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Local Food and Farm Products 
GOOD FOOD NEWS
Volume 5 Number 42    October 22, 2013


MLH NEWS:

Sunday, October 27 Fall Quarter Open House-- Humbug Creek Farm-- THIS WEEK!

Come out to Glencoe on Sunday, October 27, to meet the folks of Humbug Creek Farm! Spend a quintessential fall day picking apples and pressing them into cider. Picking will be from 8 to10:30 am, then pressing will commence at 11, and goes for a couple hours, including cleanup. Farmers Pat and Steve will treat us to a BBQ lunch, and take us on a tour of the garden and their orchard of over 100 varieties of heirloom and rare apples, pears, and Asian pears.

Humbug Creek Farm is located at 17425 Hwy 26 in Glencoe. RSVP requested to attend-- please contact Michelle at 419-2503 or motherlodeharvest@gmail.com.

 

GARDENING Q&A:

We would like to start a recurring feature in this newsletter with your gardening questions, answered by our producers. Send your questions to motherlodeharvest@gmail.com, and we will print them with the answers of our seasoned growers.

 

To take action on the issue below, go to http://caff.org/ and click on the “Comment on the Food Safety Modernization Act” button before November 15.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE NEWS: TAKE ACTION!

Don’t Let the Food Safety Modernization Act Burden Family Farmers

By Dave Runsten and Brian Snyder on October 3, 2013

www.civileats.com

Amidst the current furor over a government shutdown, the federal budget, debt ceiling, food stamps, immigration, and other programs that are either held up or being curtailed, another huge issue is quietly moving forward that could profoundly impact American agriculture and consumers.

If you go out of your way to enjoy fresh and locally grown food sold at grocery stores or served up at a favorite restaurant, if you care what your child is served to eat at school, or if you have ever considered starting your own food or farm business, you need to know about the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA.

Put simply, FSMA is the first substantial modernization of our nation’s food safety laws for fruits, vegetables and most processed foods since the 1930s, and it grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broad new powers to monitor your food sources and define what is safe to eat. FSMA was signed into law in early 2011. The FDA has proposed rules to implement certain parts of the Act, which the public can comment on until November 15.

Now, everyone has a role in ensuring safe food – from the farmer tending crops with safety in mind to home cooks taking proper precautions in the kitchen. But these new rules propose in many cases to treat local growers – the kinds of farmers selling fresh carrots to elementary schools or spicy pickles at your local farmers market – comparably to multinational industrial agribusinesses.

Such a “one-size-fits-all” approach could end up putting many of these innovative and newly popular suppliers out of business, even though shorter supply chains for food are known to reduce risk in concrete ways – by minimizing storage, shipping, and handling, as well as the length of time between harvest and consumption.

It makes one wonder, why would FDA want to make it harder for farmers and consumers everywhere to do the right thing, by growing, selecting and serving foods from local and regional sources where, in the event of a problem, traceability is a cinch and accountability virtually assured?

As they’re currently written, these proposed regulations will unfairly burden family farmers, penalize sustainable and organic farming practices, and reduce the availability of fresh, local food in our communities. They’ll make it harder for beginning farmers to get started, harder to get healthy food into schools, harder for us to fight nationwide public health challenges like diabetes and heart disease, and harder to rebuild a robust national economy from the ground up.

Here are some situations in the proposed rules that should grab the attention of any farmer or advocate for sustainable farms:

 

The rules undermine on-farm conservation, protection of wildlife, and organic farming practices.

 

When Congress wrote FSMA, it specifically said that the new regulations could not conflict with organic farming practices. But FDA is proposing excessive and unjustified waiting periods between the use of natural fertilizers like manure and compost and the harvest of a crop. Organic farmers depend on compost and manure as their primary tools to build the health of their soil, and the excessive waiting period will make it nearly impossible for many farmers to use manure and restrict their use of compost. This will push farmers to use chemicals instead. Standard practices in organic farming that have existed for decades are suddenly deemed dangerous, without demonstrating that these practices are making people sick.

 

The rules unfairly target local food and limit opportunities for farmers.

