Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Two Small Farms Newsletter #394

Issue Number 394, May 2nd 2007

Table of Contents:

1) In your box this week
2) Buzzing Off
3) Renewal Time is here
4) Kids Day at High Ground now on May 26th!
5) Photos
6) Recipes
7) Which Farm?
8) Unsubscribe
9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

1) In your box this week: yellow carrots, baby carrots, spigariello, erbette chard, salad mix, green cabbage, either cauliflower or little gem lettuce, and a mystery item

Quick notes on this week's box begins the recipe section: #6


2) Buzzing Off by Andy Griffin

This winter all the honey bees on our farm died. We weren't alone. All across the U.S. the honey bees from flew off from their hives, one by one, and never returned. It appears as though some condition caused foraging bees to become disoriented so that they couldn't find their way home. Scientists do not yet know why this is happening but they have a coined a name for the nationwide buzz-off -"Colony Collapse Disorder." This past weekend, at our farm's fava bean u-pick, I had a chance to talk to Greg Muck, our bee-keeper, and get an informed opinion on what's going on.

First of all, there is no scientific certainty about what has occurred. And the sky isn't falling either. According to Greg, the bee die-off was going on last year too, but the media didn't notice. Part of the seeming gravity of the situation may be due to that fact that the bee industry is doing a better job about publicizing its woes than it did before, and the press is playing catch-up in freaking out. But Greg's not discounting the problem. His hives did die, and he has replaced them with ten new hives. There is a swirl of theories as to what might be going on.

1. "The radioactive waves from the cell phone towers are killing all the bees."

This theory has a certain Luddite appeal to those of us who curse phones, and it is too soon to discount the potential hazards of cell phone towers, but Greg read the original studies and he found them to be seriously flawed as far as bee behavior was concerned. He hopes that the studies can be repeated by people who have bee-keeping experience so that the results are more meaningful. It's worth noting that we do have a new cell phone tower in our neighborhood.

2. "The bees are hungry."

This theory doesn't work for us, because our bee hives were surrounded by rapini flowers, eucalyptus blooms, borage blossoms, wid mustards etc. all winter long. I love honey, and I need the bees, so I'm not going to let them go hungry.

3. "The bees are stressed from being moved."

Some bee keepers follow the nectar flow from Canada to Mexico, but from the time Greg's bees moved from their original backyard hive in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury to Mariquita Farm they have never left the ranch, nor are they moved around the farm.

4. "Insecticide"

We use no insecticide on our farm. There is a large turf sod farm a mile away, and they may use systemic pesticides that could contaminate pollen. Bees do travel up to several miles to forage, but even our conventional neighbors don't use much insecticide in the winter. Greg has an interesting idea that the wax foundations that bee keepers buy for their bees to fill with honey might be contaminated with insecticide. Waxes and other lipids store toxins. The big companies making the wax combs for the bee industry may be buying tainted wax. Perhaps the answer is to back off on the productive demands made of the bees and let them use some of their time an resources to make their own natural wax again.

5. "Bio-engineered crops with pesticides spliced into the gene code."

This could be a problem. There are crops that have had pesticides, like B.T., spliced into their genetic code. Bacillus Thuringiensis affects moths and butterflies, not bees, but you can see the potential horror. If a pesticide is introduced into a crop's gene pool so that it is produced by that plant and is systemic within that plant, and if the toxin is expressed in that plant's pollen, then any potential pollinator eating the pollen or nectar could be destroyed. Since bees are only one of nature's pollinators, and we depend on them all, it would be wise for scientists to consider the full range of possible consequences before they go releasing bio-engineered organisms into the biosphere.

6. "The Australians."

Following the devastation of American apiculture by the Varroa mite infestation of the past few years the government opened up U.S. markets to bee importations from foreign countries. Lots of bees are being imported into the U.S. from Australia, and these new comers could be the vectors for bacteria, protozoa, and fungi that our American bees are not resistant to.

There may be even more theories to explain the massive bee buzz-off. Since bees are important to all kinds of industries, it's past time to do some research on how we can maintain their well being. Honey bees are an introduced species. It's also important to remember that native insects pollinate our crops and flowers from their refuges in the remaining wild lands. Farmers need to be encouraged to preserve habitat for native insects too, and the public needs to be taught to get past it's immature attitude that "bugs are bad."

We're keeping an eye on our new bees and waiting to see what science can learn about the problem. The bees seem happy, and I'm looking forward to having Greg sell their honey at our next farm field day.

