LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
12th Harvest Week, Season 14
June 15th - 21st, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Field of Dreams to Reality...
Summer Solstice Celebration this Saturday!!
Organic Farm Dinner: Fundraiser for the Discovery Program
New Members in July; Existing Members please help!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar
 "As farmers, we are emotionally involved, personally engaged and spiritually invested ... surviving as both art and business ... we perform despite limited economic incentives because we offer gifts to the world."

- David Mas Masumoto, from "Four Seasons in Five Senses"

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

Cucumbers +
Green beans!!
Lettuce, redleaf
Radicchio +
Summer squash +

Small Share
Escarole (Frisee)
Lettuce, redleaf
Summer squash

Extra Fruit Option
Wednesday: 3-4 baskets of strawberries plus 1 basket of blackberries
Thursday: 4-5 baskets of strawberries
remember, always go by quantities on checklist; things can change!

Fruit "Bounty" Option
4-5 baskets of strawberries

This week's bread will be caraway rye
[Note to bread share members: Erin from Companion Bakers says the rye loaves are naturally darker and denser than the wheat loaves. There has been some misunderstanding with past rye bread bakes.]

 Field of Dreams to Reality...
Ever dreamt about farming as an alternative to your current career and lifestyle? Coming from an urban background myself I understand how one is tempted following such dreams. In the last couple of years the number of people interested in exploring the "path of farming" has increased, and applications for our seasonal internships far outnumber the 3-4 positions we offer. 

For most interns, soon after experiencing what life is like on a farm, idealized notions about farming will have substantially diminished, leaving them to explore only their real motivations. A few years ago, half-way into the summer season, one intern summarized it well, realizing that farming was in many ways similar to his cross-country experience in college: " it takes lungs, legs, and lots of determination." 

The difference is that running is much more popular than farming. If farmers could be placed on the Endangered Species list, they would probably qualify - at least as threatened. Today the average age of farmers in America is over 50 and only 2% of the population grows food for the remaining 98%.

There is hope within the Organic Farming sector where the trend seems to differ and numbers seem to indicate an increase of young farmers entering the "field".   Even more exciting, according to the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF),  is that 20% of all organic farmers are women. It doesn't surprise me, given that most of the farm interns we've had over the years have been women. This year we have a highly motivated and hard working team of interns and I encouraged them to share their stories as to why they decided to join the "Live Earth Farm family".  Maggi Aaronson, who recently came on-board, was kind enough to give us a glimpse of what motivates her to farm:

"I knew that I wanted to become a farmer four years ago when, for the first time I sowed, planted, weeded, watered, harvested and cooked my very first beet (and loved it!). Growing up, my mom bought the beets in a can, remember those?! And so, as I child I hated beets with their slimy, wet, tin can taste. While we ate a lot of raw salads growing up I was unaccustomed to home grown food and was therefore not exposed to the beauty, diversity, and nutrition associated with (organic) garden fresh produce. Now four years into my farming life I am humbled and continually inspired by the things I learn about the quiet life of vegetables.
"I came to Live Earth to better my knowledge and understanding of field scale production. As a gardener, field scale can feel overwhelming with its long rows, complex irrigation systems, & tractor-managed soil. But I'm also finding it really empowering as Tom encourages us daily to take on the learning of new skills and responsibility in the field. It is no easy task but at the end of each day I can safely say I've learned something new - and what an amazing way to spend the day! "

Learning how to farm is in many ways determined by how we relate to nature.  We develop greater awareness of the landscape, the fields, the plants and animals, the weather or the soils. It is very humbling to realize how nature's many interconnected forces and elements influence our daily growing practices. In large part, learning how to farm is a never-ending process; not only do we get to explore more deeply our relationship and place in nature, but in the process we get to directly understand and discover our own true nature. At least we hope we do!
- Tom

            Summer Solstice Celebration this Saturday!!

