Weather is notorious for dictating our meals. When it’s cold, we crave hot soup– and when it’s hot, well…why not eat cold soup? Gazpacho is a cold soup that has roots in Spain and is revered for its refreshing temperature and delicious, multi-dimensional flavor. When it heats up, the last thing anyone wants to do is ‘cook’ the traditional way- so all you will need for this recipe is a blender!

This week’s Avogadros Garden C.S.A. basket is full of most of the ingredients to make a provincial (to Ojai) Gazpacho! The beauty of this dish is its freshness-  the raw, blended veggies marry with olive oil and  white wine vinegar to create a nutritious, quick and cooling dish.


Simply chop tomatoes, white onion, garlic, bell pepper, seeded cucumber and blend each veggie separately. Combine together with about 1/4 olive oil, 1/4 white wine vinegar and coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. If the soup is thick, add tomato juice, more olive oil and vineager or homemade chicken stock. Garnish with chopped herbs, like parsley or basi, and serve with fresh bread. Dunk, slurp, repeat until you are chilled out and fully satisfied.


The word ‘zucchini’, when said correctly, tends to just roll off the tongue. Try it. Zuc-chin-ni. Make sure you pucker your lips and gesture your hands with confidence. Zucchini originated in Italy and it must have adapted, genetically, to large families with lots of mouths to feed; because once this summer squash takes root, it will take over the garden. Luckily for us, Avogadros Garden Farm does have a lot of mouths to feed. Consider this a family recipe as handed down from Nona. She isn’t our grandma, but if you are Italian–or know one–every grandma is your grandma.

zuchinni in the pan

In true Nona fashion, this recipe will be dictated using terms like, “a splash of this, a little of that”. First, you slice the zucchini very thin, press the garlic and chop the basil (or mint if you have it). Then you warm olive oil in a skillet, not to hot, and add the zucchini- then add the garlic and herb. Saute until the zucchini becomes almost transparent and add white wine vinegar. Saute more, add salt and pepper, and cover with a lid to let the zucchini soften.


The result is quite simply–delicious. These magic ingredients create a tangy, savory dish that is amazing on its own, or add parmeasan cheese, serve with braised chicken. Mangia, mangia! Now go kiss a grandma– any grandma.



Everybody loves basil! Right!?! What’s not to love about this fragrant and healing herb. Basil is very nutritious {and beautiful} touting high marks for vitamin k and manganese. Basil’s perfume is so poignant, it can be enjoyed sweet {ice cream} or savory {read on}.


Honestly, when I think of basil, pesto comes to mind; but since my blender is broken, the next-best recipe is bruschetta. In order for an easy bruschetta recipe to be successful, each ingredient must be high quality: cold-pressed olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, organic tomatoes, BASIL, garlic, sea salt and pepper.


Busy-basil-lovers will covet this recipe! All you need is a jar, fresh bread and the ingredients listed above. Simply pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar into a jar and add freshly ground s&p. Then julienne basil, chop fresh tomatoes, mince garlic and add to jar. Give it a good shake, then pour over fresh bread. Or, if you are dinning away from home, the jarred bruschetta is perfect for travel. Step up your lunch experience to a gourmet-picnic-level with this fresh, healthy and beautiful dish!



Farmer Frances

Farmer Pete’s fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. If you have had the pleasure of meeting Farmer Pete, this statement is quite literal. His daughter Frances is no less than two steps behind her dad at all times–except on the farm where you will find her venturing out on her own; tending to the chickens, playing with her friends and growing her own crop of radishes.

avogadros garden farm

“These are special radishes grown by Frances. She sowed the seeds, was responsible for watering, and harvested them for the CSA baskets,” said her proud dad. Pete went on about Avogadros Garden Farm being a family affair, “most of the weeding is done by my mom.”


