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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
7th Harvest Week, Season 12
May 14th - 20th, 2007

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

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--News from the Field
--"Strawberry Bounty" next week!
--Outstanding in the Field Dinner update
--Pictures around the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen

"...mankind and the planet are still best served by the social model constructed from the fabric of small independent farms, businesses, and communities interwoven into a social blanket of magnificent diversity and great natural strength."

~ Lynn Miller

Greetings from Farmer Tom

mule team pulling a plowIt is Spring of 2015 and I am preparing a 2-acre piece of land that has been resting for three years. The land has been in pasture, grazing chickens, cows, pigs, and then planted to a cereal grain. With its fertility restored, the soil is now ready to be cultivated for growing annual vegetables again. I am slicing through the rich, dark, musky-smelling soil, and a flock of robins follows close behind feasting on earthworms and insects as the walking plow pulled by a team of mules gently turns the soil. I enjoy the view of my rapeseed crop, which is in full bloom. I grow rapeseed for oil in order to belong to the local veggie-oil cooperative, which now presses enough to meet the demand of each member to run their farm machinery.

Last year we couldn't afford to use our delivery truck because the price of biodiesel was over $12 a gallon, and our allotment of rapeseed oil was only sufficient to run the farm machinery.
dead truck and empty diesel tankThanks to an arrangement with our neighbor, we are still able to haul our produce to Santa Cruz using his electric van, which we were able to charge using our 100 kilowatt array of solar panels. This year I am hoping to increase our production of rapeseed oil to have enough to transport our produce with our converted diesel truck. In Santa Cruz, CSA members have formed a small Food Distribution Co-op of electric-powered, lightweight trucks to haul our produce over the hill. LEF solar arrayEach drop off location is a miniature food center, where members receive a set share of food items, all grown within 50-100 miles. The food is supplied by a large network of over 200 small-scale organic family farmers. It has really worked well for us to join this network, which started as result of consumers and local farmers teaming up in order to provide an adequate food supply to the Bay Area. More than 100,000 members form this network. As the mules turn to do another pass down the field, I am amazed how much things have changed in the last 8 years.

Debbie, our tireless CSA coordinator, and her husband Ken, who currently spearheads “World Without Oil,” an on-line alternate reality game [www.worldwithoutoil.org], got me thinking about how a shortage of fuel would affect the farm. At first thought it is pretty frightening to imagine such a scenario; it is one of survival. Instead of causing fear, however, the value of this exercise (of playing the game, if you will – Ken’s tagline is “play it before you live it!”), is that it taps into what I consider our most important resource: our creative adaptability. My fictional description of how farming in 2015 might look may just be a nice dream right now, but it may reflect a new reality we need to embrace. Although organic farming does not depend on fertilizers and pesticides derived from oil, fossil fuels and its many derivatives still play a big role in the current operation of our farm. I am not someone who shies away from a challenge, especially one which ultimately aims to create a more sustainable farming environment, however replacing fossil fuels is one challenge that affects the very foundation our civilization is built upon. The energy we harness from fossil fuels has allowed us to enjoy an immensely rich life; so much so, that we are now reaching the limits of nature's tolerance and capacity. With signs of global warming, water shortages, dwindling marine resources, and food and oil shortages, we are at a point where we have to re-invent ourselves in order to live sanely and sustainably on this planet we call Home.

Home for me is a place where I can enjoy the company of family and friends, and it’s high time we "homo sapiens" become more humble and stop acting like a bully trying to dominate nature. It is time to reconnect, listen and learn from our planet-mates who have been here much longer and have done everything we want to do without guzzling fossil fuels, polluting, and jeopardizing our future. Re-learning from nature and doing it her way is both an exciting and urgent moment in the short history of our species.