              This Saturday, June 20th, 12 o'clock-Noon

Every year our Summer Solstice Celebration is a  wonderful expression of community celebrating the nourishing connection with the land and each other. We look forward to welcome all members and friends to the Farm this Saturday starting a 12-Noon, to kick-off the Summer season.  

               Schedule and Important Information about the event 

FarmTour with Farmer Tom -   2 tours  at  2PM & 4PM.
Tractor ride to visit the fields, orchards and newly renovated barn.  Learn about our growing practices, the crops, and how our produce makes it from the fields to your dinner plate. Your chance to meet the Farmer himself, bring your questions, stories, and don't be shy to give feedback. Come early to get a seat!

Self-guided walking tour -All day (map will be provided):
You are welcome to arrive early and and walk the farm. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy under the Apricot or Apple orchards and visit at your own pace the animals, the children's garden, our Solar and Permaculture Areas, our Native grass and Hedgerow plantings, or participate in the earlier hands-on activities.

Encouraged self- explorations

U-pick Strawberries and Caneberries - All day

Farm Equipment demonstration area - All Day

Strawbale Climbing Fort -All Day

Animal Visiting Areas: chickens, goats and the two recently adopted pigs - All Day

And many more

Children Games and Activities 1PM -6PM

Banana Slug String Band 4:30 - 5:30PM - by Children Area
  -Face Painting
  -Ice cream making
  -Farm Crafts (Veggie Hats)
  -Fortune Telling
Hands-On Activities
- Wheat harvesting and milling -  Ongoing
- Garlic Braiding - Ongoing
- Baking demonstration - Baking in wood-fired cob oven Ongoing  3-5PM
- Milking Demonstration  1PM and 3PM
- Cheesemaking demonstration  4PM

        Kuzanga Marimba  6PM- Sundown

                    Solstice Celebration - the nitty gritty

<> how do I get there? (click here for directions)
***save gas and the environment and carpool if you can! Try the Friends of LEF Yahoo Group for finding carpool buddies if you don't know other members in your area***
<> when should I get there? Come before 12 and enjoy the farm on your own before the crowd arrives. Activities will happen between 12 and 5:30pm, Kuzanga begins playing around 6:00, then we break for our traditional potluck around 6:30pm. After the potluck, Kuzanga continues to play, and then we light the bonfire at dusk.
<> do I need to make a reservation, or let you know I'm coming? No.
<> what is the cost? There is no cost; all we ask is that you bring food to share in our potluck.
<> what else should I bring? We encourage you to bring your own picnic plates and utensils in order to minimize unrecyclable garbage. We will have a washing station, where you can rinse them when you are through eating. Also, bring a blanket to picnic on, and it gets cool in the evening so don't forget sweaters and jackets.
<> can I bring someone who is not a member of the CSA? Yes, certainly! All friends of the farm are welcome! Just remember to bring food to share in the potluck!!

Organic Farm Dinner: Fundraiser for the Discovery Program
Dearest Live Earth Farm Community,LEF Discovery Program logo

We are pleased to announce a community building and fundraising event for the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP) on September 12, 2009. There will be a farm tour, a feast (of course) and a silent auction! Dinner festivities to be preceded by an optional "Seasonal Cooking for Health" workshop (like the one we had in April). This farm dinner will be unique, in that the kids get their very own dinner (cob oven pizza-making and eating!), while the adults enjoy an in-the-field dining experience featuring local chefs and ingredients from our farm, from TLC Ranch, Companion Bakers, Summer Meadows Farm and Storrs Winery.

An important part of the LEFDP Mission is to bring local school children to the farm to learn about organic farming and healthy eating habits. In 2008, more than 600 children participated in our programs. Among these numbers, an under-served group is the public school children of Watsonville. This fundraiser will allow these students to participate in our programs regardless of ability to pay for the transportation to the farm, which is the most limiting factor.

