Quote was long, so I moved it over there -->
Whats in the box this week:
Asian stir-fry mix OR collard greens
Peppers (a few; some Hungarian yellow wax and possibly a green apple pepper
Potatoes (Yellow Finn)
Sugar snap peas
(Carrots next week)
... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
Strawberries and pears; Melons (Saturday only*)
*last week, Wednesday got melons, but not Saturday
Sat. Sep 21 - Fall Equinox Celebration,
3pm - 9pm
Sat. Oct 26 - Halloween Pumpkin U-Pick,
Nov. 20/23 (Weds/Sat) ***Last box !***
"Top Ten" Eco-Foods shopping checklist:
1. Was it grown locally?
2. Is it in season?
3. Was it organically grown?
4. Was it grown at a small family farm?
5. Does it contain GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)?
6. Were antibiotics or growth hormones used? Was it factory raised or
7. Was it fairly traded and/or sustaina-bly sourced?
8. Could I buy this closer to the farmer, at a farmers market or
9. How was it processed or preserved?
10. Does it encourage stewardship?
- from Cynthia Barstow's new book entitled "The Eco-Foods Guide
What's Good for the Earth is Good for You"
(I recently received a letter about the publishing of this book. Being
CSA members, we rank right up there among "Eco-shoppers!" How
many items you can check off? Tom)
A reminder about the pears:
For those of you getting extra-fruit shares, the pears this week are still
pretty firm and need to be stored awhile (ideally in a paper bag for 3-5
days), in order to soften up. These are "Warren" pears, a variety
which is believed to have spread from Mississippi. It falls under the
French-butter-pear category, and if you have the patience to try them
at different stages of softness you will discover at which stage they
are the most desirable. - Tom
Up on the Farm
Its all about Compost.
Here we are starting to harvest our first tomatoes, and its already
time to think about fall and winter planting, and about pruning the apricots.
But most importantly, we are getting ready to make compost. Making good
compost is not just a bunch of "horse manure," but rather it
is like nurturing a living organism. It is very much akin to making wine,
brewing beer, or maintaining sourdough starter. You dont have to
worry about seeing a bag of this "earthy gold" in your box anytime
soon (but come to think of it, that's not a bad idea!). Compost is a cornerstone
of building healthy soil, and here on the farm we start in the fall to
make our compost, which won't be applied until the spring and fall of
the following season. Virtually every organic gardening or farming system
recommends adding to and building up the organic matter content of the
soil. However it is the life cycle of millions of critters such as bacteria,
nematodes, earthworms and fungi that turn this organic matter into the
heart and soul of any productive soil: HUMUS. One thing we like to do
almost every Sunday as a family is to take a walk through the forest at
Nisene Marks State Park. As we hike through the denser parts of the forest
I always get the desire to walk off the general path onto the spongy soft
ground beneath the trees. It is here where nature shows us the perfect
example of humification. By digging below the first couple of inches of
decaying leaves and twigs my hand sifts through a dark, crumbly material
with no recognizable bits in it. This is forest humus, and I almost instinctually
bring my hand close to my nose to enjoy the characteristic sweet and musty
aroma. Most of the year we collect the ingredients that we will use to
make our compost. They include chicken and horse manure as our main nitrogen
source, and wood shavings and rice hulls as the main carbon source. It
is every microorganism's favorite dessert if the pile has 30 times more
carbon than nitrogen. Add the right amount of moisture and air, and pile
it all in a row 4 to 5 feet high, and in a few days the first microorganisms
will have such a party that the temperature will get up to between 140-160
degrees Fahrenheit. It is this heat aspect of the process which rids the
compost of organic wastes such as salts and toxins, and pasteurizes many
weeds and diseases. Although compost is not humus, it is halfway there.
It is a stabilized material that, when added to the soil, can decay rapidly
into humus without upsetting the life and properties of the soil. Another
technique which is rapidly becoming an important and proven method of
using compost is to protect plants from diseases by applying "teas".
Here on the farm over the last couple of years we have been applying compost
teas successfully to prevent disease on tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes.
I encourage everyone -- gardener, brewer or recycler -- to compost. Its
a great way to understand what nature does to create life on this planet.
