Local Food and Farm Products 
Abbondanza Broccoli
Volume 5 Number 11    March 19, 2013

FIELD NOTES: DAMAS Vineyard and Farm, Fiddletown

I know it is Spring at DAMAS, because the pear trees are blooming and the asparagus spears are shooting upwards. I don't know what happened to winter (where is all that rain we need?), but with spring going full bore, so it is time to prepare for summer, ready or not! It also the fun time of year when we bottle new wines, so our cellar is bursting with estate-grown Zinandels. We are particularly excited about a new Chenin Blanc we just bottled, made from grapes we purchased from Clarksburg.

We have hosted quite a few WWOOFers over the past few months--a parade of very nice young adults from England, Sweden, Denmark, and across the USA. We appreciated the mild weather then, as they eagerly helped us do some weeding, mulching, chipping, shredding, compost turning, etc. We are ramping up our compost production, since there never seems to be enough. It was great to have WWOOFer help with raking leaves and collecting manure (and they got a kick out of adding 'shoveling shit' to their resumes). We also converted our pea arbor to a greenhouse, so this weekend we will begin planting seeds for summer abundance.

We merged two weak bee hives last fall, but lost the bees during the last cold snap. We will install new bees next month, and try again. We also hope to add chickens to the mix this year.

Mara Feeney

LOCAL EVENTS NEWS: sent in by MLH customer member Taunya Struhs

The Mothers’ Club of Amador County is a beneficiary of the Great Sutter Creek Duck Race coming up next month on Saturday April 27th. Currently we are selling Merchant Ducks ($50 for a new duck, $40 if you use one from a previous year) for local businesses to decorate and enter in the race. We also have ad space available, from $50 for a business card size ad and up to $750 for a full-page ad, (contact me* for the details) to promote your business in the Duck Race Papers AND in a special insert for The Ledger Dispatch. Hurry! Ads are due by March 14th - we can make it happen if you act now!

Beginning March 15th we will have individual Duck Race tickets available too.

One duck for $5, or 5 ducks for $20. One million $$$$ dollars in cash-o-la is a possible prize, so be sure to buy tickets for a chance to win that and other wonderful prizes! And buy your tickets from the Mommies!

As Treasurer for the Mothers’ Club, I am super excited that we are beneficiaries of the race this year. All of our fund-raising efforts go to support our diverse and inclusive activities for moms, children, and families in Amador County. We host a staggering array of free events, play dates, play groups, monthly Mommy Mingles, field trips, classes and guest speakers, holiday family parties, and offer free meals for our member families with new babies. We also have a walking/jogging group, and we offer a public and a private online forum for members to connect and discuss common interests, share resources and provide emotional support to one another.

We host drives for the Interfaith Food Bank, and we are affiliated with community outreach programs where we donate to groups such as Environmental Alternatives and Operation Care. We adopt families in our community who are in need, and every year provide donations and holiday gift giving to them. We are a 100% volunteer organization with a 100% volunteer board. Thanks to our partners, First 5 and Amador Community Foundation, and our incredible membership (140 members and counting), we continue to grow and offer more to the mothers and families of Amador County, which in turn continues to strengthen and build our amazing community.

We sincerely appreciate your consideration in helping make this fund-raising effort a success! Please let me know if you are interested in purchasing a merchant duck, ad space, or individual tickets. We would love to have your support, so please buy from the Mothers’ Club of Amador County for all your Duck Race needs!

Feel free to email or call me with any questions.

*Taunya Struhs, or call 296-1797.

Thanks so much!



DAMAS Pear Blossoms

Stir-Fried Chicken with Chinese Cabbage

Contributed by Quick From Scratch Chicken to Food and Wine

1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon plus 4 teaspoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons dry sherry

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 stalks green garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon wine vinegar

1/2 head Chinese cabbage (about 1 pound), sliced

3/4 cup drained sliced water chestnuts (from one 8-ounce can)

2 teaspoons tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or scallion tops

1/8 teaspoon salt


In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the sherry, and the cayenne. Let marinate for 10 minutes.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the onion, garlic, and coriander. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sherry and the vinegar. Cook, stirring, 1 minute longer.

