21st Harvest Week September 18th - 24th 2002
Season 7
  Want a printable copy of this newsletter? Click here to download the pdf file.



The rounded world is fair to see,
Nine times folded in mystery:
Though baffled seers cannot impart
The secret of its labouring heart,
Throb thine with Nature's throbbing breast,
And all is clear from east to west.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


What’s in the box this week:

Asian greens
Green beans
Mix of sweet peppers
Blue Peruvian potatoes
Radishes (Wednesday only)
Summer squash (few)

Sweet corn coming soon -- 2 weeks!!!



... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
three additional baskets
of strawberries!



Sat. Sep 21 - Fall Equinox Celebration,
3pm - 9pm

Sat. Oct 26 - Halloween Pumpkin U-Pick,
all day

Nov. 20/23 (Weds/Sat) ***Last box !***

The opportunity to leave the farm these past two weeks and take a break from its daily responsibilities not only left me recharged but also gave me a deep sense of appreciation for the commitment and dedication by everyone who works so hard every day to keep this farm alive. The food we receive from the land is linked to the human effort that goes into it. Since late winter we've been continuously preparing the earth, planting, caring for, and harvesting crops... like an on-going and ever-turning wheel. Now the time has come when nights are getting colder and days shorter. The first pumpkins are donning their colorful orange dresses, and some trees, like our river birches, are turning yellow. Twice a year time is in balance – the days are just as long as the nights. These events are known as Equinoxes, and mark the beginning of Spring and Fall respectively. In the Spring we celebrate the beginning of our planting season, and with the coming of Fall we acknowledge and celebrate* the land's generosity, and the harvest received from these plantings.

*Come join us at the farm this Saturday Sept. 21st, 3 - 9pm, for our annual celebration of the Fall Equinox! Walk the fields, pick strawberries, flowers, and the last of the raspberries, help press apples for cider and bake bread in our wood-fired oven. There will be pony rides and story readings for the children. Marimba music will accompany us throughout the afternoon and into the evening. Kuzanga, a local and very popular 8-member marimba band, will surely delight everyone with their wonderful sounds and rhythms. Bring a dish for our traditional potluck, and we recommend a blanket to sit on and something warm to wear in the evening. With a small bonfire we will mark the beginning of the Fall season, and we can expect a beautiful harvest moonrise over Mt. Madonna to light up the night sky. Hope to see you all on Saturday!! - Tom

Crop Notes
Strawberries: Many of you have probably noticed a difference in the taste, shape and color of our strawberries this year. The reason is that we grew three different varieties instead of just our usual favorite, 'Seascape'. We wanted to compare other everbearing varieties with Seascape, to find one with larger foliage in order to protect the berries from sunburn, and with greater resistance to different leaf diseases. We selected two: Aromas and Diamante. The variety most people noticed as markedly different, in both color and taste, is Diamante. They are naturally paler than Seascapes, and although sweet, are not as flavorful as the other two. We will discontinue the Diamante next year but keep the Aromas. We always welcome your feedback -- this helps us in our selection process for future seasons.

Eggplant: Green eggplant??? Is Tom suddenly colorblind? Doesn't he know what eggplants are supposed to look like when they're ripe? Sorry I didn't warn you earlier, but it is not colorblindness, but curiosity – I wanted to try something new, which led me to plant all these different colored eggplant. They are not the regular dark purple Globe Eggplant, which perform poorly under our cooler coastal conditions. The kind of eggplant which we have had more luck with are the Asian types, which are more slender and long. What struck me when I opened the seed catalog is how many colors they come in! They can be white, green, magenta, yellowish/green, and purple. But rest assured you can use these colorful eggplants in just the same way as the more traditional purple varieties, so don't let the color fool you... they are ripe!!!!

Member to Member Forum
"Our Week with The Box," by fellow member Nicole Fravel of Willow Glen.

We are a family of two working adults who eat a vegetarian diet. Since we love to cook, weekend meals are ones that take longer to prepare. Weekday meals are either leftovers from the weekend or foods that are quick to prepare. We struggle to eat all of the contents of each box by the end of the week and have started to make some meals to keep in the freezer for later use. Lunches are usually leftovers or sandwiches, so I haven’t included them in our diary.

Saturday – We ate leftovers made from some of the contents of last week’s box. This is our usual M.O.

Sunday – Carrot-Ginger Vichyssoise* with Grilled Pepper Tapenade* spread on slices of French bread. For dessert, Cornmeal Cake with Strawberries* and whipped cream. Sounds very exotic and complicated, but is actually very easy to make. The cooking is not labor intensive and most of the food cooks while you do other things.

