LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
17th Harvest Week, Season 14
July 20th - 26th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Continuous Dancing
Emerging Young Farmers
August 1 Community Farm Day - details
Why am I not getting my fruit?
Read, watch, weep (and do something?)
Stop the fast tracking of Methyl Iodide
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."  - Margaret Mead

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 beets
Golden beets
Napa cabbage
Armenian cucumbers
Lettuce (redleaf and butter)
Sweet peppers (Hungarian yellow wax and/or green Corno de Toro)
Potatoes +
Summer squash

Small Share
Red beets
Green beans
Pickling cucumbers (also good as salad cukes)
Lettuce (redleaf and butter)
Baby mizuna

Extra Fruit Option
Strawberries, blackberries, and some combination of either plums, raspberries and/or sungold cherry tomatoes

remember, always go by quantities on checklist; things can change!

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

This week's bread will be plain rye

Continuous Dancing
Always planning ahead. It's the middle of July and both of our greenhouses are filling up with seedlings in preparation for fall and early winter production.  As tomatoes are just starting to ripen, it is easy to get distracted hoping for an endless summer, forgetting to sow and plant crops that will mature in October and November. Even after 15 growing seasons, it is always a challenge to maintain continuity and abundance throughout the year.  Green beans for example, are field-sown in 16 planting intervals, which vary depending on day length - from every 10 days to every 3-4 days as the days grow shorter by the end of August. Each crop has its unique rhythm and life cycle, and its own particular character. Radishes and most leafy greens are fast and short lived; carrots and beets are steady and reliable; lush crucifers such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower like it cool and are generally hungry and thirsty. Successional plantings not only need to fit natural variables such as soil moisture, temperature, and day length, but also need to synchronize with the timing, field rotations and the unique physiological and cultural growing habits of all the other crops.  Although charts and well defined crop plans have their place and time, most of the information is revealed by experimenting from year to year, continuously learning about the unique conditions of each field we farm. Last week I made reference to Vivaldi's "Four "Seasons" and how the farm resembles an orchestra. Succession Planting is the Farm's version of dancing to mother nature's seasonal, seemingly infinite compositions. Succession planting is about timing and will seem effortless if every part of the farm, whether biological, mechanical, meteorological, or human, harmonizes. Most of the time we are all pretty clumsy dancers, but to experience just a moment of perfect harmony, makes it all worthwhile.
- Tom
Emerging Young Farmers

An article, brought to our attention by a CSA member, published on July 14th, in USA TODAY, titled: "On Tiny Plots, a New Generation of Farmers Emerges" made me think of Margaret Mead's Quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."

Sixteen years ago my wife Constance and I with our then 13-month-old son David in tow came to Santa Cruz where for 7 months I enrolled in the Farm & Garden apprenticeship offered by UC Santa Cruz.  I remember then how much organic farming was still an emerging movement, composed of brilliant, idealistic, and hardworking individuals, who carried the vision of building wholesome sustainable farming systems to supply nourishing and healing foods for everyone. At that time the concept of Community Supported Agriculture was just starting to be explored by a handful of farmers and caught my attention as we started Live Earth Farm on a 1.5 acre previously overgrazed horsepasture.  As organic farming is starting to be widely adopted as a viable alternative to replace conventional farming methods, a large number of small scale farming operations, marketing directly to consumers, are emerging to meet the growing demand to eat seasonal, local, and sustainably grown food. For me the most exciting aspect in this shift is that these new small scale farms are started by young people who see in farming a meaningful and engaging opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Here on the Farm we just launched the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program, to expand and strengthen our education efforts. Our wish is to create a learning environment to inspire children from local schools and an opportunity for farm apprentices to experience sustainable farming hands-on. It is only by familiarizing and exposing young people once again to farming that we can hope for more of them to take the plunge, as we did, and start their own farms. I encourage everyone interested in supporting Live Earth Farm's Discovery Program to attend our first Fundraising Dinner on September 12.  You will enjoy wonderful food among the beautiful setting of fields and orchards, and learn more about the farm's educational efforts and vision. [Click here for all the information.]

