July 27, 2008

Week 47

Can you believe how fast this summer’s screaming past? We’re already in Zee Lady’s for crying out loud, the last hill before the coast to the finish. For us, this is the peak and the best (and consequently the cheapest) of the season. Our crew set a new record Saturday, banging out over 12,000 boxes of Sweet Dream, Elegant Lady, Zee Lady and Snow Princess. Only dumped the cull truck twice and we were done by 9:00 pm. I felt like the conductor of a glorious symphony where each player knows and executes their part brilliantly. Our harvest runs every day but Sunday, May-September and about 3 days a week in October with a few persimmons in November. While the volume won’t let up for a couple more months, thankfully, the intensity does. In May, you’d best be there the right ½ of the right day or you’ll lose ‘em. These later varieties are on a more relaxed time schedule that let’s us float the harvest schedule a day or so. It has to do with the number of days from bloom to harvest and thus the ripening intensity of a given variety. I’ll start grapes next week, but I won’t put ‘em in your box for a couple so they can get a little sweeter.
Carbon footprint
(No doubt a term Al Gore made-up right after inventing the internet)
Okay, this is pretty cool, but you’re going to have to follow the math for a second.
1) Our big 18 wheeled truck that makes the Saturday, Bakersfield to Lancaster deliveries gets 7 miles per gallon.
2) If you filled it ¾ full, you’d have 1500 boxes on board.
3) There are 128 ounces in a gallon.
4) 300 miles away is a 600 mile round trip
5) A Prius gets about 45 miles per gallon
That said, our truck using the above formula could deliver your box from Kingsburg to San Diego and back with 7.32 ounces of diesel. (Per box) If you lived in San Diego 1 ½ miles from this hypothetical delivery site and drove a Prius there and back to pick up your box, you used 8.55 ounces of fuel.
On a per box basis, we can deliver produce from the farm to you using miniscule amounts of fuel once we reach certain volumes. Even when you count what it takes to get it from the various farmers to our assembly site, since the average farm is only about 12 miles away, we’re still able to go from our farms to your hands in a most responsible manner and I think that’s an additional level of satisfaction you can derive from your produce each week.
Speaking of satisfaction, this week’s box is shaping up to just be killer. All of our farmers have a very tired look of satisfaction on their faces from a job well done, and they’ll continue doing it week after week, knowing the joy this Abundant Harvest of Organic produce is adding to your lives.
Kathy’s on vacation this week, so if there’s a spot on one of your tomatoes that we just have to know about, give her til Tuesday to respond.

As you may have discovered as a subscriber of Abundant Harvest Organics, there are many varieties of peaches and nectarines. There are two major types: yellow and white flesh. In addition to many varieties there are freestone, semi-freestone and clingstone. Just as these terms imply in the clingstone varieties the flesh “clings” to the stone, or pit, and with freestone the flesh easily separates from the pit. In semi-freestone the flesh easily separates when the fruit is fully ripe.
Generally the early season peaches and nectarines are clingstone, and during the peak season they are freestone. The late season peaches are generally freestone and the late season nectarines are once again clingstone.
The white varieties of peaches and nectarines are naturally less tart and can be ready to eat when they are still firm and crunchy. They also ripen faster than the yellow varieties. Peaches originally came from China and were cultivated over 3,000 years ago. The peach probably spread to Russia and Persia by way of the traders traveling the Silk Road from China and dropping peach pits along the way. Throughout the centuries peaches spread all over Europe. Peaches were brought to America by the Spanish during the 1500’s as they explored Florida. From there peaches spread all across North America. The first peaches arrived in California with the Spanish missionaries in the 1700’s. Isn’t it interesting to know that these delicious fruits have been with us for so many years and yet remain a favorite today?
Nectarines probably originated from a natural variation in peach seeds. They are very close relatives and originally nectarines were described as “fuzzless peaches”. In fact peach trees will sometimes produce a few nectarines and nectarine trees will sometimes produce a few peaches.
These fruits are a source of vitamins A and C and they are a good source of fiber especially with the peel. Peaches are also a good source of potassium and contain some calcium, folate, magnesium and phosphorus.

