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 (inside the box)
Fuji and Pippin (green) apples
1 jar of apricot jam (from LEF apricots; prepared by Happy Girl Kitchen. see below)
Young beets (new crop - with green tops!)
Carrots (new crop - young and tender, bunched)
Red Russian kale (2 bunches)
Red potatoes (Mariquita Farm)
Rutabagas (new crop - bunched, incl. greens!)
Sunflower sprouts (New Natives)
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 strawberry jam
1 jar pickled dry-farmed tomatoes
1 jar sauerkraut
This week's bread will be whole wheat with flax seeds
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). ;-)
(Inside the box this week)
Apricot Jam: Blenheim apricots, evaporated cane juice, lemon juice. All ingredients are organic. The Royal Blenheim apricot, golden as the summer sun- is prefect for jam. We preserve this heirloom variety with an elegantly low amount of sugar so the flavor of these antique apricots is featured. Go ahead, spread some sunshine.
(In the Preserve Option this week)
Pickled 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.
Strawberry Jam: Strawberries, evaporated cane juice, lemon juice. All ingredients are organic. It has been fun to preserve Live Earth's beautiful berries into this classic jam. This jam is lower in sugar than most and so the flavor of the strawberries is allowed to express itself. Enjoy.
Sauerkraut: Fermented cabbage, spices and salt. All ingredients are organic. This traditional German condiment is gaining wild popularity among foodies and health nuts alike. Not only does it contain healthy bacteria that aid digestion but it is delicious. Excellent on sandwiches, in soups, and on just about anything you can dream up. Go wild!
Note that this is a live culture like the Kim Chee (i.e. it has not been heat processed) and should be refrigerated. Do not store on the shelf.
Farming ~ More than just Growing Food
The farm is a living, continuously changing outdoor classroom. No matter how many times one walks the same path or works the same field, one is always filled with a sense of anticipation as things are never the same from one moment to the next. Last week a group of homeschoolers (Blue Mountain Group), who visit the farm on a regular basis, were lucky to see the birthing of twin baby lambs. Being able to witness nature's act of creation up close was a visceral and powerful learning experience. Over the course of the season we welcome everyone to visit and deepen their relationship with the farm, to discover and learn what happens to the landscape, the plants, animals, and people who live here. By inviting nature to teach us, the farm is transformed into a fun, dynamic, living classroom, where ecological concepts of diversity, cooperation and interdependence are alive and real.
To farm sustainably one has to learn to become a nature detective, constantly observing and deciphering the signs and messages in the field in order to anticipate events and tailor one's farming practices accordingly. Right now I am paying close attention to signs of growth in the fruit trees; the buds on both the plum and apricot trees have swelled and are starting to break open. This is a critical time. The next 2-3 weeks, just like with a newborn, the trees are the most vulnerable, as tender succulent leaves and flowers start to emerge and unfold. This is the time when insects and diseases can cause the most damage. I am hoping for drier weather in the coming weeks, so that the blossoms have a better chance to get pollinated and set fruit. Meanwhile it will be important over the next 2-3 months to make timely foliar applications to reduce "brown rot" -- a hard to control and often damaging bacterial disease among stone fruit trees. I pretty much expect that some crops will do better than others from one season to the next, however by growing a large diversity of crops we always end up enjoying a bountiful harvest for most of the season. For now, I am ready to pack away my raindance gear and start singing songs to welcome warmer and drier weather. It's time to plant potatoes and early spring crops for the start of the season.
Sign up now for our 2010 Regular Season CSA if you haven't yet
Most of you who wanted a share in our upcoming Regular Season (starting
March 31/April 1) have already signed up, however if you somehow
missed all my other announcements and emails, you still have the
opportunity to do so! Just go to our website and click on "Signup" or, click
here to go directly to our new signup wizard! With our new
system powered by Farmigo, it is easier than ever.
Keep GE out of Organic!! Comment period ends Feb 15
The USDA is considering deregulating Monsanto's Genetically Engineered "Round-up Ready" alfalfa, and this will have far-reaching consequences for the organic community.
If you can help out, please submit your comments before Feb 16. Among other things, USDA claims that there is no evidence that consumers care about contamination of organic alfalfa and foods derived from GE alfalfa (think: dairy and meat), and we need to let them hear our voices loud and strong that this is not true.
If you wish to learn more about this before commenting, the Center for Food Safety has a well researched, detailed fact sheet
you can read. All organic consumers should be concerned about this, even if you do not consume organic meat or dairy.
The easiest way to submit comment is via one of three organizations who have prepared easy comment-submitting forms for online use. I used the one by the OCA (Organic Consumers Association) and it was simple and well organized. Here are the links:www.FoodandWaterWatch.orgwww.CenterforFoodSafety.orgwww.OrganicConsumers.org
Thank you everyone!
