April 19, 2008

Week 33

I know enough about wiring to keep motors, pumps, fans and lights working around the farm. The fact that I can do it (like a lot of things), doesn’t mean I understand it all. Like so many things, we learn enough to get the job done. But there is one very basic principle regarding electricity that explains why I’m still alive after all these years and that’s “Power always wants to go to ground” In fact, when I’m showing the guys how to run wire or swap out a motor, I tell ‘em that “if you get the ground right, the worst that’s going to happen is a tripped breaker. But if you don’t—and this is where I grab ‘em by the wrist and look ‘em in the eye for emphasis—that power’s lazy and looking for the closest ground it can find which is probably you on this aluminum ladder in the mud. With the insurance money, your widow will be able to marry some good looking guy next time!” A brief window into the Vernon school of effective education. There’s no doubt several points to be made from that analogy, but the one that struck me today is that a positive charge for some reason seemingly related to laziness, would rather just go to ground and be lost than to do all the wonderful things that make our lives better and brighter.
Have any of you been on an Organic website or blog lately? My goodness. It seems that invariably they’re telling you how Monsanto’s scheming to mess up the world or evil giant corporate factory farms are filling our bodies with poison. Is there some shortage of positive message? Fourth grade was the hardest three years of my life, but I could sit here and type the positive message for months. How about improved health of both urban and farm families because of the incredible nutrient densities we’re achieving. Reduction of allergies and asthma, ADD and obesity. Why not present all the positives of improved flavor which leads to families cooking and eating at home more and enjoying friends and fellowship and community? I know it’s not because of meanness. Rather, it’s just easier to “go to ground” than to employ the positive and make the world better and brighter. It’s easier to point out the short comings of the alternative than the benefits of your own. Politicians if you’ve noticed seem to be that way for the last several years. Instead of the positive value of what they’ve done, they spend all their effort pointing out why the other guy’s bad. It’s easier and safer which explains why we have no cohesive energy, immigration or foreign policy. They’re against, not for, negative instead of positive. It’s easier that way.
But here’s the deal. It’s the pos-itive charge that turns the motors & makes the world better and brighter. It’s the positive charge that your neighbor and coworker and family and community are crying out for right now and you don’t need to be fake or phony about it. Realistically, at any time, any of us could point out a dozen things to be jazzed about right here, right now. EAT HEALTHY

The question has been asked “So what is the difference between a mandarin orange and a tangerine?” The answer is that Mandarin orange is a term that applies to an entire group of citrus fruits. What can get confusing is that although a tangerine is a mandarin orange, not all mandarin oranges are tangerines. This, however, does not stop the terms “mandarin orange” and “tangerine” from being used interchangeably. Tangerines are the most common variety of fresh mandarin orange found in the US. Most are sweeter than their other citrus cousins, have bright orange skin that is easy to peel, and inner segments that are easily separated.
Mandarin refers to the bright orange robes worn by the Mandarins, public officials of the ancient Chinese court. These delectable fruits were often reserved strictly for the privileged class in the Far East. Mandarin oranges have been cultivated in China for over 3,000 years. The first mandarin oranges exported were shipped from the city of Tangiers in Morocco, hence the name tangerines.
Mandarin oranges make a colorful, sweet accent in green salads; they work well in sweet and sour sauces, and are especially good in desserts. They are less acidic than oranges and generally sweeter.
Mandarin oranges may be stored in a cool, dark spot for a few days, but ideally should be refrigerated to extend shelf life up to two weeks.

This must be the week for finding answers to questions. Last week one of the subscribers made the comment on site “The yolks of the eggs don’t appear to be as yellow lately”. That inspired some research.
Did you know that the yolk color depends on the diet of the hen? If she is getting lots of yellow-orange plant pigments they will be deposited in the yolk. If a hen is fed mashes containing yellow corn meal and alfalfa meal she will lay eggs with a medium yellow yolk, while those eating wheat or barley will lay eggs with a lighter colored yolk. Natural yellow-orange substances such as marigold petals may be added to light-colored feeds to enhance yolk color. Artificial color additives are not permitted.
The color of the shell is determined by the breed of the hen.
The good news is based on information from several sources; neither the color of the shell nor the color of the yolk has anything to do with the quality, flavor, nutritive value, or cooking characteristics of the egg.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Valencia Oranges
Maria Ishida & Lynn Takemoto, Porterville
-W. Murcott Mandarin Oranges
Rick Schellenburg, Kingsburg
Hans Wilgenburg, Dinuba
-Red Onions*
John Tobias, Hollister
-Romaine Lettuce*
-Red Leaf Lettuce
Frank Icardo, Lamont
-Edible Pod Peas
-Nantes Carrots
-Rainbow Chard*
-Bloomsdale Spinach
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

Due to demand we are going to try something new. Each week, on Thursday afternoon, we will make available as an add-on a vegetable that will be featured in the following week’s box. This will be available in case quantity for those of you who like to can or freeze vegetables while they are in season.

Jasmine Rice Salad with Fresh Peas
2 Tbsp olive oil 1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped ½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp nutmeg ½ tsp coriander
1 tsp minced ginger 2 cups rice (jasmine if you have it)
2 cups water Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 large carrot, julienned ¼ cup chopped parsley
½ pound peas blanched and shocked with ice water to stop cooking process

Heat the oil in a large saucepan until almost smoking. Add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic, cumin, nutmeg, coriander and ginger and cook for a minute. Add the rice and coat with the oil and spices. Add the water, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and cook for 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and fold in carrots, parsley and peas. Serve at room temperature.

Stuffed Chard with Fresh Marinara
1 pound lean ground beef ½ cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 medium shallots, minced, divided 1½ tsp Italian seasoning divided
1 tsp garlic powder ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
8 large chard leaves, stems removed 1-14 ounce can chicken broth
1 Tbsp olive oil ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Gently mix beef, breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp shallots, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, garlic powder and ¼ tsp pepper in a large bowl until just combined. Divide the mixture into 8 oblong 3 inch portions. Overlap the two sides of the chard leaf where the stem was removed and place a portion of beef there. Tightly roll the chard around the beef. Place each roll, seam side down, in a large nonstick skillet. Pour in broth, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cook for 10-15 min. Discard remaining broth.
In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat oil. Add remaining shallots, Italian seasoning, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring often, until shallot is soft, 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced and thickened, about 8 min. Serve the chard rolls topped with sauce and Parmesan cheese.

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