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]
Apples (Fuji and Newtown Pippin)
Corn on the cob
Kale, red Russian
Tomatoes, red roma +
Winter squash (Butternut and/or Kabocha) +
Kale, red Russian
Tomatoes, red roma
Winter squash (Butternut and/or Kabocha)
Apples (Fuji and Newtown Pippin) and Warren pears
***remember to bring bags; apples and pears will be loose, like last week***
(all done for the season)
Rosemary and clove. Erin of Companion Bakers wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!!
A Season of Gratitude and Generosity...and no place like a kitchen to inspire a farmer
As we celebrate the conclusion of another season, I am grateful for the generosity of this amazing land we are fortunate to steward. It's living network of supporters,
whether it's the often forgotten soil organisms or the inspiring and dedicated human community of members, workers, families, children, teachers, students, artists, and friends, all enrich and nurture this land. The weekly bounty of food we are blessed with is just a reminder and a reflection of both the effort and generosity of everyone involved. From
all of us here at the farm we wish you many blessings and a peaceful
holiday season. As Black Elk once said, "Even the seasons form a great
circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they
were." Hope to see all of you back on the farm.
If your kitchen is anything like ours much of our family time is spent around the kitchen table, preparing, sharing and enjoying food. It's a place where food is more than just food, it is sustenance for our bodies and our souls, it is where we feel connected and alive. The food from this land is the common thread that links us together as a community, and all of us here on the farm are grateful to be a part of it.
Growing up, I preferred spending time in the kitchen with my mother, sampling and tasting ingredients that looked or smelled tempting, rather than having to sit at the table and eat what was placed in front of me . There was no place like my mother's kitchen that gave me the freedom to enjoy my early gastronomic pleasures. I remember vividly sipping fresh cream, licking the sweet cake batter off a spatula, snacking on roasted almonds or fresh cookie dough. Dipping my finger into pureed spinach or potatoes, or scooping and sampling homemade bavarian pasta (speatzle) fresh out of the boiling water were just a few of what seems like an endless list of treats. I still remember eating half a bowl of sliced apples marinating in a mixture of rum, sugar, cinnamon, nuts, and raisins, which my mother had set aside as filling for an "Apfelstrudel". Not only did I experience the effects of the rum, but also the limits of my mom's patience. No one makes a better 'Apfelstrudel, Christmas Cookies or Stollen than my mother. Besides pastries she also loved making jams, which led to my first gardening adventures. The first plant I remember growing from seed was a special kind of hibiscus, the seeds of which my mother got from a Benedictine monk. I remember harvesting the almost mature seed pods wrapped in dark fleshy red petals. She had me peel them off to turn into a delicious sweet & sour marmalade. I wasn't raised on a farm, but I am certain that my love for food and my journey as a farmer started in my mothers kitchen.
Native Americans believe that we don't really inherit the earth; we borrow it from our children. If we agree that this is the case, we are obliged as trustees to care for our children's environment much as we care for our children themselves. Much of our children's future depends on how we decide to grow and prepare their food. I can't think of a better way than spending time with them in the kitchen, eating together and getting dirty with them, witnessing the miracle of life unfold in their hands and under their feet.
What's up in the Fields?
The transition from fall to winter is confusing when suddenly the weather is in the 90's for three consecutive days. For a while I thought we where done with having to irrigate and next thing I know, we had to pull all the pipes out of storage and start watering. The corn is really a fluke, I never expected it to mature, lucky for all who get a family share. Sorry, there just wasn't enough to go around. The list of chores is still very long and we are ready to slow down the rhythm of our regular season in order to wrap things up before the holidays. Two more large plantings of strawberries, Seascape and Albion are coming up, the plants are already in the cooler, we are just waiting for the recommended hours of chill to accumulate before planting them out. We are busy remodeling the barn on the new land where next year I would like to move all our packing and storage. Equipment is being serviced and we are still busy covercropping, composting, and preparing fields for winter plantings. There is something to be said about living in Vermont, at some point the chores in the field stop when the first snowstorms move in. Do I sound like I am tired....:-)? Happy Thanksgiving.
