July 12, 2018

5 Farm Fresh Salad Dressings for Summer

vinaigrette-header-with-blueberries

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

Avocado Ranch

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

INGREDIENTS:
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

DIRECTIONS:
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.

herb-and-champagne-vinaigrette

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.

INGREDIENTS
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

DIRECTIONS
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.

INGREDIENTS
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

DIRECTIONS
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

Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

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

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

DIRECTIONS
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

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.

INGREDIENTS
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

INSTRUCTIONS

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

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'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.

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 handful of dried lavender buds and citrus peels are all you need for this recipe.

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

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 of the mint lavender combination per cup of hot or cold water.

lavender-infused-honey

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.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup of honey
1 tablespoon of dried Lavender

DIRECTIONS
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.

lavender-simple-syrup

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.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons of dried 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 and transfer to a jar.

lavender-oatmeal-face-scrub

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!

INGREDIENTS
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.

lavender-hair-rinse

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.

INGREDIENTS
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

DIRECTIONS
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.

capay-organic-lavender

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.

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.

May 1, 2018

3 Amazing Uses for Fresh Aloe Vera

Header-Aloe-In-Jar

Aloe is well known for healing sunburns, but that isn’t its only superpower. Aloe has been consumed and used cosmetically for thousands of years. In fact, ancient Egyptians called it “the plant of immortality,” and Cleopatra is said to have used aloe as a daily skin moisturizer. Keep reading for three of our favorite ways to use fresh aloe.

Not sure how to harvest the gel from your aloe leaf? Check out our step-by-step guide.

APPLY IT AS AN ANTI-AGING MOISTURIZER

Aloe is super hydrating since it's mostly made up of water, but it’s also packed with antioxidants, enzymes and hormones that will reduce redness, fight inflammation and stimulate collagen production, keeping your skin tight and helping with wrinkles.

Tip: Puree the aloe gel in a blender or food processor until smooth. You can apply it to your skin and leave it on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off with water. You can also add a tablespoon of aloe gel into any DIY face mask. We like to combine the anti-inflammatory effects of aloe gel with the antibacterial properties of raw honey in a 1-to-1 ratio for a pampering face mask.

Aloe-Honey-2

SOOTH A BURN OR RASH

Aloe is great for soothing irritated skin because of its anti-inflammatory properties and because it contains hormones that may accelerate healing and decrease scarring. It also has antiseptic properties that can help kill bacteria, fungus, and viruses on the skin. And if that isn’t enough, aloe contains antioxidants that fight free radicals, so it can help protect against the damage from harmful UV rays.

Tip: Puree the aloe gel in a blender or food processor, then scoop into an ice tray and store it in the freezer. The next time you have a rash or burn, pop out a frozen aloe cube for a natural cooling ice pack that can help quicken the healing process.

Aloe-Ice-Cubes

BLEND IT INTO YOUR DRINK

Fresh aloe is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which are thought to help boost the immune system. It also provides necessary minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. Studies have also shown that aloe may help reduce your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Note: Aloe can have a laxative effect, so it is not recommended in high doses. If you are diabetic or pregnant, take caution as aloe may reduce blood sugar.

Tip: Aloe has a bitter, earthy taste but is mild in flavor. You can blend 1 tablespoon of fresh aloe gel into your favorite smoothie or mix 1 tablespoon of pureed aloe gel with juice or water for an added vitamin kick.

Aloe-Juice-blog

HOW TO STORE

The leaf itself will stay fresh for weeks in the refrigerator. Once you have harvested and pureed the aloe, it is best consumed fresh, so you may want to cut off 1-inch pieces of the leaf and use as needed. If you are using the pureed aloe for cosmetic and topical use, you can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

How To Add Aloe to Your Delivery:
CSA members - head on over to your online farm stand to customize your upcoming delivery. The market is open from noon on Thursday until 2 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day.

