December 29, 2007

Week 17

I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours. Our graphic designing daughter was home from Huntington Beach. My brother Mark visited with his family briefly. Christmas Eve here with Carol’s family the Henriksens and Christmas day at my mom’s with my brother Aaron and his family. Lots of other family gatherings and celebrations. Aren’t we of all people on the planet the most favored?
New Years’ Resolutions
I’ve got two. For Christmas, I gave Carol 12 gift certificates in 12 envelopes each labeled with a month of the year. They are promissory notes of a sort for monthly week-ends away. Sorry, you can’t come.
I don’t know about you, but my life is insanely busy. We want to get away but the weeks roll into months and we just don’t. When Carol opened her gift, our son Erik astutely commented “Looks like Dad gave himself a present.” Well, anything we do for our spouse is a gift to ourselves. I’m resolving to make a little bit of away time a priority in my 51st year.
The second, We’re going on an adventure of tasty, healthy, fresh, home grown, home cookin’. It’s an adventure to be sure because none of us have ever been down this path to this extent and certainly not as a group. Like many of you, our family ate organic when it made sense but we remain amazed at how good all this stuff eats. Because it’s tasty and we’re getting it every week, Carol’s searching for, trying and sharing new recipes. We’re feeling better because we’re eating better. I hope you’re diggin’ it as much as we are.
Next week I hope to bore you with the politics of food safety.
Eat Healthy!! Vernon

Those of you who have been with us since the beginning know what a long way the website has come. I hope all of you have taken the time, recently, to check out the changes to your account pages. On those pages you have the ability to set your vacation days, purchase add-ons, and rate the contents of the box you receive each week. You can look at your Subscription Overview and it will show you what weeks you have received deliveries, been on vacation or have placed a vacation stop for upcoming weeks. On the My Subscription Info page you can enter new billing info, if need be, change or order, or cancel your subscription.
As a reminder, you must place your vacation stop, or cancellation a minimum of 10 days prior to the affected delivery. It is always a good idea to check the Overview and make sure the correct vacation weeks are showing. If you discover a problem please let us know immediately.

Several subscribers have been inquiring about the grains Robert Jackson mentioned in a previous newsletter. Soon after the first of the year we will have several grains available as add-ons. They will be packaged in 2 and 5 pound bags. In last week’s newsletter we provided a web site address where you can do some comparison shopping for grain mills. That address is: and from there you can search “grain mills”

We realize that it is easy for busy schedules to sometimes cause subscribers to be late, or altogether forget about picking up their order at the scheduled delivery time. One of the reasons we can bring you this great stuff at a great price is that the truck and driver don’t sit in one place for a long period of time. That means the truck has to maintain a pretty tight schedule and has to leave at the appointed time in order to be at the next delivery. If you know ahead of time that you are going to be unable to pick up your box please have a friend or family member there to pick it up for you, or contact your host in advance to make arrangements. We have been lenient, but if you do not pick up your order it is left with your host. The hosts do not have a place to store your order in a manner that will maintain its freshness. An attempt will be made to reach you, but as is stated on the website any orders not picked up will be distributed to a charitable organization that provides food to those in need. We appreciate your cooperation.

Known as “swedes” in Europe, this turnip cousin, often used in stews, also works as a tasty side dish. The rutabaga has a flavor that hints of the light freshness of cabbage and turnip. That is probably because they are a cross between a wild cabbage and a turnip. Rutabaga is rich in beta carotene and an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C. Rutabagas will store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Try mashing one or two rutabagas and mixing them with your next batch of mashed potatoes. They will provide a beautiful golden color and an interesting taste. Rutabagas can be boiled, steamed or roasted, and served with mustard butter. (For a simple mustard butter, combine ¼ cup soft butter with 2-3 tsp Dijon mustard, one minced garlic clove, and some finely chopped parsley). There are lots of uses for rutabaga. There are even recipes available for Rutabaga Cake. You might be surprised your family may find a new favorite vegetable.
Be careful with that knife, rutabagas can be tough.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Satsuma Mandarin Oranges
M & K, Caruthers
-Cara Cara Oranges
John France, Porterville
-Fuji Apples
Ridder & Son, Watsonville
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Russet Potatoes
Family Farm, Madera
-Red Onions
John Tobias, Hollister
-Nantes Carrots
-Green Cabbage
-Snow White Turnips
-Red Beets
T & D Willey, Madera
Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

