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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
13th Harvest Week, Season 12
June 25th - July 1st, 2007

(click here for a pdf of the paper version of this newsletter)

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--A Solstice Celebration Testimonial
--Field Notes
--Pictures from the Solstice Celebration
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Contact Information

" We have not merely escaped from something but also into something... we have joined the greatest of all communities, which is not that of man alone but of everything which shares with us the great adventure of being alive. "

~ Joseph Wood Krutch, from ‘Last Child in the Woods’ by Richard Louv

Next Wednesday, the 4th of July, will be a normal Wednesday delivery, so please don’t forget to pick up your box before any festivities begin!

Greetings from Farmer Tom

Celebration is an important element of the seasonal dance, and rewards farmers and their community with a wonderful connection to the Earth. Over the last 12 years, celebrating the beginning of Summer around the Solstice has become an important community event, one which always transforms the farm into a place filled with joy and moments of magic and wonder. Last Saturday was no different. It was a textbook-beautiful day; warm but not hot, breezy but not windy, clear blue skies... with more children than adults, there was no end to the excitement too, as every corner of the farm was explored and treasures were gathered. Thanks to beekeeper extraordinaire, Steve Demkowski from Willow Glen, we got to experience first hand how honey is extracted from frames of honeycomb. He collected the combs from his hives (the ones residing right here on the farm) with the help of my son David and friend Noah. Elisa eating chocolate-covered strawberryBesides picking strawberries – and for some lucky ones, getting to dip them into chocolate ganache donated by the Buttery – extracting honey was one of the most popular afternoon activities. Steve's passion for bees inspired many who attended. Several walked away with a small jar of freshly extracted honey elixir; I brought a jar of it over so people could dip warm, freshly baked focaccia bread into it. Toastie – our wood-fired cob oven, now 6 years old – is still gasping along despite signs of his imminent demise, and he couldn't bake the focaccia bread fast enough to feed the many hungry mouths passing by. Although it is hard to compete with the popularity of honey, Bernadette had a strong following of interested helpers who got to learn about the entire ‘teat-to-table’ goat cheese making process. And while blackberries were being picked in one corner of the farm, Brian introduced the Mataganza Garden Sanctuary to interested members in the other corner, teaching them about permaculture principles and sustainable farming and gardening applications. As we approached 6pm, Kuzanga's wonderful marimba music called us to gather around the fire circle, where five long tables covered with wonderful homemade dishes of food awaited us. Thank you to all who contributed to such an abundant potluck! Before lining up to eat, we always form a blessing circle to welcome and give thanks. Twelve years ago  it started with 15 people. This year, the circle just kept growing and growing winding in all directions – so big (300 or more people?) that it was hard to be heard from one side to the other. The children, as always, had an absolute blast climbing all over the newly-erected straw bale structure, and of course they quickly gathered around the fire circle when it came time to light this year’s bonfire.lighting the bonfire Then as darkness slowly settled in, our friend Pamela, her partner, and even our son David firedanced for us all (accompanied by Kuzanga, who managed to play in near darkness!) Firedancing never ceases to amaze me, in how this powerful element in nature can be transformed into a graceful art form. I wish you all a wonderful summer season, and many thanks to all who participated in making this another wonderful Celebration. Please see below for many pictures! Or for a real treat, click here to view Ken Eklund's video documenting the day. – Tom

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A Solstice Celebration Testimonial

A big THANK YOU to all who put on such a wonderful event on Saturday. We really enjoyed our time at the farm, and what a beautiful spot! Our veggies are very lucky to grow up in such a nice place. My 5 year old says, “please keep the hay bales and jumping bridge and the fire dancers for next year!” as those were the highlights for him. Me... well, the food of course. And the people. And the berry-picking and the honey and the bread making and the setting, and the fire, and the goats... okay, looks like you gotta do it all again next year  :-)
Tessa, Allen & Alex Arguijo

