Sometimes disparate pieces end up fitting together perfectly, completing a puzzle that you hadn’t known existed. Such was the case with the creation of North Yuba Grown.
It began with Jenny Cavaliere’s Oregon House Farm Store being granted an operating permit by the Yuba County Board of Supervisors.
Then there was the local movement to help pass Proposition 37, the ballot initiative that would have required genetically modified foods to be labeled.
Finally, there was a town hall meeting held to discuss both the labeling initiative and local agriculture — around 80 people attended.
“We were all stunned by how many people showed up,” said Eve Stefani of Filaki Farms in Oregon House and a member of North Yuba Grown.
Interest in local food seemed to be growing every day.
A few meetings were held, and organizers realized that they not only wanted to be activists, they wanted to become an entity.
The nonprofit now has 31 members and has discovered support both within and outside the community.
There has been interest in agricultural tourism to the farms within North Yuba Grown, and the group has hosted Farm-to-Fork dinners to showcase the many foods the region can produce.
“The Farm-to-Fork dinners have been very successful and a lot of fun,” said Stefani.
There are two more scheduled for the 2013 growing season.
The next will be Oct. 5 at Township Valley Farm in Browns Valley.
Not only will there be local food from Township, there will also be local beer — made with local hops — from Bald Mountain Brewery, as well as a selection of local wines.
The dinner will have an Oktoberfest theme.
The final Farm-to-Fork dinner of the season will be Nov. 2 in the barn at Filaki Farms.
Along with Filaki’s winter squash and vegetables, two different products from Bangor will be showcased.
There will be local lamb as well as local wine from Hickman Family Vineyards.
Depending on the weather, Stefani may also give a tour of the farm before dinner.
“It should be very nice — kind of a completion of all the different seasons, all the months and dinners,” she said.
While North Yuba Grown is still somewhat new, it’s already beginning to thrive.
The community has responded favorably to having an organization of farmers based on their appellation, and the farmers appreciate being able to connect with the community.
“It’s a noble thing to be doing,” said Stefani.
More information on North Yuba Grown and the Farm-to-Fork dinners can be found at http:// northyubagrown.org.
Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Beets & Pomegranate
3 medium beets (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups red quinoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium oranges
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1 whole pomegranate, seeded
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F.
Trim the root end of the beets and remove any greens (reserving for another use); rinse and pat dry.
Wrap individually in foil. Roast until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, depending on size.
Alternatively, place beets in a microwave-safe dish, add 1/4 cup water, cover loosely and microwave on high until the beets are tender, about 10 minutes, depending on size.
Meanwhile, bring broth, water, quinoa and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl.
Zest and juice 1 orange. Place the juice in a medium bowl.
Working over another bowl, cut the remaining two oranges into segments and set aside.
Measure the juice from the first orange — if it isn’t quite 1/3 cup, squeeze the juice from the membranes until you get 1/3 cup.
Add the zest, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and pepper to the juice; gradually whisk in oil in a thin stream until well combined.
Stir in 1/4 cup parsley.
When cool enough to handle, peel and dice the roasted beets.
Add to the quinoa along with dates and gently combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat.
Serve garnished with the reserved orange segments, pomegranate seeds and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.
Mellisa Hannum is the assistant marketing manager at BriarPatch Co-op. Visit http://www.briarpatch.coop for more information.