Don’t take those green peppers for granted. Brightly colored peppers are a rich source of some of the best nutrients available.
Peppers are a colorful addition to many dishes. They can be eaten raw or cooked and are great sautéed with other vegetables. Try steaming cored bell peppers for five minutes and stuffing them with your favorite rice or meat mixture. Bake at 350˚.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Sweet Corn#
Don Warkentine, Kingsburg
-Heirloom Tomatoes
Ginger Balakian, Reedley
-Bell Peppers
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Mediterranean Cucumbers*
T & D Willey, Madera
-Armenian Cucumbers
-Hot Chilies*
Kyle Reynolds, Kingsburg
Family Farm Organics, Madera
*Denotes Large Box Only
#Denotes Small Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on day of delivery.

The Armenian cucumber is crisp, thin-skinned, and has a mild flavor. It does not need to be peeled or seeded before eating and is one of the best cucumbers for slicing.

Sweet Peach Barbecue Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, peeled, sliced thin
3 peaches, pitted, cut into medium sized cubes
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 medium ripe tomatoes cut into medium sized cubes
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup orange juice
1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground allspice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onions and cook stirring occasionally, until golden brown about 11-13 minutes. Add the peaches, ginger, and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar, orange juice, sugar, allspice, salt and pepper to, taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture is reduced by about half and thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning, then transfer to blender or food processor and pulsate to desired consistency. Use to baste chicken, pork chops or steak. Place remaining sauce in a bowl for use on the side of meat.

Peaches and Cream Pops
½ cup peeled, chopped peaches ½ cup peeled, pureed peaches
2/3 cup vanilla yogurt 1-2 Tbsp honey added to yogurt, before swirling, for added sweetness
Lightly swirl all ingredients together in a small bowl. Spoon into 4 popsicle molds or small plastic cups and insert handle or popsicle stick. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Enjoy in the hot weather.

July 19, 2008

Week 46

When I was 21, my father got a really fast growing type of cancer that took his life 7 months later. I was a junior at Fresno State with an Agri-business major but dropped out the middle of that second semester to go run the farm.
So there I am with a mountain of doctor bills, our benevolent government expects you to repurchase the farm you own through inheritance tax and while I knew HOW to do all the cultural and equipment stuff because I’ve been driving tractor since I was 5, I just didn’t know WHEN or WHY.
At this point, I’ve got a very teachable attitude. I seek out my Uncle Dave and ask a very embarrassing question; “How do you know when its time to irrigate?” The Fresno State answer would have been “Install Tensiometers at 6”, 18” & 36” and maintain them between 12 & 18 milibars of draw” so I was anticipating a similar response. He looked as though he wondered whether I’d been paying attention the last couple decades but responded with “Well, you’ve just got to stay ahead of your crop.” That statement has been a guiding principle in so many areas. You’ve just got to stay ahead of your crop.
The tree or the vine or the chicken for that matter will do what it’s supposed to do and reward us with its production if we just stay ahead of it. The trick is to observe with at least our five senses where it’s at in its cycle and make sure it has the resources available to do what it needs to do.
One of the best scientific tools ever developed to aid this observation process is a 5 gallon bucket. Its light weight & portable. You take it with you into the field or flock, turn it over and sit on it. What you thought you were seeing as you walked changes dramatically when you sit. You’ll not only notice your crop, but it’s interaction with weeds and bugs and birds. You’ll observe turgor at the tips (rigidity because it’s got plenty of water) or not, but the main thing is, you recalibrate yourself to what’s going on so you can anticipate, not just react. There’s a ton of ramifications here for daily life and all of you are so sharp you’ve already drawn them. Main thing, we need to take the time to stop & recalibrate ourselves to the needs of what’s going on around us so we can be pro-active, not just reactive. (Believe me I’m talking to myself as much as anyone else.) We’re often so busy, we can’t get anything done. Unless something’s on fire, the solution is usually to walk into the middle of the challenge with a 5 gallon bucket, flip it over and observe to the point of understanding.
Zee Lady’s for home canning or freezing. Next week’s the week. We might have ‘em the week after but next week will be best. 30 pounds of Vernon or Paul’s Organic Zee Lady’s for $16.00. They’re freestones so Carol just peels & slices ‘em into a Zip Lock bag and puts ‘em in the freezer til later. Her ice cream recipe is literally award winning and you can taste summer all winter in peach pies and cobblers!

