17th Harvest Week August 20th - 26th 2001
Season 6



"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."
- Alfred Tennyson


What’s in the box this week:

Green beans
Hot peppers (Jalapeño and Hungarian)
Sweet peppers
Sugar snap peas
Summer squash
Fruit (some sort of either berries or apples)
Mystery item?



... and if you have an extra-fruit share:

Berries and apples



Sat/Sun July 28&29 -
Wood Fired Bread Oven Building project

Sat/Sun Aug. 4&5 - Children’s Mini Camp,
10m Saturday - noon Sunday. Optional early arrival Friday night. (See Member to Member Forum in the 5th Harvest Week's Newsletter for details!)

Sat. Sep 22 - Fall Equinox Celebration,
3pm - 9pm

Sat. Oct 20 - Halloween Pumpkin U-Pick,
all day

What's Up on the Farm
For the next two weeks I am living the life of a bachelor farmer. Constance and David are off to France to celebrate the wedding of her brother. I thought briefly about joining them, but the thought was short-lived once I assessed the workload for the week. First, I look at the tomatoes and sensed a storm building with so many begging to come off the vine. Just on the other side of the field, a new block of beautiful green beans were singing: "Pick us we are slender and tender." As Juan and I gazed at the towering sunflowers, some 9 to 10 feet tall, we noticed that the peppers were ready for harvesting as well. This year we have some really "hot" varieties: Jalapeños, Hungarian Yellow Hot Wax, and Thai Firecrackers (look for recipes in coming newsletters), and many of their sweet cousins are already changing from green to dark red and yellow. Thursday is typically our planting day (lettuce, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, and summer squash), but this week we have to harvest the pears which are starting to drop to the ground, a sign that they are ready for "the pickin’." Although there won’t be as many pears as last year, their average size is much larger. I guess we’ll squeeze the planting in on Saturday!!

Last Monday I found out that Jose Luis, one of our youngest helpers, decided to work in the commercial raspberry fields. The timing couldn’t be worse, since this is the busiest time of the season. For the next 4-5 weeks raspberry growers are in full production and fast pickers can almost double what a field worker earns in an average week. As I struggle to replace him in the short term I ponder the bigger question of how the farm can provide more long-term economic and social stability to all our workers.

As Friday afternoon approached, Sara, Charles, Grandma and kids came to inaugurate our wood-fired bread oven (see story below). Our first baking ritual turned into a feast of delicious pizzas, peach/raspberry strudels, pies and breads. Speaking of the bread oven, we're looking for a name for its lizard/dragon guardian! Something that evokes images of baking and warmth, and his dreamy-drowsy state, draped about the oven as he is, guarding its door (though how he keeps an eye on things when they're both closed we're not exactly sure!). If you have any bright ideas, please call or email our editor. We'll have a naming contest come the Fall Equinox celebration! If you haven't seen him yet, come out to the farm and have a peek, or check out the pictures on week 14's web version of the newsletter.

Crops and Critters
Did you know that beans and peas belong to a plant species called legumes, of which there are more than 13,000 types? These plants have the unique ability to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into a plant nutrient. And they don’t do this alone! Legumes have formed a partnership with a bacteria called rhizobia. These bacteria are like small factories that have the ability to "fix" nitrogen, i.e. they take it from the air by trapping it in soil pores and then convert it chemically into a form the plant can use. Legumes secrete a special chemical into the soil that attracts these bacteria, which then move through special tunnels in the plant’s root hairs, eventually making their home inside the root, to the point where these homes can be seen with the naked eye in the form of root nodules. Legumes play an important role in any organic farming system by replenishing the soil with organic matter and nitrogen. This why we grow a lush cover-crop of mixed legumes in the winter, which are then plowed back into the soil in the spring.

