July 12, 2018

5 Farm Fresh Salad Dressings for Summer


One way to motivate yourself to eat more salad this summer is to have a tasty, homemade dressing drizzled on top. Freshly made avocado ranch dressing can turn a boring green salad into something exquisite. The secret is using fresh, seasonal produce in combination with good quality oils, vinegars or dairy. We know that store-bought dressings are convenient, but homemade tastes better, costs less and is so much better for you. Plus, most of these dressings can be made in less than 10 minutes. So here are our top 5 favorite dressing recipes to get you prepping for a summer of lusciously dressed salads.


Avocado Ranch

Serves 12
Kids and adults alike will love this creamy ranch-style dressing. It also makes a great dip for veggies.

1/4 cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and quartered
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup of milk (add extra for a thinner consistency)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

1) Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Pulse until creamy. Add additional milk if you would like a thinner consistency for your dressing.

2) Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Drizzle over salad or use as a dip for vegetables.

Click here for a print friendly version of the recipe.


Champagne and Herb Vinaigrette

Serves 6-8
This is the dressing that we use over our Arugula Salad with Grilled Peaches, however, it is one of those delicious dressings that will make you love anything you pour it over. Use it on salads or as a marinade for your meats and veggies.

2 small garlic cloves, finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of champagne vinegar (or substitute with red wine vinegar)
Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1) Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until combined.

2) Store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Click here for a print friendly version of the recipe.

Lemon and Basil Vinaigrette

Serves 4-6
We are huge fans of everything basil right now and with summer in full force, the supply of basil is plentiful on the farm. Not only is this delicious on salads, but try drizzling it over some bruschetta for a new twist on a classic summer appetizer.

3 tablespoons fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1-1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) Place basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, mustard and lemon juice in a blender.

2) Pulse a few times, then slowly pour the olive oil in the blender.

3) Continue to blend until vinaigrette is smooth.

4) Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

5) Store in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Click here for a print friendly version of the recipe.


Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves 8
The perfect summer salad dressing made with just 3 simple ingredients.

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1) Place blueberries in a small saucepan, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.

2) Cook on medium low heat until berries are soft and thickened.

3) Place 1/2 cup of the berry mixture in a blender with the olive oil and vinegar. Blend on high until well combined.

4) Allow to cool, store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

Notes: You will have some of the berry mixture left over. You can use it in yogurt, on top of ice cream, or on toast.

Click here for a print friendly version of the recipe.


Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

Serves 14-16
This one pairs well with just about any leafy green or veggie. Plus, it makes an amazing sauce for anything grilled! If you're feeling adventurous, try grilling your peppers instead of roasting in the oven.

1 large red peppers (1 cup roasted)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, or basil and chives


1) Cut the red peppers in half, remove the stem and seeds. Place the red peppers on a baking sheet with the cut side facing down.

2) Place the baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven and broil until the outer layer of the skin has blackened, about 10-20 minutes.

3) Place the peppers in a zip-lock bag or other sealable container, seal and let them cool until you can handle them, about 20 minutes. Remove the skins from the peppers. The skins should easily "pinch" off.

4) Blend the peppers, vinegar, water, olive oil, garlic, honey, salt and pepper until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a jar and stir in chopped parsley. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Click here for a print friendly version of the recipe.

How To Add Produce and Farm Products 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.

July 5, 2018

Canyon Fire

County Fire 3

Farm News

With the summer harvest on us, we were watching the weather closely – hot, low humidity and windy. A note of caution was sent to the irrigation team as these are the conditions that are ideal for drying out crops. Late in the afternoon, rumblings of a fire up the valley were heard. The rumblings soon turned into fact and a huge plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky; it looked like a cloud. Turns out the weather that dries out crops grows wild fires too.

