Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

This morning, I did yoga in our yard for the first time. Except for feeling like the neighbors were watching, it was excellent. The sun was rising, the birds were going crazy, the wind was swirling and clouds were moving pretty fast in the light blue sky. There was so much life around me, it was energizing. I left Lucy inside with Dan because she'll wander off but Baxter laid down beside me until I was done. After I finished, I let Lucy out and we played fetch for awhile before going up for our breakfast.

View from Scotty's

I finally found a CSA! Dan and I went to check it out, about 20 miles away on the north shore. Before we left, we had lunch in town, at Scotty's Beachside BBQ and watched the 6 to 8 foot waves crash (on the east side, there is a high surf advisory and the beaches are closed) as the rain moved in from the ocean.

Mahi Mahi sandwich 

By the time we got to the farm, it was raining pretty good. Jillian, the owner, came out and cheerfully gave us a tour and introduced us to her team. Not only do they run an organic farm and provide a CSA (a lot of her clients are personal chefs with famous clients), but they work with the community. They have a garden where children, ages pre kindergarden through second grade, plant veggies. Her goal is for them to make one meal, just one, with the produce they grow. If they seem more into it, she will do more meals hoping to eventually have an Edible Schoolyard. They also collect green waste (tree trimmings and such) from the community, then they mulch it and sell it. Lastly, they have a Seed to Table course. It is a "12 week service learning program with a focus on intensive beyond organic vegetable, flower and herb farming techniques in Kauai". It's mostly for students but, she is going to take me! How fortuitous this CSA turned out to be for me! Starting Tuesday, I will be going to school of sorts. I am to spend 15 hours a week on the farm where I will work in the garden, help with the CSA, attend workshops and class room instruction. Her classes are small (with me it'll make 5 students) and she tailors her curriculum so it's based on the needs of those involved. I am really excited, in fact as she was telling me what I'd learn, I broke out in tears! I have been wanting to do something like this for so long! I imagine, when I am finished, I will have a garden here at home and use the produce for my personal chef business, our personal food, and to sell at the farmers market. Hopefully, I can network with some of the personal chef's that use Jillian's farm, and maybe get some of their overflow business. Long term goal? Dan and I have some property, and on that property is a farm (e i e i o) and on that farm we have 2 dogs (ha!) and on that farm we grow produce. I'll use the produce to feed us and create a CSA with neighboring farms so I can also provide fruits and flowers. I also want a cafe that sells simple, honest food, using the seasonal produce from our farm. Things like salads, sammies and maybe soups. I want to sell my produce at the cafe as well, kind of like a market, maybe I'll also sell things like local, organic goat cheese and honey or whatever, as long as it's local and sustainably made. I may also sell our produce at the farmers market(s), depends on how much we need the money and how much extra produce we have. So, that's the plan, so far, things will probably change! The class is a $500.00 investment. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I'll spend all day there. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, I'll be cooking for money or looking for people who will pay me to cook! Dan is creating a handy man business that includes computer repair and software installation. In fact, the other day he was talking to our landlords property manager (Jimmy has 6 properties) and she referred Dan to Julie, a property manager for the Remax rental properties. She oversees 190 properties. I guess the other guy left and there is an opening. The great part is that if it gets too busy or if it's a 2 man job, Dan can get Phil to help. So, things are looking up as far as income goes in the Lane household!

Jillian in front of some cabbage ready for harvest

They have goats, mostly for the fertilizer, they eat the damaged or overripe produce. Her family of 5 drink the milk.

She has chickens and sells eggs when they are in abundance. Right now they are producing about 5 dozen. Mostly, her 3 kids go through a dozen eggs in a sitting, asking for kale and eggs for breakfast!

These 3 baby wild boars were given to her, the mama escaped. She does a luau about every 3 months, plus, provides some to the personal chefs.

There are 5 total gardens that they rotate through, plus one for the kids. 

After we left the farm we headed up to Hanalei to check out the waves. We stopped at the pier in Hanalei Bay, because we'd heard it's a great place to learn how to surf. We left shortly thereafter, the rain coming down harder and drenching us! 

Overlooking Hanalei Valley and the taro fields

Hanalei Valley at ground level

I asked Dan to take some shots of me for use on my flyer or website

Not sure which one I should use

The pier at Hanalei Bay

even though it looks cold, it wasn't

a lot of people were out, Dan thinks this is a great wave to learn on.

The houses along Hanalei Bay

The point on the north west edge of the bay

Produce from Jillian's farm, except for the giant avocados, they were from Nok. We also came home with some local honey from a car on the side of the road (hopefully to help Dan's allergies), fresh goat cheese from a local dairy and the best coconut chips!