4:30pm Live Earth Farm Tour
6pm Field Dinner - Local Chefs and Wine, Organic Fare
4:30pm to 7pm Fantastic Silent Auction
7pm - 7:30pm Program Presentation

$70 for adult dinner
$25 for children 7+ yrs old (cob oven pizza making & eating!)  
Workshop including dinner $100
Workshop only $45
Click here to download a pdf of flyer with additional information and signup information. Note: although this event will be open to the public, it is limited to seating for 80 people. Live Earth Farm CSA Members will have first priority for seats until July 1st.

For further information contact Jessica Ridgeway at the Discovery Program office, (831) 728-2032, or email her at lefeducation@baymoon.com

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you on September 12th!
Constance and Thomas Broz

PS: We are also at this time welcoming volunteers to help with this event, as well as soliciting silent auction items*. Please download our flyer for details.

*All contributions will be tax deductible providing we obtain our nonprofit status as we expect to (it is pending).

New Members in July; Existing Members please help!
Hullo all, Debbie here, wearing my CSA coordinator (instead of recipe maven) hat. In the inimitable words of Tom Waits, "I wanna pull on your coat about somethin'."  Actually, it's two "somethin's".

First is that yes indeed, starting in July we are adding about 100 new members (!) and they will be spread out over all our different pickup locations. With the arrival of new members, there's always the opportunity for first-time errors at pick-up, and so I ask all of you existing members to lend a hand and if you see someone that looks unsure of what to do at a pickup site, please step up and offer to help. (And you new members, if you're reading this: please don't hesitate to ask another member at your pickup site if you have questions). This is all part of the 'community' aspect of CSA.

Second, I am actually going to be out of town the first two delivery weeks of July - when the new members are starting! - and so not only will I need your help with the above, but also, I ask that everyone cut my fill-in (Molly, one of our interns) a little slack. She'll be doing my job and hers those two weeks, so if you need to contact the farm about something that is not urgent, if you could save it until mid-July? I'll take care of it when I get back. If you need to arrange to donate a share or go on vacation hold, however, go ahead and email in (by Friday for the following week please); Molly knows how to set these up.

Lastly: new members: I'm counting on you to read the instructions I've emailed you with your confirmations, so you don't end up contacting the farm last minute with "where do I go to get my share?" types of questions. ;-) I want to come home and find that everyone got their share okay!



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

I know summer is fast approaching if we're starting to get green beans and cucumbers! This week the Small Shares get the escarole, we're all getting radicchio again, and the summer squash is still bountiful, so everyone'll get lots. So without further adieu, let's get to the recipes! ~ Debbie
Let's start with summer squash, shall we? I love this one; it was given to me back in 2005 (lost, now found?) by a longtime friend of the farm, Vaiva. She says, "I guess people are getting overloaded with squash already. My CSA friends thought I was joking when I asked if I could borrow some zucchinis from them.  Here's what we've been doing. Its one of those eyeball recipes, but I've tried to give some measurements."

Vaiva's Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner Zucchini Pancakes
Coarsely grate 4 of the biggest baddest zucchinis you have. [Actually Tom's doing a great job of having the workers harvest our squash nice and small, so just use more of 'em!] Place them in a colander and salt them well.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy skillet.  Grate an onion and place in a bowl.  Squeeze as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible and add to the onion. Add an egg or two and mash it up with your hands.  Drop by 1/4-1/3 cupfuls into the oil (I use my hands), pat down into a pancake and fry on both sides until golden. [I hope at this point she's using a spatula!] Top with sour cream or applesauce** (especially if you make these for breakfast!) or salt them.  You can also grate in potatoes and carrots, though I don't squeeze the liquid out of these.

[**you know, that applesauce you made from the apple bounty we got over the winter!]

Also from back in 2005 (it's a good thing I hang onto these, huh?), here is a recipe given me by member Odile Wolf. She says it is one of her favorite soup recipes. It originally came form "Cooking with herbs" by Patricia Lousada, but Odile says she has done all kinds of changes to it over the years. The comments in parentheses () are hers, and mine, as usual are in square brackets [].

