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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
10th Harvest Week, Season 14
June 1st - 7th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Little Magical Root
Solstice Celebration - Reminder
Eggs and expiration dates
Companion Bakers and their bread
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

" If one needs to stimulate one's thinking, then one should use especially the salty stimulant of the radish."  -Rudolph Steiner, Nutrition and Stimulants

What's in the box this week
Content differences between Family and Small Shares are in red; items with a "+" in Family Shares are more in quantity than in Small; anticipated quantities, if any, are in parentheses, as is the source of any produce not from Live Earth Farm (LEF). Occasionally content will differ from this list (typically we will make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

[go to recipe database]

Family Share
Chinese cabbage
Collard greens
Dinosaur kale
Lettuce, mixed kinds +
Mei qing choi + [Wednesday]
Komatsuna [Thursday]
Spinach +
Summer squash

Small Share
Collard greens
Lettuce, mixed kinds
Mei qing choi
Summer squash

Extra Fruit Option
4-5 baskets of strawberries

Fruit "Bounty" Option
4-5 baskets of strawberries

This week's bread will be sesame whole wheat

Little Magical Root
There is something almost magical to pull on a cluster of leaves and watching a swollen fat root  emerge from it's hiding place in the soil. The root for me represents the most earthy of all plant parts, it is anchored and intimately connected with the living soil we depend on. One of our most reliable and abundant root crops, as you might easily guess, is Raphanus sativus, the homely radish. Debbie has hinted that, for some, the magic of this particular little root is fading. Even though I can sympathize, given the abundance we have been putting in your shares, I want to make a humble pitch in defense for this little magical root we often give little thought or attention to.

The biggest radish fan on the farm is Juan Morales, who coincidentally is also in charge of all the field sowings. No sowing is complete unless radishes are part of the mix. On Monday mornings when we finalize our harvest list, Juan will often carry a fresh bunch of radishes to make sure they are not left out of the harvest routine. You will see Juan munching on a bunch of radishes at lunch.  "Son de lo mejor" (they are the best) he will say, grinning and crunching away.

The other important radish fan here on the farm is Constance, for her, radishes have to be spicy and should probably have a permanent place on the table to be snacked on any time of day. Just yesterday, Elisa our youngest was snacking from a bowl of fresh French breakfast radishes before dinner, and she in her special heart-melting way said: "I like these Dadda, thank you for growing them."

Spring is always the most popular season to grow radishes, they will germinate quicker than the competition (the weeds), and the two varieties we grow -- 'French Breakfast' and 'Cherry Belle' -- are well adapted to most of our soils. One will grow faster than the other to give us the added advantage of a staggered harvest while sowing them at the same time.

The 'French Breakfasts' will typically be ready 21-25 days after germination and 'Cherry Belle' 5-7 days after that.  Only in the heaviest, clay rich soils, will radishes struggle and develop black spotting, deformities, and often turn out pithy and spicy. When young and tender, the tops are also excellent greens. In Europe and Asia, radishes are used in pickles and relishes, as well as cooked in many different ways, sautéed or in soups. The history of radish cultivation goes back to the Egyptians and Greeks.  Records also show evidence of their long popularity in China and Japan.

Even on a more esoteric level, Rudolph Steiner, who inspired Biodynamic Farming and gave great importance to the spiritual forces of food, believed that radishes stimulate one's thinking. He states that one doesn't even have to be very active oneself, by eating radishes the thoughts will simply come, so strong that they generate powerful dreams. Now we are talking...Magic!!!!

On a more practical level, we are slowing down with our radish production, just as spring fades into summer so will the radishes fade in their abundance. 
- Tom

