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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
30th Harvest Week, Season 13
October 27th - November 2nd
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Spooky Farm Stories
When does this season end? When does winter season start? When does the 2009 season start??
Member Renewal NOT Automatic!
Where do donated shares go?
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
Calendar of Events
"I just wanted to let you guys know how much I appreciate the work you do - in choosing to farm with intention and integrity; in making it possible for folks like me to share in your wonderful venture; and in providing my family fresh, nutritious produce every week that is so beautiful and tempting, that you have converted all 5 of my kids into enthusiastic fruit & veggie eaters!!!! You've changed the way we look at food, and have reconnected our family to the SPIRIT of what we eat and what nourishes us - I just can't tell you enough how thankful I am."

- Montez Petronelli, CSA member

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
Broccolini (Lakeside) +
Collard greens
Lacinato kale
Lettuce (Lakeside)
Onions (Pinnacle Farms)
Hot peppers (Poblanos, and either Jalapeños or Anaheims) - will be packed separately from the sweet peppers.
Sweet peppers +
Tomatoes +

Small Share
Mustard greens
Broccolini (Lakeside)
Napa cabbage
Lacinato kale
Lettuce (Lakeside)
Onions (Pinnacle Farms)
Hot peppers (Poblanos, and either Jalapeños or Anaheims) - will be packed separately from the sweet peppers.
Sweet peppers

Extra Fruit
1 bag apples, 1 bag pears and 1 basket strawberries

Fruit Bounty
(this is the last week of the 'bounty' option!)
1 bag apples, 1 bag pears and 1 basket strawberries

Whole Wheat Flax

Spooky Farm Stories (Just in time for Halloween!)
by Gillian Edgelow

The Only Good Mummy is a Buried Mummy
So we all know that houses can sometimes be haunted, but did you know that farms have mummies?! In agriculture a mummy is an old fruit that stays on the tree long after harvest. Like Halloween mummies, it doesn't want to let go of life even though it's time; it is wrinkly and rotten; closeup of an apple mummyit carries disease and thus should be removed and buried to make sure it doesn't "return from the dead" the next season and infect the tree. Scary! So everyone go outside and check your own fruit trees (during daylight hours, please!) and check for mummies. If you find any, pull them off and bury them well, and away from your trees. You'll be protecting the trees and fighting creepy-crawlies. Around Halloween the perfect time to be vigilant!

spider on rotting apple
And now that I'm thinking about it, farms have lots of Halloween-type things going on. Grafting for instance... well, that doesn't sound too scary, but let's take a closer look. Grafting is where you take branches of one type of tree and attach them to another type of tree. For instance quince trees are very disease resistant. So farmers often take branches from an apple tree and graft it onto a quince tree to help apples take advantage of the quince's protection. Doesn't it sound eerily similar to the process of constructing Frankenstein's monster?! Taking parts of one thing and attaching it to another and having it come alive... Eek! So next time you see a farmer, don't be fooled. They might look like average folk, but they work magic, putting different species together to create new creatures...

Ken and Debbie's 2004 pumpkin carvingsAnd let's not forget the lovely jack o'lantern - the classic Halloween treat and farm staple. As a pumpkin it can be used in Debbie's yummy recipes. But as a carved beastie with a light inside, it becomes something very different. According to wikipedia it was named after the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called ignis fatuus or jack-o'-lantern. One related story tells of an Irishman named Jack who was not a nice man. While he was alive, he even tricked the devil twice! When Jack died he was not allowed into heaven and the devil didn't want him in hell either. So Jack carved out a turnip and put a burning lump of coal inside and using that as a lantern, has wandered the Earth ever since. We leave carved pumpkins with candles inside on our windowsills and porches in hopes of Jack taking them as a new lantern for himself, rather than coming inside and haunting us, so the story goes...

Ghost Farmer
I also have a strange story about Live Earth Farm to share with you all. I've been living on the farm for seven months now and it feels like home. But during the first few months here, I discovered something very strange and mysterious. It started out as such a small thing, I never imagined it would become such an adventure! I often take walks around the farm, through the fields and down the pathways, and I sometimes notice a random tomato plant in the fava bean field, or a pumpkin plant in the strawberry field. I didn't think too much about it at first, just assumed they were volunteer plants from the previous season. But one day I found a chard plant right outside the gate of Farmer Tom's house! (you can still see it there today) "Wait a minute", I thought, "how did this chard plant get here? There aren't any fields nearby." I was definitely puzzled by it, but there was so much farm work to do, I quickly forgot about it. And then, one evening, while on a long walk around the new property, I was resting for a bit and fell asleep. When I woke up it was dark. I wasn't worried so much about the darkness as about the voice I heard nearby! There was the voice of an old man mumbling to himself about plants. I lay still and listened...

