I’m struck in this moment by the peach tree in my yard. It’s just a wee thing, 12 feet tall and growing next to the chicken coop. I never planted this tree, neither did the land owners here. Instead it came in with some compost, a gnarled little pit tossed into the pile on a summer day, left to it’s own devices. When I moved here, almost four years ago, it was a spindly bit of root stock, sad sickle leaves covering it’s few branches, looking a little misplaced in the yard, next to the shed that the land owner’s kids had painted with flowers and clouds. In fact, that year, sometime mid-summer, it was mistakenly weed-wacked along with the rampant blackberry, and I never expected to see it again.

Every year since I’ve almost peripherally taken note of the thing. Someone over for lunch will comment on it. “Oh, you have a little peach tree right there,” they’ll say, and I’ll nod, but almost not quite believe it, because, really, how does something as tender as a peach just grow on its own? I mean, it died once, so why would I place my attention on something so destined to fail, so fragile it takes whole orchard set-ups and specific varieties just to survive the strange weather and frosts of the foothills?

Looking at it now, I realize that I have been captured by that little sweet thing without even knowing it. It has four peaches on it, ripening in the heat, fuzzy like little kitten paws and the color of rainbow sorbet – orange and pink and green. In fact, I almost feel like crying, I am so struck by the beauty of this tree that has grown up all on its own.

What if I could regard my own growth like this perfect little peach tree? How relaxing, to consider my evolution to be as beautiful as this one right in front of me. I’ve been growing up a lot this year, learning to love and learning to be my most authentic self and learning to take risks and be true. It’s been hard, but how different it is even in this moment to consider that my process has been just as natural, just as painful, just as wind-tossed, and just as fruitful as that of the peach.

Ok, so now I am crying a little bit. And I’m feeling a lot of love for not only this peach, but my yard, the wind today, the overhead sprinklers drizzling the lettuce sprouts, the river that awaits my afternoon visit, my sweet lover flying across the world to hike great mountains, all the great mountains that watch over us, and the ripe peach, from another little peach tree, that sits on my table and smells like heaven. And of course the peach pit beneath, which will make it’s way into my compost, and sprout, and be pulled inextricably, in it’s own sweet time, to become something beautiful.



Anticipated Harvest:

  • Tomatoes!
  • Summer Squash – we are going to give you a lot, be prepared.
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers?
  • Beets/Carrots
  • Basil
  • Tatsoi
  • Turnips/Radishes/Cabbage
  • Greens – Kale/Chard/Collards
  • Garlic


I know I don’t always give out complicated recipes, but more and more I realize that I hardly ever try complicated things in the summer. I just make a salad, and put everything delicious in it. So, with that being said, I want to encourage you all to use your grills and ovens this week, especially with the summer squash and eggplants. Because all you need is a little brush of olive oil and sea salt, and shazam, you’ve got gourmet. I have been appreciating eggplant, sliced 1/4 in thick, grilled both sides, and just plain like that. Same thing with the tomatoes even, roast them before you make a sauce or salsa and the caramelized flavor of acid and sweet come right out. Have fun!

Woah I am feeling happy. Happy like a fox. Happy like a vine, spilling down the river canyon, twisting around trunks and branches and reaching towards the sun. Happy like a human being, just fresh from walking the fields at dusk, with bare feet and a handful of sweet peas.

Yes. I just saw my first tomato, orange and almost red on the vine. This is the real deal. This is summertime. We are doing it. The fields are mostly weeded in preparation for the farm tour and festival tomorrow, the summer squash sprouted actual squash sometime in the last twelve hours, and the first sunflowers are opening their faces towards where the sun rises. Oh my gosh, do you have any idea what this is like in the life of a farmer?! Glorious. Ecstatic. Delicious. This is the moment we work for all spring. And when it happens there’s no fan-fare, no bells and whistles, radio announcements or speeches. Just the barely audible sound of tomatillos pushing their purple bottoms out of papery husks. Only the slight rustle of the cucumber as it carefully latches onto its trellising for the first time, wrapping its little tendril arms around the netting. So quiet, but so dang sweet. All these little plantaroonies shaking off the dew and fluffing their leaf-feathers and saying, “Yo world! Yo farmer chics! We’re ready to go! Pick us, eat us, prune us, and for the love of sweet potatoes, turn on the water!”