It was not long until the fire roared into a serious issue.  Sirens and aircraft became background noise, but their efforts yielded nothing – the fire was now almost 10,000 acres. The location of the fire was detailed by the farms and ranches of specific people we knew. Those locations were so much more personal than the clinical facts delivered by the officials. The fire was following the hills on the south side of our valley. In my head, I played forward what could happen. Our farm, in the flat of the valley and fully irrigated, was in little to no danger. The hills across the street however, where the two horses were out, fell into the danger category. By the night, the horses were caught and brought back to their corral.

A post shared by Thaddeus Barsotti (@farmerthaddeus) on

Sleeping lightly, the vibrating of my phone wakes me up at midnight. A friend is calling. I answer and in a factual tone, he tells me the fire is heading towards his ranch and they told him to evacuate – he is looking for a place to put his livestock. We chat about some options. The following morning the fire has passed; it has burned up the hills and passed our spot in the valley. Our neighbor returns his livestock to his ranch and notes that the fire burned right up to the firebreak he disked into the dry grass at the edge of his property.

With the local old-timers, we talk about where it is burning now. They scratch their heads and think out loud confirming with each other that never in their lives can they remember that remote and rugged patch of brush burning. I think about the thick, dry brush that for decades has gone without its natural pruning from fire. Its burning was inevitable.

County Fire 1

Ash falls from the sky, and over the farm, lingers a thick layer of smoke. The smell of smoke has become normal.  A cloud is no longer the best analogy to describe it, not as thick as a fog that sits a couple of hundred feet off the ground. I can see clearly all of the hills that surround the farm now − bright yellow grass and oak trees until the layer of smoke. Directly west, about a mile away, the hills are black and charred. The smoldering makes it hard to see the details, but it clearly was burned.

Click here for County Fire updates on the CalFire website.

June 19, 2018

The Purple Flower With Power


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's sleep. More recently we've come to know some of its lesser known qualities including its ability to disinfect, its anti-inflammatory effects and even some of its healing properties. Below are a few quick and helpful recipes for using dried lavender in your cooking, cleaning and home remedies.


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.

1/4 cup of lavender buds
1 cup of vinegar

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.


For Aromatherapy: Lavender Air Freshener

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

2 tablespoons of dried lavender
Citrus peel (we used lemon)
2-3 cups of water

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.


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. 

1/2 cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons lavender

1) Combine mint and lavender.

2) Add 1-2 teaspoons of the mint lavender combination per cup of hot or cold water.


For Natural Remedies: Lavender-Infused Honey

Lavender infused honey can be used in multiple ways, from sweetening up your favorite drinks or baked goods to helping soothe a sore throat.

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.

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

3) Strain out the herbs or leave them in.


For Cooking: Lavender Simple Syrup

Lavender buds are immersed in sugar and water to create a sweet floral flavor. Use this syrup to add a hint of lavender to your yogurt, ice cream, cocktails and more.

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons of dried lavender

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 and transfer to a jar.


For Your Skin: Lavender Oatmeal Face Scrub

This face scrub can help to soothe and calm skin while gently exfoliating it. A good solution for those with sensitive skin, but can be good for all skin types!

1/4 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon of dried lavender buds
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 tablespoon sea salt

1) Place the rolled oats and lavender buds 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

Here is a quick recipe to beautify your hair. This is a fabulous way to remove build up in your hair from daily hair product usage and return it to luxurious and super shiny hair. It is also known to balance the scalp and your hair's natural PH.

4 cups of water
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of dried lavender
4-5 drops of essential oils (tea tree oil, rosemary, thyme or cedarwood - you can use one or all three if you would like), optional

1) Bring the water to a boil, then add the apple cider vinegar and the lavender flower.

2) Lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, until the buds have mostly sunk to the bottom.

3) Remove the mixture from the heat, add essential oils if you would like.

4) Let it cool and then strain the buds.  Store in a large mason jar in the refrigerator for about 3 weeks and use a smaller mason jar to have about a week's worth of hair rinse in the shower. If you notice the mixture getting cloudy, it is time to throw it out.


How To Add Lavender 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.