Add the cabbage, water chestnuts, the remaining 4 teaspoons soy sauce, the tomato paste, red-pepper flakes, and water and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes longer. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices, the cilantro, and the salt and cook, stirring, until the chicken is just done, 1 to 2 minutes longer.


Asian Vegetable Soup with Noodles

Contributed by Quick from Scratch Vegetable Main Dishes to Food and Wine

1 tablespoon cooking oil

6 scallions including green tops, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced, or 4 stalks green garlic, sliced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes

3 1/2 cups water

3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

4 carrots, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices

3/4 pound napa (Chinese) cabbage (about 1/2 head), leaves shredded (about 3 cups)

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 small head bok choy (about 3/4 pound), stalks halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces, leaves shredded

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 pound vermicelli

1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil


In a large saucepan, heat the cooking oil over moderately low heat. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the soy sauce, red-pepper flakes, water, and broth and bring to a boil.

Add the carrots to the broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cabbage and salt and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Add the bok choy and lemon zest and simmer until the bok choy starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the vermicelli until just done, about 9 minutes. Drain. Return the noodles to the pot and toss with the sesame oil. Put some noodles in each of four bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles.

DAMAS Vineyard in Spring

Lemony Braised Greens with Fennel

Contributed by Michael Psilakis for Food and Wine

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 fennel bulb—cored and thinly sliced, fronds reserved

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 pound braising greens, any tough stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped dill

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a medium pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and sliced fennel and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook over moderately high heat until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the escarole and water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring a few times, until the escarole is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, dill and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the fennel fronds and serve.

Make Ahead: The greens can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat before serving.


Italian Butter Beans with Meyer Lemon and Tarragon

Contributed by Annie Somerville for Food and Wine

1 1/2 cups dried Italian butter beans or other large white beans (10 ounces), soaked overnight and drained

1 bay leaf


1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar

2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest

3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped tarragon


Rinse the beans and transfer them to a large saucepan. Add the bay leaf and 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until nearly tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Season the beans with salt and simmer until they are tender, but still hold their shape, about 45 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the onion and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain the onion and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil.

Drain the beans. Add them to the dressing, season with salt and pepper and toss. Let the beans stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before serving, fold in the parsley and tarragon.

Make Ahead: The dressed beans can be refrigerated overnight. Return to room temperature and fold in the herbs before serving.


Single Box

Meyer lemons - Abbondanza

1/2 dozen organic free range Eggs - Casa de la Pradera

Braising greens – Casa de la Pradera or Tyson Hill Farm

Chinese cabbages – Tyson Hill Farm

Boc choi - Tyson Hill Farm

Oatmeal Raisin gluten free cookie dough (frozen) - Randall's Corner


Family Box

Meyer lemons - Abbondanza

1/2 dozen organic Eggs - Randall's Corner

Braising greens – Casa de la Pradera or Tyson Hill Farm

Chinese cabbages – Tyson Hill Farm

Sunflower greens -Butte Mountain Farm

Swiss chard -Butte Mountain Farm or Casa de Pradera

Green garlic - Casa de la Pradera

Oatmeal Raisin gluten free cookie dough (frozen) - Randall's Corner


DAMAS WWoofers helping with the greenhouse
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DAMAS Spring Garden


URGENT: Stop the Monsanto Protection Act today!

Like a zombie rising from the dead, the "Monsanto Protection Act" is back and alive in the U.S. Senate and we need your help to stop it!

Late Monday night, biotech lobbyists succeeded in slipping the dangerous biotech rider (Sec. 735) into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill in an effort to strip federal courts of their authority to halt the sale and planting of any illegaly, potentially hazardous GMO crop.

