live is not enough, we must take part and celebrate."
- Pablo Casals
Whats in the standard share:
Veggies and herbs:
Parsley or chives
Potatoes (Yellow Finn and Peruvian Purple)
Tom says, "sorry about no onions last Saturday. We'll give Saturday
members leeks this week to make up for it!"
... and if you have an extra-fruit option:
strawberries and raspberries
Sat. Jun 21 - Summer Solstice Celebration
4pm - 10pm
with Kuzanga Marimba!
Aug 8, 9, 10 - Childrens Mini Camp
Friday evening to noon Sunday
Sat. Sep 20 - Fall Equinox Celebration
3pm - 9pm
with the Banana Slug String Band!
Sat. Oct 26 Halloween Pumpkin Palooza
the Banana Slug String Band will play here too!
WE ARE READY TO CELEBRATE
the Summer Solstice. With the Farm Fiesta behind us, we can now relax
and enjoy the official arrival of summer. Our Solstice Celebration
is coming up this Saturday, June 21st, 4 to 10pm. Our seasonal
celebrations are intended, among other things, to honor the connection
between the food on our table and the land that gave rise to it. The soil
we work is a fertile source not just for agriculture but also for celebration.
Just as crops and methods of cultivation differ greatly from place to
place around the globe, so too do the celebrations associated with nature
and its bounty. Every crop has its season, and by celebrating the solstice
we acknowledge that our lives and our nourishment are connected to the
rhythm of these seasonal cycles. We ask everyone to bring a dish to
share for the potluck, blankets to sit on, and a sweater as the evening
can get a bit chilly once the bonfire dies down.
It was a big push to get the farm ready to welcome what turned out to
be our biggest public event yet. Last Saturdays "Farm Fiesta,"
organized by the Community Alliance with Family Farmers drew more than
200, maybe close to 300 people to the farm. U-pick strawberries, chocolate
covered strawberries, and my moms strawberry jam sweetened the event,
as people enjoyed a beautiful sunny day, making their own tortillas with
fresh grilled vegetables, listening to a local Mariachi Band. The animals
now in their new shelter had lots of company, and I enjoyed interacting
with many of the visitors during the farm tours, surprised at how much
people were interested in the farms operation and issues related
to water use, farm economics and marketing. The concept of community agriculture
is still new to most people but the interest in it is increasing as many
feel a desire to participate and understand local food and farm issues.
It was inspiring to share the farm as a venue to bring together local
CSAs and organizations doing outreach and education on issues related
to food, farming and the environment. Tom
Crop of the Week
Potatoes, oh what a glorious
crop!!! Farmer Toms Potato Quiz: Potatoes are considered to be a
root, True or False? (Youll find the answer in the newsletter.)
We are starting to harvest our potatoes (this week it is Yellow Finns
and Peruvian Purples), and since I find them to be one of the most fascinating
crops with an even more fascinating history, I want to share with you
what I wrote last year about them.
Potatoes are fun to grow and if you ask me which crop I enjoy growing
the most, potatoes are right up there on top of the list. The sight of
a lush, green, potato field dotted with white and purple flowers is one
of the highlights of the season. Slipping your hand under the loose soil
and pulling up the first new potatoes is like finding a buried treasure.
Do you know that the so-called "Irish" potato actually comes
from the highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, where it has been cultivated
for over 5000 years? Potatoes were the staple of the Incas, who grew and
ate hundreds of varieties. They even made a potato liqueur in some of
the earliest known stills. Like its relatives the tomato and pepper, the
potato arrived in Europe with the Spanish explorers. Within a few decades
it replaced the parsnip as the vegetable staple of Europe. The Irish were
the first to grow the potato extensively since it yielded 4 to 5 times
more calories per acre than any of the traditionally grown cereal grains.
By changing their diet, it allowed the Irish to survive without having
to depend on the English grown grains. In war-torn Europe peasants planted
potatoes as a kind of insurance since potatoes could be left in the ground
through the winter and dug only as needed for daily consumption. This
would allow peasants to survive the raids of soldiers during wartime:
soldiers usually could not take the time to dig the field to get their
food, and certainly they would not do so if grains were stored in neighboring
barns. However in 1845-46, the year of the devastating "Irish Potato
Famine," Late Blight (Phytophtora Infestans), a common fungal disease
that thrives under cool and wet conditions (i.e. Irish weather) wiped
out most of the Irish potato crop. Hundreds of thousands died before public
relief could be organized, and scores of thousands who survived emigrated
to America. The harsh lesson of this famine was the importance of maintaining
a diversified farming system, i.e. don't rely solely on one type of crop
Although Potatoes grow underground they are not really roots. They are
the swollen end of skinny underground stems called rhizomes. To stimulate
their growth, about a quarter to a third of the plant has to be covered
with soil, or hilled up to stimulate the formation of "tubers".