In farming, the dominant philosophy for the last 50 years has been to continuously get bigger, to the point that now only 1% of the population is involved in growing food. I believe this is our starting point. In order to turn things around we need to not only increase the number of farmers and gardeners who grow food, but to build new linkages which form diverse and cooperative relationships, mimicking the interconnectedness we find in nature. With the price of fuels increasing and fossil fuels becoming more scarce, I am hopeful that the conditions for such a trend are ripe to take shape. I can imagine how, in the future, we will convert millions of acres of farmland now dedicated to monoculture and corporate extractive farming practices into a rich carpet of smaller-scale farms producing an abundant, diverse, seasonal bounty of food. It would bring young people who want to start farming back to the land. It would strengthen our communities, whose skills and resources would in turn contribute to living sustainably in one place. I am optimistic that the act of growing food can serve as a catalyst for us to read and learn from nature's sacred book, and reconnect us with all the living creatures with which we share this Home.

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News from the Field

Last week the USDA quarantined 8 Bay Area counties infested with the light brown apple moth. Nurseries and farms located within a mile of a spot where the moth has been found must have each shipment inspected and certified before it can move. Nurseries and farms located farther from moth sites must undergo a one-time visual inspection. The moth was introduced from Australia and supposedly loves to munch on a large range of fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. I sure hope we will not be affected by this. Imagine if every CSA share needed to be inspected before we could deliver them to you... hmm, and I thought rising fuel prices were challenging!!!
What's new and upcoming? The fennel looks great so we should see those in a week; Radicchio, more mustard greens, and possibly the first Summer Squash are also imminent. And the blackberries (Extra Fruit option only) are getting ripe! ripe blackberry

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"Strawberry Bounty" next week!

Angeles holding a flat of ripe strawberriesThe strawberry production is really picking up now, so next week (not this week - no jumping the gun!) members who had signed up for our “Strawberry Bounty” option will see a jump in the number of baskets of strawberries next to their name! So as not to get too many phone calls along the lines of “how come I didn’t hear about this?” let me explain. This option was offered as an alternative to the 80 or so people who were on the “Extra Fruit” waiting list, because there were no more “Extra Fruit” shares left. It wasn't offered to the membership at large (we simply wouldn't have had enough!) so that's why you didn't hear about it. – Debbie

   Angeles and a flat of fresh-picked berries

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This year’s Mini Camp starts Friday evening August 24th with a pot-luck (pot-luck will start at around 7pm) and ends Sunday 26th before lunch. What is Mini Camp? Since 1999, CSA members and their children have come to join us for a weekend "camping" stay at the farm. This yearly event is designed so participants can experience the farm's peacefulness without concern of having to drive home at the end of the day.

Tom leading a group of foragers at mini-campEquipped with baskets, we spend our days harvesting, tasting and discovering the magnificent diversity of fruits, vegetables and herbs growing on the farm, and then prepare a meal from the bounty we harvested. Ambitious yet fun, it compels everyone to explore all corners of the land. It is a time to enjoy being together, to meet other CSA members, and to allow the children to set the pace. Farm games such as finding the 'weirdest' most interesting, bizarre-looking fruit or vegetable are popular, and so is pizza-making (in our wood-fired oven) with freshly harvested crops. Our hide-and-seek by moonlight in the orchard has become a tradition among mini-campers! Visits to the farm animals are also a must, to make sure that no living creature is left out of the party! Families and kids of all ages are welcome!!

<> Cost is $50 per person (adults and children), to a maximum of $150 per family, and you can pay during mini-camp.

<> You need to have been a CSA member for at least 2 months to participate, and because space is limited, we only allow CSA members and their children, but not extended family members.

Sign up now, as space in this popular event is limited to 12 families! Contact Constance (farmer Tom's wife) at broz@baymoon.com or call 831.760.0435 to register. Constance coordinates everything "mini-camp" and she will give you the remaining specifics on what to bring/what to expect, etc.

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Outstanding in the Field Dinner update

Outstanding in the Field returns to Live Earth Farm Saturday June 9th to kick off their 2007 season of farm dinners at the source.

