LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
25th Harvest Week, Season 14
September 14th - 20th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
The Pleasure of Food is to benefit all
Winter Share and Next Season
LEFDP Fundraiser meets triple bottom line
Fun with Fruits and Veggies
Further discussion on Green Smoothies and raw/living foods
Canning workshops at the farm!!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

" If you want to get there first, walk alone; if you want to go far, walk together."       African saying pronounced during the Terra Madre event  in Turin, Italy

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
Gala Apples +
Sweet corn
Eggplant + (Zebra [striped], Neon [bright!], and/or "Nadia" [globe])
Lettuce +
Mei qing choi
Peppers, sweet +
Peppers, hot (Padrons and/or Anaheims; will be in bag with your tomatoes)
Dry-farmed tomatoes +
Heirloom tomatoes + <----(remember: packed outside the box)
Cherry tomatoes <----(ditto)

Small Share
Gala Apples
Sweet corn
Eggplant (Zebra [striped], Neon [bright!], and/or "Nadia" [globe])
Mei qing choi
Peppers, sweet
Peppers, hot (Padrons and/or Anaheims; will be in bag with your tomatoes)
Summer squash
Dry-farmed tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes <----(remember: packed outside the box)

Extra Fruit Option
Apples, raspberries and watermelon
Remember, always go by what's on checklist; things sometimes change after this newsletter goes out!

Fruit "Bounty" Option
Apples, raspberries and concord grapes!
Remember, always go by what's on the checklist; things sometimes change after this newsletter goes out!

This week's bread will be whole wheat with flax seed

The Pleasure of Food is to benefit all.

Trying to count the number of helping hands it took to put together last Saturday's Fundraiser Dinner for the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program would be as difficult as counting the number of roots on a full grown plant. Although a hand count of all the people involved may be difficult, all of them have a close relationship with the farm, like the hands that prepared the soil, grew the plants and raised the animals; the hands that butchered, chopped, seasoned, and cooked; the hands that made the wine; the hands that setup, decorated and organized; the hands that ate the food; and the hands that served and cleaned up.  All-in-all, the Discovery Program's fundraising dinner was truly a collective effort.

It is testimony to the possibilities of creating experiences about how much food matters in our lives - from how it is produced, what gets done with it, and how it is consumed. It is always inspiring to witness how much the farm can offer us, especially our children, real experiences and meaningful connections to understand how the health of our bodies is tied to the health of our food and our environment. 

Words can't express our appreciation for all who contributed to make this event so richly rewarding and successful. We will  build on our accomplishments and move forward to network and use our resources to encourage children in our community, especially the ones in our "resource strapped" Public Schools in Watsonville, to learn and rediscover the pleasures of growing, touching, smelling, cooking and tasting real food.  - Tom

Winter Share and Next Season...
Hello to members and waitlisters alike! Debbie here; time to give you an update on the coming seasons, as signup will be starting sooner than you know it. To be specific:

Members - the month of October is reserved exclusively for members to sign up for the Winter Share AND/OR to make a deposit to reserve your 2010 Regular Season share (i.e. if you're not interested in a Winter Share but still want a share next season, you still want to sign up in October!). So members, keep an eye out for an email from me by Oct 1st.

Waitlisters - you will begin being notified in November about signup for next season. We will continue to take signups from both members (who didn't act in October) and waitlisters from that point on until we are full, and then begin another waitlist if necessary. Note: Winter Share is generally reserved for our existing members only, so you have to be a member for a season before you are eligible to sign up for winter (sorry about that!) ;-) [On the outside chance we don't sell all 400 winter shares to existing members, we'll check with waitlisters... but don't get your hopes too high.]

So: first, our beloved Winter Share -- bit of good news: due to demand, we are offering a few more Winter Shares than last year (400 instead of 350), so hopefully everyone that wants one gets one! For the details on this year's Winter Share, please click here (I've updated the page on our website finally, so now it is current), but let me give you a few highlights about what's changed and what's new:

it is going to be on THURSDAYS, not Wednesdays this year. (So this time around, it's you Wednesday folks who're going to have to remember the day-of-week change when switching between Regular and Winter Season.) ;-)

We've added few more pickup locations!! Gilroy, Morgan Hill, East Los Gatos and a new Downtown Santa Cruz (different than our regular season Downtown SC).

We'll still have our bread and egg options, but are thrilled to announce the addition of a Preserves Option! This new option will consist of goodies from Live Earth Farm's summer bounties preserved for our winter pleasure by Jordan Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen! (We're limiting it to 200 this year, to see how it goes. If popular, we can increase it next year.) Each week the Preserve Option will receive three items: one tomato preserve (crushed heirlooms, pickled dry-farms with basil, salsa... or castup!!), one fruit preserve (strawberry jam, apricot jam, preserved pears, applesauce), and one veggie preserve or fruit juice (kimchi, sauerkraut, cumin green beans [these are fab!], bread-and-butter squash, apple juice, grape juice). The cost is a very reasonable $16/wk; you can't beat that with a stick!!

