22nd Harvest Week Sept. 3rd - 9th, 2003
Season 8
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"What gardening is about is growing food, not about speculating. It’s continuity, it’s about always having something to eat, always having something from nature."
- Bob Cannard, a Sonoma County farmer, as quoted in
Michael Abelman’s book “From the Good Earth”


What’s in the standard share:


Veggies and herbs:

Beets (Chiogga or red)
Carrots (orange)
Green beans
Bunch of greens (either
chard, mustard, or kale)
Peppers (hot Hungarian
Summer squash
Mixed tomatoes


... and if you have an extra-fruit option:
Strawberries; raspberries or blackberries; and either melon, peaches, or Pink Pearl apples



Sat. Sep 20 - Fall Equinox Celebration
3pm - 9pm
with the Banana Slug String Band!

Sat. Oct 26 Halloween Pumpkin Palooza
all day.
the Banana Slug String Band will play here too!

Food - the universal language of our world community. My most vivid memories from family reunions always centered around meals we shared. I was again reminded of this, during our reunion last week. The gathering of family and friends around a meal became our favorite ritual. And preparation and sharing of food became the conduit for bridging time and space and renewing our bonds as a family.

I always love to go to village markets when I am in Europe -- they are not just a quaint weekly neighborhood event for entertainment and picking up a few groceries. Our family stayed at a place near Palamos, a fishing town 2 hours north of Barcelona along the Costa Brava, and the market there has been around as long as the town itself... probably a few centuries before Columbus set foot on the American continent. People are accustomed to doing most of their shopping there. The town square and adjacent streets are closed off, and filled with hundreds of vendors. I accompanied a family friend and professional chef (who was in charge of preparing the meals) to the market one morning. It was a real treat to follow him around observing the seriousness with which he considered the food he bought. Each selection was scrutinized for its freshness and quality, and he consulted each vendor before making a purchase. By the water the fish market was busy. Prices seemed really high, and the local delicacy, 'gambas' or prawns were scarce. People were complaining that the hot weather has seriously affected farmers as well as the region’s fishing industry. However, our cart didn’t show any sign of such scarcity as we headed back home, making a few more stops to buy wine, bread, and cheese. By going to farmer’s markets here or anywhere in the world one realizes that the preparation of food did not begin in the kitchen, but in the marketplace where the selection of the specific ingredients themselves and their quality determines the outcome of the final dish. The quality of the meals we shared contributed directly to the atmosphere of our time together as a family. Reflecting on this, we should recognize that the language of food is universal; the impulse to feed is common to all cultures, rich or poor. Community and food are intimately related, yet in our 'modern' world this relationship has become a marginal one at best. Growing, procuring and consuming food are one of the most vital and intimate activities in any society. They nourish not only our bodies but our minds and spirits as well. – Tom

Notes from the Field
Uh... Fall is here!?! Labor Day. I might have just imagined it, but Fall seems to have poked its nose through summer's blanket. In the next couple of weeks this will become more apparent as our veggies and fruit change to reflect the change of season. As a CSA member, you can integrate and become more conscious of your own cycles with those of nature. The fall fruit will be predominantly apples and pears (strawberries will continue as long as the weather stays dry). Raspberries and blackberries are slowing too, and peaches are finished. A melon patch is just starting to ripen, so we can expect a few of those. On the veggie front, more broccoli soon, cabbage later in October, as well as winter squash. Peppers are late this year, and the early yellow wax Hungarian peppers are supposed to be hot, but vary from not hot at all to mildly hot or very hot. Experiment by tasting small bits of each pepper. A pepper is almost always hotter closer to where the seeds are, so the tip is often milder than the shoulder of the fruit. More herbs such as parsley, chives and thyme will be available in the next few weeks. Mark your calendar, as we will celebrate the official start of Fall with a celebration here on the farm on September 20th. Children will especially enjoy the music and entertainment of the Banana Slug String Band.

Membership Drive
Please continue to spread the word and let friends, neighbors, co-workers know about our CSA program. Although we are closer to capacity, shares are still available. Brochures should always be in the inside back pocket of your pick-up site binder, so feel free to take a few to give out. Or if you'd like, call us and we can send you a flyer to post in your children's school, or your neighborhood's local shop or bulletin board. Thank you!!!

