August 08, 2017
Weekly and Biweekly "B" deliveries
Strawberries, Honey and CSA Gift Certificates available on the web store
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NOT Farm Fresh to You
by Jeanne Byrne

If you google High Ground Organics on your phone, your entire phone screen will fill with links to a website full of colorful pictures of vegetables and fruits, feel-good farm fresh organic language, and prominent sign up buttons. The problem? You’ll be signing up for Farm Fresh to You, a massive CSA-like creature that is gobbling its way to tens of thousands of customers’ doors per week.

A customer came to our farmstand manager Mike this weekend and said she signed up for our CSA online but the box came from Farm Fresh to You. She was confused and thought we must have some sort of partnership. No, we don’t.

You’ve probably seen the army of FFTY sales reps—on the street, at your door, coming up to you when you’re sitting on the beach, from San Francisco to L.A. They have an aggressive and effective marketing scheme. But this really goes too far.

It is possible to buy advertising that puts your information up in front of your “competitors” when a person googles key words, in this case “organic” or “csa.” I’ve been aware of this as a computer user. On the computer, I know that the top items that come up are paid-for ads and my eye automatically skips over them to the first non-paid item that comes up. But people are increasingly using their phones for these kinds of searches. And on the phone, it’s not so clear. This ad is designed to take up the entire screen, so High Ground Organics does not appear on my phone unless I scroll down. And while the first FFTY link indicates that it’s an ad, there’s a line between that and the $15 coupon below it which has four prominent links to How it Works, Why Choose Us, About Our Farm, and Customize Your Farm Box. If you scroll down and see High Ground Organics underneath that, you could be forgiven for thinking that those links belonged to us. What’s worse is that the name Farm Fresh to You sounds like it could be a slogan we might use, so people are understandably taken in by this and assume this is our farm, since they put OUR FULL FARM NAME into the browser.

This feels particularly upsetting because FFTY is at least 100 times our size. I will be looking into what it costs to block this sort of advertising from obscuring our online presence, but it doesn’t seem right to have to pay Google to do what it’s supposed to do when someone wants to find our business online using our precise name.

I’ve spent some time this week looking through the Farm Fresh to You website. It’s very nice. The 2nd generation farmer story is compelling. But the website does not make clear that FFTY is more of a produce delivery service than a true CSA. They talk a lot about “the farm,” but, in fact, they pick up produce by the truckload from other large growers. They talk about “local,” but get produce from all over the state, and maybe beyond.

I’m sure the ability to customize the box is compelling for would-be subscribers too. Who wouldn’t want to be able to replace something they don’t like with something they do? But there’s a big trade-off there. The only way to keep a variety of produce on hand for customers to have “choice” – and in order to send out the volume of deliveries that they do—is  to maintain a large inventory.

When it comes to produce, inventory is the enemy of freshness. Vegetables start losing nutrients the moment they are picked. In fact, that is one of the main reasons people decide to join a CSA. If they wanted to simply choose their vegetables from a large inventory, they can go to a grocery store.

Are customers supporting small, local farms with FFTY? Well, some of the farms they buy from may be moderately sized. But FFTY no doubt takes a mark-up so those farmers are probably getting a wholesale price for their product. It may be helpful for those farms to sell their product to FFTY. But this is not the CSA model of direct to consumer sales, which gives the farmer and consumer both a fair price.

A behemoth that size simply cannot deliver what a CSA farm can: truly fresh locally grown organic produce. Unfortunately if they say it loud and often enough, many people will believe that it’s true. And when discerning consumers try FFTY and decide the quality isn’t that great, will they bother to try “another” CSA?

As always, we appreciate your support. And please remember, friends don’t let friends buy Farm Fresh to You.

Veggie Notes:

by Jason Johnson

Always rinse produce before use. Everything should be refrigerated.

