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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
4th Harvest Week, Winter Season 4
Thursday January 14th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
What's in the preserves (ingredients)
A Fresh Start on a Continuing Journey
Winter Schedule - rest of season
Another kind of community
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen (recipes!)
2010 Calendar

" Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. Hands join
unjoin in love and fear, grief and joy.
The circles turn, each giving into each,
into all. "

- Wendell Berry

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 Newton Pippin
Red beets (bagged not bunched, so, no green tops)
Brussels sprouts
Carrots (topped and bagged)
Romanesco cauliflower
Collard greens
Lacinato kale
Red Russian kale
Meyer lemons
1 jar of either crushed heirloom tomatoes, or pickled dry-farmed tomatoes will be INSIDE  your box. (from LEF tomatoes; prepared by Happy Girl Kitchen. see below)

Preserves Option <---OUTSIDE the box. See next to your name on checklist!
(all items made with LEF produce and prepared by Happy Girl Kitchen. see below.)
1 jar tomato salsa
1 jar apple cider
1 jar kim chee (or kimchi)

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

What's in the preserves (ingredients)
Jordan Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen wanted members to have an ingredient list for the preserves (people with allergy and dietary issues want to know, and others simply like to know). ;-) So we will be adding this 'list' to the newsletter each week!

(Inside the box this week)
Crushed Heirlooms: Heirloom tomatoes, sea salt. Ingredients are organic. We have neatly tucked these Live Earth jewels into jars for you in order to preserve their vine-ripened freshness. These colorful organic heirloom tomato chunks with a pinch of sea salt are ready to make any dish scrumptious.
Dry Farmed Tomatoes: Dry farmed tomatoes, filtered water, apple cider vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and spices. All ingredients are organic. These are the jewels of summer preserved for you for the winter. You can strain the tomatoes and use them on bruschetta, in soups and stews. Use the liquid to start a great dressing or marinade. 

(In the Preserve Option this week)
Salsa: Heirloom tomatoes, onions, peppers, lemon juice, cilantro, jalapenos, garlic, sea salt. All ingredients are organic. This salsa is made with fresh ripe heirloom tomatoes and has a subtle sweetness to it that comes straight from the earth. You can taste the warmth of the sun in each velvet mouthful. 

Cider: Apples. Ingredients are organic. The apple harvest is one of our favorite times of year at Happy Girl. We loved pressing Live Earth's apples in a hand-cranked press in order to get this fresh, sweet juice. Taste the harvest with each sip. This cider gives your bitter greens a sweet kick when used as a braising liquid. 
Kim Chee: Napa cabbage, carrots, daikon radish, onions, garlic, ginger, spices and salt. All ingredients are organic. Named a national treasure in Korea, this fermented food promotes healthy digestion due to naturally occurring beneficial bacteria. Kim Chee makes a wonderful sour addition to your favorite grain or any variety of spicy foods. 

A Fresh Start on a Continuing Journey
Although my holiday break didn't exactly mimic the farm's biological dormancy I feel refueled and ready to embark on our 15th growing season. And although the soil is too cold to plant and life in the underground remains dormant, above ground things are stirring and starting to get busy again in preparation for the upcoming season. Freshly sown seedling trays are starting to fill up the greenhouse, last year's raspberry patch and both apple and pear orchards are in the process of being pruned, the strawberries are all 'in their beds', and all the tractors and farm vehicles are being serviced. Unfortunately, one of our delivery trucks needed a costly transmission overhaul. Fortunately, the problem manifested itself in the last delivery before the holidays, so we had three weeks, instead of one, to get it repaired. A small blessing.
Newly planted strawberry beds, and sprouts in the greenhouse
As is typical for winter, with field work being slow, now is a good time to check if tools and farm equipment need repairs and replacements, especially equipment that gets a lot of use and abuse such as the disc-plows, the spaders, rototillers, deep and shallow rippers, harrows, seeding machines, and mowers. Of course field work never really stops; in our mild climate we are still busy harvesting a bounty of crops for the winter shares and for the weekly farmers markets.  Many of the crops planted in late Fall, especially the strawberries, garlic, leeks and onions all need weeding.