CAUTION! The juice from red beets does stain. Protect yourself and surrounding surfaces, and do quick cleanup. You can wear rubber gloves to protect your hands or you may use lemon juice to clean the stain from your fingers.


Roasted Winter Vegetables Preheat Oven to 425º
6-8 cups winter vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, beets, winter squash, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces or slices.
2 Tbls oil
1 Tbls dried or 3 Tbls fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley or oregano
Toss ingredients together (keep onions separate, as they will roast faster; add them to the pan 10 minutes into the baking time). Spread in a single layer on greased baking pan. Roast in pre-heated oven until tender, 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with roasted garlic sauce (optional)
Roasted Garlic Sauce
Slice top off of bulb of garlic exposing tip of each clove. Place on a square of foil and drizzle with 1 Tbls. of olive oil or just season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly and bake along side other vegetables until tender. Squeeze soft garlic into a small bowl, mash with fork, and stir in ¾ cup plain yogurt.

2 cups diagonally sliced carrots
¼ tsp caraway seeds
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 -10 ¾ oz cans condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 soup can milk
3 cups shredded cabbage
1 soup can water
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into ½ inch diagonal slices
In a large kettle, combine the carrots, butter and caraway seeds;
cook over low heat until the carrots are just crisp-tender, about 5
minutes. Add soup, milk, water, cabbage and sausage. Bring to a
boil; reduce heat and cook until cabbage is tender, about 15

December 22, 2007

Week 16

One of the prime original objectives of this dream we’re all embarked on was the restoration of community that seemed to be disappearing with our fast paced, specialized no front porch e-world.
The first thing is to intentionally restore a connectedness between farm and urban families. We’ve got a long way to go, but I think as you read the guest editorials and hear our farmer’s thoughts and hearts, enjoy their products, and respond with your ratings and comments, that’s coming along quite nicely. These are farms, not factories and farming is thankfully still more art than science, relationship than machinery. You’ll see as the nuts and bolts of the website get tightened up, our attention turn to more of that connectedness.
The second thing that I’m so stoked about is the interaction going on between you all at the pick-up sites. It seems the more subscribers at a drop the better the community. You are all out of the box thinkers. Sensibly health minded. Quality of life prioritizers. That hit me between the eyes a few Saturdays ago when I drove the delivery truck (genuinely my favorite part of this whole deal) I got to visit with each of you, observe your verve and motivation. Later that same day, I was scheduled to ring the Salvation Army bell in front of the huge retail establishment here in town. I watched folks coming out with take-out pizzas………………I gave you permission to slap me if I ever started going negative so suffice it to say I thought of you all home chopping and slicing and stir frying fresh organic veggies and it suddenly became a nice warm evening. There were three bells there and it took no more effort to ring all three and start singing Christmas carols and that kettle really started singing as well. Thanks for the motivation and the encouragement you all are in this endeavor.

The core driving economic and moral principle of this enterprise is “the only two entities that matter are the family that produced it and the family that eats it” We were convinced that both could benefit dramatically from an efficient collection and distribution system and this too is playing out nicely. Every single item in your box was either delivered to our place in harvest containers by the farmer or we picked it up at their place. As the dream grows, this gets easier and your value increases.
Now comes add-ons. It’s kind of hard to eliminate processing and pack-aging from a gallon of milk as an example. Bear with us as we feel our way through this and seek how to execute the best strategy for all of us. The Add-on section of the Web site is greatly improved now but nothing like it will be in another couple weeks. The vacation part is also a ton clearer, so the mix-ups should be solved.
All of us are smarter than any of us so if you see a solution or a local farmer or anything that will better satisfy the previous principle, let us know. That’s what family does.

