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    Watsonville, CA (near SF)

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  1. Bavila: check out what our friends are doing at Live Earth Farm: they are a working family farm (CSA, farmers market, etc.) (just like our own family farm) and they've hired an educational coordinator. They have long term relationships with 1-2 schools and do multiple field trips, classroom visits (I think) and even overnights (I think). Their coordinator might be willing to talk with you. I don't know! http://www.liveearthfarm.com/ there's a link to the left about education and describes lots about what they're up to. cheers! -chardgirl
  2. ok, I know the rules of these delightful food blogs, so I'll try not to hijack for long, but here's a photo of me circa 1987 in Beijing making jiaozi with one of my friends. I was all about the food then, instead of memorizing all the characters. No internet or digital cameras, though. (I was 22, aka a few lifetimes ago!) Again to Fengyi: thanks for all the photos and postings. I find the high end dining somewhat fascinating, even if it was there in 1987 I wouldn't have been able to eat at those places. The first KFC arrived during my year there, so I saw the tip of the iceberg on the fast food. We used to haunt the 'Friendship Store' for cheese, salami, chocolate syrup, etc. But now you have Walmart! Yikes. Is there still a Friendship Store or is that now not relevant? -chardgirl
  3. Whereas, the minute I landed first in BJ, I felt at home here. The people can be terrifyingly rude, crude and direct; the food is stodgey, *full* of garlic, and relatively unsophisticated and the climate sucks, etc.... but I really like the BJ culture and mindset, for all its downpoints. the quote above is hilarious! One of my vivid memories is of cranky young women in all white cotton uniforms yelling "Mei You!" ("not available!; Not here!; We don't have it! Go Away!": these are a few of the translations that I remember. exact = "not have"). Re: bean curd brains: I still don't like the dried tofu dishes I'm served over here, so I was strictly an egg burrito/yogurt girl. The closest I've found to the great Beijing suan nai (yogurt) is Straus whole milk yogurt here in California. Thanks for all the photos!!! -julia
  4. Egg Burritos! (that's what we called them....) I'm from California, and I lived in Beijing studying my 4th year of Mandarin in '87-'88. I've not been back since; and I was obsessed with food then(as I am now. hence the egullet lurking). We ate these every day. I'm really enjoying this blog. I know Beijing has changed dramatically, it's fun for me to see a few of the things that haven't changed. Crowded buses, noodle shops, etc. happy blogging. Here it is being eaten on the way home in the taxi:
  5. We grow lacinato kale (as many have said here: it's the same stuff that also called cavolo nero, tuscan black, or, unfortunately, 'dino' kale: it's the disneyfication of vegetables!). Ours is grown in a farm setting, not a garden setting: we pick the bunches as full grown but on the young end and they are never, ever bitter. If it's grown in heat/summer it gets less sweet: this is a great vegetable when it has chill factor. If it's bitter, you're likely not eating kale, or eating it when it wasn't grown well. If it gets 'stressed' (ie not irrigated) it can get bitter. Find a new source, or wait for winter. That's my 2 cents! All of your cooking ideas sound delicious. I just sauteed chopped lacinato kale (the only kind we grow since it's our favorite) straight up in a bit of oil; when it cools it will be tossed in my ongoing couscous salad project of the day: chopped raw fennel, sweet onions, olives, capers, parsley, lemon & sherry vinegar, chile flakes, grated carrots, & feta. I'll see what inspires me tomorrow. cg
  6. I think this bowl of brown/greens looks great. My favorite breakfast is leftovers. My family just pretends they don't know me at breakfast... thanks for the breakfast timing thoughts, I'm going to try to be better about this. cg
  7. Hello, I'm loving this blog: thanks to all three of you for sharing. I love food and think about it way too much: and my doctor has been on my case for 4 years. (!). (my own special reason is that fat cells have estrogen and I had breast cancer at 35 years young and now 7 years later my doctor and I continue to plot how to NOT have it again!) I've got 20# to lose, maybe 15, but at 5' tall it's a fairly big chunk. ARGH. So you are all inspirational. Question about Breakfast: anyone?: I'm also not hungry in the am, but 'conventional wisdom' is adamant about this being an important meal so I try to eat something healthy and include a protein every morning. Finally the question: If I rise at 6am and don't get to my forced breakfast until 9am does it count for the 'helping your metabolism throughout the day' theory?? I don't want to highjack this great blog so I'll just briefly say that what has worked for me (I've lost 20 pounds and kept 10-15 off, just need to lose more) is making homemade food rich with vegetables and eating meat or protein everyday. And I'm a lucky one: I love lots and lots of regular water. oh: and lots of walking. and not keeping any sweets in the house! I'm enjoying the practical thoughts/advice, and the delving into the issues too: again a big thanks! -julia aka chardgirl
  8. Am I allowed to answer questions? Habas are Fava beans are broad beans: all old world. Limas are not this same bean, but I don't know much more about limas. Rachel or Rancho Gordo can tell us more, perhaps? cg 3 colors of dried 'habas': http://www.mariquita.com/images/photogallery/favaseeds.jpg youngish favas in their shell: http://www.mariquita.com/images/photogallery/fava.jpg
  9. Excelente. I'm looking forward to this blog. I miss Mexico very much. Here's a photo of a volunteer epazote plant on our farm. I'm only posting the link since it's not my foodblog! I like epazote in beans: like fish sauce in Thai cooking a little makes it great but too much doesn't work at all. cg epazote photo
  10. Fascinating thread... I still love being a shopper at farmers markets, and I hope there's always room for them in communities that support them. There's no question that places that have started way too many in a small area ruin it for everyone: the San Jose area is classic: about 10 years ago there was a farmers market every 6 miles (or so it seemed) so in the end NONE of them was worth attending! I think the success of the San Francisco markets is partly because it's so difficult to start up new markets there. Ferry Plaza is still a great market and several of the farmers/producers there depend on it heavily. We wanted to diversify to the point of not depending at all on it, and we were successful. Way too political! And yes, I'm the farm wife who didn't want to make herbal salts and jams, even though that would have been the smart thing to do. Andy and I have talked about other markets we could do instead of Ferry Plaza but we're looking forward to a Market Free Life: not retirement, in fact working 6 days a week so we can actually begin to save for retirement! It's a gamble but in crunching numbers we think/hope we'll make more money not doing the market. No waste, and more brain cells available to be organized and make better decisions. Yes, spending more time with the youngin's while they're still in fact young is a good thing too. Thanks to Russ for a great article! -chardgirl (aka the evil Julia who left Ferry Plaza shoppers high and dry, or so the lugubrious emails I've been receiving would suggest.)
  11. Purple and Orange cauliflowers are fairly common at farmers market here in the SF Bay area of California. This variety is called 'graffiti', and another BRIGHT orange one is called 'cheddar'
  12. chardgirl


