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.

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