29th Harvest Week November 13th - 19th, 2002
Season 7
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"Come forth into the light of things,
Let nature be your teacher."
- William Wordsworth


What’s in the box this week:

Apples and pears
Red beets
Mei quing choi (long-stemmed bok choi)
Collard greens
Red Russian kale
Peppers (sweet: yellow and red, mildly hot: green)
Potatoes (Fingerlings)
Butternut squash
Sugar snap peas
Mystery item(s)



... and if you have an extra-fruit share:
Pears, apples & pineapple guavas (Feijoas)



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

The survey results are in and thanks to everyone’s participation and Debbie’s careful tabulation, you can review a summary of the responses:

Percent of members who participated in survey:
Percent of members who split a share:
On a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being most favorable...
CSA program overall rating
Standard Share value
Extra Fruit value
Flower Share value

Percent of members who rated 4 or 5 for:

Percent who rated 3 or less:
Percent who didn't respond:
Number interested in being a member again next year:
Number who said "maybe":
Number who said "no":

We are really happy with the overall positive feedback. This indicates that we truly have a healthy and strong Community Supported Agriculture program. Although we made many changes this year which we feel contributed to a better program, we also nearly dou-bled our membership (this year over last), and this was accompanied by the inevitable growing pains. As a result, we identified immediate areas where we know we can make changes and improvements in the short term:

Crops: As I mentioned in last week's newsletter, we are not planning to increase the size of our CSA membership (our upper limit is around 350). As a result, with the addition of the 5 more acres of land I talked about, we expect to be able to offer both more quantity and diversity in the shares. The crops we plan to grow more of throughout next season are: broccoli, onions (green and storage), lettuce, summer squash, cucumbers, spinach, dry-farmed tomatoes, and herbs, especially basil. The increase in diversity will be reflected by growing things such as different kinds of fresh beans (i.e. yellow wax and romano), different types of carrots, radicchio, more types of herbs (i.e. thyme, oregano, chives, dill, and cilantro), and we'd like to more frequently offer melons, cauliflower, fennel, and sweet corn when in season. Other long-term crops we are planting are rhubarb (2 years), artichokes (2 years), and blueberries (4 years).

Drop-off/Pick-up sites: You may not all be aware that we significantly changed our Wednesday delivery route in June of this year (we went from two trucks making two separate routes – one north, one south – to one BIG truck making a huge daylong loop up through Aptos, Santa Cruz, Ben Lomond and Scotts Valley, over the hill to Downtown San Jose, down to Gilroy, then over the hill to the south to Prunedale, Monterey and vicinity before returning to Watsonville). One of the problems we experienced as a result of the change in drop-off times was that at some locations, boxes initially left in full shade sometimes ended up in sun later in the day/season. We hope to correct this by either providing shade with an umbrella/tarp, or trying to find a different location at the same site which is fully shaded all day. Another improvement to be made at each site will be to clearly post a sign with pick-up procedures (to explain the process to new members, as well as to people who pick up for members on an occasional basis and don't know 'the routine'). This should minimize problems such as people taking what they're not supposed to, which inevitably leaves late arrivals short-supplied. We also plan to provide each site with a trash and/or compost bin, to improve general on-site cleanliness, and a well marked produce exchange box, for veggie trading – what you don't want, others might love to have (and visa versa) – instead of the informal or nonexistent ones we've had in the past.

Registration for 2003: We are excited to see that as many as 210 members are interested in signing up again next year, with an additional 95 'maybe's. We plan to start the season in the beginning of April, so sign up early to reserve your spot! In late January we will send out a Winter Newsletter, which will keep you posted on the farm’s dormancy status and provide details about its awakening. It will also have registration information for the new year. By the time you receive it, we should have all the details about our 2003 season figured out and posted on our website as well, so you will be able to register at that time. We plan to keep our prices the same next year, and hope that costs will also stay the same.

