Thursday, February 4, 2016

Know Your Farmer: Rancho Llano Seco

llano seco wetlands
Photo by Rancho Llano Seco 

We know that our customers are familiar with Llano Seco’s delicious heirloom bean varieties but this ranch has a unique history, philosophy and long-standing commitment to sustainable farming that we wanted to share with our farm family. Located at the northern end of California’s Sacramento Valley, the 18,000-acre ranch is home to native grasslands, wetlands and forests abundant with wildlife.

llano seco family photo
Photo by Rancho Llano Seco 

Rancho Llano Seco was incorporated in 1861 and has a rich history of balancing agriculture, livestock husbandry and conservation. The Rancho is one of the last Mexican land grant properties that remains intact. It is a reminder of a lost era when Californian, American, Mexican and Spanish history intersected.

llano seco wildlife refuge
Photo by Rancho Llano Seco 

Between 1991 and 2006, the ranch’s owners took a bold step, destined to change the Llano Seco landscape forever. They sold conservation easements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy in 1991 and an agricultural conservation easement to Northern California Regional Land Trust in 2006, guaranteeing the protection of natural habitats on this land in perpetuity.

llano seco beans
Photo by Rancho Llano Seco 

With over 150 years of experience cultivating legumes and cereals, Llano Seco has applied their know-how to growing older varieties of beans and grains, ensuring that heirlooms continue to be available for those who put a premium on flavor.

Brazilian-Black-Bean-Soup

If you haven't already tried Llano Seco's heirloom beans, we highly recommend that you do.This flavorful, comforting soup is easy to make and only requires a few ingredients. It's also filling and makes a great leftover for lunch.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup
(serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 cup Black Turtle beans (we used Llano Seco), soaked overnight
8 cups Water
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
2 teaspoons salt (or salt to taste)

Directions:

Drain the beans and place them in a large soup pot. Add the 8 cups of water (the water will cook down) and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the beans are cooked through, about an hour and a half. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the onions, garlic, chopped parsley, cumin and Tabasco sauce to the soup pot and cook for 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, blender or food processor, puree the soup until smooth. Add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley if desired. This soup would also be good with sliced avocado, sour cream, green onions and cilantro.

Check out our other Llanco Seco bean recipes to try:

Crockpot Chili Let your crockpot do the work for you and come home to dinner.
Hoppin' John This recipe doesn't just have to be for New Year's! We love the creamy, buttery, black-eyed peas in this dish.
Love Me Lima Bean Soup Lima beans are no longer the foods your parents used to punish you with.

How To Add Llano Seco Beans To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery. 

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

string of hearts

Valentine's Day is right around the corner and we have some special treats in store for you and your loved ones. Though Valentine's Day can sometimes feel a little over-the-top, we love the idea of taking one day (at least!) to celebrate those you love. Whether you want to thank your bestie for always being there, your significant other, or mom and dad, we've got some great presents to make them feel special. The best part is that all of these gifts are from some of our favorite local family  farms.


sweet on him basket

Sweet on Him Gift Baskets

What better way to let the guy in your life know how much he means to you than with a gift basket? Spice things up with some Omnivore Volcano Hot Sauce; Old Dog Ranch Organic Walnuts (in the shell), Chivas Hefeweizen Beer Goat Soap; Old Dog Ranch Whiskey Spice Walnuts; Far West Funghi mushroom jerky; Pick-A-Peck Spicy Pickled Green Beans and Capay Organic roasted, salted pistachios.


sweet on her breakfast basket

Sweet on Her Breakfast Gift Baskets

We think every woman deserves a gift basket on Valentine's Day no matter what. What better way to pamper yourself (okay, fine, or your friend) than with a basket full of love? Let someone make you breakfast in bed with some Moonshine Trading Co. California Star Thistle Honey; Currant Rose Muesli; Laura Ann's Strawberry Vanilla Bean Jam; Moonshine Trading Co. Beeswax Candle; Old Dog Ranch Candied Walnuts; Pachamama Coffee and Old Dog Ranch Raw Honey and Sea Salt Walnut Butter.

