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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
14th Harvest Week, Season 12
July 2nd - 8th, 2007

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

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--Field Notes
--Member Quote of the Week
--Pictures around [New York and] the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Contact Information

" Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. "

~ Frances Moore Lappe

Remember: July 4th will be a normal Wednesday delivery!

Greetings from Farmer Tom

A promise needs to be kept, especially if it's one to my 13 year old son. For David who is entering the tender and uncertain years of teen-hood, words don't mean much, so last week, I followed through on my long held promise of showing him New York.  In what was a spur of the moment decision, we hopped on a red-eye flight on Wednesday and the two of us spent 3 days in the Big Apple. For David, not knowing what to expect, the physical scale of things combined with the richly diverse and many overwhelming contrasts of Manhattan, had the intended effect of absolute amazement and curiosity. It was a tour-de-force from morning until late at night. We covered all the major sights, rode the subway like gophers on adrenaline, and spent most of our time walking the grid of streets and buildings from one sight to the next. When exhaustion finally caught up with us I couldn't wait to relax and spend Saturday morning visiting the Farmer's Market at Union Square. It was one of our highlights, with warm weather and clear blue skies; everybody was out and about. The small park at Union Square was filled with people relaxing and soaking up the sun. The farmer's market was lively, a real oasis, where the encounter between two cultures – the urban and agrarian – felt like a fresh breeze within this hard core financial epicenter of the world. It is sometimes the contrast that makes one see things that otherwise go unnoticed. As a farmer standing in the middle of this vibrant and thriving market, not too far from Ground Zero, I was filled with hope that we are in fact starting to transform things towards a more encouraging alternative future, away from the current and more vulnerable industrial and economic model of our times. Just like the mighty World Trade Center towers were vulnerable, and crumbled in the face of an unexpected terrorist attack, so too is the centralized, industrial food system, in the hands of a few corporate mega-farms, vulnerable to crumbling under economic and ecological pressures. Union Square Farmers Market 1I was right at home talking to fellow farmers here in New York, enjoying the taste of their first fresh tomatoes, sampling goat cheese handcrafted by a small farm in Pennsylvania, and sipping deliciously refreshing cold raw chocolate milk. I was thinking of Luis, who at the very same moment was setting up our Live Earth Farm farmstand at the Westside Market in Santa Cruz, and of the probably thousands of others at farmer's markets all across the country. Security and peace can be built around a food system that relies on smaller and widely dispersed family farms and local enterprises, where the producers and consumers can have a conversation, look each other in the eye, and trust the story behind the product being exchanged. Here at the Union Square Farmer's Market, the products offered for sale involved much more than just a financial transaction: it involved a conversation, a handshake, smelling, tasting, colors... it felt like a community. I like to believe that food is a wonderful vehicle for creating a more secure and stable future, one where we celebrate our interdependence rather than our independence. Happy 4th of July!

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Field Notes

Santa Rosa plum tree July 2007This week we have turnips, and one of the challenges is to grow them without too much damage from a small root maggot that likes to tunnel into the flesh of the bulb. So don't be too alarmed if some turnips in your bunch are not perfectly smooth skinned and white. Members who get our “Extra Fruit Option” will start enjoying more diversity now, with both blackberries and raspberries and, thanks to Jane Krejci in Los Gatos, who every year lets us pick her Santa Rosa Plums, we should have a nice abundance of them over the next few weeks as well. There won’t be any Lettuce this week, because we were delayed in one of our plantings, but next week we should have plenty again. The strawberries are slowing down, which is normal for this time of year, so in a week or two we will stop the “Strawberry Bounty” option and start it up again in August or September, when the second flush happens. Expect cherry tomatoes next week, and red salad tomatoes the following.

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(these are our plums, not Jane's)

Member Quote of the Week

“We're delighted that the CSA has helped us, parents of two young ones, rediscover our delight in cooking. OK, it is still tag-team cooking, not chef and sous, but delectable new dishes are again on our table.” - Cynthia Neuendorffer

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Pictures around [New York and] the farm

Union Square from Empire State
Above: the Empire State Building as seen from Union Square, and visa versa.
Below: scenes from the park and the bustling farmers market.

Here's what this week's 'beet medley' looks like: in each bunch we'll have some of the dark red cylindrical Forono, some golden, and some chioggias (the candy-striped ones, when sliced).
beet medley

Reynaldo harvesting summer squash...