When it comes to the subject of weeding, you can always get a farmer's attention. I am no exception. So when late last year a farming couple - David and Natalain Schwartz from DeJa View Farms, just up the road from us - inquired whether we'd be interested in adopting their small flock of sheep (7 pregnant ewes and 2 rams) I didn't get too excited at first, picturing myself shearing, spinning and knitting wool into sweaters. But I changed my mind when I discovered how sheep can help minimize mechanical cultivation, especially in difficult areas such as on our hillside orchards, by integrating them as living grass mowers, allowing them to roam under our apple and apricot orchards while at the same time evenly spreading there valuable "fertilizer". We are almost set up to receive them, and excited to work and learn about these new members joining our family of farm animals.  

This is the season for brassicas, a large family of vegetables which include Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Rutabagas, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Collard Greens, many of which make up  this weeks winter share. During no other season do brassicas  develop the wonderful sweet earthy flavor they have right now. The reason for this change in flavor has to do with the brassicas adaptability to cold and freezing temperatures. Typically when temperatures dip below 32F as they did in early December, the plants respond by converting starches into sugars, increasing the Brix concentration, a measure of solids and sugars in the plant's sap. Not only will this response prevent plant cells from rupturing, but also it favorably improves the taste and increases the nutritional content of the plant. Hope you enjoy the winter bounty, especially the green "fractal" patterned Romanesco Cauliflower in this weeks share (see Debbie's recipes for more description).

Happy "belated" New Year to all.

- Tommorning sunshine streams under the fog and across the fire circle

Winter Schedule - rest of season
Just a quick heads-up to remind everyone that, from here out, the winter CSA pick-up will be every other week. So don't forget -- mark your calendars!

Week 4: January 14th (this week)
<no share January 21st>
Week 5: January 28th
<no share February 4th>
Week 6: February 11th
<no share February 18th>
Week 7: February 25th
<no share March 4th>
Week 8: March 11th -- last winter share!

Regular 2010 season begins March 31st/April 1st (Weds/Thurs)

Another kind of community
It is amazing what people can accomplish when they come together as community.
If you haven't yet read "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time" by Greg Mortensen, (or his recent follow-up book, "Stones into Schools"), you owe it to yourself to do so. [I've listened to both on audio books I got from the library, while commuting to and from the farm - a great way to 'read' them, by the way.] Anyway, this is a most remarkable story about a man who, back in 1993, after a failed attempt to scale K2, the world's second highest mountain, stumbled upon a life's mission to build schools for children - especially girls* - of communities in the remotest parts of Pakistan (and later Afghanistan). Torgu Balla schoolgirls, Pakistan; Lalander, Afghanistan school and schoolchildren. Images courtesy of Central Asia Institute.What makes this story so remarkable though, is the sustainability of the projects he (and now his non-profit organization, the Central Asia Institute, or CAI) does, especially in one of the harshest, most war-torn places on earth. All projects are initiated, implemented and managed by local communities; and their success comes from the building of relationships first.
Now come back around the world to our local community of Santa Cruz. Last year, a group of local potters, so moved by what Greg and the CAI were doing, decided to hold a fundraiser for them and auctioned off handmade sets of "three teacups". Everything for this event was donated, so that all funds raised would go directly to CAI. I believe they raised close to $10,000. This year, they are doing it again, only the items auctioned have expanded to artworks other than pottery (though there are many beautiful teacup sets too!). Over 50 Santa Cruz artists are contributing works they created specifically on the "Three Cups of Tea" theme. To learn more about this event [online auction begins Jan 25; fundraiser is Feb 11 at the Rio Theatre] and preview artworks being auctioned, go to their website, www.3-cups-of-tea-santacruz.com or download the flyer with all the details.
- Debbie
*a quote from Greg, "Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in the cities, but the girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they've learned. If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls."