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Field Notes

Workers picking green beansWith the start of the Summer season we are going to see a gradual shift into more heat loving crops. This year we had an early start with green beans and summer squash. Basil is going to be a regular addition starting this week.Sungold cherry tomatoes The aroma of basil automatically makes me think of tomatoes, and this year they are earlier than ever before. In a "normal” season we can expect tomatoes by the end of July; this year we'll start picking our toe-curling, lip-smacking "Sungold” cherry tomatoes in 7-10 days. Cucumbers are a little slower in making their appearance (we’re growing the long, thin skinned Armenian cukes); my crystal ball tells me they should be in your shares in another 3 weeks. Potatoes will be in your shares every other week, and next week they'll come together with leeks and Italian parsley. Fresh baby turnipsThe wonderful thing about coastal farming is that we can grow tomatoes and turnips at the same time. We sowed a turnip patch 7 weeks ago and they are sizing up nicely. They'll be smallish in size and fairly mild, with nice tops. Expect to see them next week. Strawberries are slowing down, but raspberries and blackberries are just coming into production. Expect more of both (in the Extra Fruit share only) in the coming weeks. And for all you beet lovers, we have a beautiful patch of both Golden and Red coming into production, as well as some Chioggia [key-OH-ghia] beets, which are beautiful when sliced crosswise: white and magenta concentric rings.

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Pictures from the Solstice Celebration!

Many thanks to the different photographers who sent pictures to share!

Noah and David in bee suits
Noah and David in Steve Demkowski's bee suits.

Steve Demkowski demonstrating honey extraction
Steve Demkowski demonstrating honey extraction.

Bernie shows children (of all ages!) how to milk a goat. Many lined up to try their hand.

EVERYBODY picked strawberries! You can see what Tessa was referring to (about the farm veggies 'growing up in such a beautiful spot!'). There were many berries and smiles to go around.

And we can't leave out the ever-popular straw bale climbing (and jumping-off-of!) structure.
the straw bale climbing structure
The potluck was truly a feast! That's Constance, farmer Tom's wife, and by now, everyone recognizes their daughter Elisa (miss chipmunk-cheeks-full-of-food).
the potluck spread

Once everyone was done eating, it was time to light the traditional bonfire. Kuzanga continued to play, and as darkness fell...
lighting the bonfire

The firedancers captivated us with their mesmerizing art! And that is indeed Tom's 13-year-old son, David, at bottom right. He has practiced staff twirling for many of his young years, but this night, for the first time, he was granted permission to do it with fire... and did a magnificent job!
fire dancers

Happy Solstice Everyone!

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What's in the box this week

(Content differences between Family and Small Shares are underlined and italicized; items with a “+” in Family Shares are more in quantity than in Small; anticipated quantities are in parentheses. Sometimes the content of your share will differ from what's on this list, but we do our best to give you an accurate projection. It's Mother Nature that throws us the occasional curve ball!)

Everyone please note that fruit quantities are changing; always go by what's written next to your name on the checklist, not from memory of what you got before, or even from what you see on this list. Sometimes it can change at the last minute. - thanks!

Family Share:
Asian greens (Mizuna or Tatsoi)
Baby carrots
Broccoli (Lakeside) +
Chard or kale
Green beans +
Lettuce (red oakleaf and butter) +
Summer squash +
Strawberries (2 baskets)

Small Share:
Broccoli (Lakeside)
Green beans
Lettuce (red oakleaf or butter)
Summer squash
Strawberries (only 1 basket)

Extra Fruit Option:
3 baskets of strawberries, plus one basket of either blackberries or raspberries

"Strawberry Bounty" Option:
4 baskets of strawberries

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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to my extensive recipe database, spanning 10 years of CSA recipes and alphabetized by key ingredient. Includes photos of most farm veggies; helpful for ID-ing things in your box! Also, FYI, as a rule, I put my own comments within recipes that are not my own inside square brackets [like this] to distinguish them from the voice of the original recipe-writer.

First, a few recipes from the Solstice Celebration which members were kind enough to give me, followed by a mish-mash of recipes from my clippings file (I notice I neglected to provide any green bean recipes last week! What was I thinking?? I’ll make up for it this week).
- Debbie

Tortellini (or Ravioli) with Spinach-Walnut Pesto
“Makes enough for 8-10 servings--easily halved!” says member Jennifer Black, who gave me this recipe. Jennifer's comments included below.