Ordering Almonds or Goat Cheese
In both cases, contact the seller directly to place your order and to pay (do not order through Live Earth Farm). We will deliver your order (usually) the following week with your share.

From Anderson Almonds, a certified organic, small, family-owned and operated farm, you can get almonds or almond butter. Almonds are available raw, roasted, or roasted and salted. Almond butter comes in 15 oz. jars. Prices: 5 lbs. almonds + 1 jar almond butter, $32; Almonds only (5 lbs.), $25. Almond butter only, $10, or a 6-pak of jars for $32. A case (25 lbs.) of almonds (raw only) is $120. Contact Mele (rhymes with 'jelly') Anderson at (209) 667-7494 or go to their website at www.andersonalmonds.com.

From Summer Meadows Farm, just across the Pajaro Valley from Live Earth Farm, you can get raw goat milk cheeses (and milk!). Currently available are chevre, ricotta, and a queso blanco. Cheese and/or milk are left in a cooler under an ice pack at your pick-up location (chevre is sometimes delivered frozen but this does not affect quality). Prices: Chevre and ricotta are $6 per half-pound. Queso blanco is available in 5" round 'bricks' about a pound each for $12 (or get a 'half brick' for $6). A quart jar of milk is $3 (please remember to return your empty jar to the cooler at your pick-up site the following week!). Supply is somewhat limited. Contact Lynn Selness at (831) 345-8033 to place an order, then mail a check to Summer Meadows Farm, 405 Webb Road, Watsonville, CA 95076.


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

Member Sumana Reddy mailed me this wonderful soup recipe. - Debbie

Spicy Bulgarian Tomato Dumpling Soup
Serves 6
from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant

"This tomato soup with its characteristic semolina dumplings is usually topped with a sharp Bulgarian cheese called kashkaval (when prepared in its native country). And the semolina makes the dumplings chewier than all-flour dumplings and adds a nice flavor as well. My variation calls for couscous rather than the traditional semolina meal used in Bulgaria. Prepare the soup in a pot with at least a 10-inch diameter to allow all the dumplings room to rise to the top."

1 lg. onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. olive oil
6 C chopped fresh tomatoes (or drained canned tomatoes)
2 to 3 tsp. hot chili powder (Sumana cut this down to 3/4 tsp. and says it was still spicy)
2 tbsp. unbleached white flower, sifted
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 C vegetable stock, tomato juice or water

2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, separated
1/4 C quick-cooking couscous
1/4 C boiling water
3/4 C unbleached white flour, sifted
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. fresh dill weed (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/3 C milk or vegetable stock

chopped fresh parsley
grated sharp cheddar cheese or kashkaval if available (optional)

In a medium soup pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to soften. Add the tomatoes and cook until the onions are golden and the tomatoes soft. Stir in chili powder, flour, salt, and pepper and mix well to coat the vegetables evenly. Pour in the stock slowly while whisking diligently to completely dissolve the flour. Coarsely blend the soup in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes. While the soup simmers, prepare the dumplings.

Cream the butter with the egg yolks until smooth. Place the couscous in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over it and cover with a plate or pot lid and allow to steam for 5 minutes. Add the steamed couscous and the flour, salt, dill and milk or stock to the butter mixture and blend well. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and then fold them into the couscous mixture. Drop the dumpling batter into the simmering soup by rounded tablespoons and cook, covered, about 15 min. The dumplings will rise to the top; scoop one out and test it to be sure it is thoroughly cooked. Serve immediately, topped with fresh parsley and cheddar cheese, if desired.

