LEF logo (small)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
27th Harvest Week, Season 12
October 1st - 7th, 2007
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
in this issue
Greetings from Farmer Tom
Pick-up etiquette - PLEASE READ
Winter Share and Early Registration for next year...
What's in the box this week
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Calendar of Events
"Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives."  - Thomas Berry
 
Greetings from Farmer Tom
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Apple pizza, fresh from our wood-fired bread ovenThe Wavecrest Santa Cruz Montessori Middle-school spent two and a half days on the farm last week, and together we started exploring what I would call a "New Frontier" - a frontier where the natural setting of a working farm is an integral part of their classroom. For the rest of the school year, teachers and students will be spending an entire day every week here on the farm. The goal of this new educational journey, for both the Farm and School, is to enrich and support the unique needs of adolescent students by creating an environment that challenges both their minds and bodies while at the same time passing on a deeper trust and love for this Earth. The experience of working on the farm is to enrich the study process of a large range of subjects including science, economics, history, ecology, art, writing, technology, and many others.  Most importantly, the farm can offer the children an opportunity to experience nature as a supporting fabric in their everyday lives.
Kids from Odyssey School perform 'the elements'
Last Wednesday afternoon, thirty-six kids, staff and parent chaperones set up camp in the southwest corner of the farm, also known as the Mataganza Garden Sanctuary. Students split into four groups named after the four elements, Fire, Earth, Water, and Air, and for two days they immersed themselves into the day-to day dynamic of the farm. Starting at 7 'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock at night, the children were involved in a host of activities, such as  loading Thursday's shares into the truck, bagging pears and apples for the fruit shares, feeding the animals, harvesting for and cooking all their meals, taking soil samples and testing for pH, harvesting and drying beans, building a huge compost pile (see pictures), and packaging boxes for restaurant orders. Students engaged in a mapping exercise of the farm to get a sense of place, they wrote journals, played games and entertained each other around the camp-fire by having each group provide a performance about their respective element. The joy of being on the farm, in nature, is in itself a wonderful teaching, one that not necessarily talks about knowledge or is defined inside the school's curriculum, but which may lead us to behave in such a way that connects to everything which shares with us the adventure of being alive.
Odyssey School kids prepare compost

In the last Wavecrest Newsletter, Maria Montessori's vision of engaging adolescent children on a working farm was quoted and also gives some guidance to the work we are embarking on: "...the work of the soil is an introduction to nature and civilization. The work of the soil is the approach to limitless scientific and historical studies. As for the harvest that ensues, it constitutes an initiation to the fundamental social mechanism of production and exchange, the economic basis on which society rests. This form of work, then, introduces the children to the heart of social life by experience and study." (taken from the Wavecrest weekly newsletter quoting Maria Motessori, From Childhood to Adolescence, p.68-69).
Pick-up etiquette - PLEASE READ
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
from Tom and Debbie

I know it's starting to feel like the end of the season, and picking up your share feels like a routine by now. Lately, however, we've had an unusual spike in complaints regarding site cleanliness and tidiness and missing share items, especially the fruit.

Regarding the pick up site itself, please make a special effort to honor the space of our site hosts, who have graciously offered us the use of their property on CSA pickup days. Be respectful, not only of the site hosts, but also of your fellow members who pick up there - fold down and stack your empty box, don't just leave it there for someone else to deal with. We expect you to treat the sites the same way you would treat your own space at home - with respect.

With regards to the shares themselves, in order for the honor system to work, we need everyone to make a special effort, to be conscientious, to take a moment each week and actually read the information on the checklists, being mindful to take only what is listed next to your name (correct size box, correct amount of fruit and eggs), otherwise your fellow CSA members will be shorted of their allotment. This is especially important if you have someone else pick up your share for you. Each binder at each drop-off location spells out the pick-up procedures on a page in the front, and we explicitly spell out next to each of your names what you are to take. We leave only the requisite quantities of share boxes, fruit, and eggs to match the totals on the list, so when you take something out of habit, without checking the list first, you mess up the system and people who pick up later get the short end of the stick. Due to the change in the seasons the strawberries have slowed down, so last week the Family or Small shares were not supposed to get any strawberries (only the fruit shares got them). Yet it seems many of you didn't check the list and took a basket out of habit; consequently many fruit-share members got shorted. See how easily it can happen?