Sheesh, it's sheep and lambs galore!
by Taylor Brady, 2nd year farm intern
Hello Live Earth Community!
As most of you have probably heard, Live Earth Farm recently
welcomed nine new sheep into the family. Their new home resides between two of our
rolling apricot orchards, where the sheep have open access to a lush, quarter-acre field of cover crops - oats, vetch and mustard. It's safe to say
that the past month has been nothing less than exciting as all of us learn how to
integrate the herd into our daily routines. The most recent sheep activity, of course, has been the ewes giving birth. Over the past few weeks, a steady stream of new lambs has spotted the field with the world's cutest little bounding
As a second-year intern, I was fortunate enough to witness
the births of numerous kid goats last April - but this was my first lambing
season. With the final ewe giving birth this past Saturday, we now have a total
of 11 little lambs frolicking around the field. Sheep, like goats, are incredibly
independent when it comes to giving birth, so catching the birth
of a lamb has proven quite the challenge to witness.
However, last Tuesday as Jessica and I were leading the Blue
Mountain Home School Group around the farm for their monthly visit, some
serendipitous twist of fate allowed for the group to watch the birth of twin lambs!
We were on our way down to the new barn to thresh dry beans and save seed for a
planting in the education garden, when one of the mothers ran up beside me and
announced that one of the ewes was in labor! It was quite the sight to see as
20 grinning kids promptly turned around and began to sprint up the steep slope
of one of our farm roads - all the while hooting and hollering about the
thought of seeing a newborn lamb. There was a sense of magic and wonder in the
air, and a hush fell over the group as we approached the pen. The group patiently
waited along the electric fence, craning their necks and whispering amongst one
another but never straying their gaze from the ewe in labor over the course of
an hour. Keeping a safe distance from the ewe to give her plenty of room to let
nature take its course, we all watched as two beautiful new lambs popped into
the world and onto the farm.
I think it's safe to say Tuesday's birth was truly a magical
experience. I feel so fortunate to be able to share such a unique and rather
timely event with a group of children and adults that have developed such a
meaningful connection to Live Earth Farm over the course of their monthly
visits. Sharing the experience of the birth really made me appreciate just how
fortunate I am to be an apprentice who gets to eat, sleep, and breathe farm
life here on Live Earth Farm. I cherish these moments where I get to share such
incredible experiences with the Live Earth community and welcome you all to
come and visit our new family members. I want to give a special thanks to Jody
and Claire McCalmont for taking so many pictures throughout the day. Have a
great week and stay tuned for more updates from the field!
PS - Live Earth Farm is looking for a puppy to live with and
protect our flock of sheep, so I would like to take this opportunity to probe our
CSA community for any information regarding a possible sheep dog.
Child-friendly breeds only! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
information regarding dog varieties, a breeder, or a new batch of puppies!
And stay tuned for updates about life as a Live Earth Farm
apprentice - I'm planning a farm blog! Watch for more information about this in
a future newsletter. I'll let you know when it's up and running!
Kid's Summer Camp at Live Earth Farm
The Live Earth
Farm Discovery Program is happy to announce a
"summer-celebration-art-on-the-farm" day camp this July! Our education team would like to
invite kids from within our CSA community to join us for a weeklong adventure
day camp. Campers can expect to get their hands dirty while exploring pieces of
Live Earth's 80 acres in both organic vegetable row crop production and fruit
orchards. In addition to learning about life as an organic vegetable farmer,
campers will spend time getting to know our herd of goats, our flock of sheep
and visit with chickens. Campers will assist in daily chores of our animals
while learning about the benefits of humane livestock management.
Throughout the week
campers can also expect to explore the wonders of the farm while creatively
expressing their interpretation of the natural world through the visual arts.
Activities will include printing from natural materials, musical instrument
making, working in the education demonstration garden, cheese making, felting
and so much more! Each
day we will harvest something from the garden to contribute to our sustainable
lunch picnics! We are limiting participation to 15 kids between the ages of 8
and 12, so sign up today!
this summer camp will be a day-camp affair, we are also offering an optional
Thursday night pizza-making camp-out and sleepover! This option is for campers
who wish to carry the fun of daily farm life long into the night. Join us for
cob oven baking, s'mores making, and a roaring fire. There is an additional
cost for campers who choose to do the overnight, but the cost covers a farm
fresh dinner, and breakfast in the morning. Don't forget your sleeping bag!
