Winter Farm Update 2015

January 23, 2015

Hello again Mountain Bounty friends!

Winter is a time for reflection and planning ahead, and that’s exactly what’s happening right now on the farm. We are spending lots of time preparing for the upcoming season: ordering seeds, updating crop spreadsheets, reviewing our notes and the member survey from 2014, and making plans to implement changes.

Thanks to all our Summer 2014 members who took the time to complete the end-of-season survey. Many of you want an option for a smaller box, so we’re giving it a trial run this summer. It’s a lot of extra work but we think it will be worth it to meet your needs. Stay tuned for details next month.

This month we also began seeding in the greenhouses. Tomatoes are already coming up, Walla Walla onions have been transplanted, and many greens are about to be seeded. It’s an exciting time, where everything seems possible. The crew is given to huddling in the cold barn debating thorny farming problems at great length.

Organic Certification

We’ve been working on getting certified organic this year. I have resisted this for 20 years, largely because I viewed it as another time- and money-consuming paperwork chore (like taxes; but don’t worry, we’ve been paying our taxes!) that wouldn’t really benefit the farm or the people who eat our produce. We’ve always met or exceeded the organic standards anyway, so organic certification will not change much about how we grow your food, except for minor changes to our record keeping. As the farm has grown and developed over the years, our methods, skills, and the land have improved to the point that we occasionally have excess bounty of various crops.We’ve chosen to become certified organic so it will be easier to sell that excess produce to grocery stores at a decent price. Organic certification will also make it easier for folks to understand our methods who may not understand the nuances of organic farming.

Nonetheless, we remain as committed as ever to the CSA ideal of building a relationship of trusting support between farmers and eaters. Thanks for believing in us.

Your farmer,
John Tecklin


Here’s another reason to sign up for the winter share, if you haven’t already. My father sent me a link to this series of articles in the LA Times about terrible farm worker conditions in Mexico: Increasing amounts of the organic produce available in stores during the winter comes from Mexico. We are very lucky to have access to Riverdog Farm’s produce, grown right in our region, by people we know.

Comments Off on Winter Farm Update 2015

Spring 2014 Update

March 31, 2014

Dear Mountain Bounty Farm Members,

The farm is in full spring swing. The fields are beautifully lush and green with thriving cover crops. The greenhouses are bursting with baby transplants and the large tunnels that cover and protect the earliest plantings are full of baby carrots, beets, and tomatoes. Peas and onions are loving the spring weather. This week we have been working hard to prepare the fields and plant our first waves of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, chard, scallions, napa cabbage, and lettuce. As I write this the crew is scurrying to get this all done ahead of what looks to be a solid rainstorm in the next week. It’s very exciting time to be farming.

For a couple of months now I’ve been meaning to update you on a bunch of important farm news:

– Summary of last summer’s survey & our responses
– Our plans to deal with the drough
– And a quick mention about 2014 pricing

2013 Summer Veggies Survey:
Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey! We got 276 responses which is a great survey response rate – 48% of members filled out a survey, so we feel confident that we are getting a clear message about what people want. Our goal for the survey is to continue to improve the farm. We want to make sure that we are giving you what you want as much as possible within the constraints of what is possible for our farm. I’ll give some highlights and then discuss crop by crop what people wanted, and what we are going to do about it.

Overall it looks like we are doing pretty well. In answer to the question about your overall satisfaction, 95.5% responded with a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5 (1 is very dissatisfied, and 5 is very satisfied). And on the question as to whether you would sign up again, 90% picked either a 4 or 5.  When asked whether you would recommend Mountain Bounty to a friend, 98.8% said yes! To say the least, this is very nice to hear. THANK YOU! My favorite comments in the general section were from three different members who all said, when asked why they might not sign up next year said, “If I die.”

We also got hundreds of very helpful comments and criticisms about everything from how the pickup sites are run to requests for more or less of a particular vegetable. Many of these comments identify problems we already knew about (some onions at the end of the season had rot in the middle) and others were more of a surprise (so many people disliked the sweet corn). I can’t give detailed responses here to all of the comments, but please know that every comment has been taken to heart and changes are being made, where possible and practical, to improve your Mountain Bounty experience. If you would like more information about any aspect of our farming, decision making, or just want a direct answer to a comment, please send an email any time.