Copyright 2007 Andy Griffin

3) Renewal time is here

The second nine week session is coming up soon! It starts on May 16th/17th/18th. Just veggies
is $180; with flowers as well it's $234. Please call or email the office with your intentions!
You can mail a check to
Two Small Farms
PO Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077-2065.
Contact Zelda at csa@twosmallfarms.com or 831-786-0625

4) Kids day on May 26th
Jeanne and Steve at High Ground Organics will be hosting the annual Kid's Day at their farm in
Watsonville on Saturday May 26th. Stay tuned for details. NOTE: this day is changed because Jeanne has family committments on May 19th, sorry for any inconvenience.


5) Photos

Erbette Chard



6) Recipes

Recipe Index

Spigariello note from Julia: can be steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, or boiled. Mix it in when cooking other greens such as kale, chard, collards, and mustard greens. It's great in any recipe calling for kale. How I like spigariello: First: this is truly called spigariello, I've been mistakenly dropping
the second "i" for months. Spigarello, also known in Italian as cavolo broccolo, is a relative of
kale, with softer leaves, more succulent stems, and a broccoli flavor.

Andy's note: I got turned onto spigarello by my friends at A-16 restaurant in San Francisco. I really like this green vegetable, and it grows well for us. A-16 restaurant took its name from highway A-16 in southern Italy. Follow the latitude line around the world from Mariquita Farm to Italy and you will cross highway A-16, so it is no wonder the cavolo broccolo plants feel right at home-the climate is the same, the hours of sunlight are the same, and they are surrounded by people who love them. I hope you do too.

Julia again:
I like this vegetable roughly chopped then cooked up as you would a big pile of broccoli florets.
There are more greens in the spigariello, so it will cook down a little bit more. Another good
cousin to it would be lacinato kale. How do you like to cook kale? Try the spiariello that way!
Chopped with garlic and pepper flakes of course. Or chopped then stirred into a bean or lentil or
split pea soup the last 10 or so minutes of cooking. Or steamed then added to a grain salad: I like
to make a 'main course, great for lunches too- salad with couscous, quinoa, brown rice, or
tabbouleh. Cook the grain and then let cool. Add a bit of olive oil or a vinaigrette of your choice
and plenty of chopped up vegetables: cooked (chopped) spigariello or kale, grated raw carrot,
roasted just about anything, herbs, and I like a crumbled cheese and toasted nuts. This is a
GREAT thing to have around when you need to pack a quick lunch. You can also make a whole
meal around this: you can add some meat (cooked of course) or not. Green salad, crusty bread,
wine or juice, and dessert and you've just made a memorable and healthy meal.

Chard Recipes

Braised Chard with Currants and Feta - Gourmet, December 2006

1 bunch erbette chard
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons dried currants
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 oz feta, crumbled (1/3 cup)
Cut stems and center ribs from chard, discarding any tough parts near base, then cut stems and
ribs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Coarsely chop leaves.

Cook garlic in oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes. Add currants and cook, stirring, until plump, about 1 minute. Add chard leaves and water and increase heat to moderate, then cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until leaves are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in feta. Goes nicely served over couscous with toasted pinenuts.

Barley and Lentil Soup with Chard, Bon Appétit, February 2005

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled carrots
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
10 cups (or more) low-salt chicken or vegetable broth
2/3 cup pearl barley
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
2/3 cup dried lentils
4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Erbette chard (about 1/2 large bunch)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tsp dried

Heat oil in heavy large nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté
until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in cumin; stir
30 seconds. Add 10 cups broth and barley; bring to boil. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and lentils; cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add chard to soup; cover and simmer until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in dill. Season soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth, if desired.

Or here's a meat version.....
Lentils with Sausage and Chard, Bon Appétit, May 2000

8 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (about 2 links), casings removed,
sausage finely crumbled
1/2 cup chopped peeled carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/3 cups dried lentils
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 1/2 cups (or more) water
1 pound Erbette chard (about 1 large bunch), thick stems and ribs cut away and used in another dish, leaves coarsely chopped

Sauté sausage in large deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Drain any excess fat from skillet. Add carrot, onion and garlic to skillet; sauté until
vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in lentils, bay leaf, fennel seeds and rosemary.
Add 2 1/2 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until
lentils are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Place chard atop lentils; cover and cook until lentils are tender and chard is wilted and tender, adding more water if mixture is dry, about 7 minutes. Stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

Cabbage recipes

Thai Style Cabbage Salad, Gourmet October 1990

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups finely shredded cabbage
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup grated carrot
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves or 3/4 teaspoon crumbled dried
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or 1 tsp dried coriander
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a bowl stir together the lemon juice, the sugar, and the salt until the sugar and salt are
dissolved, add the cabbage, the onion, the carrot, the mint, the coriander, and the oil, and toss the salad well.

