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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
4th Harvest Week, Winter Season 2008/2009
Weds. Jan 14, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Just a Few Reflections
Pictures from around the Farm
Getting spam from farmers@cruzio.com? We need your feedback
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]

"Not only is another world possible,
 she is on her way
 on a quiet day I can hear her breathing."

What's in the box this week
During the winter season there are no 'Family' or 'Small' sized shares - everybody gets the same size box! As usual though, content can sometimes differ from this list (typically we will make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

[go to recipe database]

Winter Share
Apples, both Pippin and Fuji
Apricot jam (from LEF apricots; canned by Heidi at Feel Food Foods)
Beets, red
Beets, golden
Brussels sprouts
Cauliflower, Romanesco (1 lg. or 2 med.)
Kale, red Russian
Lemons, Meyer
Onions (from Pinnacle Farms)
Fresh rutabagas, with their leafy green tops!

Bread Option
This week's loaf is caraway rye

Happy New Year -Just a few Reflection

During an early Saturday morning walk last week I was struck by the peacefulness that had spread across the farm. The fields are blanketed with a lush covercrop and the bare branches of the now dormant fruit trees point motionless into the frosty blue sky. This sense of dormancy here in our region is short lived, no deep snow, just a thin sheet of frost is all that covers the resting landscape at times. Judging from the tracks left in the wet soil, the restful atmosphere has attracted more wildlife. Besides the common deer, raccoon, and quail, I also recognize the pawprints of bobcats. The coyotes have come right up to the house playing and gnawing on the irrigation lines connected to the strawberries, and for the first time I also notice the presence of wild pigs on the western edge of the farm, probably following a tasty mushroom trail among the oaktrees. 

A rejuvenating winterbreak with the family has erased the end-of-season exhaustion and with it any doubts of commitment to embrace another season. With a stack of 2009 seed catalogs on my desk a familiar excitement has taken hold once again, I am planning and  scheming in anticipation of our upcoming, now 14th seasonal growing cycle.

Last night cracking open a jar of our heirloom tomatoes to make pasta sauce and this morning spreading the Blenheim apricot jam on a slice of bread made me appreciate how these food preserves instill a basic but nurturing sense of continuity.  With all the turmoil and changes brewing in the world we feel nervous about the future, knowing where our food comes from and building relationships that lead to a sustainable local foodsystem, are in my view,  essential priorities for all our communities. The staggering amount of resources we spend on wars and financial bailouts fail to build such food systems. I obviously have a bias, but nothing would seem more important to me than the right of all people to have access to fresh, locally grown food.  I would celebrate the day when farming is given it's proper recognition, as a sector in our economy where people are paid decent wages and valued for their work supporting and promoting local agriculture. Local Agriculture diminishes our reliance on imported oil, restores our watersheds, builds soils and recycles nutrients, strengthens local economies and maybe more importantly revives the gastronomic pleasures families can enjoy from sharing meals prepared from locally grown food.

We welcome your ideas of how the farm can better serve as a resource to build stronger communities through growing and sharing good food, or new ways to inspire, educate, and promote relationships that lead to healthier food systems. 
The next 4 to 6 weeks we'll be busy hand pruning, all the apple, pear and plum trees, several thousand of them. With the warm weather the soil might dry and warm enough to plant and sow some early crops. Let's not forget, there is also weeding to do, strawberries, garlic, and onions, best before the next rain. The old barn remodel is taking shape and I am hopeful that we can move our washing and packing operation by the start of April. Otherwise things are calm and quiet...
Pictures from around the Farm

strawberries growing nicely, saw the                 Appletrees in need of pruning
first flowers... 


it's all by hand...                                                       January in a T-shirt???                                                                   


Getting spam from farmers@cruzio.com? We need your feedback
Hi everybody ~ Debbie here. As you may or may not know, farmers@cruzio.com has been our farm's email address since the time we became internet enabled... so that's about 14 years!! It is the main address from which I send you all your CSA notices, from which this newsletter is sent, etc. However we are noticing more and more that our poor old email address is being used to send junk email as well, and this causes us concern. We want to know if any of you have been experiencing this as well, and if it is causing you any problems. I believe most mail programs' spam filters have gotten more sophisticated, and can identify the initiating servers of email and distinguish good from bad, however I don't know exactly how this works.

