Saturday, September 25, 2010


Hello, I received a great email from a CSA member this week. She brought to my attention some concerns about the recent quality of the fruit. I will not repeat the whole email but after hearing her feedback, I was able to have a better understanding of a situation that I was already unhappy with. She brought up a couple things that I was aware of and a few I did not even know about. The main points were the quality of one specific order of peaches, the freshness of the most recent apples, the flavor or "lack of flavor" of the small cantaloupe and a bug in a mandarine.

The feedback was really appreciated, I assured her that most of those issues were fixable and would simply require that a system change along with better quality assurance. Everyone should notice a significant difference in the quality and freshness of the fruit. I thanked her for the feedback because I believe that if one person complains, there are usually 4 or 5 people who just do not say anything.

"Autumn in the balance"
When the summer heat ceases and the crisp air fills our lungs.
"Fall weather always reminds me how much I love to take deep breaths!"
The tomatoes and squash begin to sag and yellow, assuming the unavoidable truth. Fall is here. Everything is changing again. As we humans harvest, nature scatters and sows. She is always a step ahead of us. Fall brings a sense of starting fresh and new. We reflect on the progress of the goals we set in the new year. We take a personal emotional and physical inventory. We assess our resources, make the necessary adjustments and shift our intentions back into gear again. This time with a sweater.

The word “equinox” comes from the Latin
√¶quinoctuium, which itself came from √¶quus (“equal”) and nox (“night”): “equal night.” It refers to the twenty-four-hour period—which occurs twice a year, in spring and fall—in which there are twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of night

The equinox really refers to the time, twice each year, when the sun crosses the celestial equator and moves southward in the northern hemisphere.
The earth’s axis of rotation is then perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the earth and the sun. The 2010 fall equinox happened at exactly 7:09 p.m. (PST) and 10:09 p.m. (EST) on September 22.

Reminder. There are five pick-up days in October. Payments on October 2nd will total $165.00

Here is what is in the box this week:

haas avocados
sweet young broccoli
green zuchini
cherry tomatoes
jonothan apples
red bartlet pears
zapote zapote
canary melon
heirloom potatoes
white corn
lemon cucumber

Here is an enchilada sauce recipe sent by a BSR CSA member,

With all of the tomatoes we've been getting thought I'd help us use them! Here's a recipe for enchilada sauce.

Enchilada / Ranchero sauce

8 to 10 medium to large tomatos

3 roasted Chipotle Chilli’s (canned is fine)

1 tbsp ground Cumin

2 large cloves garlic finely chopped

1 small yellow onion Fine chopped

1 ½ tsp season Salt (Lawrey’s is the best)

1 tsp oregano (Mexican preferred)

2 tsp sugar

1 to 2 cups of water (not tap)

Peel and finely dice tomatoes and set aside. Do the same with the Chipotle peppers, garlic and onion. Heat a large stock pot to medium and sweat the onions and garlic. Stir in tomatoes and stir. Add 1 cup of water and chipotle peppers, cumin, season salt, oregano, and sugar. Stir for 2 min and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add water if needed for desired consistency.and salt to taste.

If your sauce is too thin you can add a cornstarch “Slurry” which is a tsp of cornstarch to a tbsp of water.

Thomas Hootman

Saturday, September 18, 2010


canary melon
red leaf/gree leaf mix
heirloom potatoes
cherry tomatoes
yellow watermelon
patty pan squash
baby crookneck squash
mandarine orandes "ugly but sweet!"
anaheim chiles

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Greetings. I walked the ranch yesterday. And I saw some shocking things and some things that were very pleasing. The second summer garden "down by the bees" is starting to really look healthy. If all goes well, and we make it through October "frost free", there should be tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and such for months to come. The south garden should have been producing in full force right now but it is not. For reasons unknown, the summer vegetables planted there have just limped along ever since they were planted three months ago.
The main issue appearing to be a nitrogen deficiency. But only a soil test will tell. Looks like we will be postponing our new CSA member push until we get that garden amended and back into production.

The Avocados are looking good. Mexicola Grande, Fuerte, Zutano and some real large Bacons.

The North Garden is spent and ready to be tilled and planted with fall crops. The spent crops are laden with a flea beetle that loves Brassicas. Brassica is a family that includes plants such as Broccoli, Kale , Mustard greens, Cabbage and Cauliflower. Every year these little guys who's scientific name is P. Cruciferae end up munching on young Brassica leaves in early spring. They generally retreat to the fields in late summer and stay there until spring. They are still in the garden in gross numbers. I talked to a few other farmers about my situation and it turns that I am not the only one and we are all in the same boat. The plan is to wait it out. I can still till and add compost and castings. That particular garden could use a little rest anyway.

It seems to be the nature of farming that rarely does a farmer walk the farm and see nothing but perfection. Actually, I am sure I never have. The honest truth is that I walk the ranch every single day. Every day has been different. Every day while surveying the land, my heart holds at least two strong emotions. Usually it is a feeling of horror and impending doom along with a sense of oneness and awe at the forces of nature and limitless inspiration. It is a feeling of being alive.

I am eternally grateful to all of our loyal customers, friends neighbors and local businesses who support our farming endeavors so that I can continue doing what I enjoy beyond words.

Here is what is in the box:

young and sweet
made by Yumi
sweet melon
cherry tomatos
poblano ancho peppers
great for scrambled eggs and salsa
lemon cucumbers

ratatoulli recipe