Peace on earth good will toward men
A healthy robust community, whether in our towns, our state our nation or the world and the positive results there of can only be enjoyed if we’re willing to do the hard work of getting along with each other. Treating one another with dignity and honor. May your hearts be filled with joy and peace and love throughout the year

Eat healthy! Vernon

That is a question you may be asking yourself and the answer is probably Yuma, Arizona or Mexico. It is winter time and local, fresh leafy greens are hard to come by right now. We have one grower, T & D Willey who does a great job of growing the winter greens. However, there may be times when, due to weather, he cannot get into the fields to pick, or he is not harvesting them a particular week. As you know our commitment to you is that we will provide you local, fresh produce and so some weeks the leafy greens may be missing from your box.
What you will still find is great value, and perhaps more of an adventure. There are winter vegetables that many of us are not familiar with and would not select at the super market because we don’t know what to do with them. This newsletter is a resource and we try to provide you with information on different items each week, but the space is limited and what may be unusual to you may be very common, and a favorite of someone else. Your computer can be a great tool in learning about different fruits and vegetables, and how to prepare them.
Many of the winter vegetables lend themselves very well to stews and soups, and isn’t it the perfect weather for them? They also work well in casseroles. Many of these dishes can be made ahead and warmed up for hearty dishes another night of the week. Have fun, look at each new food as an adventure!

Beets are a versatile vegetable. They can be served hot or cold, pickled, roasted, juiced, deep fried or eaten raw. Store your beets unwashed in the crisper and they will keep for two to four weeks. Leave about 1 inch of the stem attached to prevent the beet from “bleeding”. Don’t peel beets until after they have been cooked. Wash beets gently under cool running water, taking care not to tear the outer skin. Leave the stem and root attached to be removed after cooking. For the best flavor beets should be baked, instead of boiling or steaming. Simply preheat your oven to 350º, place the beet in a pan with about an inch of water, cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until tender, about an hour. The skin will easily rub off under cold running water once they are cooked. You may want to wear rubber gloves to prevent staining of your hands, but if your hands are stained use a little lemon juice to clean them.
This week’s beets are Chioggia which has lovely red and white concentric rings when sliced. Show them off.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Satsuma Mandarin Oranges
M & K, Caruthers
-Braeburn Apples
Ridder & Son, Watsonville
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Red Onions
John Tobias, Hollister
Doreva Produce, Livingston
-Red Cabbage*
-French Breakfast Radishes
-Lovely Dill
-Nanpes Carrots
-Red Milano Turnips*
-Red Butterhead Lettuce
-Chioggia Beets
-Collard Greens*
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

For those of you who may be interested in researching grain mills you may do some comparisons at
From there search “grain mills”.

Stir-Fried Broccoli and Carrots Serves 6
2 Tbsp Oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup broccoli flowerets 1 cup carrots, sliced thin
1 small onion, cut into rings ¾ cup chicken broth
1 tsp seasoning salt 1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water 1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 can water chestnuts, drained
Heat oil, add garlic, broccoli, carrots and onion; stir fry for 1 minute. Add broth and seasoning salt, cover and cook about 3 minutes. Mix cornstarch and water, stir into vegetables. Cook and stir until thickened, about 10 seconds. Add water chestnuts and mushrooms. Cook and stir 30 seconds.

2 oranges, peeled & sliced
2 cooked beets, sliced in thin rounds
1 red onion sliced paper thin
salt, to taste
2 to 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces black olives, pitted
2 Tbs chopped fresh mint or cilantro
Slice oranges into 1/8 inch slices, removing all of the pits. Layer the sliced beets, the orange slices and onion, sprinkle lightly with salt and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with olives, and chopped fresh mint or cilantro.

