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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
18th Harvest Week, Season 12
July 30th - August 5th, 2007

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

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--Field Notes
--Goat milk/cheese from Summer Meadows Farm still available
--Pictures around the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Contact Information

" A spark is a little thing, but it can kindle the world. "

~ Martin Farquhar Tupper

Greetings from Farmer Tom

The beginnings of Live Earth Farm go back to a garden started 40 years ago by Alan Chadwick, a brilliant, visionary and charismatic master gardener. The Chadwick Garden, located on what used to be a poison oak infested hillside on UCSC's campus, is the site where this man's love for nature inspired an entire generation of apprentices, gardeners and lovers of the land. I remember 14 years ago, when I first set foot in this garden; it was truly spellbinding.

Nestled among the native redwood and oak, a path lined with compost piles lead to a sunny hillside where dozens of impeccably tended garden beds grew an awe-inspiring diversity of vibrant, lush and beautiful vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit trees. So powerful was the pull to learn, experience, and discover this place that I decided to apply for a six-month long apprenticeship program. This program was based on Chadwick's personal, hands-on model of working side-by-side with teachers, learning from the ground up every technique, every nuance needed to organically grow beautiful and tasty fruits, vegetables and flowers. During my time as an apprentice, his legacy sparked in me an irresistible urge to merge the practical skills and teachings I learned with my dreams and imagination; the seed of starting my own farm emerged during this time. So with our then 13-month-old son David in tow, my wife Constance and I ended up buying 20 acres of mismanaged, overgrazed horse ranch in the western foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains. That was where we started Live Earth Farm, and the CSA program you are a part of today.

This past weekend marked the 40th anniversary of Alan Chadwick's arrival. A weekend-long celebration marked this milestone, and for me it was a wonderful moment of renewal and inspiration. I was able to witness and acknowledge the ripple effect of his program throughout the now flourishing sustainable agriculture movement. Thousands of students have followed the footsteps of Alan Chadwick. The UCSC Farm and Garden Program is now an integral part of the University's Agroecology program, which provides an academic backbone for research on sustainable agriculture both in this country and overseas. Alumni apprentices have started their own farms, inner-city gardens and even jail gardening programs, like Catherine Sneed did in San Francisco. There are now teachers, trainers, and educators all over the world that started in the legacy of Alan Chadwick. Many have either inspired or worked for philanthropic organizations such as the Kellogg Foundation and companies such as Seeds of Change. Even restaurants such as Chez Panisse, famous for it’s embracing of sustainable food and agriculture principles, was inspired originally by Chadwick.

It all goes to show that we can make a difference even when the odds are stacked against us; a garden can emerge even from the worst possible situations, such as a rocky scrubland covered with poison oak. As someone so aptly put it: to Chadwick, gardening was a spiritual endeavor; a way to spread light on a vision of creation and nature. He saw nature as a giver and forgiver, and the garden as a teacher of human culture that not only can be beautiful, but also functional and sustainable.

- Tom

The organic gardens at UCSC (hard to see at the bottom, but they have a spectacular view of the ocean!):
Alan Chadwick's legacy: the organic gardens on UCSC campus

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Field Notes

Soon all the stone fruit will soon have come to an end; in a week the last of the peaches and plums will be harvested. We can expect apples and pears make their appearance by mid-August, and in the meantime, the strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries will fill our fruit baskets. Tomatoes will be abundant, and more peppers and eggplant will start next week.

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Goat milk/cheese from Summer Meadows Farm still available

Some of you who are new or recent members may not be aware that, in addition to our fruit and veggies, you can get a raw goat milk (and/or cheese) share from Lynn Selness of Summer Meadows Farm. If you are interested, contact Lynn directly (you don't sign up for this through us). Her phone number is 831.786.8966. You can also click here to read more about it from a story she wrote for our Week 3 newsletter.

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Pictures around the farm

Two weeks ago 35 children from an East Palo Alto summer camp came and played in our fields, enjoying the flavors of summer, baking pizzas in our wood-fired oven and discovering the magic of this nourishing earth.
kids visiting the farm

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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. Occasionally the content of your share will differ from what's on this list, but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

Family Share:
Beets (bunched) Chiogga/Golden
Green beans +
Kale or chard

Lettuce +
Mei qing choi

Summer squash +
Dry-farmed & heirloom tomatoes +
Cherry tomatoes
Strawberries (1 basket)

Small Share:
Beets (bunched) Chiogga/Golden
Green beans
Summer squash
Dry-farmed & heirloom tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Strawberries (1 basket)

Extra Fruit Option:
Weds. fruit shares: 2 baskets strawberries, 2 baskets blackberries
Thurs. fruit shares: 2 baskets strawberries, 2 baskets raspberries

"Strawberry Bounty" Option:
-- stopped for now; will resume with next strawberry flush! --

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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to recipe database by key ingredient. Hundreds of recipes and ideas. 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

This week's recipe section is all courtesy of Farrell Podgorsek, a longtime CSA member and frequent contributor. Thanks Farrell! - Debbie

