Updates & Helpful Tips
Volunteers make the wheels turn at Sierra Harvest and we are especially grateful for all of those who have jumped in during 2020 to help out during this time of increased community need!
In lieu of our big end-of-season farm potluck to celebrate our dedicated crew of volunteers, we’d like to take a moment to share our thanks to the 200+ volunteers who contributed over 2,200 hours over the last 12 months, even in the midst of a pandemic and the worst wildfire year on record. We couldn’t do this work without you! Continue reading “2019-20 Harvest Leaders are Sierra Harvest’s Volunteers of the Year!” →
When Alexis saw people handing out organic plant starts next to her automotive repair shop, Geared Up Drive Train in Grass Valley, she knew there was something special going on.
The next door neighbor was Grass Valley Child Nutrition Services, where most of the Western Nevada County school meals are made. In addition to handing out to-go lunches for distance learners, she learned that Sierra Harvest was there to distribute free spring veggie starts so families in need could grow some of their own food at home.
The BriarPatch Food Co-op just introduced a new program to create more access to fresh food education for our local students! In addition to the many other ways they contribute to the community, BriarPatch Food Co-op recently launched the new Apples for Gardens Program, which leverages the sales of apples at the Co-op to support school gardens at 11 local schools. Each month, the BriarPatch Food Co-op will donate ten cents for every pound of apples sold in the store to support the garden education. And that’s no small number either, in 2019 the Co-op sold 77 tons of apples!
Despite the current practice of distance learning at our school campuses, there are still 11 lovingly tended gardens at our local schools that are just waiting for students to return to campus. And when it’s time for the kids to come back, thanks to this program (and each and every apple!), the gardens will be ready to receive them.
The first apple fund award went out in August to Chicago Park School. Principal Katie Kohler raved, “The Apples for Schools is a fantastic program! We have been able to extend our Garden Teacher’s hours this year so that students will have more time in the garden. Our teacher also has more time to maintain and expand our current program!”
Historically, finding ongoing funding sources to support the upkeep of school gardens has been a difficult task. “School gardens often fall victim to budgets or a dedicated volunteer who needs to move on to their next project. This new partnership between BriarPatch Food Co-op , the County Office of Education and Sierra Harvest will allow for school gardens to outlast any one funding source or incredible volunteer and provide exponential ways for kids to explore their natural world in relation to food, their health and their environment,” said Aimee Retzler, Co-Director of Sierra Harvest.
Schools supported by the program include: Chicago Park , Lyman Gilmore , Deer Creek , Seven Hills,, Ready Springs , Williams Ranch, Alta Sierra , Cottage Hill, Union Hill, Yuba River Charter and Nevada City School of the Arts.
“I think this is a wonderful collaboration between BriarPatch Food Co-op , Sierra Harvest and our schools to help fund school site gardens. These gardens are such an important learning tool for students on where food comes from and this is a great way for the community to help by simply buying apples!,” said Scott Lay, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools.
They say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and now your apple is even more powerful! So pick up some apples and do your part to support the BriarPatch Food Co-op Apples for Gardens Program.
First Rain Farm picked over 600 pints of tasty, organic red and golden raspberries for kids to taste during September’s Harvest of the Month! Four local schools with on-campus classes distributed these tasty treasures directly to students, and the rest of delicious berries went to school meal providers across Nevada County so they could be included in to-go lunches for distance learners. What a fresh treat!
First Rain Farm, located in Nevada City, is a no-till, certified organic farm that provides a wide range of fruits and vegetables to Nevada County. Tim and Kat Van Wagner operate this family farm, and one of the beauties about of these raspberry varieties is that they taste incredible just as they are! When the Van Wagner family isn’t just eating them fresh off the cane, Kat likes to blend them into goat kefir with a bit of local honey, or make these Raspberry PB&J Crumble for a delicious and healthy treat – see recipe below.
You can get these delicious First Rain Farm raspberries by the pint, half flat or flat at the Saturday Farmers Market in Nevada City or the First Rain Farm online store.
PB & J Crumble Bars
serves: Makes 8 bars
1 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1/4 cup plus 2tbs of coconut sugar
2 tbs natural peanut butter
3 tbs melted coconut oil, plus extra to grease the pan
1/4tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup light spelt flour, whole spelt, gf all purpose flour and any what based flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8X4 loaf pan with coconut oil. Line the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the raspberries, chia seeds and 2tbs of coconut sugar. Cook this mixture until the raspberries are broken down and jammy, about 3-5 min. set aside to cool
In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining coconut sugar, peanut butter, coconut oil, and vanilla. To this mixture add the oats, flour baking powder and salt. Stir with a spatula to combine. Reserve a 1/4 cup of this oat mixture press the remaining oat mixture into your prepared loaf pan, evenly covering the bottom. Press it in firmly! Bake the crust for 10 min.
Once the crust has par baked, remove it from the oven. Spread the raspberry mixture over the surface of the crust, covering it evenly. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture over the top. Bake the bars for 25-27 min. or until top is slightly browned and the filling is bubbling.
Let bars cool completely before removing from the pan. Slice into desired size bars and enjoy!!!
It’s September. If you’re anything like me, amidst all this chaos you may have forgotten you even have a garden. Garden? What garden? All I see is smoke and tall weeds – thanks. Continue reading “September Garden Tips: Make Peace with the Chaos” →
“Summertime is all about tomatoes” says Scott Weidert, owner of Heartwood Eatery in Nevada City. “I have about 20 tomato plants in my home garden, mostly cherry and heirloom varieties. I always love this time of year when you can eat the tomatoes ripe off the vine.”
If you haven’t been to Heartwood Eatery yet, Scott has created an incredibly delicious menu, heavy in vegetables and fresh, local produce, custom made into bowls, salads, and scrumptious toasts. This time of year, tomatoes are on the menu, locally grown from Nevada County farmers. “We get a lot of our tomatoes from Chapman Family Farm,” says Scott, and orders heirloom varieties from many other local farms as well. Continue reading “Taste the Harvest of the Month with Heartwood Eatery!” →
“This is so wonderful, I wanted a garden for so long… I keep getting happy tears!”
We have finally made it to the big moment. Harvest time! It’s officially time to reap the benefits of all the work you’ve been putting in since the spring. Here are a few tips around making the most of some common summer veggies and herbs which are abundant right now.