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A Little Slice of Hidden Villa's Beauty

Hello everyone, 

My name is Lucy Zhang and I've been working at Hidden Villa for over five years. I am the staff accountant but I have a growing passion for photography and I love to capture images of interesting aspects of the natural world.

Every day when I come to work, I am greeted by robust farm animals, organic gardens brimming with vegetables, delicate, colorful flowers and miles of lush green wilderness. I'm forever awed by the splendor of this magical place.

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CSA Recipe: Pesto Pasta

Sometimes you can't beat the classics. The simple and complex aroma of basil made into pesto and served over warm pasta is enough to have us drooling before we even eat our lunch!
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CSA Newsletter: Week of September 3, 2012

This Labor Day weekend marked the end, and the beginning, of a new chapter for us on the Farm Crew. Last Wednesday we planted into the last few rows in the field, meaning that the vast majority of our planting is finished for the year. This, I think, is a cause for celebration. I can vividly recall my first few walks through the fields, looking out at waves of poppies and mustard flowers, not really believing that it would all one day be turned into neat rows of crops. We have steadily worked to till those cover crops under, create beautiful rows, and fill them with a huge variety of beautiful and delicious foods. In addition to this seasonal milestone, last week held further causes for celebration: birthdays, first corn in the share box,  the rediscovery of my favorite pair of pants, and a celebratory Farm Crew (and friends) trip to Nevada City.

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CSA Recipe: Tomato Cucumber Salad with Red Onion, Feta and a Fennel Flower Vinaigrette

When our fennel in the field goes to seed it grows incredibly aromatic yellow flower clusters that have a rich anise flavor. We provided a bundle of these flowers for our CSA members this week so they can experience this interesting stage of the fennel plant and try it as an herb in their cooking.
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CSA Newsletter: Week of August 27, 2012

Every year during our largest annual fundraising event, the Duveneck Dinner, the farm crew has offered a meal for 10 served out in our fields as an item for silent auction.  Selling this unique experience has been an important way for the farm to support our fundraising and has also been a specialized kind of mission-oriented outreach.

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CSA Recipe: Baba Ghanoush

Beautiful dark purple and pink eggplants are now coming on in our fields. The Asian varietites we primarily grow are easy to cook because you don't need to salt them. Enjoy these eggplants roasted as a side dish or on sandwiches, or as Baba Ghanoush!
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CSA Newsletter: Week of August 20, 2012

It is unusually quiet and calm this morning at Hidden Villa. At first everything seems normal, the rooster is sounding off at 5:30, the squirrel is running across my roof at six to steal golden delicious from my apple tree, and I can hear the crows cawing already even though it is just after seven. Then I realize there is no chanting or children's voices. Summer camp is officially over which means we have two hundred fewer people living here.

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Wrapping Up an Amazing Summer

Written by Jeff (Echo)

As we aproach autumn it is time for summer camp to come to an end. This will be my final blog post for the season and I thought it would be appropriate to focus on our eldest campers here at Hidden Villa, and their journey from camper to counselor in our A.C.T. program. A handfull of A.C.T. campers have completed their training and mentoring program over the course of first three sessions of this summer. During this final session, these A.C.T.s  have become intern counseling staff in the day camp, tipi camp, and rez camp programs. In this role A.C.T.s are full time staff members of the summer camp community.

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CSA Recipe: Tomato Salsa

Tomatoes of all shapes, colors, and sizes are coming in on their vines right now. A great way to preserve or enjoy the harvest is to make salsa. Here is my favorite new salsa recipe from Put ‘Em Up, a great book on home preservation. You can scale it to the ingredients you have on hand. This recipe makes a bunch!

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CSA Newsletter: Week of August 13, 2012

This week I am house sitting at a home that has a special perk: wireless Internet in the house! I have been saturating myself online, including some non productive catching up on friends’ latest photos, and some more productive perusing of websites of other small-scale farms. Last night I discovered a small farm in Vermont that offers a year round CSA, something I had not considered until then, especially for a farm in such a cold weather climate. Upon further investigation, I found that the farm employs people specifically to preserve the year’s harvest through canning and freezing. In this way they ensure that CSA members have access to farm raised food, year round. I was equally impressed and inspired, and started thinking more about successful marketing styles utilized by small farms.