CABBAGE SESAME SALAD, Joy with Honey, Doris Mech

2 cups finely sliced green cabbage
1 or 2 sliced green onions
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

1/2 cup oil
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. vinegar

A few nice lettuce leaves

Marinate the cabbage with the onions and parsley in the oil-honey-vinegar mixture for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Serve it up with a slotted spoon, placing individual portions on a nice bed of green lettuce leaves. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serves 3

Roast Pork with Cabbage and Caraway, Bon Appétit, March 1995

4 teaspoons caraway seeds, crushed in mortar with pestle (or run them through a coffee grinder)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1, 3-pound boneless double-loin center-cut pork roast (or use pork tenderloin)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
4 carrots, peeled, sliced on diagonal
2 bay leaves
1, 2 1/2-pound head green cabbage, quartered, cored, sliced
1 12-ounce can beer
2 tablespoons light unsulfured molasses
1/2 cup canned beef broth

*Boneless double-loin center-cut pork roast is made by tying two boneless pork loins together. If you can't find one, ask your butcher to prepare it for you. Combine 2 teaspoons caraway, garlic, salt and pepper in bowl. Place pork in glass baking dish. Rub pork with spice mixture.
Cover and chill up to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over
medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon caraway; sauté until softened,
about 8 minutes. Transfer to roasting pan. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in same skillet over high heat.
Add half of cabbage and 1/2 teaspoon caraway; sautéuntil cabbage begins to wilt, about 4 minutes. Repeat with 1/2 tablespoon oil, half of cabbage and 1/2 teaspoon caraway. Add to onion mixture; mix to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over high heat. Add pork; brown on all sides, about 10
minutes. Set atop vegetables in pan. Add beer and molasses to skillet; bring to boil, scraping up
browned bits. Pour over vegetables. Add broth. Roast pork and vegetables 45 minutes. Turn pork over and roast until thermometer inserted into thick part registers 150°F., about 45 minutes or less Place pork on work surface. Discard bay leaves. Using slotted spoon, place vegetables on platter. Slice pork; place atop vegetables. Transfer Cooking juices to small saucepan. Boil 5 minutes. Spoon over pork.


6 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
3/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 bunch green onions
1 lg. or two medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 head green cabbage coarsely chopped

Combine the sesame seeds and salt in a blender. Grind until they achieve the consistency of coarse meal. This is called gomasio or sesame salt. Set aside. Heat a medium-sized wok or large deep skillet. Add the sesame oil and the onions. Stir-fry over med-high heat for a couple of minutes. Add about a tablespoon of the gomasio. Keep stir-frying until the onions are soft and translucent (5-8 minutes). Add carrots and the cabbage, and sprinkle in about half the remaining gomasio. Keep stir- frying until everything is tender (another 10-15 minutes).
Sprinkle in the remaining gomasio, and serve. Serves 4 Still Life with Menu, Mollie Katzen

Carrot recipes

Natalie's Gingered Baked Carrots
I first sliced the carrots and roasted them in a glass baking dish with a little bit of butter at about
400 degrees. After 10 minutes in the oven, I sprinkled fresh chopped ginger, soy sauce, and
sesame oil over the veggies, added a little bit of water to the pan, and kept them in the oven for
another 15 minutes. When I took them out, I sprinkled them with chopped herbs from the CSA
box. [If you don't have cilantro left from last week, try your favorite combo of dried herbs] They
were very tasty and very easy to prepare! -Natalie S.

1 cup sliced shallots (about 4 large)
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Rounded 3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 small boiling potato (3 oz)
1 1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)
1 cup apple cider (preferably unfiltered)
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Cook shallots, bay leaf, ginger, curry powder, and thyme in butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy
saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and pale
golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel potato and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Add potato to shallot mixture along with
carrots, broth, cider, water, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Purée soup in 2 batches in a blender until smooth, transferring as blended to a large bowl (use
caution when blending hot liquids). Return to saucepan to reheat if necessary. Serve soup
sprinkled with almonds.


7) Which Farm?

From High Ground: salad mix, mystery item, flowers
From Mariquita:yellow carrots, baby carrots, spigariello, erbette chard, cauliflower, Little Gem
From Lakeside Organic: green cabbage


8) Unsubscribe/Subscribe From/To This Newsletter

9) Two Small Farms Contact Information

Two Small Farms
Mariquita Farm/High Ground Organics
Organically Grown Vegetables
P.O. Box 2065
Watsonville, CA 95077

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