A note of gratitude

Wow, this smoke is tenacious, that is for damn sure. And, what with the season, the wind, and all the things out of our control, there is no knowing how it will be at any given moment now until the late fall/early winter brings some rain. While we are personally struggling here on the farm to maintain our positive vibe and health, we wanted to take a minute to say thank you. Yes, you!

Thanks for coming out last Wednesday to the farmers market or to the Farm Store through Saturday to pick up your share.

Thanks for being positive and optimistic along with us so we can maintain a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks for using our farm fresh, local goods to nourish yourself with. 

You all make community supported agriculture possible and we are so grateful to have you as our community riding tough, stubborn, and always optimistic right along with us. Be well, breath shallow, and always keep moving forward.

This week, our newsletter is written by Tristan

our pickling specialist, farm and kitchen apprentice

Where are you from?
I am from Japan and California but I grew up in Bali Indonesia.

Why Rainshadow?
I decided to come to Rainshadow because I really like how we get to work with the food we grow. I really enjoy that we are cooking the food we are growing.

What do you hope to learn at the farm this season?
I hope to learn how to be creative with the food that is in season and to cook really tasty meals.

Where do you find your inspiration?
I find a lot of my inspiration weeding in the two acre and in the fridge.

News from the Farm: Preserve the abundance

We harvested chickens again; it sure has been a while! It has been just shy of two months since the last harvest. Why did we wait that long? Because between baby chicken arrivals, we welcomed turkey poults. These poults are the start of our turkey breeding program. This past spring we were unable to secure turkeys to raise for Thanksgiving this year. While that is a big bummer, we decided to instead begin our own breeding program. How exciting is that? We are early days in, but the goal is to raise these poults into breeding mom’s and your Thanksgiving dinner.

We are raising Narragansetts, a heritage breed of turkey descended from a cross between the eastern wild turkey and the domestic turkey. We chose this breed because we are committed to heritage breeds that can reproduce and this particular breed is well regarded for production qualities, i.e. is great for Thanksgiving dinner!

Currently these little cuties are growing up and we will keep you posted on how the breeding program goes. Again, no turkeys this year (boo!) but we are hopeful that next year there will be 100% Rainshadow turkeys for thanksgiving.

photo credit: Chris Lawrence

The turkey poults roosting in their home at night. We leave a light on for them so they don’t get too cold at night!

The cantaloupes and watermelons are looking amazing and bigger than ever they should be trickling in over the next 2 weeks!

photo credit: Natalie Leder

Nat and Tristan show their excitement over the first melon of the season!

We are pickling everything that will taste good pickled! And this is what excites me the most. We have developed yummy pickling brines: a sweet, spiced brine and a savory brine that doesn’t have any sugar! These brines are used for all sorts of vegetables, but some of my favorites are the Sweet Turmeric Kohlrabi and the Crunchy Dill Bean.

We all know tomatillos have been in season for a while and we have started to make salsa and can it. The salsa is simple and delicious and really highlights the flavor of the tomatillos. Especially the Queen of Malinalco a Mexican variety of tomatillo from the town of Malinalco in Mexico. These yellow tomatillos really bring a sweet flavor to the salsa. Soon to come will be kimchi and sauerkraut they are slowly fermenting!!

photo credit: Melissa Harmon, Alison Holland

Sarahlee and Tristan make tomatillo salsa and the Queen of Malinalco tomatillo.

Veggie ID: Tomatillos

photo credit: Natalie Leder

While one name for the tomatillo is the “Mexican Tomato” it is not, actually a tomato! Tomatillos are native of Mexico and are excellent when turned into salsas, sauces, or added to burrito/taco fillings. Basically, if you are using southwest style flavors (cumin, oregano, chiles, etc.) odds are you can add tomatillos to that dish to good effect.

Our tomatillos range in color from green to yellow to purple and can be used interchangeably. They have a sharp, lemony, herbal flavor and the long yellow ones (those Queen of Malinalco’s referenced above) are the sweetest with a bit of a pineapple flavor. Don’t be afraid to eat tomatillos raw either. They are chock full of vitamins A, C, potassium, calcium and folic acid! Make sure you peel the paper away and rinse off the slightly sticky film that keeps the paper in place!

Add tomatillos to your salsa verde recipe, chop raw into fresh salads, blend into gazpacho, or (our favorite and see the recipe below) roast with onions and blend into tomatillo salsa!

