you tickle the earth with a hoe, she laughs with a harvest."
- Douglas William Jerrold
Whats in the Family share:
Kale or collards
Mustard greens (red or green)
Summer squash (zucchini)
and in the Small share:
... and if you have an extra-fruit option:
Sat. June 4 Permaculture workshop #1 - Water mgmt; swale design/construction
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 Aug 6
Permaculture workshop #2 - Design methods; ecological observation and
Sat. Sept. 24
Fall Equinox Celebration
with the Banana Slug String Band!
Sat. Oct 22
Halloween Pumpkin Pallooza
Sat. Oct 29
Permaculture workshop #3 - Polycultures & agroforestry; food forest
design and installation
At the end of the school year
we host lots of school field trips and a frequently asked question is
about the size of the farm and how many of us it takes to care for it.
Many people over the years have contributed to our operation, so when
I came across an old newsletter where I reflect about the evolution of
the farm, I thought I 'd share it again, bringing it up to date.
It was 10 years ago when Constance and I (and our two-year-old, David),
together with the help of two fellow graduates from the UC Santa Cruz
Ecological Farming program, took fork and spade and converted one acre
of horse pasture into a garden with flowers, strawberries and vegetables.
My hands were in the soil all day, and my mind continually sprouted ideas
and dreams for the future as we stumbled through the process of creating
a farm. Over the years we attracted young people who wanted to learn more,
and people from Mexico who wanted to work. From the start, the concept
of Community Supported Agriculture was fundamental in keeping us inspired
to gradually grow to our current size. We now farm 40 acres, on 4 different
pieces of land, with 12 people anchoring the day-to-day operations.
It was 7 years ago I still remember how nervous and excited I was
when we signed our first lease for some nearby land, adding 10
more acres to the 5 we currently had under cultivation. With 15 acres
it felt like wed graduated from being market gardeners into small-farmhood.
That same year, Juan Morales knocked on my door asking if I needed a tractor
driver. He was literally a godsend with only three apprentices,
I didn't know how I would manage that much land. I needed help! The CSA
program had grown to over 100 members and we were going to 4 weekly farmers
markets. Juan was born and raised in Guanajuato, one of the richest agricultural
areas of Mexico, where much of the crops grown are the same as here. Juan
arrived in the Pajaro Valley in the late 80s with his wife and six
children, and got seasonal jobs as a tractor driver. This meant working
long hours both day and night, plowing, cultivating, and spraying large
tracts of land on both conventional and organic farms in the Pajaro and
Salinas Valleys. When he showed up here he was burned out. At first it
was a big change for him to work on a small, diversified organic farm
where the level of mechanization consisted of mostly hand tools, plus
a small cultivating tractor and a push-seeder. Many crops were new to
him, but it didn't take long for Juan's deep-rooted under-standing of
the earth plus skills passed down over generations in his family to emerge.
Since then we have made many strides together. Weve fine-tuned our
practices, with our goal of becoming ever more sustainable, including
improving the soil, reducing the amount of outside inputs, and always
increasing the diversity and quality of our crops. Most of Juan's family
is now working with us, and thanks to them the bulk of the field work
Then theres Debbie Palmer, who with her many talents has helped
us in more ways then I can list in this short newsletter. Most importantly
she keeps things humming smoothly in the office, taking care of all the
complexities that arise with a large, diverse CSA membership and making
sure administrative details are not overlooked. Debbie's also been editing
this newsletter for 5 years now, and is in her 8th year of inspiring us
with weekly recipes. Joe Rubin has helped with our Felton and Santa Cruz
farmers markets over the last 4 years, and now lives on the farm with
his daughter Sierra and provides a helping hand with on-farm activities.
