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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
23rd Harvest Week, Season 14
August 31st - September 6th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Harvesting and Sharing Real Food
What's Up in the Fields
Education Programs Update from Jessica
Community Farm Day ~ the Apple Harvest
Community Day and Friendship
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

" We need to actively participate in our food system -- in our political system -- to make sure that the best food we can produce in this country is available to the most vulnerable eaters - our kids."  -Anonymous
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 cabbage
Chard or collard greens
Eggplant (regular) +
Kermit eggplant (in bag with sweet peppers)
Fresh garbanzo beans!
Kohlrabi +
Lettuce +
Onions (Phil Foster Ranch) +
Padron peppers (hot! Will be in bag w/tomatoes & marked with purple tape)
Sweet peppers +
Potatoes +
Dry-farmed tomatoes +
Sungold cherry tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes +  <----(remember: packed outside the box)

Small Share
Chard or collard greens
Eggplant (regular)
Kermit eggplant (in bag with sweet peppers)
Onions (Phil Foster Ranch)
Padron peppers (hot! Will be in bag w/tomatoes & marked with purple tape)
Sweet peppers
Summer squash
Dry-farmed tomatoes
Sungold cherry tomatoes
Heirloom tomato <----(remember: packed outside the box)

Extra Fruit Option
Strawberries, cherry tomatoes and apples
watermelon postponed another week to ripen more
Remember, always go by quantities on checklist; things can change!

Fruit "Bounty" Option
Strawberries, cherry tomatoes and apples
Remember, always go by quantities on checklist; things can change!

This week's bread will be plain whole wheat

Harvesting and Sharing Real Food
Making room for Community Days during this very busy time of year can feel like a "tight squeeze" on an already full plate, but sharing a day in the fields with members and their families always turns out to be an inspiring and refreshing change of pace.
                                                             The collective experience of harvesting together is probably the most rewarding for me.
Biting into an apple picked with one's own hands or into a carrot pulled out of the dark soil, weaves more meaning into our relationship with food than words can ever describe. Instead of shopping for food and picking it off a shelf, we harvest and receive nourishment directly from a living tree or plant growing in the soil, which, as David Suzuki so well describes in his book The Sacred Balance ..."is the ground of our being," the Earth's nourishing skin we live off. 

On a hot day like Saturday this direct connection felt even more gratifying as everyone munched on juicy slices of watermelon picked only moments before under the hot midday sun. As a group we harvested  a full bin of Gala apples, an impressive 900lbs, and hauled it (on a forklift mounted to the front of the tractor) back to our shady lunch spot. The apple press was ready to jump into action as an eager and thirsty group of helpers crushed and pressed the harvest into refreshing sweet apple cider.

While most of us were harvesting, Constance and friend Claudine were making fresh cob (a mixture of sand, clay and straw) to repair the cracks in our recently built oven (see story below), and Molly and her boyfriend David made fresh pizza dough, fired up "Toastie" our original cob oven (now 8 years old) and coordinated the farm's increasingly popular "ritual" of community pizza-baking.

I like to compare the farm to a dynamic living organism where everything plays a part, like cells in a body. The food we eat is really an extension of this living organism.  We who care for and help grow the crops you receive every week work as a community of individuals who weave their expertise into the larger and interconnected fabric of the farm. Every time you open your share, remember that you are linked to the land and people who work here, and that you are also an extension of that relationship by preparing the food you receive.   - Tom

What's Up in the Fields
Lots is going on in the field. The weather has turned hot and not without its side effects. The raspberries, which have been really prolific and tasty, did not do well when the thermometer hit 95 degrees F here on the farm. All the ripe and half-ripe fruit got sunburned -- not just ours, but pretty much the entire crop in the Pajaro Valley. So with some luck the green berries will still be harvestable but not until a couple of weeks from now.

On the other hand our Gala apples are sweet and tasty, so enjoy them this week in greater abundance.

On the horizon we have a few treats in store...

