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From the Garden This Week

From the Garden this Week…

Summer Squash, Fennel, Lettuce Heads, Snap Peas, Head Lettuce, Mixed Red and Green Lettuces, Spinach, Large Carrots, Bok Choy, Parsnips, Spring Onions, Turnips

Coming Soon…Garlic, Onions, Potatoes

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

Thank you for your patience regarding missing your produce delivery last Thursday. This week we have a variety of items that need to get picked before the weather changes significantly. People often think that we in the Central Valley don’t really have seasons. However if you are growing vegetables, the seasons are recognizable by what will and will not grow. For example, the warm weather of spring is less hospitable to our broccoli than the cold of winter. You will notice markedly smaller but still delicious broccoli heads. I included an Asian noodle salad to use the snap peas, bok choy and carrots that are coming this week. If you want to add more vegetables you can do that or even leave out the noodles altogether and use the lettuces, spinach and greens as a base.

Asian Noodle Salad

1 teaspoon fish or soy sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey

1 tablespoons water

¼ teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon olive or grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

8 ounces thin rice noodles

5-6 bok choy leaves, thinly sliced

1 cup snap peas, ends trimmed and cut in half if desired

1 carrot, shredded or cut into matchsticks

2-3 white salad turnips, shredded or cut into matchsticks

1 handful chopped cilantro and mint

8 ounces cooked meat or shrimp, cut in bite-sized pieces

½ cup chopped peanuts or almonds

Salt as needed

To prepare the dressing, in a large mixing bowl, combine the fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, water, chili flakes, onion, olive oil and sesame oil. Whisk well. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice noodles, cook 2-3 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain the noodles in a colander, and rinse with cold water. Lay a clean kitchen towel on the countertop, then spread the cooked noodles on the towel. In the bowl with the dressing, add the vegetables, cooked meat and nuts, then add the noodles. Toss well, taste and season with salt as desired.

Praying for Laborers!

As you know, our Charitable Garden is run primarily by our volunteers and they need regular time off without any feelings of guilt. So one of the things we have done from the beginning is to hire two to four part-time garden enthusiasts to help fill in the gaps when our volunteers are gone. As long as God provides the laborers, we will continue bringing you wonderful farm to table produce. This is God’s Garden!

We are currently recruiting more volunteers and also seeking to hire two part-time staff. The paid positions are Mondays from 8:30 am-12:30 pm and the other for Thursdays from 8:30-12:30 pm. These positions are for independent contractors who must sign a W-9 and have a business license to be paid by our non-profit organization. Call Cindi at 209-607-1887 if you know someone who might be interested!

Parsnips are still coming

We have more parsnips coming for the next few weeks. You can save them up for a few weeks if you need to feed more than a few people. I included a recipe for parsnip and carrot fritters. I used curry and chili powder to give them a flavor boost. The sweet vegetables go well with the spice, if you like spicy food, this is a great place to use you chili powder. These parsnips are wonderful roasted or fried with a little rosemary or you can mash them like potatoes.

Parsnip-Carrot Curry Fritters

2-3 parsnips, peeled and grated

2-3 carrots, peeled and grated

1 spring onion, finely diced

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon chile powder

1 egg

2-3 tablespoons of oil

Peel (if desired) and grate, parsnips, and carrots. Combine the parsnips, carrots and onion in a large bowl and add the salt, pepper, flour, curry powder, chile powder and egg. Mix well to combine. Heat a nonstick pan, over medium heat, add the oil and drop 1/4 cup of the vegetable mixture into the pan. Help it to spread out a little then repeat 2-3 more times, so you have 3-4 small pancakes. Turn the heat down and allow them to cook for 8-9 minutes then turn the fritters over and cook for another 6-7 minutes. Remove them and cook another batch to use the remaining vegetables. Enjoy right away, they are also great reheated.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul…by Cindi J. Martin, LCSW

Last week we recognized that our gopher infestation was hitting critical mass. We did not react when just a few mounds surfaced in our vegetable rows. We had taken for granted that the beautiful, lush, beet and carrot greens were evidence that the harvest of our root vegetables would be sweet and plentiful. What a surprise to find mound after mound of tell tale “gopher dredgings” in the midst of the lush root crops when we began to harvest. Digging deeper, we revealed partially gnawed beets and carrots and even the complete disappearance of newly planted peppers!

I couldn’t help thinking about how life is sometimes like a garden with a gopher infestation. We walk the rows of our lives, take a quick look, and all appears on the surface to be fine. We may see a bit of evidence of a problem in our marriage or parenting or work or friendship. But we see it as only a small thing and not enough of a problem to halt the rest of life to dig a little deeper and check other areas for problems as well. Why go looking for trouble? Right? But trouble is likely already there! Sometimes it is worth the risk of checking in with a friend about a sense that we have offended them. It may be worth investigating the way our children are using social media and the internet.

When we have the courage to ask our spouse about the distance we sense in our marriage, it may surprise us that he or she has been experiencing an increasing sense of disillusionment. It is frightening to see what lies beneath the surface at times. It may represent a lot of potential loss, work, money, and emotional energy. But in the end, the damage will be far worse if we simply respond to signs of a problem by ignoring them. May God give each of us courage to face early warning signs with faith rather than fear. “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Hebrews 10:30).

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