are still in transition from the notion of man as master of the earth
to the notion of man as a part of it."
- Wallace Stegner
Whats in the box this week:
Sugar snap peas
Blue and red potatoes
French breakfast rad-ishes
Summer squash or cu-cumbers
Sungold cherry toma-toes
*see "Crop of the Week"
... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
1 basket of strawberries, 1 of either blackberries or raspberries, and
a mixed bag of apples and pears
Fri-Sun Aug. 2, 3 & 4 - Childrens Mini Camp,
7pm Friday to noon Sunday (registration required)
Sat. Sep 21 - Fall Equinox Celebration,
3pm - 9pm
Sat. Oct 26 - Halloween Pumpkin U-Pick,
Nov. 20/23 (Weds/Sat) ***Last box !***
Crop Update: Last week we
picked the first lug of tomatoes, our early apple varieties (both Pink
Pearl and Early Gold), and a new pear variety from Michigan which we planted
3 years ago called "Queen Delight". It turns out that this particular
variety of pear shows strong signs of resistance to fireblight, a fungal
disease which affects most pears here on the coast. With a little more
heat we should be able to pack our first and long-awaited tomatoes in
early August, and the fruit shares will have their first taste of our
early "pome" fruit (apples, pears) this week. Later in August
well have plenty of apples and pears for our regular shares as well.
Can we bring the Wild to the
Farm? (I welcome your comments.) Every week our Wednesday deliveries take
us through the Salinas, Gilroy and Pajaro Valley agricultural areas, and
it is striking how far into the distance one can see only cultivated,
perfectly straight rows of laser-leveled fields. The banks of the creeks
and rivers are denuded, devoid of any natural habitat. Not a shrub or
tree in sight poking out through the landscape. Farming has been in place
in these areas for so long that we accept it as part of the landscape.
We do not realize that these areas used to be covered by lush dense forests,
wetlands, and grasslands. Today the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys are centers
of industrialized farming practices. The Salinas Valley alone produces
a billion dollars worth of lettuce exported all over the world every year.
The intensity of these large-scale production systems has destroyed native
habitats, displacing populations of native species and polluting terrestrial
and aquatic ecosystems with agricultural inputs and byproducts.
This is only our seventh season farming, and in the world of farming this
means I am still a novice to this art form. With every season however,
my faith in the wonderful workings of this land deepens and I realize
that treading lightly on the earth gives more strength for nature to work
and support the crops we grow. One thing I've noticed is that part of
having a healthy farm is not only growing food organically, but also keeping
some part of the farm protected as "wilderness" or native habitat.
Among fellow small organic farmers in the area there is a sense that organic
farms cannot exist within degraded landscapes, that every farm is a small
ecosystem unto itself. To achieve a balance between wilderness and fields,
to promote a more dynamic interaction between cultivated and native species
(plants and animals), we must set aside areas to reestablish riparian
corridors, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands.
It takes time to experience the importance of this balance between fields
and wilderness, and often as farmers we are so caught up in the economics
of food production that wilderness is often left out of the equation or
worse -- purposefully removed. Here on the farm I consider our little
oak woodland, the hedges surrounding the fields, and our ponds as sanctuaries
which fortify the land with their di-versity, beauty and wildness. These
areas are the home of many birds, insects, frogs, and larger animals such
as coyotes, deer, rabbits, snakes, as well as many native plants, perennial
shrubs, grasses and flowering plants which will never fit into a financial
equation. However, I know it feels nourishing and strengthening when we
are surrounded by it, and we feel removed, starved, and cut off when its
lacking. I know these wilder areas play an important role in reducing
pest and disease problems among the crops we grow, and one could theoretically
measure that, to justify them economically. But shouldnt these areas
exist anyway, since they were here before us, forming the basis of this
rich and fertile environment that we now farm? To farm sustainably we
need to learn to farm with the wild by including and conserving native
landscapes among the crops we grow. Maybe one day food will not just be
organically grown, but "wildly organically grown."
Crop of the Week
Ready for some "wild"
vegetables? You may think, now Tom is really going over the edge, trying
to turn us on to eating weeds. But believe it or not, many of the weeds
growing in your garden are edible. In fact, there are over one hundred
species of edible weeds in the United States. You can see what I am getting
at. Live Earth Farm is turning into an edible weed farm (now there is
a niche if I've ever heard one!). These "wild vegetables" (now
he is already calling them vegetables) are among the most nutritious,
rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and healthful fatty
acids. Sure, try to tell that to my kids who wont even eat broccoli,
you might say. But all of you baby lettuce fans have been eating these
wild vegetables for a considerable time now. How about arugula, or dandelion?
