Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 8 Number 39    Sept 27, 2016

FIELD NOTES: Mirabelle Orchard and Vineyard, Fiddletown

This has been an unpredictable summer with several spikes of intense heat. Every year seasons are variable, but with higher recorded temperatures throughout the world and our continuing drought, climate change is marching forward.  As farmers, we are especially affected by weather changes, and we must adapt and plan for crops that grow in a warmer climate. Olive trees, for example, can do well in a drier climate, but even they need water to get established and survive. The availability of water is the lynchpin, and so far, planning for conserving and storing water is deficient at the state and local levels. We were amused by the AWA display window at the County Fair with two contradictory statements – “Water Restrictions are Lifted,” and “Save water, every drop counts.”
Historically in Amador County, farmers did not irrigate. They depended on rainfall to carry them through the summer, raising trees and grapevines with dry farming. The old walnuts, prunes, and grapevines on our property were all dry farmed.  Now we see those trees highly stressed with branches and limbs dying. Our new and younger plantings of grapevines and fruit trees require water to survive and we try to use irrigation sparingly. Every spring we roll out long lines of irrigation tubing and then we roll them back up after harvest. These lines need constant monitoring, because emitters can pop or get clogged or lines can be damaged by teeth of animals seeking water.
Speaking of animals, gophers and ground squirrels are thriving in the drought and wreaking havoc on our land. Other pests like coddling moths have proliferated, damaging pears and apples. Farming is a constant challenge, as well all know. And still, the rewards are great as Nature, augmented by our efforts and dedication, provides us with delicious, fresh produce that improves our well-being and health. The arrival of autumn, with cooler weather and potential rainfall, is most welcome.

Elaine Zorbas


Why pesticides could be the biggest risk posed by corporate agriculture.
It’s “no surprise” that the billion pounds of pesticides applied each year to conventional crops in America can also harm us. Agricultural communities and especially their children are placed at risk for serious health problems, according to an article. Environmental health experts point to pesticides harming the young brain and having far-reaching consequences. Read more:

World’s biggest Sockeye run shut down as wild Pacific Salmon fight for survival.
This year’s sockeye run on British Columbia’s longest river was closed to commercial and First Nations fishing when fewer than 900,000 salmon out of a projected 2.2 million returned to the Fraser River to spawn.  Climate change has created poor environmental conditions and increased disease risks, according to an EcoWatch article. “Salmon have less food and face new predators migrating north to beat the heat.” Read more here:

Tell the big restaurant chains: Restrict the use of antibiotics in your meat.
Antibiotics used to “fatten up cows and chickens and help them survive in factory farm conditions” are moving through the food chain from large farms to restaurants like “KFC, Burger King and Denny’s,”  according to a Consumers Union article. Overuse of antibiotics is “creating resistant bacteria that spreads through our food, water and the environment”.
Consumers Union posted a colorful score card awarding a few A’s and many more F’s to big chain restaurants on their policies regarding sourcing meat. 
To sign a petition encouraging restaurant policies that prohibit the regular use of antibiotics in meat and poultry, go to:

Glyphosate found in Childhood Vaccines
Several independent tests on vaccines have detected glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and hundreds of other herbicides.
“Glyphosate could easily be present in vaccines due to the fact that certain vaccine viruses including measles and flu are grown on gelatin derived from the ligaments of pigs fed heavy doses of glyphosate in their GMO feed,” according to MIT scientist Dr Stephane Seneff in a EcoWatch article.Read more here:

News article summaries by Joyce Campbell.

Eggplant Parmigiana

Recipe courtesy of Mario Batali


Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes

1 tablespoon butter
4 large russet potatoes (scrubbed clean)
1 pound Gruyere (1/4-inch thick slices, cut into 2-inch squares)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
1/4 cup proscuitto (thinly sliced and cut into ribbons)
1/2 cup Parmesan (freshly grated)
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup chives (chopped)
salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Butter a baking dish and set aside. Microwave potatoes on high for 8-10 minutes. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Place a par-cooked potato horizontal on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, make slits in each potato, leaving about 1/4-inch spaces in between each cut and leaving about 1/2-inch of the potato uncut on the bottom. (Tip: Rest two wooden spoons on both sides of the potato to guide your knife and to prevent it from cutting through the bottom.) Repeat with remaining potatoes.
Place the potatoes in the prepared baking dish. Cut the sliced Gruyere cheese to fit into the cuts made in the potatoes, and stuff all of the potatoes. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper. Whisk the sour cream, milk and nutmeg together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the stuffed potatoes. Combine the prosciutto, Parmesan and bread crumbs in a bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the potatoes. Scatter butter over the top of the potatoes. Place in the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the potatoes are cooked through and crispy. Remove and garnish with fresh chopped chives.



Single Box
1/2 lb Beans - Abbondanza

1/2 lb Lettuce - Abbondanza

1/2 lb Sweet Peppers - Abbondanza

1 lb Potatoes -  Harmony Hill

1 lb Tomatoes – Somerset Gourmet

1/2 lb Plums- Humbug Creek Farm

1 bunch Basil – Somerset Gourmet

 Family Box
l lb Eggplant - Abbondanza

1/2 lb Beans - Abbondanza

1/2 lb Lettuce - Abbondanza

1/2 lb Shallots – Butte Mtn Farm

1 lb Potatoes – Harmony Hill Farm

1 lb Tomatoes – Somerset Gourmet

1/2 lb Plums – Humbug Creek Farm

1 bunch Basil -  Somerset Gourmet

1 lb Asian Pears – Humbug Creek



Customers Dick and Josie


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.

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


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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.

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