Would you guess that the eggplant is related to the tomato, sweet peppers and potato? Most people would not. There are many varieties of eggplant and each varies slightly in texture and taste. The best description of eggplant is that it has a pleasantly bitter taste and a spongy texture. It is this unique taste and texture, and its deep purple glossy beauty that has made the eggplant a vegetable that is enjoyed the world over. In many recipes the eggplant serves as a complementary ingredient that balances the flavors of other ingredients that have a more pronounced flavor.
You may see eggplant that ranges in color from lavender, jade green, orange, and yellow-white to the most common purple. Eggplant comes in sizes and shapes that range from that of a small tomato to a large zucchini.
Eggplant is very perishable and is sensitive to both heat and cold. Ideally it should be stored at around 50ºF. Do not cut eggplant before you store it. Once the skin has been cut or punctured and the inner flesh exposed it will perish quickly. Place your uncut, unwashed eggplant in a plastic bag in the crisper of your refrigerator and it will keep for a few days. Use a stainless steel knife when cutting your eggplant as carbon steel will cause it to turn black. You can tenderize the flesh and reduce some of the natural bitterness by sweating the eggplant with salt. After cutting the eggplant into the desired size and shape, sprinkle it with salt and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes. This process pulls out some of the water content and will make it less permeable to absorbing any oil used in cooking. After you have completed the sweating process rinse the eggplant to remove the salt.
Whether you eat the skin of the eggplant or not is really a matter of preference. Larger eggplant and those with a white skin color tend to have a tougher skin which may not be palatable. If you wish to remove the skin you may do so before it is cooked or if you are going to bake the eggplant you can scoop the flesh out after it has been cooked. Try eggplant baked, roasted in the oven or grilled. One word of warning, if you are baking or grilling the eggplant whole be sure to pierce the eggplant several times with a fork to allow steam to escape or you may have a purple mess. Eggplant is also great stuffed and of course who has ever gone to a good Italian restaurant that did not have Eggplant Parmesan on the menu?
Don’t ever say you don’t like something until you have given it a try. You may be surprised!

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
John France, Porterville
-Sweet Corn
Don Warkentine, Kingsburg
-Italian Curly Long Peppers
-Italian Sweet Red Onion
Kyle Reynolds, Kingsburg
-Sweet Green Peppers
-Yukon Gold Potatoes*
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

Here is a suggestion for barbecue season. The Olson Organics fruit/pepper sauces make great barbecue sauces. Use them to marinate your meat or brush one of them on while you are grilling. They will give your meat just a little sweetness and zip. They come in Pepper/Peach, Pepper/Plum and Pepper/Apricot.

Italian Fresh Vegetable Salad (Great for barbecues)
A combination of any, or all, of the following vegetables:
Red Onion Tomatoes Cucumbers
Bell Peppers Sweet Peppers Avocado
Radishes Carrots

Wash vegetables and cut into bite size pieces and place in a bowl with a tight fitting lid.

1 ½ cups wine vinegar 2/3 cup oil
¾ cup sugar Salt and pepper
Pour dressing over vegetables and cover. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 ½ hours, rotating bowl so all vegetables have been covered. Drain and serve or serve with a slotted spoon. This dressing can be saved, added to, and reused. This dressing is also good for 5 bean salad.

Grilled Meat with Fresh Stone Fruit
Fresh stone fruit is a great addition to grilled kabobs. It is best to use firm fruit.
Remove pits from your choice of nectarines, peaches and plums and cut into large pieces. In a bowl toss the fruit with melted butter, salt and pepper.
Soak bamboo skewers in water until ready to use. Thread alternating pieces of fruit and prepared pieces of your choice of meat onto the skewers. Place skewers on the grill and cook until meat is cooked through, turning at least once. The natural juice from the fruit will caramelize while cooking. Remove from grill and place on a platter to serve.