Solstice Celebration - Reminder
Since last week's Community Farm Day was so much fun, I want to remind
everyone about the upcoming 14th Annual - Live Earth Farm Solstice Celebration, on Saturday, June 20th.
We'll start at 10 AM for all who want to participate in more hands-on activities such as U-picking berries, baking bread, planting, milking, playing with the baby goats and chickens, cheesemaking, and exploring the farm on walking tours or tractor rides.  Children of "all" ages shouldn't  miss Doug, Larry and Steve, from the Banana Slug String Band who will entertain us with their inspiring lyrics and rhythms starting at 4PM . Our popular potluck will start around 6:30PM. We will once again light a small bonfire to honor the beginning of summer. Throughout the evening Kuzanga Marimba will keep us  swinging and color the air with their beautiful Zimbabwean Marimba music .
Summer Solstice is actually a time of light and of fire, a time to reflect upon the growth of the season: the seeds that have been planted in the earth and those planted in our own lives. Remember to bring a dish to contribute to the potluck it 's a reminder of what nourishes us, and a small offering acknowledging the change of the season. A more detailed schedule of events will follow in the next couple of weeks, so for now just mark your calendars. Hope to see you all here at the farm.
Eggs and expiration dates
A member asked about the expiration dates stamped on TLC Ranch's egg cartons; sometimes there was more than one. The explanation is simple: we are all returning our cartons to TLC for re-use, and so they do indeed re-use them, stamping the new expiration date on the cartons. So if you see more than one date, the newest date will always be the correct one for the enclosed eggs.
Companion Bakers and their bread
Just a teaser: next week, Erin, Jessie and Christy of Companion Bakers, the folks who make our wonderful bread option possible, will share their story and process with us here in the newsletter. Their unique, European-style whole-grain sourdough breads are quickly snapped up at farmers markets, so we are lucky to have their talents (and bread!) available for our CSA members. Stay tuned to learn how it all happens, what goes into their different loaves, and why their bread is different than anything you can find in a store.
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to the recipe database.

Member Traci Townsend sent me this tasty kale salad recipe a few weeks ago, and so now that we're getting the "Dino" (Tuscan) Kale again - unless of course Tom changes that - seemed like a good time to share it with you all! So far I've given you recipes for cooked kale and raw kale and toasted kale and massaged kale... this one is a sorta-kinda-cooked, but used in a salad. See how flexible and varied cooking can be? ~ Debbie

Dino Kale Salad with Toasted Almonds
San Francisco Chronicle April 09
Serves 6

"Otherwise known as Tuscan kale, dino kale bunches are long and the dark green leaves have a slightly leathery look. You can make the salad up to a day ahead, but add the almonds at the last minute."
3 small bunches dino kale [you could probably halve this recipe and use 1 bunch from the farm]
5 tbsp. slivered almonds
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 tsp. honey or agave syrup + more to taste (or a few pinches sugar)
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and prepare a large bowl of ice water.
Fold each kale leaf in half lengthwise so the stem is on one side, then trim off the stem and discard it. Chop the leaves crosswise every 1-2 inches. [It's a lot easier to just strip the leaves from the stem and chop, but if you want neater cut edges you can do it this way.]
Blanch the leaves until slightly tender, 2 minutes. Immediately shock in the ice water until just cold. Drain in a colander, then firmly squeeze the leaves several times to remove water. Spread the leaves in a large kitchen towel, then roll the towel around it to gently remove any extra water.
Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a skillet over medium heat, flipping often, until light brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Place the kale in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, honey and salt and pepper. Adjust the seasoning for sweetness and salt, then toss in the almonds. Serve immediately.
Another member, Sindy Ho, made up the following recipe herself, and since we're getting collards again, it seemed the perfect time to share it:
Quiche with Collard Greens and Corn
by Sindy Ho
Bunch of collard greens (about 1 C cooked)
1 C cooked bacon
1 C sweet corn kernels
1 C grated pepperjack cheese
3 eggs
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C whole milk
Tart dough (see below!)
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out tart dough and cover 9" pie dish. Puncture dough with fork & cover with foil and place either beans or pie weights to hold the foil down.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, remove foil & weights, and return to oven for 10 more minutes
While crust is baking, put on water to boil.  Remove ribs & stems from collard greens.  Roll the leaves up like a cigar and cut into a chiffonade, or very thin strips. Once water boils, salt it lightly and add collards; cook to your liking.  Pour into colander & squeeze out all the excess water.
In the pie crust, evenly spread out the bacon, collard greens, and corn. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, salt & pepper, & any herbs you want to add. Pour egg mixture over all the toppings & sprinkle cheese evenly over the quiche.  Crank the oven up to 375 and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Enjoy your quiche!!
Tart Dough Recipe
1.5 sticks cold butter
2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C ice water
1/4 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
Savory herbs (optional)
Cut butter into 1/4 inch cubes & add flour & chopped herbs if desired.  Work butter and flour together with fingertips or dough cutter until it forms a coarse meal. Add ice water gradually until a dough forms.  Flatten dough into a disk and wrap in plastic, chill for at least an hour.  I like to make my dough a day or two before, that way it's all ready to go when I want it... I just take it out 15-20 minutes before I'm ready to roll it out! - Sindy
Here is a recipe for a soup that is really fabulous, although it sounds rather mundane (the secret ingredient is the bacon). My friend's mom made this for us all at Thanksgiving and everyone loved it! Although it is called "zucchini" soup, you can use any kind of summer squash. The Magda or Lebanese squash (the pale green ones we're going to start getting this week) are really flavorful, and will be wonderful in this!
Zucchini Soup
courtesy of Elaine Lindner
3 C cubed zucchini [or any summer squash]
2 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 C beef or chicken stock
½ tsp. dried basil
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling on top when serving)
Fry bacon out and add rest of ingredients. Cook until tender. Whirl everything in a blender. Reheat, check seasoning. Recipe may be doubled.  
I'm not generally a deep-fryer person, but this one sounded unusual and interesting!
Crispy Bok Choi
from a cookbook called "Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes"
serves 4 as a side dish