Some things in life are constant, and for me, one of those things is a lack of air-conditioning. I’ve just never really had it. Growing up, summer was hot and humid and there was a strict embargo on any food that required an oven. Everything was cooked on the stove-top or on the grill. We ate light meals outside under shade trees and prayed for a breeze. Now, with temperatures slouching towards 100 degrees and the sun beating down on my aluminum home, I have slipped in to old habits and am better off for it.

A good loaf of bread and a brick of your favorite cheese will get you a long way. Lately, most of my meals have revolved around that. This week, I will be making a traditional French sorrel soup, with a side of blistered padrons, bread, and cheese. For the soup, melt about 3tbsp. of butter in a pan over medium heat. Chop and add your green onions. Salt and pepper.  Cook for about five minutes, then add a quart of veggie stock, cover, and bring to a simmer. While you wait, go ahead and chop your sorrel, then add it, with a good pinch of salt, to the stock when it’s ready. In a separate bowl, whisk together two egg yolks and a ½ cup of cream, then slowly whisk in a ladle of the soup. This prevents the egg form separating. When the soup is incorporated, whisk in 3tbsp. of flour and one more ladle of soup, maybe more. The result should be nice and thick. Add this back to the soup, stir, and cook for about 5 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. To blister your padrons, just cook them on medium high heat in a lightly oiled pan with plenty of salt and a bit of lemon juice. Cook until blacked on both sides, plate and sprinkle with a bit more salt. The lemony flavor of the sorrel (which is lessened by the cream and eggs) pairs well with the peppers, while the bread a cheese add welcomed reprieve when you come across the spicy pepper of the bunch.

Another great trick for warm weather eating is pesto, and not just the basil sort. We have a hard time keeping herbs fresh this time of year, so my partner, Hayley, tends to process them all at once. Pesto stores well in the fridge if you find a container that holds it exactly. If you have a lot of empty space at the top of your container, the air will oxidize the parsley, making it brown. If the container is full to the top, though, this is less of a problem. This is actually true for most things in your fridge, especially things like milk and yogurt. Food spoiling bacteria is airborne, so you want to keep downsizing containers as you use a product. As for the recipe at hand, pesto is not an exact science. You just need parsley, garlic (1-2 cloves), olive oil, and some sort of nut. Pine nuts, traditionally, but walnut work just as well. Just add the parsley, garlic, and a small handful of nuts to a food processor with ¼ - ½ cup of oil. Blend to desired texture. A pint mason jar should be perfect for storage. I like to keep this around for a filling lunch with bread and cheese. Maybe a few strawberries and a lettuce salad to balance things out. It is also fantastic on pasta. Stay cool out there.

Enjoy your veggies!

A Practical Guide to This Week's Box

by Jason Johnson

The two varieties of Oak Leaf Lettuce in the box this week are easy to prep and a family favorite. The leaves tend to be nice and sweet, pairing well with a light vinaigrette. Wash by completely submerging it in water, then just remove the core at the base of the plant, and the leaves should fall in to nice, bite-sized pieces. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. It weighs in at 15 calories per serving.

The carrots in the box this week will have a sweet and approachable flavor profile. Wash them the same as radishes, with cold water. Carrots are a great source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. They also contain potassium, calcium, vitamins C and B-6, and almost a full gram of protein. They are a bit more substantial than some other roots, containing 25 calories per serving.

One strawberry contains vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and protein, though not substantial amounts. The reason strawberries are so good for you are the antioxidents. They contain high amounts of the flavonoid anthocyanins and weigh in at 4 calories.

Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies out there. It is surprisingly high in protein and each serving has two days’ worth of vitamin C. It is also high in fiber, potassium, vitamins A and B-6, calcium, iron, and magnesium. All for a measly 50 calories.

The small amount of parsley you use to season you meal is not going to add a substantial amount of macronutrients to your diet. It is, however going to give you access to many phytonutrients including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, and manganese.  

