LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
25th Harvest Week, Season 13
September 22nd - 28th, 2008
in this issue
What's in the box this week
The Hearth at the Heart of Community and Tradition
How Lucky We Are!
Farm to School Champion
Winter Share and Next Season ...the process
Winter Share Details
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
Calendar of Events

Mother Earth
The mother of us all,
the oldest of all,
splendid as rock
Whatever there is that is of the land
it is she who nourishes it.
It is the Earth that I sing.

-Homer (taken from "The Sacred Balance" by David Suzuki)

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
Apples (will be inside your box)
Red beets
Green beans +
Kale or basil
Lettuce ("Little gem" romaine)
Sweet peppers +
Summer squash or cucumbers
Bag of red slicing tomatoes +
Heirloom tomatoes (remember: these are packed outside your box! See next to your name on the checklist for how many to take.)

Small Share
Apples (will be inside your box)
Red beets
Green beans
Sweet peppers
Summer squash or cucumbers
Bag of red slicing tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes (remember: these are packed outside your box! See next to your name on the checklist for how many to take.)

Extra Fruit
(always see checklist at your pickup site for final quantities)
Apples, pears or grapes, and either strawberries or raspberries

Fruit Bounty
(always see checklist at your pickup site for final quantities)
Apples, pears or grapes, and either strawberries or raspberries
The Hearth at the Heart of Community and Tradition

Seven years ago, our good friend and CSA member Charles Limbach inspired, organized, and helped build a community cob-oven to bake bread and pizzas on the farm. For those who don't know cob, it's a traditional building technique using earth mixed with water, straw and sand, i.e. mud.  With Debbie's artistic sculpting expertise (yes, THE Debbie who makes sure you get your shares every week) the oven took on a beautiful lizard-dragon shape, nicknamed Toastie. Toastie was so inspiring that "yours truly" almost stopped being a farmer for a season by offering the farms first breadshare, baking more than 50 loaves every week (I must have been young or delusional at the time, probably both).  Over the years,Toastie's specialty of baking irresistible bread and turning freshly harvested food into delicious handmade pizzas has tempted even the most skeptical and ardent vegetable nay-sayers.  Many children have come to appreciate the full circle of food, from 'Field to Fork' and experienced that the "dirt" between our toes can grow food, as well as turn into sculpted structures that help transform food into tasty and nourishing meals.  After hundreds of firings and baking sessions, Toastie is starting to show serious signs of breakdown. As we baked another round of pizzas this weekend, it felt timely to host a community event that would initiate the birthing of a new cob-oven (still unnamed).
Once again, under Charles' guidance, a group of friends and CSA members came, willing  to get their hands and feet dirty, digging for clay, screening horse manure, stomping and mixing batches of cob, and sculpting the Farms next new hearth.  Thank you all who were here this weekend and who made this such a fun and memorable event. Next time, maybe for the Harvest Celebration, we invite everyone to witness the baking and hopefully taste the first slices of warm nourishing loaves of bread. Yumm!

How Lucky We Are - Reflections from Jessica Ridgeway (LEF's Discovery        
                                 Program Coordinator)


I think Tom said it best when he sat on the new cob bench in progress, overlooking the Green Valley below, after two full days of oven building, "we forget how lucky we are to have this view and work out here every day."  Some might disagree, calling how we spent our weekend work.  As you can see from the photos, there was plenty of dancing, singing, laughing, resting, and friend making happening during the sweat and toil. 

We started the project in our minds weeks ago, educating ourselves on the art of cob, pouring over books and websites, mining the minds of experts, and participating in hands-on training.  A few weeks ago, we began site planning and building models all by community process.  A week ago, top soil was removed from our chosen site, then a layer of clay, the cement was poured and an urbanite base was built.  In the days leading up to the Fall Equinox Cob Campout we sorted and soaked clay, we moved piles of sand and we hauled hay.  On the morning of Saturday September 20, we made the final preparations for the arrival of ten families who would learn to build a cob oven, donate their time and resources to the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program, and work and play hard with us all weekend long.

Everybody enjoyed stomping in the clay and sand mud, eventually.  Elisa, Tom and Constance's four year old daughter took the longest to warm up to the idea.  On Saturday afternoon she joined us adorned in a pink dress.  She did not have any interest in getting as dirty as we already were.  However, by Sunday morning the dress was gone, with leggings, a tee shirt, and baseball hat in its place.  Elisa was hokey pokeying in the mud with the greatest enthusiasm complete with shrieks and squeals of delight.  When the kids weren't stomping the mud or up to their elbows in applying it to the counters, they were off exploring the farm, making cider and lemonade for the adults, milking the goats, picking berries and apples, building pizzas and forts, and conquering piles of hay bales with glee.

By Sunday evening we were down to a small crew made up of Gillian, Tom, Debbie, Ken and myself.  We finished that oven with a smooth layer of plaster, ready to be decorated.  Maybe Debbie will add that decorative layer during the Harvest Celebration so we can all witness her artistry in progress.  Thank you to all of the families who participated.  You not only had a part in building our Toasty II, you also had a part in building the stability of the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program.  More children will have the opportunity to experience the blessings of the farm thanks to your generosity.

