2017 

“Many times the best dish is the simplest:  vegetables steamed or sautéed and finished with a bit of olive oil or butter and lemon….”

     Alice Waters, The Art of Simple Food, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2007

“Having an arsenal of herb-laced, vinegar-spiked, spicy, sour, and sweet salsas, pestos, aioli, and herb emulsions on hand makes it easy for us to add flavor to a dish quickly and without much fuss.”

     Travis Lett, Gjelina, Cooking From Venice, California, Chronicle Books, 2015

“You may not have farmer friends who are hooking you up with perfect vegetables, but maybe you have a garden yourself or an excellent local market.  Either way, at some point, if you are paying attention, there will come along that vegetable that is so clean, so flawless, that you’ll know you need only put a pot of water on to boil, adding nothing but a dose of salt.  You’ll reach for that tiny turnip or cute carrot and it will look up at you and with pale, dewy eyes, ask, ‘Is my bath ready?’ “

     Cal Peternell, Twelve Recipes, HarperCollins Publishers, 2014 

“Cooked cabbages, which people often fear will be strong tasting and smelly, simply are not, especially if you cook them quickly… When cooked relatively briefly, there is nothing to dislike, for cabbage is, in fact, a delicate vegetable that can be led in numerous directions. Sliced and gently simmered or steamed in a skillet with more forceful elements such as rosemary, blue cheese, cream, toasted peppercorns, or smoked salt, it is close to divine.”

     Deborah Madison, Vegetable Literacy, Ten Speed Press, 2013

Blessings on your meals 

—Judith Redmond

Thanksgiving Week CSA Deliveries

Thanksgiving will be here soon and for many that means traveling to family and friends to celebrate our many blessings. Full Belly WILL be delivering CSA boxes the full week of Thanksgiving. For our Thursday members – Your boxes will be delivered on Wednesday, Nov. 22nd. If you would like to change your box schedule for that week, please let us know 5 days in advance – Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving From Full Belly Farm!

Add These Delicious Treats to Your CSA Box

We can deliver the following products with your CSA box to your pick-up site.  For additional information about any of these products email or phone us (800-791-2110).

Pumpkin Tea Cake – $10 for a 1 lb. loaf. This amazing tea cake is made with FBF Butternut squash, FBF eggs, organic canola oil, organic sugar, FBF Frasinetto flour, organic cinnamon, organic cloves, organic nutmeg and salt. It should be kept refrigerated and used within a week, or it can be frozen.

Apricot Jam – This delicious jam is made from Full Belly organic Apricots plus a little organic sugar and lemon juice. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Peach Jam – Made from Full Belly organic peaches, plus a little organic sugar and lemon juice. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Tomato Jam – The only ingredients are Full Belly organic Early Girl tomatoes, organic sugar and organic lemons.  A nice short list of ingredients and a perfect balance between sweet and acid. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Marmalade – Bright and sweet, our marmalade is made with Full Belly Farm organic navel oranges, organic lemons and organic sugar.  We make our jams and marmalades in small batches to preserve the flavor and color of the fruit. $8 for a 9-oz jar or $90 for a case of 12.

Safflower Oil – Our organically grown safflower makes oil that is a deep, rich yellow color.  This oil is buttery and earthy in flavor.  It can be used in high-heat cooking.  Stored it in a cool, dark place, it will keep for a year after opening.  You can order 250 mL ($13) or  500 mL ($25).

Olive Oil – Organically grown olives pressed on a non-organic certified press.  $15 for 250mL  or  $27 for 500mL.

Red Tomato Sauce and Jubilee Tomato Sauce – Made with Full Belly organic tomatoes harvested at the height of the summer when they are full of incredible hot summer flavor. The Jubilee Sauce is made from our beautiful orange Jubilee Heirloom Tomatoes.  The Red Sauce is made from Romas. Other ingredients are organic salt, rosemary and oregano.  The bottles are shelf stable until opened — Refrigerate after opening. $12.00 for 24-oz bottle, $120 for a case of 12. Please specify Red or Jubilee when ordering. 

Fermented Dill Pickles – Made with Full Belly Farm organic cucumbers, water, salt, organic garlic, organic spices, organic grape leaves and organic tarragon.  If you like dill pickles, you will be really glad to have found these — they are some of the best. $8.00 for 1 quart.

Olives – Green olives, water & salt. $10 for a pint.

