Thursday, July 23, 2009

An Invitation

No recipes or news today, just an invitation.

Here's the thing, for some time now the interns have wanted to throw a party. But, we've also been contemplating ways to help grow the Green String Institute- especially its budding library. So we decided to throw


Come on down to Green String Farm on Saturday, August 1 for a good old fashioned, foot-stomping hoe-down. We're starting with music, an outdoor picnic, and family activities at 5:30 pm, followed by a raffle, a silent auction, beer and Cline wine, and, best of all, dancing and live music at 7:00pm.

For just a five dollar donation, (or more if you're feeling generous!) you can have a great night at the farm, and help support the education of future farmers. Tickets are on sale at our farm store, or at the door.
We hope to see you there!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Napa Style

Among the interns, there is a running joke about living ‘Napa style.’ It all started one night as a few of us gathered around the tiny brick fire pit- fire box, really- that sits in front of our house. We started a fire, opened a bottle of wine, and decided to forego cooking dinner in the nam e of keeping our kitchen clean. As we stayed warm by our little flame, the setting sun illuminated the grape vines that grow over the hills in front of the intern house.

Clearly, this was the good life. This, we decided, must be living Napa style- a little work, a little wine, a little good company. Since then, the definition of what is, and isn’t, Napa style has been the topic of much debate among the interns, and amuses us as we weed and hoe around the farm. Is it still Napa style if Micaela plays her cello as we sit around the fire? What about if Erin brings out the drums? (Probably not with the drums, we decided.) What about the frog chairs that Bob brought us to sit in, that we love dearly and are also clearly made for children? Maybe those are more Greenstring style.

In any case, we try to gather for these kinds of evenings often, finding that it relaxes us after a long day, and makes us stop to appreciate our beautiful surroundings. We’ve also added a little good food into the mix. Everything is cooked over our little fire, and nothing is complicated because that, we’ve all concluded, would decidedly not be in good Napa style.

Here is our most recent creation- a twist on our Napa style favorite meal, the ubiquitous bread and cheese. In this case, we make use of the farm’s apricots, grilling them until they start to caramelize along their edges, sprinkling them with opal basil, and placing them atop crispy grilled slices of baguette slathered with fresh goat cheese. The tanginess of the cheese provides the perfect complement to the sweet, smoky apricots. Who says fruit always has to be used in dessert? Serve this alongside a glass of a nice, dry white wine and feel the relaxation start to sweep over you- that’s definitely Napa style.

Bruschetta with Grilled Apricots and Goat Cheese

Makes 8

  • 4 apricots, halved and pitted
  • 8 slices of baguette, cut on a diagonal
  • 4 oz young goat cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper
  1. In a small bowl, toss the apricots with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste
  2. Brush one side of the bread with olive oil and, on a hot grill, place the slices, oil side down to toast for 2-3 minutes per side, until the oiled side has nice grill marks
  3. Grill the apricots, cut side down, until they are tender and caramelized along the edges
  4. Cut each apricot half in half again and toss with the basil
  5. spread about one tablespoon of goat cheese on each slice of bread and top with two pieces of apricot

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Part 2 of Meet the Interns

Better late than never! Especially when it comes to getting to know the Green String Interns. Here's some info on the second half of the group; again, we wrote these little biographies about one another, with a touch of humor and much appreciation for everyone's unique personalities. Come and visit us soon!

Tim- Though his devoted family drove him all the way here from Omaha, Nebraska, Tim looks and talks just like any California surfer. He makes muffins and milkshakes at midnight, hides garden snakes in the pocket of his poncho, and is our go-to man whenever we need to start a fire. We’re not exactly sure when he garnered all this information, but Tim seems to have all the answers; if we want to know where the mint is growing or where the owls nest, we ask him. He also made pizza out of pasta dough; what a magician.

Sierra- Born in the Sierras, if Sierra were a vegetable, she would be a chili pepper, not because she has a spicy personality- which she does- or because she’s small in stature but rather strong in personality- which she is- but because she loves spicy food so much, we’re actually worried she’s already turning into a pepper. She's rarely seen without her sunglasses and a bottle of Kombucha in one hand, but don't let her stylish exterior fool you. Having lived and taught in Vietnam for a few years before moving to the farm, Sierra is often undaunted by things- like chicken harvesting-that are difficult for other interns. Just don't ask her to parallel park. That, she's sorry to say, she can't do.

