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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
2nd Harvest Week, Winter Season 4
Thursday December 10th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
It's all in the details
What happened last week
New boxes unlock differently!
Pictures from around the farm
Live Earth Farm veggie kids -- please send pictures!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen (recipes)
2009 Calendar

What's in the box this week
Occasionally content will differ from this list (typically we make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection. For any produce not from Live Earth Farm (LEF) we will list the name of the farm in parentheses after the item.

Please always go by what's in 'the binder' at your pickup site. Things can change between the time this newsletter goes out and when the shares are packed. Thanks!

Winter Share
Apples, Fuji and Newtown Pippin
Apricot jam <--- INSIDE your box. (This is the replacement for the jam which was inadvertently left OUT of the box last week. See story below.) (from LEF apricots; prepared by Happy Girl Kitchen)
Red beets (loose or bagged; not bunched, so, no green tops)
Brussels sprouts
Napa cabbage
Carrots (topped and bagged)
Cauliflower (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Collard greens
Lacinato kale
Red Russian kale
Red leaf lettuce
Pickled dry-farmed tomatoes <--- INSIDE  your box. (from LEF tomatoes; prepared by Happy Girl Kitchen)
Winter squash

Preserves Option <---OUTSIDE the box. See next to your name on checklist!
(all items made with LEF produce and prepared by Happy Girl Kitchen)
1 jar strawberry jam
1 jar pickled green beans
1 jar tomato juice

Bread Option
This week's bread will be sesame Whole Wheat

" To see a World in a Grain of Sand
   And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
   Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
   And Eternity in an hour. "

- from William Blake's poem, Auguries of Innocence

It's all in the details
I often refer to William Blake's inspiring poem to remind myself that it's the small things in life that teach us the most about the inter-connectedness of everything within the vast spectacle of the universe. To find these instructive smaller things, we've first got to zoom in from the vast, seemingly infinite space of the Cosmos towards our own Planet Earth... spinning perfectly positioned around the Sun with just the right conditions for Life to exist. From here (where breathing is a little easier) I can google and, with a "click of a mouse", locate our farm, like a grain of sand in a large ocean. From a cosmic perspective, here on the farm conditions are ideal (although maybe a bit cold right now) for growing life-nourishing food. I always find it remarkable how, from the four basic universal elements -- Water, Air, Earth and maybe not exactly Fire, but the light and warmth of the Sun -- a diverse web of living organisms, ourselves included, has come to exist.

Now at this stage you're probably thinking - what's Tom's point? Well, let me zoom in just a bit more, leaving behind the esoteric perspective of cosmos-to-earth-to-farm, to consider the actual orchestration and logistical perspective of the farm's food web itself. Specifically, the realm related to the coordination of harvesting, packing and, ultimately, delivering the farm's earthly bounty to you, our members, every week. There's a key "living organism" here on the farm which keeps things running smoothly for all of us, and that's Debbie, the farm's CSA coordinator.

Her job ultimately depends on the honesty and attentiveness of every single member who picks up a share. It's a wonderful system except when one gets shorted some part of their allotted share. So in order to maintain this "cosmic" harmony in our distribution system, we ask everyone to pay attention to the small, but often critical instructions, in order to minimize the number of errors. As all living systems, we are continuously evolving in hopes of perfecting what we do. Thank you for doing your part. You are, ultimately, the "Community" in Community Supported Agriculture, and together we make it work for everyone.

- Tom
What happened last week
Well, we all know that old saw about best laid plans...

Last week, our first week of the winter season, had a snafu. Here we were so excited about preparing a stellar box for you, and then a packing error, combined with a bad call (putting the same preserve item both as part of the Share and part of the Option), combined with no labels on the preserves, combined with new members picking up for the first time... well, this caused a little trouble. ;-)

As most of you know by now, there was supposed to have been a jar of apricot jam inside every share box last week (yes, inside the box, nestled in amongst the veggies) -- and those were for everybody. There was also apricot jam set outside the shares in bulk -- those were part of the "Preserve Option" that many of you signed up for, so... not for everybody.

Well by now you know that the jam didn't get packed in the box last week like it was supposed to. Now add new members who remember reading in the newsletter that they were supposed to get apricot jam (and salivating at the prospect, no doubt), and un-labeled jars at the pick-up sites... and voila! Confusion. Some people took jam because they thought they were supposed to, not realizing that they were taking jam from another member's 'Preserve Option'. And then THAT member, who didn't get their jam, was confused and disappointed... and you get the picture!

Fortunately the mixup wasn't SO widespread as to be a total calamity (just a modest one!). Those of you who were affected by the mixup (either took jam or were shorted jam) and who emailed me about it will be hearing from me with a final word on how we'll rectify the situation.

