7th Harvest Week June 11th - 17th 2001
Season 6



"To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables."
- Prince Charles


What’s in the box this week:

Asian greens
Chard or kale
Summer squash
Mystery item?



... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
2 additional baskets
of strawberries and
4 lemons



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 - Children’s 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,
all day

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 we’ve been having, watering becomes the number one priority on a farmer’s 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. We’ll announce the winner(s) at our Solstice Celebration on June 23rd. Have fun!

What's 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 farmer’s 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. Pacho’s 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 couldn’t 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. Don’t just blame the gophers!

Member to Member Forum
If 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 week’s newsletter.

Produce Storage Tips
A 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 veggie life."

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

Notes from Debbie’s Kitchen . . . . . . . . Have a recipe you’d 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

*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.