...and loading shares into our truck for the CSA delivery.

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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!)

Family Share:
Potatoes +
Green beans +
Summer squash +
Beet medley (Forono, chioggia and golden)
Strawberries (1 basket)

Small Share:
Green beans
Summer squash
Strawberries (1 basket)

Extra Fruit Option:
Strawberries (1 basket), blackberries (1 basket), raspberries (1 basket), and Santa Rosa plums (1 bag)

"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 recipe-writer.

First, here is a recipe I kept for when we got turnips. It was sent to me by Holly Trapp. Also, before I forget – those turnip greens are edible too! Just remember as usual to cut off and store them separately from the roots. Farmer John’s cookbook says, “Turnip greens are coarse, have a slight bite, and look very similar to [giant] radish leaves. It is good to blanch them before cooking. They do well combined with other greens and cooked lightly with oil, vinegar, hot sauce, ground red pepper, sugar, garlic or onions.” - Debbie

Persian Turnip Pickles
1 large beet (or several small)
4 small turnips or 3 medium size turnips
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
Young celery leaves
1/2 C each white vinegar and water
1 tbsp. coarse salt

Boil in beet water until tender and peel, cool, slice and set aside. Drop turnips into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, take out and peel. Cut into French-fry size sticks. Sterilize a 1 pint wide-mouth jar, layer turnips, beets, a few slices of garlic and celery leaves. Combine water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil. Fill jar with vinegar mixture, seal and store in warm place 10 days. These get better the longer they sit - which usually doesn't happen!

Zucchini Pie
from Real Simple magazine, Sept. 2004
Makes 6 servings
From member Christen Stryker: I just made a yummy new recipe tonight that I wanted to share. This is a recipe from Real Simple magazine. It is so easy (especially with a food processor to grate the squash for you!) and a great way to use a bunch of that zucchini and summer squash we are getting in our boxes. I served it with steamed broccoli (from our share) and a loaf of herbed focaccia. A nice light meal that was a hit!

3 C grated zucchini (I just used whatever squash was in the box this week.)
1 small onion, chopped
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C grated provolone cheese (I used the Trader Joe's 4 cheese blend) [you could probably use any number of cheeses; the flavor will just vary slightly based on the cheese you use]
3 eggs, beaten
¼ C vegetable oil [I always prefer olive oil]
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil (I used more than this - probably about 2-3 tbsp.)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Preheat over to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan. Spoon the zucchini mixture into a 10-inch round glass pie plate or metal pie pan that has been coated with vegetable cooking spray [or just use your fingers and some olive oil; the idea of oil coming out of a spray can gives me the willies]. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with the reserved Parmesan. Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Here is a slight variation on roasted potatoes, sent in by regular contributor Farrell Podgorsek:

Homemade Garlic-Basil "Fries"

Farm potatoes, washed and cut into quarters.
Farm garlic - 2-3 cloves, minced and then mashed with salt into a paste
Basil - slivered

Toss potatoes with a small amount of olive oil, salt & pepper in a bowl. Place on a baking sheet, cut side down, and cover with foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to roast until done, about 20-30 minutes. Place mashed garlic and basil in bowl. Add hot potatoes and toss well. Season with more salt & pepper if needed.

Here’s an intriguing recipe sent me by member Cynthia Neuendorffer; I have an orange tree, so I’ll have to try this recipe with my beets this week!

Citrus Feta Beet Quiche

Make your favorite butter pastry shell, but add about 1 tsp. orange zest to the dry ingredients before mixing in liquid. Bake shell until it’s just starting to turn golden.

 Julienne two beets and sauté in olive oil until just starting to soften. Let cool. In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add about 1/3 C milk. Season with pepper. Mix in 6 oz. crumbled feta cheese and the beets. Spoon into crust. Bake at 350 degrees until egg is firm, about 15 minutes.

I made these as mini-quiche in muffin tins for book club meeting, but a large quiche should work well too!

Chickpea and Leek Soup
from a Jamie Oliver book, sent in by member Jennifer Marcoux [I’d been saving this for when we got leeks]. Jennifer says this is her favorite leek recipe.

12 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed
1 medium potato, peeled
6 leeks, finely sliced [if we only get 3 in the bunch, I’m sure you can halve this recipe no problem]
1 tbsp. olive oil
knob of butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely, sliced
freshly ground pepper
4 C vegetable or chicken stock
handful parmesan cheese, grated
extra virgin olive oil

Cover the potato with water and cook until tender.