"Tomatillos," he grumbled. "I don't like tomatillos. Why did Farmer Tom plant them here? I wanted more squash. Yummy zephyr squash. Well, I'll show him. I'll plant them myself... heh, heh, heh."

I slowly turned my head towards the voice and you'll never guess what I saw: by the light of the moon, I saw a squash seed floating through the air amongst the tomatillos! The soil moved, the seed dropped in, and the soil was covered back over. The scariest thing about it was, well I'm not sure anyone will believe me but I swear - there was no one there; there was no one holding that seed! I stayed still for a while and when I couldn't hear anything else I got up and walked quickly back to the barn. I was definitely startled. I mean, there's nothing scary about planting seeds, but there's plenty scary about a ghost planting seeds! And I was sure that's what had happened.

After I got over my fright, I became really curious. Who was this ghost? Had he always been here at Live Earth Farm? Could he even eat the squash that he loved so much? Do ghosts eat? I had so many questions I decided I would try to talk to him and find out. So I started spending some more time after dark looking out over the fields. I tried the tomato fields mostly, as I figured if he didn't like tomatillos, maybe he didn't like other members of the nightshade family. I was right! A few weeks into my vigil I heard his voice again. "Lettuce... this would have been a great place for more lettuce. I'll see to it," he said in his rough voice. He sounded quite happy and pleased with his work, so I gathered my courage and said softly "Excuse me, sir? Um, would you mind if I asked you a few questions?" There is no way to adequately describe how one can tell when a ghost has been startled, but somehow I knew my words had just scared him out of his... well not skin, I guess, but whatever it is that ghosts have! There was silence and then I heard him say, "Are you speaking to me?" in sort of a timid voice. "Yes" I said in a friendly way. "I've noticed all the planting you've been doing, and I'm very curious about it... and curious about you. I hope you don't think me rude..." "Not at all," he said cheerily. "I'd be happy to talk with you. I just haven't had anyone talk to me in many many years." "I think it's been hundreds of years actually," he whispered quietly. This was great! I was so excited to find out his story. We talked for an hour and he answered my questions very kindly. Unfortunately there isn't space to tell his story here, but I do want to share his answer to one of my questions: "Did you plant the chard near the house?" I asked him at one point. "Yes, I did" he said. " I really like chard and I thought planting one near the entrance to Farmer Tom's house would be a good thank you to him for his work and a reminder to keep planting more in the future!"

So next time you visit Live Earth Farm, look around for plants that don't seem to belong, and give a friendly hello to our own ghost farmer!

When does this season end? When does winter season start? When does the 2009 season start??
People have asked these questions often enough to warrant coverage in the newsletter:

· The regular season ends the week before Thanksgiving:
Wednesday members: Nov. 19th;
Thursday members: Nov. 20th.

· If you signed up for a winter share, there will be a one-week break for Thanksgiving, and then the first winter share will be:
Wednesday Dec. 3rd

>>IMPORTANT: winter shares are WEDNESDAYS ONLY! There are no Thursday deliveries during winter. If you're used to picking up on Thursdays, please remember to make the mental adjustment - we don't want anyone missing their shares! <<

The exact dates for the winter season shares are posted on our website [see "winter season"], however you will also receive an email with those dates (along with address, directions and such) closer to the start of the winter season.

· The first delivery of the regular 2009 season will be Weds/Thurs April 1st/2nd. Mark your calendar!

Member Renewal NOT Automatic!
Debbie here: I wish to clear up a misconception by some folks that, once you are a Live Earth Farm CSA member, your membership is automatically 'locked in' for future seasons. This is not the case. Everyone must sign up anew for each season.

There are certain advantages to being an 'existing member' however:

1) Existing members get first crack at signing up for the share combination of their choice before we offer shares to people on our waiting list. The month of October is reserved for Early Registration for existing members only. Come November, we open up the Early Registration process to our waiting list, and then continue to take signups until we are full.

2) Members who've been with us 3 years or more will have their share combination reserved for them during the Existing Member Early Registration period (i.e. October). Caveat: you still must sign up and send in your deposit like everyone else, however if your share combination includes popular items that tend to sell out early (such as our fruit options), those will be automatically reserved for you throughout October, so you don't need to rush. DO sign up in October though, as those reservations go away in November!