Again, please go to our Winter Season webpage for all the details: schedule (i.e. the delivery dates; it's not every week, but a very specific schedule), cost, pick-up sites, what to expect in the box, etc. Then keep your eye out for that signup email from me in just a few weeks!!

LEFDP Fundraiser meets triple bottom line
In the investment world, there is nowadays a concept that is quickly taking root: the "triple bottom line".  Yes, it's another bit of financial jargon, but this one is particularly interesting, as it attempts to rate success not only on the base of the net profit but also on the impact it has on our social and environmental resources.  So when asked if the first LEFDP fundraiser was a success, I can answer YES from the point of view of the triple bottom line. Let me explain.

First, the fundraiser gave LEFDP the drive to search for a public elementary and middle school in Watsonville interested in establishing a long-term school-farm relationship. E.A. Hall staff not only were very responsive but exceeded our expectations by readily agreeing to a 3-year program with 8 yearly visits (4 at the farm, 4 at school) which gives enough continuity for students to understand the seed-to-plate cycle, become familiar with fresh organic food, and use the farm as a living classroom throughout the seasons.

Second, the event was 150% the result of a community effort: from the incredible food (thank you to all the Chefs and assistants), to the excellent wine, to the preparation of the farm to receive close to 100 people... all came together in the most heartfelt and personal way one could imagine.  The road followed to achieve our fundraising goal was 100% in line with the farm's and LEFDP's philosophy.

Last, the event raised enough money to finance the 3 years program: we do not yet have the final tally, but I can confidently say that we raised about $2,500 for transportation and $4,500 for the other costs associated with that program (mainly salary to run the visits).  In fact, we will have funds left over for transportation that we will make available to other PVUSD schools.

So I can confidently say that this event was a success, and thank you to all of you who have made it happen! Thanks to the Santa Cruz Montessori School which has given us hope that we can offer such a program, and thanks to our community for funding that dream. Please, check out LEFDP on Live Earth Farm's website to find out more about what we are doing and how you can continue to be involved.


Fun with Fruits and Veggies
Member Rebecca Smith sent in this photo saying, "We always love getting our box of veggies but this week's box was especially enjoyable. That's some nose on that tomato!"
Goofy tomato with nose and two-legged carrot

Further discussion on Green Smoothies and raw/living foods
Member Kimberly Potts sent a fine and balanced rebuttal to my 'two cents' about an all-raw diet which followed her 'Green Smoothies' recipe in last week's newsletter. I admit to having an omnivorous bias (as you probably have already guessed), but we both agree about many things, including having variety in the diet and in food preparation. Kimberly was very thorough and thoughtful in her response, so I thought that those of you interested in this subject would enjoy being in on the discussion! As usual, I've inserted some comments of my own in square brackets []. - Debbie

Kimberly says, "I did not intend to come across as advocating any particular type of diet for everyone (except to eat REAL food), because we all are so very different.  Yes, a 100% raw/living diet does not suit all people, but this is often for the same reason that people do not do well on any given diet: vegan, vegetarian, or meat-eating...  because they do not choose wisely from among their choices. There are extremists amongst raw foodists, vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

"I just was saddened to see people "cautioned" against a particular diet because it is not perfect for everyone. There are thousands of people out there for whom a diet of living foods has literally saved their lives.  They swear by it 10,000% and feel absolutely fabulous when eating that way.  I personally know many people (and have heard of many more) who have been cured of diabetes, IBS, and many auto-immune type diseases by eating mostly or exclusively living foods.  The stories are just so encouraging they bring me to tears.

"I too have Sally Fallon's book (as well as "Full Moon Feast", a book by her protege, Jessica Prentice), and have read as much criticism of her perspective on nutrition as on the raw food diet. [Maybe we should stop being critical of one anothers' research and focus on what we have in common: human health and nutrition?] I have no problem with the underlying encouragement to eat real food, but we must find out what is best for our own body as well as for the planet in this day and age. I'm not sure whom Sally is putting in the "Diet Dictocrats" category. [I believe her 'diet dictocrats' are mainly the "anti-fat" people, not so much the "pro whole foods or raw diet" folks.]

"There is nothing magical that cooking does to make food more healthy.  It is usually just the opposite.  Yes, it disables the oxalates, but that doesn't counterbalance the stripping of nutrients and enzymes that happens with cooking. [What about palatability? Sometimes a degree of cooking aids in the palatability and digestibility of certain foods...] If you vary the type of greens (usually where you find the toxins) in your diet, then you also vary those compounds. [Once again, I, too, am a strong advocate of a diverse and varied diet.] The multiplied nutrients and the addition of living enzymes, which cooked food does not have, enables your body to deal with something as simple as oxalic acid.  There is a lot of disagreement out there about the real level of danger that they pose. [There is so much controversy in general about what to eat; Michael Pollan's 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' makes that so clear! That's why I'm up with his mantra, "eat real food, not too much, mostly plants." I'm also a firm believer in Slow Food's concept of taking pleasure in the preparation and, ideally social/communal, eating of 'good, clean fair' food.]

