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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
4th Harvest Week, Winter 2007/2008
January 9th, 2008

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--Field Notes from Debbie
--The mainstream is catching on...
--Pictures around the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Contact Information

" When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. "

~ Aldo Leopold

Greetings from Farmer Tom

I am writing this first New Year's Message from Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, a peaceful coastal town a few thousand miles south of Watsonville along the Pacific Coast. I am grateful that the farm is in such capable hands, allowing me the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks of uninterrupted time with my entire family in this beautiful and friendly Central American country. Our winter "summer getaway" will be over in a couple of days, and I can't avoid feeling a bit anxious about this week's harvest as the Farm recovers from last week's storm. Seems we only sustained minor wind damage – all the hardy winter crops in this week’s share came through just fine. The only crop we lost was the latest lettuce planting, which we’d hoped to harvest this week; the delicate leaves were damaged by water and fungal rot, so no lettuce for the time being.
Looking to the future, I feel that the ‘seed’ of our upcoming season is slowly starting to define itself, and I am excited about the opportunities that will germinate. Some of these opportunities include:
a) access to more land, and with that a greater diversity of crops – especially fruit.  More land does not necessarily mean we'll be increasing our production, but rather that we’ll have a chance to implement a more sustainable crop rotation program;
b) expanding the farm's community outreach and educational program. You got an introduction to Jessica Ridgeway, our sustainable ag education programs manager in the last newsletter, and there will be more details posted on the website soon.
c) developing a research proposal to assess the farm’s "carbon footprint" in order to help us reduce our environmental impact. We are looking for interested people in our community to help us in this project. Please contact me directly at thomas@baymoon.com.
d) a new database, to make Debbie's life easier managing the complexity of information associated with the CSA program
e) acquisition of new field tools and equipment to replace old ones, and infrastructural upgrades to improve processing and distribution of our products
f) providing more stable and affordable housing for our workers.
As I am enjoying these last days of vacation I am inspired by the fact that the heart and vitality of Live Earth Farm is based upon a dynamic web of nourishing connections between all its members, forming a supportive community and resource for all. - Tom

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Field Notes from Debbie

Tom told me about this last month but forgot to share with the rest of you, so I figured I would. It’s about the beets, and why they are white, and why you’ll be seeing only white beets for a while. Apparently the seed supplier for the farm sent us mis-labeled seeds... Tom had ordered the usual red and golden beet seeds, but you can’t tell by looking at the seed what color the root will be. You need to plant them and grow them out, which of course we did. Consequently all the beets we’ll be harvesting this winter will be white beets! The good news is that they are supposed to be nice and sweet, and have nice big green leaves. You can easily substitute white beets for any color beet in any beet recipe. It’ll just look different.

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The mainstream is catching on...

from Debbie's husband Ken, in San Jose:

I’m looking for good news wherever I can find it these days, and taking whatever I can find. So my surprise is probably as great as yours to find some in Bon Appetit magazine (the February issue, although it arrived in December). People who know me are greatly surprised to hear I read Bon Appetit, and actually of course I don’t, but never mind that right now.
Anyway, February is Bon Appetit’s Green Issue, and the good news is: it’s not a total greenwash; there’s some heart and mind to it. A page on Vancouver locavores Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon. Reviews of books on food miles and Slow Food. A feature on shopping the seasons, including a spotlight on broccoli. A sub-headline that says right out: DON’T BUY FAKE FOODS OR INDUSTRIAL VERSIONS OF REAL FOOD. And so on. Of course, there is still a double-page advertorial for butter flown all the way from Ireland just for you, but still. 
I guess what I am saying is this: I think the mainstream has edged a little bit closer to those of us trying to pay attention to the land and the seasons. Not just a head fake, but actual movement. And if true, that IS good news.

– Ken Eklund

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Pictures around the farm

Sorry, no pictures this week! Photographer Tom is still in Costa Rica, and photographer Debbie put all her image processing time into her documentation of sauerkraut-making (see recipe section, below).

If you ever have farm or CSA-related pictures you'd like to share with the membership though (pictures of your children with farm goodies are always particularly welcome!), please feel free to email them to us! Debbie will get them into the next available newsletter. We love member contributions!!

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What's in the box this week
Remember, sometimes unannounced substitutions can occur. If we come up short of something we'll try to give you something else in its place!