Some other ones you might have heard of in some fancy restaurant are "vegetable
amaranth," purslane, lambs quarter, curly dock or plantain.
Many of our common vegetables used to be weeds at one time. They were
simply improved with breeding to make them larger, more succulent, and
more palatable. In this week's share I would like to introduce you to
a "wild vegetable" which has been eaten for centuries in Europe
called Purslane and which grows readily among our "other" vegetables.
Purslane has been eaten in Europe as a treatment for arthritis and to
promote general good health. Studies have shown that people who eat a
diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids have lower cholesterol levels and fewer
heart problems. These acids are found in seeds, wheat germ, and vegetable
oils. Among vegetables, purslane has more omega-3 acids than any other
vegetable, and six times the vitamin E content of spinach. Purslane leaves
have a mild nutty flavor and are a popular salad ingredient in Europe.
They are eaten extensively in soups and salads throughout the Mediterranean.
In Mexico and among our workers purslane is eaten in omelets, as a side
dish, or in soups and stews. Enjoy and dont be shy to try!!!
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
the newsletter editor.
Wow, a search online turns
up all sorts of staunch purslane supporters in remarkably varied ethnic
arenas Turkish, Mexican, African, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, Israeli,
Lebanese, Moroccan, Greek.... whew! I've pulled a couple simple recipes
to try, but this is by no means a new-age weed-as-food trend (except maybe
in our country!). Looks like it has been around a long time elsewhere.
If you want to see what I mean, enter the words "purslane recipe"
in a search engine like Google. - Debbie
Mexican Purslane "Verdolagas"
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. flour
1 C cooked* verdolagas, drained, chopped
2 tbsp. diced onion
4 oz. diced green chiles
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
shredded jack cheese as garnish
In skillet, heat oil and brown flour. Add verdolagas and onion. Cook for
one minute. Add green chiles and tomatoes. Blend well. Cover to simmer
a few minutes. Serve with shredded jack cheese.
*how to 'cook' was not specified, but I'd speculate that it was boiled
or steamed. Since it is supposed to be also a tender salad green (the
tips, anyway), I'm guessing it doesn't need to be steamed for long, maybe
5 minutes? Debbie
Ham and Purslane on Rye
(found online at "the Recipe Cottage")
2 slices rye bread toasted or plain (or whole wheat, pumpernickel, or
a few slices good quality ham
handful of fresh purslane, stems included
Instead of lettuce or pickles on this ham sandwich, you're using fresh
purslane. It's quite flavorful. The slightly crunchy flavor of the crisp,
succulent purslane stems helps to make this a satisfying sandwich.
Greek Potato Salad with Purslane and Crumbled Feta
Makes 4-6 servings
6 med. potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into thick slices or sixths
2 C of purslane, coarsely chopped
1 med. red onion, finely chopped
1/4 C finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 C Greek extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 C strained Greek yogurt
2 tsp. coarse mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A dash of cayenne
1/2 C crumbled Greek feta cheese
Combine potatoes, purslane, onions and parsley in a salad bowl. Season
with salt and pepper. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, yogurt and
mustard, pour over salad and toss gently. Garnish with crumbled feta and
cayenne. Serve immediately.
Mediterranean Yogurt Salad with Purslane and Cucumbers
6 small organic cucumbers, peeled, seeded and shredded
3 C purslane, large stems removed, washed and drained well
2 tbsp. ea. chopped fresh mint, cilantro and flat-leaf parsley
4 C strained Greek sheep's milk yogurt (or any thick Mediterranean style
1/4 C of extra-virgin Greek olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed with a knife blade
2 tsp. ground coriander seeds
Sea salt and ground black pepper
1. Wring the liquid from shredded cucumber by squeezing a small bunch
of it at a time between the palms of your hands. Place the cucumber, purslane
and herbs in a large bowl. 2. Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, garlic
and coriander. Season to taste with salt. Add the yogurt mixture to the
vegetables and mix well. Season to taste with black pepper or additional
salt. Serve cold.
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.