Pomegranate Juice – Unpasteurized and not diluted — this juice is just the pure product pressed from our organic pomegranates harvested late in the fall of every year.  This juice is an incredible source of vitamin C — it’ll cure what ails ya! The juice is frozen when we put it into your CSA box, but is likely to have started to defrost by the time you get it home.  Please store it in your refrigerator. $7 for a pint  or  $13 for a quart

Lard – Made with organic fat from our pasture-raised pigs.  Less saturated fat and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight. $9 for 16 oz. jar.

Bone Broth – (frozen beef & pork combination) – $15/ quart

Whole Egg Pasta – Sent to you from our freezer.  Store it in your refrigerator and use within 5 days. $8 for 12 oz

Pie Dough –  $5 for a 9-inch pie.  Frozen when we ship it, use within 3 days. 

Pizza Dough – For a 14-inch pizza. $6/ dough ball. Frozen when we ship it, use within 3 days.

Sesame Seeds – $5/ quarter pound

Walnuts – $12/ pound 

Cornmeal – Contact us for information about the  corn varieties that we offer as cornmeal or corn kernels. 

Sun Dried Peaches – $5/ half pound

Sun Dried Tomatoes – $4/ quarter pound 

Sun Dried Figs – $5/ half pound 

Wheat Flour –  Contact us for information about our heirloom wheat flour varieties, also sold as wheat berries. 

Cotton Bags (11.5 x 12.5 inches) – $8 for 5 bags 

Veggie Tips

Green Cabbage:  Cabbage is packed with beneficial vitamins and minerals.  It can be eaten raw in coleslaws, but can also be added to stir fry and soups, or for a challenge, try stuffing it with a rice or meat blend.

Kohlrabi: Kohlrabi is a delightful vegetable.  You will need to peel off the tough outer layer to get to the sweet and tender middle.  It is good raw, grated into salads or dipped into dressing.  Be careful when peeling!

Carrots: Our winter carrots are the best!  We grow a variety called Nantes, which is known for being particularly tender and sweet.  They are great eaten raw, or can be pickled, chopped and roasted with a bit of oil and some brown sugar and salt, as well as great in soups and stews.  

Pomegranate:  If you have kids, I suggest that pomegranates be eaten outside with either no clothing or black clothing.  🙂  They are MESSY!  But they are so good for you that it balances out the hassle of red stains on clothing.  They are very high in anti-oxidants and reduce inflammation.  A true super food!

Chard:  We grow many different colors of chard including red, orange, green and white.  The stems and leaves are usually cooked separately, as the stems will take longer.  I like to remove the leaves from the stems, chop the stems into 1” chunks, and sauté them with some olive oil.  When they are almost done, add in the leaves with a small splash of water.  Chard is high in potassium and Vitamin E.

Winter Squash: If you get tired of winter squash, try turning it into pie or pumpkin bread!  I have made pies with all of the squash varieties that we grow on the farm, and they all work well!

Leeks: Leeks are alliums, related to onions, garlic and shallots, although they are much more mild than an onion.  I use them most often to add flavor to soups, but they can also be used any way that you would use an onion.  To wash them, cut off the woody green end and leaving about three inches at the top of the leek, cut down vertically right through the middle.  Swish the leeks in a bowl of water to get out any dirt that may be hiding in the rings.  

Spinach:  Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked.  It is rich in beta-carotene and lutein, which are both good for eyesight.   I like it best sautéed, with a squeeze of lemon juice, a bit of sea salt, and a sprinkle of feta cheese.

News From the Farm | November 6, 2017

On November 1st, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) issued a recommendation that crops grown in water rather than in soil (hydroponically), should be eligible for certification as organically grown as long as they followed the other elements of the organic rule — no use of chemical pesticides for example.

Many organic farmers are deeply concerned that Organic Certification is getting watered down(!) because of the increasing power of agribusiness in the organic industry. Note that this struggle for the heart and soul of Organic Agriculture didn’t just start with the hubbub about hydroponics. Some of our readers may remember that when the first draft of the national rule was proposed in 1997, the USDA and DC lobbyists had incorporated GMOs, irradiation and sewage sludge. This issue generated the most comments the USDA had ever received as people nationwide protested the inclusion of the “Big Three,” resulting in their elimination in the Final Rule of 2002. [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Green Beans: We had green beans planted all summer but lost most of them to hungry deer. We are happy that we are now able to include them in your boxes. This is one of the crops that we plant mostly for CSA members and our farmers market customers. We pick the green beans by hand, which results in superior quality to machine-picked beans, but it increases the cost and makes them too expensive to sell to stores.

