is the constant companion of living and learning."
- from Steve van Matre (Earth Education)
Whats in the box this week:
Chard or kale
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 natures example, I like to reflect on the
seasons 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
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 wont 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.
Sweet Corn: As we enjoy a late
crop of sweet corn, we have one more planting which well 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 corns
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 dont have much control over until
its 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave, Rebecca and Theo.
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd 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.
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
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
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!
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.)
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).
thought that if someone was looking up "Kabocha Squash" specifically,
it would be useful to have this additional information, that's all! -
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.