Member to Member Forum
Live Earth Farm's resident dragon came to life this past Friday, belching smoke and breathing fire, as the wood-fired oven that forms his perch was fired up for the first time. After several hours of warming up, pizzas, breads, strudels and pies disappeared into the chamber he guards so complacently, and a short time later, they emerged, bubbling and smoky -- ready for eating. The art of cooking in a wood-fired oven is something which none of those present at the first baking had much experience with, but our efforts were well rewarded with a tasty dinner of pesto pizzas, ratatouille pies, sun-dried tomato bread, and raspberry-peach strudel for dessert. Dorle, the farm's apprentice from Germany, even made a batch of her mother's traditional sweet German bread known as hefezopf.

We are hoping for some baking tips from Lucio, a worker on the farm for 6 years, who before he moved to the States from Mexico, worked as his village's baker, where he used a similar oven to bake 30 pounds of bread in a single firing. A local baker in the Santa Cruz Mountains has also volunteered to lead a baking workshop some time in the future. Watch your newsletter for updates.

Friday August 24th will be another baking day, open to anyone who is interested. Bring the supplies you need to prepare your favorite baked goods. There is some outdoor work space for mixing and kneading, but you may want to do some measuring and mixing before you arrive to keep the preparations simple. And remember that oven temperatures are unpredictable (at least at this stage of our experience with this oven), so be prepared to "experiment". We will begin firing up the oven around noon, and begin baking around 3pm, so plan to arrive in time to get your food ready in time. It is a leisurely process -- it takes time to get the oven warmed up, and time for bread doughs to rise. Plan to stroll around the farm, pick a few strawberries and enjoy the view while waiting for "the dough to double in bulk". - Sara Lyon

If you wish to communicate something to the rest of the CSA membership, or start a dialog among members on a particular topic, you may use this forum to do so. Please submit info to the editor (see below) by Sunday to get it into the following week’s issue. Keep in mind that members don't receive newsletters until the following Wednesday and Saturday (if you're reporting on a timely event).

Notes from Debbie’s Kitchen . . . . . . . . Have a recipe you’d like to share? Contact the newsletter editor.

This week's features: cucumbers and hot peppers, plus a contribution from a fellow CSA member.
- Debbie

Raita (cucumber yogurt salad)
This is another one of those recipes for which everyone has their own version. It is a wonderful accompaniment to hot and spicy Indian food. The main ingredients are cucumber (peeled, and either diced or grated) and yogurt, in proportions of roughly 1 cuke per cup of yogurt. All recipes season with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne. Some add cumin, others swear a key ingredient is chopped fresh mint. Some like to remove the seeds from the cucumber. Some strain off excess liquid from grated cukes before mixing with the yogurt, while others put the yogurt in a strainer or cheesecloth to remove its excess 'wateriness'! I say do what suits you. If you like it thicker, do some straining. If you're in a hurry, don't bother. It'll taste good either way!

Penne with shrimp and fresh chilies
4 main-course servings, "ready in the time it takes to boil the pasta"
exerpted from "the All New Joy of Cooking"

1 lb. penne
1/4 C olive oil
8 cloves garlic, chopped
zest of 1 orange, minced
1 - 2 fresh hot chilies, seeded & diced
1 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined & diced

Boil pasta in ample salted water. Meanwhile, sauté garlic, zest, and chilies in oil 'until garlic turns blond', then add shrimp and cook, stirring, until barely firm, about 3 minutes. Remove 1/2 C of pasta water and stir into shrimp. Drain pasta and toss with shrimp mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Vaiva Bichnevicius says this recipe from "Moosewood Cooks at Home" is a favorite wherever she takes it. (I edited it slightly to fit the paper version. - Debbie)

Not your mother's green beans

1/2 C pine nuts (Vaiva used almonds, which she broke up after roasting)
1 lb. green beans, washed & trimmed
1 lg. shallot or 1/4 C chopped scallions
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped parsley, chevril or basil

Toast nuts about 10 minutes until golden. Boil green beans in salted water until just tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Combine shallots or scallions, vinegar, oil, and herb in a medium bowl. Drain beans thoroughly and toss with the dressing. Stir in toasted nuts, add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, or chill for 20 minutes.


*Click Here* for a link to a comprehensive listing of recipes from Live Earth Farm's newsletters going back as far as our 1998 season! You can search for recipes by harvest week OR by key ingredient. Recipe site is updated weekly.