July 13, 2008

Week 45

Roll out those lazy hazy crazy days of summer! Well, at least the hazy and crazy part’s right. 110 today, 112 tomorrow. We’re buying Gatorade by the pallet but still can’t work much past noon in the field. The good news is that fruit trees shut down in this weather and actually slows the ripening process. Fruit ripens fastest on the tree at 80 degrees which happens to be great weather to work a long day.
Our heavy chickens on the other hand don’t do well in the heat and without an elaborate cooling system we’d be sunk. But elaborate we’ve got. A computer controlled environment that basically creates a wind tunnel. The houses close up at 74 degrees; huge fans start kicking on as the temperature rises, drawing the air through 6 inch thick 5 foot tall 80 foot long cool cells. Fog banks down the house help even more and when it’s all running harmoniously, we can drop the temperature a good 20 degrees plus a 5 mph wind chill exchanging the air in a 20,000 square foot house every 40 seconds. Still, we can only do so much. We’re in control up to about 100-103. After that, another degree outside is another degree inside and you’re just hoping all the motors and pumps and back-up generators hold together.
I use the same technology in the fruit packing shed so it’s remarkably comfortable. Yester-day, to lighten things up I went up on the pack line with a garden hose and started squirting the girls who grabbed theirs and returned the favor. Work stopped for a few minutes, but we had fun and some of us got cooler than others.
You know, there’s a way to deal with whatever life throws at us and a little spontaneous good humor goes a long ways in most cases. “We can’t control the storm” I think the saying goes, “but we can trim the sails.” My greeting on these days is “Hey, you don’t need a coat today, and your fingers aren’t cold!” Each of us can do our little thing to brighten the day of the folks around us. I know many of you do already. It’s an abundance mentality that we either have or we don’t. People either see the world through an abundant or a scarce lens. Those who choose to see it as scarce, live small and/or selfish. Those who realize that the resources around them are only limited by sunlight broaden their capacity to enjoy whatever life delivers. Do what you can today to bring an abundance mentality to your corner of the world!

I’m sure you’re not surprised that we are going to have to raise our prices. Frankly, I’m surprised we made it this long. Probably too much Abundance mentality for my own good. Starting the week of the 21st for delivery the 25th and 26th we’ll be at $19.80 for the small and $33.80 for the large. Deposit for new folks will be $22.00 but doesn’t affect any of you. The cost of plastic made out of oil is the reason. Still better than wasting $1.50 on cardboard each week. Our new small boxes will be here in a few weeks, and they’re way cool!
Hey, you don’t need a coat today! Enjoy the produce EAT HEALTHY

Do you need to make changes to your account? As time goes by you may need to make some changes in the information that you provided when you signed up with us. You have the ability to change any of the information that you set up in your account
If you would like to change your order, say from a small box to a large, for one week only use the Edit This Week option found on your Subscription Dashboard. If you would like to make a long term change you will use the My Subscription Info button and make the change there.
You may order add-ons up until 9:00 am on the Monday morning before the scheduled delivery. We are unable to add to or delete from the current week’s order after 9:00 on Monday morning so be sure you plan ahead.
Remember that if you wish to place a vacation stop or cancel your subscription you must do so a minimum of 10 days prior to the affected delivery date. A vacation stop is put in place using the Set Your Vacation Weeks button. The current vacation calendar extends through May, 2009 so you can plan well in advance.
You may cancel your subscription, or make it inactive by going to My Subscription Info. There you will see a Cancel Subscription button. Or you may put “0” in the Quantity boxes on this page and your deliveries will be suspended until you log in again and change the information
If your credit/debit card expires don’t forget to login and change the date in your account.

We may have another first for some of you. It is an orange flesh melon. Orange flesh melon is actually a cross between a honeydew and a cantaloupe. But wait, this melon apparently has another name. It is often called a Temptation Melon. With a name like that it must be good.
The flesh of this melon is very similar to the cantaloupe, but with a bit more delicate flavor, like the honeydew. When you cut it open you will see the similarity it bears to the cantaloupe and you will prepare it in the same manner by removing the netting and seeds before serving it. This melon actually shares the taste qualities of both melons. The orange flesh melons will turn a pale orange shade when they are fully ripe.
These melons make a perfect addition to breakfast served alone or with yogurt. Try adding a sprinkle of ginger, salt or a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to kick up the flavor of this sweet juicy treat.
This melon is best served chilled and is a great addition to a fruit salad, or to a refreshing drink, such as fruit punch.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Orange Flesh Melon
John France, Porterville
-Sweet Corn
Don Warkentine, Kingsburg
-Clip Top Carrots
California Organic, Lamont
-Yellow Crookneck Squash
-Mediterranean Cucumbers*
-Red Roasting Potatoes
T & D Willey, Madera
Kyle Reynolds, Kingsburg
*Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

If you are having a problem removing the corn silk here are a couple of hints. Use a wet paper towel and run it down the cob. The silk will stick to the towel. Another option is an unused tooth brush. Use the brush gently and brush down the cob. This will remove silk from between the kernels.

