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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
1st Harvest Week, Season 13
April 7th - 13th, 2008

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--What's up in the fields
--Recycled binders
--Reminder about bread and fruit
--Getting more than one copy of this newsletter?
--Raw goat milk, yogurt, kefir, chevre or ricotta anyone??
--In search of a CSA member with legal expertise
--Pictures around the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Calendar of Events
--Contact Information

" The season springs forth its hope
A plum's black wood gives bloom of purest white
Each blossom resonates resurrection's theme
Every tree, bush, and weed sends up a bee's delight

Like the bee, we hurry to our tasks
The earth awakens to the cold edge of steel
No day's labor completed, no repose by night
Will the beauty of the expectant seed be revealed?

Earthly remains of growth once flourishing
Consumed, decayed, rotting detail abound
Unless a grain of wheat dies, it has no being
In this fragrant mould, abundant promise is found.

Silty, sandy, muddy Earth
We savor God's ardent endowment in you!
Make us worthy stewards of your robust gifts
In wonderment and fright we witness life renew."

~ Denesse Willey '98 (from Cooking Fresh from the Bay Area)

Greetings from Farmer Tom

immature apricotsThe farm is alive; from the soil up, everything is bursting with Spring energy. The orchards are blooming, the goats are birthing their kids, the first strawberries are ripening, apricots and plums are already sizing up, and the rich soil is warm enough to sprout and nurture the first spring crops.

Equally exciting is the unprecedented community commitment and support for this, our 13th growing season. We are starting with a full membership of over 630 families: 480 of which are returning (that is a great return rate!) and 150 are joining us for the first time. Your commitment as CSA members is reciprocated by us, the entire farm family of workers, and in turn supported by the land's even larger community of plants and animals.

spring bloomIt is this shared commitment that represents the heartbeat of our farm. When you open your box, remember that you are linked to the land and people who work here; you also are an extension of that relationship when you prepare the food you receive.

For those of you new to the farm, it may feel a bit overwhelming to eat with the seasons – it may not always be the most convenient or easiest way to prepare a meal – but it will be, I am sure, more satisfying. In some unique way, the act of cutting, washing, cooking, and (most importantly) tasting and eating becomes an expression of gratitude, and for each of us, in our own small way, a contribution to a healthier environment.

My wish as a community farmer is for all members to get to know the land their food comes from. The food on your plate can then tell a story we can all participate in. As we start this season I extend a warm welcome to you all, and I am looking forward to yet another nourishing and joyous seasonal journey... one of growing and tasting the gifts this land so generously offers.

- Tom

the Live Earth Farm crew!
The Live Earth Farm crew! Farmer Tom at far left.

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What's up in the fields

Spring weather has been dry, which is a mixed blessing; we can always use more water, but the fact that it didn't rain when our fruit trees were in bloom also meant pollination and fruit set has been very good. The soil dried out in time for us to prepare the fields for planting potatoes, and to transplant all the seedlings waiting in the greenhouse. Since January we have been sowing a long list of crops which do well in the early part of the season: Broccoli, Bok Choi, Lettuce, Fennel, Chinese cabbage, Summer squash, Radicchio, Kale, Chard, Collards greens, and Parsley. The next wave of plantings will be the more popular summer crops, such as tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, basil, and peppers. They are on time to be set outside by mid-April, when all possibility of a late season frost is over. An early sowing of green beans is also in the ground, together with some of the baby greens, radishes, carrots and beets. In spring there is always a dip in crop diversity, as winter crops are depleted and early spring plantings have not yet matured. It’s a time to be patient, as we anticipate the cycle of our seasonal bounty to begin. During this ‘dip’ time we will network with other organic farmers here in the Pajaro Valley to supplement the weekly content of your shares until our spring plantings mature and are ready for harvest.
young, tender favas
This week, some of the crops such as the white beets and rutabagas are still plentiful from winter. The fava beans, pictured at right, are young and tender right now and can be cooked whole – pod and all (see Debbie’s recipes).

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Recycled binders

If the binder at your pickup location looks a little the worse for wear, please don’t be turned off. In an effort to conserve resources, we are re-using many of our old binders from last season. Some don’t look so great, but as long as they still work we will continue to use them. That’s thirty-something less plastic binders going to landfill this year!

Reminder about bread and fruit

This message is for the eager beavers: a simple reminder that the “Extra Fruit” option and the “Bread” option don’t start until May (Weds May 7/Thurs May 8). And the “Fruit Bounty” option does not have an exact start date yet, but will likely begin sometime later in May. We will give your “Bounty” folks as much advance notice as we can, but as a default, keep your eye on the newsletter and checklist (binder) for updates!

