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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
29th Harvest Week, Season 13
October 20th - 26th, 2008
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Farmer Tom goes to Terra Madre in Italy!
More on life as a Live Earth Farm apprentice
Food as a National Security Issue
Survey reminder
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
Calendar of Events
"A global food market ... has smudged the bright colors of the seasonal food calendar we all once knew by heart. ... [Contrast that with] the virtues of local agriculture, the pleasures of eating by the season, and the superior quality of exceptionally fresh food grown with care and without chemicals."

- excerpt from The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
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)
Arugula +
Napa cabbage
Celery (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Collard greens
Lacinato (dinosaur) kale
Sweet peppers +
Hot peppers (Jalapeño or Anaheim) - these will be included with a different item in your share. They will NOT be mixed in with the sweet peppers.
French breakfast radishes
Bag of red slicing tomatoes +

Small Share
Apples (will be inside your box)
Celery (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Collard greens
Sweet peppers
Hot peppers (Jalapeño or Anaheim) - these will be included with a different item in your share. They will NOT be mixed in with the sweet peppers.
French breakfast radishes
Bag of red slicing tomatoes

Extra Fruit
Bag of apples, bag of pears, basket of strawberries

Fruit Bounty "Extension"
Bag of apples, bag of pears, basket of strawberries

Farmer Tom goes to Terra Madre in Italy!
The Terra Madre bi-annual conference in Torino, Italy is nothing short of the greatest gathering of small farmers from around the world celebrating food. Coordinated by Slow Food, this year's gathering will probably have 6000 people in attendance... 5000 of them farmers!! This fertile, cross-pollination of minds and ideas brings together farmers, cooks, academics and youth from around the world. Stay tuned for more on this subject from Farmer Tom - either in bulletins from Italy as events unfold, or most certainly when he returns!

Meanwhile, so that Tom can focus his attentions on getting ready for Terra Madre (by the time you receive this newsletter, he'll be on his way!), our farm apprentice, Arminda has volunteered to write another story about her experiences on the farm. Next week, while Tom is still gone, Gillian (our other apprentice) will share some fun stuff for Halloween week!

More on life as a Live Earth Farm apprentice
by Arminda White
One of my daily chores has been taking care of Live Earth Farm's goats. Along with the changing of the season, they are getting in their winter coats and changing colors. In this picture, Blanca is stretching up saying "brush me!" and you might be able to see the black spots coming in on her side.Blanca looking for attention The young males are getting longer hair on the back of their necks and chins (see picture below). Now is also the time when the females begin to go into estrus, triggered by the decreased length of daylight. In preparation for breeding we have started to slow down their milk production by milking them less frequently, because as long as they are lactating they are producing hormones that make it harder for them to become pregnant - so we must stop their milk production before breeding. Also in preparation for breeding, we have to decide our future purpose for the herd and the milk so we know how many, and which goats, we want to breed.

I was interested to learn that goats were the first animal to be domesticated in 9,000 BC in India. Neolithic farmers began to keep them for easy access to milk and meat, primarily, but also for their dung, which was used as fuel and their bones, hair, and sinew for clothing, building, and tools. Goat milk is the most commonly ingested milk in the world, and the fats and proteins in it are more easily digested and assimilated by the human body than cow's milk

back and neck scruff on young billy goatIt has also been interesting watching the herd interact and evolve. Dominance is normally determined by the eldest goat, but they still compete quite heavily for it. Fawn was Live Earth Farm's first goat and has always been the most dominant, but she has recently retired her rank to Ivy, the next oldest goat. Fawn had a slight limp for a while, probably as a result of a game of dominance, and must have realized she was no longer able to withstand the physical demands of competition. But from what I've heard, Fawn certainly had her day, so don't feel too bad about her stepping down. I think "anything goes" are the rules of the goat herd, and once you enter the goat pen, you become one of the herd. They do not mind stepping on your feet, pushing you out of their way, jumping on you, or head butting you if you are small enough for them to think they can prove their dominance over you.

They do have another side to them, though. They are very affectionate, and intensely inquisitive in nature: they will explore anything new or unfamiliar in their surroundings. They primarily investigate the world around them with their prehensile lip and tongue, which is how they got their reputation for eating anything in sight. From personal experience, I can tell you that they definitely love to eat veggies and alfalfa, and have tried nibbling on my hair and clothes, but do not actually eat anything that isn't really food.

Food as a National Security Issue
My favorite author and journalist, Michael Pollan, has done it again. He has brilliantly summed up America's food situation (and the course we need to take) in an open letter to the next president of the United States. If you want to understand who we are and what we are trying to do on this farm, as a part of the larger scheme of things, read Michael's letter. It covers everything. - Debbie

Survey reminder
Last Friday (Oct 17) we emailed a short but important survey to every CSA member. Thank you to everyone who's participated so far: results have been coming in (we've heard from about half of you), but we would like to hear from the rest of you too. We want to encourage as much participation in this survey as possible, as it pertains to how we may be changing the way we operate our CSA in the future, so our members' input matters.