Grilled Tex-Mex Salad
4-6 ears of corn, husked with the silk removed
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (optional)
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (with the seeds if you like it hot)
1 chopped pepper (color is cook’s choice)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or full size tomatoes cut into pieces
Place the corn on the grill and roast, turning often, until golden brown on the outside. (You may boil the corn instead) When corn cools, cut the kernels off into a bowl. Add the onions, beans, jalapeno, peppers, and tomatoes, set aside.

2 Tbsp lime juice 4 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mild chili powder ½ tsp cumin
Salt and pepper

Combine in a small bowl and pour over the corn mixture and toss. Let sit in the refrigerator for an hour, or overnight, before serving.

Black Bean Salsa
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups of corn
1-2 tomatoes seeded and diced
½ cup diced onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded (leave the seeds if you enjoy the heat)
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover and chill overnight. Taste and add salt and pepper, or more lime juice as necessary. Serve with tortilla chips or with grilled chicken breast as a side.

Week 44

First off, THANK YOU so much! Because of you and your patience, and encouragement, and enthusiasm, we’ve grown from just under 50 families to over 1,000 in less than 10 months. It’s humbling to think of all your families gathered around the dinner table enjoying what our families have produced. It’s that theater of the mind that motivates us all week to try to keep things exciting and interesting, fresh and tasty.
Besides the Organic, our fundamental premise is to unite the family that grew it with the family that’s going to eat it in the simplest manner feasible. The “system” should serve those two basic entities. Many people call this sort of endeavor a “CSA” or Community Supported Agri-culture. I’d prefer to call it an “ACC” or Agriculture Creating Community. That community is most evident at the larger delivery sites where folks are standing around visiting. It’s evident from many e-mails that talk about families enjoying meals together again. And it’s evident you’ve been spreading the word in your own communities. Everyone told us these things die in the summer because of vacations and gardens and fruit stands on every corner, and while we’ve had plenty of that, new folks continue to join, and all we can say is THANK YOU!
Speaking of “systems”, the Organic Santa Rosa Plums in your box this week from Paul are a prime example of a system that serves the system rather than families. This is the quintessential plum. If an American knows only one variety of plum, he knows the praise worthy little Santa Rosa. Most of you, when you eat ‘em, are gonna say “Yeah baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about.” Wait til they’re a bit soft, chill (the fruit not you) then go out side or lean over the sink and enjoy!
Okay, my point is that this is the plum you want, but not the plum you’ll find in even an Organic store. Fact is, Steve’s got a couple acres of ‘em Organic we didn’t even pick while Paul’s that were a couple sizes larger were packed conventional because Organic demands an even larger size which the heritage Santa Rosa just can’t deliver. Oh, we packed plenty of Organic plums this week, and they were large and pretty and had better legs (ability to make it to town) but they just weren’t Santa Rosa. The system serves the system while both families miss out. It’s not something we’re going to whine about, it’s something we intend to change.
I bought a video camera and directed the web guys to start making a way for us to have a “this week on the farm” button that I can upload to. I’m looking forward to whipping the thing out during the day and introducing you to the farmers and crops and farm workers and farms that make this thing tick.
We also asked them to take you straight to the “rate the produce screen” when you log-on, in hopes that you’ll take a minute and let us know what you like and don’t like. These types of things are intended to be community creators or at least enhancers. Again, the theme of this weeks letter is THANK YOU! Did I mention Thank you? By the way, Thank You & EAT HEALTHY!

