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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
8th (and last!) Harvest Week, Winter 2006/2007
March 7th, 2007

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--Wildlife on the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen

"It was then the month of March, the days were growing longer, winter was departing. Winter always carries with it something of our sadness; then April came, that daybreak of summer, fresh like every dawn, gay like every childhood; weeping a little sometimes like the infant that it is. Nature in this month has charming gleams which pass from the sky, the clouds, the trees, the fields, and the flowers, into the heart of man."

~ Victor Hugo, from Les Miserables

Greetings from Farmer Tom

spring strawberries

As we harvest and pack the last winter share of the season I am already feeling the spring itch. The weekend was warm and our greenhouse is packed with young seedlings ready to be planted over the next few weeks. As the soil warms and the earth awakens I am also aware that this is one of the scarcest months of the year; most winter crops have been harvested and new plantings are only now coming out of the greenhouse, so the amount of harvestable crops is very limited.

Spring is all about preparing the soil, planting, and getting ready for the bountiful months ahead. This is the time when stored food preserves such as pickled vegetables and fruit come in handy to hold us over. The green garlic in your shares this week was planted in November and is just now sizing up. The tender bunches of mustard florets come from both collard greens and Lacinato kale that is starting to bolt. I cook them just as I would a bunch of Rapini: steamed or lightly stir-fried. In my opinion they have a richer flavor.

Last week the pump in our well stopped working and we are scrambling to get it fixed! On one hand it's a blessing in disguise since right now our demand for water is relatively low (we’re not irrigating), however repairing it is a very costly and involved process, where 390 feet of pipe has to be pulled out of the well shaft in order to access the submerged pump. We are trying to use water sparingly on the farm right now, so if the vegetables in your share this week (especially the carrots, garlic and rutabagas) have small clods of dirt on them this is the reason.
I hope everyone will have used up their cabbage by the time we start up again in April. Have a wonderful start of Spring (remember the Spring Equinox is March 21st!), and I am confident that the juicy sweet flavor of a red ripe strawberry will await you all as you open your first share in April. We want to thank you all for your commitment and support during this first ever Live Earth Farm Winter CSA. I think it went well, and don't see a reason why we shouldn't have another go at it again next winter! As always, we appreciate your feedback, so if you have any thoughts as to how to improve upon our Winter Share based on your experiences from this winter season, let us know.

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Wildlife on the farm

Redtail Hawk and pond
Tom's wife Constance snapped these beautiful pictures a week or so ago, while the late afternoon lighting was so rich... and the closeup of the redtail hawk; wow!! We see and hear them often around the farm, but seldom have the opportunity to photograph them up close!

Below, another take on 'wild life' on the farm! At left, clenching mustards in his teeth, is David (Tom and Constance's son); at center, barely visible, their daughter, Elisa, and Constance and Elisa at right. Gives you some idea of how tall and luxuriant the fields of mustard are around here! When I was on the farm Friday [this is Debbie talking], I went for a walk and the mustard flowers were literally humming with the sound of hundreds of happy bees. It was incredible.
David, Constance, Elisa in field of mustard flowers

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What's in the box

2 lb. bag of apples (Bob Silva's orchard)
1 head green cabbage
1 head red cabbage
1 bunch of carrots
2 bunches of chard
2 bunches of green garlic
2 bunches of red Russian kale
2 bunches of rutabagas
1 bunch of rapini greens (immature florets of different mustard greens – see Tom’s blurb)
1 bag of arugula (possibly)

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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
I’m so excited to see that Tom’s going to give us the ‘rapini greens’ (the mustard/collard florettes) again. He did this once before, last season, and they were truly delicious! Treat them like you would broccolini or broccoli raab. Keep it simple. I won't put any recipes in for arugula, because we may not get that (but I sure hope we do!!).