Brian Barth, an avid Permaculturist, is also living on the farm this year,
and brings new ideas about landscape design and sustainability into our
midst. Im excited to already see many positive changes, plus the
workshops hes offering to the community. Im sure theyll
inspire those interested in this subject (see website for Permaculture
workshop details). Shoni returned this year to help us out with farmers
markets in Willow Glen and Westside Santa Cruz. And we have Shoni to thank
for the new logo and signage on our delivery truck, which she laid out
and painted by hand. Check it out the next time you make it to the farm,
or keep your eyes open when you are driving for this beautiful looking
As you can see, many hands and minds work to operate this farm, and I
often scratch my head and wonder how a business that earns its annual
budget by the pound can provide good wages, quality housing, health benefits,
and a sense of ownership. I believe that we will not be able to achieve
some of these goals unless we recognize the true value of sustainably
grown food. In the meantime it's healthy to keep asking questions and
to work towards possible solutions. - Tom
year it starts Friday evening July 29th with a pot-luck and ends Sunday
the 31st before lunch. What is Mini Camp? Since 1999, CSA members and
their children have come to join us for a weekend "camping"
stay at the farm. This once-a-year event is designed so participants can
experience the farm and its peacefulness without the concern of having
to drive at the end of the day. Equipped with baskets, we spend our days
harvesting, tasting and discovering the magnificent diversity of fruits,
vegetables and herbs growing on the farm, and then prepare a meal from
the bounty we harvested. This process is at the same time ambitious and
fun, compelling everyone to explore all corners of the land. It is a time
to enjoy being together, to meet other CSA members, and to allow the children
to set the pace. Farm games such as finding the 'weirdest' most interesting,
bizarre-looking fruit or vegetable are popular, and so is pizza-making
(in our wood-fired oven) with freshly harvested crops. Our hide-and-seek
by moonlight in the orchard has become a tradition among mini-campers!
Visits to the farm animals (chickens, goats and our pony, "Peanut")
are also a must, to make sure that no living creature is left out of the
party! Families and kids of all ages are welcome!!
<> Cost is $40 per person (adults and children), to a maximum of
$120 per family, and you can pay during mini-camp.
<> You need to have been a CSA member for at least 2 months to participate,
and because space is limited, we only can allow CSA members and their
children, but not extended family members.
Sign up now, as space in this popular event is limited to 12 families!
Contact Constance at email@example.com or 831.763.2340 to register, and
she will give you the remaining specifics on what to bring/what to expect,
Billy Bob's (delicious!
organic) Apple Juice
to the continued interest we are offering full cases (8 - 48oz. bottles)
of Billy Bob's apple juice. [Unopened jars will keep as much as a few
years, so you don't need to refrigerate them until opened.] Send a check
made out to Live Earth Farm (mail it to our PO box) for $28/case, and
we will deliver it to your pick-up site the following week.
Cob Workshop in Downtown
and learn how to build a "mud" house and all the parts of the
process on a round, partially finished studio started last summer. Taught
by an experienced local cobber, "Shanti," and with lots of hands-on
practice time, you will walk away empowered and ready to start your own
project! A relaxing, fun, healing, artistic, healthy time for all out
in the sunshine! When: June 25 & 26, 9am-4pm. Cost: $150/weekend,
includes lunch and handouts. Call Claudine at 831.423.5204 or email her
from Debbies Kitchen . . . . .
. . . Have a recipe youd like to share? Contact
Not enough room (in the paper version of the newsletter)
for a what Id do with this week's box blurb, so just
a recipe or two! - Debbie
Carrot-beet salad w/mint,
honey & lime
(I made this up last week! Debbie)
Grate raw carrots and beets (I like a 4-to-1 ratio of carrots-to-beets)
into a bowl, add slivered fresh mint, a handful of golden raisins, and
some toasted walnuts. Make a dressing of fresh lime juice, honey, pinch
of salt, and (optionally) walnut oil and toss with carrot-beet mixture.
Serve on a bed of butter lettuce leaves, with an optional dollop of mayonnaise
Michelle Crawford, a new CSA member from Sunnyvale, sent me this recipe
with her continuation checks:
"I just sautéed the bagged greens (in this case, chard) with
sliced green garlic and olive oil, then when cooked, swirled in some butter,
took it off the heat, and dressed it with 3 tbsp. of apple
cider vinegar, 2 tsp. sugar and salt & pepper. Went great with pork
chops! [You could easily do this recipe with some of the other greens,
or even with the zucchini! Debbie]
Debbie on mustard greens
To really get a sense of their flavor, just eat a leaf raw. Seriously!
When youre washing them, select a fresh, vibrant leaf, pop it in
your mouth and chew, and see what I mean. For a brief moment it will taste
merely grassy, but then your mouth will burst with mustardy flavor. The
green leaf mustards have a genuine mustard taste, but the
red mustard (which I tasted this weekend) has an amazing wasabi hot flavor!
Yowza! Let that influence how you might use them. Why not in a salad with
a fruity dressing to complement the heat?
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.