The deadline for responding to the survey is next Friday, Oct. 31st. It will only take you 5 minutes at most. If you are a member of our CSA and did not receive the email, please contact Debbie at the farm and she will re-send it to you.

We hope to report on the results of our survey to everyone in this newsletter before the end of the season!

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

Well according to Tom we will be having a break from beets probably through the end of the season, so a couple beet recipes people have sent me recently will have to wait until their next appearance. Tom mentioned we may see sugar snap peas before the season's over, and with luck we'll also get some of those fabulous Brussels sprouts the last week of the CSA - in time for putting into everyone's Thanksgiving dinner plans! What we are getting this week is fairly similar to what we've been getting the last couple weeks, with only a few minor changes, so I'm just gonna hunt through my clippings and cookbooks for new recipes to share. The good news is that this week's arugula shouldn't be quite so 'baby'... last week's was harvested a little too early! - Debbie

Collard Greens
I remember reading somewhere that the trick to braising collard greens is long, slow cooking. So I went on the internet and found this: "The traditional way to cook them is to boil or simmer them slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a long time (which tempers their tough texture and smoothes out their bitter flavor) until they are very soft." That would explain why, in my early years of experimenting with cooking, I learned that 'stir-fried collards' did not work! Bitter and tough. You live, you learn... and I try to pass along what I learn to you!

Here's a link to the page where I got the above quote - it's got a lot of very interesting information about Collards [History and Recipe of Collard Greens]. The recipe included there is for the very traditional Southern-style 'mess o' greens', if you're interested.

Meanwhile, this recipe here, as usual, is from Bon Appetit - the October 08 issue, actually! (usually they're not so current) - and of course I've messed with it a little. But you'll notice that it is a long, slow (relatively speaking; we're not talking hours) cook time.

Braised Collard Greens
serves 2

1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. oil
1 small onion (or half a regular-sized one)
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch collard greens
1 C chicken broth [or meat or veggie stock]
½ tbsp. red wine vinegar

Wash collard greens, strip leaves from stems (compost the stems), and chop leaves coarsely. Melt butter and oil together in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender. Add greens and sauté until beginning to wilt. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until greens are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. [Since I've halved the original recipe - less food cooks quicker - rather than reduce the 'long, slow' cooking time, you might want to keep an eye on liquid and slosh in a little extra broth or water part way through if needed.] Stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with polenta or cornbread!

Here's a recipe I've run before (back in 2004) but I came across it again in my clippings file, and like the fact that it is a recipe for the stems, instead of just the leaves, of the chard:

Baked chard stems with tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan
(from a SJ Mercury News clipping from 2000)
Serves 4 as a side dish

1 lb. chard stems (about 12 large stems), bruised parts trimmed, halved crosswise
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking dish
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 1/2-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained [skip the canned tomatoes and peel your own! Core (cut away stem area) then drop them into boiling water for 20 - 30 seconds, until their skins split, then transfer to a bowl of cold water. Skins will peel off easily. Chop after peeling. Figure about 2 cups or so for this recipe.]
1 tbsp. minced parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add chard stems and salt to taste. Cook until stems are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook oil and garlic in a medium skillet over medium heat until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer until sauce is almost dry, about 5 minutes or so. Stir in parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Cover bottom of a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish with a single layer of chard, cutting stems as necessary to make them fit. Spoon a little tomato sauce over chard and sprinkle with a little cheese. Repeat this process two more times, alternating direction of stems for each layer and using remaining tomato sauce and cheese.

Bake until chard is very tender and top layer is lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let settle for 5 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Here's an interesting one...

Smoked Tomato Soup
from "The Heirloom Tomato" by Amy Goldman
serves 6-8

5 lbs. firm tomatoes, quartered
½ C olive oil
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh basil
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 C diced yellow onions
3 tbsp. sliced garlic
Croutons, to serve

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for smoking.

For charcoal, light the coals or briquettes. When white hot, add pieces of damp hardwood, such as oak, hickory or apple wod, then bank the coals and wood to one side.

For a gas grill, turn one side of the burner to high, while leaving the other side off. Add pieces of damp hardwood to the lit side, according to directions for your grill.

In a metal roasting pan, toss the tomatoes with ¼ C of the oil, 1 tbsp. of the salt, all of the pepper and basil and thyme. Place the roasting pan on the cool side of the grill.