So please, everyone, pitch in to make this delivery system, which has been working for so many years, continue to do so. If you experience any problems at your pickup site, please call or e-mail us; we will do our best to work things out.

To read the full details of our Pick-up Protocol, click here. This is all on our website.
 
Winter Share and Early Registration for next year
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just a quick note to let everyone know that next week (2nd week of October) I will be sending emails to all our current members with information about Winter Share and Early Registration signups. Keep an eye out for it!

If you are not currently a member but are on our waiting list, please be patient, as your turn will come up in November...

- Debbie
 
What's in the box this week
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Content differences between Family and Small Shares are in red; items with a "+" in Family Shares are more in quantity than in Small; anticipated quantities, if any, are in parentheses. Occasionally the content will differ from this list (i.e. we will make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

Family Share:
Arugula
Broccolini or broccoli +
Carrots (loose)
Cauliflower (Romanesco)
Celery (Lakeside)
Fennel
Green beans
Lettuce +
Peppers +
Tomatoes
Apples and pears
NOTE: no strawberries with share this week; please do not take any (unless you are signed up for the Strawberry Bounty option)

Small Share:
Broccolini or broccoli
Cauliflower (Romanesco)
Celery (Lakeside)
Fennel
Green beans
Lettuce
Peppers
Potatoes
Mystery item (summer squash, eggplant, or arugula)
Apples and pears
NOTE: no strawberries with share this week; please do not take any (unless you are signed up for the Strawberry Bounty option)

Extra Fruit Option: Apples, pears, avocados, hopefully grapes again

"Strawberry Bounty" Option: 3-4 baskets

 
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!

This week's recipes are all from member Randy Robinson, who also happens to be proprietor of Vino Locale in Palo Alto (which is our Palo Alto pick-up location!). Randy loves to cook, and so experiments and comes up with all sorts of great stuff. Here's what he has to say:


"I feel so lucky to host the Palo Alto site as well as receive produce for my business from Live Earth Farm every week! Debbie and farmer Tom are very special to me. Deb asked me to offer some recipes for this week regarding what you can do with your box. These are recipes that we have used here at Vino Locale many times. My customers, friends and I have tried them with great success. My suggestion to you is to use recipes as a suggestion, so please modify them to suit your taste. These first two recipes we use at Vino Locale all the time and they are a HUGE hits, especially when made with fresh produce from the farm."

Randy's Gazpacho
1 C red wine vinegar
1 C olive oil
12 tomatoes - coarsely chopped
3 C spicy V8 - or other spicy vegetable juice
4 peppers - coarsely chopped
2 onions -coarsely chopped
2 large cucumbers - coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons dill
 
Mix vinegar, oil and juice in a large bowl. Add all other ingredients and stir. Puree the vegetables in a blender or food processor in batches, adding enough of the liquids to keep the blades from clogging. Do not puree completely as you want some of its crunch (if you use a food processor, you can use the 'pulse' feature to accomplish this). Add salt and pepper, chill. If you would like this to be spicier - add Tabasco or cayenne pepper (scant amount). Serve in your favorite wine glass or small bowl and top with a smidgen of dill.


Arugula Salad with Pear, Goat Cheese and Roasted Walnuts
We love Arugula here at Vino Locale! So, we made this up by trial and error, and came up with a salad that people beg for. Following the cooking method of my mother (who never owned a measuring cup or cookbook), the quantities are approximate - so just have fun with this!

Salad ingredients
2 handfuls of Arugula. With your hands, remove any end pieces.
2 Pears - wash, core and slice lengthwise
about 1 C crumbled goat cheese
C toasted walnuts (walnuts and Arugula are a magic flavor combination)

Balsamic Vinaigrette ingredients
1 tbsp. cranberry mustard*
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil

*[Randy says this mustard is available at Trader Joes, but that any mild, sweet mustard will do. The idea, he told me, is that you want the sweet of the dressing to play off of the hot/spicy of the arugula.]