Come tomorrow and walk our fields. Come feel the first tiny breaths of summer. Come and let the anticipation and wonder of what’s to come next light up all the little fireworks in your mind. I am feeling so happy that not only am I here today, doing this work, seeing this miracle, but i am also getting to pick all this food to be eaten by you. What a gift, to participate in something as soul-stirring as to witness this place. Thank you for being a part, and doing your part by eating all this up. Have a great rest of your weekend, and if we don’t see you tomorrow, see you on Tuesday.



Click here to find out more about the farm tour and festival tomorrow!

Anticipated Harvest:


  • Beets! – Willow’s out of town, so naturally I am just going to give beets out this week.  Just Kidding, also…
  • Carrots!
  • Cabbage or Broccoli
  • Tatsoi or Bok Choi
  • Basil
  • Chard/Collards/Kale
  • Parsley
  • Summer Squash – we’ll see how much we get. might be a slow start, but then BAM, by next week we’ll all be swimming in it.
  • Scallions
  • Seaweed – Not harvested on the farm. Surprising, I know. But I traded some plant starts for way too much wakame, and so, behold, Seaweed for the CSA.


I’m not sure if I printed this before, but it sounds SO GOOD. You don’t have to separately wrap beets in foil, sounds a little like over-kill to me. But if it’s too complicated anyway for your taste, just roast dem beets and use them all weeks long in anything. The below is from epicurious.


Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Pistachios

yield: Makes 8 servings

active time: 30 min

total time: 2 1/2 hr

Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 2 1/2 hr


  1. 3 large red beets (1 2/3 lb without greens)
  2. 2 large golden beets (1 lb without greens)
  3. 1/4 cup minced shallot
  4. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  5. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1/4 cup pistachio oil
  8. 4 oz soft mild goat cheese
  9. 3 tablespoons salted shelled pistachios (not dyed red), coarsely chopped
  10. 1 oz mâche (also called lamb’s lettuce), trimmed (4 cups)


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Separately wrap red and golden beets tightly in double layers of foil and roast in middle of oven until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Unwrap beets.

While beets are cooling slightly, whisk together shallot, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking.

When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off and discard skins. Separately cut red and golden beets into 1/4-inch dice and put in separate bowls. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons dressing to each bowl and toss to coat.

Place cookie cutter in center of 1 of 8 salad plates. Put one eighth of red beets in cutter and pack down with your fingertips. Crumble 2 teaspoons goat cheese on top, then one eighth of golden beets, packing them down. Gently lift cutter up and away from stack. Make 7 more servings in same manner. Drizzle each plate with 1 teaspoon dressing and scatter with some pistachios.

Toss mâche with just enough remaining dressing to coat and gently mound on top of beets. Serve immediately.

Cooks’ notes:  Beets can be roasted and diced 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.

There is nothing more beautiful than a barn full of garlic, hanging in bunches from the rafters. Except maybe a whole bed of calendula flowers, all blooming at once, bright orange and sunshine yellow. Oh wait, also the squash plants, reaching tall and broad-leaved over yellow trumpet-shaped blooms. And the cow that just galloped by (you heard me, galloped) with her golden sweet calf in tow, and tops of carrots sparkling with sprinkler mist, and what else, oh yeah, EVERYTHING right now.

In this week I hereby proclaim to drop all superlatives, a few more armloads of emotional baggage, and all pretenses. The only thing I will not drop, is the ball. It is in this vain that I hope to relax more into the present moment, feel my feelings in their entirety, and continue to function as a farmer – i.e., grow vegetables for you. Even though it is mad-hot and the weeds seem to duck when we approach with a hoe and the tomatillos, gosh darn those rascals, show their utter disdain for our trellising by growing sideways instead of up – still we will triumph. Appreciations to Willow, my trusty patient loving farm-mate, without whom I could never dream of farming in any way that even came close to how enjoyable the last three years have been. And appreciations to all of you in our CSA and in my life – for being so big, bold, and beautiful. You would all fit in quite nicely here on the farm-scape, you pretty things, and I hope that at some point this season you come on by and do just that.




