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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
12th Harvest Week, Season 13
June 23rd - 29th, 2008
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Lightning, Thunder & Rain - Welcome Summer
Heat and Crops
Spring Sprung, Now on to Summer!
Pictures from the Summer Solstice
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Calendar of Events
Okay, Tom and I are still working on our new newsletter system -- this week it is more of a collaboration; I'll set up the template, prepare the veggie list, recipes, and 'Pictures from Around the Farm' etc. and Tom will put in the quote, his inspirational blurb, a couple pictures of his own maybe, and something about what's up in the fields. I'm sorry that I can't keep up the direct links from each item in the veggie list to the recipe database -- it is just a lot of work each week (nothing in the preparation of this newsletter is automatic). But I will include a hyperlink directly to the recipe database at the top of the veggie list, (instead of down in the recipe section). Hopefully that is a reasonable compromise! :-) 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, as are the source of any produce if not from Live Earth Farm (LEF). Occasionally content will 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]

Family Share
Avocados +
Baby leeks
Lettuce +
Mei qing choi +
Radicchio +
Red potatoes +
Summer squash +
Strawberries +
(and possibly cucumbers!)

Small Share
Mei qing choi
Red potatoes
Summer squash
(and possibly cucumbers!)

Extra Fruit
Strawberries (Weds and Thurs)
Blackberries (Weds only; Thurs got them last week)

Fruit Bounty
**no "bounty" this week**

Lightning, Thunder & Rain - Welcome Summer
Last Saturday, Mother Nature created a setting like no other we've ever experienced for a Summer Solstice Celebration. The day started out hot and dry just like the previous two days where temperatures jumped to 105 degrees. Heat such as this is
rare and the farm operation is switched to survival mode.  The highest priority and challenge is to keep everyone and everything hydrated. Even the farm roads got sprinkled to keep the dust down in preparation for the afternoon celebration.  Considering the heat and the sudden outbreak of another destructive fire along
HWY 1 near Watsonville, which shut down most access roads on Friday evening, it was anyone's guess how many of you would want to (ad)venture out to the Farm.  As soon as the first families arrived at noon, it was as if some heavenly trickster decided to change the atmosphere. Nobody was prepared for what followed. Clouds turned menacingly dark, colliding and swirling overhead as if two sky gods of opposite temperaments were dueling. For the next four hours the farm witnessed a dramatic  meteorological spectacle of explosive lightning, thunder and rain. The rain was a wonderful relief for everyone, however the lightning starting new wildfires overwhelming already stretched firefighting resources, was not. Considering the rather dramatic conditions, many of you still decided to come and celebrate the day picking berries, baking bread, milking and making cheese, exploring the farm's herbal garden sanctuary and touring the farm and visiting the newly added land.  As always the children brought the farm alive with their spontaneous and joyous energy. One only had to watch them playing in the strawbale structure some with colorfully painted or simply stained faces from the berries they picked.  The abundance of different dishes of food, many made with farm grown produce and the traditional circle with everyone present is a gesture which for me simbolizes the spirit of appreciation for the land and the interconnectedness of it's entire living community. This year for the first time the pyre of wood prepared for the bonfire was left unlit. Given nature's own dramatic display of fire all around us it felt entirely unnecessary to duplicate it. Kuzanga Marimba lit up the circle welcoming the start of summer with their wonderful rhythms instead. Many thanks to all who participated and helped to make this another memorable celebration. 
Heat and Crops
soiled red potatoes ripening apricots 
For coastal farmers like us who grow a large diversity of crops, the heat is always a mixed blessing.  Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants just love the heat, however the bushberries and strawberries usually end up with burnt leaves and fruit. Berries entering their last stage of ripening are the most vulnerable. Since the rows are layed out north to south, the westside of the trellis is exposed for a longer period to the sun's heat which translates into more damaged fruit on that side during extreme temperatures such as we had last week.  The fruit portion of your shares will take a temporary dip, 1-2 weeks, before we enter our apricot and plum harvest. The apricots are on the verge of being ripe for picking, I predict all the fruit shares will be getting some next week. This is also a reminder that on JULY 5TH the farm is open for YOU-PICK APRICOTS.  The green beans will make their first appearance next week and my personal favorite crop the potato is in your share's this week. If you wonder why the potatoes weren't washed, it's not that we are too lazy to do so but because these potatoes were freshly dug and the skins are so easily bruised that it's best for them to be handled as little as possible before they make it into your kitchen sink.
sunburnt strawberriessunburnt blackberries
Spring Sprung, Now on to Summer!
from Jessica Ridgeway, LEF education programs coordinator

Well, I have had my moment to breathe after a busy spring of school tours and our Montessori program.  We hosted fifteen school groups this spring ranging in ages from preschoolers to twelfth graders.  We hosted public, private and alternative schools, mother's groups, home school groups, and cooperatives.  I learned so much from these tours and it is endlessly inspiring to see children excited to learn on the farm.

