What's in the box this week
Occasionally content will differ
from this list (typically we will make a substitution), but we do our best to
give you an accurate projection. Any produce not from Live Earth
Farm (LEF) will list the name of the farm in parentheses after the item.
[go to recipe database]
Apples, Fuji +
Apricot jam (Happy Girl Kitchen, from LEF apricots)
Fennel (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Red Russian kale
Romaine lettuce (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
(all items made with LEF produce and prepared by Happy Girl Kitchen)
1 jar apricot jam
1 jar crushed mixed heirloom tomatoes
1 jar pickled sweet peppers
This week's bread will be Whole Wheat and flax seed
Nature's Seductive Seeds
I am defenseless in the face of nature's seductive power and
it is in large part the reason why I farm. I can't explain it any other way; no sooner did we finish
our regular CSA season a couple of weeks ago when I caught myself eagerly
leafing through a stack of new 2010 seed catalogs that have been arriving in
the mail. I look forward to Seed catalogs
as others might wait to receive their favorite fashion magazines. For me Seed
Catalogs are essential winter reading to prepare next season's crop plan. Not only do I make sure I have access
to seeds for all our most reliable varieties but I am equally excited to check
out any newcomers "wearing" particularly attractive traits, whether it's color,
shape, taste, yield, or adaptability to growing conditions particular to our
farm environment. The Garbanzo beans
for example were a hit with many of our members and will be featured again next
year. The Padron peppers we grew for the first time were also a popular new
addition to our pepper "family" and for next year we figured out how to pick
them so they're not so spicy hot. Cantaloupes, Watermelons and more Sweet Corn
are worth keeping in the mix and I personally missed growing Fingerling
Potatoes and will make sure they're back again next year. Winter is a good time to seduce any
farmer into committing to grow to something new or different, so if there is
something that you would like us to try out, please send us your suggestions as
we compose next season's crop plan.
It is one thing to be seduced by glossy pictures and promising descriptions
of a crop inside a catalog, and yet another to hold the actual seeds in one's
hand. Just this last weekend
I was sifting through the dry beans we grew for seed, admiring their colorful
and mottled patterns, when all of a sudden I felt this strong desire to plant them.
The spell was easily fought off with a look outside, where everything is
preparing for winter dormancy, but I thought of Michael Pollan's compelling
argument in his Book "Botany of Desire", where he stipulates that it is not us
humans who are necessarily controlling the destiny of plants but that it is the
other way around, where plants have successfully seduced and used humans as
their primary vector to spread and multiply. Who knows, this may be the answer to my
addiction to farming: I am just playing my part in nature's evolutionary
conspiracy theory. On a more practical note, it may also have influenced our desire
to keep farming through the winter season, and offering what is now our 4th
We have done our best to plan for a bountiful harvest of
wonderful hardy winter crops. Most of our winter crops were purposefully planted
on a staggered schedule, so as to mature at different times. Crops such as
Carrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Beets, Broccoli and Brussels sprouts were planted
in August and September and are maturing so as to be ready for harvest now and over
the next few months. More recent plantings will take much longer - almost twice
the normal time - to mature [shorter days, less daylight, colder temperatures
all contribute to slower growing], so we don't expect their harvest until the
earlier part of the New Year. During the winter it is the weather that's
calling the shots; whether it's freezing, flooding or equipment breakdowns,
winter conditions can make field and therefore harvest conditions more
unpredictable - which in turn can translate into more variability and uncertainty
in the quality, quantity and diversity of crops in your shares. To offset some
of this uncertainty, we will add preserves of the summer crops we grew, as well as
supplement with produce from other local growers, to keep the shares you receive
interesting and representative of what is in season at this time of year.
I am excited that we are sold out once again for
the Winter. Your commitment to this farm has been wonderful and for that I am
Good organizations to know about
Hi all, Debbie here again. I would like to introduce our greater community to two organizations that work hard on our behalf to support and further the cause of organic and sustainable agriculture in this country. They are the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
, and the National Organic Coalition
. At first blush, they sound quite similar, and being concerned about overlapping (and possible duplication) of efforts, I contacted Liana Hoodes, the policy coordinator for National Organic Coalition, to request clarification. I was extremely pleased with her prompt and enlightening response and wanted to share this with you all, because I felt that once you saw the scope of what these two organizations are doing for us, you might consider getting on their mailing lists so as to educate yourselves (like I have been trying to do for myself over the years). This is your opportunity to be informed about ongoing issues of government policy that directly affect our farm (and your food!) and others like us... and also be in a position to possibly contribute your voice, when needed, on these issues.