December 15, 2007

Week 15

This week our guest farmer, and columnist, is Robert “Rob” Jackson who shares with us his insights on organic farming, the benefits of eating fresh and healthy, and he provides some information on whole grains and flour.

My name is Robert David Jackson and I’m married to Sarah Elizabeth, my lovely wife of 20 years. We are tree fruit farmers in a line of six plus generations of farmers on my father’s side. We have 5 children and we have always loved to eat healthy. Understanding what “eating healthy” means has been a growing endeavor. For me it began as a child as we ate fresh fruit and vegetables all the time. Some of my fondest memories as a child were the days we would “put up” corn or green beans or make cucumber pickles. Those days were family events where we would go out early and pick the produce, (corn was always the worst) then we would bring it back to the house where grandparents and great grandparents would be waiting to work together to shuck the corn or snap the green beans, blanch and then bag the produce for freezer storage.

Fresh ripe fruit has always been the norm around our house and because gardening vegetables has not been our habit we have especially appreciated the service cousin Vernon has provided in starting Abundant Harvest Organics. Salads were always a necessary chore to eat in my culinary game plan but since August I literally crave eating salads. In fact last night I had a third helping of salad and decided to finish off the whole bowl since everyone had finished eating. It is no joke, and I’ve been eating well for 42 years, since I’ve been eating all organic vegetables, I crave the taste and flavor of the many “greens” and carrots we’ve been getting.

Growing produce using organic methods has never been economically motivated on my farm. It has always had a deep spiritual meaning. The simple fact is: God created all plants, soil and insects and we, especially over the past 50 or so years have done an incredible job in altering God’s way of agriculture. Amazingly today, science is finally coming back to understand the incredible complexity and worth of organic growing methods. Briefly, as I was saying, the spiritual motivation for using organic methods for farming is based on the fact that God created everything including the highly complex systems of living soil that along with a symbiotic relationship with plant roots best harvest the minerals from the rocks of the earth. As a country and as a world we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on exploring space yet we hardly understand the oceans, our bodies and most amazingly soil and the interdependency we share between our health and soil and plant vitality. Soil is fascinating not to mention the partnership that organic growers have with trillions of our “friends” called “beneficial” insects. It is funny, organic growers like me get so excited when we find our insect friends flourishing. We are actually beneficial bug nurseries and day care providers and we do all of this in partnership with God’s original plan and methods for caring for and managing “the garden”.

O.K. now that I’ve taken up way too much space let me mention a few things about whole grains and flour. Bottom line, we are literally killing ourselves and our children by eating processed flour and baked goods from processed flour. According to one study conducted using mammals in Germany, a diet consisting of 50% protein and carbohydrates derived from white processed flour or 15 day old whole grain flour led to the infertility of a whole population by the fourth generation. Grains and bread have, since ancient times, been called the staff of life. In all our wisdom and in our pursuit of convenience and ease of profit we have directly contributed to the demise of our posterity. But who thinks about the next generation let alone four generations that follow us? Today is what is at the top of our “to do” list. My great grandpa Tays, from Cookeville, Tennessee used to razz my grandpa (his son-in-law) when he would sleep in till 4:30 am by saying, “Hershel, you’re going to sleep yourself to death.” We wonder why we battle obesity and all its resulting health complications in America; it is because we are eating ourselves to death. Just like when we mess with God’s way of agriculture, when we mess with God’s way of processing grain the ramifications are far reaching and serious. There are many advocates for fresh ground whole grain flour but rancid whole grain flour is just as bad as white processed flour, SO, bottom line, fresh, whole grain flour is always best. Grind only what you will immediately use. Second best is to store unused freshly ground whole grain flour in an airtight container in a cool dry location for no more than one week. By immediately freezing unused whole grain flour you can safely extend its nutritional life for up to a month.