Jesse Cool is one of my favorite chefs and food writers. Here is a 1999 San Jose Mercury News column of hers on pesto (think 'cilantro pesto,' as we're getting it this week). Since she doesn't include an actual Cilantro Pesto recipe (only describes it), I'll try my hand at giving you one at the end, if you're unsure of quantities. - Debbie

Use whatever ingredients are in season to make flavorful pesto

Basil pesto has universal popularity because of its versatility. But I like to make pestos from herbs other than basil. Keeping seasonal cooking in mind, using the best of what's growing, has led me to a handful of interesting alternatives. At this time of year [article was from mid-October of 1999], I still use whatever remains of my basil crop, discarding the part that is going to seed. My Italian parsley plants are still in full regalia. Recently, I harvested a big handful of basil leaves and the same of parsley and made a parsley/basil pesto. It was lighter, fresher and less intense than pesto with just basil.

Another favorite, cilantro, can be used alone or blended with Italian parsley. Because cilantro stems are easy to grind up, you don't have to be so careful picking off the leaves. Wash the bunch thoroughly and chop off the top, leaves and stems.

Cilantro pesto is a great condiment for fish or chicken or even served with tropical fruits such as papaya, mango or pineapple.

Sometimes I sneak a little mint into pesto. A few leaves added to basil, cilantro or parsley pesto give an interesting and fresh undertone.

And in the winter, I make pesto out of sun-dried tomatoes. As with most pestos, it is great with pasta, but at Flea St. Cafe [a restaurant of hers in Menlo Park, CA], we also like to use it as a spread on sandwiches, on bruschetta with melted mozzarella or on top, or spooned onto polenta.

For most pestos, the basic recipe includes garlic, lightly toasted pine nuts, fresh herb leaves, olive oil and an aged Italian cheese. I have used slivered almonds instead of pine nuts and found that you could hardly tell the difference. Some people use walnuts in pesto for a more distinctive flavor.

My favorite Italian cheese to use in pesto is Asiago. It adds a depth of flavor and creaminess that usually gets raves from my family. For the olive oil, I often blend a bit of pungent and fruity olive oil with a larger quantity of a ligher, less intrusive one.

The traditional preparation is made with a mortar and pestle. Unquestionably, you will get the best and creamiest pesto imaginable when you use this old-fashioned technique. But when you are in a hurry, a blender or food processor works.IWith the mortar and pestle, the leaves are crushed slowly and gently, releasing more of their oils. With a food processor or blender, the leaves are cut, and though the pesto is good, it is different, less aromatic and not as creamy.

To store pesto and keep it from turning brown, transfer it to an airtight container and, before sealing, cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil.

I nteresting additions to any pesto are a pinch of hot peppers, lemon zest or juice, or a few tablespoons of a more powerful herb such as rosemary or oregano.

Parsley mint pesto
makes about 1 cup

2 cloves garlic
1/4 C toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
2 C packed Italian parsley leaves
1/2 C mint leaves
1/2 C grated Asiago cheese
2/3 C olive oil
Salt to taste

In a mortar or food processor, mash garlic and nuts to make a paste. Gradually add parsley, mint leaves and cheese, using a few tablespoons of olive oil to help puree. Keep adding oil until pesto is consistency you desire. Season with salt.

Sun-dried tomato pesto
Makes about 1 1/2 C

1 C sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated with warm water (If you want a low-fat pesto, save some of the water used to rehydrate tomatoes and use in lieu of some of the oil.)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 C toasted pine nuts or almonds
1/2 C grated Italian cheese
5 large basil leaves
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 C olive oil
Salt, pepper to taste

In food processor, puree softened tomatoes with garlic and nuts. Add cheese, basil, lemon juice and enough oil to make a thin paste. Season with salt and pepper.

Cilantro Pesto (Debbie's version)

1 to 1 1/2 C washed (and dried!) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
about 1/2 C packed Italian parsley leaves (some stems okay)
1/4 C toasted pine nuts, almonds or walnuts
1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 C grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
approx. 1/2 C good olive oil
salt to taste

(I've always made my pesto in a food processor -- I don't have a mortar and pestle big enough -- and am plenty happy with the results. - Debbie). In a food processor, pulse the cilantro and parsley until fairly finely chopped. Add the crushed garlic and toasted nuts and process until nuts are ground up and garlic blended. Add the cheese and pulse to blend. Add the olive oil through the processor's feed tube, while processor is running. This way you can add more or less, until the desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt.


*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 key ingredient. Recipe site is updated weekly during the season.