One of summer’s most refreshing treats is a nice cold piece of melon. Last week you had Galia melon. Today it is cantaloupe.
You don’t have to wait until the last minute to prepare this fruit. You can do it today and enjoy it for several days to come. Because they were looking for a way to keep pre-sliced ready-to-eat cantaloupe fresh longer, the scientist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service discovered that this can be achieved by cutting up the fruit while holding it under water.
Just as with other melons, bacteria can grow on the outside surface of cantaloupe so it is important to wash the outside of your melon before you cut it. This will prevent bacteria from being transferred to the edible flesh from the outside skin. To prepare cantaloupe; simply wash it and then slice it into pieces of desired thickness and scoop out the seeds and netting. If you are not going to eat your melon right away it should be refrigerated immediately after it has been cut.
Cantaloupe is not just a garnish. Cantaloupe can be a quick and refreshing dessert, or a fast snack. For a satisfying and cooling drink in the warm summer months try adding sparkling water to fresh squeezed cantaloupe juice. Serve it sliced topped with yogurt and chopped mint, cut it in half and use it as a bowl for a mixed fruit salad, or just cut it in slices and put a “smile” on your plates. It makes a perfect compliment to breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Everyone loves fresh fruit salad and the combinations are endless. So why don’t we enjoy more fruit salad? Perhaps it is because people have been under the misconception that the fruit will lose some of its nutritional value if it is prepared ahead of time. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that cutting of fruit does not significantly affect its nutritional content even after 6, and up to 9 days.
What this means is you can prepare a large bowl of fruit salad on the weekend, keep it in the refrigerator, and enjoy it all week long. You will receive basically the same nutritional value as if it had just been prepared. The lead researcher in this study, Maria Gil, wrote “fresh-cut fruits visually spoil before any significant nutrient loss occurs.”
Get creative and mix it up. Make it ahead of time and offer it to the kids as a snack during the day. After dinner some night add a spoonful of yogurt or whipped cream and top it off with nuts or granola for a healthy dessert.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Santa Rosa Plums
Paul Muradian, Kingsburg
John France, Porterville
-White Kernel Corn
Don Warkentine, Kingsburg
-Clip Top Carrots
California Organic, Lamont
-Jalapeno Peppers*
-Mediterranean Cucumbers*
-Red Leaf Lettuce
-Red Roasting Potatoes*
T & D Willey, Madera
-Green Pepper
-Red Onion
Kyle Reynolds, Kingsburg
*Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery.

Here is another hint to try in the sticker battle. Chill your fruit and then place a piece of duct tape over the sticker and rub to insure adhesion. Pull off the duct tape and in many cases the sticker will come off with it, without removing any of the skin from the fruit.

Grilled Eggplant
1 eggplant 3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pinch of dried thyme, basil, dill and oregano. Fresh may be used if available
Salt and pepper

Slice eggplant about ½” thick and set aside. Whisk together other ingredients. Eggplant may be marinated in olive oil mixture for about 10 minutes, or the olive oil mixture may be brushed on both sides of the eggplant before cooking. Heat grill and place on grill alone or while grilling meat. Grill for about 15-20 minutes, turning once.

Mediterranean Summer Salad
½ cup bulgur (cracked wheat) ½ cup cold water
Combine bulgur and water in a medium size bowl. Let stand for 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

6 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
6 green onions (white and green parts), finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
Add vegetables to bulgur
½ cup extra virgin olive oil Juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp salt
Mix well and pour over salad. Stir to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Add cucumbers or summer squash as an option.

Week 43

So hows about those Fresno State Bulldogs anyhow?! Ranked 58th in the country & come back to win the whole schmere. Lose the opening game. Lose the 1st of the final 3 and are down 5 zip in the third inning of the second game. Baseball’s way too boring for me but that was exciting. Little ol’ Fresno state, National Champs!! Yee Haaaw!!
Okay, you got this in a box of produce, not a box of Wheaties so back to business. Last Saturday (yeah, the one that was 108 degrees) Carol and I were invited to participate in an Organic Stone fruit festival to benefit Slow Food Madera. There were 8 of us farmers, and several hundred folks came out and sampled the fruit. Very Educational for me as I observed the people and took mental notes.
We had a traditional, complex, ripe peach, a slightly tarter crunchy peach. A non acid Nectarine and a traditional nectarine. A mild plum and a tart plum. And some Apricots. All stuff from our farm last week and we were amazed at the diversity of tastes in the crowd. Crunchers vs. leaners were 40-40% with about 20% in the middle. Older folks tended to be leaners (no pun) younger tended towards tart and crunchy. Every single variety had fans as well as detractors and really pointed up for me the challenges of presenting the perfect fruit. Speaking of perfect, my favorite melon is the Galia. John had a bunch so I couldn’t resist. May not get ‘em in the box, but we’ll figure something out. Another favorite is the Kingsburg Gold cherry tomato.
Warning!! If you try them, you’ll have to add them on every week ‘til frost. There’s not 1 in 100 who can resist. It would be an act of sheer will power if they even make it to a salad. We’ve put some of Abe’s black berries on the add on list. After last week’s embarrassment, we’re expecting great things from Don’s corn. Now this is Organic corn so just deal with the corn worms and rejoice. That’s the Organic signature and we don’t charge extra for ‘em. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of folks to trade with if it’s a personal challenge to get past for some folks.
I love it when a plan comes together, and at least from this Wednesday evening vantage point, it looks like an Abundant one!. Eat Healthy!

