April 6, 2008

Week 31

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. An ancient saying that has applied to my own life many times. For instance, the only “D” I ever received in my educational experience from kindergarten through college was in Spanish. All the emphasis on conjugating verbs…A couple years later, with my first bank loan to pay back and only Spanish speakers to do the work, I got fluent pronto and now often use more Spanish in a day than English. (You know you’re good when you can tell a joke and get a big laugh in another language.) Same with pruning. I’m sure my father must have shown me how, but when he passed away and I had to figure it out, I was a sponge. A friend’s father, Richard Milton came by and spent a half hour on a nectarine tree with me and those principles are still with me. I’m eternally grateful to him.
When you start farming without the usual pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics, one quickly becomes in tune with what’s going on and how to enhance the harmony. Now we’re on this little adventure into healthy eating and many of us are in the same boat of amazed belief. We all started this to get fresh organic straight from the farm and low and behold, the stuff tastes a ton better than what we’re used to. Then we find ourselves and our families healthier than we’re used to and we start to think there might be something deeper to this whole deal.
I was privileged to attend a seminar last Saturday with Dr. Arden Andersen on the relationship between plant and human nutrition. That plus many years of just plain common sense have led to the following rambling observations.
There is a profound similarity between the way microbes work around a root hair in the soil and the way they work in our gut. If the nutrition in the soil is natural, those microbes work around the root to digest and release that nutrition to the plant. Conversely, synthetic soil nutrition in the form of commercial fertilizer actually kills the very microbes the plant needs to mine fertility from the earth. 40 units of commercial N (nitrogen) is a lethal dose to most soil microbes yet, 60-120 is a common shot.
While I’m no expert, the same thing seems to go on in our bodies. When our food comes from a natural Organic source, and we eat a good portion of it raw, there’s a powerful diversity of positive microbes in our gut that strengthen our immune system and lead naturally to good health. Remember, there’s disease, pre-disease (a state of waiting for the next stress to mess you up), and good health (a state of well being and maximum performance) Like the cartoon I saw where the doctor’s telling the patient. ”The problem is, you’re over medicated. Fortunately we have a drug for that” We’d be way better off finding some good farmers to grow us some fresh nutritious food than looking for doctors to try and cure the mess we made. Wonder where we could ever find such a group?

HEY GUYS WE NEED YOUR HELP! The average subscriber has not one but two empty boxes at home. This thing just can’t work like that. Our preference has been to assume that everyone is honest and trustworthy because the opposite assumption isn’t healthy. The truth though is staring at us so please bring ‘em back home. The cost of the things is tied to petroleum so the next subscribers are soon going to see a big jump in their initial deposit. You get the picture and I know next week we’ll see all the strays back in the corral. Thank you. EAT HEALTHY!

Well, it seems we may have turned the corner. Last week and this week you are enjoying one of the first spring vegetables, asparagus. Spring has only just begun so imagine what you have to look forward to.
Asparagus is a member of the lily family and surprisingly is related to onions, leeks and garlic. Asparagus was first cultivated about 2500 years ago in Greece. The name is a Greek work meaning stalk or shoot. The Greeks believed asparagus was an herbal medicine that could cure toothaches and prevent bee stings. Today we know that it is a nutrient dense food which is high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin. Asparagus contains no fat, no cholesterol and is low in Sodium.
Asparagus grows from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soil. Amazingly, under ideal conditions an asparagus spear can grow 10” in a 24-hour period.
Keep your asparagus clean, cold and covered. Trim the stem ends about ¼ inch and wash in warm water several times. Pat dry and place in a moisture-proof wrapping and refrigerate.
You can eat asparagus raw or cooked, warm or cold, steamed or stir-fried, blanched and tossed into pasta salad, blanched and frozen. It can be served plain or with dipping sauce. Asparagus is versatile, easy to prepare and a delicious way to welcome spring. Besides according to the Greeks it can prevent bee stings. Who knew?

For those of you who have not noticed, “How Are We Doing?” is back on your account page. By selecting this option you will be given the opportunity to not only tell us what you thought of the quality and quantity of the produce in your box, but also give us your comments. We do take the time to read your comments and appreciate your taking the time to make them. It helps us to evaluate the produce that our farmers are providing. If your comments would be beneficial to the farmer we will pass them on.
Many times, as with everything in life, there are differences of opinion and what one person loves another may “strongly dislike”. So if you let us know that you “strongly dislike” something, and it shows up in your box again, that does not mean we are not listening to you. Hopefully, the next week there will be something you love. Our goal will always remain to provide you and your family with a variety of fresh, delicious, organic fruits and vegetables when they are seasonally avail-able.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
John Fagundes, Hanford
-W. Murcott Mandarin Oranges
Rick Schellenburg, Kingsburg
-Small White Potatoes
Family Farm Organics, Madera
-Red Onions
John Tobias, Hollister
Hans Wilgenburg, Dinuba
-Green Leaf Lettuce
-Red Leaf Lettuce*
Frank Icardo, Lamont
Grimway Farms, Bakersfield
-Edible Pea Pods*
-Bloomsdale Spinach*
-Nantes Carrots
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Abundant Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

Don’t forget to order your add-ons before 9:00 am on Monday mornings. Unfortunately we are unable to add them after the fact. That means you will have to wait until the following week if you miss the deadline.

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

1 pound asparagus spears
8 slices prosciutto
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil or use a steamer. Trim asparagus of tough ends. Add salt and the asparagus to the water and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove from the water and place into an ice water bath to cool. Once cooled, pat dry with paper towels, drizzle with a touch of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the asparagus into 8 piles, roll with a slice of prosciutto around each pile to form a bundle. (You may double the size of the bundle and use 2 slices of prosciutto) Grill 7-8 minutes until prosiutto is crisp and spears are tender.

Parmesan Roasted Asparagus Preheat Oven to 400º

1 pound of asparagus
Olive oil
½ cup freshly ground Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper
Lemon cut in wedges for serving

Trim ends of asparagus. Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for another minute. Serve with lemon wedge.

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