Cover grill and open any air vents. Cook until the tomatoes are charred and tender, about 30 - 45 minutes. Cool.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the remaining ¼ C oil. Add the onions and remaining 2 tsp. salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic; sauté until tender.

When the tomatoes have cooled a bit, use a blender or food processor to puree until smooth. Add the puree to the onions. Reheat if needed, then ladle into bowls. Serve with croutons.

Warm Napa Cabbage with Bacon, Blue Cheese and Apple
from Franklin Cafe, in Boston (adapted for farm goodies)
serves 4
serve alongside roast pork or chicken

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
5 thick applewood-smoked bacon slices (about 5 oz.), chopped
One 1 ½ lb. head of Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (about 12 C)
One 8-oz. head of radicchio [hm, we don't have this... what could we substitute? Radicchio is a bitter green... how about shredding up some collard greens or Lacinato kale instead?]
1 large tart apple (or a couple small farm ones), peeled, coarsely grated
1 C (4 oz.) crumbled Maytag blue cheese [I like Cowgirl Creamery blue cheese - it's more local!]
Thinly sliced fresh sage leaves

Whisk Dijon mustard and vinegar in small bowl for dressing. Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot. Add bacon and cook until crisp. Add Napa cabbage and radicchio [or collards or kale], stir until wilted, about 1 minute [yeah, I know I said above not to stir-fry collards, but this is a little different... here, you're just wilting it, and you want that 'bitter' flavor in this case, like that which you'd get from radicchio]. Transfer cabbage mixture to large bowl. Add mustard dressing, apple, and cheese to bowl and toss. Sprinkle with thinly sliced sage and serve.

Another clipping of a restaurant-sourced recipe. This one's vegetarian:

Eggplant curry with cilantro-yogurt sauce
6 to 8 first course or 4 main-course servings

cilantro-yogurt sauce
¾ C whole-milk plain yogurt
¼ C chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

eggplant curry
2 medium eggplants [the farm's are small, so probably more like 4], cut crosswise into 1/3-inch slices
3 tbsp. (or more) vegetable oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
5 medium plum [or other farm] tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. curry powder, divided
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. ground cardamom
Pinch of saffron
½ C dry white wine
1 C all-purpose flour
½ C grated Parmesan cheese

Cilantro-yogurt sauce: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

Curry: Sprinkle eggplant with salt, let stand... blah blah blah, oh just skip this step. It's designed for old, bitter eggplant.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, tomatoes, 1 ½ tbsp. curry powder, and remaining spices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté vegetables until soft, about 6 minutes. Add wine; stir until almost dry, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree in blender until smooth. Strain.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place flour in shallow bowl. Sprinkle eggplant slices with [a little salt and] remaining ½ tbsp. curry powder, then coat with flour.

Heat 2 tbsp. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches and adding more oil as needed, fry eggplant slices until golden brown and tender, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet.

Lightly oil 11x7x2-inch baking dish. Place about 1/3 of the eggplant slices over bottom of dish. Spoon about 1/3 of the curry sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layering 2 more times. Bake until bubbling around edges and cheese is golden brown, about 1 hour.

Divide cilantro-yogurt sauce among plates, spreading with back of spoon into large circle. Cut eggplant into squares and place atop sauce. [Or if you don't want to be fancy, serve the eggplant at the table, letting people help themselves. Pass the yogurt sauce!]

And I always liked this recipe for the idea of 'carrot ribbons' instead of sliced into 'coins' or grated. It sounds a little on the sweet side, but aw, what the heck!

Orange-glazed carrot ribbons
serves 4 [Yep. Another clipping. I swear I have an endless supply!]

2 lbs. large, long carrots, peeled
2 C orange juice
1 ½ tbsp. (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. honey
¼ tsp. balsamic vinegar
chopped chives

Run vegetable peeler down length of carrots, shaving off long ribbons (you will need about 8 cups of ribbons). Cook in large saucepan of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain and gently pat dry.

Stir orange juice and sugar in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Boil until reduced to scant 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and butter; simmer until carrots absorb most of orange syrup, about 4 minutes. Add honey [geez, you mean it's not sweet enough already??] and vinegar. Mix gently. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer carrots to serving bowl. Sprinkle with chives.

Lastly, a great way to eat pears...

Cinnamon-lemon pears
It's just like it sounds. I've been doing this for dessert at lunchtime: peel as many pears as you and yours are going to eat. Quarter them, core them, then cut the quarters in half lengthwise. Squeeze a little bit of fresh lemon juice over all, and sprinkle with *just a bit* of cinnamon. (I have a cinnamon grinder - like a pepper grinder. Don't roll your eyes - it was a gift! But I like it.)  That's it! The sweet of the pears plays nicely off of the lemon and cinnamon. No added sweetener needed! Have with a nice cup of tea or other hot beverage of your choice.

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

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]