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

April 25, 2018

How to Harvest the Gel from an Aloe Leaf

Aloe-Header

Did you know that you can add aloe leaves to your Farm Fresh To You delivery when you Customize Your Box? You've probably used aloe vera gel to heal your skin after too much time in the sun, but did you know that you can also consume it? Aloe is rich in vitamins A, C and E, which can help boost your immune system. But before you can enjoy it's many benefits, you're going to need to learn how to harvest it. See below for our 5 easy steps.

Take note, the size of the aloe leaf arriving in your box is rather large (approximately 1.5 pound). Your first reaction may be to panic –  but don't fret, just follow these 5 simple steps to harvest the gel from your aloe vera leaf.

STEP 1: REMOVE THE BASE OF THE LEAF

First, use a sharp knife to cut the base off the leaf off at a slight angle. You may also want to remove the pointed tip.

Cut-Off-Ends

STEP 2: DRAIN THE ALOIN FROM THE LEAF 

Let the aloe leaf stand upright in a container or in your sink for about 10 minutes to let the yellow sap drain out. This sap is called aloin, and while it is not toxic, it has a very bitter taste and may cause stomach discomfort, so it is best to dispose of it.


Drain-Aloe-Leaf

STEP 3: REMOVE SERRATED EDGES

Use a sharp knife to cut the serrated edges of the leaf off.

Cut-Serrated-Edges

STEP 4: REMOVE THE TOP OUTER LAYER

Use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the thin outer layer from the leaf, revealing the clear jelly-like substance inside. We found it was easiest to switch from a larger knife to a paring knife for this step, but any sharp knife will do. Note: Be careful! The aloe will be very slippery.

Remove-Thin-Outer-Layer

At this point, you can use the same technique to cut off the bottom layer of the leaf, or you can use a spoon to gently scoop out the clear substance.

Harvesting-Aloe

STEP 5: HARVEST ALOE GEL & STORE

Remove any remaining green pieces of the leaf. If you notice any reddish-brown remnants of the aloin sap, you can cut it out of the gel or simply rinse it off.

Holding-Aloe


Cut the aloe gel into 1-inch cubes for easy storage and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In many cases, you will likely want to puree the aloe gel in a blender for use in a face mask or to mix into your favorite juice or smoothie. Check out our blog post to learn more about our three favorite ways to use fresh aloe vera gel.

Storing-Aloe

HOW TO STORE

The leaf itself will stay fresh for weeks in the refrigerator. Once you have harvested and pureed the aloe, it is best consumed fresh, so you may want to cut off 1-inch pieces of the leaf and use as needed. If you are using the pureed aloe for cosmetic and topical use, you can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For longer storage, scoop the aloe gel into an ice cube tray and freeze for later use.

How To Add Aloe to Your Delivery:
CSA members - head on over to your online farm stand to customize your upcoming delivery. The market is open from noon on Thursday until 2 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day.

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

April 20, 2018

8 Easy Earth Day Resolutions + Giveaway

Earth-day-blog

Who says New Year's is the only time for resolutions? Earth Day is every April 22nd and it’s the perfect occasion to adopt a new habit for the greater good of our planet. At Farm Fresh To You, we take our responsibility as stewards of the land seriously by using these sustainable farming practices, but we also have some great tips for conserving natural resources at home. Here are 8 easy ways that we can help save the Earth by saving water, saving energy and minimizing waste.

Give up Plastic Straws

On average, America alone uses 500 million straws every single day. Far too many of those straws end up on our beaches and in the ocean where they are harmful to marine life. Those that do get properly disposed of end up crowding our landfills where they take hundreds of years to break down. The next time you order a beverage simply say, “No straw, please!” If you prefer using straws, invest in a pack of reusable bamboo or stainless steel straws. You can stash a few in your desk at work or in the glove compartment of your car so that you’re always prepared on the go.

