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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
18th Harvest Week, Season 13
August 4th - 10th, 2008
in this issue
What's in the box this week
The farm never stands still... especially in summer
What the heck are "caneberries"??
Reflections and Perceptions from Gillian and Arminda
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
Calendar of Events
"To live is not enough, we must take part." -Pablo Casals
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
Arugula +
Cauliflower (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Kale, Red Russian
Peppers (sweet) +
Potatoes +
Eggplant (Weds shares)
Tomatoes (Thurs shares)
Strawberries (see checklist for quantities)*
Caneberries (see checklist for quantities)

Small Share
Cauliflower (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Kale, Lacinato "Dinosaur"
Peppers (sweet)
Summer squash
Strawberries (see checklist for quantities)
Caneberries (see checklist for quantities)

Extra Fruit Option
Strawberries, caneberries, and plums/apples! (see checklist for quantities)

Fruit "Bounty" Option
Strawberries and caneberries (see checklist for quantity)*

*FYI the upper right-hand corner of the checklist at your pick-up site clarifies how much of each fruit item is associated with each part of your share combination. Under your name is listed your particular share combination.

Remember to ONLY take the amount and type of fruit listed next to your name.
The farm never stands still...especially in summer.
sunset in the oaktreeTo take a break is especially rewarding when upon returning one feels like there is no place like being back home on the farm, on this land. In the short period I was gone it's amazing how much growth took place, and how much work was accomplished. The tomatoes, the green beans, and eggplants are all on the verge of coming into full production, this week the family shares are getting a sampler of tomatoes or eggplants, next week tomatoes and green beans are going to be in all the shares, whereas eggplants we'll be alternating between shares from one week to the next.  It's so amazing to experience the enourmous growth and evolving dynamic of this land, the first apples have been picked signaling the beginning of what is always the largest seasonal fruit harvest of the year, pears and apples. At the same time we are preparing the fields for all the fall plantings while the raspberries are starting to come into peak production. It's summer, the effort to keep up with the demanding rythym of the farm is enormous and I am so grateful to all who allowed me to sneek away with the family at this time of year. tomatoes
What the heck are "caneberries"??
Sorry for the confusion folks: 'caneberries' is simply the generic term for blackberries and raspberries (i.e. they both grow on a cane, as opposed to on a bushy plant like strawberries, or on a vine like grapes). So if you see the word 'caneberries' next to your name on the checklist, it just means you can take from whichever type of caneberry we happened to have dropped off at your pick-up site that particular week.

Since we rarely have enough of each kind of berry to give everyone the same thing on the same day (and since, as you know, I need to be clear on the checklists as to how much of each thing you are supposed to take), I use the generic term. Trust me; if I could I would use the phrase "blackberries OR raspberries"... but unfortunately it is too long to fit properly in the reports.

Also, since the reports and packing lists are generally printed out before the berries are actually picked, we don't know until the last minute how many baskets of each type of berry we are going to have. But this is a hidden benefit to you, the member, because the later we harvest them, the fresher they are when they come to you! ;-)

- Debbie

Reflections and Perceptions from Gillian and Arminda
The beautiful pictures in the last newsletters are Gillian's and together with her and Arminda's reflections this week show how perceptions and experiences in a natural environment like the farm are unique for each one of us. - Tom
Hi Everyone. Gillian here. I thought I'd write a little something this week about my farm intern experience thus far. I started living and working here in April and will be staying through the end of October. This is my first time farming. Prior to this, my experience with gardening and food production could be measured in square feet! I have been learning a ton: harvesting, sowing seeds, taking care of the chickens, working on irrigation, helping Jessica with farm tours. You name it, I've been trying it out. (I have yet to drive a tractor, but it's on my list!) I came to Live Earth to learn about organic food production and how to organize a CSA program in order to work on urban and suburban farming up in the Bay Area, using permaculture design principles. Prior to moving to the farm, I was a program manager at UC Berkeley. At a desk, on the computer all day . . . very different.
and from Arminda: I have been a live-in apprentice at Live Earth Farm for two and a half whole weeks now, and think I'm finally starting to settle in. I must say the first couple of days of getting up early - I'm not normally a morning person - and doing manual labor in the heat had me a bit worried about what I had gotten myself in to. After those first few days, however, I started to really feel the benefits of the work. It is hard to put into words how amazing it is to be in a visual setting like LEF, outside doing things like sowing seeds or harvesting basil. "Serene", "meditative", and "satisfied" are some words that come to mind. Although I'm exhausted by the end of the day, the hard manual labor and even unpleasant tasks most often leave a sense of accomplishment. Perks like all the amazing organic produce you can eat aren't so bad either.