Farm to School Champion Training
CAFF's Farm To School logoAttention parents of children in the Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay areas: Saturday October 18th, CAFF (Community Alliance with Family Farmers) is hosting an interactive training for parents interested in promoting Farm to School programs at their schools. Find out how you can make a difference in this important area. The event will happen at a local farm in Watsonville (not Live Earth Farm). Kids are welcome and will do fun farm activities at the pumpkin patch while adults learn. A farm fresh lunch will be provided, and there will be a raffle and live music. Cost is $10 for adults; kids free. Look for a postcard in your CSA box this week for more details, or you can email or call Ildi at CAFF: 831.761.8507 ildi@caff.org.
Winter Shares and Next Season... the process
Hi everyone, Debbie here! I'm starting to get queries from members and non-members alike about Winter Shares ("Are you having one? Can I sign up for it?"), and also about next year's Regular Season ("When can I sign up for it?), so it's time to bring you all up to speed!

But before I do, I want to clarify something: both existing members AND waitlisters receive this newsletter. Since the process and timeframe for signup is NOT the same for everyone, please keep your status (i.e. member vs. waitlister) in mind as you read on. Thanks!!!

First: YES! We are going to have a Winter Share!! But alas dear waitlisters, the Winter Share is only available to existing members (because of their limited quantity), so you will have to wait until you have been a member for a season before you can sign up for our Winter Share.

Second: How? When??
Existing members: notification for BOTH the Winter Share signup AND Early Registration for 2009 will be combined in one email. So even if you are not interested in our Winter Share, you will still want to respond to the "Early Registration" portion of this email if you want a share for the 2009 Regular Season. (If you are new to us this year, please note our policy is that everyone needs to re-sign up each year for their share; you are not automatically a member for next season just because you were a member this season.)

The 'existing member' notification email will go out to everyone the beginning of October, and you will have a month to sign up for what you want before we open up the 'Early Registration' portion of our signup process to the folks on our waiting list... which brings us to

Waitlisters: notification for Early Registration for 2009 will be emailed to you starting in November, and will be sent out (as much as possible) in the order in which I received your request to be on our waiting list, and I will take signups until we are full. In the event that we sell out before you are able to get a share, we will move you to a different waiting list: the one we will go to in the event anyone drops out for any reason. Thank you for your understanding in this matter; the demand has been very high, and I am working very hard to take care of as many of you as I can, so please bear with me!

Third: How much money will I have to shell out when, and how will it work?

You will need to pay for your Winter Share in full upon signup [details below], but only a deposit of $200 is needed with Early Registration to secure your 2009 share (and there is a $50 co-deposit for each option you add to your share). I will email everyone their 'balance due' emails for the Regular Season after the first of the year. Like last year, you will have the option to pay either by credit card or check. Everything will be explained in that all-important notification email, so keep an eye out for it in October (existing members) or November (waitlisters)!

I have updated all the prices for next year's share on our website and we have a few new policies, so do check it out if you haven't been in awhile! I recommend reading "Cost and Policies" under "Becoming A Member" at the very least. [Sorry, but because our website uses frames, I can't give you the link to individual pages without losing the menu on the left.] OH and one more thing - our 2009 season will be 34 weeks long (one week more than this year). We'll be starting the first week of April, instead of the second.

Winter Share Details
We are very excited about our upcoming Winter Shares! We've added a few pick-up sites, and increased the number of shares from 200 to 300. In addition to the regular winter season fruit and veggies, we'll have something special every week: we'll have canned tomatoes and basil again (from LEF veggies, canned by Happy Girl Kitchen) - if you got a winter share last year you'll remember how delicious they were! - and new this year... fruit preserves!! When we were flush with fruit this summer Tom was thinking ahead, and had many of them 'put up' for the winter. Erin Justus of Companion Bakers will continue to offer her Bread Share, and we'll have Jim Dunlop's (TLC Ranch) pasture-raised eggs as well (eggs and bread will be separate options, i.e. not included in the share). For all the details about cost, pick-up locations and schedule, please click here or go to the "winter" page on our website.
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to recipe database.

I have several new recipes that members have sent me, so how about we jump right in? - Debbie

First, this from Ignacio "Nacho" Martin-Bradgado:

Gazpacho Español
Nacho says, "Here's a summer recipe that uses exactly the ingredients that the farm is producing now: tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers! This is a version I copied from my grandmother, and I have changed it a little for my personal taste. As with most traditional recipes, it is complicated to know which one is the 'authentic' one. In any case, here it is, my personal version of Gazpacho from Andalusia, Spain."

