July 13, 2008

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.

No comments: