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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
7th Harvest Week, Season 13
May 19th - 25th, 2008

In this issue
--Greetings from Farmer Tom
--What's Up in the Field
--Live Earth Farm Kids
--Mmmm bread!
--Too much food?
--Alert: Raw Favas Not for Everyone...
--Pictures around the farm
--What's in the box this week
--Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
--Calendar of Events
--Contact Information

" All human beings have in common the desire to avoid suffering and to achieve happiness. "

~ Dalai Lama

Greetings from Farmer Tom

Last week was, no question, one of the hottest I've ever experienced. Heat waves always make me nervous, but the nervousness has more to do with timing than the degree to which the heat will rise. The brunt of the hot weather came on Thursday and Friday, which was fortuitous for us since the busiest harvest and packing days are on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I remember from my running days how important it is to start a race well hydrated, and most importantly stay hydrated during the run. Monday through Wednesday we pre-irrigated the fields, which helped reduce crop damage during the hottest periods on Thursday and Friday. Even though the most sensitive plants got watered both morning and evening, some of our berries, leafy greens, and freshly transplanted broccoli just weren't prepared to switch from cool and foggy to hot and dry on such short notice.
Heat is not only stressful to plants, but also to the team of people working outside in the fields. Even under normal conditions it is physically strenuous to accomplish the many tasks necessary to grow, harvest, pack and deliver our weekly shares. Angeles and her strawberriesIt is remarkable, and I am proud to work side-by-side with such an incredible team of workers who, regardless of what the weather throws at them – hot, cold, or wet – or regardless of mechanical setbacks such as broken water pumps, or tractors stuck in the field with a flat tire... there is harmony and good will among them. On Friday morning when the temperature was already well above 80 degrees, Juan’s wife Angeles, visibly hot, carrying a full flat of strawberries out of her row, smiles and says, "Oye como da ganas! Aunque caliente, esta ya es mi quarta y todavia me falta."  (It's hot but I enjoy this. Look, this is my forth [flat] and I still have some left to pick!)  I am reminded of Rudolph Steiner who describes the energetic qualities that exist on a farm and how important it is to treat a farm as a living organism. The individuality and character of such a farm organism finds its expression through the human element. I attribute much of Live Earth Farm's character and individuality to the positive and committed interaction our workers have with each other and with the soil which grows our food.
Back to the heat! On Thursday at noon when the thermometer hit 95 "in the shade" everybody except a few of us in charge of watering got the rest of the day off. Friday we got up at the crack of dawn to beat the heat.  First we harvested for the weekend markets, then the pressure was on to rescue the squash, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes from an onslaught of weeds.  Weeds thrive with water and heat, growing almost exponentially. Timing is everything when it comes to weeding: not only does properly timed weeding save hundreds of future hours of tedious hand weeding, but more importantly, the hours saved can be more productively spend on something else. On Friday we only had a small window of opportunity to weed before it got too hot again and more water was needed to keep our thirsty plants alive.  Waiting until Monday to weed was not an option. The weeds would have engulfed everything we planted. The highest priority was the small and slow growing crop of carrots; if we couldn’t weed them until Monday it would leave me no choice other than to plow them under and sow again.
In summary, we survived this first heat wave well, so some of your greens appear a bit sun-damaged or you see a strawberry with some discoloration, think of the sun-loving crops to come... the tomatoes, apricots and peppers which got a nice boost and loved this welcome change in weather. Go figure; it never fails. Gain some lose some.

- Tom

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What's Up in the Field

This will probably be the last week you will receive fava beans. Next week we hope to have spinach in the shares, more carrots (hopefully for everyone), mustard greens, fennel, and more radishes... In the pipeline for the not too distant future: Napa cabbage, radicchio, summer squash, dill, and of course potatoes!