Today heirloom potatoes are making a comeback. There are hundreds of exciting
varieties now available. They come in unique shapes and colors, from purple,
knobby "fingerlings" to round, red-skinned boilers, to oval,
brown-skinned boilers. On the farm this year we have the early red, thin-skinned
type with low starch content, perfect for grilling, boiling and roasting.
We're also growing the purple Peruvian with its oval shape, dark blue
skin, and deep purple mealy flesh. Then we have the sweet and nutty all-purpose
yellow potatoes like Yukon Gold and Yellow Finn as well as my favorite
"Fingerling," the Russian Banana, which stays firm when cooked,
making them great for roasting, potato salads and sautés.
Member to Farm Communication
we will write notes to members on the checklist, but we humbly request
that you do not leave important messages to us there. We certainly appreciate
all the thank-yous and great comments, but if you have anything timely
to report to us, please do not leave us a written note, as we will
not see it until at least the following week when we deliver again.
It is important that you call or email us in those cases, so that we can
respond to you more promptly, take care of anything that may be awry.
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
This week, more member-submitted recipes! First is one I have been saving
for when we started getting potatoes in our shares. Member Craig Ramsay
of Willow Glen sent it to me, and said his inspiration was his Italian
mother-in-law, who always made wonderful soups straight from her garden,
out of what-ever was ready for the picking. Craig says, "each week
when I get my share, I sort through it and pick out the things that I
have specific plans for. Everything else (and basically, thats whatever
else is in the box) becomes 'Farmers Market Minestra.' Everyone
loves it, from our two-year old to her babysitter from Uruguay."
Farmers Market Minestra
by Craig Ramsay (and mamma Pasqualina)
makes 1 gallon of hearty soup
In a 2-gallon pot, start by boiling some potatoes (5 to 8 small to medium
sized) in a gallon of diluted vegetable broth for about 10 minutes. While
that is cooking, clean any carrots, squash, garlic, onions, leeks, etc.
and throw them in. Prep the rest of the leafy veggies (rinse, de-stem,
chop, etc.) and add them to the pot. Lower temp and simmer to soften the
veggies and infuse the flavors (about another 10 to 15 minutes). Depending
on what youve used, you can season it to taste. Check the taste
and add spices sparingly, if at all you may find that the natural
blend of vegetables tastes just great as is. When it is finished cooking,
ladle the soup into your food processor and chop it as desired. The potatoes
and carrots give the soup a nice texture and color. The blend of flavors
is wonderful. Garnish with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and olive oil
Craig doesn't generally prefer the beets in this soup, but says his wife
boils them separately and adds them to her soup and loves it.
This inspiring 'recipe' was emailed to me from members Mark Bedford
and Lisa Bautista of Aptos a few weeks ago (I just slapped a title on
Summer beet salad with leafy greens and bleu cheese
"We're new members this year, and we LOVE the great veggies and fruits.
The greens have been fabulous, and the recent Chiogga beets were out-of-this-world
roasted on an arugula and mixed greens salad with crumbled blue cheese
and a raspberry dressing. Can't wait to get more of the summer fruits
And lastly from member Kristin Schafer, longtime member from Willow Glen:
Swedish Giftas (pronounced "Yiftas")
"This is a recipe from my grandmother Lyla Bernson great-grandmother
of 'the other Linnea!' This is a great way to use those wonderful berries.
If you have fancy parfait glasses, it dresses up well as a fancy dessert,"
1 cup whipping cream
6 double graham crackers
1 quart fresh raspberries or strawberries (or a mix of both)
Whip cream and refrigerate (optional: add 1/4 tsp. vanilla when whipping).
Sprinkle berries with sugar and set aside. Break graham crackers into
small pieces or crush with a rolling pin [you can put them inside a plastic
bag when doing this to keep things neat Debbie]. Just before serving,
fold crackers into cream, then layer this mixture with the fruit in individual
bowls or stemmed dessert glasses.
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 key ingredient. Recipe site is updated weekly during the season.