Next week I will expand on some ideas we hope to integrate involving on-farm education, seed saving, community canning and food processing and other changes that need a little more brainstorming. Again thanks for everyone’s feedback. Please feel free to give us your comments anytime throughout the year! And if you are interested in helping to develop plans for next season, please contact us so we can keep you informed of core-group meetings and planning events we organize in the off-season. - Tom

What's Up on the Farm
Beware what you ask for crossed my mind as the rain pounded relentlessly and the wind left us without power for 24 hours. Winter came with a bang, lightning, wind and rain tested everything in its path. We had no choice but to battle the elements, standing in the rain with our yellow raingear, bunching beets and carrots. We looked like little rubber ducklings. My son who stayed home from school was happy helping Daddy bag the last tomatoes of the season and we all had the same thoughts on our minds as we were load-ing the shares into the truck... just 2 more weeks. This morning everything is still, refreshed and radiant in the morning sunlight. The weather is what it is, truly unpredictable, and we take our chances. Sometimes we just have to give up on a whole crop of vegetables (such as our last plantings of green beans we were hoping to harvest the two weeks before Thanksgiving). The weather is a basic ele-ment of nature just like the soil, the plants, and all living organisms... playing its part in this dynamic and wonderful world.

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

Sugar snap peas in November... wow! Let's see what I have... - Debbie

Vegetarian Pad Thai
from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics
(modified slightly for box ingredients)
serves 4

8 oz. package of 1/4-inch-wide rice stick noodles
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 to 2 tsp. Chinese chili paste
1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate (available in Asian and Indian markets)
1/2 C water
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
8 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 C diced red and/or yellow sweet peppers
1 C sugar snap peas, strings removed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
chopped peanuts, mung bean sprouts, and lime wedges for garnish

Soak the noodles in warm water for 20 minutes, until soft and limp. Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, tamarind and water in a small bowl and set aside. Drain the soaked noodles, rinse in cold water, and drain well again. Have all of the prepared ingredients nearby before you begin to stir-fry. Heat a large wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Pour in 1 tbsp. of the oil and when it's very hot, after about 30 seconds, add the tofu and stir-fry gently for 1 minute. Add the peppers and snap peas and stir-fry another 2 minutes. Remove the tofu and vegetables and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. of oil to the wok. When oil is hot, pour the eggs into the center and stir briskly for a few seconds. Add the reserved sauce, drained rice noodles, and the tofu and vegetables and toss well. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, until the noodles are tender and the mixture is dry. Transfer the Pad Thai to a large platter and sprinkle with the cilantro. Add a smattering of peanuts and mung sprouts and surround the noodles with lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Ethiopian Collard Greens
from The Africa Cookbook, by Jessica B. Harris
(modified slightly)
serves 4 to 6

1 pound collard greens
2 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped red onions
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
Salt, to taste
3 medium Anaheim chiles, cut into thin strips

Wash the greens thoroughly. Remove any discolored spots and strip greens from stems. Place the greens in a heavy saucepan with 1 cup of the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes, or until the greens are tender. When ready, drain the greens (reserving the liquid) and chop.
In a heavy skillet, heat the oil and cook the onions until they are lightly browned. Add the greens, the reserved and remaining 1 cup water, the garlic, and the ginger and cook, uncovered, until almost dry. Add the chiles and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

How to eat Pineapple Guavas
Being observant pays off. Those odd little green fruit were an enigma to me until I watched Tom at the Willow Glen farmers market last Saturday as he chatted up customers and snacked on pineapple guavas. What he would do is pick one up, squeeze and roll it a little between his fingers to soften it a bit, then break the skin slightly with a thumbnail and pinch the fruit in half, like opening a cracked egg. Then he'd just bite into the fruit, skin and all, only tossing the very stem end. I studiously attempted to repeat this at home and... it worked! Somehow it was the tastiest way to eat them, better than cutting or slicing. I don't know why. All I do know is that they are disappearing from my fruit basket rapidly now that I know how to eat them...

*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.