And to you members who are saying, "Bread? What bread??" - yes, this year we are going to have a bread share! See new page on our website or email Debbie at the farm and she'll send you more info! If you're a bread lover, you don't want to miss this!

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Getting more than one copy of this newsletter?

Some members have requested getting our newsletter at more than one email address (like both work and home, for example). If for any reason you are receiving more copies than you would like, it means we have more than one email address for you in our newsletter elist (the program we use is called “Constant Contact”). If you want to eliminate duplicates, please check the email addresses at which you are receiving and then ‘unsubscribe’ from the copies you don’t want. The link for doing this is at the bottom of the newsletter. Keep in mind, however, that if you change your mind and want to start getting the newsletter at that email address again, you will need to re-subscribe yourself; the program will not allow me to add you (this is a spam protection thing). – Debbie

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Raw goat milk, yogurt, kefir, chevre or ricotta anyone??

Members of our CSA have a rare and unique opportunity to get fresh raw goat milk, cultured products (yogurt and kefir) and handmade artisan cheeses directly from a very small farm where every goat is lovingly cared for and all are milked by hand! The farm is Summer Meadows Farm, and the owner, Lynn Selness, is ready to start customers with delivery of her products, as many of her does have kidded and the milk is flowing! I have gotten Lynn’s products for a couple years now myself, and it is delicious and wonderful. It’s like nothing you will ever see in a store – no pasteurization, no additives... And because these goats are so pampered and contented, their milk is sweet and delicious, not ‘goaty’ or ‘gamey’ like some commercial products. It’s just about as close as you can get to owning and milking your own goat! Actually, it’s closer to that than you think, as you purchase ‘ownership’ in a goat and she milks your goat for you (it’s a legal thing).

Anyway, the goat share is very different than the egg and bread ‘options’ you get through our CSA. You do not buy the goat share from us, but directly from Lynn. We simply have a symbiotic relationship – our members are interested in knowing about sources for fair, honest and local food, and Lynn needs a way to get her product delivered to her customers. So I provide you with the information, but you make all your signup arrangements for this with her, and she simply piggy-backs the delivery of her milk products along with our CSA delivery.
Lynn's goats
One very important thing to note if you sign up for her goat share program: we do not track which of our members are also her customers. This means that if you should change pickup locations, for example, you will need to ALSO alert Lynn to the change, so she knows to route your milk to the new location as well.

Okay, if you’re still reading and are eager to know how to start up a goat milk share, click here to download a document Lynn has prepared that explains everything, including instructions on how to sign up!

(at right: top: Lynn's daughter, Meadow, with two little friends; does on pasture - nice scenery!; and a mama nursing her babies)

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In search of a CSA member with legal expertise

Dear Valued CSA Member Community,
I am reaching out to you in search of someone with legal expertise for our fledgling educational nonprofit.  As I mentioned in a previous newsletter, we are in the process of establishing a nonprofit organization to support our educational programs.  One of the many steps in this process is to create Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, as well as to fill out a lengthy IRS application.  While we are confident in our ability to fill out this paperwork we would be ever so grateful if someone with more knowledge or expertise in nonprofit tax law or accounting would be willing to look things over for us.  We simply want to do the best job possible to get our nonprofit up and running.  We call to you, our valued CSA members: is there one among you who would look over our paperwork before it is turned in? Our mission is as follows:
To provide educational programs for the community focused on local, organic, and sustainable food systems.  Live Earth Farm’s educational nonprofit will offer year round educational programs including but not limited to:
Organic farming (produce, fruit, cover cropping, crop rotation, and integrated pest management);
Local food networks;
Humane livestock management (chickens and goats);
Permaculture design principals

If you are the person to lend a hand please contact me:
         By phone: 831-763-2448
         By e-mail: LEFeducation@baymoon.com

thank you!
Jessica Ridgeway
Education Programs Coordinator

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Pictures around the farm
Farm animal medley
Some of the not-so-wild life on the farm: a resident blackbird; the rumple-eared cat; Chewy the dog; one of our new baby goats; happy chickens...

Spring crop medley
Crops we're getting and some that are yet to come: a field of onions; a caneberry blossom; strawberries (duh!) and squash seedlings!