Why is membership not just automatic?? Because we live in an ever-changing society; people change their minds, move, their situation changes... and that - combined with the high demand for CSA membership - we just don't want to reserve shares that turn out later to be not wanted, especially when others are clamoring for them. Without a signup and deposit, people have no commitment to us, and could change their mind later without consequence to them; however it would affect our ability to plan for how many members to grow for. So it does matter.

So if you are an existing member that has not signed up yet for next year but wants to, please use the link in the signup email I sent you on October 3rd. If you no longer have this email, contact me at the farm and I will resend it to you. This is the last week of October, and waitlisted folks are standing by...

Where do donated shares go?
Picture courtesy of Ellen Kureshi

By now most members know that if they are not going to be able to pick up their share, they can contact the farm (with a *little* advance notice; two or more days is preferred) and we can arrange to donate it for them. But not everyone knows where their goodies go, or who benefits.

It is the wonderful folks over at Loaves and Fishes (a food pantry in Watsonville) - and their clients - who are the grateful recipients of your shares' fresh and organic contents. Every week, donated shares are redirected to the farm, where a couple member volunteers (Ellen Kureshi and Tera Martin - be sure to thank them if you know them!) take turns shuttling the donated shares over to Loaves and Fishes.

Ellen Kureshi writes, "Loaves and Fishes has 7000 pantry visits per year and serves 20,000 hot lunches per year, according to Bob Montague (Board chair and busy volunteer).  Every time I drop off shares, clients always help to bring the bags into the facility and are very grateful.  I am proud to be able to help with the share donation and members should know that their shares go to a good cause."

Loaves and Fishes, Watsonville, CA
"In this picture are Bob Montague (in the back), and left to right in front: Juan Carlos Lopez (one of many people who help unload the car when I bring the donated shares), Vicky Caballero, pantry manager (always there when I come and always smiling), and Patricia Morales, Director of Loaves and Fishes (replacing Brooke Johnson Parker, who is leaving to work with a non-profit social research firm, doing research on homelessness)."

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

I have a couple eggplant, arugula and collard green recipes that members have sent in over the last week! - Debbie

First, from member Jessica Gillis, this 'hidden agenda' casserole:

"Look Ma, no Eggplant!" Eggplant Casserole
Jessica writes, "So this may not be news to others but I thought it was worth sharing.  Tonight my kids LOVED dinner even though, unbeknownst to them, it contained the dreaded, swear-up-and-down-that-they-will-never-ever-eat-it 'eggplant'!  In a covered casserole I layered, in this order: sliced potatoes, peeled and sliced eggplant, chopped tomato, boneless skinless chicken breast cut into chunks, chopped peppers and some Kalamata olives, and then on top I laid a few sprigs of rosemary(which I took out after baking), thyme, oregano, salt and pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and juice from 2 lemons.  I covered it and put it in the oven for an hour. [Probably medium oven: say, 350 degrees.]  It was so easy and very Mediterranean tasting.  I sprinkled some feta on mine but the kids didn't go for that.  Everything but the chicken and olives were from the farm.  The eggplant 'disappeared' into the rest of it but I could tell the flavor was there.  Makes me want to plan a trip to Greece..."

And for those families that don't need to 'hide' the eggplant but rather are happy to celebrate it, this recipe sent me by member Sam Lisi, who says this is a favorite recipe of his for using eggplant and peppers:

Eggplant, Zucchini, Red Pepper and Parmesan Torte
Originally from Gourmet Magazine, 1999, Sam says, "We've modified the recipe by eliminating the zucchini (it makes the dish too watery, in my opinion).  We often also throw in extra cheese (e.g. some cheddar or whatever).  The roasted eggplant with the tomato sauce gives it the wonderful flavor of eggplant parmigiana, but without all of the hassle."

2 lg. onions (about 1 lb.)
1 garlic clove
about 1/2 C olive oil
a 26- to 32-oz. container chopped tomatoes [chop up farm tomatoes!]
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 lg. eggplants (about 2 1/2 lbs. total) [our eggplants are small; use more]
4 lg. zucchini (about 1 3/4 lbs. total) [Sam says leave this out]
4 lg. red bell peppers [maybe 5 or 6 farm peppers; use your jugdement]
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 C milk
1 C heavy cream
3 lg. eggs
6 oz. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2 cups)

Halve onions through root end and thinly slice. Finely chop garlic. In a large heavy skillet cook onions with salt to taste in 2 tablespoons oil, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until any liquid onions give off is evaporated. Add tomatoes with juice, sage, and thyme and simmer, stirring occasionally, until excess liquid is evaporated and mixture is very thick. Season mixture with salt and pepper and cool. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Brush at least 2 shallow baking pans with some remaining oil.

