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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
16th Harvest Week, Season 14
July 13th - 19th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Foraging Addictions
What's up in the fields
August 1 Community Farm Day - details
Pictures from a wild place
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

"The senses can become tools of choice, defense, and pleasure; they give new 'sense' to our actions in the field." - Carlos Petrini, from his book Slow Food Nation.

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
Red and golden beets
Cauliflower (Lakeside Organic Farms)
Cucumbers + (pickling type but still good for salads)
Garlic +
Green beans +
Kale or Collards
Lettuce (mixed types: red oakleaf and butter or others)
Potatoes +
Summer squash + (Magda and/or Rond de Nice)

Small Share
Red and golden beets
Cucumbers (pickling type but still good for salads)
Green beans
Kale or Collards
Lettuce (mixed types: red oakleaf and butter or others)
Summer squash + (Magda and/or Rond de Nice)
Mystery item (peppers or broccolini)

Extra Fruit Option
Strawberries, blackberries, bag of plums and apricots**
remember, always go by quantities on checklist; things can change!

**the plums/apricots will be combined in paper bags... be careful not to confuse them with the loaves of bread, which are also in paper bags!

Fruit "Bounty" Option
(no 'bounty' this week)

This week's bread will be sesame whole wheat

Foraging Addictions
By Popping  a Sungold Cherry Tomato in my mouth during the hottest part of the day, on Monday, I felt like I had my first taste of Summer. Summer foraging is one of the most rewarding and often irresistible pleasures here on the farm.   Sometimes I skip lunch because I am full from snacking on fruit,  constantly "calling out" to be picked. Without question the most popular "field snacks" over the last couple of weeks have been the apricots and plums.

A typical walk from the house will lead me through the plum orchard, where my eyes search for the perfect fruit, plump with shiny  deep purple color.
I can't believe the plum season is almost over, a couple of weeks ago branches were still hanging full with fruit. I spot a perfect plum, easy to reach and so ripe it almost releases itself by looking at it. Realizing that another year will have gone by before I can do this again, I hold the fruit in my hand to admire it for a moment, then I take that savoring bite. It's sweetness almost instantly fills my mouth, followed by a tangy/ astringent undertone from the skin and the unavoidable juice dripping down my chin. As I walk the short distance over to the apricots I can't resist picking a handful of yellow raspberries. Raspberries, both yellow and red will soon, my guess is in two weeks, enter their peak fruiting cycle. For now however, I am drawn to the apricots.
The apricots on the trees are now all fully ripe, I have to decide whether to first pick all the ones fallen on the ground and save them to make jam, or start by first picking everything off the trees and pick the "grounders" later . 
Over the last two weeks I have developed a slight apricot addiction,  some U-Pickers might have had a similar experience.  Entering the apricot orchard creates a shift in reality. All decisions and worries at hand disappear( who said farming isn't therapeutical!!). As if under a spell I have nothing else in mind but to pick and eat. Since I have to do this everyday, I make sure I bring my cellphone along. Typically it does a good job  (r)inging me back...to reality. If it wasn't for a very short Apricot season, I probably just quit farming and turn into an apricot junkie...just kidding. At least I know I have to pick the fruit off the trees first, this way I'll be less tempted to eat as many. Crawling under the trees is no fun and a good cure to break the spell.

As soon as I walk away from the apricot orchard, I feel the grip of my next temptation - Sungold Cherry Tomatoes.  I know you all have been patiently waiting for tomatoes, and I can assure everyone that in a couple of weeks our tomato season will officially start with these orange morsels of heaven. When I popped one into my mouth earlier, it once again confirmed that these are by far the best in their class. Debbie blames their "toe curling" flavor as one of the reasons she joined our CSA more than 12 years ago.

Reading newsletters from past seasons I sometimes refer to the farm's workload  to an orchestral performance.  As soon as the tomato season begins,  we enter the most brisk and liveliest of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" - Summer.
It's not easy, even for an experienced and well-seasoned player, to maintain Summer's demanding tempo. Right now all around us, life expresses a mature and diverse abundance, like a crescendo that has been building since the start of Spring. Each crop has its unique rhythm and life cycle, and its own particular character. The tempo of each season is not so much about the speed in which tasks have to be accomplished, but rather how one relates to the overall rhythm, the basic beat, of the farm. Not easy, but worth trying.

What's up in the fields

With this week's heat we should start seeing the long awaited nightshades, Tomatoes, Peppers and Eggplant. I took a few pictures, they speak for themselves.
The Yellow Hungarian Wax Peppers are the first to make it into "some" of the shares this week, Cherry Tomatoes to follow soon 1-2 weeks, and Eggplants probably in August.

