2015:9

Obviously I am going to use this space to talk about my trip. 17 days in west Marin, California. There is just so much to share. First off I have to say it was incredibly difficult to actually leave the farm mid june, with so much going on, it was a challenge just to get myself and my side kicks madeline and william on the plane. We did it though, rocked out that last week on the farm and got everything in such order that I was practically confident in my departure. (alas near solid rain in my absence has allowed all the weeds to surge and I returned to an unforgiving amount of weed pressure and continued rain….)
Forget that whole train of thought. Really, hours ago when I started this newsletter I was convinced that telling the story of our vacation would be the hot topic….but……..
It is well past 9:00 pm, we have just finished the epic harvest. It is always just around 1:00 when we are done the initial harvest, the majority of the vegetables are secure and we just have a handful of items to gather. This week, the downpours continued throughout the day making the whole process rather sluggish. Plucking produce in pounding rain made us all a wee bit delirious. Add to that the van which was towed back from the farmers market last week remains unfixed. I got that call at about 6:00 pm. Now, in the darkness, we are rallying to round up another set of wheels to get us and your food to market in just not too many hours. I can’t event think about the California coast right now. Gosh.
Really, it is all a fabulous adventure. My return was as grand as my departure and the time between was well spent drinking coffee with my cousins and hiking the hilly farm they live and work on to gaze upon the pacific ocean a stone’s throw away. We worked hard, rode the ocean’s waves, and dined on countless salads adorned with avocados. Every moment was full of action as we were on our family’s farm(they call it a ranch). Instead of vegetable growing, Mann Family Farm hosts events and I was lucky to help in both a Farm Camp and a spectacular summer wedding. The stories of our trip are countless and I will undoubtedly share them with any of you that will listen, but now all I can think about is how the heck I am going to get these freshly picked delights to your 4th of July picnic. So fingers crossed you are hugging me right now, welcoming me back from the coast and looking forward to a beautiful mid summer basket.
p.s. Still at it past 11pm. Feeling a little crazy!!

week nine in your basket:
carrots
beets
lettuce
fennel
basil
garlic

Beet, Fennel, and Carrot Salad from martha stewart. Note, there are so many good recipes for this classic combo of beets, carrots and fennel, do your own research and enjoy!
1 fennel bulb, trimmed
5 medium carrots
2 large beets, trimmed and peeled
FOR THE VINAIGRETTE
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, halved and very thinly sliced
Coarse salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Make the salad: Quarter fennel bulb lengthwise, and cut out core. Very thinly slice fennel lengthwiseinto strips using a mandoline or sharp knife. Cover with a damp paper towel in a glass dish. Grate carrots, then beets, on the large holes of a box grater. Arrange side by side with fennel. Keep covered with damp paper towel, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. Make the vinaigrette: Toast fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl, and add orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, shallot, and 1 teaspoon salt. Gradually whisk in oil. Toss fennel, beets, and carrots with vinaigrette in a large bowl. Serve immediately.

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