Reduce Food Waste

Did you know that an estimated 30-40% of food in the US gets thrown away? Plan out your meals for the week so you know exactly what you need. If you’re a Farm Fresh To You customer, take advantage of the ability to Customize Your Box and choose which items you want to receive. If you know what you’re getting, you’ll be able to plan how you’re going to use it. You can also reduce food waste by ensuring that you eat your leftovers and freezing anything that you’re not able to use in time. If you have extra fruit or leafy greens in your box, cut them up and distribute them into reusable containers to store in the freezer for a ready-to-blend smoothie pack.

capayFandV01

We realize that sometimes a little food waste is unavoidable, but don't just throw your food away in the trash! When produce we have on hand doesn’t meet our quality standards, we donate it to local zoos and farms that can feed it to the animals. With some internet research and a quick trip to your local home improvement store, you’ll find that starting your own compost bin is a fairly simple process. If having a compost bin isn’t realistic for you, a great alternative is to find out if your city offers a compost or “organics” bin that you can use for food waste disposal.


Earth-day-blog-bag

Commit to Canvas

Many of us Californians are getting accustomed to the plastic bag ban that passed in 2016. However, you’ve likely still paid 10 cents for a bag more than a few times in the past year. We’ve all been there, but now’s the time to really commit to your canvas bag. Keep canvas or cloth bags in the trunk of your car so that you’re always ready whether it’s at the grocery store, farmer’s market, or even the mall. Hint hint - this adorable Nantes Carrot tote is available to purchase when you customize your Farm Fresh To You delivery!

Ditch the Paper Towels

This one might seem a little daunting to some people, but we’ve tested it out and it isn’t as hard as it may seem. Instead of grabbing for the paper towels, use cloth towels to dry your hands and keep old rags or sponges handy for cleanups and spills. You can even repurpose old worn out t-shirts by cutting them into smaller pieces and storing them in a bin under the sink for easy access.

Earth-day-blog-seed-packet-bright

Start a Garden

It’s no secret that we love fresh fruit, veggies, and flowers, which is why we want to help you grow your own! Starting a home garden is not only visually appealing, it’s good for the environment too. By choosing to grow plants that are native to California, you are conserving water, preserving biodiversity, and creating a healthy habitat for birds, insects, and other small animals. Did you know that you can add seed packets in the springtime to your delivery when you customize your Farm Fresh To You delivery?

Not only will these changes make an environmental impact, but many of them can have a positive health and financial impact as well. We challenge you to take on one (or more!) of these simple lifestyle changes in honor of Earth Day.


EARTH DAY GIVEAWAY! 
(Giveaway now closed - thank you to those who participated!)

Congratulations to our 3 winners - Christi, Elizabeth & Kim.

"My goal is to plant more trees #FFTYEarthDayGiveaway @farmfreshtoyoulike" - Christi

"This year, in honor of Earth Day, my resolution is to take the metro to work @ least 3 times/week." - Elizabeth
 
"Today we plan on planting a new tree, cleaning up the garden and adding two new house plants inside 🌏🌳🌵" - Kim

April 11, 2018

What Should You Do With Your Crystallized Honey?

Honey-Texture-Comparison


Sometimes people feel uneasy when they discover their honey has crystallized. Let us reassure you, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the honey. We even suggest you try your crystallized honey as is! Crystallization is a natural phenomenon that preserves the flavor. Many people (us included) prefer the crystallized form because it is easier to spread on toast, biscuits and other morning goodies. Plus, you may find yourself loving that slightly grainy and crunchy texture too. However, if you are not a fan of this natural occurance, you can de-crystallize your honey back into its liquid form by following these easy steps we've provided below.

Crystallized-Honey-Bread 2

What Does Crystallized Honey Look Like?

Some honey will crystallize uniformly, while others will only crystallize partially, forming two layers a crystallized bottom layer with liquid on top. The crystals themselves may vary as well, from fine crystals to larger, grittier ones. The faster the honey crystallizes, the finer the texture will be. Honey that has crystallized will have a slightly lighter/paler color then when in liquid form. Darker honey tends to retain a brownish appearance. No matter what it looks like though, it can add great flavor to your dish.

What-Happens-During-Crystallization

Why Does Honey Crystallize?

Honey is a supersaturated mixture of two naturally occurring sugars, glucose and fructose. Honey doesn’t contain enough liquid to keep the sugar dissolved, so a natural chemical process causes some of the sugars to crystallize and separate from the mixture.

