Category Archives: California Farms

My other passion

Edible San Diego magazine “reborn”

All the food and farm happenings in San Diego County make up the bulk of the reading in this lovely magazine, which has acquired a new lease on life thanks to publishers Riley Davenport and John Vawter.

A Biblical Feast is prominently featured in the Spring issue, at





Blue Heron Farm Bed and Breakfast


Andrea Peterson’s Sheepherder Pie

Serves 4 to 6

    We can let Andrea Peterson, of Peterson Specialty Produce, wax poetic about her organic raspberries, twenty varieties of baby lettuce, and especially, her super sweet sugar-snap peas. For over 20 years, her produce has garnered accolades from patrons as far away as New York and Canada. Her guests are the ones who sing the praises of her Blue Heron Farm Bed and Breakfast nestled in a remote corner of Morro Hills, on the southern edge of Camp Pendleton (CA) ( 

    This winter, the rains fed a cornucopia of organic vegetables, many of which fill the edible container that Andrea sometimes assembles for breakfast on the deck.

1 shepherd’s loaf, hollowed out to 1" thickness

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 small potatoes, peeled and diced

1/2 cup carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced

4 ounces sliced mushrooms

4 ounces cooked green beans, chopped

1/4 cup minced parsley

1 cup turkey or chicken gravy

1/2 cup white wine (optional)

1 to 2 cups leftover poultry, beef or ham, cubed (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

     Hollow shepherd’s loaf to within 1-inch of crust.  Trim underside of "cap" and set aside. 

     In large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions until wilted. Add garlic, potatoes and carrots. Cook until potatoes are barely tender. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat, until tender. Remove from heat, and cool a few minutes. 

     Place hollowed loaf on ungreased baking sheet. Fill to capacity with vegetable mixture.  Replace "cap." Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot, taking care the crust doesn’t turn too crispy. Serve immediately.

 Adapted from The California Farm Cookbook, by Kitty Morse (Pelican Publishing). 

Community Supported Agriculture Hits Rabat!

 I grant you this is a strange post for my California Farmers page, but I thought it fit perfectly in the spirit of California farming.

CSA (Community Support Agriculture), or "subscription farming" has arrived on the outskirts of Rabat. Many well-to-do Moroccans, as well as the large expat community, are opting to share in the cost of production to ensure a regular supply of organically grown fruits and vegetables. is an interesting video on the start of a CSA movement in a developing country

Watch for my article on CSA’s in San Diego County in the summer issue of Edible San Diego magazine.

More later. . . 



A Biblical Stew for Easter or Passover

 Many of you know what a fan I am of the Vista Farmer’s Market, and of California farmers and food purveyors. In keeping with the Easter/Passover theme, I recently spoke with Sally Brown, of Good for You Gourmet. Sally sells organic beans and grains at the market. Her products are perfectly suited to prepare a biblically inspired dish, including this one exerpted from A Biblical Feast: Ancient Mediterranean Flavors for Today’s Table.

     Making soup mixes from grains and beans was just a hobby for Sally until she decided to turn it into a business called Good for You Gourmet. For the eight years, the former graphic artist has been a fixture at the Vista Farmer’s market, selling organic heirloom beans, rice, and exotic grains. Sally sources her products all over the world, from Bolivian quinoa, to Spanish lentils, and French Red Rice from the Camargue region in France.

     “Customers are becoming more interested in moving from processed and fast foods to creating more healthful dishes for themselves and their families,” explains the soft-spoken vendor, who hails from Ohio. “These dietary journeys can be made by slowly introducing a few healthy changes, and adding more healthy foods as time goes on.”

     Among the lentil varieties available at the Good for You Gourmet’s stand are striking Black Beluga, delicate French Green lentils, and flavorful Spanish Pardina, to name a few. Like the rest of Sally’s products, the lentils are organically grown.

     Rich in fiber and protein, lentils, garbanzos, and fava beans have been a staple of the Mediterranean diet since biblical times. Ancient bread makers often ground them and combined with other cereal grains to make bread. Then as now, dried beans and lentils were primarily used in soups and stews. Lentils provide a nutritious backdrop for a Lentil, Barley & Mustard Green Soup that incorporates some of the same ingredients that were available to Ancient Hebrew cooks.

 Lentil, Barley & Mustard Green Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons pearl barley (or millet)

¾ cup brown (or black beluga) lentils, rinsed, drained and impurities removed

1 medium leek, white part only, finely diced

3(14 ¼-ounce) cans beef broth

1 bunch mustard leaves, rinsed under running water, drained, and coarsely chopped

10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried, crushed mint leaves

Salt to taste

      Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, barley and lentils. Cook, stirring, until barley turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add leeks and stock. Cover and cook, until barley is tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Add mustard leaves and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add mint and salt before serving.

 e-mail Good for You Gourmet:




Wild Rice Irene

For The California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing 1994) (link to, I travelled the length and breadth of California, searching out family farmers, and recording their stories. I also solicited their favorite recipes for the fruits and vegetables they grew, the cheese they produced, and the beef or chickens they raised. This is one of them.

This is  a great dish to take on a picnic. The secret to obtaining tender wild rice is to soak it overnight (the way they do in Minnesota!), and then cook it until the grains pop open.

4 cups chicken broth
1 cup wild rice, soaked overnight and drained
1 3/4 cups bulgur wheat
1 cup raisins
1 bunch scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Grated zest of two oranges
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 cup pecan bits or sliced almonds, toasted

In medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil.  Stir in wild rice. Return to a boil. Cover and lower heat to simmer. Cook, 40 to 45 minutes or until rice grain "pops" open. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
While rice is cooking, bring 2 1/4 cups water to a boil. Add bulgur wheat. Cover and lower heat to simmer. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain.  Let bulgur cool, and combine with the rice.  Add all remaining ingredients. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

From The California Farm Cookbook (Pelican Publishing, 1994)