Apples (from Bobby Silva)
White beets
Brussels sprouts
Red cabbage
Green cabbage
Kale – Red Russian
Kale – Lacinato (Dinosaur)
Bread (this week for the Santa Cruz County pickup locations: LEF, Soquel, Aptos/Wavecrest, Seabright, West SC/Baldwin, Scotts Valley/Skypark)

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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to recipe database. And as always, I try to insert my 'two cents' in square brackets [ ] within recipes, so you know when it is me talking.

Welcome back everyone and happy 2008! Hope you all had a good holiday and came through the recent storms okay (my power was out for 24 hours, but other than that we were fine; remarkably enough, the farm didn’t even lose power!).
I want to share with you a little excerpt from the book
Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice: “...recipes – including their measurements – can actually be helpful for people who didn’t grow up cooking. If we were never taught basic culinary skills and principles, following the measurements of a recipe can be greatly empowering – enabling us to cook things that we otherwise never would be able to. I tend to look at recipes as maps. If you fly into a new city and need to get around but don’t have a map, you are lost. If you stay there a week or two, you may find that you can get certain places without the map. If you live there for a few years, you may find you can get around quite well without a map. It is the same with recipes. They can be critical when we are first learning to cook [or to cook something new], or when we are learning a new cuisine that is foreign to us. But the more familiar with food we become, the less we need to rely on them. We may just glance at a recipe again before beginning to cook dinner, the same way we glance at a map to remind us of a route that we are pretty sure we know well enough to navigate by sight.”
Jessica does a nice job of explaining how recipes are a great tool, but we need not be a slave to them. I hope that you all feel free to embellish, change and otherwise mess with recipes I give you in this newsletter. You can follow them closely if you like, but I want to encourage everyone to have no fear if you don’t happen to have all the ingredients a recipe calls for, or the right quantities. The longer you’re a CSA member, the easier it gets, as you start to get similar veggies when a season comes ‘round again, and consequently become familiar with how a particular item cooks up and what can be substituted for something else. My job is to give you starting points and new ideas for inspiration (at least, that’s what I try to do), and then let you go from there. By keeping track of all the recipes in the database, you can easily refer back to old ‘road maps’ in the event you remember something you liked, but can’t quite remember how it was made.
One of the things I did over the 3 week holiday break was to photo document the making of sauerkraut, in a scale manageable by just about everyone: a head of cabbage, some salt, and a jar. This is what Jessica Prentice would call ‘Quick Kraut’, in that it is fermented in a matter of days rather than weeks. There are too many pictures to include them all in the newsletter, so I made a separate little html page on the website with photos of the steps. I find it so helpful to have a visual idea of the process, so this is my little gift to you all!

(click here to check it out:  Making Sauerkraut)
Meanwhile, here are some recipes for other box ingredients. No more Brussels sprouts recipes this week, as we’ve covered them pretty thoroughly the last couple times. They’ll come back around though! - Debbie
Beet leaves with anchovies
from Jesse Cool [one of my favorite food people!]
serves 4

[Tom tells me the white beets will have nice green tops, so this recipe should be perfect for them. If he misled me and the tops are so-so, you could easily substitute chard (the greens are very similar).]
6 C beet leaves, cut thinly
1 small can anchovies packed in oil, drained and chopped fine
1 clove garlic, minced fine
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
¼ C olive oil
Pinch of chile flakes (optional)
2 hard-boiled eggs, grated
2 oz. Asiago cheese, grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Thoroughly wash beet leaves; dry and place in a large bowl [after slicing them up, presumably]. In salad bowl, using a fork, mash together anchovies, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Add chile flakes, if you like. Add beet greens to salad bowl. Add eggs and Asiago cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. [Anchovies are salty, so you may not need much additional salt. Sez the salt fiend.]
Curried Cauliflower with scallions and golden raisins
from an old San Jose Merc clipping, attributed to a cookbook by the name of “Alfred Portale Simple Pleasures” and modified slightly by me.
Serves 6