(We wish we could include a butler and a masseuse, but we still haven't figured out how to fit them into a gift basket).

beer soap trio gift bag

Beer Soap Trio Gift Bag

What guy wouldn't want to take a shower using soap made with beer? These goat milk soaps from Chivas smell so good we know you'll love them. This gift bag comes with three different flavored soaps: Wild Billy Patchouli Beer Soap; Hefeweizen Honey Citrus Beer Soap and Creamy Ale Unscented Beer Soap.

floral soap trio gift bag

Floral Soap Trio Gift Bag

Send your loved one a bouquet of flowers in the form of soaps! These goat milk soaps from Chivas smell so good - you'll be dreaming of your next shower all day. This gift bag comes with three different flavored soaps: Santa Rosa Valley Lemon Eucalyptus; Las Flores Gardens Soothing Chamomile Rose and Ojai Valley Retreat Calming Lavender Oatmeal.

Individual Soaps

In addition to the goat milk soap trio gift bags, we're also offering some of the select soaps individually. That way, you can play the "One for you, One for me" game.

Las Flores Gardens Soothing Chamomile Rose is described as a floral soap designed for dry or mature skin. The soap has chamomile, ylang ylang, rose geranium, rosehip seed oil and pink clay.

Ojai Valley Retreat Calming Lavender Oatmeal is described as a mild soap for all skin types with lavender, grapefruit, rosewood and oatmeal.

Hefeweizen Honey Citrus Beer Soap is a 3-in-1 soap for the face, body and hands. It has a refreshing citrus scent and is made with beer and goat milk so you get the benefits of both.

Creamy Ale Unscented Beer Soap is a 3-in-1 soap safe for the face, body and hands. It's unscented for those with sensitive skin and in addition to the beer and goat milk it also has castor oil and cocoa butter.

True Foods Facebook Artwork

This Valentine's Day share the gift of an evening inspired by the season's best ingredients! We all know the way to our hearts is through our stomach; a delicious, four-course meal with wine pairings shared with someone you love is the perfect way to celebrate each other. Get your True Food Kitchen dinner tickets here

Mulvaney's Facebook Artwork

This Valentine's Day share the gift of an evening inspired by the season's best ingredients! We all know the way to our hearts is through our stomach; a delicious, four-course meal with wine pairings shared with someone you love is the perfect way to celebrate each other. Get your Mulvaney's dinner tickets here.

How To Add Valentine's Day Gifts To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery. 

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Refreshing Turmeric Tonic

Refreshing-Turmeric-Tonic

We love drinking this turmeric tonic from Bon Appetit to prevent colds during the winter season when everyone is sick and in close quarters. The turmeric and ginger give this tonic a slight kick that we love.

Ingredients:
(makes 4 juices)

1 2-inch knob ginger, peeled
1 2-inch knob turmeric, peeled
5 sprigs mint
1-2 sprigs tarragon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
juice from one Satsuma mandarin

Directions:

Grate the ginger and turmeric and add to a large glass jar (we used a quart-sized jar). Crush the mint and tarragon leaves and add them to the jar.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and Satsuma mandarin juice and add 3 cups water or more, to taste. Drink immediately or refrigerate to deepen the flavors.

How To Add Juicing Fruits and Vegetables To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. On the second page of customizations, you’ll find “Produce by the Case” and can stock up if you want a larger batch of produce for juices. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery. 

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Strawberry Kiss Cocktail — That's My Jam!

Strawberry-Kiss-Cocktai-Thats-My-Jam

Have you ever had a jam cocktail? We love mixing cocktails with some jam shaken in. They add some sweetness, a little depth and there's something fun about using a typical breakfast condiment in our cocktails. With Valentine's Day coming up, we thought we'd mix up something a little sweet and strong, perfect for saying cheers to your friends, a significant other, or that handsome stranger across the room (it is Valentine's Day after all).

