Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 9 Number 5    January 31, 2017

FIELD NOTES: Casa de la Pradera, Fiddletown

My new year planting season has already begun! I always love this time of year, when we are still obviously deep in winter, yet the glimmerings of spring are there if you look for them. The next couple of days, before the next storms, I will be planting out seedlings that I started in October into my planting beds--lettuce, escarole, radicchio, kale, kohlrabi, onions. All will withstand the chilly weather we will continue to have, growing slowly and then at an accelerating pace as the daylight hours increase. Soil moisture is the key to being able to plant (especially with clay soil), and this year it has taken a full week without rain for some of the beds to be dry enough to plant in. I will be sprinkling wood ash and diatomaceous earth to deter the rampant slug population.
I will also be planting in the greenhouse at an accelerating pace. My first plantings of three flats of lettuce, radicchio and cabbage have sprouted, and on Thursday when it is raining I will plant many more flats of cool weather crops, so I can plant them out in the market garden as the weather allows. It's different each year, but in general it is possible with my microclimate to grow salad and cooking greens, onions, and with luck some root crops, in time for the beginning of the spring quarter in April.  Note the caveats, which always apply in farming!
Soon, in February, it will be time to plant seeds of summer crops in the greenhouse, starting with peppers and eggplants, and then tomatoes, and on to all the other wonderful fruiting crops that we enjoy during the warm, long-days of summer. The seeds are planted, in our climate, long before they could survive outside, and coddled with heating mats and as necessary frost cloth until they can grow on their own when summer finally arrives.
I did my seed inventory on a couple of rainy days a month ago, so I have my shopping list of seeds I have run out of, and new varieties to try. I have half a dozen trusted seed companies where I shop, which have many or all organic seeds and pledge not to sell genetically modified varieties. Of course it is a joke that seed catalogs are candy (or porn) for growers, and one must develop a resistance to the to the alluring descriptions. Still, they are fun to read and dream over, with the cold, dark rain pounding outside.
It is a great consolation, and I think in any climate, to walk the fields and see the plants that have withstood the "Persephone period" and hold the promise of renewed life with the slowly increasing day length and slowly rising temperatures.  It holds the promise that there is always next year!

Alice Kaiser


11 simple ways to start clean eating today
Clean eating means choosing minimally processed, real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits. The idea is to consume foods that are as close to their natural state as possible and are produced with integrity that protects the health of animals and the environment.
An article reposted on EcoWatch by Authority Nutrition explains “clean eating” as an easy and enjoyable lifestyle pattern that can help you learn to appreciate the natural flavors of foods and can help support the health of people, animals and the planet.
Tips include: eat more vegetables and fruits, limit processed foods and refined grains, choose minimally processed oils and fats, steer clear of sugar in any form, read labels, limit alcohol intake, avoid packaged snack food, make water your primary beverage, and choose food from naturally raised animals.
The author also suggests substituting vegetables in place of refined grains and provides links to recipes. Read more at:

It’s official: 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded
In the third consecutive year of record-breaking heat, 2016 temperatures were 1.69 F warmer than the 20th century average. “Including last year, 15 of the hottest 16 years on record have occurred since 2001,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, reports
“For the first time in recorded history, we have now had three consecutive record-warm years for both the globe and the Northern Hemisphere….The effect of human activity on our climate is no longer subtle. It’s plain as day, as are the impacts - in the form of record floods, droughts, superstorms and wildfires,” said Dr. Michael Mann, director of the Earth Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. Read more at:
U.S. faces ‘abrupt and substantial’ crop losses
A new international study predicts that harvests of wheat, corn, soy and other crops will shrink by between a fifth and a half over present size due to damage by increased heat in the atmosphere.
Without efficient greenhouse gas emission reductions, ‘harvest losses from higher temperatures of 20% for wheat, 40% for soya and almost 50% for maize (corn) can be expected by the end of this century,” according to a report by The study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany observed a crop loss of up to 6% for each day the temperature was above 97 degrees.
The study showed that increased irrigation could help protect crops against the growing heat, but only in regions with enough water. Read more at:

News article summaries by Joyce Campbell.