The pears will make their appearance in two weeks we are taken them out of storage to let them soften;

The Concord Grapes are looking really nice, and with all that warm weather they should start to develop enough sugars to be in your shares by next week, latest the following;

I am also excited about a crop we haven't grown for a while, and I am happy our interns decided to take a stab at it - Muskmelons (fragrant cantaloupe-like melons). The crop looks great and I am expecting everyone who receives a fruit share will be able to enjoy a few by the end of September;

This week the shares are receiving some unusual veggies, such as a bag of fresh garbanzo beans which Debbie has already introduced you to in her recipe section. For those who receive them this week, let us know how you like them, this may be a crop I would consider growing more of next season;

Last but not least, I have to introduce you to one of my childhood vegetables - Kohlrabi.
A popular vegetable in Germany, not so in California. It's a close relative of broccoli. It is an unusual mix between cabbage and turnip, with the appearance of a root vegetable, although it is the above ground swollen stem which is the edible part. The leaves are also edible and stick up like a bunch of sparse hair on a bald head. I enjoy it raw or slightly steamed, buttered, and salted. Enjoy experimenting with it.  Who knows... it might become a necessary addition to your seasonal repertoire of vegetables!

- Tom

Education Programs Update from Jessica
Live Earth Farm Discovery Program LogoHello CSA Members ~
Its time for an education programs update!  We had lovely summer on the farm.  The Wee Ones program for 0-3 year olds turned out to be wildly popular with over fifty families in attendance in July.  This is where I have to thank Taylor, because I have no idea what I would do with out her.  She is always ready to work or play when she is needed and does so with a big smile and a great attitude.  A few of you took me up on my offer to arrange private tours so we spent several mornings with CSA families and their friends, exploring the farm, harvesting its bounty and filling our bellies.  We had an awesome visit in August that included both strawberry picking and getting lost in the corn!  Who doesn't love late summer on the farm?

Now, we are eagerly gearing up for the fall tour season.  The requests have begun to roll in.  Due to our diligence in spreading the word about our programs we will be hosting some new groups on the farm this fall including a 4H group, a few schools from the westside of Santa Cruz, and a class of migrant students from E.A. Hall Middle School in Watsonville.  This is where you come in.  We are trying to cover ALL of the costs for Marta Flores's class from E.A. Hall to visit the farm, and for some other groups like hers. 

We are hoping to raise these needed funds at our September 12th event!  The menu looks amazing and includes, among other delicacies:

<> Tomato Purée with garlic-herb panada, cucumber, goat yogurt, and citrus
      (parsley, lemon juice, citrus oil)
<> Goat ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms with roasted tomato and pepper sherry
      vinaigrette (thyme, shallot, lemon zest)
<> Spinach salad with berries and chevre
<> Green beans with cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs
<> Quinoa salad/tabouli salad
<> Pork Three Ways:
      * grilled Freedom Meat Locker Sausage with caraway braised
         cabbage and onion;
      * roast Pork Loin and Belly with herb salsa verde on a bed of arugula
         tossed with marinated fennel;
      * braised Pork Shoulder with caramelized apples in Madeira reduction.

The silent auction has some great prizes including: a private wine tour for 16 at Savannah Channelle Vineyards, a hot stone massage at Golden Chiropractic, a half day kayak rental from Kayak Connection, a brunch at Café Sparrow, star gazing with a local NASA scientist and environmental educator, and many more great contributions from our community!

I think the best part will be the children's program.  We have decided to open it up to children under 7 (please call me to make arrangements 728-2032).  The kids will be harvesting ingredients out of the learning garden, learning about their nutritional value, and building a fire in the cob oven to make their very own pizzas with sauce from scratch!  After dinner they will be making potato stamps with which they will decorate Live Earth Farm tee-shirts!  I am sure they will also sneak in a visit to the strawberry patch and take a walk to find some other treasures on the farm.

We still have seats available, so please consider joining us at this very special event on Live Earth Farm.  Not only will the evening be amazing, but your contribution will also create opportunities for local Watsonville students to reap some of the many benefits from spending time in this special place.  I hope to see you there!

~ Jessica

Community Farm Day ~ the Apple Harvest
First, we picked apples...

Apple Picking on Community Farm Day 8-29-09

Then we dug carrots (kids LOVE digging carrots!).

Kids digging carrots on Community Farm Day

...and we pressed cider from the apples, and ate watermelon and some folks even climbed trees! It was an excellent day for all.

