November 2011 - Morning Song Farm

December 10th is Farm Day

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Our CSA members, their friends and family are invited to a Morning Song farm day on Saturday, December 10th between 9-12. Rain cancels. As always, if you could RSVP at: so we can plan ahead for parking issues, that would be appreciated. Sometimes we have only a single participant, and sometimes the skies part and we have a deluge. It’s always nice to know ahead of time which it might be, as we are a hillside farm with limited flat spots for parking. We always figure it out, but it IS easier to know ahead of time.

Many have asked about saving their left over veggies for us; we’d love to have them— so if you’re planning on coming, start saving! If you aren’t composting yourself, we sure can use it here.

Meet our pets; llamas, goats and chickens. We’ll have llama treats here if you’d like to interact with Dreamie and Couscou, and the goats aren’t picky. Goat favorites are crunchy granola bars, saltine crackers and pretzels. Actually, they’ll eat anything, including your clothes; but we try to keep their diet in the recognizable food groups. And the chickens–remember they don’t have actual teeth– enjoy cut up soft fruit, bits of crackers, and meatless (within a day) table scraps.

Finally, if you have farm/growing questions or you’d like to offer your input this is a great time to walk the farm with the farmers and give us an opportunity to hear what you have to say.

Harvest Ticket Nov. 29-30 Page Two

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We trialed another sprout mix, (all certified organic seed: clover, alfalfa, broccoli, fenugreek, sesame and garlic chives) but goofed on the timing as this mix takes longer than last week’s trial mix. So only large shares will receive these amazing sprouts unless between today and tomorrow half our trays demonstrate miraculous growth. Barring that, our chickens will be dining on a week’s worth of amazing sprouts in a couple days.

Because we harvest on Tuesdays for San Diego/Temecula and Wednesdays for OC, we split our sprouting start days in half, with the first half ready on Tuesday and the 2nd half on Wednesday. Unfortunately only the first half will be ready at all this week. Uggr!
The good news, is that we are moving beyond radish sprouts and have sourced organic sprout seeds from a trusted provider that has some very nice mixes that I think we’ll all enjoy. We just need to get the timing down right! And of course, as it gets colder, the timing will change, but hopefully we’ll keep on top of that as well.
New this week is a clamshell of the baby Asian green, mizuna. We’ve bunched it from time to time, but never mowed a row down at the baby stage. Often quickly sauteed with a little garlic, it can also be enjoyed raw in your salad. Funny story: I had an intern plant the 40 feet or so of Mizuna, and a week later when I was out in “garden two” checking on something else, I noticed that someone had planted “radish” seed waaaay to close together. The first leaves of Mizuna look EXACTLY like a radish sprout, and even have the same mild, spicy flavor. I had told Jabin, our head farmer dude, that he’d need to plow it under, as radishes planted that closely will never bulb up, but the rains prevented him from getting to it. So this weekend I was out touring the farm, after returning from a few (much needed) days away, to discover the “radish” planting had miraculously sprouted into Mizuna. Sure enough, the tag at the end of the row was labeled “Mizuna.” I hadn’t bothered to look, because the first leaves sure did look like radish sprouts; which we grow a lot of.

Negotiated Goat/Human Truce at Risk

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Well, last time I wrote about our goats, I was satisfied with the understanding that I thought we had reached after some discussions. I don’t sleep in the goat barn, and they don’t hang out in my house. Everyone at Morning Song was satisfied with that arrangement and I thought we could move on to more pressing issues. Apparently not. I came home today to discover the entire herd LOCKED in my otherwise unoccupied house. I think it’s Carl AKA Goat Man as pointman. He’s never been much of a rule observer, and I think he has figured out how to open doors with his front hooves. He doesn’t do this in front of humans. I think it’s some kind of goat rule. But the evidence can’t be argued with. Once he entered; and I’m saying he, because I think it’s Goat Man, the whole herd followed. Had he made a quick mission into forbidden territory and exited, I might not have known. But for one reason or another (a breeze? a door tussle? a piece of paper behind the door that everyone went for?) the door ended up shut and latched; and the bunch of them were stuck in the house for a couple hours. This is where lines are drawn inside families. Goat lovers vs. boring family members who have no sense of humor or a grasp of the vastly larger picture. Paper dollars set aside for lunch money, a single lousy iphone cord, junk mail and 2 boxes of cherrios can be replaced! Arriving home, I had a surreal moment as I reached for the door and discovered a herd of goats peering out at me from my home. They’d gone straight for the goat treats and knocked over a 30 pound container, then went for random nibbles that they might not find themselves being offered on a regular basis. No vet bill insued, but again, my son re-sent his previous email to me, with a selection of goat recipes.

At left top, Gracie busy munching and left bottom: Lance coaching a phone cord out of Goat Man’s mouth

Harvest Ticket Nov 22-23 Page One

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Tropical Guavas are here! We’re excited to bring you the first of our tropical guava harvest this week. We have mixed three varieties in our boxes, as we don’t have enough of any one kind. The three varieties are:

1. Mexican Guavas which are green on the outside and pink on the inside. They have a passionfruit kind of flavor.

2. Malaysian Guavas which are reddish green on the outside and bright pink colored on the inside. They have a berry flavor.