"This recipe is traditionally used as a bed for spicy chicken but over the years so many people have commented on it that I believe it should rank as a side dish in its own right." ~ from the author  [Sorry; it's an old copy out of a cookbook so I've lost the author's name]
10 oz. bok choi [or mei qing choi. Don't sweat the quantity too much; if you used 6 oz. or a pound I don't think it'd much matter]
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. brown sugar
vegetable or sunflower oil for deep frying
3 tbsp. whole roasted peanuts
Shred the leaves and allow to air dry for at least two hours. They should be completely dry when you are ready to use them.
Mix the salt and brown sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
Heat the oil in a deep pan at least four inches high to about 375 - 400 degrees F.
Fry the leaves a handful at a time for about 30 seconds, or until slightly darkened and shriveled. Make sure they do not burn. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Keep the leaves warm in a low oven (200 degrees).
When all the leaves have been fried, add the nuts and toss well. Serve with the salt and sugar mixture on the side, for sprinkling.
Lastly, here's a nice rich cheesy broccoli recipe! (Broccoli goes well with cheese, I think!)
Broccoli Gratin with Mustard-Cheese Streusel
undated Bon Appetit clipping
serves 4

2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. minced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 ¼ C fresh breadcrumbs  
½ C (packed) grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ½ oz)
6 or so C broccoli florets  (about 1 ½ lbs.)
¼ C heavy cream [avoid ultra-pasteurized!!]
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Mix in dry mustard, then 1 tbsp. of the Dijon mustard, blending well. Add breadcrumbs; saute until crumbs are crisp and golden, about 5 - 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; cool completely. Mix in all but 2 tbsp. of the grated Parmesan.
Cook broccoli in large part of boiling generously salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Transfer to paper towels; cool [I like to use cotton floursack towels to minimize paper towel usage. Something like this may stain the towels somewhat, but whatever! They're washable.]  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square glass baking dish. Place broccoli in a bowl together with whipping cream and remaining tbsp. of Dijon mustard and the remaining 2 tbsp. Parmesan; toss to coat evenly. Arrange broccoli in prepared dish. Sprinkle streusel over. Bake until broccoli is heated through and streusel is browned, about 25 - 30 minutes.

Here is the current schedule, and we will update the calendar here in the newsletter regularly. You can also get more information from the calendar on our website.

NEW!! Farm Workshops/Lectures
this is an idea that is still forming...
Possible subjects to include Permaculture, Fermented Foods, Farming with the Wild... stay tuned!

UPDATED!! Community Farm Days
Every month from May through October, 9am - 4pm, on these Saturdays:
  May 30th
   June 20th Farm - coinciding with our Solstice Celebration
   August 1st
   August 29th
   September 26th
   October 24th - coinciding with our Harvest Celebration
Participants are welcome to arrive Friday evening and camp out overnight to Saturday. Please leave your dogs at home, thanks! The intent of Community Farm Days is to increase the opportunity for members and their families to experience and enjoy a slice of "life on the farm" at different times of the year - kind of like our old Mini Camp, but for members of all ages! Each month will have a different activity focus, and will be announced in advance here in the newsletter. RSVP of number of people attending and whether you'll be arriving Friday night or Saturday is requested. Call 831.763.2448 or email farmers@cruzio.com

Apricot U-Pick Days

two Sundays: July 5th and July 12th
Bring your own bags.

Summer Solstice Celebration
Saturday June 20th <---note new date!
[click here for a short YouTube video of our 2007 celebration]

*** Children's Mini-Camp has been discontinued, and is being replaced with the above-mentioned Community Farm Days. ***

Fall Harvest Celebration
Saturday October 24th
[and click here for a YouTube video of our Fall celebration!]

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763.2448