Outstanding founder Jim Denevan – who was the chef at Gabriella Cafe in Santa Cruz for 10 years before he left to devote himself to farm dinners and his sand art – will prepare the meal with help from his crew. Chef Jim will have a great diversity of LEF vegetables for his five-course menu, and the season's first fruits, including blackberries and plums, will be juicy and ripe. Once again we'll fire up “Toasty” the sculptured wood-fired earthen oven for fresh baked bread. Live Earth Farm also has goats, which means fresh goat cheese! Fresh eggs will come from Jim Dunlop and Rebecca Thistlethwaite of nearby TLC Ranch.

Come join us at the Outstanding table, on our hilltop overlooking Live Earth Farm and the amazingly fertile Pajaro Valley. To reserve seats, go to http://www.outstandinginthefield.com/events.html

Below are pictures from a prior OitF dinner at the farm. Chef Jim Denevan looks out over the fields just above the farm as the sun descends; the row of tables at the farm dinner (it really is literally out there in the field!); OitF assistant Kat prepares bread dough for Toasty!

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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:
Red Ace beets
Broccoli (LEF) or cauliflower (Lakeside)
Chantenay carrots
Chard or kale
Japanese cucumbers (2) (Nagamine Nursery)
Garlic +
Lettuce (2-3)
Onions +
Fava beans +
Asian greens (Tatsoi or Mizuna)
Spinach (bagged)
Strawberries (1 or 2 bskts)

Small Share:
Broccoli (LEF) or cauliflower (Lakeside)
Chantenay carrots
Chard or kale
Japanese cucumbers (1) (Nagamine Nursery)
Lettuce (1)
Fava beans
Asian greens (Tatsoi or Mizuna)
Strawberries (1 bskt)

Extra Fruit Option:
3 to 4 more baskets of strawberries!

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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen

photo comparing tatsoi with mei qing choi. Photo courtesy of U. of KentuckyTatsoi
Tom says you’ll either be getting mizuna or tatsoi, so since I talked about the mizuna last week, thought I’d fill you in on tatsoi this week! Tatsoi is another Asian green, like mei quing choi and mizuna. Tatsoi and mizuna, when small, are great in salad mixes. Tatsoi have round, slightly wrinkly dark green leaves on a white stem. It grows in a bunch connected at the root much like spinach (Tom didn't take a picture of tatsoi for me, so I went online and found this nice shot on the University of Kentucky website which compares tatsoi and mei quing choi side by side. Thank you, U of K – nice photo!) Since the leaves are many different sizes and the bunches are smallish, Tom says they will be cut off at stem level and bagged.

mizunaTry using tatsoi as you might other greens like chard or spinach. The smaller leaves can be used raw in your salads. Bigger leaves and stems can be steamed or sautéed any number of ways.

At right is a photo of the mizuna too, since some of us may be getting this again this week, and I didn't have a photo last week!

Meanwhile, here’s a tatsoi recipe I found online from a CSA-style farm back east:

Tatsoi in Mustard Dressing
from Covered Bridge Produce in Pennsylvania

The mustard dressing compliments the tangy taste of the tatsoi, while the dark leaves and white stalks contrast each other.

12 oz. washed and chopped tatsoi
2 medium scallions
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil

In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, mustard, salt and oil. In a wide skillet or wok combine tatsoi and dressing and saute until leaves are tender but stalks are still crunchy. Add scallion greens and toss. Arrange tatsoi on serving platter and drizzle with any remaining dressing from the pan.

Cream of Radish Green Soup
Submitted by member Mickey McGushin, modified slightly (makes 4-5 servings). Since the recipe calls for 2 bunches of radishes and we usually only get one in our share in any particular week, just halve the quantities and make a smaller batch (I’ve left the original recipe quantities intact). - Debbie

2 bu. radishes
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lg. leek, white part only, sliced and well washed [we don’t have leeks, so I’d substitute some fresh onion]
4 C vegetable broth or water
1/2 lb. potatoes (about 1½ C), peeled and roughly diced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 C creme fraiche or sour cream (optional)

Remove the radish tops. Pick through the radish leaves and discard any yellow or otherwise discolored ones. Trim off and discard stems. Slice the radishes. Place the butter, radishes and leek [or onion] in a soup pot over medium heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, but not browned (about 7 minutes). Add the broth, potatoes, and salt and pepper as desired, cover, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to an easy simmer and cook until potatoes are nearly done. Remove lid and add the radish greens, continue to simmer, uncovered, until potatoes and greens are tender. Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to pot and gently reheat. Garnish soup servings with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream if desired.