What I recommend is to keep fresh and cleaned white and red hard winter wheat, barley, rye and yellow and white corn in stock in your pantry in small enough quantities that you would be sure to use them in 6 months and purchase a small “slow grind” stone mill to make your own flour and freeze until use. NO MORE FLOUR STORED IN THE DRAWER! Do it for your posterity and maybe for your posterior! An excellent well researched article on grains and fresh ground flour that I highly recommend reading is found at By the first of the year you will be able to order from Abundant Harvest a wide array of organic, cleaned whole grains for storage and processing at home as well as Noah’s fresh stone ground whole grain frozen flour.
That’s all for now folks, Shalom!

Don’t let kohlrabi be intimidating! It tastes like fresh, crunchy broccoli stems accented by radish. The round bulb is a swollen stem that grows above ground. Kohlrabi is widely used in Central Europe and Asia. Trim the leaves from the bulb and store the bulb unwashed in a plastic bag. They will hold for about a week in the refrigerator.
Kohlrabi is delicious eaten raw. Peel the outer skin with a paring knife. Slice, dice or grate and add to salads. Use on raw vegetable platters or serve with creamy dip. It can also be steamed or boiled. If you are cooking kohlrabi don’t peel it until after it is cooked. Steam or boil until the bulbs are tender, peel the skin, and season with butter, salt and pepper, a cheese sauce, or just enjoy plain.
The leaves may be enjoyed as a cooked green. Wash the leaves, remove the ribs. Blanch in boiling water until just wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and squeeze excess water from the leaves, chop and then sauté in a little olive oil or butter. Season with salt & pepper and add a splash of vinegar.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Butternut Squash
-Red Onions
John Tobias, Hollister
-Pink Lady Apples*
-Fuji Apples
Ridder & Son, Watsonville
-Russet Potatoes
Family Farm, Madera
-Colossal Garlic
Christopher Ranch, Gilroy
-Satsuma Mandarin Oranges
M & K, Caruthers
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Easter Egg Radishes*
-Nantes Loose Carrots
-Golden Beets
-Red Butterhead Lettuce*
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

We have a very limited number of Mary’s Organic Free Range turkeys available for delivery on December 21 and 22. They are larger than the ones made available for Thanksgiving. Place your order before 9:00 am Monday, December 17, to get yours.

Holiday Butternut Squash Bread
Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, place in a baking dish cut side up and add about ½ inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400º for 1 hour
2 cups Flour 1 ½ cups Sugar
1 cup Wheat Flour ½ cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder 1 tsp Cinnamon and Allspice
½ tsp Baking Soda, Salt & Nutmeg 2 cups Mashed Squash
½ cup Oil ½ cup Evaporated Milk
1 tsp Vanilla ½ cup Pecans Chopped
Combine all dry ingredients and mix. Combine all wet ingredients and mix. Add the two together. Grease two loaf pans, add the batter and before you bake sprinkle each loaf with approx. 1 Tbls of sugar.
Bake at 350ºfor 50-60 minutes

Arugula, Fennel, Apple, Mandarin Orange & Pomegranate Salad
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, minced ½ tsp (packed) grated lemon peel
1 large fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, very thinly sliced
1 8 ounce Fuji apple, halved, cored, cut into matchstick-size strips
6 cups trimmed arugula leaves
2 mandarin oranges, peeled, each cut crosswise into 3 slices
Pomegranate seeds

Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Combine fennel and apple in medium bowl; mix in 3 tablespoons dressing. Place arugula in large bowl. Add fennel-apple mixture. Toss, adding more dressing to taste. Divide salad on 6 plates. Garnish with slice and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

