A relatively new development in Humboldt County is making it easier for people to get fresh local produce with their CalFresh Benefits. Until recently, the only way people could use their CalFresh benefits to buy directly from the farmers was to go to the Farmers Markets. Last year CAFF helped local farmers who have CSAs or Farmstands to accept EBT, AKA CalFresh Benefits. Currently there are 4 farms offering this opportunity — Organic Matters Ranch, Redwood Roots, Shakefork Farm and Deep Seeded Farm — but hopefully this will expand. With the rural nature of Humboldt County, many of us live many miles from the nearest grocery store, but close to a farm. This program could provide oasis in the middle of rural food deserts. Want to know more? Listen here
If you have cruised the Arcata Farmers Market in the fall — you have probably seen Dave Feral from Feral Family Farm. He is whipping up delicious fruit juice blends that are delicious and fresh — and are saving some of the “ugly fruit,” helping them to fulfill their destiny with humans in Humboldt. So many decades of grocery stores training us to choose unblemished fruit and veg –no matter how undelicious they are — and we are the losers. Some of the best tasting fruit has a little scab here, a little bruise there — and many of these are ending up in the fruit juice produced by the Feral Family.
I know — I normally write about interviews with local food producer — but then there are times I get rambunctious and make something a little out of the ordinary. Like Miso! I got the recipe from a book by Sandor Katz, renowned guru of all things fermented. I made a batch — and about 16 months later it was ready! And so I decanted it into individual jars and…well…I had a lot of miso. I don’t use that much miso — and I still didn’t know if I made “good” miso — so I gave some to my friend Michele Harrison. She and her partner eat a lot of miso — and she gave me the stamp of approval. So…I made more! I made four times as much — two crocks full to the top. One I made in the traditional way with soybeans — and the second I made with Paul Giuntoli’s Swedish Brown Beans. it will be ready in September 2017. Stay Tuned…
Ah seriously — who doesn’t love someone you’ve never met before who arrives for the interview carrying two freshly baked loaves of old world style bread and a box of cookies. After thanking Josh Bergen (whom I mistakenly called Josh Fox), I sneaked back to the studio and Jessica Eden and I broke open the box of cookies — three varieties! which to try first?! Cocoa Rye Crinkle, 100% Whole Grain Oatmeal Raisin, and 100% Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie — Oh yeah — and we remembered to take photos after the box was…mostly empty!
The loaf of bread I took home You are so lucky I remembered to photograph that before it was all gone too. I smeared it with a big slab of butter (my grandmother used to say that I applied butter like some people apply cheese to a sandwich…was there something wrong with that?) My new favorite butter is Rumiano — very inexpensively priced at the co-op but you have to buy it in a 1 lb block…obviously I don’t have any problem with a block of butter that size!
So here is the deal — Josh sells his bread to his faithful followers — how do you become a follower? Text him — I know, I know you luddites — but trust me, it’s worth it. He will text you a list of what he is baking up — you tell him what you want off that list (in a text – get over it already) and tell him when you will pick up your goods within the time frame he has told you. Then you go to his home — yes, his home — where he bakes up these wonderful miraculous chewy — oh I salivate — anyway — go to his home at 1372 Lincoln Ave #A in Arcata, and pick them up. His text number? 914-582-8806 — email at JoshFoxBread@hotmail.com.
In Bread We Trust — listen here!
Growing up Portuguese…or maybe because I grew up in the Bay Area near Salinas…we ate a lot of artichokes. Some call them a sponge for mayonnaise…and I certainly don’t skimp when I prepare mine. Later on I realized that some people dip the ends into melted butter, a little more upscale than my Best Foods Mayo. I was so happy when I started seeing lots and lots of great looking and great tasting artichokes at Ed’s stand at the Farmers Market. One of the nicest thing is that they are available in very early spring — so when I shop I can get both artichokes and asparagus (and a jar of Mayo!).
Some things I didn’t know about artichokes is…that Marilyn Monroe was the first Artichoke Queen (of course she was…) and that artichokes are our “state vegetable”…I have to admit…I didn’t know we had a state vegetable. In Salinas, they sell T-shirts with pictures of artichokes and they call them Portuguese Pineapples…I definitely see the similarity in the way they look…but that’s where it ends.
Ed Cohen’s artichokes have really taken off — the day before he came in for the interview they planted 10,000 artichokes — so ladies and gentlemen — prepare yourself for having that option from early spring into winter. YUM!