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Hidden Villa CSA Newsletter: Week of May 28, 2012

Hi CSA members! I’m Suzanne Allcroft, and I’m grateful to be entering my second year as an intern at Hidden Villa. With one farming season under my belt, I’m looking forward to what I can learn from my second. Last year I think my eyes were so wide open from moving to the farm from San Francisco, I wonder if I farmed half of last season in shock (a good shock).

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CSA Recipe: Baby Japanese Turnips

Photo: Interns Nathan and Jeff at Hidden Villa's stall at the Los Altos Farmers' Market. Photo Credit: Laurie Aubuchon

Radish, beet, or turnip greens are just as edible as the vegetables they top, so don't throw them away! This CSA recipe pairs Japanese turnips with their greens, which you can find in this week's basket. And remember, even if you aren't a CSA member, you can purchase fresh veggies, fruits, eggs, and meats from Hidden Villa's stall every week Los Altos Farmers' Market, held 4 to 8 pm every Thursday in downtown Los Altos.

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Get Excited about Mobile Coops and Pasture-Raised Eggs

By Suzanne Allcroft, Agriculture Intern

Last fall the Agriculture Team at Hidden Villa decided we wanted to improve upon our pasture-raised egg production. What if we built chicken coops that were mobile? While our previous laying hens could wander freely, their coops stayed put. But with mobile coops, each coop could house a flock of laying hens and move locations every few days.  We were excited about this new system because it would enable our hens to continuously graze on fresh grass, fertilize the areas they passed over, and eat insect pests such as flies, mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

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Hidden Villa CSA Newsletter: Week of May 21, 2012

Photo: Joey and Max at Let’s Go Farm in Santa Rosa

Hello CSA Members. It’s Taylor, your newest member of the Hidden Villa Farm Crew. As Jason mentioned in the last newsletter, I joined the Hidden Villa community in the beginning of April. I am coming to Hidden Villa with some farming and gardening experience from small farms in both Boston, MA and Western Marin County here in California. The internship program at Hidden Villa is a very exciting prospect for me as I am working with wonderful people and taking a strong first step towards my goal of one day running my own farm. So far I have been acclimating to life here on the farm, building new muscles I never knew I had, showing off blisters, eating and growing amazing food, and generally having a great time.

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CSA Recipe: Bok Choi Salad

With the start of the CSA season comes the return of Recipes from the CSA Kitchen! This spring slaw, featuring the bok choi, oregano, and spring onions you found in your first CSA basket, is a welcome departure from a standard cabbage mix.

And remember, even if you aren't a CSA member, you can purchase fresh veggies, fruits, eggs, and meats from Hidden Villa's stall every week Los Altos Farmers' Market, held 4 to 8 pm every Thursday in downtown Los Altos.
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Hidden Villa CSA Begins

Hidden Villa's Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) season began this Tuesday, making a fun and busy week for the Farm Crew. The CSA distributes our organic fruits and vegetables to about 140 members who receive a basket each week from May until November. This week's basket included strawberries, green garlic, spring onions, bok choi, radishes, arugula, and oregano. 

As usual we will all be taking turns writing pieces for the weekly newsletter so that you can come to know your farmers better and hear about everybody's different stories and sense of change over the season. 

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Kennedy Middle School Pizza Party

By Suzanne Allcroft, Agriculture Intern

This Tuesday I had the privilege of attending a pizza party hosted by a group of students from Kennedy Middle School.  But this wasn’t just any pizza party. The students made everything from scratch (even the cheese!) and it marked the finale of an after school class called Kitchen Literacy: Cooking, Nutrition, and Food Justice. For the final class, the students had invited their parents and teachers to enjoy their cooking.

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Hidden Villa Edible Plant Sale this Week

By Suzanne Allcroft, Agriculture Intern

Have you ever tried growing your own food? You may be a veteran gardener or you may be intimidated by the thought of keeping something alive. Whichever you are, if you’re tempted by the idea of picking something off the vine that you grew or grabbing something from your garden to cook for dinner, I encourage you to visit our plant sale this weekend.

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Bryden Johnston
Hi Rita, Thank you for checking in! The Hidden Villa Plant Sale is May 4, 2013 from 9:00am-1:00pm and the Native Plant Sale will ... Read More
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 15:18
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Welcoming a New Farm Season at Hidden Villa

Front row from left to right: Jason McKenney, Nathan Hammer

Back row from left to right: Animal Husbandry Manager, Suzanne Allcroft, Jake Mendell, Aspen Kvicala, Taylor Hutchison

Our new Agriculture interns have arrived, marking the start of a new season on the farm. Taylor Hutchison joins the Farm Crew that grows our fruit and vegetable production, and Jake Mendell is the new addition to the Animal Husbandry team. We’re happy to welcome Taylor and Jake to Hidden Villa!