Discovery Program is also looking for two counselors-in-training between the
ages of 13 -15 to help the education team throughout the week. This is a great
way to build work expeience with children and learn about life on a working
8 - 12
for the full week (not including Thursday sleepover). Cost includes plenty of
art supplies and a daily farm-fresh snack!
is an extra charge of $50/camper for the Thursday night sleepover.
are also offering two partial scholarships to those most needed. Please contact
us if interested.
9am - 4pm Mon - Fri, plus the optional Thursday night camp-out sleepover.
July 12th - 16th
For more information contact Taylor Brady at email@example.com
or call the Live
Earth Farm Discovery Program office at (831) 728-2032.
Pasture-raised meat chickens anyone?
If like me you are interested in a source for locally-grown (right here in Watsonville!) pasture-raised meat chickens, read on:
Surfside Chickens, now in its second season of operation, raises organically-fed, pastured chickens for meat, and is opening up for additional customers in 2010 (note that customers must be willing to pick up in Watsonville. There may also be limited pick-up locations in the Santa Cruz area).
Owner Sarah Greene talks about her operation, "Each day, the chickens move to a fresh area of a grassy pasture. The pasture has never been through the organic certification process, however for all intents and purposes it has been 'organic' for at least the last 7 years. In 2010, I plan to have chickens available at least a bi-weekly. They will be sold on a 'first come, first served' basis via email or phone orders."
For more information and to get on Sarah's mailing list, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sauerkraut - live culture - reminder
A quick reminder to everyone who gets the Preserves Option: the Sauerkraut is a live culture fermented product. It has not been pasteurized, and so you will want to store it in your refrigerator, not on the shelf like the other preserves. Because it is not pasteurized, the 'button' in the lid will not be down like a heat-sealed jar, but this is okay. So when you get it home, keep it in the fridge. The day it spends outdoors at your pickup site is not a concern - it will be fine; we just don't want you to take it home and stick it on a shelf like the jam or tomatoes! In your fridge, it will continue to ferment slowly. Enjoy!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Click here to go to the recipe database.
Hi folks - this section is going to be short this week as the newsletter is already long, but I wanted to get a few words in at least! You'll notice that the beets and
rutabagas this week are both from a new planting, and so will have
their young and tender greens attached. Don't toss the greens - they
are excellent cooking greens! I am also looking forward to the lovely red potatoes, courtesy of Mariquita Farm, and the Sunflower sprouts courtesy of New Natives. Have fun everybody! Here's a recipe I think you'll enjoy.
- DebbieCrispy Leeks
Like crispy kale, this (I found out last week) turns out to be addictive! A yummy, crunchy, salty, savory snack. Mmmmmm! It was a serendipitous discovery I made while roasting parsnips and beets; I had cut up leeks and added them to the roast-mix, and they got well browned and crispy while the veggies only got soft. Not being put off by this, I popped one in my mouth and crunched, and wow! New taste discovery!! So here's how to make 'em if you just want to do so a la carte:
Cut leeks into 1 or 2-inch segments then slice lengthwise into quarters (the layers will fall apart from one another; this is okay, you want them to). Put them in a bowl, drizzle generously with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and toss again.
Spread prepared leeks on a sheet of parchment paper (easy cleanup!) on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Check on them; if they are still soft and limp, let them bake more (I'd check on them at 5 minute intervals; another 10 minutes worked for me, but they were combined with other veggies, so they will likely cook quicker when all on their own). You want them to be light to medium brown and crisp.
Allow to cool, and enjoy!
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)
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 LEFDP office: (831) 728-2032 or email her at email@example.com.
Happy Girl Kitchen's 2010 Workshop Schedule at LEF
February 21 (Sunday) - Cheese and kefir
March 6 (Saturday) - Fermentation (sauerkraut, kimchee and kombucha)
June 6 (Sunday) - Cherries and spring berries
July 10 (Saturday) - Apricots, strawberries and blackberries
September 12 (Sunday) - Heirloom tomatoes
October 2 (Saturday) - Pickles
Contact Jordan if you have any questions
Community Farm Days Schedule
(All Community Farm Days are Saturdays unless otherwise noted. Details to come.)
March 20 - Sheep to Shawl
May 29 - Three sisters planting in the field! Help sow pumpkins, corn, and beans
June 19 - Summer Solstice Celebration and Strawberry U-pick
July 3 - Apricot and Strawberry U-pick
July 12 thru 16 - Summer Celebration Art on the Farm Day Camp!
Aug 28 - Totally tomatoes. From farm to fork, cooking with tomatoes and making farm-fresh cheese. Also U-pick raspberry and tomato day!
Sept 25 - LEFDP Second Annual Fundraiser
Oct 23 - Harvest Celebration and Apple U-pick