If you have been experiencing problems [does your spam filter sometimes block us or redirect our emails into the trash? Do you get a lot of junk mail from farmers@cruzio.com?] we would like to know. OR, if you are someone with expertise in this area and can advise us as to whether this is something we should worry about (I know the co-opting of email addresses is a common problem), I would also appreciate hearing from you! :-)

If we find this is becoming a problem for enough people, especially for our membership, we will consider getting a new email address.

To respond to this, click here to email Debbie at the farm. Thanks!!

<> ALL winter CSA deliveries are on WEDNESDAYS, so if you're used to picking up on Thursdays, you have to make the mental switch!

<> Pick-up schedule is NOT every week. Here's a repeat of the dates all winter share members got in an email (these dates are also on our website):

12/3/08 (already passed)
12/10/08 (already passed)
12/17/08 (already passed)
<3 week break over holidays>
<no share 1/21>
<no share 2/4>
<no share 2/18>
<no share 3/4>
3/11/09 = last winter share!

<2 week break>

Weds/Thurs April 1st/2nd = 1st delivery week of the regular season!

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to recipe database.

Hello and welcome back; I hope everyone had a great holiday break! New this week: fresh, beautiful rutabagas! - Debbie

Use those fresh rutabaga greens!
Yes indeedy, the leafy green part of the rutabagas are edible. So in addition to the root, which can be used for many things (see Carol Locke's recipe below), you can also cook up the greens much like you would any other cooking green. Try this: simply wash the leaves (or at least inspect them to make sure they're clean), strip them from their stems, chop them, and stir-fry them with some garlic in a little olive oil and a splash of water until tender. Season with salt or a little soy sauce.

If they're really looking good, you can even use them raw as a salad green (I'd mix them in with lettuces or other salad greens).

You can also keep and use the leaves and stems, along with other veggie trimmings (including rutabaga peels!!), to make soup stock (see Basic Found Vegetable Stock, from one of last summer's newsletters).

Root Vegetables... a progression of recipes
A few years back, member Carol Locke took the time to hand-write and send me the following. I love the way she presents this progression of options! I will try to transcribe it as verbatim as possible:

"Root vegetables are great so many ways - even just steamed! - and certainly essential for soups and stews, but the cooking repertoire can be expanded exponentially by the addition of...

White Sauce
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour (more, if whole wheat pastry flour is used)
2 C milk or unsweetened soy milk OR 1 C cooking liquid + 1 C evaporated milk
salt and pepper (soy sauce or Bragg's Aminos can be used in place of salt)
dash of nutmeg or cayenne

"Over medium-low heat, melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour until mixed and bubbly. Cook flour in butter a minute or two. Add liquid all at once, keep stirring - bring it to bubbling stirring constantly [I use a whisk] or at least very often - it will thicken, then begin bubbling and then it's done!

"Add steamed root vegetables in any combination: carrots, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips - in fact, almost any vegetable! Serve as is [i.e. steamed veggies + white sauce] for Creamed Root Vegetables, or put it all in a shallow dish, sprinkle with grated cheese (cheddar, Swiss jack, blue, etc. etc.) and bake, uncovered at 350 to 375 degrees until bubbly and browned, then you have Root Vegetable Gratinée. Put into a deep casserole with a pie crust on top, well sealed around the edges and with slits for air to escape and bake at 375 degrees until crust is browned and everything is hot and bubbly and voila! You have Root Vegetable Pot Pie! Or instead of a pie crust, spread mashed potatoes on top. In our house we always called that Shepherd's Pie."

Cauliflower Quiche
I have this old, brown newspaper clipping entitled 'Real men do eat quiche', which I have referred to many a time, because it is not so much a particular recipe for making quiche, but rather a 'how to' or 'formula' for quiche-making in general. The person writing the column credits Molly Katzen's "The Enchanted Broccoli Forest", which some of you may have, for the original concept. I used the 'formula' the other night to make a swell cauliflower quiche.

