Local Food and Farm Products 
Volume 8 Number 46   November 15, 2016

FIELD NOTES: Winterport Farm, Ione

As a grass farmer and grass-fed beef producer, it is wonderful to see the green grass so early in the season. Our October rains gave our pastures a good start for the year and the warm weather has allowed to the grass to grow. It should be a good year for our pastures. The cattle are enjoying the green grass along with the hay grown this summer.

We were lucky to get enough rain last year to grow a good cover crop to nourish the soil and follow it with sudan grass. We were able to harvest the first growth for hay which is now in the barn and ready to feed throughout the winter. After the hay came off the field, the sudan was slow to regrow because of limited soil moisture due to the drought. We were able to irrigate a small portion of our pasture and the sudan came back well. Many of our cattle were able to graze on green pasture for the rest of the summer. Since we haven’t had a frost to kill it, the cattle are still enjoying it along with the native grasses.

It is now time to start the cycle over. The fields will be worked up. Winter forage crops such as rye and vetch will be planted. Other fields will be planted in cover crops to nourish the soil for next years sudan grass. Hopefully, we get at least normal rainfall to help replenish the soil moisture. The early rains are a good start, and we are hopeful for the next year.

We hope that you have been able to enjoy our beef through Mother Lode Harvest. A variety of cuts are offered each week for you to order. If you are interested in other cuts, please contact us. Depending on our current supply we will try to accommodate you. No matter what your dietary preference from paleo to only eating meat occasionally, grass-fed beef is a good choice. It is high in protein and other nutrients. When compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is lower in total fat and lower in saturated fat. It is higher in omega-3’s, CLA, and has a better ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. It is higher in vitamin E and B vitamins. It is also lower in calories. Grass-fed beef can be a healthy part of your diet.



The quince is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (yep, named after the rose). It is believed to have originated in southwest Asia, but has been successfully grown in a wide variety of climates. Its presence was first noted in England around 1275, when King Edward I had some planted at the Tower of London. In the eighteenth century, one or two quince trees were commonly planted in mixed orchards and gardens in the New England colonies.

The quince is sometimes grown in ornamental gardens for its beautiful pink blossoms. The golden-yellow fruit of the quince looks similar to a pear, but most people find it less loveable. Some varieties of quince can be eaten raw, but most are hard, fibrous, tannic, and sour. Cooked with patience and care, however, these gnarly fruits can be transformed into something truly delicious. After peeling, chopping, and poaching, the flesh turns tender and rosey colored, and sweet perfumes and flavors emerge. The fruit can then be eaten or baked into tarts. High in pectin, quinces also make delicious jams and jellies, as well as a sweet paste (called membrillo in Spanish) that is a wonderful compliment to cheese plates.

Quinces are relatively low calorie and high in Vitamin C, in addition to providing fiber and trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals.

By Mara Feeney, DAMAS




Sunchokes, of the sunflower family, are native to North America where the natives called them "sun roots" before European settlers arrived. Samuel Champlain, a French explorer found them in Cape Cod in 1605 and pronounced them similar in taste to artichokes. But why "Jerusalem artichokes"? They don't come from Jerusalem nor do they look like artichokes. There are a few theories: when first discovered people started calling them "girasole" (or flower that turns looking for the sun) which eventually became "Jerusalem". Another possibility is that as sunchokes became the staple food of the first European pilgrims in North American soil they named it as food for the "new Jerusalem".

Around the 1960's they were renamed "sunchokes" by someone in the produce marketing department who took the separation of church and state too seriously. Sunchokes can grow up to 10ft, and if left to their own devises will live forever in the same spot, but quality of tubers will deteriorate if not frequently divided and replanted in fertile soil. They grow best in the sunniest spot, just like their cousins the sunflowers, with an optimum temperature of 65-80- F and 125 frost-free days. But the tubers will be at their prime when harvested after the first or second frost.

And speaking of the tubers, these look like small, knobbly potatoes but crunchier, sweeter and do have a slight taste of artichoke. They practically contain no starch, but plenty of inulin (not insulin), which becomes fructose when spuds are stored in the ground or refrigerated. The humble sunchoke is considered gourmet fare by many. Raw, it's an excellent substitute for water chestnuts in hot and spicy stir fries, or cooked in cream soups, broiled with sweet potatoes, or simply scrubbed and baked.



Most recipes for quince are desserts, as they are great mixed with apples or other fruit and baked, or poached on their own in a sweet, spiced liquid, but here are a couple savory recipes for you to try.

The compote would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table!


Cranberry, Quince, and Pearl Onion Compote

Shelley Wiseman Gourmet November 2008

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Active Time: 30 min

Total Time: 1 1/2 hr



1/2 pound pearl onions (preferably red; 2 cups)

2 cups apple juice

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

6 cloves

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 quinces, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed if frozen)


Trim root end of each onion and cut an X in it. Blanch in boiling water 1 minute, then drain in a colander. Cool slightly, then peel.

