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Hungry for Good Food & Connection

Written by Ali Abbors, Hidden Villa Journeyman

When are tomatoes tastiest? What is rhubarb season? Who grows my cucumbers? We are hungry, and not only for nutritious, affordable, ethically-grown foods. We crave connection to the natural rhythms and hardworking humans that bring these foods to our tables. When grocery store shelves are stocked year-round with fruits and vegetables from around the globe, it’s no surprise that we’ve lost track of the delicious details that reveal themselves when we eat by Mother Nature’s clock.  Eating with the seasons—whether through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, a local farmers’ market, or our own home gardens—provides an intimate connection to nature’s rhythms and a deeper appreciation of the true value of our food.

As organic farmers, the Hidden Villa CSA crew is reminded every day of our connection to, and dependence upon, the cycles of nature. Even though we farmers know to expect them, we’re awed every year by the subtle signs that mark the changing light and the coming of a new season. As winter draws to a close, we celebrate the budding of the plum trees, knowing that the rest of our orchard will soon follow. We rejoice in the first transplanting of zinnias and sunflowers knowing that we will soon be surrounded by their beauty. We delight in the tiny tomato plants emerging in our greenhouse, our imagination drifting to summer fruit fresh from the vine.  

Seasonal eating and flower appreciation is a practice in enjoying the precious uniqueness of food and blooms in their proper place and time. It provides us with the joyful challenge of stretching our palates to accommodate what is growing here and now. It rewards us with an ever-changing menu to hold our interest. In a practical sense, eating with the seasons is also more flavorful because crops are harvested at the peak of ripeness, more affordable because prices are lowest at the height of each crop’s season, more nutritious because crops are more full of nutrients at the peak of freshness, and better for the environment because crops don’t need to travel across oceans or continents to get to your plate. Whether you’re a foodie philosopher or a culinary pragmatist, eating seasonally will repay your efforts with an undeniable richness of flavors and connections.

Hidden Villa’s CSA, which provides members with weekly shares of organic produce and flowers between May and November, makes it easy to explore the joys of seasonal eating. A preview of our diverse monthly offerings is available here. With a variety of plans, pricing, and flower bouquet add-ons, members can choose the option that best fits their family's needs. We even help you learn to enjoy new and unfamiliar vegetables with a collection of tried-and-true recipes! Our online registration system makes it easy to sign up, and donations enable us to offer CSA scholarships to families living on low incomes.

Whether you join our CSA, visit our booth at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market, or grow food in your own garden space, we wish you inspiring culinary experiences that deepen your connections to good food, natural rhythms, and each other.

Happy eating!

Ali Abbors
Journeyman Farmer

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What Richness are you Enjoying Today?


Written by: Lanette Anderson, Hidden Villa Horticulturalist


I've been musing on richness lately. Summer on a farm is a good time for that. Even in this year of drought, when our water is lean and we're only able to plant a fraction of our usual crops we still have so very much.

 It's only fairly recently that I've come to think of richness in a broader context. Growing up I always understood it strictly as a measure of monetary wealth. The term brought to mind gold, diamonds, expensive cars, shiny and polished things. I thought of richness as something to strive for, something that required scrimping, saving and luck. Of course that's still one interpretation, but I've found it can be so much more expansive than that. I feel a richness of fruit in the overflowing bowl of sweet peaches on my counter, a richness of color in the bright buckets of flowers from the field, a richness of time in a lazy summer afternoon spent reading and sipping lemonade.

These types of riches deepen and even grow as they're savored and enjoyed. Scrimping or squirreling away won't serve this wealth. In fact there's something about these types of richness that invites sharing. You are rich because you have a little (or a lot) more than you personally need or can use. The big golden bowl of peaches on my counter is too full for me to eat all alone, which is why I feel so wealthy in them and why I baked a peach cobbler for my family.

Likewise, Hidden Villa thrives in large part because of the generosity and sharing of our community members like you. That richness of time and support that you share is magnified as it's enjoyed by all who come here. I see it in the campers who've been here this summer sleeping under the stars and tending to the chickens, in the interns whose lives and career paths are forever changed from their educational experiences here and in all our visitors who value the peace and beauty of this place. The Duveneck's generous gift of preserving this land and sharing it with all of us has sent ripples of richness through countless lives, my own included. I'm so grateful to share our richness with you.
What richness are you enjoying today?


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Swiss Chard Stuffed Acorn Squash with Garlic Cream Sauce

Although there are only 5 ingredients in this simple dish, it sure packs a punch and allows the hearty flavor of the vegetables speak for themselves.  As a great cold weather green that is packed with vitamins and fiber, the sauteed chard is mellowed by the soft roasted squash and warm garlic cream sauce. Impress your guests with this simple dish that is full of flavor, texture and nourishment. 


1 Acorn Squash
1 Bunch Swiss Chard
4 cloves Garlic
¾ Cup Milk
2 Oz Feta Cheese


1.  Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp.
2.  Place aquash cut side down on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 400°F, until fork tender and set aside.
Peel cloves of garlic and add to oven for 10 minutes alongside the squash.
4.  Remove garlic and in a small mixing bowl, puree with milk and feta cheese, adding salt and pepper to taste.  5.  Coarsely chop chard and sauté in a medium saucepan with olive oil over high heat until wilty (stems are okay to use, add 2 or 3 minutes before leaves).
6.  Place sauteed chard into hallowed out squash and drizzle with cream sauce.  Bake for another 10 minutes and serve hot out of the oven. 

classic baked acorn squash

Photo courtesy of

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Warm and Hearty Ratatouille

Crisp fall evenings summon warm meals that satisfy our bellies and warm our souls. This hearty ratatouille dish is simple and easy to prepare, yet incorporates some of our favorite fall staples that will keep you and your family full and happy!


3Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves

1 handful parsley

2-3 eggplant cut into ½ inch pieces

2 pepper cut into thin slivers

4 tomatoes coarsely chopped

1tsp salt

pinch of black pepper


1.  Over medium-low heat, add the oil to a large skillet and saute the onion, garlic, and parsley, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.

2.  Add the eggplant, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until the eggplant has softened. Stir in pepper, tomatoes, and salt, and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in a few grinds of pepper to taste.

3.  Serve warm over a bed of grains or enjoy in a bowl with a piece of fresh, crispy toast.


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Tomatillo and Pepper Stew

Ripening in their delicate husks, tomatillos are hidden gems that provide a pop of flavor and color to many late summer dishes.   This week's recipe combines these flavorful fruits with our favorite smoky peppers to yield an easy yet hearty meal.  Keep it vegetarian and serve with crispy toast or toss in cubed pork for some added gusto.



1pt tomatillos
olive oil
pinch of salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 medium peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
6 oz grated cheddar cheese
Cubed pork (optional)


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Husk and dice tomatillos. On a baking sheet, toss with oil, chopped onion, and salt and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until well cooked.
3.  Place tomatillos in a large saucepan and puree with an immersion blender until chunky.  Add seeded, chopped peppers.
4.  Stew until peppers become soft and add cooked pork if you like. Top stew with grated cheese and enjoy with crispy toast or tortilla chips!

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