December 8, 2007

Week 14

As you know one of the goals of Abundant Harvest Organics is to establish more of a connection between you and the farmers that grow our food. Today we have the pleasure of hearing from John France, an organic farmer from Porterville, whose citrus we have been enjoying. John writes:
As 2007 comes to a close, most of us involved in agriculture look back in awe and say to ourselves, “did that really happen?” Probably all of us have had that feeling at one time or another over the past few seasons. We recognize that major events, both positive and negative have occurred and those events become part of our character.
For me the season started off with the freeze of 2007 which took out most of our remaining citrus. This freeze was unique in that it occurred “later” in the citrus season. One of the characteristics of citrus is that the later in the season they go before being picked, the greater the soluble solids level, (sugars) and the “tougher” the rind. In short, if this even had occurred 1 month earlier, the devastation would have been huge. However, as a result, the fears that most growers and industry leaders had of a total loss for California citrus were not to be. We learned something about the hardiness of citrus, micro climates, durations and a whole bunch of other facts about citrus and cold weather that we thought we knew but did not. My visits to various growers fields in the early morning hours during those cold nights, simply did not lead me to believe that any viable fruit was left. I was wrong. Personally, we did lose what we had left on the unpicked trees. Fortunately we had already picked enough to cover our cultural costs for the year. Many other citrus growers were able to continue to pick fruit over the next months with the assistance of packing technology that helped cull out the damaged fruit and as such the industry damage was not near as severe as first thought.
However, the cold weather was not done with me. On Easter morning we had a light frost. Late in the year this is simply a minor worry blip on my radar and when I went to sleep that night I wasn’t worried. When I woke up and walked out of the house, I still wasn’t worried. Until that is, a phone call from my field staff that said we got some leaf burn in a block of grapes. While not unexpected, it again was not a point of worry. I know the weather on my farm like the back of my hand and I can pretty much tell the nightly and daily temps shortly after walking out of the door in the morning. There was no apparent frost on the ground and I was satisfied that no damage had occurred, either to the grapes or the stone fruit. I was wrong. What was remarkable about this little frost event is that it happened in the middle of the night. The pre-sunrise morning temps which are usually the lowest had actually risen by the time I got up. My low temp on my temp alarm did not lead me to believe that anything had been damaged. However, the temperature was just low enough, in that one particular block of grapes, for just a few minutes long enough, at just the right time in the growth stage, to freeze those cells in the young shoots and bunches. No neighbors were affected; no other widespread damage was reported by the farm advisors office. In fact, it seemed I was the “one” grower that got nailed.
Usually, the coldest areas in any block that is damaged by freeze are usually on the edges due to higher levels of radiational heat loss. This night, that was not the case. Apparently there were just enough heat units on the perimeter roads to affect the first two rows around the entire perimeter of the vineyard. Everything from those two to four rows from the edge of the vineyard to the center of the vineyard was lost. Again, what I assumed after 34 years of farming was once again proved wrong. The only constant in farming is change.
But as I told people at the beginning of the freeze event in January that what hurts citrus usually benefits deciduous plants. At least in that I was right. For the most part, the peaches, nectarines, walnuts, did fairly well. For that I am grateful. As an organic farmer who is looking to the future and trying to figure out what to do and when to do it; I will remember 2007. What we have known may be changed, what we assume may be wrong. What was before may not be now. What does stay the same is the love of the land, its ability to produce, and the quality of eating what the soil grows. In eating the citrus and Satsumas that we are now producing, I am grateful that we are harvesting a crop in light of last seasons freeze. I am amazed at the sizes of the fruit which are quite large. It is hard to think, or even remember back to those low 20’s temperatures just a few months ago and think here we are again with another crop.
The cycles of farming are remarkably static and yet at the same time, are never ever exactly the same. It is in finding those subtle differences that make farmers successful, sustainable, and have the impact on others with the products we grow. Not only that, but also to always remember that we are merely stewards of the land for a short time. The One who created the soil from which we derive our living is the one to be thanked and honored.

If you were at the delivery site this week you got to sample the newest add-on that is being made available to you. Olson Organics, from right here in Kingsburg, has bottled organic fruit based sauces, and apricot jam that you won’t want to miss. These sauces are perfect as glazes for your roasted and barbequed meats, as companions to cream cheese and crackers, and for dipping. The delicious taste of organic summer peaches; plums and apricots have been blended with sun-dried chili peppers for a wonderfully unique taste.
The jam, because it has lower sugar content, is of a thinner consistency than you are used to in jam. It is delicious on French toast and pancakes or drizzled over ice cream. All of these items are available individually or there is a gift pack that contains all three of the sauces. Think Christmas!

