Harvesting crew expands

Our harvesting crew is expanding:

Here is little Evelina helping pick some figs:


And also some carrots!



She's doing well in her training - with lots of different fruits and vegetables to chose.....carrots, apples, tomatoes, pears, grapes, figs,....and also some stones to add to the pot!


Its a busy week this week as we have started our grape harvest.  The Godello (white) grapes were picked at 3am yesterday - in the dark!  This is our newest grape - a Spanish white variety that no one else is growing in California.  Our first vintage from last year's crop is being bottled now, so we'll soon be able to taste it.

We will pick our one ton of Merlot for our own wine tomorrow at the much more reasonable hour of 8am!  We are picking it ourselves with some friends and family.  It's always such a lovely day.  Picking a ton isn't too much work and then we all sit down together for a harvest breakfast.


Our main harvest (20+ tons) isn't scheduled yet as it is being bought by Jackson Family Farms (of Kendall Jackson etc) and they will decide when they want it.

With her own little bucket!
What are you harvesting this week?
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July Harvest


I bought my husband a new collapsible bucket this week.  I know - how romantic can I get?  I was really tempted with the lime green one - but that is my favorite color, so I got him the blue one - as that's his favorite color! Only seemed right!!



The reason for the purchase - (in addition to my loving him :-D) - was that we do a lot of harvesting of fruits and veggies in our garden,  and we have big things to collect fruit in but not really anything nice for smaller harvests.  So if we are picking a whole tree of apples, that's fine - or 12 trees of olives or loads of grapes...no problem but just a few items tended to go in a horrid old red bucket.  But no longer!



The new collapsible blue bucket  now comes to the rescue and it got its first use this week! And it did a fine job.

We put in some:
kale
padrone peppers - these are my 2013 new favorite food
green figs
black figs
peaches and
apricots

What a colorful harvest.

I'm so happy to have an early fig harvest this year. Some years we only get them in the fall but we've had quite a few July figs this year and it looks like an amazing number will ripen for the fall.  We will definitely be figged out! Glad family will be staying with us to help us out.



What did you harvest this week?


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Quick and easy rainbow dinner

An easy dinner for me is a baked potato or jacket potato as we say in England. This might be a sweet potato or a regular potato.  But since we are growing our own potatoes now, I can't say any of our potatoes are "regular". They are way too good for that!

Throw something on top of the potato - and ta da! A quick, easy, healthy dinner.



The other day I made a chopped salad to go on the potato - and by the side of the potato.  It included:

  • cucumber (home grown)
  • yellow heirloom tomato
  • mint (home grown)
  • spring onion
  • sugar snap peas
  • pea shoots
  • chioggia beets (home grown)
  • green figs
  • pomegranate seeds
and then drizzled with pomegranate balsamic vinegar.


It was delicious and so attractive too.  Red, yellow, green, pink, blue, and white. Eating a rainbow a day is important as different phytonutrients are seen in different colored plants, so eating a rainbow of colors ensures that you get a good variety of phytonutrients.

One last thought about my potato. Eating our homegrown potatoes has shown me what a floury potato really is.  I've seen the descriptor in recipes of floury or waxy potatoes - but I've never thought it that obvious.  The white potatoes we are growing are the most floury potatoes I have ever eaten! They really taste of flour!!  Unfortunately I don't know what variety they are as we planted a mix of red white and blues!
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Fig and Broccoli Tartine

One of the dishes we made in our Food as Medicine classes this week was Fig and Broccoli tartine. Tartine is the French word for open faced sandwich. It sounds so much nicer than just "sandwich".



These are lovely - and you can really be creative with your toppings, depending what is in season. I just happened to see some green figs for sale and our fig tree doesn't ripen until the fall, so thought it would be nice to use those - but you could put anything on top of the broccoli.


I don't generally eat a lot of broccoli - no specific reason, just that I don't seem to use it much - but this is a great way to serve raw broccoli and get all the benefits of some good cruciferous vegetables.

Here's the recipe:

Broccoli spread
1 head of broccoli
2 stems of basil
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
2 garlic cloves
Approx 1/2 cup water
Pepper to taste

Tartine
Artisan 100% whole grain bread, thinly sliced
Fresh figs, sliced

Decorate/garnish: pea shoots, pomegranate seeds
Drizzle:  fig or pomegranate balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses

Combine all the ingredients for the broccoli spread in a blender or food processor with half of the water and puree. Add more water as needed until smooth, stopping and scraping down as necessary.
Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more water if it seems dry.
Toast the bread.
Spread the broccoli spread generously on the toast.
Top with figs, pea shoots, pomegranate seeds and drizzle sparingly with balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses.

Instead of the pea shoots, you could try leafy sprouts or thinly sliced radish or anything that makes it look pretty!

As the bread we used was whole wheat, I made my own gluten free tartine using a square quinoa/rice cake - and it looked just as pretty - maybe even prettier, as you can see in the above 2 photos!



Another variation for those with nut allergies is using chickpeas instead of hazelnuts in the broccoli spread. I've made it using one drained can of chickpeas and no nuts.  The spread can also be used as a pesto for pasta or vegetables, by adding a little more water to it.

So get your creative hat on and think about some pretty tartines for summer lunches, or even dinners on hot evenings.
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Everything is tickety-boo

Here is this weeks list of the things that made me feel tickety-boo:



  • friends birthdays and spending time thinking about them, even though we couldn't celebrate together
  • being home alone for a few days and enjoying the peace, but then having hubby come home after his golf vacation
  • talking regularly to a friend. Although our conversations are trying to resolve an issue together, I appreciate that us working together on it, means we are spending more time chatting together.
  • a fun party in the city
  • enthusiastic students at a fermented foods cooking class
  • learning new techie things!
  • picking a fresh nectarine off the tree and eating it while it was still warmed by the sunshine
  • eating our first figs of the season from our tree. It's quite rare for us to get early figs - our main harvest is  September/October, so this was a lovely sweet treat.
I hope you've had a week of feeling tickety-boo too.
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