This months CSF

With all the rain we've been getting, there are an insane amount of mushrooms around, as well as some really nice wild greens.  Below is what came in this months CSF box, as well as a recipe: Golden Chanterelle Mushrooms (Northern CA)

Chanterelles have a wonderful nutty apricot flavor that tastes like fall (at least to me).  Think about the misty mountain oak forests where they are foraged when eating them, it really does make them taste better.

Black Trumpet Mushrooms (Northern CA)

Black trumpets are some of my favorite mushrooms. They have a really subtle smokiness and great texture. I like to sauté them with butter and garlic and eat them straight, but they're also great in soups. To clean, wash them under cold running water.

Black Cod (Northern CA)

This is a really great, very fresh fish. Sauté each side for a few minutes with lemon and butter, this lets the natural taste of the fish shine through. There are some pinbones in this fish, but they come out easily with tweezers.

Miners Lettuce (Santa Cruz)

With all this rain we’ve been getting, the wild greens are going crazy. This is one of my favorites, named for the gold rush miners (who ate it for its high vitamin C content). Miners lettuce  is great in mixed salads or all on its own.

Wild Ginger (Santa Cruz)

Wild ginger has a milder flavor than its cultivated cousin, but can be used in any recipe that calls for ginger. I also really like to make a tea out of the finely chopped root, which helps cure stomaches or motion sickness. Along with the miners lettuce, this also came from a forager down in Santa Cruz.

Oxalis Flowers (San Francisco)

You may know these flowers from the incredibly invasive clover-like plant that runs rampant in San Francisco. Well now you know a way to get rid of it--eat it!  This plant is named for its oxalic acid, which is what makes it taste sour. Eat too much (meaning pounds), and it will mess with your digestion, but throwing a couple of these flowers in a salad adds a really great sour note (and of course, makes it look cool).

Ginger Curry with Pork

If you don't have dried apricots on hand, you can substitute golden raisins instead. Wild ginger livens this dish and gives it a mild, peppery heat.

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and 1 cup rice mixture)


2  (4-ounce) boneless, center-cut loin pork chops

1/8  teaspoon  black pepper

Dash of salt

1  tablespoon  vegetable oil, divided

1/2  teaspoon  grated lime rind

1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice

1 1/2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger

1/2  cup  chopped onion

1/2  teaspoon  red curry paste

1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2  tablespoons  chopped dried apricots

1  teaspoon  honey

1  garlic clove, minced

1 1/2  cups  hot cooked basmati rice

2  tablespoons  thinly sliced green onions


Sprinkle pork with pepper and salt. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan. Combine rind, juice, and ginger in a shallow dish; add pork, turning to coat.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and curry paste; cook 2 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add pork mixture, broth, apricots, honey, and garlic; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until pork is done. Remove pork from pan. Increase heat to medium-high. Add rice; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve rice mixture with pork, and top each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions.


Why we shouldn't hate on myfarm

Myfarm is done.  I first heard about this fleetingly a couple weeks ago, but no one really knew what happened. Just that they were gone, something about internal problems. Went to their website. nothing. Tried searching around the interwebs, but to no avail.   A couple days ago I got forwarded this blog post with the attached message "let me know if you need any help" from one Fred Bove. Very nice gesture to be sure. As someone who has also recently started a new kind of vegetable delivery service, I have some thoughts on the demise of myfarm, and the surprisingly vitriolic words that are being thrown around concerning this once greatly esteemed business.

Myfarm was started by a couple who had a really great idea. The idea was to put farms in peoples backyards, and with the food grown, feed the city.  To get this idea going, and see if people were interested, they put up 50 flyers around the city. immediately they were deluged with response. The chronicle wrote about them. The NY times wrote about them. They got more response, and ultimately collapsed under the pressure. I volunteered with myfarm a couple times when they were first starting out, but haven't spoken to Trevor in a while, but from what I can tell, they just grew too fast.

1. When I started forageSF, I thought that the best thing that could happen was to have 100 people sign up immediately. I would be able to support myself foraging ( and maybe even start a bit of a savings account). When that didn't happen, I was really disappointed. A couple people signed up, but as I jealously watched myfarm get bigger, my business grew very slowly.  I see now that was the best thing that could have happened. The amount I have learned in the time since the first CSF box went out is amazing. What people want (surprisingly, its less variety of foods rather than more), logistics (how to collect and distribute very perishable food in a two window), customer service (how to not piss people off). These lessons have all been learned without my business eating itself because I've had the luxury of moving relatively slowly . If, as I desired, had 100 people sign up the first month, I probably wouldn't have been been doing what Im doing at this point.

2. I think people had an unreasonable expectation of myfarm (from what the post conveys).  Myfarm was a really good idea. A revolutionary idea, to feed people from urban production. Rather than the cities being vacuums for rural production, we would sustain ourselves, and have nice backyard gardens to boot.  It was such a good idea in fact that people signed up immediatly....I can't think anymore about this at the moment, but I feel for Trevor. He tried to do something really interesting, and put a great idea out into the world, he tried to do something totally unique, so give him a break.


August CSF

boxpic This months box:

Dried Porcini and Morel Mushrooms (Mendocino/Humboldt Valley)

Dried Mushrooms, left to refresh in water for about 20 minutes, can be cooked just like fresh. It takes about 10 lbs of fresh wild mushrooms to make 1 lb dried.  Drying actually concentrates the flavor of many mushrooms, such as the bolete.  The Boletus edulis mushroom (bolete) was first described in 1783 by the French botanist Pierre Bulliard and still bears its original name. The Porcini, or King Bolete, is always an exciting find in California since they’re rare and delicious. Porcini are great sautéed with a little (or a lot) of butter.

Orange and Foraged Lemon Juice

Foraged in our own backyard, these lemons were rescued from certain rotting.  We got some fresh squeezed OJ and added foraged lemon juice to give it a good sour bite.

Sea beans (Bolinas)

Pickle weed is a small succulent, with leaves that are waxy on the outside and full of moisture on the inside. Its leaves are long, thin, and round, like little fingers. Pickleweed flowers between April and September, but its tiny yellow flowers can only be seen upon careful examination. Pickle weed grows in the low- to middle-tide zone in the marsh, which means that it gets covered up by water some of the time.  It’s delicious fresh as a garnish, or if you want to get creative in the early morning hours, check out the recipe below.

Wild Foraged Bay Leaves

The very same bay laurel leaves that you see (and smell) all over California, can be used in cooking. The aroma is a bit stronger than store bought, so use sparingly in your favorite soups.

Wild Foraged Blackberries

That’s right, collected just yesterday…they’re delicious.  We had to exercise some serious self control not to eat them all as we picked.  These blackberries come from Mendocino county.

Seabeans Sauteed with onions

This week we wanted to give you an idea of a good way to cook those seabeans you get so often in your box. Here they are, sautéed with some onions, garlic, pepper, and just a pinch of sugar to cut the saltiness. Hope you like them.

Wild Foraged Mint

Use this just like regular mint, the taste is a bit more intense with the wild variety.