Soil Born CSA Newsletter: The Digest

November 19, 2014


Every week
Spaghetti  squash
Dino kale
Red Choi
Purple top turnips


Every other week
Black Futsu squash
Green mustard greens
Scarlet turnips


“The cow is the foster mother of the human race. From the day of the ancient Hindu to this time have the thoughts of men turned to this kindly and beneficent creature as one of the chief forces of human life.” William Dempster Hoard, 1885


Farm News

By Jared Clark

This Fall feels a lot like it should. Rain has fallen germinating cool season grasses and legumes on our unimproved parcels of land.  Our animals should have enough fresh pasture to graze through the winter without requiring feeding out expensive hay.  As long as rain continues somewhat regularly we shouldn't have to irrigate the vegetables and cover crops which saves us a lot of time and labor.  Which will give us time in the office planning and preparing for the coming season, maintaining equipment, and organizing work areas.  

With the recent birth of a calf on the farm I have had the pleasure of spending a lot more time with the animals.  Especially our dairy cow Phoebe.  Phoebe is an American Milking Shorthorn cow.  Phoebe came to Soil Born Farm on December 1st of 2009 from the Rowe’s Innisfail Herd of Milking Shorthorns based in Davis and up near Chico. The American Milking Shorthorn breed is recognized as a very versatile breed valued for their docility, ease of calving, and ability to thrive in pasture based systems.  Phoebe got her name from the class of elementary school kids from Phoebe Hearst Elementary who after several repeat visits to the farm decided their service project was going to raise funds for Soil Born to purchase a cow.


Since 2009 Phoebe, now over 10 years old, has given birth to 4 calves here at the ranch. Her latest, Ferdinand the bull calf, was born at around 5:15pm on Tuesday November 4th.  We herded Phoebe into her pen at about 3:30pm knowing that she was showing signs of beginning labor.  At about 4pm she lay down and went into labor.  By 5:15pm the calf was out on a fresh bed of straw and Phoebe was up and licking the calf clean.  It is an amazing thing to witness the birth of any livestock on the farm but especially a calf.  With no help at all other than his mothers not so gentle urgings and licks Ferdinand was up on his own and suckling his first milk by 7pm!  What tenacity in an animal only a few hours old.


With a new calf comes perhaps my favorite of all the activities farming offers… milking a cow!  Each morning at first light and each evening at dusk I halter and walk Phoebe from pasture to the stanchion to milk her.  I brush her clean of manure, wash her udder with warm soapy water, and do my best to convince her I am worthy of her milk one squeeze of each hand at a time.  As each squeeze of warm milk hits the bucket steam rises and with it the smell of sweet cream. Phoebe always withholds enough for her calf who I can hear bellowing for her return from a distant pasture. 


A true community cow Phoebe has taught many a farm apprentice how to hand milk over the years.  All the while providing fertility for our fields with her manure and her excess milk is also passed along to our other livestock as grain for our hogs and chickens is soaked overnight in milk.  Phoebe, we thank you for your efficiency, generosity, and humility.


digest 2014 11 19 baby calf

Phoebe and her (recently re-named) bull calf Ferdinand in the classic cow calf nursing pose.


Featured Veggie: Cauliflower

digest 2014 11 19 cauliflower

Another of the mighty Brassicas that keep us well nourished throughout the winter months-cauliflower has arrived.  Cauliflower is not an easy crop to grow.  It requires a lot of fertility and a fair amount of time to size up.  With a protective covering of foliage the cauliflower hides deep down in the center of the plant and reveals itself when it is ready for harvest.


As the head of cauliflower is exposed to light it has a tendency to yellow so as soon as the head is visible it is ready for harvest.  Cauliflower heads are quite susceptible to frost damage so it is sometimes necessary to tie the foliage around the head which acts as a protective sheath that prevents the head from becoming cooked by the frost rendering it not suitable for sale. 


This years crop is looking quite prolific with plants over waist high! Enjoy!


Recipe: Braised Turnips

Dates and Notes

Important Farm Stand Reminder:
Our Farm Stand Season will end after Saturday, Nov. 22. We will reopen on May 23, 2015.  

Farm Apprenticeship Program
The farm apprenticeship program at Soil Born Farms offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a hands-on educational experience in sustainable agriculture at an urban community farm. Combining intensive field experience, focused classroom sessions  and educational farm visits to a diverse array of organic farms, this residential program prepares beginning farmers for employment and farm entrepreneurship.

We are now accepting applications for the 2015 organic farming apprenticeship soon. Applications are available to download on our website. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to visit the farm and volunteer.

To apply go to
About us> Job Opportunities



#WeAreSoilBorn Campaign
Help Spread the Love and Support our Harvest Fundraising Drive

As part of our Harvest Fundraising drive, we are asking for "Selfie help" through our #WeAreSoilBorn campaign. Our plan is to capture and convey, through photos, who our supporters are. If you took a "Soil Born Selfie" at one of these locations, or if you want to take one at home, please use the hashtag #WeAreSoilBorn and your image could appear in one of our upcoming social media posts or printed materials.


digest 2014 11 19 chico

Phoebe, Chico, and Ferdinand.

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