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Fall Colors at Hidden Villa

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Virgin's Bower At Grape Trail

The plant with the fuzzy ball of seeds is a vine called Clematis (common name is Virgin's Bower).

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Beautiful White Berries along the Creek Trail

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Morning Hiking at Hidden Villa Trail

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Flowers from Hidden Villa

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CSA Recipe: Stir Fried Eggplant and Cabbage in Spicy Peanut Sauce

With the final harvest of our eggplants and peppers that had ripened in the summer heat, and the budding heads of cabbage as cooler weather comes in, this stir fry marks a particular time in the changing seasons. Enjoy!

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CSA Newsletter: Week of October 22, 2012

Olive season is coming. Hidden Villa has a 1/2 acre olive grove and many other olive trees lining our road and around the property.  The original trees were planted by missionaries in the 1880's and they were harvested and pressed for oil intermittently by the Duvenecks.  The grove had gone largely untended and overgrown until about ten years ago when we topped the trees in a long term project to reclaim the orchard's productivity.  Thanks to several recent years of diligent pruning the trees are once again producing substantial crops.

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Figs

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CSA Recipe: Beet Salad

We primarily grow two varieties of beets at Hidden Villa. Chioggia beets, which do better in cooler weather, are a beautiful deep pink color with a white and pink bulls eye pattern inside. It is always a wonder to slice one open and see the intricate stripes under the skin! Red Ace is the other variety, which looks like your standard red beet. We consider it our "workhorse" beet, as it's a reliable variety that is tolerant to warm weather. In this recipe, enjoy beets in a salad dressed up with feta and balsamic. The sweetness of the beets will shine through!
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Continuing the Legacy

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Standing outside the silent auction tent at the 16th annual Duveneck Dinner I was taken aback by a vision.  This vision was of Frank and Josephine treacherously climbing the mountainside and looking down on the canyon and I wondered what they saw all those years ago. Could they see then the potential this land had to bring communities together and collaboratively work towards a just and sustainable future? Surrounded by the diverse group of staff, board members, donors and honorees, I stopped and thought about how this farm has changed so much since the Duvenecks came here but how their legacy still continues to inspire so many.

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CSA Newsletter: Week of October 15, 2012

We finished harvesting and boxing up the last of our potatoes on Friday. At Hidden Villa we using a digging bar on the back of a tractor to turn up the potatoes and then we easily dig through the already loosened soil by hand and pick up potatoes. It is still a lot of work to harvest 800 row feet of potatoes, especially since it was a dishearteningly light yield of around 500 pounds.

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CSA Recipe: Chile Apple Salsa

Enjoy this zesty autumn salsa, sweet with apples and spiced with peppers. Perfect for a fall picnic! 
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CSA Newsletter: Week of October 8, 2012

"I cannot endure to waste anything

so precious as autumnal

sunshine by staying in the house."

- Nathaniel Hawthorne
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CSA Recipe: Creek House Lasagna

Every Monday night us three Hidden Villa interns who live in the quaint Creek House on site make dinner together, primarily using ingrediently from the farm. From New York Times Cooking section recipes for pork wontons to chicken pot pie made with Hidden Villa  veggies, chicken and Cleo milk, we've gotten very ambitious lately, putting meals we want to cook on a white board two weeks ahead of time.This lasagna was one of those amazing meals. It was fun to make together as a group effort, and the results were to die for!
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CSA Newsletter: Week of October 1, 2012

It is October already! I can hardly believe it, especially because it has been so hot these last couple of days. It was hot enough yesterday that we braved the now algae encrusted swimming pool for a quick dip and cool down. The atypical heat and newly erected pumpkin patch in the education garden are telling signs that summer has passed and fall has truly arrived. The season is winding down which means that we are looking into the winter, making plans for work projects and talking about how to get the fields ready for a much needed break. As a year-long intern, I am also starting to think about final skills I would like to acquire, and I am developing plans for my post-Hidden Villa career.

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CSA Recipe: Roasted Tomato Soup

Any tomatoes will make a delcious soup, but the Farm Crew especially loves using Striped Germans or other large heirloom varieties. We eat this soup for lunch on colder days in our outdoor kitchen, making it all the more satisfying. The smell is intoxicating as the tomatoes come out of the oven. It is hard to believe that such a delicious soup is made from only four simple ingredients.
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On the road from Camp Staff to Intern

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When I came to Hidden Villa four years ago I was searching for a place to find myself.  I grew up in a very conservative Midwest town in Indiana, a place where I never truly felt comfortable in my own skin and was left searching for confidence.  It’s funny  but reassuring that I ended up in a place that teaches kids to have that confidence in themselves; something that I had never been able to do though I understood all too well the challenges of loving yourself as an individual.

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CSA Newsletter: Week of September 24, 2012

This Saturday marked the Autumnal equinox and the first day of fall, and also marked the beginning of my fourth week as a CSA intern at Hidden Villa. This first month has been an exhilarating introduction to the farms’ systems, and these weeks have gone by fast. I arrived in early September, when the summer heat was still brilliant, and the sun would not set until after eight o’clock. My large collection of wool hats, blankets, and socks were out of place in the warm evening air. While the seasonal transition from summer to fall can be easily overlooked in California, with Indian summers fluidly stretching into October, the first day of fall is cause for celebration. The fall harvest celebrates a change in pace, and a time to commemorate the bounty of the harvest and prepare for the onset of winter.

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CSA Recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Delicious farm fresh tomatoes, parsley and cucumbers make this traditional grain salad a refreshing treat.
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CSA Newsletter: Week of September 10, 2012

On Monday evening we had our fourth annual heirloom tomato tasting with great success. Every year our tomato tasting has been bigger and fancier. This year we had two hundred people RSVP, though maybe only half of those showed up, and we had live music starting around five o’clock. Out of the ten heirloom varieties that we had available for the tasting the top three chosen in order of popularity were: Japanese Black Trifele, Striped German, and Vorlon. For the farm crew these results are a good reinforcement to continue and expand production of these varieties next year because these three varieties continually rank well during the tomato tasting.

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