And then there's probably the largest benefit of all: sustainable agriculture. About a year ago, when at a crossroads, knowing that I wanted to pursue sustainability, but not knowing how, I came across the concept of permaculture. I was excited to see a real 3D way that sustainability was being implemented in such a closed-loop, where so many aspects in a human system were taken into consideration. I knew it was definitely something I wanted to pursue and first came to LEF through Brian Barth's one-day-a-week permaculture internship. When I heard about the live-in farm apprenticeship, I thought it would be a good opportunity to gain experience and learn about CSAs and sustainable agriculture.

I have a BS in Wildlife Biology, have done some non-profit animal rights work, and have worked in the food service industry since my very first job. I have a passion for raw/living foods and giving people amazing tasting food that makes them feel great. So I guess combining my passions for food and sustainability, you naturally get sustainable agriculture.

I also have a passion for travel and hope to use my skills while traveling, helping communities to become as self-sustainable as possible... then eventually do the same in my own community by organizing a community garden, neighborhood food exchange, CSA, or something of that nature. Teaching others about sustainable food production and healthy food preparation will probably be in my future as well.  All in all, I'm happy to have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and experience that LEF can provide, and want to thank the CSA members for taking conscious action in choosing local, organic food!

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen

Click here to go to recipe database.

Ooh, the season is changing -- get ready for eggplant, tomatoes and green beans! Although only some of us will be getting the very first of the eggplant and tomatoes this week (and green beans are imminent), please be patient... we're ALL going to get lots of these goodies in the coming weeks! I also see we're getting the Italian Lacinato or "dinosaur" kale for the first time this season (what we've been getting up until now has been the purple-tinged Red Russian kale). Click here if you want to see the difference. [last minute addition: only the Small shares are getting the Lacinato this week]

Let's see, I don't have a particular theme this week, so I'll just give you a nice variety of recipes! How's that? In no particular order...

First, this from member Susan Machado, a "master recipe" that can be used with many different veggies.

Italian Potatoes and Kale
from "Lidia's Italian American Table"
Makes 4 servings.

Susan says, "The thing to remember is the proportion of 40% potato to 60% vegetable. It is similar to colcannon but with a twist. I serve it as a side dish or topped with a fried egg for light meal. Yummy and very satisfying."

1 large potato (about 6 oz) - you can substitute equal amount of new potatoes
1 large bunch kale**, cleaned, de-ribbed, and sliced into large strips (I use more if I have it)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil - plus more for drizzling over cooked veggies
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

Peel large potato and cut crosswise into 1 1/2 inch pieces.  (If using new potatoes, scrub and either peel or leave skin on and cut in half.)  Pour enough cold water over potato in large saucepan to cover by 3 inches.  Bring to boil over high heat, lower the heat slightly to a gentle boil and cook 8 minutes.  New potatoes can take longer - up to 20-25 minutes.  Cook potatoes until tender.  Stir in the kale and cook until both are tender about 5-8 minutes.

Drain the vegetables well in colander.  Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Saute garlic until golden, about 1 minute.  Slide the drained veggies into skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and mashing the potatoes to the desired consistency.  Drizzle additional oil into the veggies and mix before serving.

