Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 7 Number 10    March 8, 2016

FIELD NOTES: Mirabelle Orchard and Vineyard, Fiddletown


Warm winter, too early spring and now storms in March. Could this stormy weekend presage “Miracle March” or the resurrection of faltering El Niño? The rain is welcome and may it continue! Saturday, gusts of wind roar though our orchard, once again breaking off dead and brittle branches and twigs from walnut trees. Yellow and white daffodils and narcissus are blown to the ground and coral blossoms of the flowering quince are blasted off the bush. Perhaps winter has returned, making additional clean-up work.

It was quite a challenge to prune fruit trees and grapevines before the early arrival of spring. Just as we finished, the first blossoms appeared on our lone apricot tree, followed by almonds and Mirabelle plums. Flowers are slowly unfurling on pear and ancient prune trees. If the rain is not too harsh, the orchard will soon be a display of exquisite white blossoms. If the process works as anticipated, bees will pollinate the blossoms, nubs of fruit will emerge from the flowers, and a new crop of fruit will be born. But as we know, weather can be capricious and spring frosts can devour nascent fruit. Meanwhile, we watch grasses and weeds grow inch by inch, while eagerly looking at the rising numbers of the rain gauge.


GARDENING TO THE RHYTHM:the Biodynamic Calendar for March 8- 14, by Daniel D'Agostini, Abbondanza

It is Monday morning, March 7th as I write and another wonderful night of rain. Close to four inches in three days at my place and 29 inches for the season so far. Looking good. This week ahead is a time for tending leaf crops and then on the weekend fruit crops. Tuesday is a solar eclipse (not visible here) but best not to be planting seeds at this time. Next week on Monday Saturn and the Moon are in opposition once agin and a great time for sowing root crops, think onion seeds or carrots. We are also in the ascending period of the moon through next Tuesday so I would shy away from any serious transplanting.

For those of you who do begin your seeds and have been doing so you may have lots of little seedlings up now. With all this wonderful moist weather though they can become susceptible to “damp off” a fungal disease that can wipe out your starts. A simple solution is to brew up some Chamomile tea, let it cool and then put in a clean spray bottle and mist all your little seedlings each morning and night until their first true leaves appear. Chamomile is a natural anti-fungal. Okay, have a great week.



Arugula and sorrel are both wonderful in salads, but here are a couple of other things you could do with them.


Sorrel Rice Bowls with Poached Eggs

by Jessica Koslow Bon Appétit June 2014


Yield: 4 servings


2 cups short-grain brown rice

Kosher salt

1 cup (lightly packed) sorrel or arugula leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

4 large eggs

1 large watermelon radish or 2 red radishes, very thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

1/2 preserved lemon, flesh removed, peel finely chopped (optional)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving

2 ounces feta, crumbled

Hot sauce

Flaky sea salt




Cook rice in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, 45-50 minutes. Drain rice, return to pot, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Spread out on a baking sheet and let cool completely.

Purée sorrel or arugula, oil, and 1 tablespoon water in a food processor until smooth; season with kosher salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring 2" water to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat so water is at a gentle simmer and add vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then gently slide egg into water. Repeat with remaining eggs, waiting until whites are opaque before adding the next (about 30 seconds apart). Poach until whites are set and yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels as they are done.

Toss radish with 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a small bowl; season with kosher salt. Toss rice, preserved lemon, 1 tablespoon dill, remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/3 cup sorrel purée in a medium bowl; season with kosher salt and pepper and mix in more sorrel purée, if desired.

Serve sorrel rice topped with poached eggs, radish, feta, hot sauce, more dill, and sea salt.

Do ahead: Rice can be cooked 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Sorrel purée can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill. Bring rice and purée to room temperature before serving.