Tomatoes, like all nightshades, absorb a lot from the soil. They are very high in nutrients that are hard to get otherwise, such as biotin, molybdenum, and vitamin K. They are also great sources of copper, manganese, B vitamins, and folates.

Summer Squash are a great source of potassium, vitamins C, B-6, and A, magnesium, iron, calcium, and fiber. They also contain a surprising amount of protein. Don’t use too much oil when sautéing these guys, due to a high moisture content. You can presalt them to draw out some of the moisture and pat dry before cooking. I tend to treat them like mushrooms to ensure they don’t get too soggy.
Cabbage is high in folic acid, as well as vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Weighing in at only 6 calories, this is one of those veggies that it takes more energy to digest than it provides, making it great for cleanses and diets.

Green Onions should be washed carefully with your faucet on low. Use your fingers to delicately rub any dirt from the base. Green onions are high in micronutrients such as thiamin and copper, which are hard to get other places.

Sorrel, widely considered a French green, has been harvested from the wild for thousands of years by many cultures. Its strong, drought-resistant leaves, make it very adaptable and very nutritious. Wash your sorrel as you would spinach and use for soups and salads. Used properly, it can add a great lemony flavor to fish and chicken dishes.



CSA Logistics

Subscription rates:
  • 43 boxes for the price of 40. A payment of $1000 will get you three free boxes and take you to this time next year, if you receive a weekly delivery.
  • 21 boxes for the price of 20. A payment of $500 will get you one free box!
  • 10 boxes for $250
  • 4 boxes for $100
  • flower bouquets are $10/bouquet
  • A $10 web store credit will be applied for those who switch to automatically recurring payments


If you are a new member and you would like to join the CSA, please use this link:

Existing members can access their existing accounts here:

To order from the web store, you can use this link:

To add credit to your CSA account, you can use this link:

Or,  you can mail a check to:
High Ground Organics
PO Box 2601
Watsonville, CA 95077

If you have any other questions about your subscription or need assistance, please contact us at or (831) 254-4918.

2017 Schedule

We are in our regular weekly schedule from March 15/16 through November 15/16.

Changes you can make yourself through your online account:

  • make a payment
  • change your pick-up site
  • add a flower subscription
  • order from the web store
  • update your contact information
  • temporary delivery holds
  • donate your box
 Changes you need to request administrative help with:
  • cancelling your automatic payment
  • cancelling your subscription
  • returning to the CSA if your subscription has been cancelled
  • changing your delivery frequency (weekly to biweekly, etc.)

To donate your share to Loaves and Fishes, please change the location of your subscription to "donate". Don't forget to return it to your usual pick-up site after the delivery has been made!

If you have any questions, please contact Jason at 831-254-4918, or
In the Box:
Red OR Green Oak Lettuce
Bunched Sorrel
Bunched Carrots
Green Onions
Broccoli OR Cauliflower
Green Cabbage
Summer Squash OR Padron/Shishito Peppers (Groundswell)
All produce is certified organic. All items are from High Ground Organics unless noted otherwise. Substitution for any item may occur.


Grilled Rosemary Skewered Summer Squash with Scallions and Lemon

Broccoli Variations

Broccoli Slaw

Yellow Curry of Cauliflower, Summer Squash, and Carrots

Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Carrot Sauce

Shrimp Cabbage Rolls with Yogurt Curry Sauce

Grilled Padron Peppers

High Ground Farmstand
Our Farmstand is open at the Annieglass Parking Lot at 310 Harvest Drive in Watsonville Friday through Sunday, 10 am - 6 pm. We are located 1 mile east of Highway 1 just off Riverside Drive/Hwy 129 on Harvest Drive. It is the blue shipping container building in the back of the parking lot with the owl mural on it. Like our Farmstand facebook page to keep updated on what is in stock there.