Did you know that there are over 600 varieties of peaches, plums and nectarines grown in the state of California? Each one is harvested for only 10 days to 2 weeks. The great number of varieties developed is what allows us to have fresh stone fruit all summer long. The varieties have been bred to allow for fruit to ripen successively so there is a steady supply. Because of that the varieties change from week to week and are not the same through out the season. These different varieties have different characteristics. Nectarines, for example, may all be called by the same name and look alike but you may notice a difference in the firmness, flesh color and ease of separation from the pit. Unfortunately if you find one you really like it probably won’t be around for long.
If stone fruit is too soft when it is packed it will become easily bruised and damaged. If you wish to ripen stone fruit it can be placed in a fruit bowl or a paper bag with the top folded over, at room temperature, out of direct light. Check it at least once a day. When the fruit is ripe, to your liking, either use it or place it in the refrigerator to stop the ripening process. Direct sunlight and high heat can cause fruit to dry and shrivel rather than ripen. If you want to freeze your fresh stone fruit it is best to freeze it in a sweet liquid like peach, white grape or apple juice. You can also use a light sugar syrup that can be made by using one part sugar to three parts water. Heat the water, add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Let the syrup cool and then add to the fruit. To prepare the fruit wash it, peel it if desired, and cut it into preferred size pieces. Mix some lemon juice with the fruit to prevent discoloring. Put the fruit in a plastic bag or freezer container and add one cup of liquid for each four cups of fruit. Be sure all of your fruit is covered by liquid. This fruit should keep for about 6 months.

Peaches, especially when they are soft, are not easy to peel. If you want to peel your peaches before using them in a recipe, or slicing them up to eat, the easiest method is to blanch them.
Fill a pot with enough water to cover the peach completely and bring the water to a boil. Using a slotted spoon submerge the peach in the boiling water for 30-45 seconds and then immediately place it in an ice water bath, which will stop any cooking process. The ice water bath must be deep enough to cover the entire peach. After following this process you will be able to easily remove the skin. You may wish to first cut an “X” in the bottom of the fruit to give yourself a place to start.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Galia Melons
John France, Porterville
-Kingsburg Gold Cherry Tomatoes
KMK, Kingsburg
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-White Kernel Corn
Don Warkentine, Kingsburg
-Red Onion*
Ginger Balakian, Reedly
-Crookneck Squash*
-Red Irish Potatoes
-Jalapeno Peppers
-Mediterranean Cucumbers
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on date of delivery

To maintain the quantity those pesky stickers are a necessary evil. Here are a couple of hints for removing them. First the stickers will remove more easily if the fruit is cold so remove the sticker after the fruit has been refrigerated. The edge of a small paring knife will help you lift it. The other method suggested is to put a small piece of transparent tape over the sticker and when you lift it off, the sticker, or at least most of it should come off.

Stuffed Zucchini
3-5 Zucchini 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, chopped ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½-1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (any cheese combo is great)
Olive oil or dots of butter (Optional)

Trim ends of squash and slice lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and put in bowl. Mix the seeds with the other ingredients. Stuff squash with mixture. You may drizzle with a little olive oil, or place pats of butter over the tops and sprinkle with extra mozzarella cheese.
Place in a baking dish and bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes, or place on foil and cook it on the grill.

Corn on the Cob with Smoked Butter
1 Tbsp butter, melted 1 tsp grated lemon rind (Optional)
1 tsp minced shallots 1 tsp honey
½ tsp salt ½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp smoked paprika 6 ears shucked corn

Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Cook corn in boiling water for 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Brush butter mixture evenly over corn; serve immediately.
Corn may also be grilled for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, or wrapped in wax paper and cooked in microwave for 2 minutes per ear.