The basic quiche formula is crust + cheese + filling + custard.

Crust: Use your favorite crust recipe, or you can refer to mine (it's under 'Debbie's Apple Pie' in the winter 06/07 newsletter). I find that buttermilk or plain yogurt can be used interchangeably. Also, for quiche, I like to add a generous amount of freshly grated black pepper to the crust dough.

Prepare your crust and line a pie pan or quiche pan with it. No need to pre-bake.

Cheese: I used Gruyere, but you could substitute cheddar, Swiss, or Monterey Jack (and you're by no means limited to those; they're just easy). From the recipe clipping: "Grated cheese deposited directly on the crust enables the fat in the cheese to seal the crust and form a moisture barrier between the filling and the crust. Use one-fourth to one-third pound of cheese, depending on how much filling you use and whether you use a quiche pan or a pie pan." As you can see, the exact amount is not critical. Just grate cheese into your crust until you have a layer (loosely) half-an inch thick?

Filling: You can of course use any number of different things for your filling (this is an extremely flexible recipe), but here's what I'd do with stuff from this week's box:
1) caramelize some thinly sliced onion (slow sauté it in butter and olive oil over low heat until it becomes a rich golden brown - 15 to as much as 30 minutes) and distribute that over the cheese (if they're the small white onions we usually get from Pinnacle Farms, use two; the caramelization process really reduces them).
2) steam up some cauliflower florets (just 4 to 5 minutes; you don't want to cook them fully, just soften them a bit) - cut the florets in pieces if they're large - and distribute them on top of the onions.
3) optionally you could add some diced tomato [I'd actually gotten some green tomatoes from a friend's garden in mid December; I just left them out in a basket in the sun, and darned if they didn't ripen!], or some chopped bits of plumped-up sundried tomato - or you could leave the tomato out entirely. (I just used it because I had it.)
3) sprinkle some ground cumin and salt over all; if you have it, sprinkle some ground coriander as well.

Custard: beat together 3 to 4 eggs with some milk (around 1 C). Pour this over the filling. Sprinkle with paprika, or save a little of the grated cheese to sprinkle on top with the paprika.

Bake your quiche at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Can be served at any temperature (one nice thing about quiches!).

[Brussels] Sprouts leaves with Meyer lemon
Serves 4
from an undated newspaper clipping

In the clipping intro, it says, "Separating sprouts into individual leaves may seem arduous but the result is light and almost fluffy. Start by trimming away the base of the sprout and peeling off as many leaves as you can. Keep slicing at the base as you peel, freeing successive rows of leaves. Don't worry about tearing them - you don't need perfect leaves. If you can't find a Meyer lemon, substitute an ordinary Eureka [fortunately we have Meyers in our box!]; use the same amount of zest but just a few drops of the juice."

1 shallot, minced, about ¼ C
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed, outer leaves discarded, remaining leaves separated and cores sliced thin
1/3 C water
Finely grated zest of half a Meyer lemon (about ¼ tsp.) plus ¼ tsp. of the juice
Freshly ground pepper

In a 3-qt saucepan over medium-low heat, sauté shallot in olive oil with ½ tsp. salt. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes, reducing heat as necessary to prevent browning. Add sprouts leaves and water; turn up heat, and toss to coat leaves. When water sizzles, reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook until leaves are just softened but still green and firm, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest, juice, black pepper, and salt as needed. Serve at once.

Pomegranate and Maple-Glazed Beets (vegan)
from Nov 08 Whole Foods Magazine
Serves 8
[you can easily halve this recipe]

2 lbs. beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch-wide wedges
¾ C unsweetened, 100% pomegranate juice [I think you can find this at Trader Joes; obviously Whole Foods must carry it too!]
3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. cold water
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish [optional]

Put beets into a medium saucepan; cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and set aside. [see my note, below]

Pour pomegranate juice and maple syrup into saucepan; bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually pour into saucepan, whisking to incorporate. Simmer for 1 minute, then add beets and heat through. Serve, sprinkled with optional pomegranate seeds

Note from Debbie: you could really cook the beets however you want for this recipe - roast, steam, pressure cook - as long as you have cooked beets cut into wedges at the end! And it would be pretty to cook some red and golden beets separately, then combine them at the very end with the pomegranate sauce.

