Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 7 Number 35   September 1, 2015

MLH NEWS: Summer Quarter Open House-- Cider Pressing!

Mother Lode Harvest has rescheduled our summer open house at Humbug Creek Farm in Glencoe on Sunday, September 6-- this weekend! For those who want to see the process of cider-making from start to finish, we will start with picking apples from 8 am till about 10 am, then press those apples into cider from 10 to noon, followed by a barbecue lunch for all the hungry helpers. People can participate in both picking and pressing, or just the pressing-- all help is appreciated. Children are welcome, with supervision.

Don't miss this opportunity to see how cider is made. This is also a great chance to see Humbug's glorious fruit orchard and beautiful farm.

Humbug Creek Farm is located at 17425 Hwy 26 in Glencoe. Please register with Michelle at or 209-419-2503 if you would like to attend, so we know how many helpers to expect. A $5.00 donation per adult is requested to support the work of Mother Lode Harvest.


FIELD NOTES: Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard, Fiddletown


As farmers, we all know that every year is different. There are patterns to be sure, but many variations occur within each season. This drought year is particularly unpredictable, as trees and plants thirst for ground water that is disappearing. We see the effects especially in our orchard. All the trees are stressed with branch die-off, blight on some trees, drooping branches. You may have noticed around the county that older walnut trees have many dead limbs, very apparent with the Hartleys which used to be the dominant variety along with some Franquette pollinizers. We are sadly seeing these grand old trees slowly dying in our orchard and elsewhere. Fortunately, we planted Chandlers over 20 years ago, and they seem to be faring better. Yet all these trees are dry farmed and we wonder if this traditional way of farming in our county will survive the drought and future climate change.


Despite the water deficit, the fruits and nuts on these stressed trees are bountiful and delicious. And they are ready much earlier than “normal.” Our tiny and sweet Seckel pears are usually the first to be harvested, but not this year. Already we are harvesting large pear varieties, Duchesse d’Angoulème, Duchesse Bronzée, Williams/Bartlett, Magness, and even the late Comice. Pears are seldom ripe off the tree and require some time in a cool pantry to bring out their flavor and sweetness. Almost as soon as the trees are relieved of their load, they begin entering a stage of semi-dormancy, signaling the onset of early fall. Leaves turn yellow and begin dropping, giving each tree a spectral aspect. This year, trees are protecting themselves by going into early dormancy while they wait for rain―as we all wait and hope.


Dimitri & Elaine Zorbas


MLH Volunteering Opportunity

One of our newsletter editors, Marcus LaPilusa, is also our tech expert, handling glitches in the website software among other things, and he would like to hand off his newsletter duties to someone else in order to have more time for the website. This position requires approximately 2 hours every third week, in rotation with the other editors. Some training is required in using our emailing program. If researching recipes gets your creative juices flowing, and you secretly have always wanted to wear an editor's hat, please contact Michelle at 209-419-2503, or


Eggplant Caviar

Reader Recipe From Nora Koganon

Makes 1 1/2 cups (serves 4)

Hands-On Time 20 min

Total Time 1 hr 20 min


1 1⁄2 pounds eggplant

1/2 small onion, finely chopped (1⁄4 cup)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)

kosher salt and black pepper

Pumpernickel bread and cut-up vegetables, for serving


Heat oven to 400° F. Using a fork, prick the eggplant all over. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until very tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise and scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin. Finely chop the flesh and transfer it to a large bowl.

Add the onion, garlic, parsley, oil, vinegar, mayonnaise (if using), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and mix to combine. Sprinkle with additional parsley and serve with the bread and vegetables, if desired.


Bulgur Wheat Salad With Tomato and Eggplant

By Sara Quessenberry on

Serves 4

Hands-On Time 25 min


1 cup bulgur wheat

1 eggplant, thinly sliced

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or tomatoes, chopped

1 cucumber, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

kosher salt and pepper

1 cup basil leaves or parsley, chopped


Heat broiler.

Cook the bulgur according to the package directions.

Arrange the eggplant slices on 2 baking sheets. Brush both sides with a total of 3 tablespoons of the oil. Broil the eggplant, 1 sheet pan at a time, until brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, cucumber, vinegar, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Fold in the basil or parsley.

Transfer the bulgur to a large bowl and top with the eggplant and tomato mixture before serving.



Prune Plum Chutney

from, Posted October 23, 2007


1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1 cup cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups golden raisins

1 onions (small, peeled and thinly sliced)

1/3 cup ginger (grated peeled)

3 cloves garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)

1 tbsp salt

4 1/2 tsps mustard seeds

2 hot peppers, seeded and minced

4 lbs prune plums (pitted and quartered)


Bring sugars and vinegar to a boil in a heavy medium pot over medium heat. Stir in raisins, onions, ginger, garlic, salt, mustard seeds, and pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Stir in plums. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until chutney is dark and thick, about 3 3⁄4 hours.

Sterilize five 8-oz. canning jars, their lids and ring bands, and a widemouthed funnel in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a clean dish towel. Using the funnel, fill each jar with hot chutney to no more than 1⁄4" from rim. Wipe rims, place lids on jars, then screw on ring bands.

Using jar tongs, submerge filled jars in pot of gently boiling water (jars should be covered by a least 1" of water) and process for 10 minutes. Transfer jars to a dish towel at least 1" apart; let cool undisturbed for 24 hours. Test jars for a proper seal: press on center of each lid and remove your finger; if lid stays down, it's sealed.

Refrigerate any chutney that hasn't been sealed and use within 4 weeks.


Single Box

Beans-- Abbondanza

Garlic-- Abbondanza

Hot peppers-- Harmony Hill Farm

Summer squash-- PalomaPollinators

Cherry tomatoes-- Paloma Pollinators

French prune plums-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

Bartlett pears-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard


Family Box

Beans-- Abbondanza

Cucumber-- Casa de la Pradera

Eggplant-- Paloma Pollinators

Garlic-- Abbondanza

Tomatoes-- Paloma Pollinators

French prune plums-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

Duchesse pears-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

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

Sunday, September 6: Summer Quarter Open House & Cider Pressing-- 8 am to 2 pm, Humbug Creek Farm, Glencoe
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.