LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
8th Harvest Week, Winter Season 4
Thursday March 11th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
What's in the preserves (ingredients)
End of Winter, beginning of Spring
No "Farmer Tom" blurb this week
Seeking Downtown San Jose "Host"
Discovery Program Update
Demand Organic
Understanding Gluten Sensitivity - lecture and cooking class at LEF
Happy Girl Kitchen workshops - not to be missed!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen (recipes!)
2010 Calendar

" For the times, they are a-changin'. "
  - Bob Dylan

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
Red beets (with green tops)
Brussels sprouts
Rainbow chard
Collard greens
Fennel (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Red Russian kale
Lettuce (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Fresh oyster mushrooms (from New Natives)
1 jar of strawberry jam (from LEF berries; 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 apricot jam
1 jar pickled sweet peppers
1 jar of... tomato something! ;-) We have pickled dry-farmed tomatoes, tomato salsa, and tomato juice. Everyone will get one tomato item, but you'll have to refer to the checklist at your pick-up site to see which!

Bread Option
This week's bread will be 3-seed 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). ;-)

(Inside the box this week)
Strawberry Jam: Strawberries, evaporated cane juice, lemon juice. All ingredients are organic. It has been fun to preserve Live Earth Farm'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.

(In the Preserve Option 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 perfect 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.  

Pickled Sweet Peppers: Mixed sweet peppers, onion, a little jalapeno pepper, filtered water, apple cider vinegar, sea salt. All ingredients are organic. The sweet tangy heat of these organic pickled peppers strikes a beautiful balance on the Scoville heat scale; invigorating on sandwiches and pasta, and thrilling straight from the jar.

and one Tomato Item of the following list (see descriptions from prior weeks):
Pickled Dry-farmed Tomatoes
Tomato Salsa
Tomato Juice

End of Winter, beginning of Spring
This week (March 11th) is the last delivery of our Winter Season. There will be a two week "between-seasons" break, and then our 2010 Regular Season begins! [Weds March 31st or Thurs April 1st, depending on your pick-up location.] If you have not yet signed up for spring, now's the time to do so. If you are unsure as to whether you are already signed up or not, email me at the farm and I'll let you know. If you've been on our waiting list, wait no more! Shares are available, so - go for it!

Starting next week (the week of March 15) I will begin emailing all signed up and paid members with what I call our "Season Start" email. This will include all the information you need in order to begin picking up your share for the new season. Please keep an eye out for this important email.

Thank you everyone!

No "Farmer Tom" blurb this week
As I write and assemble this newsletter, Tom is winging his way home from a trip he went on last week to spend time with elderly folks who live in Germany. So with jet lag and all the stuff he'll have to catch up on when he returns, we're giving him a 'break' from newsletter-writing. He'll be back on deck come the first issue of the Regular season, in a few weeks.

Seeking Downtown San Jose "Host"
We have lost our 'site sitter' for our current Downtown San Jose pick-up location (in the hall at Trinity Cathedral, 2nd and St. John St.) and are in search of someone willing to take this on for the 2010 season! This would require a 2 to 2 1/2 hour commitment (2-hr pick-up window -- 4:30 to 6:30pm -- plus arriving a little early and following up on missed shares/cleaning up at the end) for the duration of our 34 week season beginning April 1st. Yes there are responsibilities, but there are also are perks!! (You get your Share for free!)

Alternatively, if you couldn't 'man the post' but live in the area and feel you could host at your home, please also get in touch. We need to arrange this before the start of the season. I will give you more information about hosting at your home when you contact me.

Please email me at the farm if you are interested or want to know more.


Discovery Program Update
Wow, it is March already.  We are gearing up for the spring tour season and finding inspiration everywhere we look.  We have had some early goat births this year, which the students who visit LEF just love.  Our large brood of chicks arrives this Tuesday.  LEFDP logoTaylor and I have been weeding, seeding, wattling, hauling, and grant writing, getting the Discovery Garden ready for the kids to learn in.  We have been removing flowers and buds from the strawberries for a month or so, encouraging those plants to put their efforts into roots, stems, and leaves so that in April they will be hardy and ready to produce a bounty of berries.  I so look forward to seeing the smile of pure satisfaction on the faces of students with berry juice decorating their wet chins.  And of course I look forward to those sweet, warm tastes I enjoy along side them.
So the farm is ready and while we wait for the weather to catch up, I am spending my time enriching my own knowledge base and spreading the good word, so to speak.  I am spending the day today (Monday) in Salinas, learning to enhance the nutrition education we provide and networking with all of the other people improving our local food systems.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) I get to visit about 90 students at Watsonville High School to discuss why I farm, what organic farming is, and why a career in farming is fulfilling, valuable, and essential for the health of our communities.  On Thursday I will be speaking on KKUP Radio [91.5 FM] about the programs we provide at LEFDP and the many good reasons for doing so.  I spend the rest of my time working with the Wavecrest Montessori students and planning for their spring quarter, planning and preparing for our Sheep to Shawl event on March 20, making kale chips and lemonade with the Blue Mountain Group, and promoting the variety of awesome programs we offer on the farm.  So perhaps it is apparent that this "idle" season is anything but.  It is not quite spring yet, but we are certainly kicking into gear in the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program and we will be ready when spring does spring.

