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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
15th Harvest Week, Season 12
July 9th - 15th, 2007
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(click here for a pdf of the paper version of this newsletter)

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--Notes from the Field
--Sign the Live Earth Pledge
--Member Quote of the Week
--Donating your share - thank you!
--Pictures around the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Calendar
--Contact Information

" We must not be afraid of dreaming the seemingly impossible if we want the seemingly impossible to become reality. "

~ Vaclav Havel


Greetings from Farmer Tom
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Elisa in wheelbarrow with farm fruit and veggiesLive Earth is not just the name of your small organic family farm in Watsonville anymore, but also the hopeful beginnings of a movement to solve the global climate crisis. This past weekend, more people than all the strawberries and green beans we could ever dream of growing (an estimated 2 billion) participated in what was the largest concert series ever performed. Live Earth – the name of this global 24-hour music marathon – spanned 7 continents, with the objective of jumpstarting a massive grassroots movement focused on stopping global warming.  Whether or not we agree with the style in which this wake-up call was executed, it is a wake up call we cannot ignore. Over 30 years ago when astronauts first photographed the Earth, it forcefully reminded us that our world has natural limits which cannot be escaped. Global warming is an undeniable indicator of such a natural limit, and there is no escaping it.  If music can unify so many people, I find good reason to be hopeful that our creativity can unite us to stop the pace at which we exploit and consume the natural resources of our planet. Who would have thought that only 12 years ago, when we started Live Earth Farm, what seemed like a fringe endeavor promoting organic and community supported agriculture, today is almost mainstream. Even in Manhattan last week I saw a ‘CSA pick-up’ sign on 36th Street over the door of a large office building. People in every major city today should have access to CSAs, farmer's markets, and community gardens. Our relationship to food links us to nature and asks us to be stewards, respecting the interrelationship of soil, water, plants, wild and domestic animals. The inspiration for sound stewardship doesn't come from books, but by listening to nature's teachings. Concerts and music can inspire and bring awareness, but nothing will come of it if it doesn't translate into action. We are given a vision for the future and everyone is asked to take responsibility for acting on it. I feel I am preaching to the choir when I write this to our CSA members.  I like to think that every meal we prepare with food grown on this land is like taking a small step toward a more sustainable future. Today’s pictures of fruit and sunflowers (see below) capture nature's sweet celebration of colors, flavors and nourishment. A bite into a warm juicy apricot, plum, or peach connects me to the land I love and work on every day. They are the small miracles that strengthen my resolve to make the right choices and to work through the frustrations and difficulties of living on and sharing this magnificent LIVE EARTH. – Tom


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Notes from the Field
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This week we are busy getting a water well up and running again; on Saturday, the water stopped flowing in one of our fields at the base of Hecker Pass (Hwy 152). One realizes how quickly priorities shift when water is missing! Meanwhile, apricots will be the stars of the “Extra Fruit” share this week: even though a bit cracked or spotty, they are at their peak in flavor. We can't promise apricots every year, since they are difficult to grow here on the coast, but this year's dry spring made for a good crop. Enjoy them – they will only last a couple of weeks. Ditto for the plums. Broccoli and lettuce will be back next week. The beets didn't like all the heat we got, so their leaves have some black aphids; consequently some shares will not receive a bunch, but a bag of them.


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Sign the Live Earth Pledge
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If you are compelled by what Tom talked about above, you can sign the Live Earth Pledge by clicking here. Once on the page, you can sign the pledge (see below), as well as choose to commit to making other changes in your lives to lower your carbon footprint. Here is the wording of the pledge:

I PLEDGE:

1.To demand that my country join an international treaty within the next 2 years that cuts global warming pollution by 90% in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy earth;

2.To take personal action to help solve the climate crisis by reducing my own CO2 pollution as much as I can and offsetting the rest to become "carbon neutral;"

3.To fight for a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store the CO2;

4.To work for a dramatic increase in the energy efficiency of my home, workplace, school, place of worship, and means of transportation;

5.To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;

6.To plant new trees and to join with others in preserving and protecting forests; and,

7.To buy from businesses and support leaders who share my commitment to solving the climate crisis and building a sustainable, just, and prosperous world for the 21st century.


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Member Quote of the Week
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“I just wanted to thank you. Someone today asked about my lunch plums and it gave me that warm feeling to say ‘I belong to an organic farm.’ May your camels spit nothing but dates.”
– Liz Hamm


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Donating your share - thank you!
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Anyone can donate their share any week, but I do need to know ahead of time (by Tuesday morning of the week you want to donate). ‘Forgotten’ shares are not the same as ‘donated’ shares. Don’t assume that ‘oh, I forgot to pick up my share... well, at least it will be donated.’ That’s not exactly the case. Our site hosts are always happiest if all shares are picked up, however if shares are left after the close of pick-up time, part of their job is to find homes for the left-overs while they’re still fresh, and also so that they do not go to waste. But that doesn’t always mean they go to a needy family. The beauty of contacting me to donate your shares is that I can redirect them to families and households that can really use them, and the recipients are always grateful for the fresh food. I have recently made an arrangement with Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry in Watsonville, so that now, in addition to the few families I have lined up to receive donated shares, I can also take care of larger quantities of donated shares. Last week, due to the 4th of July Holiday, I redirected 4 shares to specific families I know can use them, and then 11 more went to Loaves and Fishes – where they were much appreciated. So thank you everyone who donated last week!