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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. Occasionally content will differ from this list (typically we will make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

Family Share:
White Beets
Red Cabbage
Young Fava Beans +
Green Garlic +
Red Russian Kale
Lettuce +
Fresh young Onions +
Rutabagas +
Radishes (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
1 basket of Strawberries

Small Share:
White Beets
Red Cabbage
Young Fava Beans
Green Garlic
Red Russian Kale
Fresh young Onions
Radishes (Lakeside)
Meyer Lemons (Marsalisi Farm or Storrs Hidden Springs Ranch)

Extra Fruit Option:
(doesn't start until May)

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Notes from Debbie's Kitchen

Hey, hooray! The season’s finally started!! Welcome back everyone – I know many of you have been champing at the bit to start getting their veggies, so now that it’s finally happening, it’s time for me to give you some ideas for what to do with them! – Debbie

Let’s start with some explanations for the new folks; no wait, before I forget – if you’re new to our CSA, be sure to check out the recipe database on our website. It is an alphabetical listing, by ‘key ingredient’ [i.e. by veggie] of hundreds of recipes that I’ve put into this newsletter over the years. What’s also helpful is that there are lots of pictures too, so if you find something unfamiliar in your box, you can go there and, armed with the ‘what’s in the box’ list, above, usually figure out what you have! Okay, back to recipes:

Green Garlic
Those stalks in your share that look like leeks... those are actually immature or ‘green’ garlic. Green garlic is absolutely marvelous, and virtually the entire stalk can be used, even up into the partially green leaves. Green garlic is also milder than mature garlic, so you can use lots more of it, proportionally, than you would regular garlic. Just slice and/or chop it up and use it wherever you would use any allium (onions, garlic, chives, shallots, leeks are all in the allium family). Remember to check for dirt first though: like leeks, dirt typically gets in where the leaf meets the stalk, and so you have to peel back the leaves a little and look, and wash away dirt as necessary. I like to keep the parts of the green garlic I don’t cook with in a ziploc bag in the freezer, along with other veggie trimmings and bones, and make soup stock with it once I get enough of an accumulation.

How to tell them from the young onions, which are also in the box?? The onions green stalks are round and hollow; green garlic has flat, v-shaped leaves that stick out left-right-left-right up the stalk. Another sure way to check is to use your nose: do a scratch-n-snif. The garlic will smell very much like garlic... you can’t miss it! ;-)

Young Fava Beans
This is another item you’ll never see in a store. They always wait to harvest favas until the pods are huge and the beans inside are mature, so you are in for a treat. When favas are young like you’re getting them this week, they look like giant green beans, and can basically be cooked just like them, i.e. pod and all. As long as the pod is still young and tender like this, I just chop them into segments and steam them, or sauté them with... what else, some green garlic, of course!

Sautéed young favas and green garlic

Quantities are not an issue here, as you can’t ruin this with ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ of something really. Just take as many fava pods as you think you are going to eat, trim the ends and cut them into bite size (inch-ish) segments. On the diagonal if you want to be fancy ;-) Steam them for just a few minutes; two, maybe three at most.

Meanwhile, chop up one or more stalks of green garlic (don’t be shy!) and throw it into a heated skillet with some olive oil and sauté it while your beans are steaming. When the beans are done, add them to the skillet and stir/toss/coat with the olive oil and garlic. Season with salt, to taste.

Now you can stop right here and you’ll be fine, but if you want you can elaborate... cut up and then plump some sundried tomatoes in a little hot water and add them, along with the water, to your sauté. Stir and cook until the water has mostly evaporated. You could also add some olives, kalamata or similar; just be sure to pit them first (or warn your diners that you’ve left the pits in). You could add them whole, or sliced, or minced... whatever your mood.

Another elaboration; try mincing up some anchovies and adding them to the sautéeing garlic. You won’t need to add salt in the end, in this case. Squeeze some lemon juice over all at the end. If you don’t like anchovies, try some diced up bacon or ham. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, try throwing in some chopped walnuts.

See how easy it is??

White beet and rosemary ‘fries’
My friend and fellow CSA member Alie sent me this idea, which she’d made up. Said it was simple and tasty! Sounds good to me!

Peel and slice beets into finger-sized pieces
Chop up 1 large shallot [or a stalk of green garlic!]
Mince up the leaves from some fresh rosemary (careful, rosemary is strong; maybe about a teaspoonful for 3 to 4 medium beets; if you’re not sure, instead of mincing up the rosemary, pluck a sprig or two and leave whole, include them in the roasting process, then remove them before serving)

Toss all together with olive oil, salt, pepper and just a little sugar (maybe a tsp. at most).

Roast in a 375 – 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender and starting to brown in spots.

Alie says this went really well with lamb!

Another under-appreciated veggie (mostly because people never get them really fresh), these babies are sweet and delicious. An easy way to prepare them is to simply peel* and cube them, then steam or boil them in salted water until tender... maybe 10 minutes; depends on how big you make your cubes. Check them with the tip of a sharp knife; when done, they should pierce easily.

When done, toss them with butter and salt, or mash them, if you like.