Beets: You have received Beets in the box for several weeks running. If you would like some great recipe ideas, visit our recipe archive.

Cherry Tomatoes: Probably the last for 2018!

Cranberry Beans: These wonderful fresh beans should be removed from their shells and cooked in water. While they are going to take less time to cook than dry beans, you should still make sure to cook them all the way through — at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Pomegranates: See the video on our website that describes how to easily remove the seeds.

Red Russian Kale: See our recipe of the week.

Mizuna: This mild green can be eaten raw in salads, or very lightly cooked. It goes well with sesame seeds or sesame oil.

News From the Farm | October 30, 2017

After a decade of dedicated planning, community organizing and fundraising, the Capay Valley is looking forward to construction of a Park and Aquatic Center in Esparto, the small town at the mouth of the Valley. A multitude of individuals and organizations donated countless hours to secure funding from various agencies so that the Capay Valley will soon be home to a swimming pool, soccer field and baseball/softball field. [Read more…]

New CSA Pick-Up Site

Full Belly started a new pick-up site in San Francisco at the Last Minute Gear Shop on 24th Street near So. Van Ness Avenue. This is a Wednesday pick-up and the hours are 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. See our web site to place your order. Please help us spread the word and tell your family, friends and co-workers about this new CSA site – Thanks!

Veggie Tips

Pomegranates: The best way to de-seed a pomegranate is to cut it in half, and submerge it in a large bowl of water.  Gently remove the seeds into the water with your fingers.  The pith will float to the surface of the water and can be easily skimmed off, and the seeds will remain at the bottom of the bowl.  Pomegranates are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can eat the seeds plain, or add them to salads, oatmeal, muffins, or on top of cooked winter squash.

Mizuna is a delicious brassica, and is also called Japanese mustard.   Since it is so hardy, try it raw with a strong salad dressing like blue cheese or caesar.  It can also go into a stir fry, is great with cooked grains like barley or wheat berries, and can even go in pasta (substitute it for spinach or kale). 

Green Kabocha Squash is exceptionally sweet ~ similar to a butternut squash except a bit drier in texture.  This squash can be cut into chunks and steamed, or halved, de-seeded and roasted with olive or coconut oil and a bit of salt.  Kabocha squash packs a serious nutritional punch, and is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin K and potassium.  The skin is edible once cooked!

News From the Farm | October 23, 2017

Gifts that keep on Giving

Believe it or not there are just six short weeks (shorter because the daylight seems to be slipping away!) until Full Belly Farm takes its winter hibernation break. The farm goes into its light slumber from December 10th through January 8th – “light” because there are always home projects on the list, attending to all of those things that got left on the back burner during a busier-than-ever summer. Somehow the past nine farm months have been packed with more things than we can remember –weddings, garden tours, summer campers, school visits… oh and yes the picking and packing of thousands and thousands of boxes of produce.

Before the break starts we have another long list of “finishing up” projects: picking 3 tons of olives, pulling stakes from 15 acres of tomatoes, sowing cover crops, spreading compost before the winter rains start, and most importantly –selling all of our fall crops and all of the wonderful things we have been “putting” away for you this summer –jams, dried fruits, nuts and lots of dried flowers! [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Broccoli: Our first broccoli of the fall season is always a hit. Don’t be afraid to eat the stem as well. Once the skin is peeled off you can serve raw in a salad, roasted or stemmed with the rest of the broccoli. Once washed I love cutting the broccoli into big pieces and roasting in the oven. 

Pomegranates: You know it’s fall time when the pomegranates start to roll in. These are often enjoyed as a snack, but have the potential for much more. Cut them open and de-seed them in a big bowl of water. The seeds will sink to the bottom while the white pith floats to the top. Once separated these treats can go in salad, on top of desserts or over a bed of roasted winter squash. 

Red Kuri Squash: This squash is excellent when prepared in a soup as it has a nutty flavor and creamy texture. However, you can also cube it with the skin on and roast it in the oven. It can be kept simple with salt and olive oil to bring out the flavor or mix it up with some fun ingredients like cardamom. If your not sure what to do keep your squash on the counter, you have plenty of time to think about it.