August 1 Community Farm Day

Interested in coming to our Community Farm Day on Saturday August 1st? Then click here to read details of what we'll be doing that day. (We talked about it in the Week 16 Newsletter.) And yes, it will involve our field of wheat...

Why am I not getting my fruit?
After fielding no less than three complaints of this nature last week, and after Molly handled multiple cases of members being shorted fruit at their pickup locations while I was away, I thought it was time to remind people once again that Live Earth Farm has TWO different fruit options: "Extra Fruit" and "Fruit Bounty". People who receive the "Bounty" option are often confused about the difference, so let me try to clarify:

The "Bounty" option is a floating option -- i.e. it can either be 'on' or 'off' any particular week, based upon availability of fruit. Farmer Tom makes the availability determination on a weekly basis; he has his finger on the pulse of the 'flush phases' of our various fruit crops. You are guaranteed to receive the number of weeks of "Bounty" fruit you paid for when you signed up, sometime during the course of the season. We just can't tell you ahead of time what weeks those will be. If you signed up for "Bounty" at the beginning of the season, it was 15 floating weeks; if you added it starting in July, there were only 10 (again floating) weeks remaining, as five had already passed.

Our original "Extra Fruit" option, by comparison, is 29 consecutive weeks of fruit, beginning in May and running through the end of the season in November. However since we only have 350 "Extra Fruit" options (and we have 800 members), it always sells out before the season even starts. So the "Bounty" option was created a few years ago in order to make fruit available to more members. 

Can't remember which fruit option you're signed up for? If you look you will see your share combination directly below your name on the checklist: FB = Fruit Bounty, EF = Extra Fruit (and the rest of your share combination is similarly coded: FS = Family Share, SS = Small Share, EG = Eggs and BR = Bread). And in the top right-hand corner of the checklist we spell out the fruit breakdown for that week.

So you see, this is why I am always hammering home the message to "only take the amount of fruit as stated beside your name on the checklist." If you take fruit that is not listed next to your name, you are shorting another member at your pickup site!

We always post in our newsletter each week under "What's in the Box..." whether or not the "Bounty" is on that week (FYI it is *off* this week), and we will also post this in the upper right-hand corner of the checklist in the binder at your pickup as well.

- Debbie

Read, watch, weep (and do something?)
"It's all based on panic and fear, and the science is not there."

Having just watched the movie "Food, Inc." this past weekend (see it, and have as many people as you can think of see it as well!), I am newly incensed by the control that giant food and food-processing corporations and companies like Monsanto and ADM have over food policy in this country. Sustainable and organic food advocates do not even have a seat at the table when the House or Senate Ag committees convene. The new pending food safety legislation in Congress is just another example of corporate control over governmental policy-making. And the scale and complexity of the regulations being proposed may be fine for mega-corporations with a budget and staff big enough to manage the paperwork and pay the fees required for compliance, but will spell the death knell for small-scale organic farms if we have to meet the same regulatory requirements -- clearly part of the intention of the mega-corporations: to eliminate the competition. Nowhere have I read of any efforts to simply scale the requirements to the size of the farm.

But that's just one part of the regulatory problem. There's also the insanity about making food safe by making it sterile. The opening quote, above, comes from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle (sent to me by CSA member Traci Townsend) entitled "Crops, ponds destroyed in quest for food safety" which I also highly recommend reading. Where does this stop? When will our policy-makers realize that food-safety (or lack thereof) is directly related to massive scale food processing and not the proximity of wildlife to farmland? They won't learn it from us, because again, we don't have a seat at the table.

The cover article of the spring 2009 issue of 'Organic View', a publication of the Organic Consumer Association, (Headline "The Organic Alternative: Recipe for Survival"), closes with "We can no longer afford to have 90% of our food market monopolized by out-of-control corporations, chemical and energy intensive factory farms, and profit-at-any-cost retail chains..."

There are so many non-profit organizations trying to bring about change in government policy for the benefit consumers, organic farmers, human health and safety (and in turn the health of our planet -- it is all related), but they are only a drop in the ocean of 'money that talks'... the mega-corporations always seem to be able to pull strings behind the scenes, in the 11th hour, profiting themselves at our expense.

