27th Harvest Week October 30th - November 5th, 2002
Season 7
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"Magic is the constant companion of living and learning."
- from Steve van Matre (Earth Education)


What’s in the box this week:

Chard or kale
Sweet corn
Winter squash (Cha-cha Kabocha or "Chestnut")
(Lettuce was still too small at time of harvest)



... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
Strawberries and pears



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

On Saturday the fire circle was brought to life with hundreds of orange and red pumpkins. We crushed and pressed a lot of apples into juice and baked bread in the wood-fired oven. The Banana Slugs had parents and children alike playing "Farm Bingo," where, for those who had enough time, they ended up not only picking a pumpkin, but also all kinds of other unexpected treasures... from bugs and seeds to flowers and cornstalks. As I look at the many colorful pumpkins still decorating the fire circle it seems to me that here on the Central Coast, Halloween more than the Fall Equinox marks the seasonal transition. Plants pull their energy into the over-wintering roots or seeds, we accept that light is giving way to darkness, and we tend to turn inwards. Following nature’s example, I like to reflect on the season’s developments and experiences and save them like a precious seed to be planted again next season. One aspect I cherish every year is the energy, magic, and joy that children sprinkle all over this farm throughout the season. From all of us Live-Earthers we wish you another wonderful and magical Halloween!! - Tom

What's Up on the Farm
The week was filled by school visits and it never ceases to surprise me how the presence of children shifts my perception of the farm in unpredictable ways. I noticed that children who are allowed to walk, run, jump, and crawl freely among the plants in the fields turn into little hunter and gatherers. Baskets, pockets and bags quickly filled to capacity with strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, garlic, onions, sunflower seeds and many other treasures found in the fields. The small pond which is almost dried out at this time of year and overgrown with cattails has turned into a mystery spot where alligators, snakes and even goldfish live together. For others it was the perfect spot to create a secret clubhouse. The old sunflower patch, still in full bloom, attracted some to play hide-and-seek and pick handfuls of flowers. For others, the dried-up stalks turned into giants who needed to be uprooted and wrestled to the ground. Magic was not far away when Linnea and I watched a girl cautiously walk into the pincushion flower patch and talk to the flowers surrounding her. We overheard her saying, "Now stop crowding all around me, I am not famous." I also won’t forget the boy whose face lit up upon smelling a freshly-pulled onion plant. "I love the smell of onions!" he sighed, after taking a deep sniff, eyes still closed.

Crop Notes
Sweet Corn: As we enjoy a late crop of sweet corn, we have one more planting which we’ll start harvesting next week, which will most likely supply us until the end of the season. I dug up some interesting facts about this native "New World Grass." Corn has been a staple food nourishing Native peoples in both North and South America for thousands of years. Native Americans called corn "mahiz", which means "our life." The word is the source of corn’s popular and botanical names. Corn was traditionally grown with its other two sister plants beans and squash, which also provided for a more nutritionally balanced diet. Corn is relatively easy to grow if you pay attention to a few important details like choosing the right variety, germinating seeds in warm soil, enhancing wind pollination, and avoiding some particularly ornery pests (alas, the one we don’t have much control over until it’s on our kitchen counter is the corn earworm).

Member to Member Forum
My family and I are relocating to Chicago by November 6th, and we have four beautiful pet rabbits that we need to find homes for. If anybody is interested in having a wonderful pet, please let us know immediately. There is a bonded pair: a Dutch girl and a Netherland Dwarf boy, and two bachelors: a Holland Lop – who had the misfortune of losing a paw when he was a baby, and whom we nursed back to health – and an English. All are in good health and are spayed or neutered. If you are interested, please contact us ASAP at (408) 975-9264 or ybec_60@yahoo.com. – Dave, Rebecca and Theo.

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

Some beet recipes, a potato recipe, and info about that Kabocha winter squash we're getting this week. - Debbie

This was sent to me by members Catherine Barale and Eric Lindquist of Willow Glen:

Shredded Beets and Greens with Sliced Oranges
from "Greens, Greens, Greens" by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers

1 lb. greens (beet greens, chard, kale, etc.), about 2 - 3 bunches
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced into half moons
1 C coarsely grated beets
1 orange, peel and pith removed
Juice from one large orange
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. olive oil
pinch of salt

Tear greens off from center stem and cut into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Wash and set aside. Sauté onion in oil 5 - 8 minutes until soft and translucent. Peel and grate beets (I use my food processor). Add beets to onions and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add greens and stir well. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 8 - 10 minutes, until the greens are tender. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and drizzle over beets and greens just before serving. Top with sections of orange and serve warm. Serves four as a first course and makes a beautiful presentation full of holiday colors. Enjoy!

While on the subject of beets, this next recipe is a creation of our farm intern Andreas Bermeo. When I was out on the farm last Thursday, Andreas invented this for lunch, and I pumped him for the ingredients it was so good. Then today, I made it here at home for lunch, to test quantities, timing, etc., and make sure I had a credible re-creation of the flavors. I'm pleased to report success! – Debbie

Andreas' Tahini-Teriyaki Beets
serves 2, but can be doubled, tripled...