Cut eggplants crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds and arrange in one layer in baking pans. Brush eggplant slices with some remaining oil and roast in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through roasting time, until tender and golden, about 20 minutes. Cool eggplant 5 minutes and transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain.

Cut zucchini [if using] lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slices and roast in same manner until tender and pale golden, about 25 minutes. Cool zucchini 5 minutes and transfer to paper towels to drain.

Quarter bell peppers lengthwise and discard stems, seeds, and ribs. Arrange peppers, skin sides up, in oiled baking pans and brush with some remaining oil. Roast peppers in same manner until tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Cool peppers 5 minutes and transfer to paper towels to drain.

In a 1½ to 2-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over moderately low heat and whisk in flour. Cook roux, whisking, 3 minutes and whisk in milk and cream. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking, and simmer, whisking occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and cool sauce 5 minutes. Whisk in eggs, two thirds Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly oil a 14 x 10 x 2½ inch or other 3½ quart shallow baking dish. In baking dish arrange half of eggplant, overlapping slices to form an even layer, and season with salt and pepper. Top eggplant with half of tomato mixture, spreading evenly, and pour about one third Parmigiano-Reggiano custard over it. Nestle half of zucchini in custard and season with salt and pepper. Top zucchini with half of peppers. Repeat layering, reserving half of remaining custard for topping. Pour reserved custard over final layer of peppers and sprinkle with remaining grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake torte in middle of oven until custard is puffed and golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let torte stand 10 minutes before serving.

Now on to arugula! First, this recipe from member Susan Fagan. Susan says, "Often when I look at recipes, I think "now how can I add some greens to this effectively".  This one has a pile of greens in it already.  Any recipe that calls for 9 cups of arugula is OK with me."

Horta me Avga (Sautéed Eggs and Greens with Lemon)
from Saveur magazine; part of an article about Cyprus
serves 4 - 6

6 green onions, trim ends, halve lengthwise, then cut into 1/8 inch slices
5 eggs
1/3 C olive oil or sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, bruised
9 C loosely packed arugula
3 tbsp. fresh flat-leafed parsley, roughly chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt to taste

Put olive oil in a non-stick pan and turn the heat to medium high.  Crack the eggs into a bowl.  Add onions and garlic to the pan and cook stirring frequently with a spatula until lightly brown, about 4 minutes.  Add the arugula and stir until greens are wilted (about 1 minute).  Quickly add the eggs and the parsley, stir vigorously to break up the whites and the yolks.  Then let cook, undisturbed, for 30 seconds.  Break eggs up a bit more with spatula.  Transfer it all to a serving bowl and squeeze lemon juice over top.  Sprinkle some cracked black pepper.

Arugula recipe number two comes from Jen Sorenson, who says, "This is what we've been doing with some of the Arugula. This sauce is so versatile, it can be used for pasta or meat as well as veggie dip or spread on bread.You can freeze it and use it later or keep it in the refrigerator for a quick healthy snack."

Arugula Pesto
from allrecipes.com

1½ C baby arugula leaves
1½ C fresh basil leaves
2/3 C pine nuts
8 cloves garlic
1 (6 ounce) can black olives, drained
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil
½ lime, juiced
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Place the arugula, basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olives in a food processor, and chop to a coarse paste. Mix in olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Process until well blended and smooth.

This next recipe, for collard greens, is also courtesy of Jen Sorenson:

Ye'abesha gomen (collard greens, Ethiopian-style)
Adapted from 'The Africa Cookbook', with notes from Jen included

1 lb. collard greens
2 C water
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 C chopped red onions (I used white onions from the box)
1/2 tsp. minced garlic (I used 2 tbsp.)
1/4 tsp. minced fresh ginger
Salt, to taste
3 medium Anaheim chiles, cut into thin strips (I used the green chilies from the box plus two additional jalapenos from the box)

Wash the greens thoroughly. Remove any discolored spots and cut out any thick woody stems. [An easy way to remove greens from stems is to hold the stem in one hand and 'strip' the leaves off with the other by squeezing your fingers together and kind of zipping them up the stem. - Debbie] Place the greens in a heavy saucepan with 1 cup of the water, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until the greens are tender. When ready, drain the greens, reserving the liquid, and cut them into small pieces.

In a heavy skillet, heat the oil and cook the onions until they are lightly browned. Add the greens, the reserved and remaining 1 cup water, the garlic, and the ginger and cook, uncovered, until almost dry. Add the chiles and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve either warm or at room temperature

For details on events listed below, 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

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