Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 7 Number 38   Sept 22, 2015


From MLH President Alice Kaiser

We have very good news today--Highway 26 is now open, so Humbug Creek Farm and others are no longer isolated and inaccessible. West Point has power again, so Laurel, and Ron Brickman and others should be able to go home. (We don't know yet what they will find when they return--let's hope their places are intact!) Steve does not have power but is using a generator to keep the cider frozen. With the fire 47% contained, the immediate danger is much reduced, but it will turn hot and dry again this weekend, so we are not necessarily done with this. And, as Sean has pointed out, there is enormous work to be done after the flames have subsided.

Steve mentioned yesterday that he has a large apple crop that he may not be able to press into cider (barring power being restored very soon), and he would like to harvest the apples and make them available to the Food Bank and any other institutions that can give them to people who need them. No plans or dates have been set, but if MLH can contribute to a harvest work party, that would be great. When any plans are set, I'll help get them out.

I know I have wanted to have ways I could help, and I imagine most of us have felt that way. I hope that we can continue to work together for mutual support, and to find creative ways to build community for local food production and distribution.



Blue Mountain Orchard, West Point

Dear friends and family, I was allowed to return to my home this morning, after having been evacuated since last Friday. The firefighters put in a massive effort day before yesterday to stop the fire in the South Fork canyon, about 3 miles from my home. By that time, the fire that had started a week ago had consumed about one-fourth of the county I live in, a vast area of some 72,000 acres. There is still some danger, as my corner of the fire is one of the most volatile, and any flare-up, like an ember crossing the river, would quickly gain traction, as the area is heavily forested and not easily accessible.

I came out of it quite well, unlike many people who lost their homes. My home and property were untouched; even the view from my home is unimpaired, and I can go to and from West Point along my usual route (highway 88 to Jackson and Sutter Creek) without even seeing any fire damage. But taking the other highway, there is total devastation from about 8 miles from my place to the town of Mokelumne Hill, some 16 miles away.

All of my animals survived. Since the electric-powered deer repellers were off (we were out of power for a week and even now only have temporary, trucked-in, power), the deer had a feast on my landscaping. The fact that my automatic irrigation system was also off did minimal damage. The whole property, inside and out, is covered with a light ash, like dirty snow.

I plan to go ahead with all my plans. I’m sure people will understand that it will take some time to bring my place back up to its usual standards.

Thanks so much to all of you who contacted me during this ordeal. Your support helped me get through it!

Ron Brickman


Butte Mountain Farm, Jackson

Hello everyone,

Things are slowly returning to normal at Butte Mountain Farm. Only one or two Cal Fire vehicles were seen today. There are hot spots, but hopefully all on this side of the fire zone is pretty well finished burning.

I will not be at either Folsom nor Carmichael this weekend. I will be out of town for a family event. However, Dan Port of Winterport Farm does have eggs he will take to the Saturday market at the light rail station in Rancho Cordova. It is on Folsom Blvd and Sunrise. The hours of that market are 8am to 12pm.

I will be back at both markets the weekend of Sept 26th and 27th. See you then!

Carolyn Boyd


Grilled Beef Tenderloin & Escarole

From EatingWell: July/August 2008

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes



1 cup chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 clove garlic, minced

2 large heads escarole, outermost leaves removed

1 pound beef tenderloin (filet mignon) or sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into 4 steaks, 1-1 1/2 inches thick


Preheat grill to medium-high.

Place tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon Parmesan, vinegar, basil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor or blender; pulse until coarsely chopped. Set aside. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in another small bowl.

Leaving the root ends intact, cut escarole heads into quarters (the root will keep the leaves from falling apart); brush the cut sides with the garlic-oil mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Season both sides of steak with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan onto both sides of the steak.

Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the escarole, turning occasionally, until the inner leaves have softened and the outer leaves have begun to char, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board to cool. Grill the steaks, turning once, until desired doneness, 8 to 12 minutes total for medium.

Cut the root ends off the escarole and discard. Chop the leaves into bite-size pieces. Serve the steak and grilled greens drizzled with the reserved tomato vinaigrette.

Tip: To oil the grill rack: oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.


