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Cheese Making Class July 19!

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Come on out to Morning Song Farm for our Mostly Mozzarella Class. We’ll focus July’s class on mozzarella and do a couple other very easy fresh cheeses to round out the class time . Limited class size so everyone can actually get their hands into their own cheese, rather than just watch us make it. Mozzarella is remarkably easy once you learn the pitfalls, and have made a few batches. The recipe we’re using is the 30 minute version. The tough part is learning how to understand your cheese, how to knead it properly, drain it and what to look for to reach a beautiful stretch. We’ll also make a  garlic ricotta spread, and an herbed queso fresco to round the day out. You may find that you’ll discover a passion for cheese as we have here at Morning Song Farm. It’s easier than you’d ever think! Take notes, and follow along with handouts and easy to follow recipes so that your success is insured when you repeat the steps at home. We’ll talk about which milk to use, cultures, and why certified organic milk isn’t your best choice.    Don’t be afraid to bring your appetite, as we nibble throughout! Class starts at 9:00 with sampling freshly made cheeses as well as our just churned butter with bread,  muffins and coffee, while allowing you an opportunity to meet your fellow cheese loving adventurers! Get a chance to meet the farm’s beautiful Nigerian dairy goats at the end of the class, and pet our friendly herd. Bring a crunchy granola bar or two and you’ll be everyone’s best friend, especially Carl The Herd Leader who eats anything but really gets excited if it’s crunchy.

Tuition: Even if you are a much appreciated farm member, payment and reservations for our cheese classes need to be made here so that we can use the Meetup software to keep an accurate headcount.  Please, no impromptu arrivals. Our Mozzarella Class size is limited for a reason, we need to have firm reservations so we don’t overbook. The pathway to the barn is rough and unpaved, so stash the stilettos or dress shoes; and opt for sneakers or boots for your cheese making day.

Harvest Shot June 16-17, 2015

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We’re exciteharvest shot 3rd week in Juned to see the blackberries come in so well this year despite reduced watering. They are being picked dead ripe, so won’t stay fresh for very long. Some years we’ve tried picking a little unripe, however what’s true is that picking dead ripe insures full flavor. The downside is they don’t last long! As the heat has arrived consistently now, this is the last week that we’ll be growing sprouts for our CSA boxes. Please do pick up your boxes as soon as possible after our truck delivers so that your produce remains fresh. Hydrocooling is helpful if you’ve arrived late to discover wilted greens: dunk in a sink full of chilled water, shake and refrigerate. This is what restaurants do to insure crisp greens and works just as well in a home kitchen. We’re at the tail end of our avo season, still plenty of fruit out there, but some of the skins are now not sporting cosmetic perfection. The trade-off is that a summer Southern Cal Hass has wonderfully high oil content and is fully flavored. Off-shore fruit is coming into the grocery isles and will look beautiful but not have the oil content that local avos have. Harvesting under ripe fruit maximizes production returns while shipping thousands of miles under refrigeration and then gassing on arrival to achieve an appearance of ripeness results in a beautiful looking fruit but often poor flavor and oil content.

CSA Box: Dandies For Dinner

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Blooming Amaranth Grain Heads

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Amaranth is among the grains written about years ago in, Save Three Lives, A Plan for Famine Prevention by Robert Rodale. Some of my readers may remember that the Rodales published the Organic Gardening Magazine and were champions of all things pure and clean long before organic certification and commercialization of the organic meme happened along. So…that must be 20 years ago now. I became really interested in amaranth because of Rodale’s writing and have grown some ever since, although never successfully enough to offer to CSA members as an edible. We thought we’d try something innovative and try sprouting the seeds, and although they do sprout, and they are a beautiful rose color, the sprouted seed isn’t all that tasty. Yes, high in protein, but somewhat bitter.

A few of the tiny seeds from that recent experiment landed in the avocado grove, and yesterday I found these plants. They’re gorgeous!

Harvest Ticket: August 19-20, 2014

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We’ve included Purslane in this week’s boxes, note the tHarvest Shot August 3rd Weekasty, tiny black seeds are NOT bugs. Two kinds of peppers, the long, bigger peppers are sweet, and the jalapanos are, of course, hot. If you’re new to the Reed Avocado, it ripens a little bit differently than your typical grocery store Hass avocado. It’s still taking around a week after harvest to be ready to eat, but because as the fruit ripens the flesh contracts slightly, you might squeeze the fruit and think it’s gone bad. That “squish” isn’t fruit, it’s airspace. I love the Reeds, I think they have the nuttiest, smoothest flavor of all the different varieties we grow. They’re not favored by grocery store chains because of their size and weird ripening characteristic.