We always make sure everyone knows what organic means.  Of course, the complexity of the definition changes with the age of the group.  We also always make sure that everyone tastes a new vegetable.  I have had children asking me for more broccoli, more peas and more kale, can you believe it parents?  While the kids are here they also get to know our chickens and goats.  It is amazing how engaging baby animals can be for students of all ages.  I get really excited every time a child, nervous about an adult goat, gets up the courage to try milking.  This is quite a feat, especially when the goat is excited.  As always the strawberry picking is everyone's favorite plant activity while they are here.  There is plenty to learn from the experience of picking your own warm berry and then smooshing it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth.  As the spring tour season wound down plenty of other responsibilities came along to take the place of the tours.

A week ago we had our first board meeting.  This was the first big step in establishing our educational non-profit that now has a name, a board, a mission statement and articles of incorporation.  "Live Earth Farm Discovery Program" is well on its way to becoming a viable community resource.

Next up, a summer full of educational opportunities; for the first time we are opening a summer tour season to summer schools, camps and community groups.  We have 120 kids coming to the farm this week and look forward to several more groups visiting us throughout the summer.  This year's Mini Camp is full, but there is still time to sign up for our Fall Equinox Family Cob CampoutOld, crumblin' ToastyOn September 20 and 21 we invite families to join us in replacing Toasty, our cob oven by dancing in the mud and straw.

Lastly, I want to extend a huge thank you to all of the Live Earth Farm CSA members who have supported our educational efforts in everyway and for many years.  Thank you.

Pictures from the Summer Solstice Celebration!
[photos below courtesy of Gillian Edgelow and Cheryl Nuss]

***did anyone get pictures of the haywagon farm tour with Tom? We'd like to have some for our picture files (it was the 1st time we did the tour this way). If you have some (or any others you'd like to share), please email them to us at farmers@cruzio.com.***

...lots of activities!

Face painting, garlic braiding...
                face painting and garlic braiding,

Bread baking, cheesemaking, milking
bread baking, cheesemaking, goat milking...

strawberry picking
strawberry picking, of course!

hay bale jump and meeting the goats
meeting the goats, and the other 'kid favorite': jumping off the straw bales!!

Dancin with Kuzanga
...and last but not least, dancing to Kuzanga Marimba after the potluck, as the sun fades (but no bonfire this year!)

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
I know this is a little out of my usual pattern, but I'm going to put a beet recipe in here this week, even though we're not getting beets in our box (though many of you, like me, probably still have beets in your fridge anyway). This is a recipe for that fabulous magenta beet dip that Radka Pleskacova has brought to our Summer Solstice potluck every year. This year I FINALLY definitively got the (verbal) recipe from her, and so wanted to put it into the newsletter before I lose it from my memory... especially since Radka will be moving away later this summer, so I won't have another chance! Thank you Radka, for repeating this to me enough times so that it finally stuck! - Debbie

Radka Pleskacova's Fabulous Magenta Summer Solstice Beet Dip
cooked, finely grated beets
cream cheese

The beets to cream cheese ratio is 50-50, so figure the equivalent of 2 good fist-sized beets (more if smaller) and 2 pkgs. cream cheese. And the mayonnaise portion is small, so for the above quantity of beets/cream cheese, figure about 1 tbsp. mayo. "Don't overdo the mayo," says Radka. Garlic, of course, is in the tastebuds of the beholder (betaster?), so add crushed (or finely minced) fresh garlic to your liking.

The only other salient bit of info Radka mentioned was that the beets should be cooked until done, but not until mushy. Then grate them very finely (i.e. don't use the coarse side of your grater).

Then it's just a matter of combining all the ingredients and refrigerating. I imagine you can use a hand grater and a bowl and a wooden spoon, or alternatively, your food processor, both to grate and to mix.

