June 19, 2018

The Purple Flower With Power

lavender-header-for-the-blog

We have been growing lavender on our Capay Organic farm for several years now, so we know about lavender’s reputation for relaxation and its ability to help with a good night sleep. More recently we've become hip to some of its lesser known qualities including its ability to disinfect, its anti-inflammatory effects, and even its healing properties, making it a great herb to have on hand. Below are a few quick and helpful recipes for using dried lavender in your cooking, cleaning, and even home remedies.

lavender-vinegar

For Cleaning: Lavender Vinegar

Because of its antibacterial qualities, lavender works great in your household cleaners. However, you don't have to stop there, this infused vinegar can also be used as fabric softner, flea spray, hair rinse, and more.

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup of Lavender buds
1 cup of vinegar

DIRECTIONS
1) Gather lavender buds and place in jar with vinegar.

2) Let sit for a few days-weeks.

3) When ready to use, strain out the buds.

Use Lavender Vinegar as:

*Fabric Softener- Use a 1/4 cup of the vinegar plus enough water to fill the fabric softener dispenser and let the fragrance add a natural lavender scent to your clothes.

*Glass and Surface Cleaner--- Mix one-part vinegar, 1-part water and add a small pinch of cornstarch. The cornstarch will help boost the cleaning mixture. Apply to windows and hard surfaces to add a lavender scent.

lavender-air-freshner

For Aromatherapy: Lavender Air Freshener

Enjoy a little aromatherapy while creating a relaxing environment for your family. Just a few dried lavender buds and citrus peels are all you need for this easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons of dried lavender
Citrus Peel (we used lemon)

DIRECTIONS
1) Put lavender and citrus peel into pan with water.

2) Let simmer for about 5 minutes.

3) Let the fresh aroma fill the air.

*Once cooled, you can place in a jar and allow the all natural scent to fill the air in another room.

lavender-mint-tea

For Relaxing: Lavender Tea

Curl up on the couch and relax with your favorite book and a cup of this lavender mint tea known for its mood-boosting qualities. Lavender can be a little overpowering on its own but works great when paired with another herb such as mint or chamomile. 
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons Lavender

DIRECTIONS
1) Combine mint and lavender.

2) Add 1-2 teaspoons per cup of hot or cold water.

For Natural Remedies: Lavender Infused Honey

INGREDIENTS
1 cup of honey
1 tablespoon of dried Lavender

1) Pour honey into a small sauce pan and warm over low heat Once warmed through, add herbs and stir to distribute.

DIRECTIONS
2) Leave Honey mixture over low heat for 15-20 minutes.

3) Strain out the herbs or leave them in.

lavender-simple-syrup
For Cooking: Lavender Simple Syrup

INGREDIENTS
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons lavender

DIRECTIONS
1) Bring sugar, water, and lavender to a boil.

2) Simmer a few minutes until sugar is dissolved.

3) Remove from heat let sit 30 minutes.

4) Strain lavender buds out transfer to a jar.

For Your Skin: Lavender Oatmeal Face Scrub

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon lavender flowers
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoon sea salt

1) Place the rolled oats, lavender essential oil, and lavender flowers into a coffee grinder and pulse until ground, about 45-60 seconds. A blender can also be used, but a coffee grinder is the preferred option here.

2) Transfer to a bowl and stir in the baking soda and sea salt.

3) Store the face scrub in a glass jar. To use, combine 2 teaspoons of the scrub with 1 ½ tsp water or milk, then gently scrub across the face with the fingers.

For Your Hair: Lavender Hair and Scalp Rinse

INGREDIENTS
Lavender
Water

DIRECTIONS
1) Make a large batch of lavender tea.

2) Let it cool, and use as a scalp rinse.

June 1, 2018

COMING TO MY SENSES BOOK GIVEAWAY

Coming_To_My_Senses_Cover

If you’re anything like the crew around here, you’re in love with food - the freshness, the seasons, the flavor and the traditions that encompass it. And when we aren’t cooking food or eating food, we like to read about it.

Growing up in California, I have long heard about Alice Waters’ seasonally inspired restaurant Chez Panisse and have considered The Art of Simple Food a culinary bible. So upon hearing that this cultural icon’s long-awaited memoir Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook was being released, we decided to offer it as a giveaway to our farm family. Below is a little bit of information about the author and a snippet from the publisher about the book. We haven't read it yet, but we are hoping you will read along with us and let us know your thoughts. For a chance to win a copy of the book, simply answer the question below:

(Giveaway is now closed)

What/Who Inspires You To Cook and Why?