1 tbsp. cooking oil [or ghee, or butter]
½ medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp. Madras curry powder
1 tsp. tumeric, optional
pinch of red pepper flakes
4 whole canned plum tomatoes, gently crushed by hand [here’s where you can modify; did you can some farm tomatoes? Use those!]
1 large head cauliflower (about 2 lbs.) separated into large florets
2 C chicken stock
2 to 3 tsps. lime juice [or lemon juice]
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. golden raisins, plumped in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves
Warm oil over medium-low heat in a saucepan large enough to hold cauliflower without crowding. Add onion and garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add curry powder, tumeric if using, pepper flakes and tomatoes. Stir and cook gently for 5 minutes.
Add cauliflower and chicken stock and season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise heat to high and bring liquid to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer until cauliflower is just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer cauliflower and tomato pieces to a warmed serving bowl, leaving 2 florets behind. Cover bowl to keep warm. Continue to cook florets until they are quite soft, about 5 minutes more. Use a hand-held blender placed directly into pot to puree these soft florets and thicken the sauce. (Alternatively, mash them with a fork in a small bowl and return puree to sauce.) Add 2 tsps. lime juice; taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in more lime juice, if needed, to lift flavors.
Spoon some of the sauce over cauliflower, and serve garnished with raisins, scallions and cilantro. Pass remaining sauce on the side.
[I think I’d steam up a pot of rice to serve it with too.]
Chard in Dijon Sauce
modified from a clipping from the now defunct SV Magazine (part of the Mercury News). Originally from More recipes from a Kitchen Garden
Serves 4

2 ½ tbsp. vegetable oil
4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal, white and green parts
2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ lb. button mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. fresh chard, washed well (ribs removed) and finely shredded 
1 ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard
Heat oil in a large skillet or wok. Sauté green onions and garlic for 2 minutes until the garlic is softened and very light brown. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more. Add chard, cover and cook over low heat for about 4 minutes or until chard is just tender. Mix in mustard and heat 2 more minutes. Stir and serve.
I don’t have a lot of new ideas for using Kohlrabi; I often just end up slicing the bulb part and noshing on it with some mayonnaise like a snack, and using the greens in any chard or spinach recipe. Click here for the link to all the kohlrabi ideas in the recipe database.
Baked Beet-and-Carrot Burgers
with Brown Rice, Sunflower Seeds, and Cheddar Cheese
from Farmer John’s Cookbook (the cookbook of Angelic Organic’s CSA)
makes 12 patties

[I know we only have white beets right now, and although the color won’t be the usual ‘beety’ red, the flavor should be just fine.]
intro in the cookbook: “If you like veggie burgers you’ll love this recipe. Sweet bets and carrots give luscious flavor to these patties – together with pungent onion, snappy Cheddar cheese, and lots of toasty nuts and seeds. Recipe-tester Lisa says these burgers are good on wheat buns with mayo and tomato [sorry Lisa, no tomatoes ‘round here in January though]. Lisa also mentions that additional flour and egg could be substituted for the rice. Cooks who dislike frying will appreciate this recipe, which calls for baking the patties in the oven.”
butter for greasing the baking sheet
½ C sesame seeds
1 C sunflower seeds
2 C peeled, grated beets (1 – 2 medium beets)
2 C grated carrots (about 4 large-ish carrots)
½ C minced onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 C cooked brown rice
1 C grated Cheddar cheese
½ C vegetable oil
½ C finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed (about ½ tsp.
1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter.
Place a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the sesame seeds and stir them on the dry skillet just until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning them. Immediately remove from heat and transfer toasted seeds to a dish to cool.
Return the skillet to the heat. Add the sunflower seeds and toast them the same way. Add to the dish with the sesame seeds.
Combine the beets, carrots, and onion in a large bowl. Stir in the toasted seeds, eggs, rice, cheese, oil, flour, parsley, soy sauce and garlic (your hands work best here). Add cayenne (use ¼ tsp. for spicier burgers) and mix until thoroughly combined.
Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 patties and arrange them in rows on the baking sheet.
Bake patties until brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Unless they are very large and thick, it should not be necessary to turn them. Serve them alone or on buns. [Or how about between two slices of toasted sourdough or rye bread?]

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Contact Information
email Debbie at the farm (for any farm or CSA share-related business): farmers@cruzio.com
email Debbie at home (with newsletter input or recipes): deb@writerguy.com
farm phone: 831.763.2448
website: http://www.liveearthfarm.net