Brooks- Brooks is going to be an excellent father. He already is, in fact, to a patch of potatoes. He feeds them compost, minerals, and tea, dresses them with mulch, and watches over them daily, even comparing them with other patches just to make sure they’re on the right track. Before he adopted the potatoes, he worked as a legal assistant in Washington D.C., but doesn’t seem phased by his transition to farm life. He continually impresses us all with his ambitious, if lengthy, cooking events, and his perpetual thirst for the answers to our questions on the farm. Don’t know which plants are members of the nightshade family? Brooks will look it up.

Julie- A.k.a. "Googi," our Julie has already made herself famous for culinary creations such as apricot syrup and hands-down the most 'de-lish' beet burgers you have ever tasted! And let’s not even get into her skills as a sourdough samurai. Look for Julie with her sidekick, Courtney - undoubtedly the cutest pair of friends - giggling and planning the details of their aforementioned future taco-truck-inspired farm stand restaurant, Le Petit Cheesy Robin. If you can't tell which one is Julie, look for the signature blue, purple and green plaid shirt and the bandana bow atop her adorable head!

Jennifer- Jen is all about the four B’s: Berkeley, burning botany, biceps, and Bernards. UC Berkeley Master of fire ecology, turned farmer and mini ranch owner, Jen commutes all the way from Berkeley in her 1971, tomato-red, Indiana Jones jeep just to play (or in her case, work hard) on the farm with us. Though her most impressive attributes are a sparkling personality and smile, Jen is the true agricultural athlete among us all, having earned her biceps of steel and glistening tan pushing wheel barrows and herding cattle. She has a secret knowledge of botany- “oh that? That’s mimulus aurantiacus,”- is considered our resident animal expert, and often fills the silence while we hoe tomatoes by telling us engaging stories about her beloved baby St. Bernard.

Zuleika- We knew Zuleika was special when she raised her hand on her first day of class, after a heated discussion of cover cropping, to ask her very first question of farmer Bob Cannard: “what color is my aura?” Within the first few days of her, albeit late, arrival to the farm, she knew everyone’s astrological sign and, the animal that would best represent them. Youngest of the group in age, but not in spirit, Zuleika constantly surprises us with her astute, penetrating observations about ourselves. Tall and, dare we say it, a little majestic, this beautiful native of Venezuela dances as naturally as if she were walking, loves to go out in the city, and can sometimes be caught talking to the birds nesting around our house or in the trees.

Wafaa- Wafaa is French. And Moroccan. She dances Tango. She creates cakes without recipes and cracks eggs on top of pizza. She often says, “I surround myself with beauty—physical beauty, beauty of the heart and of the mind.” But she herself happens to look beautiful in rubber boots and fluorescent yellow gloves. She speaks in an accent that makes all things sound edible—people, plants, farm tools. She sweeps into the kitchen every morning, always with bright colors and curly hair, and sometimes with almond croissants. Yes, she is as delicious as she sounds. Yes, she is too modest to appreciate this description. And yes, we all kind of want to be her.

Melissa-"Melissa, can we please have mayonnaise with every meal?”. This question pretty much sums up how the interns feel about anything that Melissa creates in the kitchen--whether it is mayonnaise, hand-made tortillas, or mashed turnips with goats milk. We immediately want more and we immediately want it every day. Even if it’s just poached eggs. Though a professional cook in Boston, and a soon-to-be culinary student in Paris, Melissa will not be found only by the stove; she might be wandering the orchard at 6:00am eating unripe apples, wandering the fields searching for the perfect place to hoe, or simply laying on her back in the middle of a deserted vineyard and gazing up. Melissa is more than just one vegetable—she is an entire salad. This is partly due to the fact that, no matter the meal, Melissa an always be heard exclaiming, “I can’t wait for the salad!”

Friday, July 3, 2009

July Newsletter

As always, we're a little late with the newsletter, but we're pretty sure you'll enjoy it anyway.

View the newsletter online
Download the PDF

In this issue, we let you in on some of the exciting goings-on this summer, reveal the secret to happy chickens (here's a hint: it's easy), and share recipes for farmy comfort food: glazed radishes, creamy zucchini pasta explosion, and peaches & frozen cream.

We hope you enjoy this month's newsletter! Remember that you can stop in at the store to grab a hard copy, and email to get on the mailing list for next month.