Here is Liana's response (with my highlights in color for emphasis):
"That's a great question Debbie, because we work very hard with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on many of our issues, and work hard to collaborate, not overlap
. In fact, we have a MOU [memo of understanding] between us about this collaboration.
"For instance, on Food Safety: the issue(s) is just too much for either organization. This past year, we decided to 'join' our committees, and divide the work. We (NOC) took the lead in the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement issue at USDA, hiring a lawyer to help us with the hearings, and getting folks from both organizations to testify at 7 of the hearings (see our website for testimony). NSAC has taken the lead with the legislation, HR 2749 and S510, working with staffers to hone the legislative language, and coming back to all of us to see what our needs are. Where voices are needed to Congress, both organizations use our DC staff, as well as members from both organizations who are appropriate for an issue/district.
"You'll see that NSAC took the leadership on the NRCS [Natural Resources Conservation Service] EQIP [Environmental Quality Incentives Program] Organic Initiative, but NOC takes the lead on National Organic Program/NOSB [National Organic Standards Board] issues such as program oversight, and standards/materials issues (we've held meetings prior to NOSB since 1998). We both work on Appropriations and Farm Bill, with NOC staying very organic-specific, and NSAC going broader, although NSAC member Organic Farming Research Foundation
takes the lead on national organic research, which we (NOC) follow.
"In a sense, much of organic is just too detailed for NSAC to focus as closely as we feel it needs to be, and the big picture sustainable ag policy is too broad for NOC to attempt to cover.
"Well, I didn't mean to be so long in that explanation, but I wanted you to understand that this is a conscious maneuvering we do between the two organizations, and we are very happy to work together. We are thankful for your support of either or both organizations."
National Organic Coalition
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Click here to go to the recipe database.
Oooh, I love that Tom has invited us to suggest new goodies to grow for next season... I've already submitted my list! ;-) But the first box of the winter season looks bounteous and I am SO READY for it! How about you? - Debbie
Now, I'm not going to cover everything on the veggie list, but I would like to highlight the more unusual veggies (well, unusual to some of us!). First, I'd like to talk about the baby turnips. They look like a bunch of large white radishes, but radishes they are not (although they are both in the brassica family). When you get them home, separate the roots from the greens but don't discard the greens! They are a great cooking green. My favorite yummy way to prepare them involves using those greens. You'll want to do this while the greens are still fresh, so, ideally within a few days:Debbie's honey-kissed baby turnips and their greens
1 bunch of turnips 'n' greens will serve two. Takes maybe 15 minutes to prepare.
Wash turnip bulbs and trim tops and tails. They do not need to be peeled. Cut in half (or thirds or quarters if larger).
Wash green tops, separating out and discarding any yellowed or discolored leaves and keeping the fresh green ones. Spin off excess water and chop greens.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet (I love cast-iron), melt some butter and add a blorp
of olive oil. When butter has melted and starts bubbling, add turnips and stir/shake
pan to coat and distribute oil/butter. Let cook over medium heat, stirring and
turning periodically, until turnips begin to soften and lightly brown. Sprinkle
moderately with sea salt, then add a small spoonful of honey. This will melt
quickly so stir to distribute, then toss in the greens along with their clinging
water. Continue to stir and cook until greens have wilted. Season to taste with
additional salt and several good grindings of black pepper; stir and serve!
This dish also keeps warm nicely so you needn't serve it right away like other greens dishes where there is acid involved (lemon or vinegar) which causes the greens to turn an olive color after a short while. You can also refrigerate and reheat the next day no problem.What about those Brussels sprouts?? If you are new to all this and have some old memory from childhood that these are icky yukky foul-tasting vegetables, you are in for a BIG surprise. Fresh Brussels sprouts are absolutely marvelous and tasty, and don't pay any attention to those recipes designed to make them 'taste good' by completely masking their flavor. The idea is to bring out their nuttiness and play it up big. And here's something even more radical: I love to eat them for breakfast!! Yes, and you will too, once you try them this way:Debbie's breakfast Brussels Sproutsminimum ingredients
herbes de Provence
butter and olive oil
salt and pepper
cheese of some sort: I prefer feta or chevre, but another cheese will do in a pinchextras (i.e. optional)
sweet peppers (did you freeze any from summertime? If not, you could probably cut up some pickled peppers if you're getting this week's Preserves Option)
a little sweet onion or scallion... or some of the leeks in this week's box
This recipe is very scalable. Only cooking for one? just use a handful of sprouts and one egg. Cooking for more? Use a bigger pan, more sprouts and eggs. It's pretty simple.