4 oz. chopped walnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 18 or 20 ounce packages of cheese tortellini or ravioli
1 C chicken or vegetable broth
10 oz. spinach, stems removed, washed and dried (I used mostly
spinach and a little arugula)
2 cloves garlic (I used more--about 4 cloves of the fresh garlic)
2/3 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 C olive oil

Toast walnuts in a small skillet over low heat or in a 300 degree oven. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Heat the broth to a boil. In a food processor, grind spinach with nuts, broth, and garlic. Stir in cheese, nutmeg, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce.

Zucchini Walnut Loaf
This is another recipe handed to me at the Solstice potluck; alas I can’t give credit because the member didn’t write her name on it (and the name of the cookbook is not visible in the margin of the copy)... so thank you, anonymous donors! :-)

3 eggs
1 ½ C brown sugar, firmly packed
1 C oil (any oil except peanut or olive)
125 g [about 4 ½ oz. or roughly 1 C] walnut pieces
1 1/2 C coarsely grated zucchini [or other summer squash]
1 ½ C wholemeal self-raising** flour
1 ½ C plain white flour

**[Self-rising flour is flour that has salt and baking powder already in it (I looked it up). 1 lb. flour + 2 tsp. salt + 2 tbsp. baking powder is the recipe. So... 1 lb. flour = 4 C sifted, so that means 1 ½ C wholemeal (they probably whole wheat) flour would equal 1 ½ C whole wheat flour + ¾ tsp. salt + ¾ tbsp. baking powder]

Combine eggs, sugar and oil in electric mixer or food processor, mix or process until mixture is changed in color; this takes only a short time. Stir in walnuts and zucchini, then sifted flours, returning husks from sifter [??] to mixture [probably referring to any parts of the whole grain flour that didn’t pass through]. Spread mixture into well-greased loaf pan. Bake in moderate oven approximately 1 hour. Let stand a few minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool.

Green Bean and Radish Salad

modified from a Bon Appetit magazine clipping
serves 4 – 6

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
15 large red radishes [any farm radish will do!], trimmed, cut into ¼” thick slices
6 tbsp. olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Add radishes and cook 30 seconds longer. Drain beans and radishes. Rinse with cold water; drain well. combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat. Let marinate 1 hour at room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Green Beans with Chipotle Butter

also modified from a Bon Appetit magazine clipping
4 – 5 servings

¼ C (half a stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ tsp. chopped canned chipotle chile
½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
3/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ lbs. green beans, trimmed

Blend butter, chile, vinegar and salt in a mini processor until smooth [I don’t have a ‘mini processor’ – I’d just use a fork and a bowl!]. Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; drain and pat dry. Melt chipotle butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add beans and toss until coated and heated through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Green Bean, Orange and Green Olive Salad
yet another Bon Appetit clipping
serves 6

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. honey [how about some of that Live Earth Farm honey y’all brought home from the Solstice Celebration?]
12 oz. [or thereabouts] small slender green beans, trimmed
2 oranges, all peel and white pith cut away
½ C small green olives (such as picholine)
½ C fresh Italian parsley leaves

Whisk first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes; drain, rinse and pat dry. Cut oranges in half, then crosswise into 1/3-inch thick slices; place in large bowl. Mix in olives, parsley, beans and dressing. Transfer to a shallow dish and serve. [I think I’d cut the orange up into bite-size pieces; it’d be kinda hard to toss whole orange slices with the green beans, I think, without breaking them up a bit anyway.]

Mizuna or Tatsoi in Coconut oil with Soy and Garlic
This one I made up! - Debbie

I discovered coconut oil for cooking; this healthy saturated tropical vegetable oil contains large quantities of lauric acid (which is also found in mother’s milk; strong antifungal and antimicrobial properties) and is stable and can be kept at room temperature for many months without becoming rancid. [For more information about this, and lots of other good information, I recommend a book called “Nourishing Traditions – the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats” by Sally Fallon.] Anyway, the other thing I like about it other than its healthy qualities, is the fragrance and flavor it adds to stir-fried veggies!

So, have your mizuna or tatsoi washed and standing by (a little water still clinging is good). Melt a spoonful of coconut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat (it smells great!); crush a clove of garlic into the fat and stir/sizzle a few moments, then add the greens and stir-fry until they have mostly wilted. Splash in some soy sauce and stir-fry until wilted to your liking. Turn off heat and hold until you’re ready to eat. This is so good!

