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The Development Department at Hidden Villa is a dynamic and inspiring team. They can always be counted on to have an array of exciting projects underway that strengthen Hidden Villa’s relationships and networks in the community, and I’ve been able to be a part of that. Last week I started a seminar at the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University as a representative of Hidden Villa. The five-week course focuses on building partnerships between local organizations and Stanford to create service learning and community based research opportunities. Through these partnerships, Stanford students may gain hands on experience and critical thinking about social issues in the community. Additionally, the partner organization may be able to undertake special projects, collaborate on new ideas, and build capacity or expertise. My job is to find a potential program area at Hidden Villa that is a good fit for this partnership.
I’ve also been writing for and helping manage Hidden Villa’s blog. I’ve loved having time to research and write about timely topics in the food and farming realm, like the passage of the new Farm Bill and local policies that support young farmers. As an added benefit, through my research I’ve learned about like-minded people, businesses and events in the area. This weekend a fellow intern and I had a great time at an event at Pie Ranch, an educational farm over in Pescadero. Slow Money Northern California organized the event to bring together investors in local economy with local entrepreneurs. It spurred me to ask new questions like how do food entrepreneurs get started, what are successful business models, and who are the investors? Who is working to make land accessible to young farmers and what inroads have they made? I’ve surprised myself by becoming genuinely interested in networking. (Luckily I’m memorable as ‘the girl who was on crutches’.)
Having time to sit at a computer is a blessing and a curse. I’ve learned so much, but I can no longer recognize my hands (they’re so clean!). I’ve traded the knowledge of knowing exactly what’s growing in the fields for becoming involved in our work in the community. Despite being an impatient patient, I’ve been grateful to have time to explore these interests and appreciate all that happens at Hidden Villa outside of the farm fields. That said, Jason, Nathan, Taylor, and other generous helpers deserve a huge round of applause for the Herculean task of keeping on top of farm work, while short staffed, at this very busy time in the season.
This week’s harvest includes:
Lettuce: Perfect for summer salads. Don’t be afraid to get creative. I’ve been enjoying salads topped with goat cheese, walnuts, and roasted summer squash.
Beets: Roasted with olive oil and salt or shredded raw into salads, beets are versatile. Don’t forget to eat the greens!
Chard: I like chard sautéed and topped with lemon, but I’ve also been using shredded chard as a filling in enchiladas or lasagna, or adding it to my morning eggs.
Potatoes: These potatoes are DELICIOUS, if we don’t say so ourselves. I recommend making “Roasties.” Cut the potatoes into small pieces, toss them with olive oil and salt and roast them at 400 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Add garlic or any herb.
Leeks: You can use the white and light green part of the leek stem. Leeks are great caramelized and added as the base to any soup or savory dish.
Cabbage: During the summer I like cabbage crunchy and cold, shredded onto tacos, added to salads or in coleslaw.
Purslane: We’ll be honest- purslane actually grows as a weed in our fields. But… it’s also a delicious and highly nutritious leafy green and we’re excited for you to try it. What an exciting wild forage! You can eat all of its parts, raw, steamed, or sautéed. It’s a part of many world cuisines including Chinese, Latin American, and Greek cooking. From customers at the Farmer’s Market and Hidden Villa staff we’ve heard it’s traditionally added to soups or used in roasting pork. I recommend looking up some recipes online.