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Local Food and Farm Products 
GOOD FOOD NEWS
Volume 8 Number 36   September 6, 2016

FIELD NOTES and REFLECTIONS: MLH president Emily Beals, Harmony Hill Farm, Mount Aukum

Harmony Hill Farm has been relatively quiet this year as we scaled back our vegetable gardens and upscaled our involvement with Mother Lode Harvest. We have recognized for quite some time that a new model must emerge in order to continue as a CSA. We are somewhere on that path and awaiting word on whether or not MLH got the grant we applied for last May. We should know within the next two weeks. If we are successful, we will move full steam ahead to become a larger, more robust CSA. If we are unsuccessful, we will continue on our current path and build our producer and customer bases as well as a new website. Either way, we’re committed to continuing to implement our new business plan and become a stronger more successful CSA.

Finding new producers is our biggest challenge. Having just returned from visiting the lush farmlands of Washington State and the Talatin Valley, west of Portland, at the northern most end of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I was blown away by the number of small farms and Farmers Markets offering a bountifully diverse array of fruits and vegetables.

What is the difference between there and here? The answers are many, soil, climate, culture.

Oregon and Washington grow fruits and berries so easily. The climate is gentler than here in our foothills. Beyond that, Amador Co. does not have the young farmer population or culture to encourage start-up farms and provide easy markets for their produce.

In order for MLH to grow, we must think outside the box and find the farmers who do exist in our and neighboring counties and contract with them on their terms, not on our “membership only” model which has been a major area of discussion and disagreement for a long time.

For example, while driving recently along Pleasant Valley Road in South El Dorado Co., I came across a new sign next to the road which read, “Vegetables for Sale.” Of course I stopped, talked with the farmer and found out that he not only is growing organically, (not certified but using organic methods) but would be happy to sell to MLH. What he would not do however, is become a member and use the website to offer his produce. He simply wants to sell to us directly, offering a price that we could easily afford, and keep it simple. His reasoning goes thusly: “Why would I want to become a member when I am over an hour away from your DC, and take up my valuable time logging onto your website, etc. every week. Why can’t I just sell you my produce directly and be done with it?” He is not alone. There are others who have great produce to sell, who live over an hour away from the intake depot (DC), and logistically not able to become a member with all that membership currently requires.

Some of our producer members feel that this dilemma sits at the heart of who MLH is as a producer/customer membership organization and that we cannot buy from anyone who is not a member of MLH. Others of us feel that although we would prefer all producers to be members, the reality is that they do not exist geographically so we must think creatively and offer the option of a new category for producers who live over an hour away from our Distribution Center.

I believe that our primary reasons for existence are twofold:

1) To offer an outlet to small local farmers/gardeners/value added producers to sell their wares

2) To provide as varied and high quality produce as possible to our customers within the standards we have developed.

We are coming up short in all areas so its time to make some smart decisions and get MLH on track to become the vibrant and successful CSA it has the potential to become.

 

THIS 'N' THAT CORNER:

Well, it's This n That time again. Everyone keeps saying summer is over but it's supposed to be in the 90 's this week! It's not Indian summer yet either! Our grandchildren are home for the three day weekend. Their daddy gave the girls their older cell phones and email addresses. Well, Grammie is getting lots of emails and videos! Their ages are 7 and 9. It's very interesting what we talk about! I think it is helping their spelling and grammar. (I hope!). Have you picked up your 2017 calendar at the DC? There are several to choose from and they are free!! Guess that's it for this week's This n That Corner. Cheri

 

Saturday, September 17: Summer Quarter Open House

Get a taste of Fall at our Summer Quarter Open House, hosted by Steve Wilensky and Pat Noll of Humbug Creek Farm in Glencoe. This year, in addition to helping with their apple pressing to make their famous cider, we will be treated to a tour of their property which will highlight the forest restoration which has been done since the Butte Fire last year.

8-10 am: Apple picking

10 am-noon: Pressing (cider making)

1:00: Lunch

After lunch: Forest tour

Humbug Creek Farm is at 17425 Hwy 26 in Glencoe. Attendance for children is free. MLH requests a $5 donation per adult to help us continue our work. For more information or to register for the event, please contact Michelle at 209-419-2503, or at motherlodeharvest@gmail.com.