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

Welcome back - I hope everyone survived the dearth of farm veggies over the last three weeks! We are now in full-on winter, and in full-on winter-veggie mode, so now's the time to make those hearty roasted, baked and braised dishes that warm you to the core (and if you're a cold wimp like me, it's also an excuse to warm the kitchen!). - Debbie

One of the things I wanted to talk to everyone about this week was a small kitchen tool. It's handy year-round, but particularly in winter, when there are more root veggies on hand... something seldom mentioned yet very useful, and inexpensive to boot -- a veggie brush! If you don't have one, go out and find yourself a good, sturdy, stiff-bristled (preferably natural bristles, not plastic) veggie brush. The stiff bristles part is important; if they're too soft, its no good.
The reason it's so useful is, it eliminates the need to peel many veggies, so the 'savings' is two-fold; no peeling, AND you can leave the nutritious (and yummy) skin on things like beets, potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips... I'm not so sure about rutabagas; I think you still want to peel those (I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has experience on this). I particularly love the flavor of roasted beets in their skins!
Don't throw away those Rutabaga peels!
Let's jump back to rutabaga skins for a moment though. Winter is the time for hearty soups, and one thing I've learned (from Jesse Ziff Cool, if I remember correctly) is to save my rutabaga peels. I stick 'em in a ziploc bag in my freezer along with other veggie trimmings and meat bones. Rutabaga adds a 'hauntingly sweet' rich flavor to soup stock. Yes, you can just use cut-up rutabaga, but why not eat the root, and put the peel to good use rather than throwing it away?
Right now I have a pot on the stove with the bone and trimming scraps from a leg of lamb (plus bones I've saved from the chops of prior meals), as well as (you guessed it!) rutabaga peels, celery and parsley scraps, carrot, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, sea salt, and some cider vinegar (to draw the minerals out of the bones and into the stock). I've had it on the barest simmer for hours... and the kitchen smells heavenly! (And yes, it's warm too - whee!)
If you don't eat meat though, the peels are equally good in veggie stock. If you haven't gotten in the habit of saving scraps like this for soup stock... hey, it's a new year; you can add this one little thing to your repertoire - consider soup-stock-making as a goal for 2010! It's an efficient use of veggie and meat scraps, economical, and far more nutritious and flavorful than ANY commercially produced stock or broth on a supermarket shelf.
Radicchio, apple and leeks - oh my!
You've already heard me rave about pan-browned radicchio, so I'm a sucker for pretty much any cooked-radicchio recipe. It loves (okay, I love it) being offset by salty-sour-sweet, and so as I looked at this week's veggie list, I got to thinking... hm, radicchio and apple? A little Meyer lemon maybe? So I looked online and quickly found a "Crostini with Radicchio and Apple" recipe on Mariquita Farm's website. It calls for radicchio, apple, shallots, honey and balsamic vinegar; I'm taking the liberty of modifying it into a side-dish (though this would probably be good on crostini too!) with ingredients from our box:
1 head radicchio, chopped
1 apple, diced (yup: leave the peel on)
1 leek, cleaned of dirt, thinly sliced (white and light-green)
juice from half a meyer lemon
a spoonful of honey
salt and pepper
olive oil
Saute leeks in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. Add chopped radicchio and sprinkle generously with salt. Stir and continue to saute until radicchio wilts and together with leeks they begin to brown. Add apple, honey, and meyer lemon juice and several gratings of black pepper (or to taste), and stir/cook until lemon and honey are well distributed and apple begins to soften. Taste and adjust with more lemon juice or salt as needed.

