18th Harvest Week August 27th - Sept. 2nd, 2001
Season 6



"Though men now possess the power to dominate and exploit every corner of the natural world, nothing in that fact implies that they have the right or the need to do so."
- Edward Abbey


What’s in the box this week:

Green beans
Radishes (french)
Sugar snap peas
Summer squash
Mystery item?



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



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

Fri. Oct 5 - tentative next wood-fired bread oven baking day (full moon Oct. 2nd)

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

What's Up on the Farm
Besides school starting again, here on the farm one feels and anticipates the changes in the season a little earlier. The last crop of green beans was planted, the tomato plants are slowing down, the large, mostly green pumpkins are showing hues of orange. Apples and pears are coming off the trees, and peach and apricot trees need to be pruned (August and September are the best months to prune your stone fruits). You might have noticed the days getting shorter, and the usual 6AM start has been moved to 6:30. Needless to say my body is feeling a bit weary, and these first signs of Fall are a welcome signal, at least psychologically, that the fast rhythm of summer is coming to an end. An exciting project was accomplished last week as we finished assembling the new solar fruit dryer on the farm. A special thanks goes out to Lannie Clark, a CSA member, friend, and neighbor without whom we would still be looking at a half-finished drier. This means that we now have the ability to start drying tomatoes and hopefully many other crops such as apples, pears, vegetables and herbs in the very near future. This dryer was designed in Germany for farmers who can’t afford expensive electrical or gas-powered dryers, and is suitable for climates where sun-drying is otherwise not possible due to cooler temperatures and high humidity. If we can successfully use this dryer, it will mean that we can more efficiently use our crops in that we will have less waste and develop more value-added products (like sun dried tomatoes), which in turn can be be sold in the off season.

Another successful, fun-filled and savory Friday afternoon was spent baking with our well-guarded ("Toastie" the Lizard) outdoor wood-fired bread oven. The pizzas and breads were so delicious, and the process of making them so much fun, that we are planning to have regular monthly "bake-out" events (every Friday closest to full moon). Taylor Lampson (a Los Gatos member who helped build the oven) came out with his family and friends to join in the bread-making, then wrote me the next morning to say, "What a wonderful first experience we had with the lizard! The variety of people and breads was really a treat for us and our friends. I think this activity will become a great focal point for the farm as time goes on. Now we're off to pick up our box on the bike -- to return with goodies to eat for the next week!"

***click on these thumbnails to see larger/complete pictures***

firing up the oven

first baked goodies emerge!

picnicing on the results

Crops and Critters
Where have all the strawberries gone? You probably remember from previous years that strawberries were one item you could always count on throughout the season. This year they were plentiful early on, but by July the plants were losing their vigor and even our usual mid-season pruning didn’t have the response we expected. Since strawberries make up a significant proportion of our annual income we tried everything to figure out what was causing this early decline. Deer damage, mite damage, and leaf spot (a fungal friend) are the usual culprits, however this year the real trouble was coming from the soil. Every year the berries are planted on new ground where strawberries haven’t been planted before. This reduces their vulnerability to soil-borne diseases. Also, berries like well-drained, sandier soils, and last year we had to choose a spot with more clay. As it sometimes happens, last year we received a significant amount of rain in mid October (3.5 inches), which saturated the soil where this year's berries would go. By the time the plants arrived (early November) the soil was still fairly wet and we had no choice but to shape our beds and plant. With the fairly high clay content, the soil around the roots became very compacted, stunting the plants’ root growth. Needless to say, about two-thirds of the berry patch has not been producing anywhere close to normal. The lesson learned is that we shouldn’t wait too late into the season to prepare our strawberry fields for next year, and also we must choose a lighter soil with better drainage. We are happy to have had a nice raspberry and blackberry crop this year to somewhat offset the loss in strawberries.

Member to Member Forum
- Many heartfelt thanks to Tom for a day at the farm, from the MOMS Club of San Jose. Our members and kids had so much fun picking strawberries, playing on the hay mountain and checking out what happens on the farm, and we sincerely appreciate your generosity and good will. Everyone is wondering when we can come back! Thank you! --Connie Langevin

- What's the most unusual mode of transportation you've seen for members picking up their CSA shares? Or perhaps you've a tale of your own unique method? Please drop us a line and we'll share your story with the rest of the membership here in this forum. When you do so, please be sure to tell us from which location you pick up.

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.

Sometimes things just work out so nicely! This morning while preparing this week's newsletter I got an email from member Renee Lion with two recipes just right for this week's box. Thanks Renee! - Debbie

Two-Bean and Beet Salad with Feta
from Food and Wine magazine
8 servings

2 pounds small golden or red beets, scrubbed
2 pounds mixed yellow wax and green beans (Renee sez she used all green)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup black currant vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the beets in a baking dish and fill with 1/4 inch of water. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool, then peel beets and cut them into 1/2-inch-thick wedges.
2) In a very large pot of boiling salted water, cook the beans over high heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Drain well and pat dry.
3) In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar until blended. In a large bowl, toss the beans with 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and transfer to a platter. In the same large bowl, toss the beets and chives with the remaining 1/4 cup of vinaigrette and spoon over the beans. Season with salt, sprinkle the feta on top and serve.

Leek and Chard Bisque
from Sunset magazine
serves 6?

1 leek (about 1 1/2in. thick)
3/4 pound Swiss Chard
3 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth (Renee sez veggie broth worked)
1 cup milk
About 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
1 hard-cooked large egg, shelled and finely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh chives

1) Trim and discard stem end and tough green top from leek; peel off and discard outer layer. Cut leek in half lengthwise and hold each half under cold running water, separating layers to rinse well. Coarsely chop.
2) Rinse and drain chard. Trim off discolored stem-ends and discard. Thinly slice stems crosswise and coarsely chop leaves.
3) In a 3- to 4-quart pan, mix broth with leek and chard stems and leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are very tender when pierced, about 12 minutes.
4) With a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a blender or food processor. Add about 1/2 cup cooking liquid and whirl until smooth. Pour puree back into pan. Add milk and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir just until steaming, 3 to 4 minutes.
5) Ladle bisque into wide bowls. Sprinkle equally with chopped egg and chives. Add salt and more pepper to taste.

*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.