6th Harvest Week May 1st - 7th, 2006
Season 11
  Want a printable copy of this newsletter? Click here for a pdf file of the paper version.



Nature is something we are; not just something with which we relate.
- Eric Alan, from 'Wild Grace'


What’s in the box this week: (content differences between Family and Small Shares are italicized)

Family Share:
Bok choi
Fava beans
Green garlic
Green/young onions

Small Share:
Bok choi
Fava beans
Green garlic
Mystery item

Extra Fruit:
2 baskets of strawberries plus a small bag of oranges


Sat June 17
Summer Solstice Celebration
field tours 2 - 5
celebrations 5 - 9
with Kuzanga Marimba!

Aug 25, 26, 27
Children's Mini-camp, Friday eve. to noon Sun.

Sat. Sept. 23
Fall Equinox Celebration
3pm until dark

Sat. Oct 22
Halloween Pumpkin Pallooza

In most parts of the world the 1st of May is celebrated as "The day of the Worker" and when I lived in Ecuador I remember it was always a national holiday. Today we at the farm are taking the day off in support of the millions of workers who are asking for their basic rights, as workers and human beings, no matter where they are from or what their immigration status is. In farming, the farmworker is all too frequently unnoticed in the overall equation. Bringing social justice issues to the center of the sustainable agriculture agenda is way past due. The 700,000 farm workers in California are a critical work force that is politically vulnerable, and frequently victimized. Although the demonstrations are targeted specifically towards demanding a comprehensive change in the flawed and untenable immigration policy of this country, it is an opportunity to reflect on our own situation here at Live Earth Farm. We are fortunate to have an incredibly talented, dedicated, and hard working group of people who every day brings this farm alive and grows the most wonderful food this land has to offer. The dignity of farm labor is the key to having a healthy and thriving farm. When we talk about the farm's organic production methods we also need to include all the people involved, so they are as healthy and cared for as any other aspect of the farm. What would be the point of farming organically if the workers were underpaid, overworked or treated without respect?

We pay all our workers well above the minimum wage and make every possible effort to offer year-round employment, based on year-round production and cash flow. Over the last few years this has allowed our family of workers to purchase their own home, creating a more stable and decent living situation for all. Since none of our work is based on a piece rate (we pay at an hourly rate), our employees don't scramble so fast that they risk permanent damage to their bodies in the rush to make a few more dollars a day. To protect the physical health of everyone is very important. Working on a farm is not only more dangerous at times, but doing the same task repeatedly is both boring and can be physically harmful. Given the diversity of crops and activities we have here, everyone enjoys a variety of tasks during a given week. Harvesting, weeding, pruning, planting, washing, packing, watering, plowing, delivering the produce as well as selling at farmers markets are some of the many activities that keeps the work very diverse. Working on a farm can be very strenuous, so it is important to also try to have a good time, and recognize the importance of good companionship and good humor. Finally, growing food for a known community of members is more rewarding, giving more importance and recognition to all the work performed here on the farm. Through your commitment as members in our CSA you are directly participating in bettering the condition of our farm workers. The responsibility of fairness and well-being is more integrated, and not just resting with me, the farmer. We welcome your comments, and likewise would welcome anyone’s help in our effort to continue offering better opportunities for our workers. For example, we need people who could help teach English as a second language, teach welding and construction skills, and advise us on more comprehensive and affordable healthcare plans. Happy 1st of May!  - Tom

Field Notes from Farmer Tom
With the change in weather we were finally able to plant potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, more lettuce and broccolini, but I ask for your patience since these crops will not show up in your shares for another 7 to 8 weeks. Next week we will have carrots again, the cauliflower and broccoli will continue, and strawberries should also become more abundant as the sun starts warming things up. Our raspberries and blackberries are starting to bloom, so in another 4 to 5 weeks and we should see the first signs of them in the Extra Fruit shares. I will continue to get oranges since they are really delicious, and a local organic avocado grower has offered to sell us some of his crop so you may see them in a future share as well. Rest assured I am trying my best to keep your box exciting with new surprises every week!

De-mystifying the “Mystery Item” in the ‘whats-in-the-box’ list
Occasionally members are confused by this moniker in the veggie list. Some think we’re testing you (“See if YOU can be the first one to identify the mystery!”), or trying to keep something under wraps (“Just for fun, why don’t we put something in the share but not tell them what it is!”), or just plain befuddled ourselves (“We don’t know what this is either. I know, let’s try it out on our CSA members!”). But in fact, none of these is the case. “Mystery Item” just means that Tom wants to put another item in the share, but is not sure at the time we’re putting together this newsletter what it might be, as often it may be one of any number of different veggies. Sometimes Tom will grow something but there’s not enough to give to everybody, so you may even have a different ‘mystery item’ in your box as compared to other members! It helps the farm to be able to be more flexible like this is all, and rest assured whatever your ‘mystery’ happens to be, it will be fresh and good! And remember, if you ever get something in your box that you can’t identify, I’ve got a pretty comprehensive database of pictures on the recipe page of our website you can refer to. Just click on the little camera icon next to the veggie’s name in the list, and hopefully your mystery will be solved!  - Debbie