Radishes are quite delicious raw. Slice them and throw into a salad or do a quick pickling by drenching the sliced radishes in white wine vinegar or lemon juice, oregano leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper.




kimchi_Kimchi is the national food of Korea. The recipe originated from an ancient method of preserving vegetables via fermentation; with the added bonus of beneficial bacteria, a.k.a. probiotics. Our immune system is primarily located in the intestinal track, or the gut. The gut, when healthy, contains trillions of microorganisms. These microorganisms are a powerhouse-infantry serving to breakdown and metabolize nutrients, while protecting us from an over-abundance of harmful bacteria, yeast and fungus.

Bacteria is the main ingredient in all sorts of culinary items: sour dough bread, cheese, wine, kombucha and pickled veggies like kimchi. Ancient civilizations relied on bacteria to ferment their food in order to extend their harvests–little did they know how these micro-troops were serving them so graciously!

Kimchi is well known for its spicy, tangy taste. You can pair it with just about anything, or enjoy à la carte. Your Avogadros Garden C.S.A. basket contains wonderful kimchi ingredients: bok choi, radish, leeks, bunching onions and carrots. You can ferment just about anything using this method! Here is a great basic kimchi recipe we followed and substituted with our farm veggies. Enjoy and conquer (the bad bacteria).





If there ever was an symbol for Spring, it would be the egg (and the rabbit). Both represent fertility and rebirth. Culturally, religiously or otherwise–it is fun to celebrate such a joyous time–when the flowers start to bloom and we begin to slough off the old and welcome the new. Spring cleaning, if-you-will.

Since you, by association, are an earth-minded bunch and choose to support organic farms and community– you are aware of the hazards of the chemicals in food dyes. Civilizations have been celebrating Spring by decorating eggs for thousands of years! Let’s carry on the tradition naturally, shall we?

This week we experimented with natural dyes that are mostly found in your CSA Basket. The yellow egg was dyed by using turmeric, green from spinach, blue from red cabbage, pink from beets. The basis, which takes some experimentation, is the same as the beet red velvet cake recipe from a previous post– the plant pigments need an acid to retain color. So when boiling your plant or root, make sure to include an acid like white vinegar to retain vibrancy. Here is more natural egg dying info. Have fun and Happy Spring!





Thanks to some solid days of rain on the west coast, you may be noticing a loftier C.S.A. basket. Some new veggies to the mix are shallots, frisee and Japanese turnips. The turnips look a lot like albino radish, but once you pop one in your mouth, you will notice their milky, sweet taste is quite unique. The turnip greens are nothing to shake a stick at either. While they are a bitter green, they are delicious.

japanese turnips

Turnips are a great source for vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus and manganese. You can prepare them many ways; by roasting, sauteing, eating raw or in a soup. To incorporate the greens, we thought a warm side salad of sauteed turnips and greens with wilted frisee would be a great accompaniment to any dish.

turnips frisee shallots

To begin, slice turnips from greens and place in a cold bowl of water and let them soak while you prepare the other ingredients. Slice the shallots, zest the garlic and loosely chop the frisee. Remove turnips and strain the water. Slice the turnips in quarters. In a hot pan, pour or scoop a cooking oil, preferably a heat tolerant oil like clarified butter or coconut oil. Saute the turnips and add shallots, then garlic, salt and pepper. Add an acid like lemon, white or balsamic vinegar and stir. Lastly add the turnip greens and stir until wilted. Turn off heat and fold in frisee. For an extra kick, garnish with a drizzle of Sriracha. Arigato.

Japanese Salad Saute

avogadros garden

What are you up to tomorrow? If you have been imagining a home garden that will provide for you and your family year round, then come up to Avogadros Garden Farm this Saturday, March 8th at 10am! Farmer Peter Willsrud will be hosting a Home Garden Intensive seminar, one of many upcoming Farm Craft series workshops focused on home gardeners, family and artists. Bring any and all questions; from fruit, roots and shoots!

Email, text or call Farmer Pete to let him know you are coming:, 805-798-1100…. or you can just show up.