Cooking with Chard and Chard Stems
Hmmm, this is from a clipping out of the San Jose Mercury News from back in 2000! I liked what they said, so I saved it!

“The easiest way to cook chard leaves is in a deep, covered pot; make sure to leave some moisture clinging to the leaves. First, sauté some aromatics like garlic, onion or leeks in oil, then add the damp chard, cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until wilted – no more than five minutes.

“Olive oil and sautéed garlic are the classic Italian flavorings, embellished with toasted nuts, anchovies, raisins or hot red pepper flakes. But chard works well with a range of seasonings, everything from hot chiles and cilantro to mustard seeds and ginger.

“The greens also make an excellent addition to pasta sauces (chopped, blanched chard is delicious with garlicky beans and orchiette) as well as soups and egg dishes. Large leaves can be stuffed with cooked grains, meat or vegetables [see below for a recipe stuffing chard leaves with halibut!].

“Stems are best simmered in water or stock until tender, about 10 minutes, and then covered in a sauce and baked in a small gratin dish. A classic treatment is bechamel sauce and cheese, although lighter options, like tomato sauce and a dusting of Parmesan, better highlight the flavor of the chard.

“For more richness, dot blanched stems with several tablespoons of butter, and sprinkle generously with Parmesan or Gruyere. Another delicious option is to layer chard stems with browned onions and cream. Top the dish with bread crumbs.”

Halibut in Chard Leaves with Lemon-Thyme Butter
from still another Bon Appetit clipping! [My mom’s been giving me a subscription for years; I can’t help it.]
serves 4

“For a lighter version, wrap the fish in very large butter lettuce leaves.”

½ C (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme [from that backyard herb garden you all put in since I talked about it a few newsletters back!]
1 tbsp. chopped fresh chives [ditto]
2 tsp. grated lemon peel [remember to grate the peel before you juice the lemon!]
4 very large Swiss chard leaves, halved lengthwise, center stems cut out
4 1-inch-thick halibut fillets (each 6 to 8 oz)
4 lemon slices

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Blend butter, fresh lemon juice, chopped thyme and chives and grated lemon peel in a small bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place four 12-inch squares of foil on a work surface. Overlap center edge of 2 chard halves on each square. Sprinkle fillets on each side with salt and pepper, then spread with some lemon-thyme butter. Top each with lemon slice. Place 1 fillet crosswise on widest part of chard. Fold bottom of leaf over fillet, then continue to roll up (sides will be open). Enclose each wrapped fillet in foil.

Arrange packets on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until fish is just opaque in center, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer packets to plates, open foil, and serve.

Fresh Strawberry Granita
one more clipping from you-know-where
makes about 6 cups

1 C hot water
¾ C sugar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 C sliced hulled strawberries, plus additional berries for garnish

Stir first 3 ingredients in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Blend the 3 cups of strawberries in a processor until smooth. add sugar syrup and blend until combined.

Pour mixture into 13x9x2-inch nonstick metal baking pan [I think I’d use a glass dish myself. Don’t like the idea of using the tines of a fork against a non-stick surface]. Freeze until icy around edges, about 25 minutes. Using fork, stir icy portions into middle of pan. Freeze until mixture is frozen, stirring edges into center every 20 to 30 minutes, about 1 ½ hours. Using fork, scrape granita into flaky crystals. Cover tightly and freeze. (Can be made a day ahead. Keep frozen.) Scrape granita into bowls. Garnish with berries and serve.

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Calendar of Events
(see calendar on website for more info)

<> Aug 24-26 ChildrenÂ’s Mini-Camp

<> Sat. Oct 20 Fall Harvest Celebration

<> Farm Work Days: Last Friday of each month, starting in June and running through October. Actual dates are: June 29th, July 2th, August 31st, September 28th, and October 26th. See here for details!

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Contact Information
email Debbie at the farm: farmers@cruzio.com
email Debbie at home (with newsletter input or recipes): deb@writerguy.com
phone: 831.763.2448
web: http://www.liveearthfarm.net