Bratwurst with Apples, Onion and Sauerkraut
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping [modified slightly]
serves 6

1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. flour [recipe called for 'Wondra' flour, which 'dissolves quickly to prevent lumps from forming'; that stuff's too processed for me, so I'd just use regular flour and deal with it]
½ tsp. ground black pepper
4 C sauerkraut (preferably fresh), rinsed, drained, squeezed dry (from one 32-oz. jar) [or your own home-fermented!]
1 large onion [or a couple small], halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
3 large apples [more since ours are small], about 1 ½ lbs. total, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
6 whole smoked bratwurst (about 1 lb.), pierced all over with skewer [or toothpick or fork]
4 bay leaves
1 C beef broth [or your own stock]
2 tbsp. dry vermouth
2 tbsp. ketchup

1 ½ tbsp. butter, melted
Pumpernickel bread or whole grain bread

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 400 degrees F. Place caraway seeds and fennel seeds in small resealable plastic bag and crush with mallet [or grind in a mortar and pestle]; add flour and pepper to bag; shake to blend.

Spread sauerkraut over bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass or deramic baking dish. Sprinkle a third of the flour mixture over. Arrange onion slices over; sprinkle with half of remaining flour mixture, then lightly with salt. Spread half of apple slices over, then sprinkle with remaining flour mixture. Place bratwurst over apples, then arrange remaining apple slices around bratwurst. Tuck in bay leaves. Mix broth, vermouth, and ketchup in measuring cup. Pour broth mixture evenly over. Cover tightly with foil.

Roast bratwurst 45 minutes. Uncover; brush with melted butter. Roast uncovered until edges of apples and sausages begin to brown, about 25 minutes longer. Serve with bread.

Penne with Swiss chard, roasted garlic and spicy crumbs
serves 4-6
[this one's an old xerox, so I've no idea where it's from! And I modified it a little...]

1 head garlic
½ C olive oil
1 large bunch Swiss chard
2 to 3 slices Swiss peasant or similar rustic-style white bread [you can use pretty much any kind of bread, really]
Generous pinch crushed hot red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ tsp. fresh rosemary, or ¼ tsp. dried [minced up!]
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. dried oregano
1 lb. penne or similar short pasta
½ C chicken or vegetable broth, warmed
Grated parmesan cheese [or grate your own]

Preheat oven to 350 degrees [use your toaster oven if you can; you're only roasting the garlic]. Remove outer, papery skin of garlic. Coat with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, place in middle of oven and roast until tender when pierced with a cake tester or tip of a very sharp knife, about 1 hour.

Wash chard; separate leaves from stems; coarsely chop leaves, thinly slice stems [recipe said to discard the stems - the heck with that!!].

By hand, shred bread into large crumbs (about ½ inch). Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepper and herbs to the warm oil and cook them for a few seconds, stirring all the while and taking care not to let them burn. Add bread and continue to cook and stir until crumbs are nicely golden brown. Remove crumbs to a plate and sprinkle with salt. Return pan to heat.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water just until the al dente stage. Drain. Place chard in pan that held bread crumbs, cover and steam until wilted, about 5 minutes [put the sliced stems on the bottom; splash with a little water if the leaves are dry]. When garlic is cool enough to handle, remove cloves from their skins [sometimes they'll 'squirt' out]. Put garlic in a small bowl and mash with a fork. Add broth and continue to mash until a rough puree is formed.

Turn pasta into the pan with the chard. Add garlic mixture and toss over medium heat to combine well and heat through; spoon into a serving dish, top with crumbs, and serve at once. Pass the parmesan at the table.
Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763.2448