individual seedling is its own life, and yet all the garden together is
also one. Like people; like families; like humanity..."
from 'Zen Gardening' by Veronica Ray
Whats in the Family share:
Fava beans (big bag)
Strawberries (3 baskets)
and in the Small share:
Strawberries (2 baskets)
... and if you have an extra-fruit option:
[Extra fruit doesn't start until May]
Sat. June 18
Summer Solstice Celebration, field tours 2-5pm, celebration 5-9pm with
Kuzanga Marimba again!
July 29, 30, 31
Children's Mini-camp, Friday eve. to noon Sun. (curious? see details in
2004's Week 15 newsletter!)
Sat. Sept. 24
Fall Equinox Celebration
with the Banana Slug String Band!
Sat. Oct 22
Halloween Pumpkin Pallooza
Field Notes from Farmer
sometimes joke that joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm
like ours is like having your own garden, but with a farmer to do all
the work for you. This week "your" garden is going through a
major transformation. We are hard at work plowing under and preparing
all the fields which have been under lush cover crops all winter, and
transplanting thousands of seedlings which have been growing in the greenhouse
over the last few months. The earlier we get those peppers, eggplant,
basil, tomatoes, melons, and cucumbers into the soil, the sooner in June
and July we can start enjoying their summer bounty. Yet even as I dream
of future harvests, I also have a wonderful spring crop to rave about.
This week we are starting to harvest a much forgotten but delicious bean:
the fava. It is truly a crop to celebrate Spring. My daughter Elisa, now
7 months old, was fascinated to be carried through the tall stands of
fava beans, still flowering at the tips of their tall stems but loaded
with thick harvestable pods at the base. I remember reading that this
member of the pea family (Vicia faba) is one of the oldest known cultivated
plants. They have been a part of cuisines all around the Mediterranean,
and the Chinese have eaten them for more than 5000 years. Elisa is probably
not the first child to be carried by a parent through a stand of tall
green favas to harvest a meal, or just to play-hide from the Spring buzz
all around her.
Fresh favas are a sign of spring in Italy and in many restaurants around
the Bay Area. I like to mash or puree the fresh beans with some garlic
and spread on crostini, or serve it together with seared scallops. When
I am in a hurry I just blanch the shelled fava beans in a saucepan filled
with water for 1 minute and add them to whatever I am making pasta,
risotto, chard and then sprinkle all with some parmigiano and "voila!"
It's a heavenly way to celebrate spring.
The fava is a unique legume. Not only is it high in protein (a benefit
to us humans), but it also replenishes the soil by converting nitrogen
in the air to compounds that plants can use, thus making it both a soil
and a food crop. Legumes are a special family in the plant kingdom, because
they have developed a mutually beneficial relationship with a group of
bacteria called Rhizobium. The bacteria, in return for the sugars produced
by the plant, will "fix" nitrogen from the air and turn it into
nitrate, in a form plants can use. In some respect this symbiotic relationship
is what inspired the CSA philosophy. CSAs are also mutually beneficial:
as a community we promote and strengthen local, nutritious, sustainably
grown food systems, which in turn nourish the health of our community
and our bodies. As we celebrate another Spring and a new cycle of life,
we as a community are slowly but surely making a difference. One member
at a time we are changing a social, economic and political system that
would have us believe it all doesn't matter, that as long as food is cheap
and abundant we are all well off. But we know it does matter, and that
is why we are doing what we're doing.
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
This week, longtime members Anna Espinosa and Lipti Oh from Morgan Hill
volunteered their ideas for what theyd do with this weeks
box (okay, in truth, Lipti volunteered Annas services). New this
week clearly are the favas and the dandelion greens.. Ill talk some
more about these and other stuff after Annas contributions. - Debbie
What I'd do with this week's
by Anna Espinosa of Morgan Hill
Our meals generally focus on health first and flavors second, but we do
try to make dishes that will entice our daughters to eat them. Depending
on the content of each share, how busy we are, and the desired taste of
the week, our flavoring will range amongst Mexican, Chinese, Indian (Hindu)
and Italian, using herbs and spices. This week, busy schedule dictates
simple stir-frying and an Indian curry.
