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April Newsletter 2024


Looks like we're going to have a pretty good crop of apricots, plums and nectarines this year. Yay! We'll have white peaches, too, but despite my best efforts, the tree is struggling with peach leaf curl. I've decided I'll be sending it up to the big grove in the sky after harvesting this year's crop.

Our orange tree produced a gazillion blossoms this year, so the grove smells yummy.

We've also had a gazillion gophers this Spring, and I'm on the hunt. I now own two Gopher Hawks, the best gopher trap out there. RIP to the four gophers who attempted to make a home in this grove this week. They should have stayed on the other side of the fence.

Also, RIP to the weeds in the grove. I just purchased a weed wacker and can not be stopped.


It's been quiet in the kitchen this month because I've focused on my garden duties instead. I planted carrots outside and started zucchini, dill, bush beans and artichokes inside.

I've also been processing our winter crops and testing new recipes for the kale, celery and green garlic. I'm trying a braised celery recipe this week. It looks like the artichokes that survived the gopher invasion are ready to harvest, so I'll cook those up soon. Spring is the best!


Friday April 5th-

Windchaser Winery: 1352 S 49th Street, Richmond


Come taste yummy wines and cocktails, eat some excellent BBQ & oysters, and shop with a handful of local vendors. There will be live music, too.

Saturday, April 20th-

Artisan Fair at Plymouth Church of Jazz and Justice: 425 Monte Vista, Oakland (near Piedmont Ave from

10 a.m.- 4 p.m.


Strawberry Jam with Black Pepper

Ingredients: strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, ground black pepper 

A classic jam with a bite. The perfect jam for charcuterie or cheese boards.


-Apricot Lavender


Spicy Jam Turnovers adapted from Cindy Mushet's Berry Turnover Recipe in The Art & Soul of Baking

Cream Cheese Dough

1.5 cups (7.5 oz) all purpose flour

1 tsp sugar

Pinch of salt

1 stick (4 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 (8oz) package of cold cream cheese, cut into 9 pieces

1 jar of your favorite spicy jam (I use spicy tomato & plum)

1 cup of grated cheddar or gruyere cheese

1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese


  1. Clear out your fridge a bit so two baking sheets can fit inside. Gotta keep the dough cold for optimal flaky turnovers.

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of the food processor for 10 seconds. Add the cold butter and pulse for 8 to 10 seconds, until the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Add the cream cheese and pulse 30 times (1 second pulses). There should be shaggy clumps of dough.

  1. Turn onto a work surface and gently knead a couple times to form a ball of dough. Pat it into a seven inch square that's about 3/4 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into square that's an 1/8 of an inch thick. Trim the edges so you have a 15 X 15 inch square. Use a ruler to mark 5-inch increments along all sides of the dough. Use a pizza cutter and the ruler to cut out 9 squares.
  3. Divide the squares of dough between two Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Gently mark a diagonal line on each square of dough with the back of a knife and a ruler, but do not cut through the dough. On one side of the diagonal line of each square, put a tsp of grated cheese and 2 tsp jam, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Brush the borders with egg wash (1 egg yolk + 2 tbsp milk), fold the dough in half over the jam and press the edges with the tines of a folk to seal the turnover.
  5. Once all the turnovers are ready, put them back in the fridge for 20 minutes. Position two racks in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375*.
  6. Once the turnovers are chilled, brush the top of each turnover with egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Use the tip of a paring knife to cut several slits in the top of each so the steam can escape when they bake. Then pop the trays into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Pull the baking sheets. Rotate them from front to back and switch the sheets between the racks. Bake for 10-15 minutes longer until the turnovers are golden brown.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for a bit. Eat warm. They're good room temp but way better warm. You might wanna invite your neighbors over so you don't eat all 9 in one sitting. Just saying.

Until next month,