Pasta With Fried Lemons and Chile Flakes
4 lemons
1 pound linguine or spaghetti
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
1 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
Pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ teaspoon chile flakes, more to taste
⅔ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, more to taste
Black pepper, as needed
½ cup celery leaves, coarsely chopped (optional)
⅓ cup parsley, coarsely chopped (optional)
Flaky sea salt, for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Finely zest 2 of the lemons and set aside. Trim the tops and bottoms off the other 2 lemons and cut lengthwise into quarters; remove seeds. Thinly slice the quarters crosswise into triangles. Blanch the lemon pieces in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a dish towel. Blot dry.
In the boiling water, add pasta and cook until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat. Add the dried lemon pieces and season with a pinch each of salt and sugar. Cook until the lemons are caramelized and browned at the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Melt the butter with the remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the chile flakes and zest of both lemons; cook until fragrant. Whisk in the reserved pasta water.
Toss in pasta, juice of 1 lemon, cheese, pepper and the remaining salt. Cook until pasta is well coated with sauce. Toss in the caramelized lemon and the celery leaves and parsley if using. Taste and add lemon juice if needed. Serve, topped with a drizzle of oil, more cheese if you like, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Roasted Mushroom and Sunchoke Bisque
Recipe By:Percy Lee Owen
"The roasted mushrooms play off the unique sunchoke (a.k.a. Jerusalem artichoke) flavor in this simple and hearty soup."
2 pounds Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), scrubbed and sliced 1/3-inch thick
1 large Yukon Gold potato, diced
6 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups water
6 cups mushroom broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage |
1/2 cup soy milk (optional)
Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Toss the Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, and garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large bowl; season with sea salt and black pepper. Spread the mixture into a baking dish. Toss the mushrooms with another tablespoon of olive oil in a separate bowl; spread into a separate baking dish.
Bake the potato mixture in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Place the mushrooms in the oven and continue baking until the potatoes are soft and slightly browned, about 25 minutes more. Remove both dishes from the oven and set aside.
Melt the vegan margarine in a large stock pot over medium-low heat; cook the onion in the margarine until completely soft, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir the roasted potato mixture and the mushrooms into the onions, along with 1 teaspoon sea salt and the water; allow the mixture to come to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir the mushroom broth and sage into the mixture. Place a cover on the stock pot and cook to allow the flavors to blend, about 20 minutes.
Allow the soup to cool slightly before pouring in batches into a blender, filling the pitcher no more than halfway. Hold the lid firmly with a folded kitchen towel and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree; transfer blended batches to a clean pot. Alternately, you can use a stick blender and puree the soup in the pot. Stir the soy milk, if using, into the finished bisque to serve.


Kale and Apple Salad with Walnut Dressing
From Sunset
2 cups walnut halves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup Champagne vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted walnut oil*
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch curly green kale
1 bunch curly red kale
1 Fuji apple

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss walnuts with 1 tbsp. olive oil and spread out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake until a rich golden brown and very fragrant, about 12 minutes. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop enough walnuts to measure 1/4 cup. Reserve remaining halves.
2. Whirl together remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil, the vinegar, walnut oil, mustard, yogurt, and salt in a blender just until smooth. Add chopped walnuts and whirl quickly just to blend (you want the walnuts to stay chunky). Pour into a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
3. Tear kale into bite-size pieces (discard stems or save for another use) and put in a resealable plastic bag; chill kale and dressing until you leave.
4. Toss kale well with dressing in a large bowl. Let sit at least 10 minutes and up to 30, tossing occasionally (this helps soften the kale slightly).
5. Slice apple and add half the slices, along with half the reserved walnut pieces, tossing to coat. Transfer salad to a large platter. Sprinkle with remaining apple slices and walnuts.




1/2 lb. Walnuts – Humbug Creek Farm

2 Meyer Lemons - Abbondanza

1/2 lb. Salad Mix – Casa de la Pradera

2 doz. Kiwi - Abbondanza

1 piece Membrillo – Casa de la Pradera

1 Winter Squash  - Full Belly/Produce Express

1 bunch Carrots-  Capay/Produce Express

1 bunch Kale - Riverdog/Produce Express


1/2 lb. Salad Mix - Abbondanza

1 lb. Shallots – Butte Mtn Farm

1/2 lb. Sunchokes – Butte Mtn Farm

1 jar Spicy Salt Substitute -  Butte Mtn Farm

1/2 lb. Walnuts – Humbug Creek Farm

1 bunch Kale -  Riverdog/Produce Express

1 bunch Carrots-  Capay/Produce Express


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.

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

February 25 Saturday ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 12:00-2:00 This is an opportunity to enjoy the company of fellow members of MLH and brainstorm ways to take MLH to where we need to go this coming year. If you have been or are currently a member of MLH and enjoy the bounty of local, sustainably raised produce and other products, we need your input. Soup and salad on us.

Other Ag Events

Grafting Seminars with Jordan Lowery

FoCuS (Foothill Collaborative for Sustainability) is pleased to announce two grafting seminars with Jordan Lowery, our local permaculture farmer. Jordan has successfully practiced permaculture with Craig Dambacher at Dambacher Farms for many years. He is renowned for his knowledge and the wonderful food he creates from the fruits and vegetables he's grown.

Seminar One

Grafting Basics

Saturday, 10 am, February 18, at Dambacher Farms at 14740 Peaceful Valley Rd, Sonora, CA 95370

The first seminar will cover the basics of grafting a scion to rootstock. You can audit the class or be a participant. A participant will get hands-on instruction from Jordan on grafting. They will graft their own tree to take home and plant! You can also audit the class and get all the information on why we graft, how to graft, and several demonstrations of how it is done.

The cost for auditing the seminar is $25.00

To participate in grafting the cost will be $50.00. This will include your rootstock, scion, wrapping, and sealant. You will need to bring your own grafting knife. Here are Jordan's Grafting Recommendations Participants will be limited to 15 people. We recommend you enroll now if you want to be a participant.

Enroll in Seminar One:

Or send an email to FoCuS at and mailing a check made out to FoCuS for $50.00 for participating or $25.00 for auditing the class to 19550 Cordelia Avenue, Sonora, CA 95370

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.

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