Monday – Jumbo pasta shells stuffed with greens and topped with walnut sauce. Unlike Sunday’s meal, this one did take a long time to cook. (It was Labor Day, so we had extra time!) It took both of us working together over an hour, then the pasta had to bake and rest (an additional hour). We ate more cake and strawberries for dessert.

Tuesday – Cooked the carrots, cilantro, and garlic from the box with some peppers from our garden and cauliflower from the store. Added some Indian spices and served it over rice for a quick and easy stir-fry. For dessert, we heated some of the cornmeal cake (it was getting a little dry.) Had some extra time, so I baked the beets and blanched the peas (in their pods) in prep for tomorrow’s salad.

Wednesday – The main dish was a reprise (sounds better than leftovers!) of Monday’s stuffed shells with a side salad of beets and peas tossed with minced onion, chives, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and freshly ground pepper. If you care what color your peas are when you eat them, don’t mix them with the beets until you are ready to eat. Since dinner took all of 30 seconds to prepare and TV stations were still showing reruns and summer reality series, I decided to make some homemade spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes from the box. Not too bad – once I got past the peeling and seeding part! I put the sauce in the freezer for later use.

Thursday – We ate out. Actually this was our first time eating out since we started getting the boxes at the beginning of August!

Friday – We decided to grill the rest of the vegetables. (Toward the end of the week, we usually dump everything that is left into a new creation – sort of our version of the leftover casserole. One week it was pasta primavera. Another week it was a veggie frittata. This week, we grilled.) We had potatoes and carrots left from the box and more tomatoes and peppers from our garden. We grilled everything and served it over lettuce with a warm cilantro sauce (using leftover cilantro and a little bit of onion from the box). The cilantro sauce was yummy. The vegetables were good, but were definitely not the best variety for grilling. And we learned that if you’re going to grill potatoes, they must either be sliced fairly thin or boiled ahead of time.

At the end of the week, we still had one bunch of lettuce and two small carrots to use. We tossed them with some tomatoes from our garden, some olive oil, and balsamic vinegar to make a side salad accompanying Sunday’s meal.

*recipes for these are below (not available on paper version of newsletter)

Notes from Debbie’s Kitchen . . . . . . . . Have a recipe you’d like to share? Contact the newsletter editor.

A delightful tomato soup recipe submitted by member Sumana Reddy of Prunedale, and garlic storing tip from Mary Teter of Gilroy, who says she's seen a lot of it in the exchange box lately. - Debbie

Cream of Tomato Soup, Indian style
from Madhur Jaffrey's "World of the East Vegetarian Cooking" (with adaptations by Sumana's husband, Vikram)
Serves 4 - 6

1 1/2 lbs. red-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. sliced lemon grass
1 tbsp. dried or fresh curry leaves (can only find in Bay Area Indian stores – has a wonderful aroma that's hard to substitute, but okay to omit if not available).
1-inch sliced fresh ginger
4 tbsp. unsalted butter or ghee
1/2 C heavy cream or milk
2 tbsp. white flour
2 1/2 C milk
1/2 tsp. ground roasted cumin seeds
pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. lime or lemon juice
1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro

Combine the tomatoes, lemongrass, curry leaves, ginger, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Put the tomatoes through a sieve (you should have about 2 cups of thick tomato juice). Bring this juice to a simmer and keep on a low heat. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. Add flour. Stir and cook the flour on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not let it brown. Pour in the hot tomato juice, stirring all the time. Add cream and 3/4 tsp. salt. Simmer and add rest of ingredients except cilantro. Serve garnished with cilantro. May serve cold. This recipe is very tolerant of changes in quantities or omission of flavoring ingredients.

Too-Much-Garlic Storage Idea
by CSA member Mary Teter

Peel cloves. Crush. On a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, spread crushed garlic in a square wafer of about 1/4-inch thickness. Using butter knife (so as not to puncture foil), gently make cross-hatching pattern, sized to suit your taste. Freeze on cookie sheet about 1/2 hour. Go over cross-hatching again if needed to make snapping frozen pieces off easier. Fold up foil to protect garlic, keeping flat as possible to keep air out. Put this in ziploc-type bag or other container to keep garlic smell and taste out of everything else in freezer. Voila, now you have ready-crushed garlic at your fingertips when in a hurry! Organic, to boot!

Note: You can do the same with ginger, julienned or minced, so that that three-quarters of a root you didn't use last night won't die before you can get to it again!

Recipes from Nicole Fravel's "Our Week with The Box" diary, above:

Note: Nicole's added comments and variations to these recipes are in parentheses ( ). And added notes of mine are in brackets [ ] - Debbie.