How are we going to make up for this?
1) The apricot jam that was left out of the share boxes last week will be put in there this week
2) I am going to label all Preserve Options with member's names (in addition to listing them in the binder as always). Hopefully this will make it very clear who is supposed to take them and who is not! ;-)

How can you help make it work in the future?
1) Always treat the checklist in the binder at your pickup site as "the bible" for what to take each week. The checklist spells out next to your name what has been delivered for you (and everyone else at your site). Only take what's listed next to your name, or you'll be taking what belongs to someone else.
2) If you ever have anyone else pick up for you, please make sure they know this.

Thanks everyone!!

New boxes unlock differently!
Speaking of best laid plans, the new boxes Tom got for our winter shares don't 'unlock' on the bottom the same way as the old ones! So already that small bit of info in the 'protocol' is out-dated ;-) The rule about 'not tearing' them still holds, however, so please note the new method for flattening your boxes (it's simple!):

Turn your box over, then push in at the middle. Keep pushing until the flaps separate and it will open up and flatten nicely.


Pictures from around the farm
Just a few seasonal shots of winter beauty from a walk on the farm last week!

Winter on Live Earth Farm

Live Earth Farm veggie kids -- please send pictures!
We LOVE getting photos of your children interacting with our fruit and veggies, or with food you prepared from them. So please send them if you snap them! :-) Just email them to the farm's main email address and Debbie will see that they get into a future newsletter for everyone to enjoy. Stories to accompany the pictures are always appreciated too!

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

Hullo everyone and welcome to Week Two of scrumptious squeaky-fresh winter-kissed veggies from our farm! I hope everyone enjoyed their bounty last week, and expect you are all looking forward to that apricot jam. Of course another treat inside the boxes this week is preserved (lightly pickled) dry-farmed tomatoes and basil. Summer in a jar, I call it. You can eat them right out of the jar if you like - just like pickles! No need to cook with them if you don't want to. And don't forget those Brussels sprouts -- are you all hooked yet? Oh, and by the way, if you ever see comments in square brackets [like this] in a recipe, that's me, adding my two cents. (Existing members know this; I'm just lettin' the newbies know!) - Debbie

First off, here's a kale recipe sent in by member John Steele, who says his wife really likes it this way:

Kale and coconut salad with currants
by John Steele (the cook of the family)

kale (any kind)
shredded dry coconut
dried currants [or golden raisins or dried cherries, if you don't have currants]
good olive oil [or any fragrant oil like walnut or ??]
fresh lemon juice

Lightly steam kale, just until wilted, then cool. Drizzle with oil and squeeze a little lemon over all [I think I'd sprinkle in a little salt here], sprinkle with dry coconut and scatter on currants.

John's recipe, of course, reminds me of my old standby for winter greens like kale, collards beet greens, broccolini or broccoli raab and the like. It's what I call 'hot salad'. It's a recipe I 'cooked up', so to speak, for winter... when I'm really interested in having a green salad, but not so excited about having a cold salad. Brrrr. Of course this is equally good as a side dish, and also a common preparation step for when I'm putting cooked leafy greens in other recipes. A real keeper!

Debbie's "Hot Salad"

kale (or other cooking green)
sea salt
good olive oil
fresh lemon
optional: grated fresh parmesan cheese

My favorite green for this recipe is the red Russian kale, but honestly, I do it with all the cooking greens, as I mention above. For leafy greens, first strip leaves from stems (easy: hold the stem in one hand and zzzzip off the leaves - it's SO much easier than cutting them off with a knife!). Compost the stems and hold the leaves. Another time-saver is: I don't chop them until after they're cooked. Much less messy because the volume has decreased significantly.

Anyway, for the leafy greens, bring a pot of well-salted water (think 'seawater') to a boil. Add greens and turn heat down to medium. Poke 'em down in the water so they all get nicely submerged and let 'em cook a few minutes. If you like a little tooth to your greens (and prefer to minimally cook your greens in general), a quick minute will suffice. If you like them silkier and more tender, two to three minutes. After you start cooking them this way a few times, you'll find a done-ness that suits your own happiness.

Drain greens in a strainer, squeezing out excess water with the back of a wooden spoon (you don't want them soggy). You will discover your large pile of raw greens has shrunk considerably! Put lump of cooked greens on a cutting board and chop to your desired degree of bite-size-ness.

(If you are making this with other green things such as broccolini, just steam it, and you don't have to do the squeeze and chop step either.)

Divide kale among salad plates while still warm, drizzle with olive oil (the warm kale volatilizes the oil a bit, making it fragrant and wonderful - hence the suggestion of using a 'good' olive oil, if you have one!), squeeze on the lemon juice, fairly generously, then sprinkle with additional sea salt. Greens love salt. (And so do I!)