 

In FSMA, Congress required FDA to include important considerations for local and regional food systems. The rules fail to fully implement those considerations, including the failure to clarify that Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) and other direct-to-consumer businesses are not subject to regulations for industrial food facilities. Without this clarification, if a farmer opts to include some of the neighbor’s peaches in her weekly CSA box a few times during the growing season, her farm would also be considered a facility – subjecting her to substantial and costly additional regulation. Even giving a lift to her other neighboring farm’s artisan cheese on the way to a city market could trigger the same level of FDA oversight.

 

The rules lack due process for farmers and will raise costs for farmers and consumers.

 

In recognition of the different risks of different types of supply chains, Congress allowed for modified requirements and certain exemptions for small and mid-sized farms selling the majority of their food directly. In the proposed rules, FDA has failed to adequately implement these requirements. As currently proposed, FDA has broad authority to take away these exemptions and modified requirements and subject farmers to the full weight of the regulations if FDA thinks there is a food safety problem on the farm – but the rules do not require FDA to have proof of a problem, and there is no defined way to get the status back once it is revoked.

But aside from the details of these proposed rules, the FDA’s own estimations indicate that many farms already successfully serving the demand for more fresh, locally grown produce, will go out of business due to high compliance costs.

 

At stake in these regulations is nothing less than the ability of family farmers and local food businesses to supply burgeoning consumer demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as value-added specialty products like artisan cheese and other preserved farm products.

It doesn’t have to end up this way.

The clock is ticking on the comment period for the FDA’s FSMA rules, which ends November 15. Anyone and everyone who cares about a better food and farm future should comment today.

The two organizations we work for – Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) in California and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) – are working with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to mobilize voices across the country to call for critical changes in these rules. Sustainable agriculture and fresh, healthy, local food can’t become collateral damage in the rush to make safer the food coming from the globalized food system juggernaut.

In short, the rules must:

 

Allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices, including those already allowed and encouraged by existing federal organic standards and conservation programs;

Ensure that diversified and innovative farms – particularly those pioneering models for increased access to healthy, local foods – continue to grow and thrive without being stifled; and

Provide options that treat family farms fairly, with due process and without excessive costs.

 

Join us in weighing in with FDA today. The future of our nation’s food and farms depends on it.


 



Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Soup

Contributed by Melissa Rubel Jacobson for Food and Wine November 2007

 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 cups yellow split peas, soaked in water for 1 hour and drained

8 1/2 cups water

One 15-ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree

3/4 pound fresh pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

 

In a large pot, melt the butter. Add the onion, garlic and chile and cook over moderately high heat until the onion is softened, 4 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the split peas and the water, then whisk in the pumpkin puree and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the split peas are tender, about 2 hours.

Stir the diced pumpkin into the soup and simmer over moderately low heat until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and serve.

 

Pumpkin-Parmesan Toasts with Herb Pesto

Contributed by Rori Spinelli for Food and Wine November 1998

 

1 loaf 7-grain bread—crusts trimmed, bread sliced 1/3 inch thick and cut into thirty 3-by-1 1/2 -inch rectangles

1/4 cup walnuts

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 small pumpkin, halved lengthwise and seeded

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves

1/2 cup pure olive oil

2 tablespoons chives

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly oil the cut sides of the pumpkin and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast until easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Let cool, then scrape out the cooked pumpkin from the rind with a spoon.

On a baking sheet, toast the bread for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool. In a cake pan, toast the walnuts for 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned. Let cool.

Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the Parmesan with the pumpkin puree and 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin. Season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, the parsley, cilantro, oil, chives and walnuts until minced. Add the cayenne and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and season with salt and pepper. Spread each toast with 1 heaping teaspoon of the pesto and top with 1 1/2 heaping teaspoons of the pumpkin mixture.

Arrange the toasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Caramel Pear Clafoutis

Contributed by Rachel Soszynski for Food and Wine

 

1 1/4 cups milk

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon whisky or bourbon

2 large pears—peeled, halved, cored and cut into 6 pieces each

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

 

Preheat the oven to 400°. In a blender, combine the milk, flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Blend until the batter is smooth, about 30 seconds.

In a medium ovenproof skillet, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Stir in the brown sugar, lemon juice and bourbon and cook until the caramel sauce is bubbling and beginning to darken, about 3 minutes. Add the pears and cook just until they begin to soften, stirring to coat them with the caramel sauce, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Arrange the pears in the caramel sauce in an even layer. Gently pour the batter over the pears and caramel sauce. Bake the clafoutis for about 30 minutes, until the top is puffed and browned. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve hot or warm.