Toss and coat the walnuts in a light amount of olive oil. Roast them in a toaster over or conventional oven. Take care not to burn them!

Put all dressing ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or blender and run until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle  the olive oil through the feed tube until smooth. (You can also simply whisk the ingredients together by hand.)

Toss the Arugula with the vinaigrette (note: any type of sweet/fruity, non-spicy vinaigrette with suffice). [Debbie's two cents: remember, you don't want the greens swimming in dressing; add a little at a time while tossing, so as to coat lightly. You can always add more, but you can't take it away!]

Divide the tossed Arugula on individual plates. Place the sliced pears, goat cheese and walnuts on top of the Arugula and serve immediately! [Randy prefers plating salads this way and letting his customers do the 'tossing' to mix the fruit, cheese and nuts with the dressed greens.]


Jesse Cool's Simple Cauliflower a la Randy
I asked Randy if he had any suggestions for Cauliflower, and he said yes (naturally!). He says he doesn't like to cook it, but rather learned this great and very simple way to prepare it from his friend Jesse Cool (a well-known local and organic chef with restaurants in the Bay Area, as well as several cookbooks). "It's so simple," he says, "just cut the cauliflower into little florets, toss with finely chopped fresh herbs (oregano, basil), good olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper." I figure this will be particularly good with the Romanesco cauliflower, as it will showcase the beautiful pale green color (which would probably be lost if it were roasted) and those cool fractal shapes. - Debbie


Grilled Fennel Salsa
3 C finely diced grilled fennel (about 2 small)
1 C diced seeded tomatoes
2/3 C chopped kalamata olives (pitted)
1/4 C fresh basil, chopped
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. capers, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Slice and grill the fennel, then dice. Combine all ingredients in large bowl; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 1 day, tossing occasionally. This is wonderful as a topping for mild, grilled fresh fish!


Southern Style Green Bean and Potato Salad
 1 lbs. fresh green beans - trimmed and cut in half crosswise
6 small potatoes, cubed
1 small onion - thinly sliced
1/4 C canola or vegetable oil
1/4 C red wine vinegar
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder, or 1 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
 
Prepare and boil the green beans for approx 7 minutes. Cool and drain well. Cook potatoes until tender. Place beans and potatoes in a large bowl - add raw onions. Whisk together oil, vinegars, garlic, pepper and sugar. Pour dressing over vegetables & toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours - toss and stir a few times. Remove salad at least 30 minutes before serving. Adjust seasonings as desired!

Randy's favorite Grilled Veggie Caponata
[note that the measurements are from after the veggies are grilled and chopped up; I'd recommend following Randy's advice and use this as a 'suggestion' - of the relative proportions of different items, and what items to include, that sort of thing. - Debbie]

2 C chopped grilled eggplant
1 C chopped grilled onion
1 C chopped grilled sweet peppers, mixed colors
kosher salt, olive oil, freshly ground pepper
2 C chopped fresh tomatoes (reserve juice)
C pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tbsp. capers
1 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
tsp. dried oregano
tsp. dried basil (or 1 tbsp. fresh)
Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Slice, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper the eggplant, peppers and onion, then grill them (do not overcook eggplant!). Cool and chop by hand.
Combine olives, garlic and capers in food processor for a few seconds to combine. Add oregano and basil and pulse to combine. Then with motor running, slowly add olive oil until mixture is smooth. Remove from processor bowl and combine with parsley, tomatoes, and grilled veggies - add reserved tomato juice if needed.

 
Calendar of Events
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fall Harvest Celebration
Saturday October 20th, 3pm until dark

Four Mondays Mataganza Garden Internship
Mondays, 10am - 5pm, Oct 22 and 29, Nov 5 and 12

see our Calendar of Events online for details
Quick Links...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Contact Information
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
farm phone: (831) 763.2448
[see above text box for emailing the farm]
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~