Serving Suggestions and Ideas from Mi Ae Lipe’s Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook

Vegetable CSA Harvest List

Every week, we include this section which includes what we think will be coming out of our fields and hoop houses for Wednesday pick up. Keep in mind, that we send this email on Sunday and we harvest Monday & Tuesday for our Wednesday CSA. Sometimes we are spot on, but other times, we discover that we have more of something else and substitute that.

We will let you know on Wednesday how many other items you will get to select.

Other Vegetable Options will probably include:

cantaloupe (?)
corn (?)
Fresh onions
Green onions

hot peppers (?)
Lettuce heads
Napa cabbage
Salad mix
Summer squash & zucchini
sweet peppers (?)
Yod Fah
watermelon (?)

Meat CSA: Beef & Pork

We continue to cruise through our cuts!

Large CSA (10lbs)

  • 2 bacon
  • 1 pack smoked beef sausage links
  • 1 beef roast
  • 1 stew meat
  • +/- 2 ground beef

Small CSA (5lbs)

  • 1 bacon
  • 1 pack smoked beef sausage links
  • 1 pack of either pork: country style ribs, blade steak, shanks, arm roast, spare ribs
  • +/- beef stew meat

Some notes on the meat this week:

  • Our bacon is very fatty, but don’t be dismayed! Cook it up and, eat it with a BLT or breakfast or a pocket snack, and save the bacon grease to season your cast iron with!
  • The smoked beef sausage links are excellent grilled!
  • Stew meat needs to be slow cooked OR cut into even smaller pieces to add to a sauté, burrito filling, or stir-fry.

Recipe Corner

Every week I try to send along a few recipes that utilize the meats and vegetables in your CSA share. Check out the recipes below for some inspiration!

Tomatillo salsa  
(Tristan’s special recipe!)

1 full baking sheet of tomatillos
6 whole onions cut into quarters.
1 bulb garlic
1 Tbs salt
½ Tbs cumin
½ Tbs garlic powder
½ Tbs onion powder
Lemon juice to add more acidity.

  1. Combine tomatillos, onions and garlic on sheet pan and evenly spread salt. Roast for 45 min or until tops of onions and tomatillos are caramelized.
  2. Transfer roasted veg into blender add cumin, garlic powder and onion powder and blend until your desired consistency. This is when you should taste the salsa and see if you want to add lemon juice or other ingredients.
  3. You can freeze the salsa at this stage for winter use!

Asian Eggplant
(Another Tristan original)

4 eggplant
1 onion
½ bunch green onion
¼ cup soy sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
½ Tbs sugar
¼ Tbs pepper flakes
¼ Tbs onion powder
¼ Tbs garlic powder
¼ Tbs ginger

  1. Slice eggplant as desired and sprinkle a small amount of salt. This draws moisture out of the eggplant and prevents a mushy result.
  2. Combine in a bowl soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, pepper flakes, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix well and set aside. This is the sauce for the eggplant.
  3. Dice onions and sate until soft. Combine eggplant with the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. While pan is hot add the sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the eggplant is browned on the outside.
  4. Garnish dish with chopped green onions.

Grilled Vegetable Tostadas
(adapted from Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast)

3 tablespoon plus oil
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch wide slices on the diagonal
1 bunch green onions
2 eggplant
salt and pepper
flour tortillas
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 lime cut into wedges for serving (optional)


  1. Heat grill to high and lightly oil grates. Toss vegetables with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill each veg turning once, until lightly browned and tender: approximately 2 minutes for scallions, 8 minutes for squash and eggplant. Remove from the grill and put on a baking tray.
  2. Brush your tortillas with oil and grill turning frequently until browned and crispy.
  3. Chop the grilled green onions.
  4. Top the tortillas with vegetables, salsa, feta, and squeeze lime if you want.

Fresh Tomato Salsa
(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast)

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh onion
1 chopped hot pepper (seeds removed to be less spicy)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice


  1. Toss everything together and season to taste. Let stand for 15 minutes to develop the flavor. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
photo credit: Natalie Leder

Smoky surprise this morning. Miss Marlow, the best mother diary cow we have, gave us twins! Sometimes, you get surprised by the new life and the beauty. It is a great redirect in what can feel like the smoky abyss.

See you on Wednesday, August 23.

The Farm Crew