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
the newsletter editor.
Kind of a mishmash of recipes
this week.. No particular theme, just ideas for what's in the box! The
first is an-other recipe (tested and) submitted by member Sue Burnham.
Five Minute Beets
from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
4 beets (about 1 lb.)
1 tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
lemon juice or vinegar, to taste
2 tbsp. chopped parsley, tarragon, dill or other herb
Grate beets into coarse shreds. Melt butter in a skillet. Add beets. Toss
with 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste. Add 1/4 C water*. Cover and cook
over medium heat until beets are tender. (Sue says you can stop right
here and it is even good!) Remove lid, raise heat to boil off any excess
water. Taste for salt. Season with a little lemon juice or vinegar (either
balsamic or red wine vinegar) and toss with herbs. (Sue said she tried
it using fresh tarragon and it was wonderful!) Also, if you don't mind
the shocking color, you can add 1 tbsp. of sour cream or yogurt at the
*variation: use orange juice instead of water
Sugar Snap Peas info
Sugar snaps are in our boxes again, so I thought I'd share some miscellaneous
ideas on preparing and using them. Debbie
Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If they appear wet when
you get them, you might want to dump them out of their bag and blot them
dry, then put them in a fresh, dry bag before storing them in the fridge.
Too much wetness and they can develop rot. Also, sometimes they arrive
with what look like little grey fuzzy bits stuck to them. These are the
remains of the blossom from which the pod grew. If you see a lot of these
in the peas, you may want to rinse, wipe or pick them off before storing
(remember to dry them if you do rinse). They sometimes accelerate rot
You will also notice the pods come in different fatnesses. This can vary
by batch (i.e. the first week we get 'em, they're young and thin, and
in subsequent weeks they become fatter, more mature). Often they'll vary
all in the same bag (between young and mature). Although all are flavorful,
if you find ones where the pod wall has become thin and tough, it is best
to shell and use the peas, discarding or composting the pods. Just because
the pod is fat doesn't necessarily mean the shell is no good. Check the
thickness of the pod wall (cut through one to see). If it is still nice
and thick and juicy, even if the peas are large, the whole thing is good
eating. But I must say, sometimes when I'm preparing a dish that calls
for plain ol' peas, if I have enough 'big fat sugar snaps', I'll shell
them and just use the inner peas.
When you go to use them, typical prep entails 'unzipping' them (and we're
all in agreement that they should be washed and looked over first for
bad spots). Gently hold the pod and 'snap' off the stem end, and the 'string'
will usually peel away from the short side of the pod. Discard the stem
and string. The pods can either be used whole or cut into pieces, depending
on what your recipe or senses suggest.
They of course can be eaten raw, as a snack, or used raw in a salad. If
you're going to cook them à là carte, they don't need much
cooking time. Have the rest of your meal ready to go, then put them in
your steamer for a minute or two. Or drop them into boiling water just
until they turn bright green then drain and serve immediately. They're
delicate beasts, and will continue to cook with the residual heat. Likewise
if you are preparing a stir-fry or some such dish, add them late in the
cooking process. Overcooked sugar snap peas are a sorry sight, olive and
limp, and just don't taste as good. So remember to mind your peas and
q's when cooking them!
from "Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings" by Edward Espe
1 C long-grain white rice
1/2 medium red onion (about 3 oz.), diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1-lb. can whole tomato (plain), with its liquid
(I used a yellow pepper, and white onion when I made it and it worked
just fine. Debbie)
Roast the rice in a dry skillet over moderate heat, stirring as needed,
until it appears toasted and fragrant. Sauté the onion in olive
oil for a minute, then add the green pepper, garlic, and salt. Cook another
minute or two. Coarsely chop the canned tomato (I used canned, already-chopped
tomatoes, or you could peel and chop a few fresh ones. Debbie),
and add water to make 2 cups. Add to the onions and peppers and stir to
get the juices off the bottom of the pan. Combine this mixture with the
rice, and cook in a covered pot about 15 minutes until tender. Open the
pot and stir, then cover and let sit a few minutes before serving. (This
last step is important. When the rice is first done cooking, it is stuck
to the pan. But the 'letting sit' step steams and loosens the rice after
a bit. 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.