Capay Valley Fruits and Vegetables held a farm tour and strawberry picking on Saturday, open to all their Farm Fresh to You customers. FFTY is the program that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables to me every other week, and frequently challenges my cooking repertoire.
It was a little bit of a drive to get out there, Capay Valley is located west of Sacramento, but it was mostly on the highway, so it really only took about an hour and twenty minutes. As soon as I arrived I joined a group led by the youngest of 4 brothers whose parents originally started the organic farm back in the late 1970s.
For the next two and a half hours, Freeman talked about the history of the farm, the organic movement (as he and his parents have experienced it), and walked us around a few of the 120! different crops they grow on their 250 acres. I saw pistachio trees (for the first time in my life), fig trees, carrots, asparagus growing right out of the ground! (also for the first time), heirloom tomato plants, stone fruit and mandarin orange trees. And a bunch of other vegetables.
Along the way I got to pick as many strawberries as I could carry, free of charge! As you might imagine, children were in full effect. I felt sort of like a kid myself. And at the same time I felt really good about this intermingling of producer and consumer. My “subscription” offers them some financial stability in leaner times, which gets repaid with larger boxes during abundant times. And not only were they really nice people, but they were really smart, and really sensitive to the land, their produce, and their customers. (The next tour is on August 23 and includes a tomato harvest—so mark your calendars!)
I would have stayed longer, except I had to get back home to cook some of these great organic vegetables for Jean-Claude and Sabine who were staying the night. Some of the bruised strawberries went into a compote with rhubarb (also from the farm), and then I made a delicious quiche with a roasted asparagus tips (from the farm), caramelized onions, and prosciutto.