Avogadros Garden Farm  8585 Hwy 150, Ojai CA 93023


Don’t you just love the moment when you pick up your CSA basket? The perky greens and crisp, cool root vegetables freshly picked from the farm. But how, you may ask, does one keep produce in tip-top shape throughout the week? Well, Farmer Pete would like to share a few tricks-of-the-veggie-trade with you:

  1. Keep baby greens in the plastic bag they come in. The trick is to loosely tie the top of the bag and poke holes throughout the bag with a safety pin, like a perforation.
  2. Purchase reusable produce bags. These bags, usually cotton, are ideal because the natural fibers allow for just the right amount of hydration and circulation to keep the veggies from drying out.
  3. Beautify your surroundings. You would be surprised just how stunning a bundle of chard leafs displayed on your counter can be. Trim the ‘stems’ to open up the veins of the leafs and arrange in your favorite vase or a jar. Do this with herbs, roots or any leaf veggie.
  4. Root veggies are roots, so it makes sense to keep them in water. Left lying around in your refrigerator– carrots, beets and radishes become dehydrated and wilt. You can bring back wilted roots by leaving them submerged in water. Just remember to trim the tops off and store separately. The tops continue to feed off the roots, draining them from nutrients and water.
  5. Keep like with like. Fresh picked fruits and vegetables release a gas that causes surrounding food to ripen. Some release more than others, so it is best to keep fruits in one drawer and vegetables in the other.

Red Velvet Cake has become the preferred dessert on Valentine’s Day. The subtle, chocolate flavor and red hue pair beautifully with the creamy, luscious icing. This dessert pleases the palette and is appealing to the eye. Red has always symbolized love and passion, so naturally, Red Velvet takes the cake on the day of love.

The origins of the Red Velvet Cake recipe are emblematic of a tall tale. Whether it was created somewhere in ‘the south’ on a beet farm or for ‘high-society’ by a molecular gastronomic chef at the Waldorf Astoria, the outcome remains the same–it was most likely a happy accident concocted from someone mixing an acid, like buttermilk or yogurt, with chocolate–bringing out the red hues of chocolate. Magic.

comparing kitchens

During the depression-era the original recipe included beet juice, which was shelved (as most natural products were) for chemical food additives – in this case, red food dye. Recently, much research has been revealed underlining the consequential effects of consuming over-processed chemicals in food. So lets get back to the ‘beet root’ of the recipe and bake a natural, luscious layer cake worthy of love.

beet shot_avogadros

The red vegetable pigments, or anthocyanins, from the beets and chocolate are the recipe’s namesake–but the cake will turn brown unless combined with acids. For this reason, buttermilk, yogurt, citrus and white vinegar are commonly used in natural recipes to create the desired ‘red velvet’ effect. By the same token, one must use natural cocoa powder, not dutch processed, because over-processed chocolate is non-reactive.

Start off by making your beet puree. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Roast your beets with skins (wrapped in tin foil on a cookie sheet) for about an hour, or until soft. Let the beets cool, then remove skins and blend to a puree using a blender or food processor. Set beet puree aside.

cake mixtures

Keep the oven heated to 350°. Using an electric mixer, mix 4 eggs, 1 cup room temperature butter and 1tbs. vanilla extract until the mixture become light and airy. Mix the remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl and combine: 1 cup buttermilk, 1 cup beet puree, 1/2 cup orange juice and 3 tbs. white vinegar. Continue mixing for a minute or two.

Sift dry ingredients in a different bowl:  2.5 cups cake flour, 3 tbs. natural cocoa powder, 2 tsp. baking powder. Slowly combine dry ingredients into wet ingredients while mixing.

Poor batter into two greased 9″ cake pans or prepared cupcake tins with paper. Cook at 350° for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and finish by lathering the cake with as much cream cheese frosting as the heart desires.

Enjoy, with love.