How-To-De-Crystallize-Pan

How Do I De-Crystallize Honey?

1) Heat a pan of water on low heat.*

2) Remove the pan and place your jar of honey inside. (Make sure the lid is off the jar before placing it in the water).

How-To-De-Crystallize-Before


3) Let the honey sit until it softens. Once it is in a liquid state again, put the lid back on and shake the jar.

4) Place the jar back in the warm water.
How-To-De-Crystallize-After

5) Let the water and jar cool together. Once they both reach room temperature, your honey is ready.

*It is important to cool and heat up your honey slowly. Heating and cooling too quickly can speed up re-crystallization. Avoid using the microwave to warm your honey, as high temperatures can remove the vitamins and nutrients that honey naturally has.

Storage

Storage Tips

The best way to store your honey is at room temperature in a glass jar. Cold temperatures will increase the rate of crystallization while warmer temperatures will damage the honey. Be sure to keep your honey away from the stove, heat-producing products and sunlight. If your house tends to run on the warm side, all you need to do is find the coolest spot in your pantry. Honey is known to be the food that does not spoil due to its high concentration of sugars.


How To Add Honey 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.

March 21, 2018

Investing in the Future

Investing in the Future

From the Fields - Thaddeus
 
Mandarins are so good. I remember in high school, a teacher asked me what my favorite crop was, and without hesitation, I responded “Satsuma Mandarins.” The smell of the petite, white blossoms in the spring is without a doubt the best smell in the world. The fruit, easy to peel, easy to eat and healthy for our body, is also amazing. Couple all of that with the fact we harvest them during a time of year when our farm doesn’t have a ton of other fruit options, and you can begin to understand my love for this crop.

The reality is that Satsumas are best harvested in October and November, leaving the rest of the winter fruitless until our Blenheim Apricots arrive. Since high school, I have learned that Satsumas are not the only Mandarins that are amazing. There are others varieties that harvest at different times — a match made by the gods! Clementines harvest in December and January. Murcotts harvest in February and March, and Golden Nugget harvest in April and May.



Yes! It’s time to invest in the future and grow some more Mandarins for you! The trouble with this type of crop is that I will plant them this spring, but will not receive a single harvest for over three years. The traditional method farms use to cover this gap is to have an operating line of credit with a commercial bank. We have this relationship, but many years ago saw an amazing opportunity to further the connection between the members of the community that define our shared food system — our Green Loan Program. 

The idea behind our Green Loan Program is the mutually beneficial option for our customers to make secure investments and for our farm to borrow money to run a financially healthy business. Instead of us both turning to financial institutions, let’s strengthen the connection of our shared food system and complete these interactions directly with one another.

In simplified terms, qualified individuals can loan our farm money through our Green Loan Program. We then use the capital to bring farm projects to life. Investors can choose to receive interest paid in cash or in Farm Fresh To You credits. Licensed through the California Department of Corporations as a DPO (direct private offering), our Green Loan Program is a secure way to let your money grow while enabling our farm to grow too — win-win situation!



If you are interested in learning more about how your money can work for you, while also working for a local, sustainable food system, please reach out to us at greenloan@farmfreshtoyou.com for more information.

Enjoy your box this week and know we are working hard to provide you more than just great food!
Make sure to find us on Instagram @farmfreshtoyou and @farmerthaddeus

March 5, 2018

KNOW YOUR FARMER: GIRL MEETS DIRT

audra
Photo by Girl Meets Dirt.
Girl Meets Dirt fruit preserves encompass all that’s good in the food world. In addition to being an artisan product, made on a fairytale-like island, from ripe, seasonal fruit that is often picked from century-old orchards, these preserves have unique and unexpected flavors that set them apart from anything else we’ve tried – and we keep going back for more.

February 8, 2018

Tomato Season

Tomato Season

Farm News

Technically there are four seasons on the farm – spring is always the first when I think of the chronological order of the season. Everything is green, plans are new - spring always gives the most hope for the upcoming farming season. Spring gives way to summer with the heat.

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.