Regular season, Winter season, Next season
This week (Weds/Thurs Nov 19th and 20th) is the last delivery of the regular season. If you are not continuing with us as a CSA member, we certainly hope you have enjoyed participating in our program, eating our fruit and veggies, belonging to our farm!
[Little bit of housekeeping here: FYI once you're on our newsletter mailing list, you're 'there for life' unless you unsubscribe yourself. You do not have to be a member to receive our newsletter. However if for any reason you don't want to get it anymore, simply scroll down to the very bottom of any newsletter and under where it says 'Safe Unsubcribe', click on 'Update Profile/Email Address' and follow the instructions.]
If you have signed on for a Winter Share (you already know who you are), the first delivery of the winter season will be Weds. Dec 3rd. The winter delivery schedule is published on our website, because it is NOT every week like during the regular season. Mark your calendars! We don't want anyone to miss a share!!
Next Season's signups are proceeding at a brisk pace; we should be full before the end of December! If you are a member and want a share next season but have not yet signed up for it, please do so ASAP or you may miss out. Next year's Regular Season will begin the first week of April (Weds/Thurs Apr 1st and 2nd). It will be a 34 week season instead of 33 weeks, and as always, will end the week before Thanksgiving.
For current information about next season's share costs and processes, please visit our website. If you are a member and want to sign back up, email Debbie at the farm for instructions. If you are not a member but would like to be on our waiting list to become one, go to the Signup/Registration link on our website.
Endings and Beginnings
by Jessica Ridgeway, Education Programs Coordinator
I began my tenure with Live Earth Farm just over a year ago. At that time I had been living back in California for only a few months, having spent two years in Vermont's four glorious seasons. I have spent this year relearning how to live in this place. Instead of a blustery ever chilling fall, we get nice days and our first hints of refreshing rain. I find myself wearing flip flops more often than scarves. While we don't have the brilliant foliage colors of the northeast we do have a few trees that slow their chlorophyll production in style showing off a bright burst of caretenoids. There is a small persimmon in the Mataganza garden with a real flair for orange. Just last weekend, as I surveyed the Brown Valley from a serene vantage point, I noticed one lone, deep red tree that must have been a Japanese maple. Of course while everything begins to hibernate in Vermont, some plants are just coming to life here on the Monterey Bay. The greens are brilliant after that one weekend of rain. Clovers are popping up everywhere. Mushrooms have begun to flower in many shades of grey, brown, and white. We finally get crisp, tender spinach again and the brussel sprouts are about to be their best. Not to mention all of the beautiful purple flowers like lavender and Mexican sage that seem to have never ending blossoms to color the mosaic of our landscape. While I will admit to actually missing the snow and those cold, crisp days of a Vermont January when the sky is clear, the sun shines brightly for a few hours, but the air is so cold only the daring venture out of their homes and offices, I also relish the rains that our local winter brings. The cooler days and greener valleys, the breaks of warm, sunny days, and the year round growing cycle are beginning to feel like home too.
This slower season that is upon us is welcomed on the farm. We have all worked hard in the busy summer months and are ready for the slower pace that the shorter and rainier days force upon us. Besides tending the education garden, helping the fields, greenhouse and with the animals, I have been busy with our exploding education programs. The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP) is close to applying for its non profit status. We have hosted over 600 kids on farm tours since I began a year ago. We have a Montessori partnership to be proud of, have begun a home school program with endless potential, and we are just wrapping up our first offering of a farm and garden middle school elective with Linscott Charter School. We are participating in the federal Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program (FFVP) by distributing Live Earth Farm local, seasonal produce to two Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) schools, Cesar Chavez Middle School and Freedom Elementary School. We hosted a wonderful Cob Campout fundraiser and last but certainly not least; this weekend we are hosting a fundraiser concert with music by the Banana Slug String Band to raise money to bring local PVUSD students to the farm. We have a lot to be proud of in looking back at my first year on the farm. Now that I am better acclimated and have seen the cycle of the seasons at least once, I know what to expect from the winter ahead. I look forward to this coming season whose rainy days and damp dark nights invite time for reflection and cuddling up with loved ones. Of course, after a bit of a winter rest, we have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. As a burgeoning non profit organization, we have ever expanding hopes of connecting youth to the land and their food.
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Click here to go to recipe database.