If approved, the Monsanto Protection Act would force the USDA to allow continued planting of any GMO crop under court review, essentially giving backdoor approval for any new genetically engineered crops that could be potentially harmful to human health or the environment.

Clearly Monsanto and the biotech industry are getting desperate and want to try an end run around a growing movement of farmers and citizens who are rejecting their products and calling for GMO labeling in an effort to make sure their new GMO crops can evade any serious scientific or regulatory review.

For the past year, Food Democracy Now! and our allies have been able to hold them off, but we need your help today!

The Monsanto Protection Act could pass as early as next week and we need your help today. Stop the Monsanto Protection Act and tell your member of Congress to stand up for your rights and the Constitution!


Go to:


These riders, which we dubbed the "Monsanto Protection Act" last year, would strip federal courts of their authority to halt the sale and planting of an illegal and potentially hazardous GMO crop.

As they did last summer, these new provisions, called “riders”, would allow biotech companies to continue to sell their unapproved seeds to farmers, who could plant them while important legal appeals are taking place, instead of halting the planting of the unapproved crop until the court settled the appeal as has been done up until now.

In classic form, the biotech industry has cleverly hidden their toxic plan under the deceptive title of a “Farmer Assurance Provision” (Sec. 733). In truth, the “Monsanto Protection Act” would allow the biotech industry to continue to flout American legal precedence and violate the constitutional separation of powers set forth by our Founding Fathers.

In short, the “Farmer Assurance Provision” is the greatest threat to farmers’ and citizens’ rights that Monsanto and the biotech industry has ever devised and it must be stopped - today!

According to legal experts, this provision “would create a precedent-setting limitation on judicial review” and is a “dangerous assault on fundamental federal and judicial safeguards”.

This current rider is a response to the successful lawsuits that farmers have filed to prevent the sale, distribution and cultivation of GMO sugarbeets and GMO alfalfa, both of which were forced to stop from being planted while the USDA finalized full environment reviews. But once again, Monsanto and the biotech industry are working behind the scenes to shred vital legal rights simply so they can make endless profits.

If allowed to pass, the Monsanto Protection Act would:

  • Violate the constitutional precedent of separation of powers by interfering with the process of judicial review.

  • Eliminate federal agency oversight to protect farmers, consumers and the environment from potential harms caused by unapproved biotech crops.

  • Allow Monsanto and biotech seed and chemical companies to profit by overriding the rule of law and plant their untested GMO crops despite no proof of their safety for the public and environment.

No matter what you believe about GMOs, the fact is that corporations should not have the right to fundamentally undermine our basic rights and constitutional freedoms in their relentless pursuit of profits. Even the consideration of this dangerous provision is a sign of just how much power Monsanto has over our federal government and how far the biotech industry will go to force its genetically engineered food on to the American public.

If allowed to pass, the Monsanto Protection Act will only open farmers and the agricultural economy to very real and significant harm from cross-contamination events. Currently, the Plant Protection Act requires the USDA to regulate GMO crops to protect “the agriculture, environment and economy of the United States”. As a result of previous lawsuits, the USDA is required to complete court-mandated environmental impact statements (EIS) prior to the sale and planting of GMO crops, but even the USDA has shown little regard for this law.

Now, the new provision included in the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill will allow biotech seed and chemical companies to openly skirt even minimal protections of human health and environmental concerns.

We need your help to make sure your Senator demands that Appropriations Chairman Mikulski pulls this dangerous and unconstitutional rider, and support any amendment that would strike the biotech rider from the new Continuing Resolution.

Join Food Democracy Now! and our allies to help stop the Monsanto Protection Act. It’s time that our elected officials start putting our rights over the profits of Monsanto and biotech companies.


Thanks for participating in food democracy,

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team



"‘Monsanto Protection Act’ would keep GMO crops in the ground during legal battles ", Grist, June 29, 2012


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