 

Hot Slaw a la Greyhound Grill

By Matt Lee and Ted Lee July 2016 The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/hot-slaw-a-la-greyhound-grill

 

Yield: Serves 6

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time:15 minutes

 

Ingredients

One 3-pound cabbage, cored and coarsely shredded (10–12 cups)

1/4 pound slab bacon or 4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced

1/2 cup white vinegar, cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon minced hot pepper (or to taste)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pepper vinegar to taste (See recipe below)

 

Preparation

In an 8-quart stockpot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the cabbage by submerging it in the boiling water 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, shake the colander for a minute or so to remove excess water, and reserve.

Scatter the bacon in a 12-inch dry skillet over medium-high heat. With a wooden spoon, move the pieces around until the bacon is firm and barely crisp, about 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Pour the vinegar into the skillet. It will hiss and pop at first but will soon subside. Swirl the vinegar around with the spoon, stirring up any browned bits of bacon. Add the celery seeds and stir.

Add the cabbage to the skillet and toss to coat it with the vinegar. Add the salt, pepper, hot pepper, and reserved bacon, and continue to sauté, stirring the cabbage around the pan 4 minutes.

Place the slaw in a bowl and shake pepper vinegar over it to taste. Pass the cruet at the table for those who wish to fire it up further.

 

Pepper Vinegar

Gourmet January 1999

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pepper-vinegar-100573

 

6 ounces fresh red or green hot chiles

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

a pinch ground cayenne

 

Preparation

In a sterilized 1-pint Mason-type jar, pack chiles. In a small bowl stir together remaining ingredients until salt is dissolved and pour over chiles. Seal jar with lid. Let pepper vinegar stand at cool room temperature at least 3 weeks and up to 6 months.

Fried Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

by Yotam Ottolenghi Bon Appétit August 2014

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fried-eggplant-tomato-and-cucumber-salad-51242130

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 small hot chiles, seeds removed, chopped, divided

1/2 cup olive oil, divided

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more

3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2" pieces

Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups)

1 pound small tomatoes (about 8), cut into wedges

1/2 pound cucumbers, sliced

Special equipment:

A deep-fry thermometer

 

Preparation

Purée cilantro, parsley, garlic, half of chiles, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender or food processor until very smooth; season herb oil with salt and set aside.

Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and set yogurt sauce aside.

Place eggplants in a colander set in the sink; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes to drain, then pat dry.

Fit a medium pot with thermometer; pour in vegetable oil to measure 2". Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 375°.

Working in batches and returning oil to 375° between batches, fry eggplants, turning often, until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplants to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Let cool.

Combine eggplants in a large bowl with tomatoes, cucumbers, and remaining chiles; drizzle with some reserved herb oil and toss to combine. Season salad with salt.

Spoon reserved yogurt sauce onto a platter, top with salad, and drizzle with more herb oil.

Do ahead: Herb oil and yogurt sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately.

WHAT'S IN YOUR BOX
 

Single Box

1 cabbage Harmony Hill Farm

1 bag cayenne peppers Butte Mountain Farm

1 lb. summer squash Somerset Gourmet

1 lb. tomatoes Somerset Gourmet

1 lb. apples Blue Mountain Orchards

1 lb. grapes Casa de la Pradera

1/2 lb. peaches Humbug Creek Farm

1 lb. Duchesse pears Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

1 lb. prune plums Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

 

Family Box

1 cucumber Casa de la Pradera

1 lb. eggplant Abbondanza

1/2 lb. shallots Butte Mountain Farm

1 lb. summer squash Somerset Gourmet

1 lb. tomatoes Somerset Gourmet

1 box cherry tomatoes Harmony Hill Farm

1 lb. apples Blue Mountain Orchards

1/2 gal. apple cider Humbug Creek Farm

1/2 lb. plums Humbug Creek Farm

 

SHOPPING AT www.mlharvest.com

Mother Lode Harvest has local food and farm products available to order at www.mlharvest.com.

THE ORDERING WINDOW IS FRIDAY AT 9 AM THROUGH SUNDAY AT NOON.

Orders received during that time can be picked up on Tuesdays between 10:30 am and noon, or 4:30 to 6:00 pm, at 1235 Jackson Gate Road in Jackson, behind Teresa's Restaurant. Prepaid orders may also be picked up in Volcano or Plymouth. Payment may be made at pickup by cash or check made out to Mother Lode Harvest, or before pickup by PayPal.

New customers will need to register by using the "join" button on the website before they can shop. A signed customer agreement and membership dues may be mailed to MLH, or brought to the distribution center with your first pickup.

