LEF logo (small)

Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
7th Harvest Week, Winter 2006/2007
February 21st, 2007

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--Thank you to our dedicated members
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen

"Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer."
~ Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

Greetings from Farmer Tom

field of flowering mustard This morning I felt like I was in Provence, in an ocean of endless yellow sunflower fields. I got up early, and as the warm morning sun peeked over the Mt. Madonna hills the whole upper side of the farm was awash in brilliant yellow. The mustards are in their peak bloom period right now, and it was warm enough to just lie down in them. I didn't stay down too long though, as the damp cold soil reminded me that spring is still a month away. The plum trees will be the first to bloom; they’re going through their bud break stage right now. They always surprise me with their early bloom. We just finished pruning the pear trees, which are a month away from turning white. The strawberries are blooming too, and the Camarosa variety (planted early in October) already have green fruit on them. Don't get your hopes up though – there will be no strawberries ready for picking until late March early April depending on mother nature's temperament, sooooo winter share members don't dream of spring just yet!

plum tree at bud break (closeup) This week I will be visiting my father to celebrate his 85th birthday. When I had him on the phone the other day, he wanted to know how the trees he helped plant 10 years ago are doing. Most of them have matured nicely; only a small section of the orchard, an area that seems to collect more moisture causing root-rot in the peach trees there, needed replanting. My dad was very happy when I told him his grandchild (my niece Bernadette), who is interning on the farm this season, just helped plant 70 pear trees. Pear trees and their rootstock are very hardy and do well in heavier and wetter soils. We planted 30 Comice pears, a delicious French pear, and Blake's Pride – a very fire blight resistant variety. Pears, different from apples, like to take their time before developing fruiting wood (that's when the tree grows buds that will flower instead of just growing leaves and branches). Typically, depending on the rootstock, a pear tree will not start growing fruit until they are 3-5 years old, as compared to apple trees which sometimes will have fruit the first year after being planted. The Fuji apples in this week’s share are from our neighbor, Bob Silva. Bob is a young 3rd generation apple farmer dedicated to continue growing apples here in the Pajaro Valley. newly planted pear trees
Apples used to be the main agricultural crop in this valley, however with stiff competition from Washington State and high land prices it is becoming more challenging. Much of the land is being sold or rented to higher bidding strawberry and raspberry growers, but Bob chose to stick to apples, diversifying his cropping scheme by selling his products locally. – Tom

<back to top>

Thank you to our dedicated members

rose geranium closeupWe are so grateful to the many of you who have already sent in your checks for the coming season. You helped us through a tight spot there around the end of January – Debbie sent out all the balance due emails, and you responded. So thank you one and all!! Hard to believe we are coming into our 12th CSA season, and with full membership to boot.

<back to top>

What's in the box

2 lbs. apples (Bob Silva)
1 green cabbage
1 red cabbage
1 bunch carrots (they’re getting big and beautiful!)
1 bunch chard
1 bunch green garlic (approx. 4 young stalks)
2 bunches red Russian kale
1 bag young lettuces (3-4 sm. heads of red and green oak leaf)
2 bunches rutabagas with greens
2-3 butternut squash (Lakeside Organic Gardens)

<back to top>

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Now Tom gave me the veggie list before he left town Saturday, so the only item that’s a maybe is the green garlic... but I’m keeping my fingers crossed! - Debbie

Green Garlic
Green garlic is wonderful. They look exactly like young leeks at this stage of growth, so the only way to know they’re garlic (short of my telling you) is to scratch n’ sniff – there’s no mistaking them by smell. Green garlic can be used anywhere you might use regular garlic, only since it is milder at this stage... you can use more of it! You could also try it in recipes that call for leeks, for a different flavor twist. Potato-Green Garlic Soup? Sounds good to me! Just go look up your favorite Potato-Leek soup and make the switcheroo. Sauté green garlic it with just about anything else on the veggie list... green cabbage, purple cabbage, chard, kale, butternut squash (okay maybe not the lettuce). But hey, I bet if you minced it up really fine it’d be good in a vinaigrette!

Here are some of the things I’ve been cooking up with farm greens and goodies... first, my favorite:

Debbie’s winter “BLT”
Niman Ranch uncured bacon (or equivalent good stuff)
some sundried tomatoes
homemade or good organic mayo
dijon mustard
a little fresh lemon (optional)
a little olive oil (optional)
good bread (whatever’s your favorite!)
salt and pepper

First, prepare your ingredients: Cook bacon until brown and crisp, then drain per usual. Strip kale leaves from stems, composting stems; cook leaves in boiling well-salted water for 2-3 minutes, drain, squeeze out excess water, and chop. Soak a few dried tomatoes in boiling water a few minutes to soften (if you have oil-cured tomatoes you can skip this step), then drain and mince. Stir minced tomatoes into some mayonnaise. Lightly toast your bread.

