Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 5 Number 40  October 8, 2013

FIELD NOTES: A Farmer's View of the Farm Tour, by Alice Kaiser of Casa de la Pradera, Fiddletown.

On a day that turned out to be just about perfect, one hundred or so visitors came to Casa de la Pradera to see the farm. They were supporters of Farms of Amador and the Farmers' Market, and/or members of Mother Lode Harvest, curious to see local agriculture 'on the hoof', or rather on the chicken feet.

I had great help from several FFA members (all girls-- how things have changed!), with guest parking, and serving cider and the apple cake and zucchini bread I'd made for visitors.

Alongside fading summer crops, not at their most photogenic I'm afraid, visitors wandered among the beds of cool weather crops I've been planting for the last few weeks-- lettuces, cabbages, broccoli, chard, kale, green onions, beets, carrots, Chinese cabbage, cilantro, arugula, dill. I could tell many were gardeners-- there were many questions, about gophers, harlequin bugs, how I grow greens year round, varieties of lettuce etc. For me, the highlights of the tours were showing off the new additions and improvements I was able to make this summer: the shiny and clean stainless steel sink for field washing my produce; the new siding on my little packing shed; the new 'worm farm' for making compost and compost tea; the new wire benches in my summer seedling shade house; and, on a completely aesthetic note, the piano harp sculpture, which at least one visitor noticed and appreciated!

Guests were also especially interested in my greenhouse, and in the large compost piles of grape pomace and chicken bedding/manure that will have all winter to mellow to wonderful organic matter for next summer's plantings. They were also drawn to the chickens, who provide eggs and manure to the enterprise-- they can be watched longer than a lettuce, though a lettuce also offers both food and compost. (They also don't talk back, in quite the same way that obviously sentient beings do. I find vegetables quite restful.)

Visitors to la Pradera (and to Abbondanza) had the opportunity to see a new model of agriculture, dedicated to local distribution with a conscious minimalization of outside inputs and use of energy. It will take many many, many small farms all over the country to challenge and replace Agribusiness, which produces lower quality, less safe produce with vastly larger amounts of pollution and less food safety.


il faut cultiver notre jardin.



Gemelli with Tuna, Tomatoes and Jalapeño

Contributed by Melissa Rubel Jacobson for Food and Wine


1 large jalapeño, seeded and coarsely chopped

1 large garlic clove

1 small shallot, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons capers

3 oil-packed anchovies, drained

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound gemelli

Two 3 1/2-ounce cans of Italian tuna in olive oil, drained

1/2 pound tomatoes, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

8 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a food processor, finely chop the jalapeño with the garlic, shallot, capers and anchovies. In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the jalapeño mixture and cook over moderate heat until it begins to turn light golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Cook the gemelli in the boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Add the gemelli and the cooking water to the skillet and toss with the jalapeño mixture over low heat until evenly coated. Add the tuna and tomatoes and cook until heated through. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the basil and serve.


You can serve this vinegar-- and the pickled jalapenos-- with cooked greens to add some zip.

Jalapeño Vinegar

Contributed by Bobby Flay for Food and Wine


1 cup white wine vinegar

3 large jalapeños, coarsely chopped

Kosher salt


In a small saucepan, bring the white wine vinegar to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chopped jalapeños and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and let the jalapeños stand for 2 hours. Strain, reserving the jalapeños and vinegar separately.


Pickled Farm-Stand Tomatoes with Jalapeños

Contributed by Brian McBride for Food and Wine

The author recommends you serve with grilled steak or fish, or with bread to sop up the juices!


1 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges

4 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rings and seeded


In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, brown sugar and salt to a boil, stirring. Remove from the heat.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic, grated ginger, mustard seeds, black pepper, turmeric, ground cumin and cayenne pepper and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour the hot oil into the vinegar mixture.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine the tomatoes, scallions and jalapeños. Stir in the hot pickling liquid and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours or refrigerate for 8 hours, then serve.

