Castelfranco RadicchioEvery time we grow a new vegetable we like to take a picture of it for our on-line photo gallery. I’m not much of a food stylist, so some of these pictures come out looking more like mug shots than glossy spreads so I like to think of them as posters for “America’s Most Wanted” vegetables. This week we’re cutting- and photographing- Radicchio Castelfranco and Cavolfiore Alverde. Al Verde CauliflowerWhat? you say that “most American’s don’t want Radicchio Castelfranco or Cavolfiore Alverde?” You’re probably right- for the moment- but there was a time when even broccoli was an ethnic vegetable welcome only in the Italian ghettos of New York, Chicago and San Francisco. At Mariquita Farm we like to grow things that are a little off-center, partly because learning about new crops keeps life interesting for us, and partly because once a vegetable becomes a commodity it’s production, distribution and sales is inevitably controlled by businesses that are too large for us to compete against. Trying to create new markets for vegetables that are considered “obscure” or “weird” here in the US makes me an “entrepreneur” of sorts. I don’t let the idea of being an “entrepreneur” go to my head though. Gayle, my book keeper, reminds me that the word “entrepreneur” is just “French for ‘can’t hold a job.’” Savoy CabbageSo my “job” has become the promoting the consumption of the vegetables I grow. To that end, Julia and I maintain an on-line photo gallery of vegetable pictures linked to our encyclopedia of recipes, we send out our weekly photo and recipe “Ladybug postcard,” we e-publish an intermittent “Ladybug letter,” with essays and photos, we have started a Mariquita Farm Facebook page, and sometimes we host cooking classes. And yes, we harvest and grow vegetables. Next week we start the harvest of the first crop of Brussels Sprouts I’ve ever grown.

copyright 2011 Andy Griffin


**** Julia’s Note about our various media:

1) the Ladybug Letter: this is it! It comes out every other week, and it’s usually a slightly longer piece from Andy… this week he was out of ideas for the essay so I suggested photographing some gorgeous winter produce in the sunny weather we’re having… and he wrote this bit of text to go with it. Last time he wrote about Carrots, that was a more typical Ladybug Letter.

2) Ladybug Post Card: this is a weekly blast year round on Mondays (we may change that to Tuesdays…) that replaces the former Two Small Farms newsletter. Our friend Chef Jonathan helps us with recipes, I still ‘curate’ recipes for this newsletter as well. Andy writes smaller pieces for this letter, and there are event announcements as well. The recipes in this newsletter will generally go with the vegetables we’re harvesting that week: for our CSA boxes, mystery boxes, and or ladybug truck deliveries. Anyone can be on this newsletter, of course.

3) Mariquita Farm Facebook Page: we know that not everyone does Facebook… but for those that do, this is a quick way to send out random small bits of information. This week Andy wrote about our interesting New Years Day with lambs and blood and caviar… but it was *such* a good story we decided to include it in the ladybug postcard. Usually these notes/stories will not overlap.  On Facebook others can also post: recipes, photos, queries…


Mystery Box Winter Vegetable deliveries in the bay area: get your winter vegetables in SF, San Jose, Menlo Park, Los Gatos, and Palo Alto

to sign up for alerts about vegetable deliveries and events:
San Francisco || Peninsula/Palo Alto/South Bay || Monterey Bay Area

Specific Upcoming Mystery Boxes and their Links to the Forms to Order:

Wednesday, 1-5-11 in Menlo Park 4-6pm
FORM to order for Menlo Park is here. (just click on the text to the left)


SF: 1-6-11 at Piccino


Thursday, 1-13-11 San Jose near SJSU 4pm to 6pm
FORM to order for San Jose is here. (just click on the text to the left)


SF: 1-20 at Slow Club; form link to come around the 13th


Friday, 1-21-11 Palo Alto 4:30-6pm**
FORM to order for Palo Alto is here. (just click on the text to the left)
**We will do mystery boxes this day, AND a cooking class with Indian cuisine. You can do either or both!


Upcoming Cooking Classes: Save the Dates:

Feb. 5th in Watsonville at Shelley’s house: topic and time tba
March 16th SF in the late afternoon/evening: cooking with your box!
March 17th Palo Alto: in the late afternoon/evening: cooking with your box!
March 19th Watsonville:  cooking with your box!  times tba

1 Response to “Mugshot”

  1. 1 Steve

    I really like the Castelfranco radicchio (well any radicchio really). Nice ‘mugshot’ of it.Good luck on making it popular (sincerely!). I’m impressed with some of the crops you write about marketing. Back in the day, we always joked about success at selling radicchio at market was dependent on saying “yes, it’s bitter!” in a positive tone.
    Glad to read the recent postings. Hope this year is a better one!

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