Now assemble your sandwich: spread sundried tomato mayo generously on one slice of bread, mustard on the other. Spread chopped kale thickly over tomato mayo side of bread, drizzling optionally with a little good olive oil and sprinkling with a few drops of fresh lemon juice (I love olive oil and lemon on kale!). Add a little S&P [that’s salt and pepper], then lay on bacon slices (or, I like to break them into pieces and spread ‘em around so that when I bite into the sandwich a whole slice doesn’t come sliding out!). Top with mustarded slice of toast, cut in half if you like, and serve with a cut up apple and a glass of water and you’ve got a great lunch!

Cabbage cabbage cabbage
This is along the lines of ‘if life serves you up a lemon, make lemonade!’ (or however that quote goes). We’ve been getting cabbage pretty much every share, but that’s not a bad thing – cabbage is versatile and nutritious. Do like I do... make stuff up!

• Making cheese crisps for lunch? Sauté up some sliced cabbage in a little oil and sprinkle with oregano, cumin and salt, and optionally some of your favorite hot sauce. Serve it on the side, or peel your cheese crisps apart and stuff some in before eating!

• My Mexican neighbors put finely shredded green cabbage in their tacos instead of shredded lettuce. I’ve never seen them use lettuce in tacos.

• I also like to stir-fry cabbage with a little soy sauce. Or hoisin sauce. Or fish sauce. Or oyster sauce. Serve it up with some steamed rice.

• It’s also great kind of hot stir-fried so it browns a little, with just salt and pepper. Or if you want to get fancy (woo-hoo!), sauté a little onion or green garlic first, then add the cabbage and do this.

• Let’s see, what did I do last week? I was thinking about Indian flavorings. Scatter a bunch of black mustard seeds into hot oil in a skillet, wait until they start popping, then add shredded cabbage and sauté until wilted to your liking. Toss in some toasted pistachio nuts (had ‘em in my freezer; other sweet nuts would do fine, like, say, cashews), shake on a little S&P, and serve over ‘Tandoori rice’ [My husband gets credit for this invention: he simply puts a spoonful of Sukhi’s tandoori marinade into the rice cooker while the rice is cooking and voila! Spicy, colorful red rice.] Make a tasty yogurt topping by mixing a little crushed garlic, minced fresh mint leaves, and a little cumin into some plain yogurt. Pour some of that on top of your cabbage and rice. If I had some chutney I’d serve a little of that on the side.

Vegetarian* Thai-style curried squash and cabbage (and a plug for eating local)
Again, cook with what you have. That’s my mantra. I keep interesting things around to embellish with. This time, it was a can of coconut milk that inspired me. The recipes on the can (or in a lot of cookbooks!) always include things like sliced red bell peppers. Well you and I know better; red bell peppers are just not ripe around here in February. Neither is fresh basil. Here’s what I did:

*I use fish sauce, which for some vegetarians is fine, others not. Up to you.

Butternut squash
Oil, garlic, salt and pepper for roasting
Red cabbage
A can of garbanzo beans
Coconut milk
A little Thai red chili paste (emphasis on the little... this stuff is HOT)
Fish sauce
Juice from a fresh lime (or lemon, if you don’t have lime)

Peel, halve, seed and slice butternut squash into roughly finger-sized pieces. Crush a couple cloves of garlic (or mince up a stalk of green garlic) into some olive oil and toss squash with this. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet of some sort, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then roast at 425 degrees 20 minutes, shake or stir then roast another 10 or so, until they are soft and starting to brown. Remove from oven and have standing by.

Slice up and start sautéeing maybe half an onion and a bunch of mushrooms in some olive oil. Once they get going, add some chopped or shredded red cabbage and continue to sauté. After a few more minutes, drain, rinse and add the garbanzo beans.

Dissolve 1/4 or at most 1/2 tsp. (use more at your own caution!) of the Thai chili paste in a little of the coconut milk. Add this to pan along with the rest of the coconut milk, the lime juice, and five or six shakes of fish sauce (mine comes in a shaker top bottle; it’s plenty salty, so use it to taste. Don't overdo it; you can always add more later!).

Add your cooked squash at this point and bring to a simmer.

Roughly chop up a bunch of fresh cilantro and stir that in; simmer until cilantro is just wilted but still bright green.

Serve over steamed rice.

Rutabaga Greens
Yes, these can be eaten. Cut them from the root, then separate out and discard any of the older leaves that look yellowish or spotty. The green ones are just fine. Wash ‘em to remove any grit, then chop and cook with as you would other winter greens.

<back to top>


Contact Information
email: farmers@cruzio.com
phone: 831.763.2448
web: http://www.liveearthfarm.net