**Spinach, Swiss chard, Savoy [Chinese] cabbage, green cabbage, or string beans can be used instead of kale.  You can also add some red pepper flakes when browning the garlic.  Make a nice soup with any leftovers adding chicken broth or even water to dilute.  Add some cannellini beans, fresh rosemary and top with grated parmesan or romano cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

Since the plums this week are prune plums, here is a recipe given me a few years back by member Farrell Podgorsek. She says it is her favorite recipe to bake with them, and that it is "outstanding and easy."

Plum Tart
modified from a recipe by Joan Nathan in "Jewish Holiday Cooking"
makes one 10" tart

1 1/2 C flour
pinch of salt
1/2 C butter
2 tbsp. sherry (use any type of DRINKING sherry, never use cooking sherry, which has salt)
1 tbsp. water

1 1/2 pounds prune plums, quartered and pitted
1/4 C sugar
zest of one lemon
1 tbsp. flour if plums are very juicy
2 tsp. of sherry
1/3 C currant jelly

Mix flour and salt together. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Add sherry and enough water just so dough holds together.  Pat dough into a 10" tart pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Mix plums, sugar, lemon zest and flour together in a bowl. Spread crust with currant jelly. Place plums, cut side up around in circle on crust so that each overlaps the other and forms a spiral in the center.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Farrell's notes: The original recipe was as a pie with a 9-inch pie plate and 3 pounds plums.  You can also use port and orange zest in place of the lemon zest and sherry. The recipe works best with prune plums, since they can be pitted easily, are very meaty, and are not as juicy as other varieties.

Many of us are getting raspberries these days, and this is a delicious recipe I've made a couple times. Note that it can be made with blackberries or blueberries as well!

Raspberry lemon pudding cake
from "Moosewood Restaurant New Classics"
serves 6

When they bake, pudding cakes magically separate into a cakey layer and a custardy pudding layer. This pudding cake is easy to make, and if you prefer, blackberries or blueberries will work fine in place of the raspberries. For an elegant presentation, run a paring knife around the outside of the baking cups, invert the cakes onto beautiful plates, and serve topped with fresh berries.

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice [remember to grate and reserve the lemon peel before juicing]
2 tsp. cornstarch
12 oz. (1 1/2 to 2 C) fresh or frozen raspberries
1 C sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 C buttermilk
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 C unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil six ovenproof custard cups or six 8-ounce ramekins. Place the cups in a 2-inch-deep baking pan. Begin to heat water to add to the pan just before baking.

In a bowl, combine the lemon juice with the cornstarch. Add the raspberries and 1/2 C of the sugar and toss lightly. In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer or a whisk, beat the egg whites until stiff. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and buttermilk with the remaining 1/2 C sugar. Beat in the lemon peel, vanilla, salt, flour, and baking powder. Gently stir in the raspberry mixture, then fold in the beaten egg whites.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared cups. Pour very hot water into the baking pan until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until puffed, firm on top, and golden, 40 to 50 minutes.

Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Here's a quickie salad I made up the other day...

Arugula and carrot salad with raspberries
Nothing to it really; just toss together clean, dried (torn, if big) arugula leaves and grated carrot with your favorite balsamic dressing and serve on plates with a scattering of raspberries!

Click here for a blurb from last year's newsletter on salad dressings if you want to make your own (FYI you have to scroll down the page to get to it).

And now a succession of recipes from my clippings file, ones I've kept because I found them to either have interesting flavor combinations or techniques for using veggies we get in our boxes...

Sauteed cauliflower with green olives and tomatoes
[unfortunately this is a xerox of a clipping, so I have lost the source]
[alert member Lisa Silberman wrote me identifying the source as Marcella Hazan's "Marcella Cucina"]
makes 4 servings

1 head cauliflower, about 1 1/2 lbs.
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/3 C very thinly chopped onion
16 green olives in brine, pitted and quartered
Black pepper ground fresh
1 C really ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled raw, seeds scooped away and cut into fine dice

Trim away the cauliflower's green leaves and wash it in cold water. Choose a saucepan that can amply contain the whole cauliflower head, fill it three-quarters full with water, and bring the water to a boil. Drop in the cauliflower and cook until it feels very tender when tested with a fork, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and, as soon as the cauliflower is cool enough to handle, cut it into pieces about 1 1/2 inches big.