New this week: corn on the cob (whee!!), Brussels sprouts, and winter squash - just in time for the holidays! We have Juan, our field manager and Tom's right-hand-man, to thank for the corn. Yum, thanks Juan! Everyone loves winter squash, of course. And if, buy the way, you think you don't like Brussels sprouts... prepare to be surprised. Fresh Brussels sprouts are simply sublime and if you don't like them, it is probably because you've never had them when they're fresh and sweet! Trust me, you will change your mind...
My oh my how this season has flown! Thanks so much to everyone who has written me and contributed recipes to share. Cooking with a CSA box is a constant adventure, and it sure has been great to have your comments, contributions and creative twists. I consider them all to be brilliant examples of the 'community' aspect of Community Supported Agriculture; we all benefit from each others' shared insights, and have great fun in the process! As a matter of fact, I have several contributed recipes for this, the last newsletter of the regular season. Bon Appetit everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to all!! - Debbie
Random note: Tom says most of the winter squash will be Butternut, but if you end up with the less familiar Kabocha and don't know what to do with it fear not; it is a delicious and wonderful squash! Since not too many of us will get it, rather than do a big write-up here, please click here to read 'the big writeup' about it from when we had it last winter!
We can never have enough kale recipes. Here's one from member Lisa Derrington, whom I bumped into picking up my share last week. She says she loves this recipe, that it's incredibly easy, incredibly delicious, and although it calls for Lacinato kale, she especially likes it with the Red Russian kale, and makes it all the time.
Lacinato Kale and Ricotta Salata Salad
from Gourmet Magazine, January 2007
3/4 to 1 pound lacinato kale (also called Tuscan kale) or tender regular kale, stems and center ribs discarded [use that Red Russian!]
2 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
1 ½ tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
4 ½ tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 oz. coarsely grated ricotta salata (1 cup)
Working in batches, cut kale crosswise into very thin slices. Whisk together shallot, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well. Toss kale and ricotta salata in a large bowl with enough dressing to coat well, then season with salt and pepper.
Member Pia Chamberlain sent me this comment after my blurb on applesauce-making last week:
Pia's Über-easy Applesauce
"Hi Debbie, your applesauce recipe left me just itching to write with mine, which is, I think, SO much easier... although it does require a pressure cooker.
1. Wash the apples.
2. Halve them to ensure they have no worms (hey even the best organic farmer occasionally has some!)
3. Throw the apple halves, skin, core and stem included, into the pressure cooker with a small amount of water.
4. Cook at high pressure for 5-7 minutes depending on the size of the apples.
5. After cooling and releasing pressure, scoop out the apples with a slotted spoon into a food mill.
6. Process through the food mill. Discard what's left (which won't be much).
7. Repeat for more batches, without adding more water (you'll have lots of juice from the first batch).
8. Add however much of the juice at the bottom as you like -- it can be quite flavorful.
9. Can or freeze or store as for any other applesauce.
No peeling! No coring! It's fantastic!!! :-)"
Member Jen Sorenson wrote me with this next delicious recipe, and if you still have your mushrooms from last week, you practically don't need to get anything but the chicken! Jen says, "Here is another idea for all those apples. The nice thing about this recipe is it uses so many CSA ingredients all at once and boy is it delicious and perfect for the stew friendly weather too."
Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Chard and Butternut Squash
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. salt, divided
2 bone-in chicken breast halves
2 bone-in thighs
2 bone-in drumsticks
[aw, just get a whole chicken and cut it up into pieces! ;-)]
4 bacon slices (Jen says she used 8 slices of turkey bacon and added 2 tbsp. olive oil*)
1 C chopped onion
1 C (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 C chopped apples (about 3 of the farm's apples)
1 ½ tsp. minced fresh garlic
¼ C dry sherry
4 C chopped Swiss chard
1 tbsp. sliced cherry pepper (Jen used 1 farm jalapeño)
1 C chicken broth or stock
1. Combine first 3 ingredients and ¼ tsp. salt in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in this flour mixture. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. *(If using turkey bacon you will need to add one tbsp. olive oil to cook the bacon and another once you add the chicken.) Add chicken to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.