Well... this is it, the last week of our winter share! I’m so glad that Tom’s willing to do it again next year. I think it turned out great. And I’m sure I’m not alone in my joy at not having to go through withdrawal for the entire winter until the CSA started up again in the spring! (Now you only have to do it for a week or two, depending on how long you can make the veggies in your last share stretch!) To close out the season, here are a bunch of recipes members have sent me recently, all good ideas for using our winter share veggies! Take care everyone and I’ll talk to you all in about a month!

A quick word on rutabagas
I just wanted to remind everyone that rutabagas are a great ingredient in soup stock. Whether it be a meat or chicken stock or bone broth or vegetable broth, chunk up a few rutabagas, peel and all, and toss them into the pot. They add a real nice sweetness to the final result. Or you can just add the peels if you’re using the rutabaga ‘insides’ for something else.

Alsatian Red Cabbage
submitted by Odile Wolf, who says, “this is a standard French recipe.”

1 big onion, sliced fine
1 red cabbage, sliced very thin
1 bottle of red wine
3 to 4 bacon slices cut in strips
salt and pepper

Sauté onion in a heavy bottomed pan (like Le Creuset). Add the bacon. When the onion is translucent, add the cabbage. Add the red wine (you can always add half a bottle and pour more if needed) and salt and pepper to taste. Cover, cook on medium/low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring frequently. If the cabbage gets too dry, add more wine.

Serve with potatoes and sausages.

Note: the dish is not alcoholic as the alcohol cooks off.

Deconstructed Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage
Also from Odile Wolf, who says, “I got it from a friend, who got it from a friend who teaches cooking classes.”

Olive oil to sauté everything
1 large onion, diced
1 pound ground beef or turkey (or well seasoned baked tofu, shredded)
1 pound cabbage, chopped
1 28-ounce can ground tomatoes
1 cup raisins
Juice of about 1 ½ large lemons (or to taste), added a little at a time
About ¼ cup brown sugar (or to taste) added a little at a time
Salt to taste

Sauté the onion in the oil until it becomes translucent. Add the ground meat and cook until it begins to brown, chopping it up with a spatula as it cooks. If you’re using tofu rather than meat, just let it cook with the onion for a minute until it heats through and has absorbed some of the onion flavor.

Add the cabbage, and stir the mixture until the cabbage begins to wilt. Add the tomatoes and the raisins, and let the stew cook for about five minutes or so at a medium-low heat.

Give the stew a stir and a pinch or two of salt. Now add some of the lemon juice, then some of the brown sugar. Taste the stew after each addition, then continue to add more of each ingredient as necessary—you want a balance of sweet and sour that you find appealing. You may need to add more salt somewhere in here as well in order to really find the right flavor balance.

Allow the stew to cook down for ten or fifteen minutes, stirring it occasionally, then serve it over rice.

Green Cabbage and Apple Sauté
this one was sent to me by member Holly Trapp

3 lbs. green cabbage, cored and coarsely shredded (12 cups)
1 C Riesling wine
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
1/4 C olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 tart apples, peeled cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the wine, lemon juice and sugar. Let marinate for 1 hour, tossing often.

In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage and its marinade and cook over moderate high heat, tossing until wilted, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the apples and toss well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Janet’s Sautéed Cabbage Burritos
from member Portia Halbert, who says, “I was reading your cabbage section [from the last newsletter] and thought I'd send along the recipe I use for almost all of the cabbage I get from you. It's from ‘The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.’ I know this recipe by heart, and it can be made in about 15 minutes; it's always surprising how good cabbage can be.”

1 onion chopped
4 tbsp. oil
One head of cabbage cut into eighths, then sliced crosswise
2 tbsp. soy sauce or Braggs [a kind of soy sauce]
½ tsp. vinegar (I use white wine vinegar, but any other vinegar will work)
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1-2 tbs. Sriracha depending on how spicy you like it - this is my addition and I think it's essential. [Sriracha is a Thai hot sauce made from chile peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. I had to look it up because I hadn’t heard of it before! - Debbie]
2 cloves of garlic or 1 tsp. garlic salt
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. additional oil (optional)

In large pot, sauté onion in oil until transparent. Add remaining ingredients and cook until cabbage is soft and golden. Wrap in warm tortilla and enjoy.