Wilted Escarole with Apples




3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 shallot, diced small

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 bunch (about 1 pound) escarole



In a small saucepan, heat extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add shallot and season with coarse salt and ground pepper; cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add apples and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cider vinegar. In a large bowl, toss escarole, roughly chopped, with apple mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Honey-Roasted Eggplant with Chiles

from Martha Stewart Living, January 2010



4 or 5 baby eggplants, halved, or 2 regular eggplants, cut into 2-inch cubes

5 small fresh hot chiles, halved lengthwise

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper



Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss eggplants with chiles, honey, and oil to coat.

Roast eggplants (skin sides up) and chiles on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is golden, about 20 minutes (if using cubes of eggplant, stir once every 5 to 7 minutes). Flip, and roast until eggplant softens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini, and Chickpea Wraps

from Martha Stewart Living



1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Vegetable oil, cooking spray

1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium summer squash, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 small onion, peeled, root end left intact, halved lengthwise, cut into 8 wedges

1 cup drained canned chickpeas, rinsed

½ pound tomatoes, chopped

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

4 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella, thinly sliced

4 whole-wheat lavash pieces or whole-wheat wraps (2 ounces and 8 inches each)



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, and 2 teaspoons parsley in a small bowl; set vinaigrette aside.

Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss eggplant, summer squash, onion, and remaining parsley in a large bowl. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and salt; season with pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange mozzarella in center of lavash pieces or wraps. Top each with 1 1/4 cups vegetable salad. Roll up, and cut in half.



Single Box

Escarole-- Casa de la Pradera

Summer squash-- Paloma Pollinators

Tomatoes-- Humbug Creek Farm

Asian pears-- Humbug Creek Farm

Duchesse pears-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

Sweet peppers-- Paloma Pollinators

Apples-- Humbug Creek Farm

Parsley-- Abbondanza


Family Box

Eggplant-- Paloma Pollinators

Lettuce-- Casa de la Pradera

Hot peppers-- Harmony Hill Farm

Melon-- Harmony Hill Farm

Tomatoes-- Harmony Hill Farm

Asian pears-- Humbug Creek Farm

Comice pears-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

Duchesse pears-- Mirabelle Vineyard and Orchard

Almonds-- 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.



How Industrial Farming 'Destroyed' the Tasty Tomato

Excerpted from an interview with Barry Estabrook on Fresh Air, NPR, June 28, 2011

If you bite into a tomato between October and June, chances are that tomato came from Florida. The Sunshine State accounts for virtually all of the tomatoes raised during the fall and winter seasons. But the tomatoes grown in Florida differ dramatically from the varieties you might grow in your backyard. They are bred to be perfectly formed—so that they can make their way across the U.S. without cracking or breaking.

“For the last 50 or more years, tomato breeders have concentrated essentially on one thing—they want plants that yield as many as possible; they want tomatoes to stand up to being harvested, packed, artificially turned orange—using ethylene gas—and then shipped away” said author Barry Estabrook.

The mass-produced tomatoes in today's supermarkets lack flavor because they were bred for enduring the long journeys to the supermarket—and not for taste. “As one Florida farmer said 'I don't get paid a single cent for flavor, I get paid for weight. And I don't know of any supermarket shopper who tastes her tomatoes before she puts them in her shopping cart.'” As a result customers have grown accustomed to the flavorless tomatoes that dot supermarket shelves, says Estabrook.

As it turns out Florida is not the best place to grow the crop. The tomatoes grow in sand, with few nutrients; in addition, the humidity breeds large amounts of insects, which means tomato growers apply chemical pesticides on weekly basis. “The official Florida handbook for tomato growers lists 110 different fungicides, pesticides and herbicides that can be applied during a single growing season, more than eight times the amount allowed in California” says Estabrook.

Part of this problem has to do with consumers, “it's the price we pay for insisting we have food out of season and not local” said Estabrook.

Summarized by Yashenka Nesmith

MLH Calendar of Events

September 27, Sunday-- THIS WEEK!  Cider Pressing, Humbug Creek Farm, Glencoe
Steve and Pat Wilensky will be pressing cider this coming Sunday, Sept 27 and could use some help.The fire has miraculously spared their farm and  power has  recently been restored but there are so many apples on the ground, they will not be usable if they're not gathered and processed very soon.  Let them know if you can help.  Driving to their farm in Glencoe will take you through some of the burned areas and you can see the devastation up close. They both have some incredible fire stories, it's worth having a conversation with them. 
Their phone is 209 293-7907,
address: l7425 Hwy 26 Glencoe.
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