2. Add onion, squash, and mushrooms to pan; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add apple and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in sherry; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Add chard; cook 2 minutes or until wilted, stirring constantly. Add cherry pepper; cook 30 seconds. Return chicken to pan; add broth. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken thigh registers 165 degrees. Stir in remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.
Long-time member Kirsten Nelson wrote in with yet another idea for dealing with an abundance of apples:
Kirsten's apple pie tip
"Seeing the forecast for lots of apples made me think of this. Several years ago, I was in Michigan during the apple harvest and went apple-picking with my brother's family. My sister-in-law brought home what seemed like an impossible quantity of apples for a family of four. We then spent the afternoon peeling, coring and giving a quick bath in acidulated water to prevent browning - to the apples, not my neices. We froze the apples in batches of 6 or 8 to a freezer bag - just enough for a pie. You can even toss the pie seasonings you like in with the apples. Then, when it's time for a pie, you need a crust and a bag of frozen apples. The frozen apples really take only a couple of minutes longer to cook than fresh."
If you're like me and still have your celeriac in the fridge, here is a soup from member Cara Finn, who made it up herself (it uses lots of farm ingredients!), saying it would be a great Turkey-day soup:
Southwestern celery root bisque
½ stick or ¼ C butter plus 2 tsp. olive oil (or use all olive oil if you want to lower fat)
1 C combined chopped celery & green peppers (sweet and/or spicy)
½ or more onion, diced (or use shallots)
2 or more cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large celery root (2 lbs, more or less) peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 - 2 potatoes (about ½ lb. more or less) in 1 inch cubes
Note: celery root is very mild, you can substitute all potatoes or all celery root or any combo for the above.
Chopped carrots for color and aroma
5 C chicken stock
1 ½ tsp. up to ¼ C rough-chopped cilantro, depending on taste
fresh coarsely ground pepper
salt to taste (be careful not to over-salt - chicken stock can be salty)
Dash or two of tabasco
Sour cream to taste (optional)
More chopped cilantro
Sauté onion, celery and peppers in butter and olive oil for several minutes until tender, but not browned. Add roots, broth and cilantro. Simmer until very tender. When cool enough to handle, puree a bit at a time in food processor.
To serve, add a bit of sour cream to soup as it simmers and blend (about 2 tbs. per serving). Garnish with fresh cilantro. Cara says, "The soup is very creamy without the sour cream, but is especially knock out with."
Meanwhile, longtime member Farrell Podgorsek sent in another soup recipe which she says is very good; one she's been using for years:
Winter Greens Soup
from Fields of Greens, by Annie Somerville [i.e. of Greens Restaurant fame, San Francisco]
makes 9 to 10 cups
"A hearty, nourishing winter soup, with full flavors and a smooth texture. The kale will take longer to cook than the spinach or chard, so be sure it's tender before you puree the soup. We often vary this recipe by adding a small handful of French sorrel leaves for their lemony flavor."
about 4 C vegetable stock [a great opportunity to use that 'found veggie stock' I talked about earlier this season, which you of course have some of in your freezer!]
1 tbsp. light olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced, about 3 C
Salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 C chard stems, thinly sliced
1 medium-sized potato, thinly sliced, about 1 C
1 large carrot, thinly sliced, about 1 C [farm carrots are typically smaller, so use more]
¼ C dry white wine
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves washed, about 8 C packed
1 bu. green chard, stems removed and leaves washed, about 8 C packed [I imagine you can use red or rainbow chard, it'll just make the soup color different!]
1 bu. spinach, stems removed and leaves washed, about 8 C packed [I wouldn't bother de-stemming the small spinach leaves!]
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Garlic croutons (optional, for garnish; see recipe below)
Grated parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a soup pot and add the onions, ½ tsp. salt, and several pinches of pepper. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add the garlic, chard stems, potatoes, and carrot. Sauté until the vegetables are heated through, about 5 minutes. Add ½ C stock, cover the pot, and cook for about 10 minutes. When the vegetables are tender, add the white wine and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until the pan is nearly dry. Stir in the kale, chard, 1 tsp. salt, a few pinches of pepper, and 3 C stock. Cover the pot and cook the soup for 10 to 15 minutes, until the chard and kale are tender. Add the spinach and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until just wilted.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until it is smooth. Thin with a little more stock if it seems too thick. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with garlic croutons ans a sprinkle of Parmesan.