Here are some highlights from the particular vegetable want more of/want less of section. It is amazing how diverse people’s tastes are. By its nature, Community Supported Agriculture is an imperfect system where to some extent everyone will be getting more of something they don’t want or less of something they want. I encourage everyone to remember that most of every box is going to make you happy!

Beans: people wanted more. Although beans are very easy to grow, they are also our most laborious crop (along with peas) to pick and at this point we cannot do more than we do. Each season we do 3 bean plantings and aim to pick each planting for two weeks. Last season we were able to give out beans 6 times.

Broccoli and Kale: I’m grouping these together because we plant them together and people wanted more of both. Last year our spring plantings did very well and we gave out tons of broccoli and kale through July. So I’m assuming that people are responding to the fall crops here. The dry hot fall (remember 2013 was the driest year ever recorded in California) caused a lot of problems (mostly aphids) for these cool/moist loving crops. We planted plenty, but in the fall we only were able to harvest about half of what we would have liked.

Cabbage: people want less. We gave out cabbage 6x in 2013. This year we plan to give a similar amount but we will make sure that we don’t give it out in consecutive weeks which can be overwhelming.

Carrots: equal numbers wanted more and less. For now we’ll continue to give out lots of carrots. In 2013 you got carrots 19 out of 24 weeks.

Corn: Many people want less corn. This was a big surprise as past surveys have gone the other way. It sounds like a lot of people are put off by the worms in the tips. Here’s our plan: We are going to plant a little less – 5 instead of 6 plantings. This also helps with our concerns about the drought because corn takes up a lot of space and thus water (it uses about the same amount of water as other veggies, but yields less per area cultivated). AND we are going to try a radical new approach. We are going to attempt to cut the tips off of all the ears for you. For my whole farming career I have stubbornly resisted doing as the grocery stores do because I viewed it as reducing the quality of the rest of the ear by allowing it to dry out quicker. But it’s finally time to try it. It’s going to take a lot of work, but we so badly want everyone to love our tasty sweet corn!

Eggplant and Fennel: people want less. This breaks the crew’s heart. We gave out eggplant 6x and fennel 3x in 2013. Our plan is to try harder to win you over to these veggies we love! Our plan is to do a better job of sharing easy and tasty recipes for these crops.

Onions and Garlic: people want more. 2013 was our best year for garlic in a while and an average onion year; we gave garlic out 11x and onions 9x. This year we planted more of the garlic varieties that have been doing better for us and we have a better garlic curing plan so hopefully there will be even more garlic this year. We are planting more onions this year.

Peppers and Potatoes: people want more. We had an excellent year for both of these crops and gave out a lot of them, peppers 9x (2-4 peppers ea. time) and potatoes 8x (average 2.75 lbs. ea. time). We can’t see how we could give out more of these crops because it’s almost impossible to make the season longer than it already is. Hopefully we’ll have another good year of these crops.

Tomatoes: people want more. This was also a bit of a surprise since we had such a great tomato season. In 2013 we gave out tomatoes for 16 out of 24 weeks. For 7 peak weeks we gave out 3 lbs. each time! Our guess is that when filling out the survey at the end of the season people may be remembering the last few tomato weeks as they tapered down to just a couple of small tomatoes in the boxes. Our only hope to increase the tomato bounty is to extend the peak season later into the fall (we are already going to extreme measures to get tomatoes as early as possible – the first planting gets seeded on new year’s day!). So we have added a later tomato planting, some of which will be in a greenhouse, to see if we can extend the period where we put 3 lbs. in each box.

Impact of the Droughton Mountain Bounty:
Everyone has been asking me about the drought. So far I think we will be ok because we have worked hard to adapt and make changes that will help us to continue to provide you with great food this year.