    Fennel Fronds: I like to lay lots of them in a baking pan and set a piece of fish for baking on top. cg
  13. Spinach, Baby Greens! It's in the processing folks. Mr. Chardgirl has been farming for 3 decades, at least one of them in the earlier days of the spring mix/baby greens time. He just tonight wrote an article for our newsletters about it: Spinach Opinions from a CA organic farmer cg
  14. We are farmers and may or may not be salt of the earth. We don't haggle. We try to set fair prices and our regular customers never ever ask for discounts. The few that show up at the end of the day asking for discounts? My husband and I call that "head lice hour" and try to clean the tables up as quickly as possible so we don't have to shoo the head lice along. I know that some of those folks are from other countries where haggling accepted, but if I show respect for their customs (not just haggling, I don't haggle when I'm abroad, maybe I'm too protestant too!) when I visit their countries why can't they do the same at our farmers market? We'd rather feed our goats with the leftovers than accept the lower prices folks might offer. It's the culture at our farmers market. The hagglers can haggle elsewhere in the market if they like. I find it demeaning. cg
  15. chardgirl

    Making Cheese

    Thanks to all for bringing this thread back, I never did post. I've mostly enjoyed the website that's in a nearby above post from the professor: The Professors Cheese Page I get raw milk from some local folks: I have a 'share' in their cow and pay them in advance so they won't be busted. No one in my family is immune suppressed and I trust where the milk comes from so... I'm fine with it. We pay $8/gallon, and we have to supply our own jars (1/2 gallon mason jars) and go to their farm to get the milk. We've been loving the cheese that I've been making: the closest it comes to is something like a 'farmers cheese': not as salty as a feta but maybe a similar consistency. For a while we were milking some of our goats and that was good cheese too! When the next set begin to kid we might start milking 1-2: right now life is fairly complicated and full as our summer produce is just starting to explode and needs to be sold so.... The next time I make cheese (in the next week or 3) I'll try to take a photo and post here. I've so far only used the junket stuff and nothing fancier. I did find an interesting simple cheese recipe in a library book called "Scottish Cooking" that was very simple and another one in an Amish cookbook. One of those recipes called for buttermilk. I tried making yogurt but I left it too long and it turned into cheese. One essential tool I've been happy I purchased is the real cheesemakers cheese cloth: not the flimsy supermarket stuff. cg
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