Jessica Ridgeway

Demand Organic
Demand Organic logoThis is something I think everybody can get on board with. Organic is no longer a fringe/hippie/alternative concept but rather a vital and proven method of agriculture which improves the health of every organism involved: soil, plant, animal, human, planet. The Rodale Institute, a research farm established back in 1947 in Pennsylvania, has the longest-running U.S. study comparing organic and conventional farming techniques, and has proven many times over that organic can out-perform conventional ag. The foods that have been sickening large swathes of population in recent years have all been the result of an over-large industrial scale conventional food system, not organic, local or regional food systems. We need to keep the pressure on in order to bring about change. That's what the Rodale Institute's new Demand Organic campaign is all about. "If you do one thing to feed the world, keep us save and heal the planet: demand organic." Click here for '5 things you can do', 'Organic Q & A', and more. It is an idea whose time has come.

- Debbie

Understanding Gluten Sensitivity - lecture and cooking class at LEF
No Gluten logoLet's demystify the subject of gluten sensitivity. This condition afflicts many more people than commonly thought, with affects in body systems beyond the G.I. tract.  Undiagnosed gluten sensitivity is the root cause of many cancers, autoimmune and neurological disorders, chronic pain syndrome, psychiatric and other brain disorders.  The lecture will cover the different types of gluten sensitivity, its various manifestations, testing options, and healing.

We will make and share a delicious, healthful gluten-free meal , and learn how to make the transition to eating  a gluten-free diet. Recipes, resources lists, and meal plans will be provided.

This workshop will be lead by Karen Haralson, M.A., N.C and Rebecca Mastoris, N.C., natural chef instructor at Bauman College

Date:  May 1, 2010
Time:  11-4
Place:  Live Earth Farm Barn Kitchen
Cost: $65
Contact:  Karen at 831-335-3245 or ktese@cruzio.com

Donate those jars
Have lots of jars left-over from your Preserves Option you don't know what to do with?

Please do not bring them to your pick-up site to 'recycle' through us -- it is not nearly as easy as it sounds for us to return them to Happy Girl. On the other hand, if you're near any of the farmers markets where Happy Girl Kitchen has a table, they would be thrilled if you were to bring the jars to them for re-use.

Alternatively, if you are either in the vicinity of, or pass through the Palo Alto area on 101, Whole House Building and Salvage (a funky and wonderful non-profit architectural salvage and "re-art" warehouse which diverts valuable resources from the waste stream and also supports the economic development of the City of East Palo Alto) is looking for wide-mouthed glass jars for small amounts of paint for their art department. [Whew! What a sentence!]

Lastly, if you want to find a good home for them but can't do either of the above, there are tons of folks out there who would LOVE to get free canning jars... consider searching or posting on Craig's list or Freecycle and I bet they will be snapped up.

Happy Girl Kitchen workshops - not to be missed!
If you have been mulling over whether or not to do one of Happy Girl Kitchen's canning or cheese-making or fermentation workshops here on the farm, mull no more, and get yourself signed up - these workshops are great! Last weekend's fermentation workshop put on by Todd Champagne here in the barn was a total blast. Todd and Jordan (one or the other of them does each workshop) are not only enthusiastic and inspiring, but also provide a wealth of information about food preservation and canning techniques. You get hands-on experience, detailed recipes and instructions, as well as 'ample samples' of what you made that day to take home with you. And they always put on a marvelous spread of homemade goodies for lunch too! You feel very well taken care of. Workshops are geared towards preserving what is currently in season, and often include a walk on the farm to harvest some of the ingredients you will be working with. How cool is that?? Take a workshop yourself, or give it as a gift to someone else... or do both! Last weekend there was a mother-daughter pair in attendance; mom had bought the workshop for the two of them to take together in honor of her daughter's birthday. What a great gift!

Here are some pictures from last week's workshop: Todd giving his introduction and overview; the spread of ingredients for the sauerkraut and kimchi we will be making; mom and daughter gleefully squish and massage cabbage for sauerkraut; Todd adds some juniper berries for spice.

pictures from HGC fermentation workshop

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

Wow, winter has just flown by - I can't believe this is the last delivery week of the winter season and we're starting the regular season in less than a month! From the feedback I've received, it sounds like people have been really loving their winter shares, which is great. Let's see what I can do for a send-off, to help you with your last share and also keep you in wistful anticipation of spring... I think maybe a bunch of recipes from enthusiastic members!
- Debbie

Let's start with collard greens. Member Anna Stockel wrote me last week saying, "so far, my absolutely fave recipe of yours is the collards [with garlic-lemon butter, rice, and diced tomato] - I have never had them before, now I love them!" Anna felt the fat content (I love a lot of butter) and ratio of grain to veggies was high, so she tweaked it to a version she says is just as good and "more healthy". I'll politely agree to disagree, as I am something of a Weston A. Price follower myself, but for those who prefer less fat and less grains and a higher proportion of greens (no argument there!), give her version a try!
Anna's version of Collards with garlic-lemon butter, rice and tomato
2 bunches collard greens
1/2 C uncooked rice (such as basmati) [lately I've been into the nuttiness of brown rice; I bet that'd be good here too. - Debbie]
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice from one lemon (a meyer would be perfect!)
diced fresh tomato [or diced preserved tomatoes or plumped sun-dried]
dash sea or mountain salt

[Rest of instructions are same]

Cook rice however you normally do.