Cut base off each sprout and peel off one or two outer leaves; just enough so as to get a clean little sprout. Cut sprouts in half.
Whisk up eggs and add some herbes de Provence (I like to rub the dry herbs in my fingers to bring out their flavor).
If the sprouts are bigger, you can steam them for maybe 2 minutes to soften just a bit, but if small, I don't even bother to do this. Again, heat a heavy-bottomed (cast-iron) skillet and melt some butter and add a modest bit of olive oil (don't be skimpy on the butter and olive oil). When bubbly, add sprouts, cut side down if you can manage it (and cut up peppers and/or onions or leeks, if using. Totally not required). Saute over medium heat until just starting to brown. Sprinkle with salt and grindings of black pepper.
Pour whisked eggs over the top of everything, turn down heat to low, cover and cook until eggs are just barely set, then lift lid, quickly distribute cheese over all, put lid back on, turn off heat and let sit for a minute or two until cheese gets melty.
That's it! Serve 'em hot (eggs and sprouts will be browned on the bottom but this is good!), with a side of toast and some of that fabulous apricot jam!!Here's a recipe sent to me by friend and member Alie Victorine. She got it through the Peninsula Open Space Trust:Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pistachios
1/4 C raw pistachios, shelled
1 medium tart apple, diced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C dried cranberries
1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
pistachios in a 325-degree oven for 6-8 minutes. Soak the apples in a bowl
of lemon juice and water to keep from browning.
oil over med/high heat. Add Brussels sprouts and cook, covered, for 7-8
minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the Brussels sprouts are nicely
browned, add 3 tbsps. of vegetable broth and cover to steam for 3 minutes.
Add garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds. Remove to a plate. Lastly, here's a recipe from my clippings file good for using your cabbage and cilantro!Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw
the same pan, add the drained apples and cook for 3 minutes. Add the
Brussels sprouts, 2-3 tbsps of broth, maple syrup, and cranberries, and
cook for approximately 2 minutes, or until the sprouts are tender. Season
with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and mix in the roasted
modified slightly from a Bon Appetit clipping
1 15-oz can of black beans, drained
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
5 tsp. olive oil, divided [aw, ya don't really need to measure this that carefully!]
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice [or lemon, if you don't have lime]
2 C shredded cabbage [add some grated carrot for good color!]
2 green onions, chopped
1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro [stems and leaves]
4 white or yellow corn tortillas
1/3 C crumbled feta cheese
Hot sauce of your choice
Place beans and cumin in a small bowl; partially mash. Mix 2 tsps. olive oil and lime juice in a medium bowl; add cabbage [carrots], green onions and cilantro and toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with salt and pepper.
Heat 3 tsps. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tortillas in a single layer. [You may need to do these one at a time?] Spoon one quarter of the bean mixture onto half of each tortilla; cook 1 minute. Fold tacos in half. Cook until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Fill tacos with feta and slaw. Pass hot sauce alongside.
We don't have any farm events scheduled during our Winter season, and have not yet set up our calendar for 2010, however, we DO expect to continue our Community Farm Days, Seasonal Celebrations (Summer Solstice and Fall Harvest), Canning Workshops with Happy Girl Kitchen Co, and more next year; and of course there are also the educational programs via our new nonprofit, the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP). See below for the popular "Wee Ones" program, for example, which is monthly.
And do visit our calendar page on our website for photos and videos of past events if you would like to get the flavor of what it is like visiting the farm!
NEW in 2009!! Live Earth Farm Discovery Program for WEE ONES
3rd Tuesday of every month, 10:30am - Noon
(free for children 0 - 3 yrs; $10 - $15 per adult)
Mothers, fathers, grandparents, caretakers of any kind... bring the babe in your arms to experience the diversity of our beautiful organic farm here in Watsonville. We will use our five senses to get to know the natural world around us. The farm is home to over 50 different fruits and vegetables, chicks, chickens, goats, piglets, and the many wild members of the Pajaro watershed.
For more information, contact Jessica at the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (831) 728-2032 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.