You can dip just about anything in this - bread, crackers, other cut up veggies; heck, I could see using it as a sandwich spread, with some spinach or lettuce tucked in for good measure... or how about one of those lavosh roll-ups? Lay out the lavosh (or a flour tortilla, in a pinch), spread with beet dip, layer in some spinach leaves and maybe thinly sliced cucumber... maybe some avocado? (I can't eat avocado, so I can't say for sure, but it sounds like it'd taste good in there). Then roll it up snugly and wrap in plastic (or maybe a cotton floursack towel or some waxed paper if you're anti-plastic) and refrigerate until firm, then slice crosswise into pinwheels. They'll be beautiful, for sure!

Gwen Toevs sent me this next recipe, which she claims helps to 'use up the backlog of squash in your fridge,' and then shortly thereafter Jennifer Black sent me additional 'zucchini' recipes (zucchini is a summer squash, so LEF summer squash can be used in any 'zucchini' recipe), so this should pretty much cover summer squash for a while! Jennifer also sent a lovely 'chard tart' recipe - if you came to the Solstice celebration, she made it as her potluck dish - so I'll include that below.

Calabacitas con Leche
"This is a traditional New Mexican dish from the cookbook 'Simply Simpatico'," says Gwen.

4 medium summer squash, thinly sliced
1/4 C of butter (I used half butter, half olive oil)
1 1/2 C corn cut off the cob [Trader Joes organic would work in a pinch]
1/2 thinly sliced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
dash pepper
1 4-oz. can of chopped green chilies
1 C milk
1/2 C grated cheddar cheese

Sauté squash in butter until almost soft. Reduce heat and add corn, onion, salt, pepper, and green chilies. Mix well. Add milk. Simmer until well blended (another 3-4 minutes). Add cheese and cover until cheese is melted.

This makes a great meal for any time of the day. It is normally a side dish, but if you fry a few eggs on top, you've got a full breakfast. If you heat some tortillas and a pot of beans you've got dinner. You could also throw on some shredded chicken or baked tofu, serve with sliced tomatoes [when we get them]. Yum!

Zucchini Tostadas
10 tostadas (available in Mexican section of grocery store) [These are basically crisped tortillas, which you can make yourself by frying corn or flour tortillas in oil until crispy, then draining on paper towels like you would bacon.]
8 C thinly sliced zucchini (about four medium, quartered lengthwise and sliced)
½ tsp. dried oregano
15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained [or maybe pinto beans?]
1 ¼ C salsa
Salt and pepper
4 C (about 12 oz.) grated cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the zucchini and oregano and sauté, tossing frequently, until the zucchini is crisp-tender, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the beans and salsa and toss to blend.  Season with salt and pepper.  
Using two baking sheets, place 4-5 tostadas on each sheet.  Spread one-tenth of the zucchini mixture on each tostada, then cover with one-tenth of the cheese.  Bake 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts and begins to bubble.
Zucchini Sticks (or homemade "shake-n-bake" zucchini)
3 medium zucchini
½ C wheat germ
½ C ground or finely chopped almonds
¼ C shredded Parmesan cheese
 ½ tsp. salt
 ¼ cup butter, melted
Cut zucchini into halves, then lengthwise into fourths.  Mix wheat germ, almonds, cheese, and salt in a ziplock plastic bag.  Roll several sticks in butter, then shake in bag until coated.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Chocolate Pecan Zucchini Bread
Jennifer says, "The chocolate flavor is not very strong, but this bread is so moist and delicious."
3 eggs
2 C sugar
1 C oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 C grated zucchini
3 C all-purpose flour (OK to use some white whole wheat flour)
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 C chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Beat eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until well-mixed.  Mix in zucchini.  Sift in dry ingredients and stir, then fold in pecans.  Bake in 2 greased and floured loaf pans at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.  Let cool before slicing.
Zucchini, cheddar and salsa omelet
2 tsp. olive oil
2 C thinly sliced zucchini
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ C mild or medium salsa (homemade or store-bought)
Black pepper
4 eggs
1 C (3 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the zucchini and oregano and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the salsa and black pepper and cook until the zucchini is just tender.  The mixture should not be watery-raise the heat and boil off any liquid if needed.
Lightly grease an omelet pan with some butter and heat over medium-high heat.  Pour in 2 well-beaten eggs.  Stir the eggs with a fork just until curds begin to form.  Tip the pan slightly to cause the liquid eggs to run to the sides.  Cook until set but lightly wet, about one minute total.
Place half the cheese on one side of the omelet.  Spoon on half of the zucchini mixture, then flip the omelet over to cover it.  Slide the omelet onto a serving plate.  Repeat to make another omelet.