 

 

 

 

 

jalapenos 3 up 8.20.14

Jalapanos

pepper sweet 8.20.14

Cheese Making Class: August 31st

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Come on out to Morning Song Farcheesemaking chevre imagem for our beginning cheese making class. We’ll focus August’s class on a few of the fun and easy cheeses that will easily turn you into a cheese maker! Impress your friends with cheesey offerings and try out a fun and different hobby that brings dividends of appreciation. You may find that you’ll discover a passion for cheese as we have here at Morning Song Farm. It’s easier than you’d ever think! Follow along with handouts and easy to follow recipes so that your success is insured when you repeat the steps at home. We’ll talk about which milk to use, cultures, and why certified organic milk isn’t your best choice.  We’ll make three different cheeses; Garlic Ricotta, Herbed Queso Fresco, Fromage Blanc, Paneer, Feta and Neufchatel cream cheese are among those we choose to make and sample during the class.  Class starts at 10:00. Arrive 15 minutes early if you’d like, to sample herbed cheeses as well as our just churned butter with breads and muffins and coffee, while meeting your fellow cheese loving adventurers! Get a chance to meet the farm’s beautiful Nigerian dairy goats, and pet our friendly herd. Bring a crunchy granola bar or two and you’ll be everyone’s best friend, especially Carl The Herd Leader who eats anything but really gets excited if it’s crunchy.

Tuition: Even if you are a much appreciated farm member, payment and reservations for our cheese classes need to be made here so that we can use the Meetup software to keep an accurate headcount.  Please, no impromptu arrivals. The class size is limited for a reason, so we need to have firm reservations. The pathway to the barn is rough and unpaved, so stash the stilettos or dress shoes; and opt for sneakers or boots for your cheese making day. Once the morning class is full, we’ll add an afternoon class if necessary.

Here’s the link to sign up:

Morning Song Farm Cheese Making

Fallbrook, CA
373 Cheese Makers

Come on out to Morning Song Farm for our beginning cheese making classes.  Next class is being held Sunday, February 9th. Get a chance to meet the farm’s beautiful Nigerian da…

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Harvest Shot July 29-30 2014

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harvest shot last week in JulyThe summer has been kind to us, as the genuine heat wave typical of inland San Diego has not arrived, and we’re almost in August! Where did the summer go?

We’re excited to share a new item we’ve been experimenting with, our Sunflower Shoots. We included them in all but two (:/) Large Garden N Grove boxes. (We made up for that unusual slight by substituting other items; something we rarely have to do.) We’re still working on getting the timing and yields down. The other clamshelled item is our Purslane, which is among my favorite warm weather veggies. It has a lemony flavor with a very low-cal, satisfying crunch. I add it to salads, sandwiches and offer it up all by itself with a dip. It’s a great green to add to a rice paper roll up. I enjoy the stems as well as the leaves. We actually harvested two bunches of Swiss chard for Large Boxes, and one bunch for Small boxes, but ended up with only one bunch in each box because we couldn’t get the Large Box lids closed with two bunches.

Lots of folks are on summer break from our CSA, including those that were ordering eggs. We have no wait list for eggs! If you would like to order eggs, please let us know. Here’s the Change Order Link:
https://ww04.elbowspace.com/secure/20140302150121865577

I know I’ve said this…ahem…a few times; but all changes to your CSA box must go through our link. Facebook, Linked In, Post It Notes, Snail Mail, texts, voice messages, comments left with our delivery driver, comments left with your host, notes left on the roster… all have their place; but we have one crew member managing our rosters, and one place for any change affecting our weekly deliveries, and that’s our Link. I made it myself and I’m proud of it. Please help us out and use it when you have a change or quarter-end cancellation. Quarters end in June, September, December and March.

 

Banana Muffins with Hemp Topping

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Morning Song Farm offers macadamia tours to the wholesale tour industry, and our signature “welcome to the farm” treat is a macadamia muffin that many have asked the recipe for. It’s been perfected over the years, and I share it here:
Ingredients:
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed banana
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 and 2/3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup crushed macadamias
1/3 cup pureed raisons
1/2 cup hemp hearts
Preheat oven to 350.

Procedure:

Cuisinart raisins and sugar and set aside. Don’t try to puree the raisins later, as it doesn’t work.
Combine eggs, sugar/raisin mix, and oil, beat together. Then blend in banana and vanilla. Set aside.

Combine all the rest of the dry ingredients.

Combine the raisin/sugar/eggs with dry ingredients, and then add cream and nuts.

Carefully spoon into the smallest muffin cups. Sprinkle hemp hearts like crumbs over the tops of each muffin,  and then bake until just done. Overcook and the muffin isn’t tasty at all. So check, rather than rely on any particular time frame I can offer here. My oven requires 7-10 minutes.

Just a note about hemp hearts: Hemp cannot be grown in this country because of the War on Drugs as hemp is related to the marijuana plant. However, other countries allow their farmers to grow hemp…Canada for one, and Americans can buy hemp from others, we just can’t grow it here. I find my hemp from Sprouts.