I wish I had a solution, I wish I knew exactly what to recommend that we do in response, but I don't (yet). Since I don't, I'm doing what I can by writing this, in hopes that someone may read it, perhaps pass it along to others with insight, and eventually that combined knowledge will coalesce into a solution.

- Debbie

Stop the fast tracking of Methyl Iodide
(also from member Traci Townsend)

As some of you may know, industry has been putting great pressure on Governor Schwarzenegger to fast track the registration of Methyl Iodide -- a known carcinogen -- as a pesticide in California in the coming weeks. We all need to act immediately to make sure this doesn't happen. Methyl iodide is used to induce cancer in laboratory animals and is so toxic that scientists take precautions to use methyl iodide in a ventilation hoodin very small quantities. But methyl iodide would be used as a fumigant pesticide, and highly prone to drifting away from where it is applied. If it is registered, it would be applied at rates of 175 pounds per acre in the open air, putting farmworkers and rural community members at great risk. Methyl iodide is also a known groundwater contaminant.

The manufacturer of methyl iodide, Arysta, is pushing it as the alternative to the ozone-depleting chemical Methyl bromide used widely on strawberries but slated for being phased out internationally under the Montreal Protocol. Arysta & growers are pushing the Governor to order the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to register it in the next few weeks, scuttling the external Scientific Review process (that would have included opportunity for public input) that DPR had planned for this fall. Though many pesticides are dangerous, methyl iodide would be one of the most toxic pesticides on the market. We need to prevent it from ever being registered. Time is of the essence; please act this week (see below).

Read Saturday's front-page article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel about this, and then click here to go to the Pesticide Action Network's sign-on petition to the governor.

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

Not so many recipes this week ~ I got a late start ;-) Hope you like what I came up with though! As always, my comments are in [square brackets]. - Debbie

The following was sent to me by member Laurel Pavesi, and is simple and yummy! (I've tried it.) Love the photo too - gives you a good 'picture' of how they should come out.

Crash Hot Potatoes
from thepioneerwoman.com

New potatoes (or other small round potatoes) [perfect! That's what we have!]
Olive oil
Kosher salt [or good, flavorful sea salt; regular salt will do in a pinch]
Black pepper
Fresh rosemary, chopped (or thyme, or chives or whatever herb you have available)
[You could optionally include minced fresh garlic!]

smashed twice-cooked potatoesBring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender [so, somewhere in the 10- to 15-minute range; careful: too long and they'll fall apart!]

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher [or flat side of a chef knife], gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with [optional minced garlic] kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or other herb).

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Member Lisa Bautista sent me this gem from the San Francisco Chronicle (modified the title to reflect the key ingredients):

Barley with Walnuts and Roasted Carrots, Zucchini and Radishes
by Chronicle staff writer Tara Duggan [original title: "Barley with Walnuts & Roasted Spring Vegetables"]
photo credit: Eric Luse/Chronicle
serves 6 to 8

"The Parmesan, nuts and seasonal vegetables help turn the hearty barley into a vegetarian main course; serve it with a salad. This also makes a delicious side to roasted or grilled meat dishes."

Barley, walnuts and roasted veggie dish2 C hulled or pearl barley
1 tsp. kosher salt + more to taste
12 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into medium dice [who measures carrots in ounces?? Just do a couple carrots; much as you want]
8 oz. zucchini, cut into large dice [ditto for squash]
5 radishes, cut into medium dice
1 C chopped red spring onion, greens reserved (see Note)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil + more to drizzle
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic, chopped
-- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C walnut pieces
-- Reserved spring onion greens (optional), thinly sliced
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese [I notice in the photo that they used shaved Parmesan; not a bad idea for garnish, anyway!]

Place the barley and 1 tsp. salt in a pan with 4 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the grains are tender with a slight crunch and most of the water has evaporated, 35-40 minutes. Spread out on a baking sheet and let cool. Do not drain unless there is a lot of extra liquid; if so, save the liquid in case the barley seems dry later.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the carrots, zucchini, radishes, spring onions, 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic in a large bowl. Add plenty of salt and pepper to taste. Spread out on a baking sheet so that all of the vegetables touch the pan, and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the walnut pieces on a small baking pan place in the oven. Watch carefully, and remove when the pieces begin to color, 8-10 minutes at most.