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Live Earth Farm Kids
Jesse Jewell and beets
From member Nathan Jewell, "Here is a pic of my youngest, Jesse Jewell, trying beets for the first time. He loved them! And we love getting our gorgeous box of veggies every week, thank you so much!"
And a great quote from member Sarah Laurie, “My kids are absolutely addicted to the strawberries from the farm. My toddler only says about 20 words, and BERRIES! is one of them. Thanks again!”

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Mmmm bread!

Got this comment from a member last week:
“I just have to tell you and the other members that the bread was absolutely DELICIOUS!  I am so excited I signed up for the share.  Please pass along my thanks and gratitude to the baker.  It was Scrumptuous. Everyone needs to taste this loaf of heaven!”
[signed] one happy member,
Brandee T.

sliced loaf of 3-seed whole wheat bread from Companion Bakers
 (pictured above is Companion Baker's 3-seed whole wheat)

Debbie adding my two cents: I, too, am really enjoying the bread, not only for its great sourdough flavor and sturdy texture (I don’t like flabby, soft, preservative-filled bread), but also for the integrity of the baker and the ingredients she puts into her labors. Worried that preservative-free bread doesn’t last that long? Here’s what I do all the time: I pre-slice my loaf and then freeze it in a plastic bag. Then it is easy as pie to pull out slices as needed, and then toast to your favorite degree of done-ness... for toast for breakfast, or just warmed through with the slightest hint of crunchiness for a nice sandwich! It is just as fresh as if you'd sliced it the day you got it home!
Baker Erin Justus has just announced that she has signed a lease for a new home for Companion Bakers (instead of renting kitchen space), and will be building her long-desired wood-fired oven for her breads, so this is exciting news! She will give me something to put in the newsletter when the time is right.
Again, if you are interested in adding a bread option to your share, they are still available! The cost is $6/week and the bread option runs the length of the season. Contact Debbie at the farm and she can set you up!

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Too much food?

It invariably happens that we have a few people drop out because, even though they’re getting a Small Share, they can’t use it all and don’t like to see all their beautiful food go to waste. If you see yourself on the cusp of this problem, but are loathe to cancel out on the whole program, I have a suggestion: consider donating your share every so often. Or maybe just once, if there’s a week where you really fall behind. Donating is easy to do, someone else will make good use of the food, and you can relax and use up what you already have in your fridge, and then be eagerly anticipating the following week’s box instead of anxious about what you’re going to do with it all! :-)
How to donate? Just email Debbie at the farm at least 48 hrs before delivery day, and put ‘donate my share’ in the subject line (so I’ll spot it quickly), then tell me who you are and what day you want to donate your share and I’ll take care of it. Right now, donated shares are taken over to Loaves and Fishes in Watsonville, where the food is distributed to hungry families. We have two wonderful members, Tera Martin and Ellen Kureshi, who take turns shuttling donated shares from the farm to Loaves and Fishes. Many thanks Tera and Ellen!!

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Alert: Raw Favas not for everyone...
Member Alicia Woodrow emailed me [Debbie] with a warning about eating raw fava beans. “They can cause immediate and severe reaction, and sometimes be fatal to some people who have a certain genetic predisposition,” she says. Here is the reference in Wikipedia:
The same can be said for peanuts, of course; there are definitely folks out there for whom eating peanuts can also be fatal. So if you are at all concerned, please don’t eat raw favas. Tom says, “Although many people do eat them uncooked, this may be the least recommended form for ingesting fava beans. Fava beans are generally a common dietary food item in many cultures throughout the world, however it is important to be aware of the inherent risk.” 
So if you decide you want to try them raw, do so with caution; maybe nibble one first, then wait 24 hours (that's how I tried them my first time, actually). I have eaten them raw a couple times now without reaction, and Tom says he has too, and that Italians even have a festival/seasonal tradition where they gather in the fields and harvest and eat raw favas and drink wine and eat cheese and make merry.
Again, if you’re at all concerned, be sure you cook them. For more information, look up ‘Favism’ online and read about it. Here is another source of information, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Legume Research. The key wording from this source on the topic is as follows:

"Fava beans can cause problems for a small percentage of people. Favism is an inherited condition in which a person lacks an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD). This rare deficiency occurs mostly among people of Mediterranean, African, and Southeast Asian descent. The condition helps serve as a defence against malaria by reducing the amount of oxygen in red blood cells. However, for people with favism, eating undercooked fava beans or breathing fava bean pollen can lead to a serious anaemic condition. Fava beans are also higher than most beans in complex carbohydrates called oligosaccharides, which may cause gas and abdominal pains."

