March 15, 2008

Week 28

Vernon's Corner
Oh sure, we’ve got great, fresh Organic produce at unbelievably reasonable cost. Yeah, you can get McAfee raw dairy and Mary’s free range and Glaum eggs and yada yada yada great stuff delivered right to your town so your family can eat healthy without driving all over Christmas on $4.00 fuel to do it, but that’s just a small part of what this is about.
Let’s talk about fun. When we see boys and girls of all ages excited about what’s in the box this week. Wow. What’s that worth? I asked one 8 year old kid what his favorite was and he said with a sparkle “the parsnips!” No way. “Way”
Let’s talk about adventure. All the time we get “We never would have bought some of this stuff, but we’re following the recipes and finding out we love most of it, and we’re sure not bored.” When we ask “where should we go for dinner”, everybody says “HOME!” By the way, if you didn’t try the Hearty Broccoli soup last week, you really messed up. You could throw in some ham if you’d like or substitute cauliflower, but quick and awesome…Wow!
Let’s talk about saving money and enjoying life. If you flip one meal a week from restaurant to home, the produce becomes free and if everybody gets involved with the prep and clean-up, mom gets what she’s really after, which is intimate family time. If you can avoid one trip to the doctor or one missed day of work because you’re eating healthy… I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather pay the farmer as the doctor any day.
Let’s talk about community. Loosen up a bit at the pick-up site folks. Get to know your neighbors. You’re rubbing shoulders with the smartest, most interesting, adventurous, healthy people in town. Take the opportunity to get to know them. You’ve already got a lot in common so kick it up a notch. I believe they call that networking these days. We always called it getting to know your neighbors. Soon you’ll be able to click and connect with all the farmers to help fill that farm shaped hole that exists in the heart of every human who has one.
We’re only six months into this thing. We’re learning every day. There’s so much we’ll do different next winter. From every angle, this is new and largely uncharted. We see a problem or an opportunity and fix it which always (not usually) creates another unforeseen situation which we solve the next week. Are we going to change the way Californians source food? Lord willing. But it’s all lost if we don’t step back and take in the big picture, relax, enjoy the process and have true fun along the way.
We start thinning apricots Monday. They’re the size of the end joint of your little finger right now, but you’ll be enjoying them in a month and a half. Six weeks of thinning followed hopefully by six months of steady harvest if we miss hail and frost. It’s what we do, but for the first time, we’ll get to know some of the folks we’re growing it for. EAT HEALTHY!

The newsletter, from time to time, has included storage tips for various fruits and vegetables. As the weather warms proper care of your fruit and vegetables becomes more important. You cannot pick up your box of produce, keep it in the trunk of your car for a couple of hours and then expect it to be fresh when you get it home. Most fresh vegetables water content is in excess of 90%. Once they are harvested, and cut off from their water supply they must be kept moist and cool. That is why we have crisper drawers on our refrigerators that are designed to trap moisture inside.
After vegetables are harvested it is important to keep the life processes, respiration and water loss, at low levels. During respiration sugars and other compounds are broken down within the cells. The higher the temperature, the faster the respiration rate so you can see the importance of refrigeration in prolonging the life of harvested vegetables.
Water loss in fresh vegetables results in a wilted appearance, change in color and loss of nutritional value. The best way to prevent water loss is to store the vegetables in a high humidity low temperature environment.
Abundant Harvest Organics does everything possible to ensure that your produce is stored in a proper environment from the time it is picked up to the time it is delivered to you. To get the maximum enjoyment and benefit out of your investment be sure you get them properly stored quickly.

Most vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator in order to preserve their freshness. The exceptions to that are potatoes, mature onions, hard squashes, eggplant and rutabagas. These items keep well in cool rather than cold storage. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, and garlic should be kept away from direct sunlight, at room temperature.
Tomatoes should be kept in the refrigerator only after they are fully ripe and only for a short time.
Leafy greens should be washed, drained well, wrapped in a paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and stored in the crisper. If the paper towel becomes saturated, replace it on occasion.
With root vegetables such as carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, and radishes you should remove the tops and put them in a plastic bag before you place them in the crisper. If you plan to eat the tops, they may be stored as you would leafy greens.
We obviously can’t cover every vegetable here, but these are some guidelines you can use to help keep your vegetables fresh and nutritious.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Navel Oranges
M & K, Caruthers
-W. Murcott Mandarin Oranges
Rick Schellenburg, Kingsburg
-Red Potatoes
Family Farm, Madera
-Red Onions
John Tobias, Hollister
Christopher Ranch, Gilroy
Hans Wilgenburg, Dinuba
-Broccoli Crowns
-Italian Parsley*
Joe Heger, El Centro
-Nantes Carrots
-Tuscan Kale
-Bloomsdale Spinach*
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

Are you missing being able to give us your comments as much as we miss getting them? The How Are We Doing? option will be back soon so keep your eyes open and be ready to tell us what you think.

Spring Quiche Trio
Preheat Oven to 425º
3 eggs 1 cup evaporated milk
¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp pepper
Beat together and set aside.

Potato Crust
3 cups uncooked potatoes (coarsely grated) 3 Tbsp oil
Mix together. Press into bottom and sides of 9” pie pan. Bake in preheated oven at 425º until just starting to brown, about 15 minutes.
(A 9” pie crust may be used in the place of the potato crust.)

Spinach-Broccoli filling
1 cup onion or leeks, thinly sliced 1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 cups spinach 1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded½ cup bacon, cooked & crumbled
Sauté onion and broccoli together in a pan for 5-10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Place bacon and cheese in the bottom of the prepared crust. (Reserve ¼ cup of cheese) Top with the spinach-broccoli mixture. Pour on egg mixture, that had been set aside, over the top and sprinkle with reserved cheese.
Bake in preheated oven at 425º for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º and bake until browned on top and set in the middle, another 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.
Ham may be substituted for bacon.

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