Chard Tart
1 ¾ C all-purpose flour (OK to use some white whole wheat flour)
¾ tsp. salt
½ C olive oil
1/3 C cold milk or water
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk together flour and salt, then stir in oil and milk or water until thoroughly blended.  Press the dough into an 8x8 pan (no need to grease it).  Bake until the crust is set and lightly golden, 10-15 minutes.
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
1 lb. chard or other greens, washed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh basil, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 large eggs or 2 eggs and one egg white
1/3 C cream or half and half
1 C grated Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion and cook 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the chard and garlic and cook until the greens are tender.  Season with basil, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Combine eggs, cream, and cheese in a bowl and add the chard mixture.  Scrape the mixture into the prepared shell and spread evenly.  Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees.  Bake until the filling is golden and firm, 25-35 minutes.
Since we're on the subject of 'chard', here is a recipe that Kim Couder sent me for a chard frittata:

Fiesole Style Frittata (chard frittata)
From 'Cooking from an Italian Garden' by Paola Scaravelli
serves 6-8
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
about 1 lb. chard, washed , stems removed, and leaves roughly chopped
9 extra large eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Heat butter and oil in a large frying pan, (choose one with a lid that fits well) add garlic, and sauté over medium heat about 1 minute.  Add chard, mix well, cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Do not add water.
When chard is tender, distribute evenly to cover bottom of pan.  Beat the eggs very briefly, just enough to break yolks and partly combine them with the whites.  Pour the eggs on top of the chard.  Do not mix.  Season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to low, cover the pan.  Cook 5 minutes, then remove from heat, keeping the lid on the pan, and let sit until the eggs are firm, about 15 minutes.  The eggs should be cooked but not hard and dry.  Serve hot or room temp.

And lastly, if you ever make your own pizza like I do, you'll just have to try this combo - I made it last night and it was soooo delicious!

Debbie's Radicchio, Potato and Artichoke Heart Pizza

homemade dough for one pizza** (you could probably use a boboli in a pinch)
tomato sauce (home canned, if you have it!)
1 head radicchio, pan caramelized, with balsamic (see last week's newsletter for "Pan-Browned Radicchio" recipe)
2 medium potatoes, boiled or steamed whole, until just done, then cooled and sliced
Chopped fresh parsley and garlic (say, ¼ C parsley, 3 cloves garlic)
several artichoke hearts (Trader Joe's has 'em frozen in a bag)
Lots of mozarella cheese!

**if you would like the recipe I use to make homemade pizza dough, email me and I'll put it in next week's newsletter and update this recipe in the database.

Preheat your oven to 500 or more degrees, and stick a pizza stone in there if you have one. Haven't tried this, but I imagine a flat, cast-iron griddle would work if you don't have a pizza stone.

Sprinkle a generous amount of coarse cornmeal and flour onto a rimless cookie sheet (or pizza peel), so that your dough does not stick to it. Stretch and shape pizza dough into a big circle (you know, like pizza!) and lay it on top of the cornmeal/flour.

Prepare toppings: chop up the caramelized radicchio, slice the potatoes, chop the parsley and garlic, slice the artichoke hearts into wedges, grate the mozarella.

Spread tomato sauce, then lay on the radicchio, potatoes (I like to sprinkle in a little salt here), parsley-garlic mixture; scatter artichoke hearts on top, then cover all with a generous amount of grated mozarella cheese.

Slide pizza from peel (or cookie sheet) onto hot pizza stone and bake 10 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is brown and bubbly! Yummo!!!

Calendar of Events
For details on events listed below, please Click here to go to the calendar page 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

Apricot U-pick - Saturday July 5th, 10am - 5pm. $2/lb. Bring your own bags!

Children's Mini-Camp
- July 11th - 13th (**sold out**)

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

Fine Farm Feast - postponed to 2009

Fall Harvest Celebration - later in October (date TBA) �
Quick Links...

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