More Napa Cabbage next week, the strawberries are slowing down, so no Bounty Shares for the next few weeks. Apricots are coming to an end this week. I apologize for not communicating more clearly that the July 12th U-Pick was cancelled. Some still came and were not turned away!
August 1 Community Farm Day - details
I promised more detail about the upcoming Community Farm Day. The focus of that day will be on harvesting wheat, and experience the full cycle from field-to-fork.
The 1/4 acre wheat field which we planted last year is mature and needs to be harvested. As a community this can be a lot of fun. Wheat is cut with small hand sickles, bundled, and threshed. We will thresh enough to mill some flour with our small electric stonemill and bake bread or pizzas in the new cob oven. The location of the wheatfield is one of the most beautiful spots on the farm, surrounded by Oak and Redwoods. We also have tomatoes, eggplants and peppers planted there, which we could harvest to make a pizza later.  We will take a tractor ride to the wheatfield and return with our harvest to prepare a late lunch 2-3PM. While harvesting the wheat,  I recommend everyone bring a snack, I will make sure we have plenty of water to stay hydrated.

You are welcome to come spend the night from Friday (July 31st) to Saturday; you can pitch a tent.  Be aware it's been foggy and chilly so there is a good chance you need to stay dry and warm. Please RSVP me (Farmer Tom) at  831-760-0436  or  thomas@baymoon.com. Hope to see you then! - Tom

Pictures from a wild place
I had a truly magical trip to the most wild and beautiful place; it was an opportunity to reinvigorate my senses as well as exercise my creative nature. We base-camped in a tiny hamlet called Bamfield on on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and ventured forth from there to places of spectacular natural beauty; unbelievably sculptural landforms and beautiful colored stones... caves and crashing waves. Between the six of us who went, we have literally hundreds of pictures, so I have chosen just a very few to share. They only barely capture the essence. - Debbie

Mabens Beach, near Bamfield terminus of the West Coast Trail, Vancouver Island, BC, 2009

Above, from top: the cave, passable only at low tide, through which we need to go to reach most of this magical beach; spectacular otherworldly landforms and coastlines; and my Andy Goldsworthy-inspired stone pile. Below, inset, the vast pebbled beach beyond the cave, in which hours can be blissfully spent collecting gorgeous colored stones. This visit I took only pictures and left the stones behind.

Beautiful colored stones from Mabens Beach

And lastly... the sand sculpture! Something I always love to do when I come to this place. It is a zen exercise, for whatever I create departs without a trace come the next high tide. It is also one heckuva lot of fun! (My friend Kristen, also an artist, sketches from the rocks behind me.) Oh, and you probably can't tell from here, but I'm wearing my Live Earth Farm t-shirt!

Debbie spends the day sculpting with sand on Brady's Beach, Bamfield, BC (while friend Kristen sketches from the rocks above)
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to recipe database.

Back in the saddle here - thanks, everyone, for putting up with two weeks of no new recipes while I was away! Hopefully my recipe database covered for me, but I know you like to get new recipes each week still. This week: mostly member-submitted recipes, but first a bit about beets. - Debbie

Roasted beets in their skins
I seem to have lost the original email with this discussion, so I can't credit the member who reminded me of this point, but I did remember the point! And that is: often people just automatically peel their beets before or after cooking. But the skins on roasted beets can be very delicious! Think 'baked potato skin'. So next time you go to roast beets, consider leaving those skins on. Give them a good scrub, of course, to remove clinging dirt (and cut out any funny spots - I know they sometimes have unsightly little black surface holes from some soil pest, but they don't go deep), then coat them lightly in oil, sprinkle with salt, wrap in foil and bake. Just skip the step at the end in most recipes where they say, "...then slip off the skins..."

Here's a recipe from new member Julie Nano, who sent it just last week saying, "We had this with a green salad for dinner tonight. Pretty tasty and really easy (especially with a food processor for grating.) I think we'll have the leftovers with breakfast tomorrow. It's like a baked hash."

Potato Carrot Kugel
from Laurel's Kitchen Recipes
Serves 4 to 6

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp. oil
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
3/4 C vegetable stock or water
1 C grated carrots or 2 C winter squash
3 C grated potatoes
2 beaten eggs

1/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C wheat germ
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 300F. Saute onion in oil until well done, add garlic.  Add stock, carrots, and potatoes and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in eggs. Mix together the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and seasonings and add to vegetables.  Pour into a greased baking dish and bake for 1 hour.