We've chosen a winner! Thank you to everyone who participated. Congratulations to Susan who commented: 

"I have recently rediscovered my kitchen with the advent of my weekly boxes from Farm Fresh to You. My juicers and blender now live back on the counter, not in the back of the cupboard. I have discovered new foods I hadn't met yet and am in love with fennel! Baby Bok Choy is another favorite. These are 2 foods I would have never picked up at the market, even the farmers market, because I didn't know what they were. Farm Fresh to You is my inspiration!!"


No purchase required. Limit one entry per person, please. Entries will close at noon on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. Winners are chosen by Random Number Generator and will be announced on our blog, Wednesday June 20th.


Photos Reprinted from Coming to My Senses. Copyright © 2017 by Alice Waters. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.


Alice_Waters_Chez_Panisse

About Alice Waters
Alice Waters was born on April, 28, 1944, in Chatham, New Jersey. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1967 with a degree in French cultural studies before training at the International Montessori School in London. Her daughter, Fanny, was born in 1983.Chez Panisse Restaurant opened in 1971, serving a single fixed-price menu that changed daily. The set menu format remains at the heart of Alice’s philosophy of serving the most delicious organic products only when they are in season. Over the course of three decades, Chez Panisse has developed a network of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures Chez Panisse a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients. In 1996, in celebration of the restaurant’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Alice created the Chez Panisse Foundation. The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr Middle School is the foundation’s primary beneficiary.


Provided by Publisher:
The long-awaited memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America’s most influential restaurant.When Alice Waters opened the doors of her “little French restaurant” in Berkeley, California in 1971 at the age of 27, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape—Alice least of all. Fueled in equal parts by naiveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers. In Coming to My Senses Alice retraces the events that led her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue and the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity. Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded. Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs, and letters, Coming to My Senses is at once deeply personal and modestly understated, a quietly revealing look at one woman’s evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of food.

May 14, 2018

Farm Spring

Your Farm News in Photos - Farm Spring

Farm News

The hustle and bustle of the farm is intense this time of year. All of my beautiful cover crops that were grown over the winter need to be incorporated into the top soil before we can plant the next crops. I was proud to see that my kids were not as tall as the cover crops this year – had I turned them loose in the middle, they likely would have never found their way out of the maze of grasses and legumes! With the tall, green tops come thick, deep roots. With all of that come more organic matter for the soil, more carbon sequestered from the atmosphere – more good stuff. Also with that comes a need for it to break down and be fully incorporated into the soil so that we can inject our drip tape and run our transplants, seeders and cultivators.

Your Farm News in Photos - Farm Spring


Walking by our next watermelon field, I am comfortable with the progress. The thick roots are breaking down. My shovel easily enters the soil, and it is feeling like the watermelon transplants in the greenhouse will be able to free their roots from the confines of their little cells to expand deep into the goodness of this farm’s ground. As I walk past the field, I think about what we could have done different this season to prevent us from having to cut things so close. Next winter, during one of the little dry spells in February, we will mow the cover crops if we can. This will give all that green matter more time to decompose and beneath the ground, the huge root system will correct itself to the size required for only the new growth that follows after the mowing. Next year, we will NAIL IT!

Your Farm News in Photos - Farm Spring

Beyond the field, my favorite part of the farm has again attracted me like a magnet attracts a rusty old nail hidden in a gravel road. My restoration project is proceeding nicely. The wild area, reclaimed several years ago from an invasive species, is on its way to thriving. Creeping wild rye sways in the breeze.

Your Farm News in Photos - Farm Spring


The native bees are making a buzz of the flowering yarrow and mule fat. Red bud, elderberry, oak trees, cottonwoods, deer grass, gum plants and wild grapes are all making progress toward reclaiming this piece of our farm to balance of flora and fauna that long ago covered all of California.

On the ground (in the middle of my walking path) is a large egg sitting on the ground. It’s a new sight to me. The egg, larger than a chicken egg, has a teardrop shape to it, and the matte white shell is covered with a speckling of brown dots. I speculate, given the time of the year and the size of the egg, that it belongs to a wild turkey. The internet confirms my suspicion, but leaves me to wonder how this one egg got to be sitting in the middle of the path. Surely it started as part of a nest of a dozen or so, but now it sits here, alone to bake in the sun and nurture the next critter that is sure to come along the same path.

Make sure to find us on Instagram @farmfreshtoyou and @farmerthaddeus.