Don’t let this dissuade you from giving your share to a friend or neighbor (that’s fine too); it's just that if you can’t come up with anyone to take your share in your absence, then contact me at the farm and I will arrange to donate it for you. – Debbie


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Pictures around the farm
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The stone fruits are ripe! Clockwise from top: apricots, plums and peach.
Stone fruits: apricots, plums, and peaches

Fruit ripening up for later in the season: our fabulous Warren pears, and of course apples...
closeups of ripening Warren pears and apples

...and lastly, the ultimate harbinger of summer: sunflowers.
Sunflowers


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What's in the box this week
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(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:
Basil
Beets
Carrots
Chard
Garlic
Green beans +
Kale
Mizuna +
Parsley
Potatoes +
Summer squash +
Strawberries (1 basket)

Small Share:
Basil
Beets
Carrots
Chard
Garlic
Green beans
Mizuna
Potatoes
Summer squash
Strawberries (1 basket)

Extra Fruit Option:
Plums, apricots, blackberries, cherry tomatoes

"Strawberry Bounty" Option:
4 baskets of strawberries


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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
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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.
- Debbie


Compound Herb Butters
from “Recipes from a Kitchen Garden”

“Keep on hand to dress up any plain grilled meat, chicken or fish, [what about summer squash?], as an emergency sauce for pasta, to swirl into soups and stews, or to serve on hot breads.”

1 medium scallion, finely chopped
¼ C packed fresh basil, parsley or cilantro leaves [or a combination thereof], finely chopped
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
several drops hot pepper sauce
¼ tsp. dry mustard
½ C unsalted butter [one stick], softened

Use a food processor to combine or mash together by hand the scallion and herbs. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper, hot sauce, mustard and butter and mix together very thoroughly. Transfer to waxed paper or plastic wrap and roll into a log about 1 inch wide and 7 inches long. Freeze until ready to slice and use. [Or, since frozen butter is hard to slice, you could refrigerate it until firm, slice it, then lay the pats on sheets of waxed paper, stack, and seal in a ziploc bag and freeze. That way, you could just take out a few pieces at a time.]


Hot Potato Salad
from “Food for the Spirit”
makes 4 to 6 servings


¼ C + 2 tbsp. sunflower oil [or olive, I always like olive oil!]
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. coarse mustard
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. honey
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp. chopped black or green olives
6 scallions, sliced
20 small new potatoes, boiled or steamed [if you don’t get small potatoes in your share, you can always cut the bigger ones in quarters or eighths]

In a large bowl, combine oil, garlic, lemon juice, mustard vinegar, honey, parsley, olives, and scallions. Whisk together. Add the potatoes while still warm. Toss well. Let stand for 30 minutes or more; serve at room temperature.


Potatoes and Haricots Verts with Vinaigrette
from member Amoreena Lucero, who says, “If anyone is looking for an alternative to traditional potato salad, here's a recipe that uses the potatoes and green beans in our box. I use Trader Joes champagne vinegar and add capers. I'm asked for the recipe every time I make it!”

Makes 8 servings

She also says, “If you're making your vinaigrette with white-wine vinegar, use ½ teaspoon sugar (instead of 1/4 teaspoon) to balance the higher acidity.”


3 tbsp. Champagne vinegar or white-wine vinegar
½ tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 C olive oil
3 lbs. small (1½” to 2”) yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold, scrubbed well
3/4 C diced (1/4”) red onion
3/4 lbs. haricots verts or other thin green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/3 C finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.

Quarter potatoes, then cover with cold water by 1 inch in a 4- to 5-quart pot and bring to a boil with remaining teaspoon salt. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, then transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with onion and all but 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

While potatoes cool, cook green beans in a 3-quart saucepan of boiling salted water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Let stand 2 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Just before serving, toss potato mixture with green beans, celery,
parsley, and remaining 1/4 cup vinaigrette.

Cooks' notes:
• Potatoes can be cooked and tossed with onion and vinaigrette 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature (this will take about 1 hour), then add remaining ingredients.
• Green beans can be cooked and celery can be diced 1 day ahead and chilled separately, wrapped well in dampened paper towels, in sealed plastic bags.


Debbie’s potato salad notes: If you haven’t noticed a trend yet, here’s the tip: a lot of potato salad recipes are simply boiled or steamed potatoes tossed warm with a vinaigrette. Other veggies and herbs can be added or not, per what you might have in the box any particular week. The sky (and your imagination) is the limit here, when you think about it!

Debbie’s beet salad notes: When you think about it, you’ll notice a similar trend in beet salad recipes: roast, boil or steam your beets, toss them warm with a vinaigrette, let them marinate a little, maybe add a few other things (nuts? green onion? fruit?), or serve it up on a bed of greens or lettuces... what if you diced or sliced up some carrots, cooked and marinated them separately, then at serving time combined them with the beets for a colorful sight?

In either case, keep this concept in mind when you’re browsing other recipes. You might see a vinaigrette that’s a part of some other recipe, but hey – maybe that’d be good with beets or potatoes... at least, that’s the way I’m always thinking!


Plum and Apricot Pie
There’s this great recipe in the database called “Irresistible fresh apricot pie” – I bet this would be great with half apricots, half plums! Hm, I think I’m just going to have to do this now that I think about it! - Debbie
 



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Calendar of Events
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(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
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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
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