Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 5 Number 51    December 24, 2013


From Alice at 
Casa de la Pradera

The shortest day of the year, December 21, is always a quiet time of reflection at Casa de la Pradera. The short, cold days are an opportunity to review the progress and the problems of the last year, and to plan for the coming growing season.  
Each year is different, and 2013 stands out as one of the driest years on record. The early snow and extreme cold of the last few weeks was also nearly unprecedented, and caused real damage to overwintering crops that have always done fine with little or no protection. I have had a plague of gophers and moles the last couple of years, with a much higher population than I had ever experienced. I also had a major coddling moth infestation in my apples.
Each of those problems indicates some changes that I need to make in 2014. I will need to redouble my efforts to add large amounts of organic matter to my growing beds, so the soil is able to hold moisture as effectively as possible; and I will need to use more mulch to protect the surface of the soil from drying. I plan on building a high tunnel as well as systematically covering all my growing beds with frost cloth, so I have better protection for overwintering crops, and therefore a longer harvest season next winter. I will have to use gopher wire baskets much more extensively to protect my crops, especially during the summer, as well as systematically trapping them. I have already begun a round of dormant oil spraying for the codling moths, and in the early spring I will put pheremone confusion lures in all my apple trees to minimize the moths' ability to mate and lay eggs.
On the other hand, my tomatoes and other summer vegetables did very well, and I had an abundance of lettuce and other salad greens all summer--until the snow, in fact. I was able to dry lots of tomatoes and persimmons, and I made several kinds of marmalade, chutneys and relishes for the winter.  I have several very large piles of compost that are 'cooking' over the winter, to be ready to spread on the growing beds when it's planting time again. And next week I am going to start planting flats of seeds in the greenhouse, so I will have lots of seedlings to set out in the early spring. I have been browsing the seed catalogs that are coming in, evaluating the plant varieties that I had last year and dreaming of new ones to try next year.
So here's to the return of the light, and next year's growing season! 


il faut cultiver notre jardin.



A message from Daniel D'Agostini of Abbondanza Farm:

Greetings, happy holidays and happy new year.
In the new year I will be announcing my intent to run for the position of County Supervisor District 5 in the June 5th Primary Election. You may be scratching your head wondering why I would want to do that or be thinking, how could I fit that in with Abbondanza and the photography. (look here to see what's going on: )
Well,  I do have abundant energy but I am also feeling these days a growing sense of civic responsibility and an internal feeling of "if not us, who? If not now, when?" 
I will be running as an independent creative thinking person seeking ways to enhance the lives of all members of our community and be wise in our stewardship of these precious rural foothills we call Amador County. I will be running on a campaign of "fresh positive leadership".  
I have scheduled a meeting at Kamere Winery on the evening of Wednesday January 8, beginning at 6:30 pm where I will present and discuss my views and plans and most importantly, seek helpers in the election.  I would sure appreciate you coming to the meeting and bring others with you too.
Again, all the best to you over the holidays,
{  Signature-In-Lieu filing papers can be picked up on Dec. 27 and I will need help getting signatures. If you would like to help get signatures before the January meeting or have special election skills you would like to share with me, please call (209-245-3846) or send me a personal e-mail at any time. Thanks :-) }

Dried-Tomato Flan with Salad Mix

Recipe courtesy of Maria Hines, Executive Chef-Owner, Tilth, Seattle

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pureed reconstituted dried tomatoes
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups salad mix, packed
1/4 cup Marcona almonds
1/2 cup Niçoise olives

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Heat cream and dried tomatoes in a small saucepan. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Stir to combine. After it comes to a boil, remove from heat. Strain liquid to get seeds out. Set aside.

3. Whisk egg and egg yolk together. Temper eggs by stirring in a splash of cream mixture. Then gently whisk tempered eggs into rest of tomato-cream (custard).

4. Coat insides of four 6-ounce ramekins with softened butter. Place in a baking dish with shallow sides. Pour custard into ramekins. Put baking dish in oven. Add water to pan until reaches halfway up sides of ramekins (this is a bain-marie). Bake about 30 minutes or until custard sets.

5. Loosen custards from ramekins by sliding a thin knife or offset spatula around side. Place a plate over ramekin and invert onto middle of plate. Repeat with other flans.

Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on salad mix. Add almonds and olives. Toss gently. Garnish each flan with salad mix, making sure there are almonds and olives on each plate.



December Announcement
    Due to the surprise winter snow and freezing weather, MotherLode Harvest
has determined that we will need to take a break from providing our weekly CSA boxes to
our subscribers.  Our producers are reporting much snow and ice, so crops are growing
more slowly than expected.
    We anticipate being able to begin again by the end of January or early February.
We will alert you when producers determine that they have quantity and quality produce 
ready for your CSA boxes.
    Here are further details:
*1.  Your last subscriber box of the year will be on Tuesday, December 17 and it will 
be a DOUBLE BOX (count for two weeks of your subscription) and will be full of items
that will last for several weeks.
**2.  You can still order add-on items for next week as they are available but they must be
picked up at the distribution center.
***3. You may go on line to check your current credit balance at any time.  Look at the
"invoice" tab to find your current information.
Wednesday, December 18 until January 7.  There will be NO ORDERING during this
two-week period.  We thank and appreciate our staff members and wish them a refreshing
two-week break!
We wish you a healthy and happy holiday with friends and family.
Karen Friis for MotherLode Harvest

Customers Dick and Josie
Shopping at
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. 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, 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!

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.