1 to 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, as needed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ French baguette, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the olive oil and garlic. Lay the slices of baguette on a baking sheet and brush them lightly with the garlic oil. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the croutons are crisp and lightly browned.
Can't not include any recipes for corn or Brussels sprouts, after going on about them in my opening blurb! Here are two tasty ones (oh, and for more Brussels sprouts recipes, be sure to see the recipe database!):
Sautéed Brussels sprouts with lemon and pistachios
Bon Appetit, Feb 2008
serves 4 to 6
3 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 tbsp. minced shallot
12 large brussels sprouts (about 1 ½ lbs.), trimmed, leaves separated from cores (about 8 C), cores discarded [you'll probably need more of the farm's sprouts; they tend to be smaller. Also, if the sprouts are too small to appreciably peel off many leaves, I'd suggest simply slicing them thinly in your food processor instead. The effect won't be as pretty as the picture, but it'll still taste good!]
¾ C shelled unsalted natural pistachios
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and stir 20 seconds. Add Brussels sprout leaves and pistachios, and sauté until leaves begin to soften but are still bright green, about 3 minutes. Drizzle lemon juice over. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.
We so rarely get corn in the CSA share... that's why I'm so stoked about it! Anyway, here's a yummy-sounding recipe (if you don't end up simply cooking it minimally and eating it with butter and salt like I probably will!). Obviously we're not getting 6 ears each (sigh), but you can easily scale this down:
Grilled Corn with Hoisin-Orange Butter
Bon Appetit, August 2008
4 tbsp. butter, room temp.
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce [a sweet-spicy Chinese chili-soybean sauce]
2 ½ tsp. finely grated orange peel
¾ tsp. chili-garlic sauce
6 ears corn, husked
Chopped fresh cilantro
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill corn until beginning to soften, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Brush all over with hoisin butter; continue to grill until corn is tender, brushing occasionally with more hoisin butter, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to platter; brush with more hoisin butter. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve.
Another corn idea...
Debbie's raw corn salad
Y'know, fresh sweet corn can be eaten raw too... Tom told me we should be getting some beautiful butter lettuce this week, so I had this idea for a salad:
1. Cut corn kernels from the cobs (stand cob on end and slice kernels off with a sharp knife; I like to make a little wall with a floursack towel on my cutting board to keep the kernels from going everywhere).
2. Slice up some scallion.
3. Dice up some roma tomatoes (red, meaty part only; rinse away the seeds).
4. Chop up some fresh cilantro.
5. Make a dressing by whisking together fresh lime juice, a jot of honey, some salt, paprika, and hmm... how about some nice, nutty oil like walnut or flax seed?
6. Combine torn butter lettuce, corn, scallion, tomatoes and cilantro in a bowl; add some dressing [not too much, you don't want it all drippy!] and toss.
7. Eat it! :-)
Lastly, how about a dessert recipe? Fitting for Thanksgiving, or any time really! It's a pear recipe sent to the farm not by a member, but by a fellow organic farmer (who sent it to Tom, actually) - Emily Freed, from Jacobs Farm - who said, "It's an amazing cake and the Live Earth Farm pears really gave it a special touch this year. Thank you to you and your staff for growing such tasty pears."
Pear Cake with Lemon-Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
from Bon Appetit, October 2000
2 C all purpose flour
1 ½ C sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 C vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/3 C whole milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 C coarsely grated peeled Bosc pears (from about 3 pounds), well drained [of course here substitute the LEF's yummy Warren pears!]
1/2 C walnuts, toasted, chopped
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 C powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3/4 C honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices in large bowl. Make well in center of flour mixture. Add oil, eggs, milk and vanilla; whisk just until evenly moistened. Fold in pears and nuts; divide between pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks.
Beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon peel in large bowl until fluffy. Add honey and beat until smooth. If frosting is very soft, chill until firm enough to spread.
Cut around cakes; turn out of pans. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with second layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
|CALENDAR OF EVENTS
For details on events listed below, please Click here to go to the calendar page on our website.
Last regular season CSA share: Weds/Thurs Nov. 19th & 20th
First Winter CSA share: Weds Dec. 3rd
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