Tutu's Soup Hale

While the white beans simmer on the stove with some fresh rosemary and garlic, Dan and are I watching a local show called Ocean Paddle. These guys are on paddle boards and they're shredding the waves. Seems we've traded in watching guys (and gals) carve mountain sides to guys (and gals) carving up waves. They're sponsored by Olikai shoes, I'd like to get some, but, they're kind of expensive.

I just finished off a drink we have been experimenting with, it's yet to be named. 3 Tablespoons of honey, 1 1 1/2 limes, juiced, 1 fresh lilikoi, 5 jiggers Cazadores reposado tequila, 5 jiggers triple sec. We are creating drinks for Kauaian Fresh, and I think this one, although costly, is the one! Please forgive me if this post is a little cooky, this drink is kind of strong!

with a basil garnish

Since my last post, it's been rainy and windy. Yesterday, we stayed home most of the day. Dan surfed on the computer and I read. In the afternoon, as we were leaving to mail Savannah and Gracie's (our lovely nieces) birthday presents, we started talking to Phil and Simone. They are dog sitting this weekend and are not happy about it. It isn't the fact that they have to dog sit, it's that the dog comes with a lot of rules and pent up energy. One of the rules is, they are to never, ever, let her off leash. I learn this as I am playing fetch with Baxter, once we go out, Phil comes out with Hunny. She is honey colored, about Baxter's size, 18 months old, and looks to be a lab/beagle mix. Baxter gives her a sniff and barks real loud in her face, I guess showing her who is who. Lucy gives her a couple of sniffs and starts cruising the yard. Hunny wants off leash bad, Phil and I can see it. Baxter is running full on, sometimes catching the ball on the bounce, working up a great pant. Finally, Phil can't take it any more and lets Hunny off her leash. She takes off, in a puppy frenzy, up and down the yard, a huge smile on her face. Simone, distressed, comes out of the house calling Phillip's name. Simone tells me the owner is still in their house! It's a happy ending, Phil catches Hunny, unawares, and puts her leash on.

We head out to run our errands, but, by now we are starving. We decide to check out a Mexican place our insurance agent recommended called Marco's but they are closed. Across the parking lot is Tutu's Soup Hale (Hale means House), I had read good stuff about them so we give it a shot. They have 5 kinds of soup, 4 or 5 sandwiches and 2 salads, plus some cashew, basil patē with focaccia. They make everything from scratch, even the breads, and focus on whole foods. Food they like to eat. The patē is a nod to the raw food eaters. As Dan and I ruminate the menu, Bart, one of the owners, gives us a sample of the baked potato soup. I was considering the mushroom soup but that baked potato soup was yummy! Sage, Burt's wife, asks me what I want and I fumble, I don't know. She asks me if I would like a combo. "A combo? You can do that?" "Sure! Want to try a sample of the mushroom and baked potato?" "Uh, yea!" I'd never thought of combining soups before, it's kind of fun. The combination is delicious but the savory broth from the mushroom soup dilutes the creamy goodness of the baked potato soup. Dan and I order the baked potato soup straight up (it was cold -by our NEW standards- and we wanted comfort food), the soup comes with a fresh baked, still warm, corn bread muffin. We sit outside (it wasn't that cold) and enjoy our soup. 

Tutu's Soup Hale in Kapa'a

After the grocery store, Ace Hardware, and the post office, we come back home. I go upstairs to do yoga and Dan embarks on tree trimming. There is a tree, like the ones in the hedge, banging against our house. (By the way Phil and Simone call the hedge a panic, I know it's not spelled that way but I can not find out how it is spelled and what it means. What is the difference between a panic and a hedge? If you know the spelling and meaning, I'd love it if you shared it with me.) Using the pruning saw he just bought, Dan starts cutting the 20 foot branches down. Phil brings Hunny out, on her leash, to see if Dan needs any help. While they are talking, Dan ties a rope to a large trunk that will fall onto the house unless he redirects it with the rope. As Dan saws, Phil has the rope in one hand and Hunny in the other. The branch lands with a loud crash to the ground and spooks Hunny. She shoots away from Phil, taking the leash with her and runs, runs, runs. Not only is she spooked, but at some point she realized she was free! Phil takes off and Dan untangles himself from the ropes. When Dan catches up with Phil, he is on his way back. He is pissed. He decides forget the dog, he's done, this is ridiculous, he doesn't care if he gets crucified for loosing her. Dan talks him down and together, they set out for her again. Having no idea where she is they walk and call out her name. After cresting the second hill, they see her in a pasture with cows. She won't go near the cows and they seem to have her pinned in, ignoring Dan and Phil, she is milling around. They come closer and have no idea how they are going to get her out, they don't even know how she got in. There is a very steep hill behind the cows, about 60 degrees, and Hunny decides to run up it. It's too much for Phil and Dan, they are at the top of a hill, Dan is in flip flops. Between them and Hunny is a slope full of brambles, barbed wire, cows, and a steep hill. They turn around  defeated, and walk away. Dan gives one last glance back and sees Hunny coming down the hill toward them. She is trapped within the cow pen and is totally amped. They forge their way down, corner her, and eventually manage to get ahold of her leash.

