January 9, 2018

Let's Talk About our Food System


Let's Talk About our Food System

Farm News

As summer turned to fall, our lettuce seed was tucked into soil in a plastic tray under a greenhouse. The tiny seeds germinated. For 35 days, they grew until their roots were confined by the limited soil in the transplant tray. They graduated from the greenhouse and were tucked into a neatly prepared field where the little plants had room to grow. Water rained down on them from sprinklers, and as they grew, the colors of the red leaf, green leaf and Green Romaine lettuces covered the dark soil with a rainbow of color in the field.

As their day came to be harvested, consumers heard that E.coli was in the Romaine supply. The demand for my little gems of Green Romaine lettuce slumped, but not the other lettuce that shared the exact same life as the Green Romaine. Individuals with legitimate concerns called our customer service team to ask about the Romaine – and why wouldn’t you call to ask? That is the whole point of Farm Fresh To You − to give you a direct connection to the land that feeds you. And why would you knowingly add any risk to your family by eating something that may cause harm?

The reality is that something is going on, but pinning the blame broadly on Green Romaine is irresponsible. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not identified what food likely caused this foodborne illness. No public agency has contacted any Romaine lettuce grower, shipper or processor and requested that they either stop shipping or recall product already in the marketplace. Yet Consumer Reports mass warns consumers to not eat any Romaine lettuce. This warning lacked a basic understanding that lettuce is a highly perishable product with limited shelf life, vast growing regions, and different growing, processing and handling practices. If I were Romaine lettuce, I would get a discrimination case set up…

Food safety is of paramount importance to our farm, and we have no reason to believe that any of our lettuce is anything but safe and healthy to eat. While I cannot tell you exactly what is going on, I can tell you that there is not a general problem with all Green Romaine lettuce – there is however a general problem with our food system, and food safety scares like this one emphasize the importance of our local food system and why it is so important to know where your food comes and who grew it so that you can trust that it is safe for you and your family.

I have three young children, ages 8, 5 and 2, and we will be eating the Green Romaine lettuce that our farm grew. You will notice that we have elected to not include Green Romaine lettuce in any of the main line boxes. It pains me a little to bend to the forces of national news, but the truth is that peace of mind is also something that we have an obligation to provide to our customers. Eventually, this Green Romaine scare will blow over, and we may learn that there was some Green Romaine that had a legitimate problem. We may learn it was actually the Caesar Salad dressing used on Green Romaine. We may find out it had nothing to do with Green Romaine at all. I can’t tell you the outcome, but I can tell you that all of our Green Romaine, as well as the Green Leaf and Red Leaf Lettuce, are safe and healthy to eat. I know this because I grew them and will be feeding them to my kids all winter.

December 28, 2017

Cheers to 25 Years!


family pic

This year we celebrate 25 years of delivering organically grown produce fresh from our fields to your doorstep. From our family to yours, we thank you for your support of not only our Farm Fresh To You Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm Box program but also for working with us to grow a better food system. Enjoy a look back at our family scrapbook. 

1992

To Your Door

In 1992, our mother, Kathleen Barsotti, started Farm Fresh To You, our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm Box program. Realizing that support for organic agriculture would only grow if this “specialty” produce was more readily available, she expanded the traditional CSA model and added the innovation and convenience of home delivery. Our new organic produce delivery service started with a handful of customers and boxes being delivered in our grandparent’s Buick. It was crazy and wonderful to see more and more boxes leave our farm each week.

2000

Mom’s Legacy

Our mother managed every aspect of our farm and delivery service until July of 2000 when her battle with breast cancer ended at the age of 51. As we were growing up, she believed the way to instill a true love for and connection to the land was by giving us important roles in the day-to-day operation and building of our family farm. We are thankful and proud to be able to carry on her legacy today, each of us choosing the farm for our life’s work.

2007

New Growth

In 2007, we expanded our agricultural roots and began farming in areas of Southern California as the warmer winters allowed us to lengthen our growing season and extend the availability of some of our most-loved heirloom and traditional crops to residents looking for trusted, organic produce in the Los Angeles area. This time it was our turn, as the second-generation, to farm in a new region, face new challenges and grow new farmer and community relationships.

Cheers to 25 Years!

KBNP

Founded in 2009, the Kathleen Barsotti Non-Profit for Sustainable Agriculture (KBNP) was founded in memory of our mother. The mission of the non-profit is to support the progressive growth of sustainable farms and their employees.

KBNP


KBNP seeks to increase the resources that are available to farm workers and their families and to connect those individuals with the resources that do exist. Programs include providing hundreds of backpacks filled with school supplies to the children of farm workers, providing a yearly college scholarship to a young-adult with ambitions of working in sustainable agriculture, supporting English as a second language classes, and educating the public on the importance of sustainable farms and their employees.

