draw real friends, one must cultivate understanding. True friends understand
one another no matter what they do."
- Paramahansa Yoganada
Whats in the standard share:
Veggies and herbs:
Sungold cherry toma-toes
... and if you have an extra-fruit option:
Strawberries, peaches, blackberries and raspberries
July 30, 31, Aug. 1
Children's Mini-camp, Friday eve. to noon Sun. (see details in Week 15
newsletter!) Sold Out!
Sat. Sept. 25
Fall Equinox Celebration
with the Banana Slug String Band!
Sat. Oct 23rd
Halloween Pumpkin Pallooza
To fill a box with fresh vegetables
is always a dance with Mother Nature, as she determines the rhythm at
which her abundance be-comes available. The warm weather in March resulted
in earlier peaches and apricots. The apples and pears seem to be about
two weeks earlier than usual too. Since we farm on three different pieces
of land, each has their own microclimate with different tempera-ture,
soil and moisture conditions. It takes a couple of seasons to match the
crops to the most ideal conditions in the field. Sometimes when faced
with too many competing choices I plant something where my intuition tells
me not to, and most of the time I regret having done so. This year I made
the mistake of planting winter squash on the hillside behind our house.
To save time we directly sowed into prepared beds, however due to the
nature of the slope, the moisture was not evenly distributed and the weeds
ended up germinating before the squash. Once the succulent seedlings did
break through the surface, a flock of blackbirds discovered them and finished
most of them off in a matter of days. Our replacement winter squash is
now being transplanted into the fields, giving us a really late start.
My hope is that a warm fall will still give us some tasty butternut squash
come November. In the meantime, we can enjoy the start of our tomato crop
and not worry about Thanksgiving. Who knows what kinds of surprises Mother
Nature still has in store for us as the season progresses? Tom
you ask me which crop I enjoy growing the most, potatoes are right up
there on top of my 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 (mono-cropping).
Although potatoes grow underground they are not really roots. They are
the swollen end of skinny underground stems called rhi-zomes. 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 for-mation 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,
to knobby "fingerlings," to round, red-skinned boilers, to oval,
brown-skinned boilers. On the farm this year we are growing the early,
thin-skinned red type with low starch content (which you are getting now),
the sweet and nutty all-purpose yellow potatoes like Yukon Gold and Yellow
Finn, as well as my favorite "Fingerling," or Russian Banana,
which stays firm when cooked, making them great for roasting, potato salads
and the like.
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
I know Tom talked a lot about potatoes, but I'm guessing the thing in
everyone's box they'll be most curious about how to cook and eat will
be the broccoli raab. Debbie
Deb on Broccoli Raab
This stuff looks much less like broccoli than it does a leafy green vegetable
(see picture in our recipe database, on the website). The stalks are slender
and multi-stemmed with lots of soft, serrated leaves, and the vegetable
is more of a yellow-green than the dark, dusty-green color one associates
with regular broccoli. The buds at the end of the stems are
sometimes nubby like regular broccoli, or can be beginning to form yellow
flowers and still be eatable. And you eat the whole thing the stems,
the leaves, the buds... maybe only trimming off the very ends if they
How do people describe its flavor? First of all, it is definitely in the
bitter greens category, so youll want to cook with it
accordingly. Strong greens can stand up to strong flavors. Some say it
tastes like mustard greens, others find it reminiscent of kale. Another
gave it a broccoli-turnip-radish combo flavor.
While looking for recipes, I found it paired often with sausage and pasta
(typically orchiette), and often with garlic. I myself would readily prepare
it in the style of my hot salad recipe of a few months back.
Cook it about 5 minutes (or until tender) in well-salted think
seawater water [Ive found that cooking bitter greens in well
salted water really brings out their flavor and tempers them somehow;
Im not sure of the chemistry, I just know what I taste!] For the
hot salad I leave the stalks whole; for other preparations
(like with pasta and/or sausage), Id chop them coarsely. Drain well,
drizzle with olive oil, and squeeze a generous amount of lemon over all
(no need to salt it further). Just like that would be my simplest preparation.
Variations: 1. you could grate some fresh sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
on top, after the olive oil and lemon. 2. You could sauté up a
bunch of fresh garlic in olive oil and toss the just-cooked broccoli raab
with that, and just eat it that way, or optionally add the lemon, optionally
add the parmesan. 3. You could sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top. 4.
You could toss in some crushed red chilies. 5. You could brown up some
hot or sweet Italian sausage, sautéed with some onion and garlic,
toss the [cooked, chopped] raab in with that. Boil up some pasta (orchiette,
penne, whatever you like) and add it too. 6. Instead of sausage, you could
dice up some nice salty ham, or maybe even bacon or prosciutto. Are you
beginning to see the possibilities?
I even found an interesting recipe that paired broccoli raab with blood
oranges and mandarins, but it was a fancier compilation, something I may
save for a future newsletter. Ditto for a preparation which serves the
raab on a bed of soft polenta made with ground fennel and parmesan. Ditto
for a frittata with sweet red peppers. Stay tuned!
Steamed Eggplant version 1
(simpler) "with spicy sauce"
from a 2001 SJ Merc
"This dish gets tastier the longer it sits."
5 Japanese eggplants
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. sesame seed oil
1 tsp. Japanese or Chinese chile oil
Pinch of bonito flakes
Without cutting off tops, wash and partially peel eggplant and slice into
thirds lengthwise. Soak in cold water 1 hour. In large pot, steam eggplant
until soft, abut 15 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over
Steamed Eggplant version 2
"with cilantro, basil and mint"
another SJ Merc clipping
2 medium purple eggplants
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 C soy sauce
3 tbsp. sweet chili sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
4 scallions, sliced
2 fresh red chiles, finely chopped
1 lg. handful fresh cilantro, roughly sliced
1 lg. handful fresh basil, ditto
1 lg. handful fresh mint, ditto
1 large handful yellow celery leaves (from the heart of the celery)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put some water in a pan and bring to a boil. Slice eggplant in half lengthwise
and place in steamer, cut side up. Steam for about 10 minutes to
check whether theyre ready, simply squeeze sides gently, and if
theyre silky soft then theyre done. Remove from steamer, place
in colander and leave to cool. Make a dressing by mixing all the remaining
ingredients in a bowl. When eggplant halves are warm, this is the perfect
time to flavor them. Cut them up into rough 1-inch dice, add to bowl of
dressing and toss. Serve immediately as a salad, tapa, or as a vegetable
next to any simple cooked fish.
Peach Rum Jam
submitted by member Kathy Blount: from her 1968 edition Better Homes and
Gardens New Cook Book. Makes about 6 half-pint jars.
3 lbs. fully ripe peaches, scalded, peeled and finely chopped (4 cups
a 1 3/4-oz. package of powdered fruit pectin
5 C sugar
1/4 C light rum
Combine chopped peaches and fruit pectin in a very large saucepan or Dutch
oven. Place over high heat and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring
constantly. Immediately add all the sugar and stir. Again bring to a full
rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from
heat; stir in rum; skim off foam. Stir and skim for 5 minutes to cool
slightly and prevent fruit from floating. Ladle into hot scalded jars.
Seal at once.
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.