2013 was a bountiful but very dry year. Weather scientists are saying that the calendar year 2013 was the driest in California since sometime in the 1400’s. And 2014 got off to a scary dry start. Since then we have gotten some good rains, thank goodness. Despite the wonderful spring rains, we are still anticipating that we will get about half of average rainfall for the year. As of February 1,  we had only received 5.5 inches of rain since September, but since then we have gotten about 18 inches. Our cover crops looked like they would die in January, but many of them then grew to chest high and are already mowed down in preparation for planting. We have been working hard and scheming hard all winter to figure out how to survive and thrive despite the drought.
Here are a few things we’ve done or plan to do:

  • Invested in new more efficient sprinkler heads for our main fields.
  • Plan to buy more drip irrigation and convert more of our crops to drip irrigation – currently about 2/3 of our crops are on drip.
  • Cleaned out one of our ponds to increase its storage capacity.
  • Worked to make sure that the main reservoir that serves our farm has enough water by working with the water district to carefully manage the water coming in, plugging leaks, and working to convince state regulators to let us fill the reservoir. Two years ago they mandated that we keep the level below a certain point and are making it very difficult for us to raise the level again.
  • We have also made changes to our planting plan, where we have a list of crops that we may choose to either reduce or not plant if the drought gets worse. And we are considering mulching certain crops, which is a very expensive option at the farm scale.

The biggest unknown right now is how our wells will hold up in the later part of the season. At this point I am optimistic that with careful farming we will make it through this year about like we did last year.

2014 CSA Pricing:
This year we have again decided to raise our summer veggie share prices by $1/box to a total of $26.75 per box (Truckee/Tahoe folks pay an additional $3 for delivery). No one likes this, but here are our reasons:

  • We continue to strive to pay our small crew a living wage. It’s the right thing to do and we hope that as a result they will continue to stick with us and sustain the farm. They get paid much better than most farms, but we hope to do even better.
  • Everything we have to buy to farm keeps costing us more every year, from seeds to organic fertilizers to drip irrigation parts.
  • In our price comparison studies over the past 4 years our boxes averaged $31-$35 value over the season. We want to continue to give you a good and generous deal, and we also want to receive fair compensation for our top quality produce.

Thank you all for supporting Mountain Bounty!
John Tecklin

Comments Off on Spring 2014 Update

Why the Veggie Share Price Increase?

February 6, 2013

A Note from John Tecklin
February 5, 2013

No one likes increased prices, but I hope that the small amount of the increase, together with the following explanation of our reasons will help soften the blow. I have been working for a few years to build a long term local farm crew that gets paid a living wage. Currently we are one of the only farms in the area to employ people year round. I am hoping to increase the salaries of our best workers in order to keep them for the long term.

Also, I am sure it will come as no surprise that our costs for everything from seeds to tractor parts, continue to increase. Even with this price increase, our prices are still at or below other farms in the area – and we continue to offer a very generous box. Please see my notes about our box value.

Thanks for your continued support of our good food adventure!

But remember ….

Signup before April 1, 2013, to get 2012 pricing! On April 1 our summer season veggie share will increase by $24 (or $1/week) and the flower share by $18 (also $1/week). (Fruit share pricing will stay the same.) Online summer signups begin March 1, or signup today by phone to reserve your spot: (530)292-3776. Click here for more info on the summer season and pricing.

Comments Off on Why the Veggie Share Price Increase?

2012 Summer Crop Report

February 5, 2013

Click here to read the 2012 Summer Crop Report.

Comments Off on 2012 Summer Crop Report

Fennel, Apple & Beet Chutney

May 1, 2012

½ Fennel bulb thinly sliced
4 Beets chopped
2 apples peeled and chopped
1 leek finely chopped
¼ teaspoon of Tarragon
2 tblsp melted butter
2 tblsp olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar (not packed)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. In mixing bowl combine all ingredients, except brown sugar, and toss lightly
  3. Line a roasting pan or jellyroll pan with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray (this is not absolutely needed, but it makes it easier to remove after cooking since ingredients will caramelize) and add veggie mixture
  4. Roast veggie mix for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally
  5. After veggies are fork tender, sprinkle with brown sugar and roast an additional five minutes
  6. Transfer veggies to serving bowl and enjoy

I usually serve this with lean center cut pork chops, it is too sweet for steak and might overwhelm chicken. Goes great with a mellow bottle of Pinot Noir.