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 medium beets, peeled, tops and tails removed, and cut into 1/8-inch slices
2 rounded tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. soy sauce
juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp. Soy Vay Very Teriyaki sauce*

*a staple in the farm-intern kitchen! But I don't have it, so I looked at the ingredients and came up with a credible substitution:
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp.
dry ground ginger)
1 large clove of garlic, crushed

Heat butter and oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high until butter is bubbly, then add sliced beets and sauté, stirring often, about 8 minutes, until beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Reduce heat to me-dium-low and add rest of ingredients (you can either mix them together ahead of time in a bowl, or just put them in serially). Stir and simmer until sauce thickens and becomes one in color with the beets, another minute or so. Yowza! Serve as a side dish with... whatever you like!

Upon hauling yet another bag of potatoes from her weekly box, a fellow member exclaimed, "I just don't know what to do with all the potatoes – they're accumulating on me!" I gave her this sure-fire recipe for what I call "breakfast potatoes." Both my husband and I can consume a remarkable number of potatoes made this way, they're so good! This recipe puts a big dent in the garlic you've been accumulating also. - Debbie

Pan-fried garlic "breakfast" potatoes
(good any time of day!!)

potatoes (lots!), scrubbed, skins left on, and cut into either slices or big-bite chunks
garlic, multiple cloves (I'll use 7 or 8 for just two of us!), peeled, smashed with the flat of a big knife and chopped
olive oil
salt and pepper

Pour a few tbsp. olive oil into your biggest skillet (more surface area for potato-pan contact) and heat. Add potatoes and stir/move around to coat with oil (they should already be sizzling) then spread 'em out real good. Cover, turn heat to medium, and allow to cook about 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally to help reduce sticking. With a spatula (a thin metal one works well, because they do stick), turn potatoes, cover and cook another 5 minutes. Do this cook-and-turn routine a couple times, until potatoes get nicely browned and soft. (I sometimes turn the potatoes more often than 5 minutes – you'll find your own groove.) Add garlic, salt and pepper to taste for only the last 5 minutes of cooking or so, until it gets golden and crunchy (if you add the garlic too early it will burn). Serve hot.

Kabocha "Chestnut" Squash info & ideas

"Kabocha is a round Japanese variety [of winter squash] that's flaky and sweet, ideal for baking," says my Fields of Greens cookbook. They are medium-sized, with a hard, grey-green shell and bright orange flesh. Tom sez this particular variety is called "Cha Cha," and sometimes is called "Chestnut" squash, because of its similarity in texture and flavor. I haven't cooked with them yet myself, but based on what I've learned talking to others and reading, I would cut them in half vertically (be very careful! hard squash are difficult to cut. Try cutting off stem first, then turning it upside down on the flat spot you just made so as to stabilize it.), scoop out the seeds/strings, and bake face up in a pan with some water in the pan, in a 350 degree oven, probably 45 minutes or more, until it is soft. Add a dollop of butter and salt, maybe add some brown sugar and let melt. Or, scoop out the cooked flesh and puree it with butter or cream(?), and a little salt. One or more optional spices I might blend in: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, maybe garam masala...

Update 11/4/02: [this info is not in the paper version of the newsletter, only here, on the web version. I am adding it because I cooked my Kabocha squash today and thought I'd share my experience! - Debbie]

I had two acorn-squash sized Kabochas in my box this week; the shells of mine were more dark green than grey-green, and not as big as I had imagined, so I guess they vary. Anyway, I did bake them, as described above, only I baked them face down (shell-side up) in the pan for about an hour, maybe a little longer, at 375 degrees, then checked them for softness (give 'em a squeeze!). I scooped out the flesh -- it is very dry, not like acorn or butternut, which are more moist. I put the flesh in a food processor, deciding to make a puree for lunch. I whirred in a couple tablespoons of melted butter (still too stiff), some walnut oil -- say, 2 tbsp. -- better, but still stiff. Then I added a few blorps of maple syrup, a little salt, a shake of cinnamon... hmmm, getting better! Finally, I added a few dollops of sour cream. Now the consistency was real good. Terrifically rich, smooth and creamy, and tasted great! (I served it with a sauteed chard-apple-sausage-pine nut kind of thing.)

What I learned is that you can't just eat the flesh all by itself -- it'll just suck the juice from your mouth. So moisture of some sort is a helpful addition. If you don't want to do the rich butter and fat-soaked route (and I don't blame you!), maybe try pureeing it with... apple juice? orange juice? broth of some sort? lemon, honey and water? You could probably also use this squash's flesh in soups, either in peeled, pre-cut chunks, or cooked in broth and pureed (using any squash soup recipe).

Just thought that if someone was looking up "Kabocha Squash" specifically, it would be useful to have this additional information, that's all! - Debbie

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