Unfortunately because, as evidenced by John France’s commentary, farming can be unpredictable there may be times that we will have offered fresh fruits or vegetables as an add-on and then find they are not available. Please be assured if you have ordered and been charged for an add-on that is not available for delivery you will be refunded those add on charges.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Satsuma Mandarin Oranges
John France, Porterville
-Fuji Apples
Ridder & Sons, Watsonville
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Russet Potatoes
Family Farm, Madera
-Red Onions
-Spaghetti Squash*
John Tobias, Hollister
-Nantes Carrots
-Red Milano Turnips
-Red Butterhead Lettuce
-Chioggia Beets
-Bulb Fennel*
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery

  • Sautéed fennel and onions make a great side dish.
  • Combine sliced fennel with avocado and oranges for a delightful salad.

Broccoli Gratin
5-6 cups broccoli, or cauliflower, or combination
2 tbsp oil 1 onion thinly sliced
1 clove garlic minced ¼ cup flour
2 cups milk 1 tsp salt or to taste
¼ tsp pepper Pinch each ground nutmeg and ground red pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
Preheat oven to 350º
Steam vegetable just until crisp tender. Drain well and set aside. In a small saucepan sauté the onion and garlic in oil until fragrant and tender. Sprinkle flour on onion and garlic. Cook stirring constantly for about 3 min. without browning. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Add spices and cook 5 min. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese and remove from heat. Combine with broccoli and transfer to a 2 qt casserole or glass baking dish.

Broccoli Gratin Topping
1 cup bread crumbs 1 tbsp butter melted
¼ cup parmesan cheese grated 2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Combine ingredients and sprinkle on top of vegetable mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

Broccoli Salad
3 cups broccoli florets 1 cup raisins
10 slices bacon fried and crumbled, ½ cup red onion diced
or ½ cup bacon bits ½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup shredded cheese optional 2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar ¾ cup plain yogurt or mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients except sugar, vinegar and yogurt. Combine sugar and vinegar and stir to dissolve. Stir in yogurt until well blended. Pour over broccoli mixture and stir together.

December 1, 2007

Week 13

Who do you respect and why? Your minister, a missionary, teachers, craftsmen, shop keepers? Is it even a profession, or position, or is it less tangible like intellect or passion or courage? Perhaps we know who we respect specifically (and therefore who we disdain) but never thought of why.
Let me take a stab at it and see if you don’t agree. I respect attitude over position. I respect doers over talkers. I admire and want to emulate folks who see a problem (whether it’s in their work place, their home, their community) and set out to be part of the solution.
Don’t you just get tired of whiners? “My boss this, the government that, those other people over there aren’t doing their share.” Gag me with a spoon. We are Americans for crying out loud. 99% of us are the descendants of men and women who saw that where they were wasn’t going to work so they packed everything up, left
everything else behind and took action to make things better for themselves and us.
If you ever hear this organization start going negative, you have my permission in advance to slap me. We want to always be about the good and the healthy and the fresh and the tasty. Not that the other guy is destroying the planet. Okay everybody?
Now, one other little thought. We all know that wealth, beyond exiting poverty, does not add to well being or longevity. In fact, the evidence is quite the contrary. More wealth reduces well being because of all the contingent stress that comes with it.
I’m getting all these wonderful emails from you all about how you’re trying foods you’ve not tried before and how you’re cooking together and eating healthier and it just warms my heart. Give yourself permission to slow down and chop a carrot. Bake spaghetti squash and have fun with the insides. I’m talking to myself right now as much as all of you because I’m often the rat that’s a little behind in the race and if I just put in a little more effort I could be OK. What a crock. Let’s all slow down a bit and enjoy this good life and our families more.
Hey. Next week you’re going to hear from my great friend and mentor John France. We’ll be eating his citrus the next few months and it’ll be great to hear his perspectives on Organic from somebody who’s been at it since before it was cool.
Also next week my cousin Rob, who’s been milling his own flour for a long time, will tell us why fresh milled flour is important and maybe Sarah, his wife, can contribute some baking and storage tips. Their young son Noah will be launching his entrepreneurial career by offering this flour as an add on.
Eat healthy! Vernon