A few weeks back we had a member inquiring about possible low sugar zucchini bread/muffin recipes. I didn't have any, so I checked with member Azalyne Skye Olson, who knows more about this than I do and makes specialty gluten-free baked goods and cultured veggies (see story in Week 5 newsletter). She had the following to say:

"First off I would suggest replacing the sugar [in any standard zucchini-bread recipe] with bananna or applesauce. If you want sugar-free, as in no yeast (candida) feeding, you can substitute for sugar either ethyritol or stevia powder. If you want to go ahead and use traditional cane sugar then definitely culture your loaf with yogurt or kefir 12-24 hrs. If you decide to culture the dough, add a 1-2 tsp. baking soda to cut the sour flavor and sweeten the loaf [I like sour, so I might leave it be, but that's just me. - Debbie]. Here is a sample recipe adapted from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon:"

Low Sugar Zucchini Bread
modified by Azalyne Skye Olson from a recipe in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon (see above)

3 C freshly ground spelt, kamut or whole wheat flour (for a Gluten Free alternative use a combination of 2 C rice flour, 2/3 C buckwheat flour, 1/3 C tapioca flour or arrowroot powder)
2 C buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt
3 eggs
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4-1/2 C sugar of choice
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 C ghee or butter
1 ripe bananas or C applesauce
2 grated zucchini; sprinkle with sea salt for one hour and then squeeze out excess liquid
1/2 C chopped nuts of choice

Mix flour(s) with either buttermilk, kefir, or yogurt, cover and let culture 12-24 hours in a warm place. Then add remaining ingredients and bake in greased/floured bread pans at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bread is ready when either the toothpick comes out clean or the loaf sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom.

Another member, Robin Witmore, sent in this recipe for using apricots:

Apricot Chicken
modified by Robin Witmore from a recipe by Rachel Ray
serves 6

Robin says, "We substituted fresh apricots for dried and preserves, eliminated the parsley and added the cinnamon and honey. Delicious!"

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 lbs. chicken tenderloins, cut in half across on an angle [I prefer meat on the bone, preferably from pasture-raised chickens; lots more flavor. Make your own boneless cuts and save the bones for soup stock.]
Salt and pepper
1 lg. onion, chopped
2 tbsp. cider or white wine vinegar
12 dried pitted apricots, chopped, or 6 - 12 fresh apricots, halved
2 C chicken stock (only 1 C stock if using fresh apricots)
1 C apricot all fruit spread or preserves or 1 C fresh ripe apricots, mashed well or sieved
~ 1 tbsp. honey
~ 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium high heat. Add oil and chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly brown the chicken a few minutes on each side, add onions. Cook 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the pan and let it evaporate. Add apricots and stock. When stock comes to a bubble, add preserves and stir to combine. Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in cinnamon and honey to taste.

Longtime member and frequent contributor Farrell Podgorsek had this hot new concept for cooking for greens: roasting them! She says it was a new-to-her technique, and is thrilled with the results.

Roasted Greens
Wash and coarsely chop two bunches of greens
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the chopped greens on a large piece of foil.  Drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil and gently toss. Seal the foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast about 20 minutes, or until greens are tender.  Farrell cooked two bunches of chard and says it came out silky and sweet. She then used the chard in a Panzanella salad recipe from Giada De Laurentiis:

Roasted Greens and Panzanella Salad
Cube up 1/2 loaf of day-old ciabatta bread, about 8 cups
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 8-oz. jar sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 recipe roasted greens (above)

Toss the bread with the oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and tomatoes. Add the greens and toss to combine. The greens have lots of moisture so the salad will get moister as it sits.

Farrell also had this simple, tasty squash recipe. I love the sound of this one because I love roasted lemon!

Farrell's Roasted Summer Squash with Lemon

Summer squash - any type and quantity
1 lemon for every 3 squash, cut into slices
olive oil
herb of choice- I used dried marjoram, but sprigs of fresh oregano or thyme would be nice too.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and then cut lengthwise into spears.  Pour some olive oil onto a heavy baking sheet - I used about 2 tbsp. for 3 squash. Add the squash and the lemon slices and turn to coat with oil. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt, pepper and dried marjoram.  Roast at 375 until everything is nicely browned and soft.  Check the progress after 30 minutes or so.  If the lemon slices are getting too dark place them on top of the squash so they don't burn on the bottom of the pan. The squash gets a nice lemony essence and the roasted lemon slices taste yummy.