Summer Craftbar Workshops and Events at Annieglass

Annieglass is located at 310 Harvest Drive in Watsonville, a mile from Highway 1 at Riverside Drive. Be sure to stop by our farmstand for some extra berries or vegetables while you’re there! 
Saturday, August 12th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm
Enjoy a food demonstration with Paula Suzuki, who will be making balsamic marinated High Ground Organics strawberries with basil. Free samples!
Free factory tour at 1:30 pm. Also taste regional wines at our Watsonville Tasting Room from 12:00 to 5:00 pm.
This is a FREE event.

Sunday, August 13th from 1:30 to 3:00 pm.
Annieglass options for the bowl: a 15" x 22" Frosted Petal Sculpture with Gold Trim (as pictured) or a Ruffle 15" Large Salad Bowl in Platinum.
This workshop allows you to create a large succulent garden. Annieglass staff will share tips on planting your succulent garden. Workshop includes an Annieglass planter, soil, moss, ornamental glass pieces, and a set number of succulents (Additional plants will be available for purchase). A glass of wine, beer or soft drink is included.
Workshop Cost is $150.

Get your ticket here
August 19, 2:00 to 3:30 pm
Local designer, Danette Lawrence, will demonstrate how to make stamps out of potatoes to print on a cotton tea towel. You will come home with a finished one! Bring your favorite rubber stamp if you like. Towel, stamps, fabric ink and potatoes and carving tools provided. $45 for the 90-minute workshop (materials included).

Get your ticket here!

Find more Annieglass Craftbar Events here

Mountain View
Farmer's Market

You can also catch us at the Farmer's Market in Mountain View Sundays from 9am to 1pm year round. 600 W Evelyn Ave, Mountain View.

Gift Certificates Available

Gift Certificate
Send a gift your loved ones will just eat up! Gift certificates available in 4-week, 9-week, or 36-week sets, with or without flowers. Contact Jason to set it up and he will e-mail you a gift certificate as a pdf that you can print out. Current subscribers can also order 4-week gift certificates directly from the Web Store.

Please Help Us Grow!

Please help us grow by inviting your friends to try the CSA! New members can use the coupon code, "LOCAL" to get $10 off their order of 4 deliveries or more! Have them mention your name in the sign-up notes and you will be rewarded with a $10 bonus in the web store! You can offer them this link to sign up:

Another way you can help spread the word is to tag High Ground Organics in your facebook posts showing off your box or delicious meal or tag #highgroundorganics if you tweet or instagram. Thanks for helping bring our communities together and for supporting your local family farm!
CSA Etiquette:

-- Check off your name on the sign-in sheets at your pick-up site. Name not on the list? Call us before taking a box (831) 254-4918.
-- Only take a bouquet of flowers or additional web store items if they are listed by your name on the sign-in sheet. 
-- After taking your vegetables out of the box, gently collapse your box without tearing the bottom tabs, and leave it stacked neatly at the site. If your site has crates, open the flaps and nest the crates together in a stack.
-- Honor the trade box rules. Don't take the trade item unless you leave something from your own box.
-- Pick up your box on time. High Ground will guarantee your box within the pick-up time only. If you miss the pick-up time, please check the
host policy (unique to each site) and/or contact the CSA administrator right away (831) 254-4918. Be aware that you may not be able to retrieve your box after a certain point.
-- Be respectful of your pick-up site. Please keep noise to a minimum and do not leave trash at the host site. If you need to contact your host, you can find their information under "Pick-up Directions" in your
online account.
-- If you will be gone on vacation, you can either donate your box to
Loaves and Fishes, have a friend pick up your share that week, or put a "vacation hold" on your account. To donate your box, switch your pick-up location to "Donate", or contact Jason. A receipt for tax purposes can be emailed upon request.
-- Due to the unpredictable nature of farming, please consider your list of what's in the box as a guideline, not a promise. We may need to substitute items or increase the amount of one item to make up for another that Mother Nature may have taken from us.
-- Questions? Comments? Contact us at (831) 254-4918 or Thank you all for your support!
Copyright © 2017 High Ground Organics, All rights reserved.

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