Toss the vegetables with the barley and the spring onion greens, if using, and spread out on the pan you used to roast the vegetables. Reduce the oven to 350 and cook until the barley is warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Toss in the Parmesan and nuts, if using, and a drizzle of olive oil. Add some of the reserved water if it seems dry. Taste for more salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Note: You can use an equal amount of green spring onions or red onion instead.

The next recipe was sent in by member Marie Cardenas last month; she says, "it uses lots of veggies from the share".

Green Velvet Soup
from allrecipes.com, with this comment: "A great green color and smooth, rich texture. Comfort food! Freezes well."

Marie's comments: "It takes just 15 minutes if you cook the split peas in a pressure cooker (15psi), drop the pressure and add in the veggies (I used 1 bundle of collard greens without stems, 1 bag of broccoli with stems/leaves, summer squash), put back to pressure for 10 minutes more, then puree with a hand blender. We topped it with parmesan cheese. I did not use potatoes nor broth (just water), yet it still tasted great!"

1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 potatoes, diced
3/4 C dried split peas
2 bay leaves
6 C vegetable broth [or water, says Marie]
2 zucchini, diced [any farm summer squash will do]
1 head broccoli, chopped [broccolini can be substituted no problem]
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 C chopped fresh spinach [or other cooking green]
salt to taste
[dollop of sour cream or thick, plain yogurt as optional topping]

In a large pot over medium heat, combine onion, celery, potatoes, split peas, bay leaves and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.

Remove the bay leaves and stir in the zucchini, broccoli, basil and black pepper. Simmer 20 minutes, until broccoli is tender.

Stir in spinach and remove from heat. [If using collards or kale or any firmer cooking green, I'd recommend cooking maybe 5 minutes more, or adding the greens 5 minutes earlier, so they're 'done' concurrent with the other veggies.] Puree all in a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender. Salt to taste.

[garnish optionally with a dollop or squirt or drizzle of sour cream, or as Marie says, top with Parmesan cheese!]

Here's a recipe given me back in 2007 by member Caroline Martin...

Potato and Green Bean Salad with creamy cucumber dressing
From Cuisine at Home Magazine
Makes about 4 cups

1 lb. potatoes (with skins), quartered
2 eggs, boiled and sliced
4 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed [just approximate; use as many as you think will go nicely with a pound of potatoes!]

3/4 C seeded, coarsely grated cucumber
large pinch of salt

2 tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 scallions, minced
1/2  tsp. Dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Caroline says the original recipe says to boil potatoes and eggs together for 12 minutes, then add beans for another 3, but she prefers to cook them separately.  Slice the boiled eggs.

Toss the cucumber with the salt and put in a strainer.  Drain for 15 minutes, then squeeze well to remove excess moisture.

Whisk mayo, yogurt, herb, scallions, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a large bowl, add the drained cucumber.  Gently toss potatoes, beans and eggs with the dressing.  Serve warm, room temp. or cold.

Beet and orange are two wonderfully sympatico flavors. This next recipe comes from some folks I met at a pot-luck a few years back. They brought this delightful beet dish...

Clint and Terry's roasted beets with orange sauce
Terry's description: "This is very easy. Peel and slice beets up thinly, roast in butter till you like them, a bit crisp is nice. [She didn't specify cooking time or technique... I'd probably put sliced beets well dotted with butter in a glass dish and cover/bake at, say, 375 degrees. Check after half an hour... see if they're 'crisp and nice' yet. Possibly uncover and bake a little longer to 'make crisp'.] While roasting cook down the juice from a couple oranges (or use about 1/2 cup or so of prepared orange juice) until thickened to a glaze; wide fry pans work very quick to reduce liquids.  I also added a bit of tamari with the orange juice. The original recipe called for maple syrup too, but since the beets were so sweet it was not needed." [I'd then take the reduced orange-tamari sauce, pour it over the beets, return to the oven and heat a little longer until all is bubbly.]

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