3. Taiwanese Guavas which are green on the outside just like Mexican Guavas, and yellow on the inside. They have a smooth, lemon/banana flavor. These are being harvested just hours before putting in your boxes and are best (in my humble opinion) when they’ve been allowed to ripen on your counter. You can tell they’re ripe if they give slightly, and have a sweet aroma. From my days at the farmers’ markets, I know some people like them hard..right off the tree, but if you eat them right away, you’ll miss out on the perfume that a ripening guava releases. Plus, I just think they taste best, fully ripe and soft. By the way, guavas, like all tropical fruits, should not be referigerated.

Guavas have twice the vitamin C content of an orange, and as much as 8 times the potassium content of a banana. That’s a lot of potassium! In addition, guavas also offer carotenoids, folate, fiber, calcium and iron. Few fruits offer calcium!

Harvest Ticket Nov. 22-23 Page Two

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Collard greens aren’t as common as spinach, and I have no idea why! I have to admit their name isn’t as delicious sounding as Swiss chard. Maybe we should rename them? Ambrosia leaf? Just kidding. Collards are great just steamed as you would Swiss chard or spinach. Just make certain you don’t overcook this amazing green, because like all cruciferous veggies, overcooked collards give off an unpleasant sulfer smell when overcooked. You won’t want to overcook them anyway, because doing so reduces the vitamin content of this just picked, leafy green. Steamed collard greens have a more powerful cholesterol lowering ability than any of the other cruciferous veggies; including mustard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage. The cancer preventive qualities of collards can be attributed to 4 glucosinolates found in the veggie’s leaves, which are converted into an isothiocyanate that is said to lower cancer risk by aiding in the human body’s detox and anti-imflammatory systems.

Another Thanksgiving Week Reminder

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I know I posted this last week, but I want to just circle back and say it again: to avoid the Wednesday holiday traffic next week, we are doing a marathan harvest on Tuesday and splitting the OC/San Diego deliveries into two trucks, but both on Tuesday. That doesn’t make any difference at all to San Diego subscribers who receive their shares on Tuesdays anyway, but Wednesday subscribers will be picking up a day earlier!

On a related topic: Morning Song Farm will actually be shutting down from Tuesday evening until Saturday for the Thanksgiving holiday. I haven’t actually taken a day off in years, not even when I’ve gone out of town with my daughter. I bring a laptop and an I-phone and continue my office and customer service work unabated. This holiday will be different as my partner, Lance, has suggested that all computer connections and phones will be checked at the door as we exit for 4 days out of town. Actually, I think the word, “suggestion” is a little light footed. Maybe “decree,” would be closer to the truth. Well, be that as it may, I look forward to this little 1965 Thanksgiving, despite my teenagers’ threats to report us to CPS for electronic starvation.

Harvest Ticket Nov. 15-16

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Sorry, I’m having printing problems today and can’t post our normal image ticket until later. But I thought I’d post the ticket, sans images right now:
Below is what went into the large share, then a slash, then what went into the small shares: x/x

Carrot Bunches: 1/1
Beets, tops removed, 2 pounds/1 pound
Green Beans: 1.25 pounds/.75 pounds
Swiss Chard Bunches: 2/1
Pink Lady Apples: 2 pounds/1 pound
Mizuna leafy green: 1/0 on Wednesday, 1/1 on Tuesday
Limes: 9/6
Sprouts: 1/1 clamshell
Pineapple Guavas: 2 pounds/1 pound
Parsley: 1/0 on Wednesday only
Arugula 1/0 on Tuesday, 1/1 on Wednesday

Radish Sprouts have Hairy Roots, Not Mold

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Yes indeed. Although we’ve only had one inquiry, I think it’s worth posting about in case other subscribers were worried and just tossing our sprouts. Lots of people who have tried growing radish sprouts have thought that their radish sprouts had sprouted some weird white mold. See the photo at left. Those hairy white things are actually tiny root hairs, not fungus. After 5 days, the root hairs of each seed combine in a kind of mat. A mat of healthy, white, root hairs; not fungus. Not mold. If we harvest sooner than 5 days, there isn’t enough leafy green to classify the sprout as, well a sprout. makes this comment in their tech section intended for growers, in response to a complaint by a new grower that her radish sprouts were moldy:
“99.9% of you aren’t seeing mold–you are seeing root hairs. If you are browing broccoli, radish, or another brassica or grain, and you see this “fuzz”, just before you rinse that is ROOT HAIRS. Just rinse–and they fall back against the main root. You won’t see them again until your next rinse. Dont’ feel bad–you are the 2,247th person to make this mistake this year :)”
“Radish sprouts have those fuzzy sprout tails…radish seeds are a bit large–they’re very common in mixes, so that’s probably what they are. The little hairs lie down when they’re wet, so look at them before you rinse, and look again right after.”
“The “mold” on my sprout mix was caused by the daikon radish which after about three days start to show microscopic root hairs which typically start to show just before rinsing; when the sprouts are at their driest. These collapse back against the roots with the rinsing process. Many newbie sprouters apparently mistake these roots for mold! Well, at least if I am an idiot, I am not alone.”

Thanksgiving Week Schedule Changes!

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In an effort to get our truck, and our amazingly serene driver Bruce, off the pre-holiday packed freeways, we are scheduling all of our deliveries for the week of Thanksgiving on TUESDAY instead of splitting between Tuesday and Wednesday. Normally, OC subscribers’ boxes are delivered on Wednesdays, but November 23rd’s deliveries will be done on November 22nd. Please note your calendars!

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