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CSA Recipe: Refrigerator Dilly Beans

Pounds and pounds of green beans are proliferating on their vines right now! A great way to enjoy the overload is to make pickles. Green beans make crisp, tangy, delicious "dilly beans," which use a brine of apple cider vinegar and fresh dill.These will last for at least a month in your fridge.
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CSA Newsletter: Week of August 6, 2012

Last week there was a mother picking up her share box who was carefully explaining to her son that we did not have strawberries this week and that we would probably not have them this year. It is probably the saddest thing for me to hear when a long time share member has the expectation of receiving something with which I know we are having difficult problems.

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Join us for a Floral Wreath Making Class

I spent this morning harvesting and drying flowers for my Holiday wreaths. Even though it's the dog days of Summer I am looking ahead and wanting to make all of this Summer bounty last into Fall and Winter. Sign up now to join me November 10th for my wreath making class, using materials grown and harvested here on the farm. Hope to see you there!

-Lanette

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CSA Recipe: Fresh Summer Pasta

Ingredients

2-3 summer squash (depends on your appetite)
3 T olive oil
½ bunch parsley
2-3 peeled cloves of garlic
2 T butter
1 lemon, juiced
one box linguine pasta (or one pound of fresh pasta)
salt
pepper

Slice squash into roughly ½” discs or medallions. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a preheated grill, flipping once to cook both sides. Meanwhile, follow instructions to prepare desired amount of linguine. With the flat of a large chef’s knife, crush the garlic repeatedly, adding a little salt to help soak up the expressed oil. Once the garlic is an even paste, mince well and sauté briefly in the butter. To assemble, toss pasta with butter/garlic mixture, lemon juice, and generous handfuls of rough chopped parsley. Top with grilled squash medallions and enjoy.

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CSA Newsletter: Week of July 30, 2012

Wednesday of last week was homemade roasted tomatillo salsa and chicken enchiladas, fresh guacamole, Spanish style rice and homegrown pinto beans. Saturday afternoon was Czech style cabbage, slow roasted pork, Peruvian style onions, fresh slaw, double and triple cream brie, fluffy ciabatta, and homemade blueberry cheesecake ice cream. Monday of this week was homemade pizzas with sausage, broccoli, padron peppers, onions, tomato sauce and beets all from Hidden Villa, a beautiful handmade peach pie with homemade vanilla ice cream.

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CSA Recipe: Cucumber Salad

My love for cucumbers developed when I first had a cucumber salad at my favorite Japanese restaurant. Though this is not their recipe, it will do the trick.

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CSA Newsletter: Week of July 23, 2012

Well, Summer is definitely in full swing. These days our work typically revolves around weeding, harvesting, eating, preserving, and more weeding. Amidst the weeds I have been working on improving my new farming skills, learning entirely new ones, and reflecting on the lasting impact of first experiences.

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Magic Potions, Archery, and Nature Mobiles

Written by Jeff (Echo)

Greetings from summer camp! I apologize for not updating the last few weeks, but I promise that things have been just as busy and joyful as ever here on the farm. This week I had the chance to jump in to Tipi Camp and lead a choice activity. During choice activities campers are presented with a variety activities, all at different energy levels and involving different aspects of Hidden Villa.

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CSA Recipe: Salsa Verde

Tomatillos, orginating in Mexico, are a green, purple, or yellow fruit that fill a papery husk. They are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces.  With our first tomatillos this week, it feels necessary to include this recipe, although we have no peppers or cilantro yet. This delicious hot sauce can be kept in the fridge for a couple of weeks to be used with numerous Mexican foods.

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CSA Newsletter: Week of July 16, 2012

Hello share members, my name is Lanette Anderson, I work here at Hidden Villa as the Horticulturist and flower farmer. Some of you, who’ve been CSA members for a few years, might remember me from my time here as a CSA intern and Journeyman farmer. I am happy to announce that I’m back on the ranch and back to pursuing my passion of growing and working with flowers, now as a more permanent member of the HV community. Your wonderful CSA crew has granted me a guest spot in this week’s newsletter to chat with you about our flowers on the farm; why we’re growing them, why you should care, and how you can get some for your very own.

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