Variations: peel* and cut some of your carrots into segments and steam/boil them along with the rutabaga. Sauté up some green garlic and add it to the mash. Chop up some fresh parsley and add it to the mash. Throw a bay leaf into the cooking water for flavoring (remove before mashing!).

*throw the peels into that bag in your freezer with the green garlic tops! They are a great soup stock item.

Lemon Tip

This is a great tip I learned from Amy Kaplan, a former intern at Live Earth Farm and a real lemon-lover. When you cut a lemon in half and only use one half, what to do with the other half? How to keep it? I used to wrap it in plastic or stick it in a ziploc bag... but none of this is necessary! Simply leave the unused half out on your counter, or on a shelf in your refrigerator (where you can see it of course, so you don’t forget it’s there)... no wrapping! The cut side of the lemon will skin over and create its own ‘wrapper.’ You can keep them this way for several days. Just squeeze and juice normally when you go to use it.

Red Russian Kale with lemon and parmesan – Debbie’s favorite!
Existing members can disregard this one; they’ve heard this song and dance before – but since we have 150 new people, I have to repeat it, because it’s such a good recipe and I just love it ;-) The kale comes out silky and tender, like spinach. You’ll see this recipe alternately called ‘hot salad’ because I came up with the idea one winter when I was jonesin' for a green salad but didn’t want to eat anything cold!

This can be made with other leafy greens (chard, collard greens, etc.), but my favorite is with the Red Russian kale.

Start a pot of water to boiling on the stove. Salt the water well; think ‘seawater.’ This brings out the flavor of the kale.

Take your bunch of kale. Check leaves for dirt and wash as needed. Strip leaves from stems by holding the base of the stem in one hand and grasping the leaves in the other and – zip! they come off easily. Yes, the stems are totally edible, but they tend to be tough, so I just remove them.

When the water’s boiling, turn the heat down to medium and drop the leaves in. Poke ‘em down with a wooden spoon occasionally as they like to float on top. See how beautiful a bright green color they turn as soon as they hit the water!

Boil the kale* for barely 3 minutes, then drain well; squeeze out excess water with the back of your wooden spoon against the side of the pan or strainer.

Place this ‘lump’ of cooked kale on a cutting board and chop it up. Divide kale among plates (you can eat it either separately, like a salad, or as a side dish to a regular meal). Drizzle with good olive oil; the warm kale makes the olive oil really fragrant and wonderful! Then squeeze a generous amount of lemon juice over it all.

You can stop right there, and it will be totally delicious, but for that added something, grate some fresh parmesan cheese on top! Eat and enjoy!!

*a note about boiling kale: some folks prefer to steam it, feeling that nutrients are lost when the kale is boiled. I’m sure some are, and so want to explain the boil-vs-steam thing: you can totally make this recipe by steaming your kale instead of boiling it. The only difference will be in the texture; the boiled kale will be more tender and succulent. If you steam it, be sure to add salt, either when steaming, or at the end. It makes a difference. If you’re on the fence over boiling vs. steaming, try it both ways! See what you think. We’ll get kale a few more times this year, so you’ll have the opportunity. I go back and forth myself, so it just depends on your mood (or the texture preferences of your spouse/children!) ;-)

Lastly, here’s a ‘normal’ recipe (not just my ramblings). While the weather is still kind of cool, this will be good.

Cider-braised Cabbage
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping
serves 4

2 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, sliced [yes! use one of the fresh onions from your box! If they’re small, use two!!]
1 head cabbage [it says green cabbage but this will be good with red too], quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
½ C apple cider
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cabbage; sauté until slightly wilted, tossing frequently, about 6 minutes. Stir in apple cider. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Uncover; simmer until almost all the liquid in pot evaporates, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

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2008 Calendar of Events
Click here for calendar details on our website.

Santa Cruz Permaculture Design course - one weekend/month for 6 months, Feb-July

Herbalism Classes at Live Earth Farm:
<>Herbal First Aid
- March 15-16
<>Medicine Making - May 10-11
<> Cooking with Herbs - July 19-20

Summer Solstice Celebration - Saturday June 21st

Children's Mini-Camp - July 11th - 13th (Friday evening thorugh Sunday noon)

Fall Equinox Cob Building Workshop and Campout - Sept. 20 and 21

Fine Farm Feast - Oct 4th

Fall Harvest Celebration - later in October (date TBA)

Contact Information
email Debbie at the farm (for any farm or CSA share-related business): farmers@cruzio.com
email Debbie at home (with newsletter input or recipes): deb@writerguy.com
farm phone: 831.763.2448
website: http://www.liveearthfarm.net