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Pictures around the farm
weeding in the heat
Manual weeding is done around the crops in the rows (see small cucumber plant next to drip tape), however the (much more prolific) weeds in between the rows are left for the tractor to take out.

Juan in the fields
A man outstanding in his field: Tom's right-hand man, Juan, heading back from the 'upper 40.'

planting basil
Everyone out planting basil!

concord grape vines
Our concord grape vines... if all goes well, we should have a bumper crop this year!

summer squash
Summer squash will be coming soon, especially if the days continue to be warm!

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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.

Family Share:
Arugula +
Broccolini or broccoli + (if broccoli, from Lakeside)
Collard greens
Fava beans +
Green garlic (getting more mature though!)
Lettuce +
Onions +
French breakfast radishes +
Strawberries (should be 3 baskets; go by list in binder for final qty)

Small Share:
Broccolini or broccoli (if broccoli, from Lakeside)
Fava beans
Green garlic (getting more mature though!)
French breakfast radishes
Strawberries (may also be 3 baskets; go by list in binder for final qty)

Extra Fruit Option:
3 baskets of strawberries

Fruit "Bounty" Option, week 2:
3 baskets of strawberries
[Note: last week’s *Thursday* members did not get their “bounty” (Debbie’s error; mea culpa!!)! You will get it this week, which means Thursday’s “bounty” members will get 6 baskets!]

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

Last week upon the first appearance of collard greens (in the Small share; this week they’re in the Family share – next week, they’ll probably be in both!), two different members emailed me with some excellent information about them. I’d never known this before myself, and so am anxious to try this when I get them: 
Marina Peregrino says, “the trick to collard greens is to slice them thinly. layer them and roll them up like a big cigar and then slice them as thinly as you can, this way they cook quickly and are tender and delicious. Some people go really crazy and roll then extra tightly wrap it in rubber bands and slice with a razor blade – really!”
And Farrell Podgorsek says, “The collard greens make a nice crunchy slaw when very finely shredded or sliced. Combine any veggies desired - radish, carrots, finely shredded or grated onion, fresh herbs, etc, mix in a vinaigrette dressing and let sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Be sure the dressing has salt it in to help break down the greens.”
Meanwhile regarding green garlic, Farrel says, “Also, we have been poaching the green garlic in a few dishes and love the texture and flavor. Simply trim down the stalk, put in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then remove and minced or slice for your recipe.  We combined poached garlic with blanched kale, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil - it was almost creamy in texture.”
And here’s a recipe from an article on green garlic sent to me by member Celesta Birnbaum:
Green Garlic Dip
modified from a recipe in a NYTimes article written by Jeff Patterson, chef/owner of Coi in San Francisco. Suggested as a dip for artichokes (yummm!), but could also be used wherever you might use an aioli.
3⁄4 C minced green garlic, white and light green parts only
1 egg
2 tsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
6 tbsp. fruity extra virgin olive oil
1⁄2 C pure olive oil
In a small saucepan, bring 1⁄4 cup of water and the green garlic to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain the garlic, and let cool.
In a blender, purée the egg, vinegars and cooled green garlic on medium-high. With the blender running, add the oils in a slow, steady stream to emulsify. Season with salt. 
Since this will be the last of the favas, here’s one last fava recipe! This was sent to me by member Beth Erskine.
Fava Bean “Pesto”
From the Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook “Food to Live By” by Myra Goodman.
Makes about 1 cup.
Good tossed with pasta or spread on toasted baguette slices.

