Saturday, June 29, 2013

The demise of Google Reader

What are you using instead?

I've tried several, but find idiosyncrasies in each one that I don't like.

Right now, I find Feedly and The Old Reader the least irritating.  TOR is a real shoestring operation and their servers are swamped.  Consider sending them a donation so that they can add servers.  It looks the most promising (for the way I like to use RSS readers, YMMV).

I also signed up for Bloglovin and claimed my blog, but I am not sure I recommend that service. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, March 22, 2013


Wondering what those leaves are in your box this week--the ones that aren't spinach, or kale, or lettuce, or beet greens, or cilantro?  Turns out they're komatsuna, or Japanese mustard spinach, aka  Brassica rapa.  Use them like spinach, or any other green.  Here's a good-sounding recipe that specifies komatsuna.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Roasty Toasty

Chilly days in Redondo Beach.  Hail, rain and wind might send you snuggling under a blanket, or turning up the thermostat.  But here's another way to keep warm:  roast some CSA vegetables.  Photo above, a bowl of roasted radishes and red beets from the recent box.  They're lovely just like this, or use them in a soup or salad.  (You can also roast the carrots, of course.)

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Bonus in your CSA Box

So, this week, we got celery, carrots, apples, peas, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, kohlrabi, turnips... hmmm, what am I forgetting?

The GREENS!  On the tops of those kohlrabi and turnips, on the stalks of the broccoli, leaves that are just as tasty as spinach and chard... and cook pretty much the same way.  It's like a bonus dish in every CSA box.  While they're still fresh from the box, cut the stalks off your kohlrabi (or turnips, or radishes, or beets...).  Strip out the ribs of the leaves.  Wash the leaves well.  Saute in a little oil, add garlic (or salt and pepper), maybe toss in some pine nuts if you have them handy.  As an added benefit, now your kohlrabi (or turnips, or radishes, or beets...) are easier to store, and will take one less step in the preparation.

Here's a photo guide to the greens you might be missing.  And here's a photo of my kohlrabi/turnip/broccoli greens from this week's box (as prepared for my lunch today):

Adams Middle School Wellness Fair

Adams Middle School is hosting their second annual Wellness Fair this Saturday, January 12, 2013 between 10:00 and 13:00 in the cafeteria.

Join us.  I'll be there, sharing the bounty from a seasonal box, including samples of winter strawberries.

Japanese turnips

A member asked how to cook the white Japanese turnips in this week's box.  Japanese and Chinese turnips can be used interchangeably in recipes.  They differ in form factor (size and shape), but their tastes and textures are very similar.

Try this Daikon soup recipe I posted in 2009.  Although I did not mention it in the recipe, you can save the turnip greens, wash and chop them, and add them in just before serving.

Turnip (and beet and radish...) greens are nutritious and delicious so I hope you are using them in your cooking.

Penny made a soup with her white turnips and greens in the past.  See the lovely picture.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter strawberries are coming!

I just got news from Tanaka Farms that super sweet (ambrosial is not an overstatement!)  winter strawberries will be in this week's Tanaka Farms CSA boxes.  Sign up now to eat your veggies, and strawberries, and support your local schools.

Eileen, CSA manager at Tanaka Farms sends this update:
I spoke too soon about the strawberries being in the boxes this week.  One of our strawberry patches suffered damage from the crows.  The birds were eating many of the strawberries.  We do not have enough strawberries for this week , we hope to have more in the next week or two.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Panko Wax Beans

I don't like wax beans.  I don't like their color, and they don't have much flavor--they seem like a wasted opportunity.  But we got a box of wax beans in our last CSA box, and I can't see letting them rot away without at least trying to eat them.  So I coated them with cornstarch, egg, and panko flakes, and fried them up, like I sometimes do with cauliflower or green beans.  Not bad; I definitely ate them all without complaint. 

PS--I believe this is the 100th post at the Adams Middle School CSA blog.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Radishes on the Grill

 We got some big, beautiful radishes in the CSA box this week.  Big, like they almost looked like red potatoes.  But they were definitely radishes.  I don't love the taste of a raw radish, except in small amounts, shredded into a sandwich maybe.  So, I tried an online recipe for cooking my radishes on the grill (we were grilling other vegetables anyway).

It was certainly easy to prepare.  This is the packet before grilling:
raw sliced radishes, bits of butter, snipped dill, salt, and pepper, in foil

And this is the packet after grilling:

cooked sliced radishes, right off the grill

 Cooked radishes are very mild in flavor, and benefit from extra spices and herbs; and next time, I'll probably add some garlic.  But it's a nice side dish, and a colorful change of pace.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

World Water Day 2012

By coincidence, our CSA delivery day this week falls on the UN's World Water Day 2012,
As citizens of an arid basin surrounded by mountains on one side and the Pacific ocean on another, most of our region's food and fresh water is imported over high mountain passes.  Ironically, less energy may be required to truck vegetables from the Central Valley over the El Tejon pass aka "The Grapevine" (4160') than to grow vegetables locally inside our basin with water imported via aquaducts reaching ~750'?

Why?  Because water is heavy and crops need water nearly continuously throughout their growing cycle.

Worry not about what your CSA box does to your annual carbon budget.  Farmer Tanaka employs ultra-efficient drip irrigation, often in conjunction with plastic row covers that minimize evaporative losses from the soil, AND he uses reclaimed water from the Irvine Ranch Water District.
On my farm here in Irvine we use a drip irrigation system on our crops that puts the water right in the root zone  so as to use our precious water as efficiently as possible with no runoff. We also use reclaimed water supplied by the IRWD (Irvine Ranch Water District) who produces the cleanest and safest reclaimed water in the country.
Using reclaimed water gives the added benefit of not adding salts to his soil. Gardeners in this region may be familiar with the heavy load of salts in our "hard" water. If we irrigate regularly with hard water and the water evaporates or is taken up by the plants, you may notice a white powdery substance left behind. That's the salt building up in the soil.  (Even if you are not a gardener, you can see the white calcium salt deposits in your kitchen and bathroom.)

If the winter rains do not come to flush the salts away, gardeners and farmers need to deep water (often repeatedly) the land to flush the salts away artificially.  This is very water intensive.

The reclaimed water is so pure, it doesn't have the salts found in freshly-imported river water.  Thus, Farmer Tanaka can drip irrigate just the amount needed by his plants, without worrying about poisoning his fields with salt.

What does that mean for your CSA food?  It may have a lower carbon and water footprint than even food you grow in your own backyard*.

* Residents of north Redondo Beach get about half our water supply from local aquifers, which are replenished with reclaimed water from West Basin Water District's Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo, California.  Read a report about a visit to the facility.  You can also learn more in walking my watershed.

Unfortunately, pumping the water into the ground and then pumping it back up uses energy and loads the water up with salts.  I'd much rather use the cleaner reclaimed water directly from the plant, but the general public is still resistant due to the "eww" factor. I hope you will be a vector for getting the truth out.