that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into
the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace."
- May Sarton, from "Gardening by Heart"
Whats in the standard share:
Veggies and herbs:
Basil or Chives
*see picture in recipe database (pink and white candy-stripe concentric
rings when sliced crosswise)
... and if you have an extra-fruit option:
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!
I hope everyone enjoyed their
"bonus" bouquet of Peruvian lilies with their Standard Share
last week. It was just a little 'taste' of what our Flower Option is like.
Speaking of which, next week is the first delivery week of June, and so
those of you who signed up for flowers will start receiving them!
few weeks ago Larry from the Banana Slug String Band asked me half-jokingly
if I talk to my plants, and I half-jokingly replied that I do! I talk
to them before I go to bed. In the back of my mind though, I was thinking
about how all the work on the farm right now was not leaving me enough
time to chat with my plants. Larrys question served as a small reminder
that since the season started I havent slowed to pay attention to
that. Plants have lots to tell us, especially by where they grow, their
appearance, color, smell, and taste. But how do plants talk? You must
think, now farmer Tom has really lost it he is hearing plants talk
and is not even embarrassed to admit it! Perhaps too much sun, not enough
sleep, dehydration... is he delirious? Well let me tell you how I talk
to plants and then you try it and let me know if it works for you. Here
is what you do: Choose a plant, any plant, one that caught your attention
for whatever reason and sit in front of it. It can be a tree, a flower
or an herb like rosemary, basil, or sage. Or it can be a plant you dont
know but you are attracted to. Once you have sat down, take three, slow,
deep breaths and greet the plant by introducing yourself to it, "Hi
I am here, I am Tom." Then be as quiet as you can and look at your
plant with care, like a friend that you want to get to know more. Now
close your eyes and ask any question that pops in your mind. You can ask
out loud, or silently with your mind. My favorite questions are "How
are you growing? Do you like it here? What makes you happy? Do you need
anything?" I typically dont ask too many questions, but just
stay quiet and wait for the plant to answer. The plant wont talk
out loud, of course duh! like my son David says when I point out
the obvious but you will hear words in your mind like "yes,"
"no," or "I need ..." The answer that pops into your
mind is the one. Dont brush it aside, disbelieving it. Sometimes
it doesnt make sense right away. Thats okay too I dont
always understand what my plant friends tell me. If you wish, you can
ask more questions. When you are done, make sure to say "bye"
and "thanks" or "see you soon." I always express special
thanks when I pick something off a plant, be it a flower, leaf, or fruit.
Thats it, there is no more to it than that! Try it and just enjoy
yourself. Let me know how it went next time you see me. Here on the farm
we can do it together and Ill introduce you to all my special friends!!!
Why are some strawberries so
huge and others so small? Here on the central coast, strawberries are
typically planted new every year, which is different from other more temperate
climates where strawberry plants are kept in the same place for 2 to 4
years. I like to rotate our berries every year, however, last year our
plants looked so healthy that I decided to keep some for a second season,
in addition to planting new ones. This explains the difference in size.
The small ones are from two-year-old plants and the big ones are from
this year's newly planted field. This year's plants are on newly leased
ground which has never had berries grown there before. The soil is rested,
rich and beautiful, and so the plants are lush and very strong. The second-year
berries are smaller but not necessarily better tasting. During our wet
April weather we were sure lucky to have them, as they helped us squeak
by with just enough berries for the CSA. Later in the season we hope to
dry our extra strawberries in our solar dryer, as in the winter they are
a popular market item.
Another good reason to have extra strawberries is for kids who visit the
farm. Last week we received sixty 4th and 5th graders. One of the high
points of their day, besides planting, picking flowers, and visiting the
animals, was to pick strawberries. That reminds me we will offer
U-pick strawberries again this year during our Solstice Celebration on
June 21st. Mark your calendar!!!
Attack of the Killer Spider Mites. Sounds like a Hollywood movie, but
actually these little critters are only interested in sucking the juices
out of strawberry leaves (not sucking blood). They cause what is probably
the most serious damage to our berry plants. As the weather gets warmer,
they can thrive. I spied the first two-spotted spider mites a couple of
weeks ago, however we were prepared. A month ago we released a "battalion"
of 100,000 red mites, better known as Persimmillis, which will keep the
'bad guys' in check. The key is to notice them early to prevent an infestation.
In farming timing is everything!!
Just a friendly reminder that
we still have plenty of space for new members in our CSA this year. Please
continue to spread the word. Feel free to call or email Debbie at the
farm and request flyers to post or extra brochures to distribute. Your
help is most appreciated, and word of mouth is still the best way to introduce
new people to CSA. Don't forget to mention that we have a '4-week trial'
option this year, so if they are hesitant to commit for the season, they
can 'try us' for a month first. Thanks!
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
Tom tells me that we're getting lots of strawberries now that the weather
is nice, so I thought I'd indulge this week in a recipe for them. A few
weeks ago on the farm we had a group dinner, and Linnea made these wonderful
Swedish pancakes with strawberries. It was delicious! Crêpe batter
is very similar, so my recipe is for crêpes with strawberry filling.
Dessert crêpes with strawberries
information and ingredients for crêpes excerpted from the All New
All Purpose Joy of Cooking
makes about 12 7" crêpes or 8 12" crêpes
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C milk
1/4 C lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Let
stand for 30 minutes (or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days). This
allows the flour to thoroughly absorb the liquid and gives the gluten
in the flour a chance to relax.
You'll need only 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter for each crêpe. The
easiest way to get this small amount of batter into the pan is to pour
it from a small pitcher, measuring cup or ladle. Heat a small or medium
skillet (depends on what size crêpes you want) over medium-high
heat and grease it lightly (rub the end of a stick of butter over the
cooking surface or drop in a dab and tilt pan to coat). Lift the pan off
the heat and pour in the batter, tilting and rotating the pan as you do
so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan in a very thin,
even layer. Cook the crêpe on one side until it sets and starts
to bubble; you should see the very edges just starting to turn a light
brown (the underside should be a golden brown). Using a thin spatula around
the edge of the pan, lift the crêpe up, and turn it over. Cook on
the second side just until it is speckled with golden dots; it will never
be as brown as the first side. Have a large plate or cookie sheet standing
by to accumulate the cooked crêpes on. Invert pan over this and
the crêpe should just fall out (that's the way I do it Debbie).
Repeat process (remember to lightly grease pan with butter for each crêpe)
until you've used up all the batter. Set crêpes in a warm place
while you make the strawberry filling and whipped cream!
approx. 1 basket of berries per 4 people
Strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
2 rounded tbsp. sugar per basket of berries
1 tbsp. water
Combine strawberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat, uncovered,
over medium heat until they begin to simmer. (If you cover the pan you
risk boil over. Trust me, I've done it, I hate to admit, more than once!
Debbie) Turn heat to low and continue to simmer until strawberries
have gone soft and translucent and the liquid is syrupy, maybe 10 minutes?
Actually, you can start the filling simmering and have it going on one
burner while you make the crêpes on the other. Multitask!
To serve, pass the platter of crêpes and a bowl of warm strawberry
filling around, and let each person make their own! Lay a crêpe
on your plate and spoon a bunch of strawberries into the middle. Fold
both sides over the top of the berries (or you can do it burrito-style
if you don't like the filling leaking out fold up the ends first
then the sides!). Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream (homemade
is best just pour cold heavy cream into a bowl and add a spoonful
of powdered sugar then whip until thick. It's very easy and so much better
than the canned/aerosol stuff!) Alternatively you can top with a scoop
of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
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.