get the best results you must talk to your vegetables."
- Prince Charles
Whats in the box this week:
Chard or kale
... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
2 additional baskets
of strawberries and
Sat. Jun 23 - Summer Solstice Celebration.
the Banana Slug String Band will be playing this time for sure!
4pm - 10pm
Sat/Sun Aug. 4&5 - Childrens Mini Camp.
noon Saturday - sundown Sunday
Sat/Sun Aug. 28&29
Wood Fired Bread Oven Building project
Sat. Sep 22 - Fall Equinox Celebration,
3pm - 9pm
Sat. Oct 20 - Halloween Pumpkin U-Pick,
Win a Live Earth Farm T-shirt
or a half-flat of strawberries if you can guess the amount of water we
use on a typical sunny day here on the farm. With the beautiful weather
weve been having, watering becomes the number one priority on a
farmers mind and there are no days off. Groundwater pumped from
aquifers more than 300 feet deep and a two-acre pond (check out the picture
on our website) are our main sources for the farm's drinking and irrigation
water. Through an intricate system of tanks, pumps, pipes, hoses, sprinklers
and valves we transport this precious, life-giving substance to our crops.
On average, we have to put about an inch of water on our crops every week.
Water requirements vary from crop to crop, for example spinach may need
more but green beans much less. Also, a mature crop will need more water
less frequently whereas a recently planted crop needs less water more
frequently. We also try to conserve as much water as we can by using drip
irrigation, mulching, and dry farming. We currently have about 20 acres
of crops that need to be watered. So go ahead... make a guess! How many
gallons of water (on average) do you think the farm needs on a weekly
basis? You can e-mail or call us with your answer. Well announce
the winner(s) at our Solstice Celebration on June 23rd. Have fun!
Up on the Farm
Last week an organic farmer
friend came to visit us from Ecuador. His name is Pacho Gangotena, and
he is the uncle of Felipe who spent two seasons apprenticing with us (1999-2000).
Pacho has been farming organically for more than 20 years and is a pioneer
in the organic farming movement in his country. He farms about 15 acres
in a valley an hour outside of Quito, at an elevation of 7500 feet. I
have known Pacho since back when I still lived in Ecuador (over 18 years
ago), and my mom used to go to the farmers market to get our veggies
from him. As a farmer, he has motivated and organized indigenous communities
in his country to adopt biologically and ecologically sound farming practices.
Many of these practices are traditions which have been used over hundreds
of years. Unfortunately, in the recent past many farmers were persuaded
to substitute chemical-based, short-term, profit-oriented farming practices
instead. What is interesting, Pacho observes, is that under the current
economic crisis affecting Ecuador, many small-scale farmers are switching
back to local, more innovative and more appropriate technologies. The
farmers share information among themselves and are starting to form small
marketing cooperatives and alternative, non-monetary trade structures
in the hopes of creating more self-sufficient regional economies. Pachos
visit was very inspiring at many levels, but most importantly I felt linked
by our common values and rewards as small-scale organic growers.
Crops and Critters
Sometimes you discover that
by introducing a new growing technique, new challenges emerge with it.
This year we are using a new tool mounted on the tractor to weed and cultivate
the soil. This implement has spider-like tines that uproot weeds and smother
them as it throws the soil on top of them. The hose we use for drip irrigation
had to be buried under the soil, out of the way of the tines. For a while
now we have been noticing that whenever we turn the water on, we have
dozens of water leaks. We couldnt figure out why, blaming all sort
of things, until one day I discovered this large grub-like insect with
sharp scissor-like mouthpieces gnawing on the drip-hose! It dawned on
me that since the hose is now covered with soil, this insect, which only
lives underground, has become a problem. You live you learn. Dont
just blame the gophers!
Member to Member Forum
you wish to communicate something to the rest of the CSA membership, you
may use this forum to do so. To submit something to be included here,
please contact the editor (see below) by Sunday to get it into the following
follow-up to last weeks discussion: alert member Natasha Perry reminded
me about a type of produce storage bag you can buy called 'Evert-Fresh'.
These bags are specially designed to absorb and remove ethylene gas (which
most produce releases as it ripens), provide a controlled humidity, and
filter out UV light (does UV light exist in one's refrigerator?). These
features and a few more are supposed to slow the natural deterioration
process. If you want to read more about this product, you can go to the
manufacturer's website at http://www.greenbags.com/usage.html
(I'm not pushing these mind you; I just want to let you all know so that
you can make your own informed decision). Natasha says she is able to
keep basil fresh for 2 weeks in them. In my own experimentation with them
a few years back, I had somewhat inconclusive results, however I am trying
them out again just to see if I learn anything new which I can pass on
to you. One thing I do know is that for optimal storage, the produce needs
to be pretty much dry before placing in the bags (remember my discussion
last week about not-wet-but-humid?).
Found an interesting commentary about the bags when doing a little web
surfing on them. This was a blurb from a sailor's log I found on a website
called 'Setsail.com -- the serious cruising sailor's website.' "...The
fresh vegetables we bought three weeks ago are gradually being used up,
but they're still all in good shape thanks to careful storage in "Evert-fresh"
green bags in the fridge. Green bags are impregnated with some chemical
which (I think) absorbs or neutralizes the ethylene gas that fruits and
veggies give off. I wish I'd known about them back in our backpacking
and river rafting days, because they are really great for prolonging fresh
Natasha says you can buy these bags through the "Harmony" catalog
(www.gaiam.com or phone 1-800-869-3446 for a catalog). You can also find
many vendors for them on the web if you simply enter "Evert-Fresh"
into a search engine. Natasha says Harmony/Gaiam also sells a useful counter-top
dryer to hang plastic bags to dry after you use them. Just more grist
for the mill! - Debbie
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
the newsletter editor.
What... a whole week has
gone by without a beet recipe? What was I thinking?? Here is one submitted
recently by fellow member Lora Wedge, who said she 'found this yummy recipe
somewhere on the internet'. She also thanks Live Earth Farm for growing
things she has to learn how to cook (such as beets)! Of course if you're
getting tired of beet recipes, let me know... - Debbie
Roasted Beet & Orange Salad
(no serving size specified)
2 lbs. fresh beets
vegetable oil spray
4 lettuce leaves
11 oz. can mandarin oranges
1/2 C slivered almonds
fresh mint sprigs for garnish
3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. grated lime zest
1. Toast almonds on a baking sheet at 350 for 5 minutes.
2. Trim all but 1-2 inches of the stems from the beets. Place beets in
a single layer in a pan, lightly coated with vegetable spray.
3. Roast beets about 1 hour or until tender and let cool. Rub beets to
re-move skins. Coarsely chop them and put into covered bowl.
4. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over beets.
Cover and refrigerate 2-24 hours.
5. When ready to serve, rinse lettuce and oranges.
6. Place the lettuce on a plate. Stir the oranges into the beets, mix
and place on the lettuce.
7. Sprinkle with almonds and garnish with mint.
Note from Lora: "I just used the juice from the mandarin oranges
instead of orange juice. Also, I didn't have white wine vinegar, mint
or almonds. So, I substituted apple cider vinegar and left out the other
two things and it was still delicious!"
Just goes to show you how flexible recipes really are! - Debbie
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.