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.

Anna also mentioned that she was "up to her eyeballs in apples" and so gave me this apple butter recipe (she did not cite a source, so I don't know where it is from):

Apple Butter

4 lbs. apples
1 C apple cider vinegar
2 C water
1/2 C raw sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
Grated rind and juice of 1 (meyer) lemon

Cut the apples into quarters, without peeling or coring them (much of the pectin is in the cores and flavor in the peels), cut out damaged parts.

Put them into large pot, add the vinegar and water, cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cook until apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.

Pass the apples through a food mill and add the remaining ingredients.

Pour 3/4 of the mixture back into the pot and cook, uncovered in the oven 8 - 10 hours, occasionally adding the rest of the apple puree.
Sterilize your jars and lids for canning.

Pack the hot apple butter into hot pint or half-pint jars.  Leave 1/4 inch head-space and process for 10 minutes.

If sterilized and processed properly, does not need to be refrigerated until opened.

Member Jessica Gillis sent this new kale recipe she saw, saying, "with all the kale we get, I was happy to see something new to do with it." This is from 101 Cookbooks. Looks good... I may have to try it!

Pan-fried Corona Beans & Kale
serves 2 - 4

Chef's notes: "A few notes related to the recipe - be sure to wash the kale well, so you don't end up with grit in your beans. I use dried beans (that I've cooked myself) here, and would highly recommend using them over canned beans - they brown up better and are less likely to go to mush. I used giant corona beans, but you could use runner cannellini, or something similar. I like the white beans because they take on a lot of color in the pan. Alternate recipe - I'm confident you could do this preparation with gnocchi (don't boil the gnocchi first) in place of the beans."

1/2 bunch dino kale or lacinato kale, remove stems
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 - 3 big handfuls of cooked large white beans (see notes, above)
1/4 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1/3 C walnuts, lightly toasted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
scant 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Finely chop the kale, wash it, and shake off as much water as you can. [I think I'd wash and shake it myself before chopping.]  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in the widest skillet you own. Add the beans in a single layer. Stir to coat the beans, then let them sit long enough to brown on one side, about 3 or 4 minutes, before turning to brown the other side, also about 3 or 4 minutes. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the outside.

Add the kale and salt to the pan and cook for less than a minute, just long enough for the kale to lose a bit of its structure. Stir in the walnuts and garlic, wait 10 seconds, then stir in the nutmeg. Wait ten seconds and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and serve dusted with Parmesan cheese.

Member Alie Victorine sent me an email recently saying, "I made this great salad last night"...

Grated Apple, Pear, and Rutabaga Salad
Grate one rutabaga, one d'anjou pear (firmer variety) and 2 small apples from the farm.  Toss with a lime flavored olive oil and a scant bit of basalmic vinegar. Add salt and pepper - more pepper than salt. Yummy! If I didn't have the lime-infused oil I would have used regular oil with juice from a lime and probably withheld the vinegar. Anyways, it turned out to be a yummy way to use both rutabaga and apples.

Lastly, here's a recipe sent to me by member Winnie Baer back in December, with the contents of her very first box of winter. Since we have a similar set of ingredients this week, it seemed like a fitting final recipe:

Winnie's Fennel, Kale and Leek Soup
Here is a soup that I made with the kale, leeks, and the green stalks of the fennel.  I found those giant bunches of kale daunting, so I decided to try to deal with them all at once. I added vegetable broth and a couple of potatoes, cooked it, pureed it, and then spiced it with nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cayenne (not too much of any of those!), and of course, salt.  It looked like something Mr. Spock would have eaten on the planet Vulcan. We loved it.  After making two meals of it, we used the last of it as a kind of pesto sauce on rotelli pasta with garbanzo beans, topped with feta cheese.

Sounds yummy to me! Bon Appetit, everyone!! - Debbie

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.
Happy Girl Kitchen's 2010 Workshop Schedule at LEF
(all workshops are from 10am to 3pm and include an organic lunch, as well as take-home items from what is made that day!)
March 6 (Saturday) - Fermentation (sauerkraut, kimchee and kombucha)
April 10 (Saturday) - Cheese and kefir
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.)
March 20 - Sheep to Shawl (see details above, this week's newsletter)
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

Understanding Gluten Sensitivity - Lecture and Cooking Class
Saturday May 1st, 11am - 4pm, on the farm (in the farm barn kitchen)
click here for more info

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763-2448