Cilantro Soup
Good cold or warm.

1 medium onion, very finely chopped
2 tbsp. butter
6 oz. zucchinis (I usually put what I get for the small share)
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped [go ahead, use the whole bunch, and remember: stems and all!]
3 tbsp. semolina [flour] (or rice or some kind of thickener)
Salt, fresh ground black pepper
4 C chicken or vegetable stock (or cubes dissolved in water)

If serving hot:
½ C whipping cream
2 egg yolks

If serving cold:
9 oz. thick-set greek yogurt (I use goat yogurt)

Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves

Sweat the onion in the butter until soft without allowing it to color. Add the zucchinis, and cilantro, and stir for a few minutes. Add 3 C salted water and bring to a boil. Stir in the semolina. [Usually if you're using flour as a thickener, you need to dissolve it in a little cold water before adding. If you just add the dry flour directly to the boiling liquid, it will form a lump! Odile's alternate idea of using an equivalent amount of rice will work great - I've done this sort of thing before - as the soup will be pureed.] Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the zucchinis are tender. Puree in blender. Thin by adding the stock.

To serve hot: Reheat the soup to just below a simmer. Whisk cream and egg yolks together. Stir in two ladles of hot soup, then pour back into the soup and heat gently without allowing it to come near a boil. Garnish and serve.
To serve cold: Stir in the yoghurt, taste for seasoning, and garnish with cilantro and almonds (or peanuts) [or toasted pepitas!].

Here's an unusual one (pepper and cinnamon!), also from a few years back, from member Holly Trapp. I've modified it slightly.

Carrot zucchini bisque with pepper and cinnamon
modified from the Lean and Delicious Cookbook; "out of print since 1978," says Holly. [I modified it because I don't consider 'low-fat' to be healthy. Click here if you are curious about this and read more under "Weston Price".]

1 C water
6 large carrots [more, as ours are always small], peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 C whole milk [original recipe called for skim milk]
2 tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cubes of chicken or vegetable bouillon, crushed

Add carrots and water to medium-size saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes. Add zucchini, cook another 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and drain liquid.

Puree vegetables in a food processor or blender until smooth. Transfer back to saucepan. Add milk, place over medium heat, uncovered. While stirring constantly with a wire whisk, sprinkle in flour [it's okay, it won't lump up as long as the liquid is not hot yet, and of course you're whisking!], black pepper and cinnamon. Add bouillon and continue to stir until dissolved. Heat on low another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. [Do not boil.]

[At first I blanched at the idea of a recipe using bouillon cubes, but then I have heard there are some decent brands out there... anyone have any good suggestions? Members, including myself, might like to know!]

Longtime member Paula Chacon sent me this gem back in 2004! I just stumbled upon it now; I've missed it in my typical searches, because it doesn't have any veggies in the subject line. But it's definitely a 'slug sauce'! ("Slug sauce" is a term my husband and his friends coined decades ago for basically any sauce that was 'so good you could serve it up on slugs and it'd still taste good!') Paula says her husband, who is not a good veggie eater, loves it. She uses it on all different leafy greens, as well as green beans!

Spicy Sesame Dressing
from the Whole Foods Cookbook

¼ C soy sauce
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. black sesame seeds
2 tbsp. white sesame seeds
1½ tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger (1-inch piece)
2 large garlic cloves, minced (1 tsp.)
2 tsp. brown sugar
¾ tsp. crushed red chili flakes
2½ tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 scallions, chopped

Whisk or shake all ingredients together. Paula says the recipe was written for a mixture of chard and bok choy, but that she uses it on any vegetable and as a sauce for stir-fry.