That's it! Serve it like that. That's your salad. If you want to gussy it up, grate fresh parmesan cheese on top too. If you use the parmesan, you can cut down on, or leave off, the sprinkled salt, as the cheese provides the 'salt'.

This next recipe was also sent in by a member - Cara Finn - who made this up from 'what was left in the bottom of the fridge'. A healthy inspiration, by the way! Since it uses several ingredients that we're getting in our boxes this week, I thought it'd be a good time to share it!

Southwestern Rutabaga Soup
by Cara Finn

Cara says the pasilla pepper added great flavor, but any pepper with interest will work. It's very easy and doesn't need potatoes for thickening. And it freezes well too.
2 large rutabagas
1 large carrot
1 large Pasilla pepper
1 jalepeno pepper
1 leek - tender parts only
3 stalks celery
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup butter and/or olive oil
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Fresh cilantro
Cream/milk (optional)
Saute sliced peppers, leek, garlic and celery in butter till soft and sweated, but not brown, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Cut rutabaga and carrot into half-inch cubes (more or less) and put into a pot with the sauteed veggies.  Add stock to cover.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until veggies are very, very tender.  Cool enough to handle, then puree in food processor.  Return to soup pot and add cream or milk till it's the consistency you want.  Chop fresh cilantro and add to soup.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roasted Brussels sprouts
One of the more important things to know when cooking Brussels sprouts is that you don't want to overcook them. So I don't recommend boiling at all. Just don't go there or you'll ruin them. Lightly steam them, or pan brown them like I talked about last week, or... roast them!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Toss trimmed sprouts with olive oil (or a combo of oil and melted butter - even better!), and finely chopped shallots and/or garlic. Spread in a pan or glass baking dish and sprinkle with salt (and pepper, if you like), then bake for about 20 minutes. That's all!

Fusilli with cauliflower and black olives
from Guiliano Hazan's "Everything Italian"
serves 4 to 6

1 lb. cauliflower, leaves and stems trimmed
2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley [it's in the box this week!]
1/8 tsp. [a pinch or two] of crushed red pepper flakes
8 black Greek olives [Kalamata]
1 1/2 lbs. fresh, ripe plum tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped [obviously this is NOT tomato season, so I'd simply substitute canned chopped tomatoes]
1 lb. fusilli
3 tbsp. freshly grated pecorino romano

Bring a pot of water large enough to hold cauliflower to a boil. Add cauliflower to boiling water. (White vegetables will taste sweeter if you do not add salt to the boiling water.) [Well that's new to me! See, I learned something new here!!] Boil cauliflower until it is tender, 10 to 15 minutes [I've seen recipes like this before, where you boil the whole head before cutting up, instead of cutting up and steaming the florettes. Interesting!]. Drain and cut into pieces no larger than half an inch.

Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 4 quarts water and place over high heat. Put garlic and olive oil in a 10-inch saute pan and place it over medium-high heat. Saute until garlic begins to sizzle. Add parsley and red pepper flakes and stir a few times. Add cauliflower and season with salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is quite tender and begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

While cauliflower is sauteeing, cut olive flesh from pits and coarsely chop. When cauliflower is done, add tomatoes and cook for 6 to 8 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon salt and the fusilli to the boiling pasta water. Just before pasta is done, add olives to sauce, stir well, and remove from heat. When pasta is cooked, drain it and toss with sauce and grated pecorino cheese, and serve.

Beet and Apple Salad with Horseradish Vinaigrette
from a book called "The Midwest: America's Breadbasket and Lager Country

The lead-in reads, "Earthy beets, tart apples, and a spicy vinaigrette make this dish irresistible with beer. We think a malty Amber Lager goes best, but a Pale Ale would also be very nice."

6 medium beets, unpeeled, tops removed
2 tart apples
3 green onions or scallions, thinly sliced

for horseradish vinaigrette
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. prepared horseradish
3 tbsp. red wine or raspberry vinegar
1/2 C olive oil
salt and pepper

Cook the unpeeled beets in plenty of boiling water until a knife point can easily be inserted. The timing depends on the size of the beets, but 15 - 20 minutes should be about right. Let cool and peel the beets. Cut into shreds or julienne strips. Peel and shred the apples. In a large salad bowl, mix together the beets, apples and green onions or scallions.

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients well [they say to do this in a food processor, but I think that's not necessary. A good whisk will emulsify it!]

Toss salad with dressing and let sit for 1 hour or so in the refrigerator before serving. This flavorful vinaigrette is also good on leeks [which are also in the box this week!]

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)
LEF Discovery Program logoMothers, 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 lefeducation@baymoon.com.

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763.2448