Announcements, read up ‘cause the second quiz is upcoming –

Flower Share starts TOMORROW! So fun! We are not at full tilt just yet, but with so much blooming its hard to not just start early! Yes! (and its not too late to sign up, or you can buy an extra bouquet at pick up if we have ‘em, but its not guaranteed)

Saurkraut is the ferment of the week, and our friend shan will be set up to do another mini-class and demonstration at pick-up tomorrow. Come and learn from the EXPERT, no joke, on all things fermented and delicious. And if you claim to “not like saurkraut” then you are full of kraut. Try this and you’ll never look back again. Shan will provide you with jars, directions, Celtic sea salt, and some sauerkraut flavorings.  There will also be knives, graters, bowls and everything you need to go home with a jar of fermenting sauerkraut – ready for your enjoyment in just a few days! Just $5 and a few minutes of your time – you’ll have your sauerkraut and the knowledge and experience to make more.

Questions?  Shan – 478-5628

Chicken and Lamb Shares still available with Red Rocker Farm. We get his chicken share and it is SO GOOD. Matthew is also an excellent raiser of pastured lamb – we ate a piece with visiting friends on saturday and they were blown away! He has a quippy announcement below the note on harvest and recipe.

Anticipated Harvest:

  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots!
  • Salad Mix!
  • Basil!
  • Oregano.
  • Bok Choi
  • Collards/Kale/Chard
  • Dill
  • Turnips/Tatsoi/Radicchio

Recipe – A Note on Cabbage Slaws:

The variations of the classic “slaw” are endless. I thought it would be fun to mention a handful of dressings/combos and let you do the choosing.

All recipes involve shredding the cabbage, and then:

Classic – 1 onion chopped, mayonnaise, sugar, salt, lemon juice

Chinese – 1 pkg. ramen noodles crushed (sans seasoning packet), toasted slivered almonds, toasted sesame seeds, diced scallions.

Fresh – mayonnaise, honey, mustard, shredded carrot, fresh parsley

Fruity – mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, honey, 1 tsp celery seed, 2 apples, raisins, sunflower seeds!

Have fun with your cabbage!

Craving that lamb chop with your tat soi? That chicken drumstick with your fava?

Well, Red Rocker Farm, one of the other farms in the Living Lands Agrarian Network, would like to offer Soil-Sisters’-CSA members a convenient way to access delicious, local meat.

Poultry CSA

Once a month, be able to pick up Red Rocker Farm chickens at your Soil Sisters’ CSA pickup! Sign up for two, three, four, or more chickens a month and they will be brought to In the Kitchen the Tuesday after their Thursday processing, from July until the end of Soil Sisters’ CSA (~November). The price per chicken is $20–e.g. if you sign up for 2 chickens a month, the price would be $200 for the season (July-November, 10 chickens total).

Remember, although three or four or five or even six chickens per month may sound like a lot, you can always save one or two each month in your freezer for the wintertime, when there is no Nevada-county production and roast chickens and soups seem especially appealing.

Half Lamb

Red Rocker Farm’s lambs will be available in two weeks’ time. Raised on pastures in Placer and Nevada County, these lambs come from a flock of ewes bred to excel in a grass-based sheep operation. When cooked correctly, lamb that is grass-fed is better for you and has a mouth-wateringly superior taste. Sign up now for half a lamb and connect at a Soil Sisters’ CSA pickup later in the month of July. The prices and weights are:

1/2 Lamb: $180 (~14-18 lbs)

Whole Lamb: $350 (~28-36 lbs)

Please email Matthew at matthew.shapero@gmail.com if you are interested in chickens or lambs!

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