5 big ripe tomatoes
1 or 2 red sweet peppers
2 regular cucumbers or half an Armenian one
good quality Spanish olive oil
red wine vinegar
half an onion
1 garlic clove
(optional bread)
(optional ice)
(optional lemon juice)

The recipe is very simple: All the raw ingredients have to be blended until a thick liquid is formed. Once blended, put it in the fridge for a while, since it is better to have it cold. Nevertheless some suggestions might be useful:
* It has to be red. If it is not, add more tomato.
* Garlic, vinegar and salt: add according to your particular taste. Same goes with lemon juice, however the vinegar adds a very interesting taste, so I feel it is almost indispensable. [I'm in agreement with Nacho: there's something about the red wine vinegar that makes the soup 'just right'. Don't leave it out.]
* Depending how thick you like it, you might want to add bread (thicker) or ice/water (lighter/thinner)
* Blending everything at once is not that easy because the peppers are difficult to blend. Usually it helps to blend the tomatoes and onions first along with some olive oil and vinegar. It should look very "liquid". After that, it is easy to add the rest of ingredients. [In my experience, cutting up the peppers into smallish, relatively uniformly-sized pieces helps.]
* If the gazpacho tastes too "pepper", add more cucumber.
* Once done, some people like to serve it with croutons and additional diced peppers and finely chopped onions.

Member Lisa Bautista often sends me recipes from the New York Times; here's one for yet another Spanish dish: Pisto Manchego with Eggs. "Pisto is Spain's ratatouille, a savory mixture of summer squash, onions, garlic and tomatoes usually cooked down until the squash falls apart. This very traditional dish might also include chorizo and peppers. You can serve it as a side dish without the eggs, but with them it makes a great supper." It is basically a saucy dish in which eggs are poached, and looks delicious! But rather than copy the whole recipe here, I'll just give you the link so you can go directly there and see for yourself! Click on the recipe title to get there:

Pisto Manchego with Eggs

Maria Cardenas forwarded two recipes from NPR's website, for Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers and Garlic-Toasted Quinoa with Vegetables. Again, click on the linked title to see original recipes, then come back for Marie's "LEF-style improvements."

Marie says, "I have cooked Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers and Garlic-Toasted Quinoa with Vegetables, tweaked both LEF-style! I hope someone finds these recipes helpful. Thank you for keeping us healthy and happy by providing us with organic fruits and veggies!"

First, she says, "I always wash quinoa before cooking." [I want to emphasize Marie's mention of this step: I thought once that I could not quinoa, because I had a bad gastric reaction. But then I learned quinoa often has some sort of powder or coating and THAT was what I was having problems with. Rinse/wash the quinoa first - problem solved!]

Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers: [Marie's variation] I used peppers from the share. I diced some potatoes and tomatoes from the farm into small pieces instead of yellow squash and cherry tomatoes, respectively. I replaced pine nuts with walnuts, and dried basil also works if fresh is not available. You can add a can of tuna to the leftover stuffing and have it together with the stuffed peppers.

Garlic-Toasted Quinoa with Vegetables: [Marie's variation] After browning the garlic, I added small pieces of chicken until cooked.  Then I added the quinoa and cooked stirringly for about 3mins until lightly toasted but not completely brown, then I added water.  I then added the diced potatoes while the quinoa was cooking.  When the quinoa was almost cooked, I added green beans in lieu of asparagus. You can pretty much use any greens in this recipe, I have used mustard greens for example.  I did not use shiitake mushrooms as I did not have any, and I used walnuts instead of almonds.

And this from member Carol Locke:

Zucchini Hummus
This is Carol's niece's recipe, "with special regards to all raw foodies. Any summer squash is fine, I'm sure," says Carol.
1 heaping C zucchini, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
½ C tahini
2 tbsp. olive or sesame oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cumin  (I tried dried coriander. . . or why not fresh cilantro?)
1 or 2 large garlic cloves
Combine in blender and process until thick and creamy.  Use a bit of water if necessary
In my blender it's a good idea to put the garlic through the press first to avoid big pieces in the finished product.  Or mash the garlic with the salt before adding to the rest.  The salt helps.

From member Laurel Pavesi, who says, "here's my friend's recipe for eggplant and it is yummy!  The key is to cook it a long time and the dusting of sugar. I used our Poblano peppers from last week and they added a little kick! If you don't have parsley, don't worry. I made mine without it and it was still great."
Imam Bayildi (Stuffed Eggplant)
1 onion, sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C parsley, chopped
2 medium eggplant
pinch of sugar

Sauté onion, tomato, peppers, and garlic in a small amount of olive oil until they begin to wilt.

Cut eggplant into quarters, lengthwise.  Make a slit from the peak almost to the skin, to form a pocket.  Brown in olive oil until the eggplant begins to soften enough to open the pocket.  Stuff with the vegetable mixture.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Place side by side in a large baking dish.  Add 2 C water to dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until browned and tender.  Check while baking to be sure water doesn't all evaporate.

Serve warm or cold with a spoonful of plain yogurt on top.

And lastly, two different tomato recipes just sent in from Mary Murphy (also links). The links are nice because they have pictures too (and I checked them out and they look fabulous!):

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Basil (from the blog 'Mental Masala')


Slow Roasted Tomatoes (from the blog 'I Heart Farms')

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

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

Fall "Five Fridays" Mataganza Garden Internship - Oct 24 and 31, Nov 7, 14, 21
Cost: $50; email Brian Barth for more info, or call him at (831) 566-3336

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
Quick Links...

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