Member Celeste Birnbaum sent the next recipe, which she highly recommends:

Herbed Summer Squash and Potato Torte with Parmesan
from Bon Appetit, June 2001
makes 2 tortes

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 C grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper

2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds [you can use any of the potatoes we get in our shares]
12 oz. yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds [ditto for the squash; it doesn't have to be yellow crookneck]
6 tsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans. Set aside 1/4 C sliced green onions. Toss remaining green onions, cheese, flour, thyme, salt and pepper in medium bowl to blend.

Layer 1/6th of potatoes in concentric circles in bottom of one prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Layer 1/4 of the squash in concentric circles atop potatoes. Drizzle with 1 tsp. oil. Sprinkle with 1/6th of cheese mixture. Repeat with 1/6th of potatoes, then 1/4 of squash and 1 tsp. oil. Sprinkle with 1/6th of cheese mixture. Top with 1/6th of potatoes. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle with 1/6 of cheese mixture and press gently to flatten. Repeat procedure with second cake pan and remaining potatoes, squash, oil, and cheese mixture.

Cover pans with foil. Bake until potatoes are almost tender, about 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until tortes begin to brown and potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes longer. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cool. Cover with foil and chill. Rewarm, covered with foil, in 350F oven until heated through, about 30 minutes.)

Cut each torte into wedges. Sprinkle wedges with 1/4 C green onions; serve.

Two more from member Jennifer Black:

Double Berry Preserves
Jennifer says, "I've made this with just strawberries, with strawberries and blackberries, with more berries and fewer berries, etc. It's pretty flexible - just a quick way to cook up berries that are very ripe before they go bad.  The preserves are not processed into jars, so they do have to be kept in the fridge.  This is a good sauce for ice cream, pound cake, etc., or just for spreading on toast."
2 pints strawberries, hulled and diced
1/2 pint raspberries or 1 1/2 C frozen raspberries, thawed [or blackberries]
3/4 C sugar
Combine all ingredients in large heavy skillet.  Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and boil until preserves are very thick, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Spoon into a small container, cool, cover, and refrigerate.
Wicked Potato-Garlic Dip
3 medium potatoes (or a larger number of smaller ones), peeled (or not) and diced
3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
up to 1/3 C mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. salt
Boil the potatoes until very soft and drain well.  Transfer to a food processor or a mixing bowl.  Without waiting for the potatoes to cool, add the remaining ingredients.  Whip until very smooth using either the food processor or an electric mixer.  Cover tightly and chill.  Delicious appetizer with wheat pita bread, carrot sticks, or sesame crackers, or use as a sandwich filling.  [Now I know I've preached about not making mashed-potatoes in a food processor because of the sort-of gluey texture you end up with, but I can see how adding mayo and using it as a spread or dip would be okay.]

Member Susan Fagan sent me this recipe for cauliflower, which she makes often and loves. Susan points out also that, if you're not going to use your cauliflower right away, you can break it into florettes and freeze it [probably want to blanch it quickly first]. Either fresh or frozen cauliflower works for this recipe, she says.

Cauliflower Spinach Mashed 'Potatoes'
Serves 4
6 C cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen
6 cloves garlic, sliced
10 oz. fresh spinach [~ 1 bunch; you could also use beet greens]
1/2 C cashew butter (raw or roasted)
Milk, if needed, to thin
White pepper (or black if you like... or lemon pepper seasoning)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Steam cauliflower and garlic about 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and press out as much water as possible in strainer.

Place spinach in steamer, steam until just wilted and set aside.

Process cauliflower, garlic, and cashew butter in a food processor with "S" blade in place until creamy and smooth. Check the consistency. If it is too thick, add a small amount of milk, process some more and check again.

Add and adjust seasonings to taste.  Stir wilted spinach into mashed cauliflower. Serve hot or warm.  It is also great with added chives or scallion.

Lastly, this from member Laurel Pavesi, from a website called Kitchen Caravan:

Kale and Pumpkin Seed Pesto
by sophia
4 C fresh Dinosaur kale, roughly chopped [could probably use Red Russian kale and/or collards]
1 clove garlic
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 C kale cooking liquid (see directions)
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1/4 C pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted

Bring a pot of water to boil with a big pinch of salt. Add the kale and boil for about 3 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain the kale, reserving at least 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. In a food processor, chop the garlic and kale, and then add in the olive oil and cooking liquid in a stream. Blend until the kale breaks down into a pesto-like sauce. Finally, add in the Parmesan cheese and pepitas, and blend a little bit more until the sauce is smooth.

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 (except on the Friday before our Solstice and Harvest celebrations; we're too busy setting up). Please leave your dogs at home too, 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 to Tom with the number of people attending and whether you'll be arriving Friday night or Saturday is requested. Call 831.760.0436 or email him at thomas@baymoon.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.

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