After chasing Hunny down, Dan had to come back and finish the job, Phil having gone inside.

Dan's post op surgery

The branches wait to be taken to the green dump. 

Dinner was whole wheat pasta with home made tomato sauce. This is the easiest, and most delicious tomato sauce I have ever had, although, it's not low calorie! (Tomatoes here are not that great, in fact, I'd say they are insipid. Which is a total bummer but, for some reason cherry tomatoes are great. My aunt's pallea, which calls for fresh tomatoes, was lacking in flavor. To deepen the flavor I decided to add a 1/2 cup of this sauce instead of fresh tomatoes to the sofrito, we'll see how it works at my next pallea attempt.) To the leftover sauce I added sautéed cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic and kalamata olives. After dinner we sat down to popcorn and Caprica. If you love popcorn, and want to make it at home, I highly recommend the whirly gig popcorn popper! It makes perfect popcorn and you control the flavors and amount of fat. We add finely ground sea salt and pepper, perfect!

Lucy chillin in her favorite spot

In an effort to save money Dan and I brought our dog clippers so we could shave them ourselves. They have hair, not fur, so it grows out. In Colorado, we'd trim them 3 times a year. May, June and August. We'd let their hair grow out over the winter. It's more for me than anything. They are outside adventure dogs. In Colorado, they'd get to run around, off leash, for 4 miles about 3 times a week. One of these walks would take about 75 minutes, and, before we got them groomed, I spend 60 minutes after the walk, trying to get every stick and seed out of their fur. I didn't have that kind of time or patience. Now it's even more important to trim them, every other month, because it gets so warm all year round. We tried grooming our dogs once, about 10 years ago. We were newlyweds, living on 3 acres in Golden, Colorado. We had 2 dogs; a Keeshond named (very originally) Keesha and a mix (lab, rot and maybe Bernese Mountain dog) named Strider (a character in The Lord of the Rings). It took 3 miserable hours to shave Keesha and we never did it again. Somehow, in the effort to save money I guess, we forgot all about that. We had Baxter on the ground and the clippers out. He is used to being groomed and is a very good dog, so he just laid there, for an hour, while Dan and I barely made a dent in his coat. A lot of hair came off, but you couldn't tell. The trimmers we have blow! Our groomer in Colorado had some that would take the coat down in one pass, ours took 10 or 15 and we still couldn't get as close as she did. So, Dan called the groomer. Of course they are more expensive (we really had a great groomer in Colorado) but I guess it is going to have to be a bimonthly bill of about $90.00, $50.00 for Baxter and $40.00 for Lucy. 

Our ceiling fan was dying so we headed to Lihue. Jimmy, our landlord, is really good about reimbursing. He deducted the kitchen faucet from the rent and will do the same for the ceiling fan. We also need a printer so after Home Depot, we went to Costco. On the way home we stopped at Tutu's again. I'm telling you, it's that good! Yesterday, they were talking about making a spicy, cilantro tomato soup and we were told it would be ready by 11am today. Dan got a combo of baked potato with the spicy tomato and I got a lentil and brown rice, spicy tomato combo. It's so spicy (Burt uses 30 to 40 habañeros in a 10 quart pot) they make you try a sample. With his iPhone, Burt likes to get pictures of peoples expression right after they taste it. It was definitely spicy! There is no way we could eat a bowl of that stuff straight!


he is so sweet, tolerating me taking his picture when he is trying to work

The creamy white beans with rosemary and garlic are done, and I add some sea salt and pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil. I like to serve them with toasts. I got some great, fresh made bread the other day, so I brush a few slices with olive oil and bake them until they are toasted. The crunch of the toast goes perfectly with the savory, creaminess of the beans. We thoroughly enjoy our beans and toast (afterward Dan said he could eat that every day) while we watch this weeks episode of Lost, then have dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts for dessert.