Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 7 Number 43    November 3, 2015

FIELD NOTES: Abbondanza, Plymouth

It is a time of harvest and preparation. The cycle is ongoing. Today, for example, I knocked walnuts off four walnut trees with a very long bamboo pole I harvested from a friend's out of control patch in Dry Town. The day before I had crawled around the trees picking up all the walnuts I had missed on a previous survey. Then in that evening I mowed the newly growing grass with my riding mower. So the walnuts falling today were falling on a clean short carpet of grass - easy pickings. But today also found me picking peppers, basil, and thyme for a customer and also showing her and her Alzheimer's-suffering mother around the gardens.

I also spent a great deal of time spreading a compost pile begun two years ago over a large area that will become new beds this next spring. Some times things take time. Attention was also directed at shredding corn stalks and lavender stalks for a new compost pile happening later in the upcoming week. Here at Abbondanza everything that grows is composted when it is finished with its cycle. About this time of year I like to build several large compost heaps so next growing season or in some cases the year after next, there is good material to add to the soil. One of the piles I spread today was three years old. It takes time to let things fully decompose.

I still have a little supply of tomatoes and peppers and lots of parsley. The walnut crop here is light and the nuts rather small but that is understandable as it was year four of the drought. I have lots of lettuce, chard, kale going in the ground soon so by January's end there should be lots of those items ready.

Meanwhile lemons and persimmons are beginning to show sings of ripening and all these walnuts may get themselves cracked.

We all hope for rain and a bountiful season.


Here are 2 varieties of beet salad, one with cooked beets and one with raw.

Beet and Apple Salad



Toss 2 thinly sliced apples, 4 thinly sliced celery stalks (with leaves) and 1 minced shallot in a bowl with the juice of 1 lemon. Peel 1 beet, then slice into matchsticks and add to the bowl. Toss in 1 teaspoon sugar, 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes, then serve on a bed of sliced endive or arugula.



Roasted Beet Salad with Pears and Marcona Almonds

Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell

4 large beets

2 pears

3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

2 cups washed arugula

1/4 cup Marcona almonds or regular almonds, coarsely chopped

1 bunch chives, finely chopped


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the beets on a sheet tray and roast until fork tender, about an hour. Remove and let cool.

Using a paring knife, peel the beets. Grate the beets and the pears on the largest holes of a box grater. Toss them with the balsamic, olive oil and salt.

Divide the arugula between 4 salad plates, spoon some of the beet-pear mixture onto the arugula and top with the chopped almonds and chives. Serve immediately.


Pumpkin and Pecorino Gratin


2 slices white sandwich bread

1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3 cups Sugar-Pumpkin Puree

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces



For pumpkin puree, cut the pumpkin in half, and brush with olive oil; place cut sides down on a baking sheet, and bake in a 400-degree oven until flesh is soft and slightly caramelized. Scoop out flesh.

Raise oven temperature to 450 degrees. In a food processor, combine bread and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and pulse until large crumbs form.

Season sugar-pumpkin puree with salt and pepper; spoon into a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with crumb mixture, and dot with butter. Bake until crumbs are browned, 15 to 20 minutes.


Pumpkin Vegetable Curry Stew

Adapted from a recipe at


3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tomatoes, chopped

2/3 cup water

1 pound pumpkin, peeled and chopped

1 carrot, sliced

1 potato, chopped

1 green banana, chopped

1 whole hot pepper (green recommended)

1/2 pound eggplant, coarsely chopped

1/2 pound peppers, coarsely chopped



Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the curry powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir until it is a thick, relishlike sauce.

Add the water, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the flavors. Add the pumpkin, carrot, potato, green banana, and hot pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil while gently blending the ingredients together. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring a couple of times, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the eggplant and peppers halfway through the cooking time. Remove the hot pepper before serving.