Three girls in a willow tree
Community Day and Friendship
by Constance Broz

While most of the day's visitors were off picking apples and carrots, my friend Claudine and I set out to patch the cracks in the cob oven we built in a farm workshop last summer.  The oven needs to be ready for action next Saturday, September 12, for our fundraising event (we're raising funds to help support our outreach and on-farm education programs for the under served children of Watsonville). Who would have thought that this project would also serve as a great cement for my long time friendship with Claudine? It was a wonderful day together.

Claudine Desiree, mother of 3 boys and our first CSA drop-off location in Santa Cruz, has a great cob building business (see sunflowercobbuilding.com). With her help plus that of many hands, sand, clay and straw were carefully combined to provide the ideal mix -- not perfect... as she told me, nothing is perfect! -- for proper adhesion and elasticity to fill the cracks yet still allow the oven to expand and contract over the course of several firings without cracking too much more.

We started with the outside where the cracks were most easily reached, and a crowd of young eager-to-help children joined us in this messy and fun chore, wetting the cracks and squishing and sponging as much cob into them as we could.  By lunchtime, the outside was all done and most of our helpers left contented and eager to fill their hungry tummies with a picnic under the shade (many thanks to the family who fed my 4 years old!!).

But we were not done ~ Claudine and I were left with the second half of the job: filling the cracks on the inside! As we took turns entering the womb of the oven, wetting the hardened clay along its cracks so that it would accept the new material, our friendship was also being nurtured at a subtle level.  I couldn't help but think how this oven, like our friendship, carried the potential to birth many more fond moments in our lives... So as you think about coming to our next community farm day, consider inviting a good friend, or maybe someone you just want to know better... and let the magic of the community fill the cracks!

With gratitude ~ Constance

Constance and Claudine and children fixing cob oven cracks
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to recipe database.

Everybody's getting some of the Kermit eggplants this week, so be sure to see last week's recipes if you missed that info. Everybody's getting potatoes too, after a small hiatus (yay!), and we might see some tomatillos (can't say for sure; they'll be a last-minute add if at all). Meanwhile, the other two new items this week are: big, beautiful kohlrabi (in summer?? Ask Tom what's up with that!) and... fresh garbanzo beans! (Family share only, I'm afraid.) We're also still getting some very hot Padron peppers, so remember to use them with caution (i.e. check their heat level before taking a big bite!). And I guess the watermelons are staying on their vines another week. ~ Debbie

Fresh Garbanzo Beans
Probably the most interesting and unusual thing in this week's shares will be the bag of fresh garbanzo beans! Fresh garbanzos come one or two to a pod (you don't eat the pod), and are rather a lot of work to shell, but can be eaten raw or cooked. Raw, they taste very much like sweet raw English peas... so, very easy to snack on as you're shelling!

fresh garbanzo beans

In Mexico they are called "guasana" and are sold in bunches, still clinging to their branches. Street vendors will also serve them steamed in their pods and sprinkled with chili, lime (I assume lime juice? I know there are powdered chili-lime condiments, but I'm loathe to use them because of the additives) and salt. You eat them like edamame, sucking the beans out and tossing the pod; a messy but tasty undertaking!

They can be steamed in a skillet in a little water with salt; stir frequently and steam until tender. The pods should be bright green when done.

In India, they are called "Hare Chana", and there is a popular Indian treat called "Guggullu" or "Sundal", for which I found a recipe (see below).

Another way to prepare them is to grill them ~ put a bunch of beans still in their pods on a piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap/close into a little packet and grill 15 to 20 minutes over direct heat. Remove from grill and cool until you can handle them, then peel and snack away, or peel and add to salads or pastas, or mash into a fresh hummus recipe!

Green Garbanzo Guggullu (Sundal)
Green garbanzos
curry leaves
shallots and/or red onion
red pepper flakes
grated coconut

Remove green garbanzos from their pods (compost the pods; they are not eaten).

Bring a pot of water to boil. Add and cook shelled garbanzos for about 2 minutes, then drain. (Remember: fresh green garbanzos are like freshly shelled peas, so they cook fast. You can also just add them raw in the next step.)

In a skillet, heat oil. Add and saute fresh curry leaves [you'll probably have to hunt for a source of these, but we have a lot of Indian CSA members, so I'm hoping someone will email me and suggest sources!] and finely sliced shallots/red onions until golden. Add the fresh garbanzos. Sprinkle with salt, red pepper flakes, grated coconut and turmeric. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh lemon juice.