1 C shelled fresh fava beans (from 1 lb. of pods)
2 small cloves garlic [check your green garlics; cloves may be starting to take shape! if not yet, just mince up a goodly amount of green garlic]
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
About ½ C extra virgin olive oil
½ C freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1. Fill a large bowl of water with ice cubes and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the fava beans and cook until the skins loosen, about 1 minute.  Immediately drain the beans in a colander, then plunge them into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Drain the beans again in the colander.
3. When the fava beans are cool enough to handle, peel them by pinching a small hole in the tough outside skin of a bean with your fingernail.  Gently squeeze the bean to release the 2 tender inner bean halves.  Repeat with the remaining beans. 
4. Place the fava beans and garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse until coarsely pureed.  Add the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the olive oil and puree until smooth, stopping to scrape the side of the bowl, as necessary.
5. Add the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Process briefly to combine.  If the mixture seems too dry, add the remaining olive oil and process to blend.  The “pesto” can be kept at room temperature for up to 4 hours, or refrigerated, covered, for up to five days.
Here’s a chard recipe I’ve been saving to share with you all for awhile now:
Ricotta – Swiss Chard Gnocchi
from an undated clipping from the magazine La Cucina Italiana
serves 6

“Called Ignudi or Gnudoni, these are basically ‘nude’ ravioli, hence their name.”
For the gnocchi:
1 lb. 2 oz. Swiss chard leaves [I wouldn’t worry about exactitude; just note mostly that the proportion of chard to ricotta is 50:50]
1 lb. 2 oz. fresh ricotta
2 eggs
1 C freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tbsp. potato starch [or equivalent]
2 tbsp. flour, plus extra
1/8th tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
For the sauce:
1 stick unsalted butter
3 sge leaves
1 C freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Make the gnocchi: Cook the chard for 10 minutes in a pot with 1 C of boiling salted water. Drain, cool, then squeeze chard to get rid of excess water; chop finely. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chard, ricotta, eggs, Parmigiano, potato starch, flour and nutmeg. Once a dough has formed, snip off walnut-sized pieces of it and shape into 1” patties with your hands; dust with flour and spread out on a floured baking sheet, being careful not to pile the gnocchi as you do so or they will stick together. [Debbie’s tip: gnocchi freeze well; if you do this step and put a sheet of waxed paper on your baking sheet under the gnocchi, then stick them into the freezer. When the gnocchi are frozen solid, remove them to a ziploc bag and store back in the freezer. Then decant as many as you want to and cook normally, i.e. in boiling salted water, until they float.]
Bring 4 qts. of water to a gentle boil, drop in the ghocchi, a few at a time, and cook until they rise to the surface of the water; remove them to a warm bowl with a slotted spoon as they rise to the surface.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet with the sage leaves. Arrange the gnocchi on 6 plates, and pour on the butter-sage sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano, and serve immediately.
Braised carrots with saffron
from an undated SJ Mercury News clipping, attributed to a cookbook called “A Great American Cook” by Jonathan Waxman
serves 4 to 6