Keeping up with Cabbage
from member Diana Wirt

“Here's how I, a single person, have been keeping up with the cabbage. I slice a whole head up into slaw-sized pieces, about 1/4" by 1" and keep that sealed in a bag in the refrigerator ready to go. Almost every day I take some out and eat a big salad of it, with a bottled Thai peanut or miso dressing. If I don't have either of those, I take whatever mild oil-based dressing I have on hand and mix room temperature peanut butter with it. This worked best with a creamy poppy seed dressing. If it doesn't taste good, add more peanut butter.”

Jill’s Bobolis with Greens

from member Jill McCoy, who says, “Just wanted to mention something I whipped up a couple weeks ago -- and then made twice more since then for company. It's a great appetizer and a really good way to use our wonderful greens. Even my greens-averse friends love this one! I don't know if you have published a recipe like this before, or if it just sprang from my head. Anyway, here’s the recipe. ”

2-3 slices pancetta or lean bacon
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 to 2 bunches of kale or chard, chopped and cooked briefly in salty water and drained
Splash of white wine
2 small Bobolis (pizza breads)
Feta cheese
Walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dice pancetta, and fry crisp. Remove pancetta from pan (set aside to drain) and add onion, and maybe a little oil to the pan. Sauté onion until it starts to pick up color. Add apple, sauté a little more, and add kale or chard. Stir around a little, then add a splash of white wine. Cook for a couple minutes. Arrange vegetables on top of Bobolis. Sprinkle pancetta over all. Crumble feta cheese and walnuts on top. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Slice and serve.

Debbie's Winter Goodies Melange with Balsamic-Mustard Sauce
Another ‘what have I got and what can I make with it?’ recipe! You can see, if you read between the lines in all the above recipes, a certain repetition of flavors and ingredients that work well together. In this particular recipe, it all started with a small piece of salami (from a local smokehouse) in my fridge that was just begging to be used for something. Since I also had rutabagas and kale in the fridge and winter squash still sitting patiently on my counter, and I knew salty cured meats went well with winter veggies, and all go well with kind of sweet/sour flavors... this is what I came up with!

Serves 4 (it was enough for dinner for two, plus leftovers for two of us for lunch the next day!)

Some good cured salami, diced small (you could probably use any number of salty meats... bacon? ham? pepperoni? pancetta? some kinds of sausage?)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size pieces
A couple rutabagas, also peeled and diced
Half to one bunch kale, leaves stripped from stems and then chopped
One quarter or so of a purple cabbage, chopped or shredded
1 small onion, chopped
A handful of mushrooms, wiped of dirt and sliced or chopped (optional)
A handful of raisins (regular or golden)
Water (or stock, if you have it, but water works fine)
Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar

Note: the first time I made this, I used the mushrooms but not the cabbage. I made it again tonight and didn’t have any mushrooms but thought to add the red cabbage. It’s good either way, or surely you could do it with both and it’d be good too!

In a big skillet over medium high heat, start sautéing the onion in some olive oil. Once it starts to soften, add the squash and rutabaga, stir them around and let ‘em sit for a few minutes and they’ll start to color. Add the mushrooms, if you’re using them, and continue cooking this way, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir/fry a minute or two more, maybe adding a splash of water too, until the cabbage just starts to soften. Add the salami, the raisins and some more water or stock, and the kale. Stir to mix, then cover and turn heat to medium and cook a few minutes more, to wilt the kale and finish cooking the squash and rutabagas. You can check to see if they’re done by poking a piece with the tip of a sharp knife (you all know how to do this). Add more liquid if it seems too dry before the squash/rutabagas are done. Then remove lid and stir/cook down until any remaining water/stock has mostly evaporated. At this point, add the mustard and vinegar. I used about, oh, a rounded tablespoon of mustard, and 3 to 4 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir around until all is incorporated. Taste and add salt if necessary, then serve over steamed rice. It’s tangy, colorful and a satisfying!

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