Strawberry Kiss Cocktail — That's My Jam!

Ingredients:
(makes 1 cocktail)
2 ounces whiskey
1-2 ounces* strawberry jam (we used Laura Ann's Strawberry Vanilla Bean)
1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
5 ounces club soda or sparkling water

* Feel free to add more or less jam depending on how sweet of a Cocktail you prefer. You can also play around with the amount of simple syrup if desired.

Remember 1 ounce is equal to 1 typical shot glass.

Directions:
In a cocktail shaker or mason jar fitted with a lid, shake the jam and whiskey until the jam is incorporated. Pour in the lemon juice and simple syrup and shake to combine. Pour into an ice-filled glass and top with club soda or sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon wedge if desired. Enjoy!

How To Add Laura Ann's Jams To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. On the second page of customizations, you’ll find the jam selections. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery. 

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Garden Blend Juice

Garden-Blend-Juice-Ingredients

Though there are a lot of green ingredients in this juice, the apple and parsley tame the flavor. We love the dandelion greens for a little kick.

Garden-Blend-Juice

Garden Blend Juice

Ingredients:
(makes 1 juice)

1/2 bunch parsley
3 stalks celery
1/2 lemon
1/2 bunch lacinato kale
1/2 bunch dandelion greens
1-2 apples (we used Pink Lady)

Directions:

Blender/Food Processor Directions: Remove the parsley leaves from the stems. Chop the leaves, celery and kale. Peel, core and chop the apple. Put the parsley, celery, kale, dandelion greens and apple in the food processor or blender with a little bit of water and process until smooth. Squeeze in some lemon juice and pulse to combine. Strain if desired, pour into a glass and enjoy.

Juicer Directions: Feed the parsley, celery, kale and dandelion greens down the chute one at a time until processed. Cut the apple in halves or segments and put them down the chute. Peel the lemon and feed that down. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

How To Add Juicing Fruits and Vegetables To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. On the second page of customizations, you’ll find “Produce by the Case” and can stock up if you want a larger batch of produce for juices. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery. 

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Let's Talk About Citrus!

Citrus-All

Winter time means citrus time and we couldn't be happier. Staying healthy during winter can seem nearly impossible and sometimes we just want some fresh fruit! Packed with vitamin C, we love being able to stuff ourselves full of citrus. But there are so many different kinds! Grapefruits, mandarins, minneolas, oranges, how are we to know which one we want to peel and eat? Here's a helpful guide with some of the citrus you might receive in your box or available for customs.

Pomelo 
Pomelo-Grapefruit

The pomelo is one of our favorite choices when craving that grapefruit flavor because it's mostly sweet, with a slightly tart grapefruit-like flavor. For those of you who aren't grapefruit fans or dislike the tartness of most grapefruits, we recommend trying a pomelo. Typically, the flesh of the pomelo is white, but they can range from pink to red, too, depending on the variety. The Chandler is the red variety and the Tahitian is the pale. PS: The reason we call it a "Pomelo Grapefruit" is so people know that a pomelo tastes similar (though sweeter!) to a grapefruit.

Ruby Grapefruit
Ruby-Grapefruit

A cross between a sweet orange and a pomelo, a Ruby grapefruit is another good choice for eating or juicing, though they are more tart than pomelos. They're especially delicious sprinkled with some sugar and broiled. Try our Broiled Grapefruit recipe here. We also like putting grapefruit slices in salads or juicing them -- especially mixed in with some other citrus when we want a sweeter orange flavor with a little kick.

Cara Cara Orange
Cara-Cara-Orange

Also known as a pink navel, a Cara cara orange tastes like a sweet, juicy navel orange (which makes sense because they're a cross between different navel orange varieties). We love these for eating as a simple snack, but they're so pretty we also like to put them in salads, water pitchers or fruit salads where they can really stand out.

