February 2008 - Morning Song Farm

Sungold Mandarins, Blood Oranges

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We’re moving out of the Satsuma mandarins and into the Sungolds. They’re a little harder to peel, but I love their firm flesh and sweetness. You can tell the difference between the mandarins in your basket and the blood oranges: the mandarins are a little flatter. The oranges are very round. The Moro Blood oranges have a slight red tint on the exterior rind, and of course are quite red and juicy inside. Throw the mandarin in your lunch bag for school or office; save the messy blood orange for your kitchen. Remember the blood orange juice stains.

Just Picked Cauliflower:not what you'd expect

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I’ve never considered cauliflower a mainstream vegetable, and the rubbery tasting thing I’ve bought a couple of times at the grocery store over the years had confirmed my suspicions. So I hope those of you who have never tasted cauliflower that was just harvested that morning will at least give it a try before tossing it into the trade-in-basket. Hey! This is good stuff! I just discovered an unusual combination that I’ve been enjoying. Try crumbling your cauli with a little bit of pure crumbled blue cheese. Actually the cheese and the vegetable look really attractive together as a topping on your salad. The combo is startling good. Of course you can steam it like you might brocolli, but just picked cauliflower is delicious, raw!

Farm Day, February 9th, 2008

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It’s 3:00 on Friday, the day before our little Farm Day, and haven’t heard from too many people. We don’t need a crowd to have a good time, but I’d hate to miss someone who wants to come. We leave for the farm tonight and I won’t have internet access on the farm, so if anyone needs directions, info, etc. please call me: 760-731-9566. Time is 11:00-4:00; potluck lunch at 12:00ish.

Potluck and Volunteer Day This Saturday 2/9/08

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Unless we’re rained out, we’re planning a potluck and volunteer day this Saturday between 11ish and 4:00. Come to help out, come to just check out the farm, or come to meet your fellow CSA supporters! Bring a dish to share for a 12:00ish lunch. Give me a quick e mail to let me know you’re coming. If you’d like to volunteer, we sure could use the help: We need to paint the barn, weed the west quadrant grove, remove burned irrigation pipe, mulch mulch mulch. If you’d like to help, do come with closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, and a shovel to aid in weeding would be nice.

USDA sends letter halting all farming activity

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In an effort to recoup some of the significant fire loss sustained in the October, 2007 fire, farmer Donna filled out the paperwork with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservatin Service which provides very small grants to farmers to pay for a portion of restoring micro irrigation, mulch and also for debris removal. It’s not significant compared to our loss, but hey, it’s better than a kick in the butt. I actually had to sign a contract promising to continue farming for a certain length of time after tax payers had helped to restore me, and also to allow the USDA to come onto my farm for inspections to make sure they were getting what they were paying a portion of; i.e. new irrigation pipes and new mulch.

No sooner was the ink dry on the contract which I signed last Thursday, January 30, when the Natural Resources Conservation Service sent me a letter, dated the very next day, to halt labor on my farm until August 31st so that we might avoid the nesting/breeding season of the California Gnatcatcher. They also said in the letter that I could only use native seed, must avoid coastal sage scrub whether it’s burned or unburned, and that I must avoid my creek (watering half the farm) completely. I’m not sure what I could grow that would be from native seed that wouldn’t require water and that my customers would want to eat. Acorns maybe?

What have I wrought? I called the office where I signed the documents to express my thoughts, but the decision-maker is on vacation.

To be continued…..

Blood Oranges Are In

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We’ve waited longer than usual to harvest our blood oranges; waiting for a frost to nip them, which turns the skin a little reddish. The juice is delicious, and can be mixed with less intensely flavored (and colored) citrus for a beautiful fruit juice. The juice can stain. It’s been really cold in Rainbow, but as I surveyed the farm today I found no actual frost damage. The mountains to the east are all snow capped. The drive into Temecula from my farm is spectacular with the mountains in the distance all covered in snow.

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