If you have any questions or problems with using the website, please contact our customer coordinator, Michelle, at motherlodeharvest@gmail.com, or 419-2503.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

How organic farming hotspot can be an opportunity for rural communities

Organic hotspots from coast to coast are coupling farm production with food processing to raise the median income of their local communities.

A recent study at Pennsylvania State University “suggests that producing organic foods is correlated with lower poverty and increased household incomes in rural communities,” according to an article on alternet.org.

The 2013 California Homemade Food Act allows enterprising foodies to make and sell an extensive list of foods produced in their homes,” wrote Marilyn Borchardt is this extensive article on a local response to globalization.

The clustering of food production and food processing facilities is reported as an effective way to promote real economic growth.

Read this interesting story at http://www.alternet.org/print/food/how-organic-farming-hotspots-can-be-opportunity-rural-communities

 

Urban farming is revolutionizing our cities

City dwelling is on the rise and so is renewed interest in producing food where people live, according to an article from EcoWatch.com.

From balcony, backyard and rooftop gardens to urban farms and farmers markets, urban agriculture can “increase social capital, community well-being and civic engagement with the food system,” according to a study from the U.S. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Historically, backyard gardens provided 40 percent of U.S. domestically consumed produce during World War II.

Read more about the ecological benefits of urban agriculture here: http://www.ecowatch.com/urban-farming-david-suzuki-1984874080.html

 

Millions of honeybees killed in attempt to prevent Zika

Aerial spraying by a South Carolina county proved disastrous to honeybees, according to an article from EcoWatch.com. One farm lost 2.5 million bees when a 15-square mile area was treated with the pesticide Naled.

No one in the state had been locally infected by a mosquito, but Dorchester County officials sent out a press release last Friday announcing that aerial spraying would commence early Sunday morning. Some beekeepers didn’t find out until the plane was overhead and the buzzing stopped.

Read more here: http://www.ecowatch.com/honeybees-killed-zika-1995151657.html

 

News article summaries by Joyce Campbell. joyceac47@live.com

 



OTHER AG EVENTS:

September Food Preservation Classes

Presented by UCCE Master Food Preservers

Serving Amador, Calaveras and El Dorado Counties

Amador/Calaveras County

 

Fall Fruits

Saturday, September 10, 10:00 - 12 Noon, Free

During those dreary winter days, wouldn't it be great to enjoy the smells and tastes of delicious fall fruits? Learn easy ways to freeze, dehydrate and can your bountiful garden - or a friend's! Leave with several recipes to extend the season.

Location: Amador County GSA Building, 12200-B Airport Road, Jackson

 

Pressure Canning Basics

Wednesday, September 14, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Free

Does the thought of using a pressure canner scare you? It shouldn't! Learn how a pressure canner works and the multiple safety features included on every modern canner. Learn when you need to use a pressure canner and why; don't risk a case of botulism because you didn't practice safe canning.

Location: Amador County GSA Building, 12200-B Airport Road, Jackson

 

Dehydrating Basics

Wednesday, September 28, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Free

Dehydrating is an easy and economical way to preserve large quantities of fresh produce in small containers. Learn how dehydrating food works and what makes it a safe preservation technique.

Location: Amador County GSA Building, 12200-B Airport Road, Jackson

El Dorado County

 

Grapes: From Garden to Table

Wednesday, September 7, 9:00 a.m. - 12 Noon, Free

Learn from UCCE Master Gardeners how to grow grapes successfully in our county. UCCE Master Food Preservers will then demonstrate ways to harvest, store, freeze and dry grapes, then extract grape juice to make a freezer jelly.

Location: Cameron Park Community Center, 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park

 

Olives: From Garden to Table

Wednesday, September 21, 9:00 a.m. - 12 Noon, Free

Curing olives is not complicated! Come join us and let us take the mystery out of making olives. In the class you will learn several techniques to curing olives, including how to safely and effectively use lye. Our volunteers will put on live demonstrations that you can watch and ask your questions.

Location: Cameron Park Community Center, 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park

 

Sausages & Deli Meats

Wednesday, September 28, 10:00 a.m. - 12 Noon, Free

Curious about the types of sausage and deli meats you can make at home? This introductory class presents equipment options, ingredients, processing steps and how to safely cook, smoke and prepare your home preserved meats for the table, tailgate or BBQ.

Location: Cameron Park Community Center, 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park

Copyright © 2012 Mother Lode Harvest, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is: P.O. Box 534 Amador City, CA 95601
Mother Lode Harvest is a non-profit membership association.