What I'd do with this week's Box

by Farrell Podgorsek

This weeks share has so many of my favorite foods. It will be a tasty eating week.  First thing I do when I get home with my share is prep some of the veggies. I'll take the lettuce and wash it in my salad spinner, wrap it in a clean dish towel, and store it in my lettuce drawer that I keep lined with one of the plastic bags that the shares come in.  I find it keeps very well all week and it's ready to go.  Some carrots and radishes left over from last week will continue to be used in salads this week. I use a mandoline to julienne the carrots and radishes before serving. I love how they look and they absorb the dressing well this way.  I'll probably mince a small amount of parsley for the salad too.  The beets will get washed and ready for roasting. I'll cook them in the oven along with the chicken I am serving for dinner tonight.   When soft, the beets will be peeled, cut into any shape I feel like, then topped with a fruity olive oil, pomegranate vinegar, salt & pepper. If the beet greens are in good shape, I'll sauté them quickly and serve them under the beets.  While the beets are roasting I'll toss some carrots with maple syrup, salt & pepper and thyme in a baking dish and roast them too.  Keep the oven heat medium-low so the syrup doesn't burn. The summer squash and dry farmed or heirloom tomatoes will be used for my tomato and zucchini gratin (recipe in the database). Kale is my favorite cooking green.  I love its sweetness.  I'll blanch the kale, drain it and rough chop it. It will be ready to go for a quick dinner heated with some cannellini beans and a pinch of hot pepper. I'll serve it with some grilled sausages. The mei qing choi will be stir-fried with garlic and ginger. I'll serve it with leftover roast chicken. Spicy stir-fried Green Beans will be on the menu this week (see recipe below). I'll use the leeks instead of green onions this time. Potatoes – I'll boil them in salted, light chicken stock until tender along with a couple of garlic cloves.  I'll drain the stock, reserving it, then smash the potatoes in the pan and add a couple handfuls of chopped basil and a small amount of olive oil and enough stock to moisten. These are just as tasty cold as they are hot. Add some additional stock to the leftovers since they'll get drier while they sit in the refrigerator. What's left? Cherry tomatoes don't normally last more than one day. I love to pop them in my mouth as a snack.  If I missed eating a few, I'll toss them in the oven rubbed with a little olive oil and roast until starting to brown.  I'm sure my daughter will eat all the raspberries right away. Any left will be served with sliced strawberries on homemade shortcake biscuits (see recipe below), topped with ice cream and peaches that I cooked with some sweet wine until soft.

Spicy Stir Fried Green Beans and Scallions or Leeks

(Modified from a Cooks Illustrated recipe)

2 tbsp. light soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
2 tbsp. peanut or canola oil
green beans, stemmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
4 scallions cut into 2 inch pieces, or leeks cut into slim wedges
3 cloves garlic, minced

Mix soy, vinegar, sugar hot pepper flakes and 1 tbsp. water in a small bowl. Heat large heavy bottomed skillet or wok over high heat. Add oil and swirl. Add green beans and fry until slightly charred and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add scallions or leeks and cook until they are charred and beans are tender, another 3-4 minutes. Make a well in the center of the pan and add garlic. Mash with 1 tsp. oil with back of spatula about 5 seconds. Add liquid and toss vegetables and garlic until well coated.

Biscuits - Shortcake or Savory
(modified from a recipe from Hell's Backbone Grill in Utah)
Makes 8 biscuits

You can use butter and buttermilk in place of the margarine and soy milk. You can add spices or herbs – fresh or dry – to vary the flavor. – Farrell

3 tbsp. cornmeal or semolina
2 1/2 C white flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sugar (increase to 1 T if you want sweeter)
1 stick margarine [or butter], cold and cut into 10 pieces
1 C soy milk soured with 2 tsp. lemon juice

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or liner and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. semolina or cornmeal. Place dry ingredients in food processor and pulse to blend. Add margarine [butter] and pulse 10 times. Transfer to a large bowl. Pour milk over top of dough. Fold ingredients at edges of bowl into the center using a rubber spatula or plastic dough scraper. Rotate bowl as you fold. Continue until dough is moist with a few dry patches. Turn out onto floured surface and pat into a square. Cut in half and stack one half on top of the other. Repeat flattening, cutting and stacking three more times, flouring board as needed. Transfer stack to the baking sheet. Pat to 1 inch thick and cut into 2 inch squares. Bake 15 minutes or until golden.

Fruit Toppings for Shortcakes

Strawberries: Slice strawberries. Mash about half of them in a bowl, adding sugar, and grated lemon or orange peel (aged Balsamic vinegar is also nice).

Peaches: Peel peaches, cut into slices. Sauté with a pat or two of margarine [or butter] until beginning to soften. Add some sugar and about 1/4 C or so of a sweet dessert wine such as a late harvest Riesling and continue to cook over very low heat for a few minutes. Let the peaches cool in the syrup.  They will absorb most of the syrup.

Plums: Slice plums and sauté with a couple tablespoons of sugar, about 1/4 C zinfandel wine and some ground star anise - about 1/4-1/2 tsp. is plenty.  You can grind your own star anise easily in a spice grinder. Let plums cool in the syrup. *** I puréed some of the plum sauce and added a touch of pomegranate vinegar to make a sauce to serve with grilled lamb chops. - Farrell

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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!)

<>Friday Aug 10, 17, 24, 31, Sept 7 and 14 Mataganza Garden Sanctuary Internship Program

<> Aug 24-26 ChildrenÂ’s Mini-Camp sold out!

<> Sat. Oct 20 Fall Harvest Celebration

<> Farm Work Days: Last Friday of each month, starting in June and running through October. Please contact the farm at least 2 weeks ahead of time if you want to participate; we need a minimum of 5 people to hold a work day. 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