The first and easiest is to stir fry the dandelion greens with lots of
coarsely chopped green garlic. Next is stir-frying the beet tops and chard
with sweet red onions, yum! Favorite of the week is stir frying together
peeled, sliced (raw) beets, sliced carrot and green garlic. Our girls
love this "sweet, garlicky creamy mess" as they call it. The
radishes in the share will be minced and mixed with finely chopped green
onions and cilantro to make a fresh condiment (an acquired taste), when
serving steamed pacific halibut or Alaskan salmon.
This week's curry will use up all the fava beans, sweet rutabaga and half
of the carrots. The precooked beans, diced carrot, diced rutabaga and
red sweet onions together with good curry powder make a hearty vegetable
stew. Whole Foods market in Cupertino carries high quality Indian curry
that is long on flavor and short on heat. The best, though, is to buy
fresh ground spices from an Indian market.
We do not know what we will do next week, but that is all part of the
Member Laura Dolson of Ben Lomond emailed me with a comment about cilantro
with respect to Amoreena Luceros recipe last week, and I told her
Id share it with the membership because she had a valid point. Many
people do not know that cliantro stems have as much flavor and usability
as the leaves. Often in recipes you will see people talking about removing
the leaves from the stems, but this is not necessary. I literally chop
up leaves and stems together, and maybe for something like Amoreenas
pesto (which I made, by the way, and it was wonderful!) all youd
need to do is trim off the very root end, but use all of the rest. Anywhere
I use cilantro myself (like when I make salsa fresca), I use both the
leaves and stems together. This is particularly common in Thai cooking.
Dandelion greens are so-called bitter greens, and therefore
will stand up to strong flavorings. They can be an acquired taste for
some, but when they are as fresh as the ones well be getting in
this weeks box, I think they will be very flavorful.
They would go well sautéed with garlic or onion and some salty
thing (anchovies or bacon or sausage of some sort), or, literally cook
them in well salted water (think sea-water) a minute or two, then drain
and season with vinegar, or lime juice and hot sauce of some sort, or
olive oil and crushed red chiles. They would probably also go good with
sautéed onions or garlic and mushrooms! Or as Anna suggested, you
could simply combine them with chard in any chard recipe you might make.
Im not sure as Ive ever used them raw as a salad green, but
would love to hear from other members with their experiences.
Beets and Beet Greens
Many people do not realize that the leaves and stems of the beets are
also good to eat. So often people just twist them off and compost them.
Like the carrots, you want to separate the beet root from its leaves/stems
before too long, or they will begin to draw from the root and make it
rubbery. I like to chop the leaves off an inch above the root and wash
them (separating out and discarding any withered or yellowing leaves),
then spin of excess water in a salad spinner and store them layered in
paper towel in a plastic bag. That way theyre ready for use. A trick
Ive learned is, rather than chop the greens before cooking them,
if you put the leaves/stems whole into a pot of boiling salted water (like
you would pasta), then cook them until al dente, you can then drain them
and now have a manageable lump of greens which you can then chop as coarsely
or finely as you like. Last week I did this, then cooked the beets separately
in a pressure cooker, then sliced up the beets (or you could dice them)
and served them mixed in with the cooked, chopped greens and a little
butter and balsamic vinegar.
How to cook fresh Fava Beans
I know Ive talked about this in past years newsletters, but
Ill go over it again, for the benefit of you who are new to this
wonderful legume which Tom regales in the body of this newsletter. Dont
be daunted by the big sack of pods; the pods can get really big, but it
is only really the beans inside which you eat. (Although in a past year
we had a member mention how her mother-in-law cooked the pods too, cooked
em down real good and all, but that she suspected that this recipe
sprang from a time when food was scarce, not out of a love of fava bean
Anyway, shell the favas and have a pot of boiling water and a slotted
spoon standing by. Drop the fresh beans in and after a minute they will
turn bright fresh green; scoop them out. If theyre small, you can
just cook with them or eat them as is. If theyre on the big side
(like large limas), you may want to peel off the skin. Either way theyre
great as a snack just sprinkled with a little salt, or cooked in the several
ways Tom suggested!
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.