2nd Harvest Week May 7 th - May 13th 2001
Season 6



"...tap into the creativity that is uniquely ours to give, and do so with a full measure of delight."
- Matthew Fox


What’s in the box this week:

Asian greens
Fava beans
Green garlic


... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
3 more baskets
of strawberries



Sat. May 19 - Open Farm Day, 1pm - 5pm

Sat. Jun 23 - Summer Solstice Celebration,
4pm - 10pm

Sat/Sun Aug. 4&5 - Children’s Mini Camp,
noon Saturday - sundown Sunday

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

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

In last week’s 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? - Tom

What's 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 artist’s 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 them?).

Of Interest
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 nailed down.

Crop of the Week
This week’s 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.

Notes from Debbie’s Kitchen . . . . . . . . Have a recipe you’d 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 you’re 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, here’s an amazing recipe I tried last week. Don’t be put off by the title -- it really is fabulous!

Chocolate Beet Cake

(courtesy of Valerie Neer of Ben Lomond, with a few modifications by yours truly)

1 1/4 C beet puree (see below)
3 eggs
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 they’re 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 (don’t 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!

*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.