Beautiful fractal patterns in Romanesco CauliflowerOoh, I almost forgot the Romanesco cauliflower! What was I thinking?? These beauties are stunning to behold - a pale emerald green, and a unique geometric shape. Before you cut it up, be sure to show it to your kids. Have them look at it up close, see what they can see... notice the repeating shapes? The head is a spiraling cone of florets, and each floret is itself a tiny spiral cone of nubs, and each little nub on each floret is a tiny spiraling cone of smaller nubbins... this is called a fractal. Very cool. I never tire of admiring their beauty and shape. But one does have to eat, so after you've shown it off to everyone, it's okay to cook it!
Cauliflower, Broccolini and Carrot stir-fry with Oyster Sauce
I made this one up the other day, and it came out great!
1 head Romanesco cauliflower, cut into florets
A roughly equal quantity of broccolini, cut into somewhat similar-sized florets
1 large carrot, scrubbed :-) and cut into quarters (or sixths) lengthwise, then into segments about the length of the florets
1 leek, cleaned of dirt then sliced thin (white and light green parts)
fresh mushrooms, sliced (if you have some; can be made without, but they add good flavor)
1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced (or put through a garlic press)
about 2 tbsp. soy sauce
about 3 tbsp. oyster sauce
olive or other cooking oil
Combine soy and oyster sauce in a small cup or dish.
Start steaming the cauliflower and carrots together first, as they take a little longer than the broccolini. After about 2 to 3 minutes, add the broccolini and steam all three for an additional 3 to 4 minutes - you want the veggies to just be al-dente.
Meanwhile, saute leeks (or you can substitute sliced onion) and mushrooms in olive oil until soft and beginning to brown. Increase heat, add garlic and stir-fry a scant minute or less, then add steamed veggies and soy/oyster sauce mixture, stir to combine, heat until bubbly, then serve over fresh hot steamed rice.
Potato-kale burritos
This is another one I made up. Since we don't have potatoes, I'd substitute rutabaga (yes, really!).
potatoes, scrubbed, skins on, quartered, boiled, partially mashed (or steam cut-up, peeled rutabaga and roughly mash)
kale, cooked my 'default' way (strip leaves from stems, simmer or low-boil in well salted water 2 to 3 minutes, drain well, squeeze out excess water, chop)
sauteed onion (or leeks!)
cumin and chili powder
grated sharp cheddar
chopped fresh cilantro (if you have it)
Essentially you just make a burrito by wrapping some of everything inside a warm tortilla; you can either let everyone combine their own, or mix everything together except the cheese and cilantro and fill tortillas with that, adding cheese and cilantro last. Serve with your favorite hot sauce - if you're getting the preserves option, we're getting tomato salsa this week, so you can serve 'em with that!
Lastly, I'm going to repeat my latest fave collards recipe. If you're not big on collard greens, try 'em this way before you give up - it's really yummy!!
Debbie's Collards with garlic-lemon-butter rice and diced tomato
generously serves 2

1 bunch collard greens
3/4 C uncooked rice (such as basmati)
half a stick of butter
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice from one lemon (a meyer would be perfect!)**
diced tomato (use the pickled dry-farms or crushed heirlooms in this weeks' box!)

Cook rice however you normally do (I use a rice-cooker).

While rice is cooking, wash collard leaves as needed to remove dirt, strip leaves from stems (compost stems), and cook in boiling, well-salted water about 5 minutes. Pour off excess water, add cold water to quick cool leaves; pour that off and squeeze out as much water as you can with your hands. You should end up with about a fist-sized lump of cooked collard leaves. Put this lump on a cutting board and chop fairly finely.

In a small saucepan or skillet, melt butter over medium heat, add diced garlic and olive oil, simmer a minute or so. Add lemon juice and heat until all is simmering then turn off heat.

In a large pot or bowl, combine rice and collards, stirring well to evenly mix. Pour lemon-garlic butter mixture over all and stir to mix again. Add diced tomatoes, salt to taste, stir just to distribute, then serve! Yum!!

**alternatively, you could use some of the juice from the pickled dry-farmed tomatoes (a lovely sour, very tomato-ey flavor!). If you use crushed heirlooms, stick with the lemon, as the 'juice' -- though delicious, save for another use -- is not 'sour' like the pickled tomatoes.

We 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; 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. 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!

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 LEFDP office: (831) 728-2032 or email her at lefeducation@baymoon.com.

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763-2448