Remove the outer skin of the leeks, slice lengthways from the root up, wash carefully and slice finely.

Warm a thick-bottomed pan, and add the tablespoon of oil and the knob of butter. Add the leeks and garlic to the pan, and sweat gently with a good pinch of salt until tender and sweet.

Add the drained chickpeas and potato and cook for 1 minute. Add about two-thirds of the stock and simmer for 15 minutes.

Purée half the soup in a food processor and leave the other half chunky this gives a lovely smooth comforting feel but also keeps a bit of texture.

Now add enough of the remaining stock to achieve the consistency you like. Check for seasoning, and add Parmesan to taste. Garnish with a little olive oil.

Mary Murphy’s Sautéed Greens with Chevre and Toasted Garlic Bread Crumbs

Okay, well Mary didn’t exactly send me a recipe for this, just said this was a current favorite way for using the chevre she gets from Summer Meadows Farm together with veggies from Live Earth Farm (chard, kale or spinach, she says). But it sounded so good I thought I should share it! I think you can pretty much get the idea from the title, but if you’re not sure, try this:

Wash and stem your greens, leaving water clinging to the leaves, tear or chop up and sauté in some olive oil until tender. If you’re using chard, you could optionally chop up the stems and sauté them with a little chopped onion first, then add the leafy part and sauté until wilted. (If you don’t like the stems, then just use the leaves and sauté like fresh spinach.) Kale will take a little longer to wilt down; keep an eye on the moisture level, and add a splash more water to sort of steam/stir-fry. The kale will be a little more tender this way. Whichever green you use, remember to sprinkle on a little salt too while cooking.

Here’s how I’d make toasted garlic bread crumbs: cut some fresh, sturdy-type bread (like sourdough or wheat or rye) into chunks and drop into your blender or food processor and chop into small pieces (you know, breadcrumbs!). Don’t try this with old, dry bread or you’ll end up with dust. Then melt some butter or olive oil (or both) in a skillet, add a clove or two of crushed garlic, sauté/sizzle for a few moments, then add the breadcrumbs and stir to mix well with the oil/butter/garlic. Sprinkle on a little salt, then continue to sauté until they smell and look toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat.

Then simply toss together the greens, toasted breadcrumbs and crumbled chevre, or, combine the greens and chevre and top with the toasted breadcrumbs. If you do the former (i.e. mix them all together), be sure to wait to do this until just before serving so the breadcrumbs retain some of their crunchiness!

Kale with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Vinegar
From another regular contributor, Lauren Thompson, who writes, “Noah made this recipe last week when we made the fritters. He was supposed to be making ‘Garlicky Kale with White Beans’ from Vegetables Everyday, but accidentally made the other recipe on the same page. This is my favorite so far out of the new kale recipes we have tried this season. Yay for happy accidents!”

1 ½ lbs. kale
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
½ tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot.

2. Wash the kale in several changes of cold water, stripping off the leafy green portion from both sides of the central vein. Discard the veins and rip the leafy portions in small pieces. Add the kale and 1 teaspoon salt to the water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the sugar and continue cooking until the onions are a rich brown color, about 10 minutes. Lower the heat if at anytime the onions start to burn.

4. Add the kale and cook, tossing well, until heated through and evenly flavored with the onions, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vinegar and a generous amount of pepper. Adjust the seasonings and serve immediately.

Zucchini Pancakes
Here’s a last-minute submission from member Kim Couder who says, “this is my favorite summer squash recipe - it's from 'Recipes from a Kitchen Garden' by Renee Shepard of Renee's Garden... they are super simple to make and really, really, really yummy!”

6 med. zucchini (I use whatever summer squash I have)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice ( I use lemon zest instead)
2 scallions, finely chopped
4 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil, or 2 tbsp. dried
2 small cloves garlic, minced
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. cooking oil

Shred zucchini, sprinkle with salt and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to draw off moisture. Squeeze or wring the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel to remove all the moisture you can. Combine the squeezed-out zucchini with the rest of the ingredients except the butter and oil, mixing well.  Heat the butter and oil in a heavy skillet. Spoon the zucchini mixture into the heated skillet, shaping into pancakes. Cook over medium heat until set and light brown. Flip pancakes and finish cooking the other side.

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

<> Sat. Jun 23 Summer Solstice Celebration (click here for a wonderful movie of this year's celebration!)

<> 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