Put the olive oil and the chopped onion in a 10- or 12-inch skillet, and turn the heat on to medium high. Cook the onion, stirring once or twice until it becomes a pale gold color, then add the cut-up cauliflower, the olives, salt and a liberal grinding of black pepper.

Cook over heat for 2 to 3 minutes, occasionally turning over the contents of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the diced tomato, turn all the ingredients over, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so. Serve at once when done.

Tequila-braised kale (vegan)
a 2005 SJ Merc clipping, from "The Spirited Vegetarian" by Paulette Mitchell
serves 4

1/2 C dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 C boiling water
1/3 C tequila
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 medium sweet onion, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 1 C)
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 bunch dinosaur kale, stemmed (if necessary) and coarsely chopped
1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Combine sun-dried tomatoes and boiling water in small bowl. Soak about 10 minutes, or until softened. Drain, reserving liquid. Use kitchen scissors to cut tomatoes into matchstick strips.

To make braising liquid, combine tequila, vinegar and tomato liquid in a small bowl.

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add cumin seeds and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.

Add kale and stir until coated with oil. Add braising liquid, tomatoes and chickpeas. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until kale is tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with couscous, if you like.

Pasta with blanched-and-buttered carrots, garlic and mixed fresh herbs
another Merc clipping (from 2000) from "Pasta Verdura" by Jack Bishop
serves 4

8 medium carrots (about 1 lb.)
Salt to taste, plus 1 tsp.
1 C tightly packed mixed fresh herb leaves such as oregano, thyme, marjoram, chives, basil, mint and tarragon
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. fusili or other short, curly pasta

Bring 4 cups salted water to a boil for pasta. Bring several quarts salted water to boil in medium saucepan. Peel carrots and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Boil until tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Wash and pat dry herbs. Leave smaller leaves whole; shred or chop larger leaves. Set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet. When it foams, add garlic and saute over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in herbs and the 1 tsp. salt.
While preparing sauce, cook and drain pasta, making sure some liquid still clings to noodles. Toss hot pasta with carrot sauce.

Indian Potato Salad
an un-dated Merc clipping from "Salads" by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern
serves 4

1/2 C peanut oil or ghee, divided use
1 tbsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp. cumin seeds
1/2 cinnamon stick, crushed
1 dried red chile, crushed
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp. turmeric
1 lb. potatoes, cut into chunks
2 red onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Handful of cilantro, torn
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat 1/4 C of the oil in a large skillet, add the mustard and cumin seeds, cinnamon, chile and cardamom. Stir-fry until aromatic, then stir in the turmeric. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup water and boil until the liquid has evaporated and the potatoes are tender. Add more water if necessary.

Sprinkle half the chopped onions over the top and add the cilantro. Heat the remaining 1/4 C oil in a small skillet, add the remaining onion and the garlic, and saute until golden. Pour over the potatoes and toss to coat. Top with the torn cilantro and serve.

Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
from an undated clipping... Bon Appetit, I think!
serves 6

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
1 large red onions, halved, thinly sliced
3 large sweet peppers, multi-colored if possible [they of course want you to have 'one red, one yellow and one green' pepper, but heck, just use whatcha got!]
1 1-lb eggplant, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 lb. yellow squash (about 2 medium) cut into 1/3-inch rounds
1/2 lb. zucchini [or other green summer squash]
Coarse kosher salt

Whisk vinegar and mustard in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Stir in garlic, thyme, and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss onions and rest of veggies in a large bowl; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Add dressing; toss to coat. Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Roast until vegetables are tender and slightly brown around edges, about 35 minutes.

For details on events listed below, please Click here to go to the calendar page on our website.

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

Fine Farm Feast - postponed to 2009

Fall Harvest Celebration - Saturday Oct. 11th (more details as it gets closer!)

Banana Slug String Band Benefit Concert for our very own up-and-coming nonprofit, the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program - Saturday Nov. 22, 11am and 1pm at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz
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farm phone: (831) 763.2448
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