Here's a fun one that doesn't use a lot of box veggies, but does use a lot of garlic! (And eggs, if you get the egg share from TLC.) This was sent to me from an old friend of the family, Terri Muir Small:

Spanish Garlic Soup
from "Mediterranean: A Taste of the Sun in Over 150 Recipes" by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow
serves 4

2 tbsp. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled [Terri used double that]
4 slices French or similar bread [or four left-over half bagels, especially ones with seeds or other savory goodies, says Terri]
1 tbsp. paprika
4 C beef stock [or, again Terri: "rich turkey broth from roasted turkey bones and other bits." (She made this soon after Thanksgiving!)]
1/4 tsp. or more cumin
pinch or more of saffron strands
4 eggs [or Terri says use a generous slice of tangy French feta]
chopped fresh parsley to garnish [we have that!]
[Terri also added chopped spinach to the soup for extra veggie power; you could probably throw in chard to equal effect]

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the whole garlic cloves and cook until golden.  Remove and set aside.  Fry the bread in the oil until golden, then set aside.  Add the paprika to the pan, and fry for a few seconds. Stir in the stock, cumin and saffron, then add the reserved garlic, crushing the cloves with the back of a wooden spoon [Terri says she needed to cook the garlic in the broth 5 minutes or so before they were crushable]. Season with salt and pepper [Terri added the spinach here] then cook for about 5 minutes. Ladle the soup into four ovenproof bowls and break an egg into each.  Place the slices of fried bread on top of the egg and place in a preheated 450° oven for 3-4 minutes, until eggs are set.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once. [Terri omitted the oven bit because she didn't use the eggs.]

Lastly, here's a recipe I clipped from a recent issue of the San Jose Mercury News, shortly before we started getting strawberries... but I knew they were coming!

Orange-flavored shortcakes with strawberries and cream
original source, per clipping: Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times
serves 6

2 C flour
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)
6 tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes
2 hard-boiled egg yolks [not sure why hard-boiled; I think I'd use 'em raw
6/18/09 I stand corrected*]
¾ C heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
Coarse sugar for dusting

Berries and cream:
3 pints strawberries [that's 3 baskets]
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. orange juice [get it from the orange you used for the zest!]
1 C whipping cream [avoid ultra-pasteurized!], beaten to soft peaks

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold cubed butter and the egg yolks, and pulse together just until the mixture has the texture of lightly moistened cornmeal. There may be a few pea-sized chunks of butter remaining; that's fine.

Pour in ¾ C heavy cream, then pulse 4 to 6 times just to moisten the dough. Do not overmix, or the dough will be tough.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a shaggy mass. Knead 3 to 4 times to make it cohesive and then pat into a rough circle 6 to 7 inches in diameter and a fairly consistent ¾ to 1 inch thickness.

Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 6 wedges. Brush the tops very lightly with the reserved heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with the coarse sugar.

Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking [I like to use an insulated cookie sheet too, so the bottoms don't overcook.] Remove to a cooling rack.

While the shortcakes are baking, wash, hull and quarter the strawberries, then toss them with the sugar and orange juice in a bowl. Let stand for several minutes. [Had to laugh at this point in the recipe where it says, "if the strawberries are extremely firm, do this 30 minutes in advance." Obviously this guy isn't talking about Live Earth Farm strawberries!]

Split the shortcakes in half horizontally and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on dessert plates and heap strawberries over them. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on the side.

*update after newsletter was sent: longtime member (and experienced baker) Farrell Podgorsek says, "hard boiled egg yolks will work very differently than raw - they are not interchangeable. Liquid egg yolks will act as a binder or "glue". Grated or chopped hard boiled eggs act as more of a fat. It is not an uncommon ingredient in older recipes for baked goods. They add a richness to the finished product.

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

NEW!! Live Earth Farm Discovery Program for WEE ONES
3rd Tuesday of every month, 10:30am - Noon
(free for children 0 - 3 yrs; $5 - $10 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.

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. ***

Organic Farm Dinner Fundraiser for the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program
Saturday September 12th ~ don't miss it!!
Farm tour, feast, and silent auction!
Seasonal Cooking for Health Workshop in the afternoon!
click here to download flyer and learn more

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

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763.2448