Category Archives: Crops

Know Your Veggies: Nepitella (Calamintha nepeta)

Nepitella is the Italian name for Calamintha nepeta.  It’s sometimes called lesser calamint in English.  A member of the mint family, nepitella grows wild in Italy, particularly in Umbria and Tuscany.  It’s flavor is something like a cross between mint and oregano, and can be used on nearly any savory dish.  We also throw a few leaves and some lemon slices in our water pitcher for a refreshing beverage .  This mint is growing in popularity, and we have seen it on pizza in SF.

Calamintha nepeta nepeta0.jpg

Photo credit: “Calamintha nepeta nepeta0” by Kurt Stüber [1] – caliban.mpiz-koeln.mpg.de/mavica/index.html part of http://www.biolib.de. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Calamintha_nepeta_nepeta0.jpg#/media/File:Calamintha_nepeta_nepeta0.jpg

–posted by Steven

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Ripe Padron Peppers

You usually see padron peppers served when they are small and green. Typically quick fried in olive oil with a dash of sea salt, you play Russian Roulette with about 1 in 10 being quite spicy, the rest being sweet. However, if you let them ripen, they are quite different – hot, very aromatic, and excellent for drying, which is what these are destined for.

ripe padrons

Photo credit: © S. Butler

–posted by Steven

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Crimson Red Onions

Globe onions are daylength sensitive, which means that you have to match the varietal to your latitude or you end up with onions that flower (bolt) before they finish forming a good bulb. We’ve struggled in the past to find the right ones, but clearly, these crimson reds are a winner.

 crimson red onions

–posted by Steven

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Aji Crystal

The aji crystal pepper is originally from Chile (although some sources suggest Peru).  It has a very distinctive flavor (citrusy) with a somewhat grassy nose.  Fairly hot, but the pain fades quickly.  This is our third or fourth season growing them, and we dry about half of the harvest.

When dried, they have a wonderful translucent yellow-to-orange glow.

Aji Crystal
Photo credit: © L. Butler

As usual, click on the picture to bigify.

-posted by Steven

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View of the Hop Yard

Here’s one more view of our little hop yard.  After harvest, it will just be the cables and ropes.

PHoto credit: L. Butler

–posted by Steven

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First Hops Harvest

Today we did our first harvest of hops. It wasn’t a spectacular quantity, but the flowers were nice and the aroma amazing. The picture is of Cascade, but we had a few other varieties as well.  We learned a lot this year, and expect to have a much more vigorous crop next year.

cascade_hops

Photo credit: L. Butler

We are growing these for Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, and Emily tells us she going to be adding them to a new brew this Wednesday.  We can’t wait to taste the final product.  We’ll let you know when it’s available so you can too.

–posted by Steven

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Persicaria odorata

This herb goes by a variety of names, Vietnamese coriander, Vietnamese mint, hot mint, and others.  At the farm, we call it its Vietnamese name: rau ram.  An alternate botanical name is Poligonum odorata.

Photo credit: L. Butler

We only grow this little patch in a couple of wine barrels, but it gives us enough to supply Gather Restaurant.  It’s naturally a tropical plant, but does well in our climate in the summer.  It dies back in the colder seasons.  If you grow this at home, you may want to use containers that you can take indoors for the winter.

Although called a coriander or mint, it is not part of either family and instead is related to buckwheat and rhubarb.  It is used in cuisines throughout much of Southeast Asia.  The flavor has been described as spicy, lemony, and coriander-like.

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