News From the Farm | October 16, 2017

Last week Judith wrote a brief thanks for all who participated in this year’s Hoes Down Harvest festival. I would like to start this week’s Beet with a bit more if you can bear with me.  After a week of picking up the last of the remnants of the festival and putting them all away, there is a lingering sweetness for all of us here about the whole experience.  For those of you who attended, perhaps you have your own best moment, but there are a few for me that I would like to share. 

The Hayfort….

 We have been doing this structure for nearly all 30 years of the festival. Every year the builders request more straw bales- this year nearly 600 bales of straw were arranged safely to provide tunnels, climbing and scrambling, pirate lookouts, interior dark places and tight squeezes- designed to be too small for big folks- in fact parents aren’t allowed inside- it is a place to be brave and fearless- always remarkable for me how we as a species like to climb to the top, how we are explorers at heart and how our children have such stout hearts to navigate dark passages. [Read more…]

Veggie Tips

Green Beans:  These can easily be cooked in a skillet with a bit of water.  The beans are good when they are cooked crisp-tender.  Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, lemons, sesame seeds or mix them with other vegetables.

Greens: Spinach, Dino Kale and Mizuna.  The mizuna is a light Asian green that needs very little cooking.  The dino kale can be cooked in lightly salted water.  When it is tender, drain the water and add a dash of oil, lemon or vinegar and salt or tamari.  Our recipe of the week is a great way to use the spinach.

Lemon Verbena: We serve lemon verbena tea at a lot of our farm dinner events — It’s good cold or hot.  Remove the leaves from their stems and bruise or cut them up and then steep them with some water and honey or sugar.  Adding some mint leaves makes the tea really special.

News From the Farm | October 9, 2017

It’s hard to know quite what to say about the experience of having 5,500 people sweep through the farm over the weekend to set up a Festival and then take it right back down. The Hoes Down Harvest Festival was on Saturday 10/7.  It left us with many memories to share. This is truly a very special community event.  We had over 600 volunteers doing their shifts as best they could, coming to the Hoes Down to do their part to help.  There are families, many of whom are CSA members, that have been coming to the Festival for decades, so that it has become a family tradition for them and from our point of view, the Hoes Down wouldn’t be the same without them.  We want to thank all of our CSA members who came and helped out in so many big and little ways.  We truly appreciate all of you.

These kids made friends with a very special scarecrow.

We got a lot of dishes very dirty, and ran out of cleaning up steam on Saturday night.

Veggie Tips

Red Beets:  We have a great archive of beet recipes

Bok Choi: Bok choi can be used like other greens. The great thing about it is that the stem will provide a bit of contrasting texture and crispness compared to the leaves.  Bok choi is a type of Chinese cabbage.  It’s good with a bit of garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and even a dash of sesame oil if you have some on hand.

Stir Fry:  These are the tender greens that we harvest out of the beds, giving the remaining plants room to grow.  There are leaves of baby red Russian kale, chard, karinata kale, arugula, mizuna and dino kale.  If the leaves are very wet when you receive them, you might want to let them dry a little bit before putting them into the refrigerator.

News From the Farm | October 2, 2017

The boxes changed quickly this year, from themes on tomatoes, melons, eggplants and peppers to a preponderance of chard, arugula, radishes and winter squash.  It’s as if we mark the seasons as much by what we eat as by the weather.  Hints of Fall first made themselves known with a change in the quality of the light and sun, both more gentle than before.  In a flash, the temperatures might rise again — we can’t say goodbye to hot weather, but the days are shorter and there’s a Fall smell in the air.  It’s enough to make one believe that the summer may soon pass on its way as Autumn comes around.

[Read more…]

CSA Flowers

CSA flowers are gone for this year. We appreciate and Thank You for supporting our CSA flowers. We hope you have enjoyed the beautiful variety of flowers this year.

Veggie Tips

Eggplant:  We have a great archive of 25 different eggplant recipes.

Mizuna: We are growing both green and red mizuna. You can lightly steam this in a pan using the water that stays on the leaves when you wash them.  Then add a little sesame, or olive oil, or soy sauce and you have a delicious side dish. Mizuna has a very mild flavor, so much so that it can be eaten raw as a salad green.  It is a great addition to pasta, or miso soup as well.

Hard Squash: We grow many varieties of hard squash and they become a staple of our meals in the fall and winter.  We make a lot of soups with them, but they are also a great vegetable to use when you want a quick and easy meal — just bake them until soft.  Hard squash does not need to be refrigerated!