Lamb Chops with Greens and Sorrel Salsa Verde

Chef Seamus Mullen of New York's El Colmado Epicurious April 2015


Yield: 4 Servings


8 1 1/2-2"-thick lamb loin chops (about 3 pounds)

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

2/3 cup sorrel, spinach, or arugula leaves

1/3 cup mint leaves

1/3 cup parsley leaves

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces king oyster or maitake mushrooms, cut into 1/2" pieces

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1 bunch cooking greens, such as chard, mustard, or kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into pieces

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (add up to 3 tablespoons total if using spinach)



Pat lamb dry; season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature 1 hour.

Meanwhile, puree sorrel, mint, parsley, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, about 1 garlic clove, and 1/3 cup oil in a blender, scraping down sides as needed, until mixture is smooth. Season salsa verde with salt and pepper; set aside.

Prepare grill for high heat (or heat a grill pan over high). Grill chops, turning every 2 minutes or so, until well browned and beginning to char and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125°, 8–10 minutes. Let lamb rest at least 10 minutes.

While lamb is resting, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Reduce heat to medium and add shallot and remaining garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is softened and starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add greens; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes. Return mushrooms to skillet and toss to combine. Stir in vinegar; season with salt and pepper.

Stir lemon juice into salsa verde; taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve lamb chops over greens with salsa verde.

Do ahead: Salsa verde (without lemon juice) can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Add lemon juice before serving.


Single Box

1 bunch carrots Tin Bird Garden

1/4 lb. arugula Butte Mountain Farm

1 head lettuce Casa de la Pradera

1 Meyer lemon Abbondanza

1/2 lb. walnuts Blue Mountain Orchard

1 piece quince membrillo Casa de la Pradera


Family Box

1 bunch carrots Tin Bird Garden

1 head lettuce Abbondanza

1/2 lb. chard Butte Mountain Farm

2 Meyer lemons Abbondanza

3 oranges Abbondanza

1/4 lb. sorrel Butte Mountain Farm

2 oz. sunflower greens Butte Mountain Farm

1 bunch parsley Abbondanza


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.


MLH Calendar of Events

March 12 12-2:00 GENERAL MEETING TERESA'S BANQUET ROOM NEED EVERYONE WHO CAN TO BE THERE! Board of Directors is hosting lunch.

MARCH 14 Board of Directors Meeting 6:00

MARCH 19 Butte Mountain Farm Tour 1:00-4:00 17336 Butte Mountain Rd. Jackson

We are just squeaking in a winter quarter open house before winter ends, on Saturday, March 19 from 1 to 4 pm at Butte Mountain Farm in Jackson. This will be a great time to visit the farm of Carolyn Boyd, as she has been welcoming a bunch of new lambs into the world. Visitors to her farm always enjoy seeing the baby lambs and the rest of the flock, her extensive chicken coops, and her garden-with-a-view, and learning how she manages it all sustainably.

Take advantage of this opportunity to meet Carolyn, who is also MLH's Distribution Coordinator, as well as other MLH producers who will be on hand, and feel free to ask them your gardening/farming questions. As with our other open houses, there will be light refreshments served. This event is free, but donations are welcome (suggested donation $5.00 per adult).

APRIL 23 7:00 Showing of the award-winning documentary "With Respect To Farming, " a journey through a year in the lives of farmers, ranchers, orchardists, dairy owners, and family farms pursuing a sustainable livelihood in the beautiful and remote Methow Valley of Washington State's North Cascade Mountains. This dvd presentation is being hosted by customer members Joyce Campbell & Bernie Biglow at their home off Shake Ridge Rd at 7:00 PM. Refreshments will be served. Directions will be forthcoming. SAVE THE DATE AND CELEBRATE EARTH DAY APRIL 22, by viewing and discussing this relevant documentary.

JUNE 18 MLH's Farm to Fork Fundraiser Solstice Celebration: This will be a fun event at Daniel's farm in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. We need everyone to help make it happen. We'll let you know more about this important event at our General Meeting next Saturday. SAVE THE DATE

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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.