2 lbs. medium carrots
Sea salt
¼ C olive oil
A good pinch of saffron threads
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim and peel the carrots if you like, but leave them whole. Place them in a medium saucepan with 1 ½ C water and a little sea salt and bring to a boil. Cover and boil gently over medium heat until the carrots are al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain carrots and pat dry.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. When it’s warm, add carrots and cook gently for 3 minutes. Add saffron and sherry vinegar and cook 2 minutes, turning carrots once or twice. Add butter, cover skillet, and let stand off heat for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
And lastly... what the heck; now that we’re getting lots of strawberries, here is a classic, from Julia Child no less!
The lead-in to the clipping says, “Fresh fruit tarts are easy to make, pretty to look at and refreshing to eat. They consist of a fully baked tart shell lined with liqueur-flavored custard filling; the fresh fruit is arranged over the filling and topped with apricot or red currant glaze.”
Fresh strawberry tart
serves 8
Pastry shell:
1 1/3 C flour (scooped and leveled)
3 to 7 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp double-action baking powder
7 tbsp. butter
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. vanilla
Custard filling:
1 C granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
½ C flour (scooped and leveled)
2 C milk
1 tbsp. butter
2 or 3 tbsp. kirsch or cognac
Fruit and fruit glaze:
1 qt. large, ripe, handsome strawberries [we know where to get these!!]
1 C red currant jelly
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. kirsch or cognac
Make pastry shell: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in a 3 qt. mixing bowl. Rub fat and dry ingredients together rapidly with tips of fingers until fat is broken into bits the size of small oatmeal flakes. Blend in egg and vanilla and knead dough rapidly into a ball. Place on pastry board and, with the heel of your hand, rapidly press pastry by two-spoonful bits down on the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6 inches. Dough will be quite sticky if you have used the full amount of sugar. Form again into a ball. Wrap in waxed paper and chill several hours until firm.
Mold pastry into a flan ring or false-bottomed cake pan [spring-form pan]. Use foil, beans or a bean-filled mold to hold the sides in place. Bake in middle level of oven for 5 to 6 minutes until dough is set. Then remove lining, prick bottom of pastry with fork in several places and bake 8 to 10 minutes more. Shell is done when it has shrunk slightly from mold and begins to brown very lightly. Immediately remove mold from the shell and slip shell onto a rack. It will become crusty as it cools.
Make the custard filling: Into a 3-qt. mixing bowl, use wire whip or electric beater to gradually beat sugar into egg yolks. Continue beating 2 to 3 minutes until mixture is pale yellow. [It may be a brighter yellow if you use Jim’s eggs!] Beat in flour. Bring milk to boil. Beating yolk mixture, gradually pour in a thin stream of droplets of boiling milk. Pour into heavy-bottomed, 2 ½ qt. saucepan and set over moderately high heat. Stir with wire whip, reaching all over bottom of pan. As sauce comes to boil it will get lumpy but will smooth out as you beat it. When boil is reached, beat over moderately low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to cook flour. Be careful custard does not scorch in bottom of pan. Remove from heat and beat in butter, then kirsch or cognac. Let cool.
Prepare fruit and glaze: Hull strawberries. If necessary to wash them, do so very quickly, and drain on rack [I wouldn’t bother washing them.] Boil currant jelly, sugar and liqueur in small saucepan until the last drops from spoon are sticky (228 degrees). Paint interior shell with thin coating of glaze and allow to set for 5 minutes. Reserve rest of glaze for the strawberries. Warm it briefly if it has hardened.
To assemble tart: Spread 1/2 – inch layer of custard in the bottom of pastry shell. Arrange a design of strawberries over the cream. Put largest strawberry in center and graduate down in size, placing berries closely together, stem ends in the cream. Spoon or paint over them a thin coating of the glaze, and tart is ready to serve.

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2008 Calendar of Events
For details on events listed below, please Click here to go to the calendar page on our website.

Santa Cruz Permaculture Design course - one weekend/month for 6 months, Feb-July

Spring "Six Thursdays" Mataganza Garden Internship
- every Thursday from May 1st through June 5th, 10am - 5pm, in the Mataganza Garden Sanctuary at Live Earth Farm.

Herbalism Classes at Live Earth Farm:
<>Herbal First Aid
- March 15-16
<>Medicine Making - May 10-11
<> Cooking with Herbs - July 19-20

Summer Solstice Celebration - Saturday June 21st

Children's Mini-Camp - July 11th - 13th (Friday evening thorugh Sunday noon)

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

Fine Farm Feast - Oct 4th

Fall Harvest Celebration - later in October (date TBA)

Contact Information
email Debbie at the farm (for any farm or CSA share-related business): farmers@cruzio.com
email Debbie at home (with newsletter input or recipes): deb@writerguy.com
farm phone: 831.763.2448
website: http://www.liveearthfarm.net