Comments Off on Fennel, Apple & Beet Chutney

Spring Veggie & Goat Cheese Dip

April 10, 2012


1 cup 3/4-inch pieces asparagus

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups whole milk

1 cup grated mild white cheddar

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 14-ounce can chopped artichoke hearts in water, drained

1/4 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese, divided



Preheat oven to 450°. Steam asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; let cool.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Whisk in flour; gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened; remove from heat. Add cheddar; whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fold in asparagus (reserve tips), artichoke hearts, peas, chives, mint, flat-leaf parsley, lemon zest and 2 oz. crumbled fresh goat cheese.

Transfer mixture to a 4–5-cup baking dish; arrange asparagus tips on top and dot with another 2 oz. goat cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 15–20 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Comments Off on Spring Veggie & Goat Cheese Dip

Asparagus = Spring!

March 19, 2012

YUM! You all probably have a million ideas for cooking with it. Of corse our family favorite way is tossing the asparagus with some good EVOO + salt + pepper and grilling for a few minutes. Even my 5 year old will eat multiple spears like they are candy.

But here are a bunch of yummy recipes from Better Homes & Garden, March 2012:

Asparagus Fritter Sticks

Garlicky Asparagus Flatbread

Roasted Asparagus-Orange Salad

And from

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Grilled Asparagus

Asparagus Frittata with Cilantro Chile Sauce

 Polenta with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Green Onions

Asparagus Linguine with Mint Pesto (the asparagus IS the pasta!)

Comments Off on Asparagus = Spring!

Arugula Fun

March 12, 2012

Yum! Arugula is a yummy, nutty green packed with Vitamin A & C – and has hardly any calories!

Click here for 9 different recipes for arugula.

Grilled Fontina, Mushroom, and Arugula Sandwiches

Pasta with Arugula & White Beans

Potato Gratin with Arugula & Bacon

Ricotta & Spinach (& Arugula) Gnocchi

It also makes a great pesto instead of basil:

Arugula Pesto


1 bunch arugula, stems removed (about 4 ounces)
2 3/4 teaspoons of coarse or Kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Fill a large bowl with ice and add water, set aside. Fill a medium sized saucepan with water and the 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and bring it to a boil. Add the arugula and as soon as thewater returns to a boil, remove the arugula with a slotted spoon and place it immediately into the ice water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Transfer the arugula to several layers of paper toweling or clean kitchen towels and allow to drain. Roll up the towels and squeeze as much moisture as possible from the arugula.
  3. Place the arugula in a blender jar and add the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the pepper and puree until the mixture looks like thick pesto. There will be a small amount of oil on the surface. Use immediately or transfer the mixture to a jar with a tight fitting lid if you are going to store it. This will keep for at least 5 days, refrigerated. Before using, stir the pesto to incorporate the oil accumulated at the top.
  4. Serve the pesto over some freshly cooked pasta or boiled potatoes.
Comments Off on Arugula Fun


March 12, 2012

1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 – 3 medium potatoes, diced (adjust # if potatoes are smaller)
4 carrots, diced
small rutabaga, diced
*optional – 3/4 lb. lean ground meat or 1/2 lb sirloin steak (diced)
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp basil
season with salt & pepper
pre made pie crust
butter for dabbing pastry

* if you want to make it totally veggie, add other root veggies – maybe sweet potatoes, parsnips, leeks, or ?

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 – Divide crust into 8 sections and roll into rounds.

2 – Mix the rest of the ingredients together (except butter) in a large bowl – the mixture is placed uncooked into the pastry.

3 – Put a couple of tablespoons of veggie/meat mixture into middle of pastry rounds. Put a dab of butter on top of the filling.

4 – Seal each pastry by bringing the sides up to meet and crimp the edges.

5 – Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

6 – Serve with ketchup if desired. Also great the next day – cold!

Comments Off on Pasties

Tumeric Roasted Rutabagas

February 15, 2012

Thanks to MBF member Mayumi Elegado (the magic behind Truckee & Tahoe’s Moonshine Ink)

Comments Off on Tumeric Roasted Rutabagas