Kids love the adventure of eating pomegranates, but here is a piece of advice before you let them get to it. Put them outside in old clothes. Pomegranate juice makes a stain that is pretty much permanent. If you have never eaten a pomegranate you are in for a treat. When you break them open they are filled with hundreds of bright, glistening red seeds that are bursting with flavor. This is the part of the pomegranate that you want to eat. The white membrane that surrounds the arils (juicy seeds) is bitter and not recommended for consumption
The Pomegranate Council provides a 3 Step, No Mess method for removing the seeds. Cut off the crown and then cut the pomegranate into sections. Place the sections in a bowl of water, and then roll out the arils with your fingers. Discard everything else. Strain out the water, then eat the succulent arils whole, seeds and all.
One medium pomegranate will yield about ¾ cup of seeds or ½ cup of juice. Try sprinkling the arils over salads, fruit desserts, cakes or puddings. Top waffles, oatmeal, pancakes, cereal or sundaes with them. They make a healthy, brightly colored garnish and go well with savory or sweet dishes.
If you are going to juice this fruit it is recommended that you use a hand press juicer. An electric may get into the membrane and affect the flavor of the juice. Again, be careful the juice from the pomegranate does stain.

Studies at Rutgers University have determined that ounce for ounce out of the 27 most commonly consumed fruits; kiwi is the most nutrient dense. A serving of Kiwi has almost twice the vitamin C derived from an orange, 20% more potassium than a banana, and twice the vitamin E of an avocado, but has only 60% of an avocado’s calories.
Unlike more delicate fruit, kiwi will keep for several days at room temperature and up to four weeks in your refrigerator. This may surprise you but if your goal is maximum fiber and nutrition don’t skip the skin. Beneath that fuzz lies a treasure trove of nutrients and fiber, so rinse it off and bite in.
Kiwi fruit is a natural meat tenderizer because it contains Actinidin. Just crush the kiwi and use it alone or in a marinade, soaking even tough meats for not more than 30 minutes.
Actinidin will prevent gelatin from setting, so if you are going to serve kiwi in a gelatin dish, cook the fruit for a few minutes before adding to the gelatin.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Navel Oranges
John France, Porterville
Brandt Farms, Reedley
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Romaine Lettuce*
-Yellow Onions
John Icardo, Lamont
Wm Bolthouse, Bakersfield
-Russet Potatoes
Family Farm, Madera
Pafford Farms, Firebaugh
-Yellow Sweet Peppers*
-French Breakfast Radishes*
-Red Butterhead Lettuce
-Baby Dill
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

Dill is a natural to be paired with fish, mild cheese, cucumbers, egg dishes, cream sauces, and is especially good on potatoes.

If you find you have more dill than you can use, dry the excess in the microwave. Spread the dill in a single layer on a paper towel and microwave on high for 3 minutes. The result is beautiful and tasty – much better than the dried dill you buy in the grocery store. After microwaving, remove and discard the hard stems, crumble the leaves, and store in an airtight container protected from light.

This Week's Recipe

1 lb hamburger 1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic ¼ Tsp oregano
1 pkg. Schilling Taco dry mix 2 cans beef broth
1 large can stewed tomatoes 1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans 1 can whole corn
¼ t ½ head cabbage cut into pieces

Brown hamburger with onion and garlic. Once they are browned add all remaining ingredients (including all juices from the cans). Simmer on low about 2 hours. When ready to eat portion into bowls. Prior to eating crumble a handful of tortilla chips and grated cheese on top and enjoy. Soup may be frozen for later use.

You can even put it in a quart jar and give it as a Christmas gift.