2014

Growing Together

Over the last 25 years, with your help, we have been able to create lasting change in our community by joining forces with organizations focused on healthy eating and sustainable agriculture. Since the inception of our Donate-A-Box program, over 45,000 Farm Fresh To You boxes have been donated to partner food banks and delivered to individuals and families facing hunger! We are proud to support numerous farm-to-school programs and health organizations. Thank you again for your contributions and continued support.

future

The Future of Farming - Know Your Farmer

While we have grown a lot since the early days, we have stayed true to our roots (pun intended). To us, a direct relationship with your local farm is one of the best things you can do to contribute to the sustainable agriculture movement and your local community. We thank you for your support and for helping us build stronger roots for a better food and agriculture system and a better future for generations to come.

December 21, 2017

A Guide to Winter Squash


A Guide to Winter Squash
It's time to get cozy with winter squash!
This guide will take you through 4 different varieties of our favorite winter squash and how to use them in your seasonal dishes like a pro. 

Squash can add a vibrant and robust flavor to your soups, stews, roasts, salads and even pancakes! Winter squash is low in calories and a good source of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Squash is low in fat and provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems.

Let's get squashin'!

Sliced-butternut-squash on wood

Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. Did you know that butternut squash is technically a fruit because it contains seeds? However, it is used as a vegetable and can be roasted, sauteed and pureed. 

Butternut squash can be rather daunting to prep, but fear not! We will tell you our best methods to making this task simple. First you will need to have a large, sharp knife and vegetable peeler, and a secure and stable place to cut. Cut about 1/4" off the top stem and bottom end first, to help keep the squash steady on your board. Holding the squash in one hand and use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer layer. Once peeled, cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds, save them for roasting, and stringy pulp. You can roast the squash whole with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings of choice, or cut into cubes and store in the freezer for later use.

Storage Tip
Keep your butternut squash whole, in a cool, dry place for 1-2 months. Store cooked butternut in the refrigerator in a tightly-sealed container for up to 5 days.

A Guide to Winter Squash

Delicata Squash

Delicata squash belongs to the same species as most types of summer squash, but is eaten at its mature stage in the winter. This squash is oval shaped and pale yellow in color with green stripes going down all sides. The taste is similar to a sweet potato and has a creamy texture. The skin is soft and edible. 

Delicata squash are easy to prepare as you don't have to remove the skin. If you are using the squash as a puree for a soup or baked treats we recommend cutting the top and bottom off first, slicing down the middle, scooping out the seeds, (save them for roasting) and drizzling with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Roast the squash at 400°F for 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned.

If you are using this squash as an addition to salads and side-dishes we recommend slicing the squash width-wise to create beautiful half moon shapes before roasting; they are adorable and satisfying. 

preparing maple-roasted delicata squash

Storage Tip
Keep your squash whole in a cool, dry place for 1-2 months, no need to refrigerate. 
Cooked delicata will last up to 5 days in a tightly-sealed container in the refrigerator. 

A Guide to Winter Squash

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is the "spaghetti" of vegetables because when it's cooked, the flesh falls into strands or ribbons similar to spaghetti noodles. Ranging in color from ivory to yellow/orange, this squash is large in size, and oval in shape, similar to a melon. The texture of  the cooked squash is tender with a slight crunch and has a very mild, almost bland flavor.

Click here for helpful instructions on How to Cook Spaghetti Squash.

Spaghetti-Squash-Scoop

Spaghetti squash can be used as a low-carb alternative to pasta dishes. Just add your favorite sauce and fresh herbs. Spaghetti squash can be stuffed and even turned into your favorite chow mein!

Storage Tip
Uncut squash will keep for up to 1 month in a cool, dry place. Once squash is cut it should be kept refrigerated and tightly-sealed. Cut squash is best to use within 3-5 days. 

A Guide to Winter Squash

Sugar Pie Pumpkin

Sugar pie pumpkins are smaller, ranging from 2-4 pounds, and sweeter than your typical carving pumpkin. Their flesh is also firmer and less stringy. These pumpkins are most commonly used for baking, but can also be cooked down into a delicious pasta sauce.

Be sure to check out our helpful instructions for How to Roast a Sugar Pie Pumpkin or How to Steam and Puree Your Sugar Pie Pumpkin.

Storage Tip
Sugar pie pumpkins will keep in a cool, dry place for up to a month. Cooked pumpkin will last 3-5 days in a tightly-sealed contain in the refrigerator. 

We hope you have fun making your winter squash dishes! 
We'd love to see your finished recipes, so don't forget to post them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us @farmfreshtoyou