Minneola
Minneola

Also known as tangelos, these tangerine/grapefruit crosses taste like a mild, slightly sweeter orange. They're most recognizable by the little ball shape at the stem and have a looser flesh, which makes them easier to peel than most oranges. They can be substituted for oranges in most recipes and are also a great snack.

Navel Orange
Navel-Orange

Did you know oranges are a cross between a pomelo and a mandarin? The classic orange best for eating (they're less juicy than Valencia oranges), the navel is easier to peel than most oranges and has that typical orange flavor we're looking for. An important thing to remember with oranges (and all citrus, but primarily oranges) is that toward the end of the summer, citrus will re-green because the trees push chlorophyll back out to them. So even though they're green, they're actually ripe and good to eat.

Clementines
Clementine

Don't judge this wrinkly clementine by its cover until you've tasted it! Like a sweet, super-flavorful orange, we love snacking on these little gems because certain varieties are seedless and all are a dream to peel. Technically, a clementine is a variety of mandarin. And just to make things more confusing, mandarins are also sometimes called tangerines.

Satsuma Mandarins
Satsuma-Mandarin

Most of the mandarins we grow on the farm are Satsuma mandarins. Similar to a clementine, they taste like a slightly sweet, slightly tart orange. They're seedless and easy to peel, making them ideal for snacking and juicing.

Do you have any citrus questions? Let us know in the comments below!

How To Add Citrus To Your Delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. On the second page of customizations, you’ll find “Produce by the Case” and can stock up if you want a larger batch of citrus for juices. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until 10 am, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery. 

Not part of our farm family? Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Fog and Rainbows


From the Fields - Thaddeus
Winter has arrived to Capay. The evidence is the new green grass on the hills growing up that will soon overtake the last year’s dry grass, leaving the hills entirely green. Rain showers have started to show up on a routine basis, sometimes pounding and sometimes sprinkling the farm with water. Once that rain hits the ground, it always does the same thing – makes mud.



Mud is such a game changer on the farm. The edges of fields when they are dry make dirt roads that can be driven on and for so much of the year, they are so reliably roads that it confuses me to not be able to drive on them after the rain. Now, they are not roads. Their lows spots make small ponds and their openness is a tempting trap that I always fall into. It never takes long to realize that I should not have tried. Had I been in my wife’s car, I would have stopped and backed up to the gravel drive. But in my truck, I keep going. Using the four-wheel drive, I slip and slide, leaving large ruts wondering if I am going to get stuck – it wouldn’t be the first time. When done, I look back at the ruts and wish I had backed up.

The next time out I walk the farm. With each step, I leave a smaller rut and with each step, some more mud gets caked onto the bottom of my boot. My steps get awkward under the weight of the mud. I slip a bit and then begin adding a forward kick to each step and finally, the chunk of mud is launched in front of me, spinning and breaking up. My foot is light for a step or two or maybe three until it is again caked with mud. It gets old quickly – maybe I should have driven…

The winter moisture always brings a different and beautiful season to the farm. The best days start as fog – fog so thick it is hard to see more than a 100 feet in front of you. The sun slowly burns the fog away from the top until it is gone, revealing the sky that is covered in a mosaic of clouds and blue sky. As the sun warms up, the soil that is saturated with moisture layer about eight feet deep and by mid-day, this too is burned off. By early afternoon, the clouds that have been hanging around, but not completely blocking the sky, start to sprinkle rain drops. The rain comes in spurts, and it is only raining on the farm. Beyond the farm, blue skies and beautiful clouds share the atmosphere.  With the sun to my back and rain over my head, I look forward and that is where the rainbow is seen. This week, there was an amazing rainbow spanning the entire farm. The arc spanned from horizon-to-horizon and centered under the rainbow was our field of kales. Check the photo out on my Instagram @farmerthaddeus.

Enjoy your boxes this week and if you are missing the farm, go find a big patch of mud to get stuck to the bottom of your shoes and when you go home, do your best to scrape off the mud from your shoes, but don’t take your shoes off – this will give you a good idea of what the floor of our farm office looks like right now!