No, For Pete's Sake, We Don't Grow Pot

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It’s a rare week that goes by when we don’t get the “cannabis question”, most disconcertingly… by strangers knocking on my front door. Friends and unknowns alike: just because I know how to grow sprouts, avocados and well…a whole lot of edibles…doesn’t mean I’m WHATSOEVER interested in breaking federal law or have even the first degree of technical knowledge of how to grow medical marijuana; which is a highly specialized crop. Check out Robert Duncan’s story below. As a farmer, I never bought the subterfuge that it is legally safe to be involved in the cannabis business in California, and no one bothering to become informed should, either. Many farmers believed the current administration’s promise that state laws would be honored in regards to marijuana legalization. That promise, however truly heartfelt…has not played out in the real world.  The problem can’t be blamed on President Obama personally; this blog isn’t an indictment of President Obama… who is on record for supporting a reduction on the failed War on Drugs; particularly in regard to marijuana use. Which is my point…despite President Obama’s position, things have continued status quo.  People’s lives are being ruined because they think they can rely on state law, a lawyer’s sunny advice….or President Obama’s stated “hand’s off” position.  The issue is much larger than a single American president. Enormous sums of money are being made directly from the War on Drugs, from privatized, stock-holder owned, profit-based prisons..largely populated by drug “violators”, as well as militarized law enforcement agencies demanding pricey gear happily sold to them at staggering tax payer costs so they can “fight” the War on Drugs…… an openly admitted federal policy failure. No matter…a tiny number of profit-based organizations…including the Mexican Cartel…have considerably more sway than any American president or the majority of Americans who want to see legalization of marijuana and a shift of focus to crime fighting that involves actual bad guys, not farmers and cancer patients. Can you imagine if the young man below was your son or grandson? How would you feel if you knew the prison he was headed to was privately owned and profit-based? Violated? Betrayed?

It’s so easy to write propaganda supporting the Drug War; it’s child’s play. But that propaganda supports an incomprehensible evil that can land at your front door, checkpoint, or business and harm you or your loved ones without warning. The collateral damage….the harm done to total innocents, continues unabated. The concept of prohibition is a complex one, as this country has seen before….and when we don’t look at how our laws affect us all, the simplistic  propaganda forwarded by a tiny cadre of profit based organizations is legitimized. There are unintended consequences of all prohibitions, including the War on Drugs, and those consequences have to be weighted and balanced. Every innocent’s dollar lost defending against false accusations should be recompensed. Every door bashed in because a law enforcement agency ooops…. got the wrong address…s is a cruel reminder of the costs we all pay. Every terrified young person separated from their families at a checkpoint because some so-called trained dog “signaled” that drugs are present….and subsequently forced to strip and submit to cavity search….let’s call a road side “cavity search”   what it is: rape….could be your family member next. (Little known fact: almost all American currency in circulation is contaminated by the scent of some drug, so don’t think that your complete and total innocence protects you, it does not.) Educate yourself on this issue…google “forced cavity searches”.  See this. And this.  Oooh, and this. Some law enforcement agencies don’t settle for failing to find drugs after “drug raping” a traveler; some, after finding no drugs…. defend forcing their victim to submit to a surgical colon inspection…  and just as amazingly…doctors and some hospitals are complicit….actually sending the bill to the traumatized victim. What happened to a doctor’s oath of “doing no harm?” How can this be the United States I grew up in?
Numerous documented cases have been published regarding victims being completely innocent after enduring these procedures. And here’s the thing….even if by continuing road side drug rapes…we discover some people have stashed their drugs in their bodies, are we willing to put our entire nation, ourselves, our families, our loved ones at risk of being forced into an invasive procedure to “get” those that have drugs on their person? How much personal danger are we as a nation willing to endure to prosecute possible drug possessors? Surely we can all agree that having this happen to yourself or someone you love would be devastating.

And here’s a final thought: if finding every last hidden stash of drugs requires stripping, raping, hand cuffing and dragging a traveler to a nearby rogue hospital for a surgical exploratory procedure…do we as a society need to find every last hidden stash of drugs hidden up travelers behinds? Is it THAT important to us? I’d rather keep my panties on, I’m just saying….and I’m willing to venture a guess that a vast majority of Americans concur. So, then, whose running this show?


Robert Duncan moved from Los Angeles to Northern California in 2010 to manage marijuana growing operations for a collective of medical marijuana dispensaries. Although California voters legalized medical cannabis more than 17 years ago, the plant remains illegal under federal law, and the Obama administration launched a renewed crackdown on marijuana in California in 2011. 

Read Robert’s Story Here


How Organic Is China's Organic Label?

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Here’s an issue that I’ve brought up from time to time: just how organic are foods coming from foreign nations that are labeled as “organic?”

Metal-contaminated soils and water sources do not affect organic certification. The certified organic label addresses intentional inputs like fertilizer and pest management practices. Farming on contaminated soils does not disqualify a farm from labeling their harvests “organic.”

A FOOD CHAIN RADIO RELEASE FROM METROFARM.COM

Our math problem:  If 20% of China’s farmland, and 90% of its surface water, are contaminated with toxic heavy metals, and if 1/3 of the organic food we import is from China, then…
This Saturday at 9am Pacific, the Food Chain Radio show with Michael Olson hosts Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of Food and Water Watch, for a conversation about the organic foods we eat from China.
Topics include why the United States imports so much organic food from China; how organic is the organic food we import from China; and who can we trust to tell us how organic is China’s organic food.

Listen live or recorded on your radio, computer or mobile device: Food Chain Radio #967