the creativity that is uniquely ours to give, and do so with a full measure
- Matthew Fox
Whats in the box this week:
... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
3 more baskets
Sat. May 19 - Open Farm Day, 1pm - 5pm
Sat. Jun 23 - Summer Solstice Celebration,
4pm - 10pm
Sat/Sun Aug. 4&5 - Childrens Mini Camp,
noon Saturday - sundown Sunday
Sat. Sep 22 - Fall Equinox Celebration,
3pm - 9pm
Sat. Oct 20 - Halloween Pumpkin U-Pick,
In last weeks newsletter
I mentioned farming was like a dance. The first week of the CSA felt more
like conducting an orchestra, where everything had to build up to a harmonious
crescendo (by Wednesday). I hope everyone felt as good about receiving
their share from the farm as we did about getting it to you. As a farmer
I am thankful and excited to recognize the trust and community spirit
that underlies the CSA. Sometimes I wonder, if farming in this country
were predominantly CSA based, could it create a new form of agriculture
and move us away from the current system of "industrial" agri-business?
Up on the Farm
We are receiving an intern
from Germany this week who just graduated from a "prestigious"
Agriculture University (Waienstefan) in Munich. Her name is Dorthea Kobler
or "Dorle", and she has worked on organic farms in Germany.
She will live and work on the farm for the next 4 months in order to learn
about California organic farming. Welcome Dorle!!
One aspect I greatly enjoy about the CSA is that it motivates me to grow
a large diversity of crops. Right now we have cucumbers planted between
pear and plum trees, carrots next to bok choy, and lettuce overlooking
a border of yarrow. The peruvian lilies (Alstormeria) with their beautiful
pink/orange flowers are neighbors of a patch of heirloom and dry-farmed
tomatoes. The farm is like an artists canvas, and every year we
paint a new painting with the crops we grow. Since I mentioned tomatoes,
I know what's on everybody's mind: "When will we see them in our
shares?" Some tomatoes have been in the ground for over a month now,
and my crystal ball tells me we will enjoy the first red jewels by mid-July.
Crops and Critters
A couple of weeks ago we had
a group of pre-schoolers (Family Network Pre-school/Soquel) visit the
farm, and they asked us, "How do you keep the bugs from eating all
your plants?" I mentioned that the farm is like our own body; we
need to consider the effects of how we treat it, and what we put into
it. The healthier the soil, the healthier the plants and the more resistant
they are to pests and diseases. I like walking the farm as often as I
can and using all my senses to recognize the symptoms of health and of
illness. The more we pay attention, the easier it is to maintain a natural
balance. I invite everyone to either give me a call or e-mail me with
their gardening questions (and perhaps we can use this space to address
This section is dedicated to
being thought provoking, so here I go: I want to use this space to reflect
a little bit about our relationship to plants. We often forget when we
eat, garden, or spend time outdoors, that we are constantly surrounded
by plants. Many thousands are healing plants. There are native plants
and non-native plants; escapees and volunteers; annual, perennial, and
culinary; tame, lovely, not-so-lovely; fragrant, stinking; mild, magical,
or those who demand their powers to be respected (i.e. poison oak). Often
we notice how we are drawn to plants. Listen to the ones who call to you
and go over and meet them. Why do you like them? What can they offer?
Perhaps a change in mood, good food, a puzzle for the mind, calming essences
for you child, or strength for your liver. Look at them, smell them, taste
them, sleep with them, roll in them, read and talk about them. How about
growing them and discovering that there is a relationship, and that they
are getting to know you too? By making plants a part of our lives, through
a conscious decision to nurture and nourish them during their growth cycles,
not only will they change through our interventions (picking, pruning,
etc.), but also our thoughts and actions will be shaped by them. What
is impressive is that we suddenly realize how deeply our lives and theirs
have intertwined -- strengthening us both as we nourish and sustain each
other. Come to the farm and get to know where your vegetables are grown,
and please share your thoughts and ideas...who knows, perhaps we may find
ourselves rolling amongst the strawberries?
Member to Member Forum
If you wish to communicate
anything to your fellow CSA members, this is the place to do it!
Please email or call your newsletter editor (see contact information at
the bottom of the page) no later than Saturday to get your item into the
followoing week's newsletter. It could be anything from sharing information
you have about a pertinent event that you think other members might be
interested in, to requesting information from other members. It could
be a sustained dialog on a particular subject over a few weeks (comment
and reply). This section will evolve with the various needs of the membership.
Events/items with dates will be added to our calendar.
One event slated for this summer: fellow member Charles Limbaugh wants
to organize a wood-fired bread-oven building project on the farm. Details
about when and how you can participate will be posted here when they are
Crop of the Week
This weeks Asian greens
are bok choy (bok choi, bak choy or pac choi). This is the traditional
stir-fry vegetable from China. It grows well in our cooler coastal climate
and like most brassicas (vegetables in the mustard family), it is well
loved by a tiny garden insect called the flea beetle (a black shiny jumping
insect). You will notice some tiny holes in the leaves which were left
behind by these "jumpy little friends". Bok choy is low in calories
but high in the good stuff such as calcium, and vitamins A, B, and C.
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
the newsletter editor.
Beets again?? Just say yes!
Not only are the greens wonderful, but I am constantly learning new delightful
things to make with em. Promptly cut beets from their tops and store
separately (leave about 1" of stem attached to beets; do not wash
until youre ready to use them). The greens are another story: wash
them, shake or spin off excess water, and store wrapped in paper towels
in a plastic bag (squeeze the air out). You can cook with beet greens
just as you do with many other greens... steam, sauté, add to soups
or (the smaller tender leaves) to salads. Okay, heres an amazing
recipe I tried last week. Dont be put off by the title -- it really
Chocolate Beet Cake
(courtesy of Valerie Neer of Ben Lomond, with a few modifications by yours
1 1/4 C beet puree (see below)
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
The beet puree can be made ahead of time. The fastest way to cook beets
is in a pressure cooker. Scrub but do not peel them, and cook over an
inch or two of water (at least 2 C of water for large beets), at high
pressure for 11-13 min for small (3-4 oz) beets, or 20 - 22 min for med
to large beets (5-6 oz). After theyre cooked & cool enough to
handle, cut off stems & root & slip off skins. Cut cooked beets
into chunks & puree in a blender or food processor. When I made my
puree, I was short quantity-wise, and so I simply added some homemade
apple butter to make up the difference (dont be afraid to be creative,
I say!). Also, if you like working whole-wheat flour into recipes, add
a touch more baking soda to compensate (I used 1C white and 1/2C whole
wheat flour, & added 1/8 tsp. baking soda to amount shown).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease and dust with flour a bundt pan (or 8-9" square pan). In a
large bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in sugar, oil, vanilla, salt & beet puree.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa and soda. Add to wet ingredients
a little at a time until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and
bake 45 - 50 min., or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool
and serve with sliced strawberries & ice cream!
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.