Fava idea
Prep favas now for later use: shell them and then boil 2 minutes, per usual. Drain. When cool enough to handle, have a jar handy; squirt the favas directly from their peel into the jar. Mix in a little olive oil and sea salt, close lid, and refrigerate. Break ‘em out later for a quick snack, or add them to any dishes or salads as you would normally!

Russian Beet Salad
from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon

6 medium beets
3 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. orange juice
pinch of sea salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp. caraway seeds
pinch of cloves
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. finely grated orange peel
lettuce leaves, for garnish

Bake beets at 350 degrees about 1 hour or until tender. Peel and chop finely. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl, toss with beets and refrigerate several hours. Serve on lettuce leaves.

Jiten's standard meat curry using fresh ingredients
from member Alicia Woodrow, who says, “as new members, your veggies exceed expectations. My husband Jitendra (Jiten for short) is from Maharashtra, India. We used the fresh garlic and fresh onions in a standard curry recipe where we usually use the mature versions. This was sooooo good. It was spectacular. This was not a restaurant curry where they cook the bejeepers out of the veggies in a quart of oil and throw in a handful of garam masala. This is more of a home-style recipe where you can taste the ingredients. Here is that recipe, with quantities adjusted for fresh garlic and onions from the farm.”

whole spices and oil
¼ C oil
2 sticks cinnamon
8 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods (black cardamom is very good, but regular pale cardamom is good too)

wet ingredients
1 C of LEF fresh garlic, chopped. Use white and green, or all green. Don't use the top part of the leaf that has sand under it (Or 3 tbsp. chopped up regular dry/cured garlic) [note from Debbie: the green garlic is getting pretty mature now; the cloves are fairly fully formed. The garlic is still less strong-flavored than regular dry-cured garlic, so you could easily use one to two heads worth of peeled cloves in this recipe, I think]
3 C fresh onions, chopped
3 - 4 tbsp. ginger, finely chopped

powdered spices
1 tbsp. turmeric
1 ½ tsp. powdered chilies

final ingredients
28 oz. can of (organic) tomatoes
2 ½ lbs. meat, cut up for curry
3 C water

1. Fry the whole spices gently in the oil until they puff up slightly.

2. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Fry gently until they are very soft, approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Add small amounts of water as needed to prevent burning.

3. Add the powdered spices and fry for two minutes more.

4. Increase heat to high, and add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are hot.

5. Add the meat, get it hot also, then fry it for 6 minutes.

6. Boil the 3 C of water separately, then add it to the curry. Simmer everything very gently until the meat is cooked.


A. This can be made with no meat. Just pour over hard-boiled egg halves for egg curry.
B. Good choices for meat are organic chicken thighs, whole organic chicken, skinned and "cut for curry,” lamb pieces without fat, beef pieces. [note from Debbie: even better than 'organic' try to get your meat from pasture-raised animals. Read "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and you'll know why I say this.]

C. If desired, if using the lamb or beef, after frying the spices you can brown the meat in the oil. Set the meat aside until time to add to the curry in step 5 and cook as directed.

D. Serve with rice or naan or bread.

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

<> Fri. May 18, Four Fridays Mataganza Garden Internship (5/18, 5/25, 6/1, 6/8)

<> Sat. Jun 9 “Outstanding in the Field” Dinner

<> Sat. Jun 23 Summer Solstice Celebration

<> July 10-14 Teen Adventure Camp

<> Aug 24-26 Children’s Mini-Camp

<> Sat. Oct 20 Fall Harvest Celebration

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