Carrot Ginger Vichyssoise
from "Picnics"
Makes 8 servings.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced
1 leek, white part only, washed well and sliced (since the leeks in the box were small, I used three)
8 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces
2 bay leaves
8 C chicken stock (I used vegetable stock)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 C heavy cream or half and half
chives for garnish

In a large soup kettle, heat the olive oil over low heat and sauté the garlic and ginger until soft, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to medium, add the leek, and sauté until the leek begins to wilt, about 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high, and add the carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, chicken stock, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 40 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches [allow mixture to cool sufficiently before doing this or it can explode on you from the rapid expansion of heated gases! - Debbie]. Return to the kettle and stir in the cream or half-and-half; add more salt and pepper if needed. Pour the soup into a storage container and cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve in chilled soup bowls and garnish with snipped chives.

Grilled Pepper Tapenade

Mix of peppers (We used the three yellow wax and green apple peppers from the box plus three small hot peppers from our garden.)
1 clove garlic
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (You can probably used dried, just use less.)
2 tbsp. olive oil

Grill the peppers until all sides are blackened and charred. Seal the peppers in a plastic or paper bag for 15 to 20 minutes to steam. Peel and seed the peppers. Put all ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped.

Cornmeal Cake with Strawberries
from "Fresh from the Farmer’s Market"
serves 8

unsalted butter and cornmeal for preparing the pan
1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
6 tbsp. yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 C unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 C milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 baskets (1 pint each) strawberries
sugar to taste
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 C heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides, then dust with cornmeal, shaking out excess. In a bowl, stir together the cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar gradually and beat, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice, until creamy and light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon zest. Combine milk and vanilla extract. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with milk. Beat just until blended, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until top is golden brown and firm to the touch, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack, then reinvert onto another rack. Cool to room temperature, then transfer to a serving platter. Hull the strawberries. Put half of them in a large bowl and crush with a potato masher. Slice the remaining strawberries and add to the bowl. Sweeten to taste with sugar. Add enough lemon juice to give the mixture a refreshing tart edge. Cover and chill. Just before serving, whip cream to soft peaks with 2 tsp. sugar. Cut the cake into 8 portions and transfer to serving plates. Divide the berries and the cream evenly among the portions.

Cannelloni with Greens and Walnut Sauce
from "The Greens Cook Book"
serves 4 to 6

2 recipes Egg Pasta (We used 1 12oz. Box of Jumbo Shells)
Walnut Sauce (It would taste just as good with a red sauce, and leaving out this step would probably cut prep time in half.)
3 lbs. Chard or mixed greens (We used the Asian stir fry greens and the beet greens from the box.)
2 C ricotta
1/2 C each grated Parmesan and Romano cheese or 1 C grated Parmesan
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tbsp. parsley, chopped
4 eggs
grated peel and juice of 1 lemon

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the greens. Cut the leaves away from the thick center stems and wash them well. Save the chard stems to cook separately or for soup stock. If using a mixture of greens, cook them separately – some will take longer than others. When the water comes to a boil, add salt, and cook the greens until they are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop them out and set them in a colander. Press out as much moisture as possible with your hands or the back of a wooden spoon; then set the greens on a cutting board and chop them finely. Combine them with the ricotta, grated cheeses, garlic, parsley, eggs, and lemon peel, and mix well. Season to taste with a few scrapings of nutmeg, salt, freshly ground pepper, and lemon juice – make the seasoning lively and bright. Boil the pasta for about 10 minutes and then drop into cold water. Remove and stuff with the greens mixture. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and generously butter one 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking dish. Arrange the stuffed shells next to one another, and cover them with half the walnut sauce (recipe below). Bake them for 20 minutes; then let them rest for 10 minutes more. Chop a little extra parsley, and stir it into the remaining sauce. Make a pool of the sauce on the bottom of each serving plate and set the pasta on top, or pour the sauce over the pasta.

Walnut Sauce
Makes 3 cups

1/2 C fresh walnuts, chopped very fine
3 C milk
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
white pepper

If possible, use new crop walnuts, freshly shelled and chopped very fine, either by hand or in a food processor. Slowly warm the milk with the walnuts, garlic, and bay leaves. When the milk is near boiling, turn off the heat, and set it aside for the flavors to steep. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux. Gently cook it for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is lightly colored. Remove the bay leaves and the garlic cloves from the milk; then add the milk all at once to the roux, and stir with a whisk. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground white pepper, and a scraping of nutmeg; then slowly simmer the sauce, stirring frequently, about 25 minutes.


Cilantro Sauce

1 tsp. hot chili oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
about 1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger, sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 cup broth

Heat chili oil and sesame oil. Add the onion and ginger and cook about 1 minute. Add the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to about 1/2 cup. [Cool down first -- see note in Carrot and Ginger Vichyssoise, above --and then ] put into a food processor with the cilantro and blend until smooth. Can be reheated in the microwave to serve warm.


*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.