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Development Internship Spotlight

Guest post by Margy Dorr

My time as a volunteer at Hidden Villa has been a unique and treasured experience. Not only am I enamored with the beautiful natural landscape, I am also surrounded by a rich history while working with the development team in the Duveneck House.

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Letter from the Executive Director

chris

From the February 2012 e.News

Well, it looks as if winter has officially arrived here at Hidden Villa! There's a noticeable frost on the ground in the mornings, the creek has slowly started flowing again and our fields are lying fallow until the spring! I'm always delighted to see the creek return after the season's first significant rainfall as it's a tangible indicator not only of the seasonal transition but also of programmatic cycles on the farm.

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Sensory Education (An Ode to)

Guest post by Tenaya Schnare

I am standing with a group of eight second-graders on a trail at the edge of the farm. We can still hear the goats bleating into the crisp fall air, but this spot on the path marks the transition from farm—the sound of tractors heaving bucket loads of animal bedding, chickens strutting and scratching in their yard, the earthy, sweet smell of goats—into the wilderness. I crouch down at eye level and in a soft, almost sing-song voice tell the children that we are going to do something called a caterpillar walk.

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Cider-braised Lamb Shanks

This dish, featured at Hidden Villa's Second Annual Meat Tasting Tour, combines the sweet-tart flavor of hard apple cider with the earthy aroma of rosemary for an intensely flavorful sauce that, when lamb is in the picture, begs for a chewy slice of bread to mop up what's left in the pan (if there is anything left). By first browning the shanks then braising them in a Dutch oven for a few hours over low heat you are creating a rich, silky sauce and fork tender lamb that will reinvigorate your tired tastebuds in time for spring. Photo courtesy of the Los Altos Town Crier.

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Adobe Creek on the rise (Photo of the week)

Hidden Villa's Development Associate Bryden Johnston took a picture of the creek as it fills with water from this weekend's rain. Click on on the photo to zoom out and see the whole picture.

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Recipe for Roulade

A roulade is a wonderful way to pair your favorite meat with fresh, seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs with minimal fuss and maximum presentability. Guests will enjoy the elegant spiral of perfectly-cooked meat wrapped delicately around a savory filling; alternatively, feel free to eat this with your fingers right off the cutting board (like we did). This recipe, featured at Hidden Villa's Second Meat Tasting Tour alongside last week's anticuchos, pairs lamb with dried apricots and arugula, but there's no reason you shouldn't experiment with what's on hand. 

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Connected, Connected

Guest post by Daniel Chmielewski

"Connected, connected, everything’s connected.” One of the well known songs at Hidden Villa, it strikes a central point in the ecological imperative of our times: "to recognize and understand that humans are intrinsically related to all life and the systems which support it (water, air, soil).” Once “unconnected” we risk alienation from the natural flow of life processes and education, whether through formal or informal experience, is a bridge into being connected. My internship at Hidden Villa has been rich in education and in my eyes, most importantly, exposure. In my second year here, seasonal changes of weather, edible and ornamental agriculture, animal husbandry, environmental education, and sustainability have deeply connected me to the land and to the future. 

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Anticuchos (Peruvian-spiced Heart) Recipe

On Saturday, December 17th, a small group of Hidden Villa supporters, local meat merchants and a few members of the press was invited to join Hidden Villa's Animal Husbandry Manager for a workshop and tasting tour featuring traditional (and untraditional!) cuts of our sustainable, organically-raised meats. We are delighted to be able to share the recipes for four of the dishes served at this event with you. Starting today, we'll be posting a new recipe once a week with pictures! Here, you will find recipes for anticuchos (heart), braised cider lamb shanks, an apricot-spinach lamb roulade and ice cream with maple and bacon toppings. Photo courtesy of the Los Altos Town Crier.

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Happy holidays from Hidden Villa

Well it hardly seems possible but here we are at the end of 2011 already! The past eleven months have been particularly busy and productive here at Hidden Villa and we are looking forward with great anticipation towards 2012.

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Collective Cooperation

The interns have been talking a lot about collectives and cooperative living recently. On Monday, November 14th, we went to The Cheeseboard Collective in Berkeley where a member, who has been there for over twenty-five years, talked to us about the pros and cons of working in a collective. We sat on benches in a horseshoe shape and listened about how it took years of consensus decision making to decide on credit card machines or raises, all the while posing questions about how they deal with conflict resolution when there is no “boss”, about profit sharing, and how to hire someone new when every one of their thirty members has to give the okay. It was all very interesting and exciting, if not a little daunting. It is a radical idea in today’s society that everyone gets equal pay and equal say in a business no matter how long they have been working there.

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Why we are thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! As our season draws to a close I want to thank all of you for your participation in our program this year. Your connection to us as a food source is what allows us to keep farming. I am grateful that people like yourselves are interested in exploring the specifics of our seasonality and entrusting us to provide much of the food that you eat. It is this support that lets us practice the farming and the education that we love. Thank you.

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