Single Box

1/4 lb. Arugula-- Casa de la Pradera

1/2 lb. sweet peppers-- Paloma Pollinators

1 pumpkin-- Harmony Hill Farm

1 lb. Pears-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

1 lb. Concord grapes-- Blue Mountain Orchards

1/2 gal. apple cider-- Humbug Creek Farm

1 lb. Apples-- Blue Mountain Orchards

1 bunch parsley-- Abbondanza


Family Box

1/2 lb. Eggplant-- Paloma Pollinators

1/2 lb. sweet peppers-- Paloma Pollinators

1/2 lb. Beets-- Abbondanza

1 pint cherry tomatoes-- Abbondanza

1 lb. Pears-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

1 lb. Concord grapes-- Blue Mountain Orchards

1/2 gal. Cider-- Humbug Creek Farm

2 lb. Apples-- Blue Mountain Orchards



Mother Lode Harvest has local food and farm products available to order at


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, or 419-2503.


LocalHarvest Newsletter, October 30, 2015: Eating Through the Winter

October is harvest season in many parts of the country. Corn, soybeans, wheat, sweet potatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, apples, pears, and many other crops are being harvested right now in a flurry of activity in farm country. Farmers and their employees are working long hours, often into the night, to get their crops out of the fields and orchards. Fall is also a popular time to harvest many livestock species as well, after a summer of fattening up and before the cold winter sets in making the raising of livestock more challenging, if not impossible in some areas.

In my region of Oregon and many parts of the country, farmers markets, CSAs, and farmstands wind down for the season. If you have a garden, you are probably harvesting the last of your crops, perhaps planting a cover crop or a few hardy winter crops like garlic and kale, and calling it good for the year. Yet, despite all these places we procure fresh produce from closing down for the year, WE STILL EAT! In fact, cooler weather often means we eat more, make more home-cooked meals, and pack on a few extra pounds to hibernate for the winter (at least, that is what I do!). However, in all my years of selling meat, eggs, and produce myself, I see this precipitous drop off of demand once the rains or winter weather sets in. Where does everybody go to get their food now?

I'm sure many of your realize this, but farmers have many months of very low to zero cash flow in the winter months. In some parts of the country, it may be 6 months before they see any income coming in, making it very difficult for them to start their next season, let alone survive. Do you make any efforts to continue to support your local farmers during the off season?

A few ways that farmers and communities are trying to partially solve for those 'lean months' are:


Winter Farmers Markets- more and more communities are setting up indoor farmers markets. Some are still weekly, others are once a month. In community centers, grange halls, schools, churches, and other locations, these winter markets not only help the farmers generate some income in winter but are also a great way for consumers to get out of the house and socialize on what can be dreary, dark, and cold winter days. Look for crops such as frozen meat, cheese, jams, pickled things, winter squash, root crops, onions, garlic, and leafy greens. Some also have grains and beans, prepared foods, homespun yarn, art and crafts.

"Fill Your Pantry" Events- an increasing number of towns are setting up these one time events in which farmers try to clear out the bulk of their harvest and consumers stock up to fill their pantry, larder, or root cellar for the winter. Often bartering is acceptable, bulk discounts available and pre-orders taken. Think bushels of apples, boxes of potatoes, sacks of dry beans, bulk bundles of frozen meat, and the like. Bring boxes, a cart, and a bundle of cash to these events and "stock up"!

Winter CSA shares- some intrepid farmers continue to offer CSA shares through winter, or even offer a special winter seasonal share to customers. They may focus on animal products, storage type crops, beans and grains, or other items. I know one farm that does a CSA just in winter with storage crops, eggs, and meat. Other farmers in warm climates like Florida can grow a wider selection of crops in winter than they can in summer, due to excessive summer heat that causes most crops to bolt or wither. Look around in your region- you may be surprised by the variety of winter CSA shares available in your area.

Other winter events- some farmers do other things in the winter to bring in income, such as hosting workshops, on-farm dinners, barn dances, and other "farmy" events. Pie Ranch in California holds barn dances once a month all winter. We used to offer meat butchering workshops in winter. Still other farms (like Love Apple Farm) offer cooking, canning, and fermentation classes in the "off-season". These can be a great way to connect with your local farmers, enhance your DIY skills, and have fun when there might not be a lot of other exciting things going on in your region.


So as much as possible, given inclement weather, shorter days, busy schedules, and the like, please continue to support your local farmers and ranchers throughout the 'lean months'. Not only does it make for fresher, tastier food for you and your family, but you will help to keep your local food system thriving. Sounds delicious!


-Rebecca Thistlethwaite

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