The following Kohlrabi recipes are all modified from ones I found on a website called about.com:

Sauteed Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi bulbs
sugar (optional)

Peel kohlrabi bulbs and cut into thin slices (about 1/8th inch), then crosswise into 'sticks'.

Melt some butter in a hot skillet, add kohlrabi and saute, stirring often, until beginning to brown. Salt to taste, and sprinkle with a little grated nutmeg and optional sugar if not sweet enough. The sugar will also help to caramelize the kohlrabi more.

Kohlrabi is done when lightly browned but still slightly al dente.

Cream of Kohlrabi Soup
2 tbsp. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb. kohlrabi bulbs, peeled and chopped
2 1/2 C vegetable stock
2 1/2 C milk
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper
Kohlrabi leaves chiffonade (optional) for garnish

Melt butter in a large pan with a lid. Add onions and cook gently until soft, about 10 minutes. Add kohlrabi and cook 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock, milk and bay leaf to pan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes or until kohlrabi is tender. Let cool a few minutes and remove bay leaf.
Using an immersion blender, conventional blender or food processor, puree soup until smooth. You may want to strain the soup through a fine sieve if the kohlrabi is especially fibrous. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in heated bowls garnish with chiffonade of kohlrabi leaves (see below), and with a hearty bread of your choice.

To chiffonade the kohlrabi leaves, blanch them briefly first, then strip them from their stem, roll into a tight log and slice very thinly crosswise.

Crunchy Kohlrabi Salad
large summer salad for one

1 kohlrabi, very thinly sliced
1 C watercress leaves [or substitute torn arugula, or even lettuce]
1/2 C chopped celery leaf [sounds like a lot... think I'd use less, or maybe mince up a tbsp. of fresh parsley if I didn't have celery leaf... or maybe some veerrry thinly sliced sweet pepper]
1/2 C thinly sliced boiled ham
1 tbsp. chopped hazelnuts
1/2 C crumbled chevre
Olive oil
Lemon juice
[and how about, since we have them, some halved cherry tomatoes?]

Remove leaves and stems from the kohlrabi, peel with a knife and cut out any hard root bit at the bottom. Slice very thinly (carpaccio style) and sprinkle with lemon juice. Layer the kohlrabi slices in a slightly overlapping pattern (like roof tiles) around the very edge of your plate. Toss the watercress and celery leaves with a few drops of oil and lemon juice and pile in the center of the plate. Top with the ham. Scatter hazelnuts and the chevre [and halved cherry tomatoes!] over the plate. Drizzle a little olive oil and lemon juice over the top.

The next two recipes are ones I made up recently and was very happy with!

Debbie's Collards with garlic-lemon-butter rice and diced tomato
generously serves 2

1 bunch collard greens
3/4 C uncooked rice (such as basmati)
half a stick of butter
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice from one lemon
diced fresh tomato (could use halved cherry tomatoes)

Cook rice however you normally do (I use a rice-cooker).

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 fresh tomatoes, salt to taste, stir just to distribute, then serve! Yum!!

Debbie's Potato, Carrot and Mizuna Mash
can make in any quantity

(I know we don't have Mizuna this week, so you could substitute pretty much any other cooking green. It's just what I came up with to use Mizuna!)

Potatoes, skins on, cut into eighths or so (pieces)
Carrots, peeled and chunked
1 bunch mizuna
milk or buttermilk or kefir, or even cream
a little nutmeg
salt and white pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add mizuna* and cook a minute or so, then either scoop out or strain into another pot (i.e. save the cooking water for cooking the potatoes/carrots). Squeeze water from mizuna (back into cooking water if you can), set aside.

*if using kale or collards or chard, remove greens from stems and cook kale or collards more like 3-4 minutes; chard leaves would be fine at about a minute, like the mizuna.

Boil potatoes and carrots in same water, 10 minutes.

Same as in prior recipe, place cooked squeezed greens on a cutting board and chop finely.

When potatoes/carrots are done, drain well, return to pot and mash with butter and milk. You don't want a puree, but a creamy, slightly lumpy moosh. Season with a little nutmeg, white pepper, and salt to taste. Stir in chopped greens. This is really pretty with its three colors, and goes great with any number of meats (lamb, beef, pork) or all by itself!

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.

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

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 (sorry, late request: Tom asks there be "no sleep-overs" Friday August 28th!)
   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