 

Greens and Pear Salad with Pomegranate Gremolata

Contributed by Aida Mollenkamp for Food and Wine November 2012

 

1 cup pomegranate seeds

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

15 ounces salad greens

3 ripe pears, thinly sliced lengthwise

 

In a small bowl, combine the pomegranate seeds with the parsley, shallot and orange zest. Season with salt and black pepper.

In another small bowl, whisk the oil with the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, honey and mustard; season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, toss the greens with the dressing and season lightly with salt and black pepper. Transfer the salad to plates or a platter and top with the pear slices and pomegranate gremolata. Serve right away.

 

WHAT'S IN YOUR BOX
 

Single Box

Peppers - Abbondanza

Chives or Cilantro – Casa de la Pradera

Bush beans- Abbondanza

Sunflower Greens– Butte Mountain Farm

Jack be Little Pumpkins - Paloma Pollinators

Comice pears– Mirabelle Vineyard & Orchard

Pomegranate "Wonderful" – Mirabelle Vineyard & Orchard

Duchesse Bronzèe pears– Mirabelle Vineyard & Orchard

 

Family Box

Salad greens - Casa de la Pradera

Tomatoes – Casa de la Pradera or Cherry Tomatoes – Butte Mountain Farm

1/2 dozen Eggs – Randall's Corner

Jalapeno Peppers- Abbondanza

Jack be Little Pumpkins - Paloma Pollinators

Summer Squash– Butte Mountain Farm

Shallots– Butte Mountain Farm

Wonder Pears – Damas

Pomegranates - Tin Bird Garden

 




Customers Dick and Josie
Shopping at www.mlharvest.com
MotherLode
Harvest has local food and farm products available to order at www.mlharvest.com.
THE ORDERING WINDOW IS FRIDAY AT 9 AM THROUGH SUNDAY AT NOON.   
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. Payment may be made at pickup by cash or check made out to MotherLode Harvest.
 
New customers will need to register by using the "join" button on the website before they can shop. If you have any questions or problems with using the website, please contact our tech leader, Jo Ann, at joannd@volcano.net, or 304-7654.
 
MLH has enacted our new membership policies. Customers will need to sign a customer agreement and pay membership dues before they are able to order subscriptions or order from the website. Customer members will be able to increase their participation in MLH. Sign up today!

Other Local Agriculture Events:


Amador & El Dorado County Master Gardeners

Saturday, November 2

 

Hundred Acre Olive Harvest & Master Food Preserver Class

Have you considered planting an olive tree in your garden so you can cure and process your own olives? Would you like to see examples of seven varieties of olive trees to help you decide which type to plant? Do you want to experience firsthand how to harvest olives? Are you curious about curing fresh olives?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we have the perfect event for you!

What:

Participate in harvesting an olive orchard. You are welcome to come for an hour, or stay all day. Talk with the orchard owners as you pick and learn about growing olive trees.

When:

Saturday, November 2, from 8 am until all the harvest has been picked.

Master Food Preservers will present a class on curing olives at 3:00.

Event Host:

Hundred Acre Olive Oil, Plymouth

Please dress accordingly; we recommend layers. Bring gloves if you like, but it is not necessary. The fields are not level and gopher/mole holes are a given, so be sure to wear good, sturdy shoes. Kids are welcome but please keep an eye on them.

In exchange for your help and companionship, we will provide lunch, snacks, dinner and beverages of all sorts. Every tree is an opportunity to meet someone new as you pick.

Our trees were planted in 2006 and they spent two years in the pots. We have the following varieties:

Arbequina, Frantoio, Mission, Pendolino, Manzanilla, and Leccino. There are also a few Kalamata trees, which produce HUGE olives and are perfect for curing and stuffing with all sorts of goodness.

If you intend to be a part of the harvest party, we kindly ask that you let us know so we will be sure to have enough food.

RSVP by email to HundredAcreOliveOil@gmail.com if you would like to participate in the olive harvest or class. Please let us know how many people plan to attend. We will forward the address information and directions at that time.

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.