Notes from Debbie’s Kitchen . . . . . . . . Have a recipe you’d like to share? Contact Debbie.
We’re probably going to have fava beans for the next few weeks, so I’ll always try to include some recipes for these, but new on the radar this week: kohlrabi, cauliflower and bok choi, so let’s see what I can find to use these veggies as well! People have been great about sending in recipes to share too. Our first recipe this week was submitted by member Odile Wolf. Thanks Odile! - Debbie

Fava Beans with Cilantro
from “Portugese Cooking,” by Hjilaire Walden [Odile says, “I cannot recommend this book enough. I have not had a bad recipe in it, and I have tried a lot of them.”]
serves 4

2 oz. bacon cut into strips
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb. shelled favas*
2 tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped (this time of year, use canned)
¾ C chopped cilantro

*or if the fava beans are still young and tender, I’d say don’t shell them, just cut off top and tails and cut into bite-size pieces pods and all. See last week’s newsletter. - Debbie

Cook the bacon in a heavy saucepan until the fat runs. Stir in the onion and cook until softened. Add the beans, barely cover with water, and simmer until they are tender 6 to 15 min. depending on the age of the beans. [The farm’s beans are obviously very fresh; I’d only cook ‘em for 2 to 3 minutes if shelled; 5 minutes if you’re using the pods too. – Debbie] Stir in the tomatoes and seasoning, cover and heat gently, shaking the pan oc-casionally for a few minutes to warm the tomatoes. Stir in the cilantro and serve.

For the uninitiated, that strange-looking pale-green orb with the leafy stems sprouting from its sides is kohlrabi. See the recipe database on our website for pictures. - Debbie

Kohlrabi Ideas from Mariquita Farm
Julia Wiley and Andy Griffin are neighbors of Live Earth Farm and also have a CSA. Julia and I openly share each others’ recipes with our re-spective memberships. I really like her list of ideas for kohlrabi, and think you all will appreciate them as well! – Debbie

“A favorite way to eat truly fresh kohlrabi is to peel (like a potato; Andy doesn't peel his but I like to) the kohlrabi, slice it like you would jicama or carrots for a dip tray, and then eat the raw pieces plain or with lemon juice. The kohlrabi is fresh so it's sweet, and has none of that strong cabbage smell old brassicas can have.” - Julia

Cooking tips:
• Kohlrabi doesn't have to be peeled after cooking.
• It's excellent cooked or raw. Try it both ways.
• Grate kohlrabi into salads, or make a non-traditional coleslaw with grated kohlrabi and radish, chopped parsley, green onion, and dressing of your choice.
• Try raw kohlrabi, thinly sliced, alone or with a dip. Peel and eat raw like an apple.
• Steam kohlrabi whole, 25-30 minutes, or thinly sliced, 5-10 minutes. Dress slices simply with oil, lemon juice and a fresh herb, or dip in flour and briefly fry.
• Sauté grated kohlrabi in butter, add herbs or curry.
• Add sliced or cubed kohlrabi to heart soups, stews or a mixed vegetable stir-fry.
• Chill and marinate cooked kohlrabi for a summer salad. Add fresh herbs.
• Kohlrabi leaves can be used like other cooking greens. Store the leaves and bulbs separately. The globe will last for a few weeks in plastic in the fridge.

Here’s a brilliantly simple recipe I found online! Why didn’t I think of this? - Debbie

Rice Steamed with Bok Choi

from a cookbook called “Simple Seduction in Three Courses” by Lynn Rossetto Kasper

Take any recipe for cooking rice. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, fold in some chopped up bok choi [and let it steam].

Cauliflower with fresh Cilantro
modified from a Middle-Eastern recipe found on recipezaar.com.
serves 4
1 head cauliflower, cut into flowerets
¼ C olive oil
6 scallions, thinly sliced (or use 1 fresh young onion from the box)
3 garlic cloves, minced (ditto green garlic, i.e. 1 good-sized stalk would be a sufficient substitution for 3 cloves of garilc)
1 serrano chili, seeded and minced
½ C fresh cilantro leaves (I’d use chopped leaves and stems myself. Don’t waste the stems; they’ve got lots of flavor!)
1 tsp. harissa (or ¾ tsp. paprika + ¼ tsp. cayenne)
salt, pepper, and lemon slices for garnish

Cook cauliflower in salted water 6-7 min. Drain well. Heat oil in a pan on med-hi, add cauliflower, garlic and chili and stir-fry 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn. Add scallions, cilantro, and harissa, stir well, then season w/salt and pepper to taste. Serve with sliced lemon for garnish. (Careful, this recipe is spicy!! – Debbie)

*Click Here* 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.