Bring juice, sugar, vinegar, and spices to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add onions and quinces and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.

Add cranberries and simmer until tender but not falling apart, 5 to 8 minutes. Discard cloves. Transfer fruit and onions to a bowl using a slotted spoon, then boil syrup, if necessary, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Pour syrup over compote and cool to room temperature.

Cooks note: Compote can be made 3 days ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Quince Stew (Chorosht'e Be)

Reyna Simnegar August 2012 Persian Food From the Non-Persian Bride

Yield: 8-10 servings



1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 pounds stew meat (beef, lamb, or chicken)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

3 cups water

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

2 quinces, do not peel; just slice like an apple (make sure to remove the entire core)

1/4 cup lime or lemon juice or the juice of 3 limes

3/4 cup pitted prunes

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice


1. In a 6-quart saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion starts to become translucent (about 1 minute). Add the meat; cover and cook until meat no longer looks red, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper.

2. Add water, tomato paste, lime juice, quince, prunes, and potatoes. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally until meat is tender.

3. Serve hot in a casserole dish.

Fried Sunchoke Chips with Rosemary Salt

Kate Fogarty Scott Fogarty Bon Appétit January 2010



2 pounds unpeeled sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes),* scrubbed

Vegetable oil (for frying)

1 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary


Fill large bowl with cold water. Slice sunchokes into thin rounds (about 1/16 inch thick), immediately dropping into bowl of water to prevent browning. Rinse and drain 3 times. Pat very dry with paper towels.

Pour enough oil into large deep skillet to reach depth of 1/2 inch. Submerge bulb of deep-fry thermometer into oil; lean top of thermometer against skillet rim. Heat oil to 375°F. Mix 1 tablespoon salt and rosemary in small bowl. Using fingertips, blend well, rubbing salt and rosemary together.

Working in batches, fry sunchoke slices until golden brown, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Using skimmer, transfer chips to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle chips with some rosemary salt.

DO AHEAD: Chips can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.


Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) with Aged Balsamic

Bon Appétit November 2014

Yield: 8 servings



2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds small Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), scrubbed, quartered

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

4 sprigs rosemary

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar


Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron (you'll need a lid), over mediumhigh heat. Add Jerusalem artichokes and 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until Jerusalem artichokes are fork-tender, 8–10 minutes.

Uncover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes longer; transfer to a platter.

Add rosemary and butter to skillet and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, about 4 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits. Spoon brown butter sauce and rosemary over Jerusalem artichokes.


Single Box

1/2 lb. mizuna Butte Mountain Farm

1/2 lb. sweet peppers Abbondanza

1/2 lb. sunchokes Butte Mountain Farm

1/4 lb. radishes Blue Mountain Orchards

1 lb. tomatoes Somerset Gourmet

1/4 lb. walnuts Casa de la Pradera

1 lb. Hachiya persimmons Humbug Creek Farm

1 bunch parsley Abbondanza


Family Box

1/4 lb. Arugula Butte Mountain Farm and Casa de la Pradera

1/2 lb. shallots Butte Mountain Farm

1/2 lb. sweet peppers Abbondanza and Humbug Creek Farm

1/2 lb. sunchokes Butte Mountain Farm

1 lb. tomatoes Somerset Gourmet

1/4 lb. walnuts Abbondanza

2 quinces Blue Mountain Orchards

1 lb. Hachiya persimmons Chapultepec Garden

1 pomegranate Chapultepec Garden

1 bunch parsley 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.



Sonoma County bans GMO crops

Voters in Sonoma County approved a measure that will prohibit genetically engineered crops from being planted in the county.

Measure M passed by a large margin - 55.9 percent to 44.9 percent - and Sonoma County now joins several neighboring counties including Marin, Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Santa Cruz that have passed similar ballot initiatives to protect farmers and crop integrity,” reported Ecowatch.

Farmers deserve the right to grow food that is not contaminated by genetic engineering, just as the public deserves the right to purchase organic or GMO-free foods that are free from GMO contamination,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast director of the Center for Food Safety. The organization assisted the grassroots initiative in Sonoma County and has previously worked with campaigns in Oregon and Hawaii to ban the planting of GE crops.



This website helps to ensure that knowledge about growing food is openly accessible to anyone on the planet

PlantVillage is a free online resource for information about plants, plant disease, and plant growth with nearly one million worldwide users.

PlantVillage is designed as a free and open forum to democratize access to the knowledge that helps people grow food, according to an article on Alternet. The Pennsylvania State University’s PlantVillage website database currently has a Plant Library with more than 150 crops where community members can find the crops’s description, pictures of the crop, suggested uses, and information about propagation.

A Q & A forum and the library are accessible from all devices with internet access. Users can post questions about their crops for other community members to answer. “A crowdsourcing and ranking system enables the network of participating farmers, gardeners, scientists, extension specialists and others to share perplexing questions and offer answers.” For more information and links to PlantVillage got to:

News article summaries by Joyce Campbell.


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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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