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Really Bad News from The Rainbow Water District

This just in: All farms in the Rainbow Water District that participate in the agricultural rate program have been ordered to reduce their water use by a whopping 30% or face staggering fines. (Morning Song Farm’s water bill for September was $2500. The fine, as discussed, would double the bill) Organic family farms that have already been practicing mulching, composting, and micro irrigation don’t have any way to reduce their water usage any more than they already have. So everyone’s talking about which trees they’re going to cut down. Ax the avos, or the macadamias? Everyone agrees: keep the cactus! Surprisingly, new building permits continue to be issued, and residential users aren’t affected by these mandates. Just farms. The pending loss of a third of the fruiting trees in an entire geographic region in a single year has got to be a new low for family farms in California’s drought-stressed frost-free growing areas.

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Mandatory Pasteurization Concerns

This just landed in my e-mail box:

Mandatory Pasteurization of Almonds as of September 1st, 2007 has taken effect.

From now on it’s impossible, in fact, illegal, to get raw Almonds in the United States. Nuts sold as “raw” are not actually raw any more, but processed. Here’s what Jason Sinclaire has to say on that subject:

“Truly raw almonds, with their enzymes intact, are a living, nutrition-packed food. Raw almonds that have been soaked and sprouted are nutritionally superior food to heated almonds, and are more easily assimilated in the digestive
process. Heating almonds over 112 degrees destroys their enzymes, and greatly
diminishes their nutritional value. Heating also leads to rancidity of nuts.”

Every almond sold commercially from here on out has to be pasteurized. Also, let’s keep an eye on almond pricing, because almond growers are now required by law to truck their almonds to one of five just-built USDA approved pasteurization facilities in California and then back to their packing facilities on-farm, at their own expense.

As a grower of macadamia nuts whose primary market has for years been to raw foodists, this law is a huge concern. What might be next? Macadamias? Maybe limes?

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Yum


Holly Teipe shares this super-simple recipe for baked Zucchini — Farmer Donna

“I made a great dinner tonight with items from my basket. Baked zuchinni with veggie sausage, bread crumbs, cooked onion, a little salt and pepper, and the argula mixed with a mustard vinegrette.

Delicious.

Pic included. Thank you!”

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New drop off points considered

We’re getting a lot of requests for a couple more drop off points. We’re thinking of adding a Corona del Mar, a Temecula, and a Riverside drop off. If anyone has an opinion about where specifically, in those communities might be the perfect drop off site, please let Farmer Donna know.

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About This Blog

Welcome! My name is Todd, and I’m helping Farmer Donna to kick off this blogging adventure. With new folks joining her CSA weekly, we thought this might be a good way to get news (and recipes) out in a timely and efficient way and keep everyone well-connected. It’s an ongoing experiment, so let us know what you think, and be prepared to see the blog evolve.

I’m excited and honored to help Donna out with this, as I’ve become a huge Morning Song Farm fan in just over 4 weeks. My own story is that I learned about the CSA concept in early August, found her listing on Local Harvest, liked her answers to my endless questions, and signed up for a basket. Each week has brought new surprises with it, and I love knowing where my food comes from. I could go on about the flavor, nutrition and more – but I suspect you already know that since you are here.

I’ve included some recipes from Donna’s previous newsletter that were too good to pass up, and the first couple of posts you’ll see below will feature some of the great produce we are now receiving in baskets. If you have any comments or suggestions, please share them – you can click on the “comments” section below any post to add your feedback. Enjoy!

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Heirloom Melon Sorbet

Aren’t these melons fantastic? I love just leaving one on my counter for a while because it perfumes the kitchen.

Here’s a simple recipe for sorbet we use all the time:

Scoop out flesh of one melon, put in baggie or other container and freeze. Put frozen contents in a vitamix or other strong blender. (I’ve tried the cuisinart and it doesn’t work as well). Add the juice of a lemon or lime. Add a little sprinkle of natural Stevia (found at Trader Joes—get the real stuff, not the one that’s been cut with a lot of sugar, because what’s the point?) and then a dash of real sugar for consistency. Puree.

If you have a hard time getting the blades to move at first, add a little orange juice. This comes right out of the blender like a soft-serve ice cream. You can freeze it further if you want it harder. For a variation, I take the lime juice separately, blend a few sprigs of mint, then sieve out the mint leaves and use that juice in the sorbet.

— Farmer Donna

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Bok Choi

This is a common green in China. It can be steamed just like spinach, eaten raw in salads, or sautéed with other vegetables.

Try this:

Sautee chopped Bok Choi with sliced zuchinni. Drain. Put in casserole dish. Make 2 pieces of wheat toast. Crumble the toast in a blender, cuisinart (or just your hands) add to the crumble mix a little rosemary, chilantro, salt and pepper. I like to spash a tiny bit of hot sauce. Sprinkle over your steamed vegetables. Add dash of olive oil. Grate a nice, hard cheese over top and broil for a minute or two until done. Eat.

— Farmer Donna

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Arugula

You’ve probably heard of it, maybe even eaten it without knowing. Arugula is a rich, somewhat spicy, leafy green. We love it raw in salads, or lightly sautéed with a little crushed garlic and then drizzled with olive oil. Chef Mark from The Old Vine in Costa Mesa actually flash fries arugula. It then dissolves in your mouth. It’s worth a trip up to see him, just for that.

— Farmer Donna

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A Quiche To Remember

This is a little more complicated than the typical Morning Song Farm recipe, but worth the effort.

A quiche is just a pie made with vegetables, eggs and cheese. The recipe following uses a Trader Joe’s pie shell (they come two to a box so the recipe here makes two pies: one to eat and one to freeze.)

Put the frozen package of pie shells in the micro for 1 minute unless they’re already thawed. Slap down on pie pans and cut edges away.

You now have two empty pies.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups swiss chard cut up
  • 4 green onions (tender green goes directly in bowl, bottom white part is sauted with the mushrooms)
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 3 pieces of cooked bacon
  • 3 gloves of California garlic
  • Handful of mushrooms
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • Salt, pepper, dash of Tabasco
  • Olive oil

Combine chard, green part of onions (sliced fairly thinly), crumbled bacon, 5 eggs, 2 cups milk, ½ cup walnuts. Set aside

Throw mushrooms, white part of onions (diced), and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a sauté pan with olive oil and sauté.

Dump everything together and pour half into each pie shell. Cook at 350 until done, about 40 minutes in my oven.

If you want to bother, you can put a thin edge of foil around the outer edge of the pie so the edge doesn’t get overcooked and dark brown.

Put the other pie, partially cooked, in the freezer. If you freeze without partially cooking, the raw eggs get funky. Thaw, finish baking and serve.

— Farmer Donna