Make Ahead: The pickled tomatoes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Tangy Tomatillo Salad with Tomatoes

Contributed by Daniel Orr for Food and Wine


1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, or loosely packed drained oil-packed

sun-dried tomatoes

1 1/2 pounds large tomatillos—husked, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

2 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro


Pat the sun-dried tomatoes, if using, with paper towels and coarsely chop them. Transfer tomatoes to a large bowl and add the tomatillos, jalapeño, ginger, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and let stand for 15 minutes or for up to 4 hours. Just before serving, add the cilantro.


A great way to enjoy the last-of-the-season eggplant and basil.

Eggplant, Pesto, and Goat-Cheese Pizza

Contributed by Quick From Scratch Italian


7 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed

1 1 1/2- to 2-pound eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 pound store-bought or homemade pizza dough

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

6 ounces mild goat cheese, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 cup pesto


Heat the oven to 450°. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 2 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Season the eggplant with the salt. Fry one-third of the eggplant, turning, until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove. Repeat in two more batches with the remaining oil, using more if needed, and the eggplant.

Meanwhile, oil a 14-inch pizza pan or large baking sheet. Press the pizza dough onto the pan in an approximately 14-inch round or 9-by-13-inch rectangle.

Arrange the eggplant slices on the pizza crust. Sprinkle the garlic and pepper over the top. Bake for 12 minutes. Put the slices of goat cheese on the pizza, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and then dot with the pesto. Bake until the cheese begins to turn golden, about 15 minutes.


Single Box

Heirloom Tomatoes- Harmony Hill Farm

Jalapeno Peppers- Abbondanza

Eggplant, Listada de Grandia- Abbondanza

Salad or Cooking Greens- Casa de la Pradera:

Jack be Little Pumpkins- Paloma Pollinators

1/2 dozen Eggs- Randall's Corner

Comice Pears- Mirabelle Vineyard & Orchard


Family Box

Heirloom tomatoes- Harmony Hill Farm

Tomatillos- JD & Co

Bush Beans- Abbondanza

Shallots-- Butte Mountain Farm

Jack be Little Pumpkins- Paloma Pollinators

1 dozen Eggs- Randall's Corner

Raspberries- Randall's Corner

Comice Pears- Mirabelle Vineyard & Orchard

Customers Dick and Josie
Shopping at
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. Payment may be made at pickup by cash or check made out to MotherLode Harvest.
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Local Agriculture Events:

Amador & El Dorado County Master Gardeners

Saturday, November 2: MLH member Hundred Acre Olive Harvest & Master Food Preserver Class

Have you considered planting an olive tree in your garden so you can cure and process your own olives? Would you like to see examples of seven varieties of olive trees to help you decide which type to plant? Do you want to experience firsthand how to harvest olives? Are you curious about curing fresh olives?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have the perfect event for you!


Participate in harvesting an olive orchard. You are welcome to come for an hour, or stay all day. Talk with the orchard owners as you pick and learn about growing olive trees.


Saturday, November 2, from 8 am until all the harvest has been picked.

Master Food Preservers will present a class on curing olives at 3:00.

Event Host:

Hundred Acre Olive Oil, Plymouth

Please dress accordingly; we recommend layers. Bring gloves if you like, but it is not necessary. The fields are not level and gopher/mole holes are a given, so be sure to wear good, sturdy shoes. Kids are welcome but please keep an eye on them.

In exchange for your help and companionship, we will provide lunch, snacks, dinner and beverages of all sorts. Every tree is an opportunity to meet someone new as you pick.

Our trees were planted in 2006 and they spent two years in the pots. We have the following varieties:

Arbequina, Frantoio, Mission, Pendolino, Manzanilla, and Leccino. There are also a few Kalamata trees, which produce HUGE olives and are perfect for curing and stuffing with all sorts of goodness.

If you intend to be a part of the harvest party, we kindly ask that you let us know so we will be sure to have enough food.

RSVP by email to if you would like to participate in the olive harvest or class. Please let us know how many people plan to attend. We will forward the address information and directions at that time.

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