"There is a wide variety of foods and ways to prepare them out there. The wisest voices I have heard in my 25 years of studying nutrition professionally acknowledge that each of us has different needs and we must meet those needs sustainably, i.e. minimizing the expense to the other life forms with whom we share this planet.

"Thanks so much for sharing the smoothie idea in last week's newsletter! Anyone on any type of diet can include those daily and reap bountiful benefits to their health.  Even my middle-school students like them, and that's a miracle right there! I'm so glad that LEF grows so many wonderful greens!"

Kimberly closes with, "If anyone is interested, please email me and I'll share the resources that I have run across in my studies recently that have really convinced me of the benefit of a living food diet for at least some people.  It's pretty amazing stuff, and very encouraging!"

Canning workshops at the farm!!
It is your time to rediscover the lost art of canning! Jordan Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen Co. will be offering food preservation workshops right here in the barn kitchen at Live Earth Farm.
Jordan is the co-owner of Happy Girl Kitchen Co., and is excited to share the secrets and tips she has discovered over the past 7 years. You will also enjoy an organic lunch made from fresh, local produce, plus take home an assortment of each recipe we make. A good time guaranteed!
Jordan's workshops are a 5 hour intensive, which will give you the skills you need to preserve food safely and have the confidence to preserve the bounty of the harvest in the future.  You will gain a firm understanding of the hot water bath canning technique with which you can preserve tomatoes, pickles and sweets.  Her expert instruction guides these hands-on workshops, and the focus is on what is in season on the farm. All canning equipment is provided, although she suggests you bring your favorite apron and a knife.
To register for any workshop, go to their website at  www.happygirlkitchen.com/workshops
Here is the schedule:
September 27th - Heirloom and Dry-Farmed Tomatoes.  Learn how to preserve tomatoes safely working on the recipes of crushed heirlooms, stewed dry farms, salsa and spicy tomato juice and take home 2 jars of each recipe totaling 8 jars!

October 17th - Apples, Pears and Quince.  Learn how to preserve fall fruits by making honeyed pears, apple sauce and quince jelly.  Delicious!  Take home 2 jars from each recipe and we will cater lunch for you!

November 1st - Pickles and Fermentation.  Discover the world of food preservation by learning how to make your own pickled beets, spicy carrots, sauerkraut and kombucha.  We will explore hot water bath canning and live fermentation in this workshop and you will go home with your own starter kits for kombucha and sauerkraut along with 2 jars of beets and carrots.  Fun!


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

Wow, sweet corn! A rare treat in our CSA box. No long stories today... (they're all up above!) I'm just going right to recipes. - Debbie

Summer Corn Soup
Bon Appetit, August 2008
Serves 6

3 C whole milk
3 ears fresh corn, kernels cut from cobs**, cobs broken in half and reserved
2 tbsp. butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 C water
2 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
Ground white pepper

Bring milk and corncob halves (not kernels) just to boil in a heavy [non-aluminum!] medium pot. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep while sauteing vegetables.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with salt and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes (do not let onion brown). Add corn kernels, carrot, celery, and garlic; cook until vegetables are soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add 2 C water, herb sprigs, bay leaf, and milk with corncobs. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Cover partially, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.

Discard corncobs, herb sprigs, and bay leaf. Cool soup slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Strain into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Season soup to taste with salt and white pepper.

Serve warm with optional garnish of crisped, crumbled bacon mixed with a little thinly sliced green onion, additional corn kernels, and a pinch of cayenne.

Indian-spiced Spinach with Corn
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping
Serves 6

"A twist on saag paneer (a classic spinach and cheese dish) that's made with corn instead of paneer cheese."

1 lb. fresh spinach leaves
3 tbsp. canola oil
3 dried chiles de arbol
2 small bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced
1 small jalapeno chile, seeded, deveined, and minced [maybe you could substitute a padron or anaheim? Or a serrano, from a week or two back, if you still have them?]
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. frozen corn kernels, thawed [shave the kernels off your fresh corn]
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garam masala

Blanch spinach in large pot of boiling water 1 minute; drain well.

Heat oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add dried chiles, bay leaves, and cumin seeds and saute until cumin seeds darken, about 2 minutes. Add onion and jalapeno, stir 30 seconds. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Mix in corn, coriander, and ground cumin. Cover and cook until corn is just tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add spinach; stir until heated through, about 5 minutes. Mix in garam masala; season to taste with salt. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Heirloom Tomatoes Stuffed with Corn and Zucchini Succotash
another unidentified clipping; recipe has been halved to better work with box quantities ;-)
makes 4

4 slightly firm medium heirloom tomatoes [I think you could substitute some of the bigger dry-farmed tomatoes since we're only getting one or two heirlooms]
vegetable oil
~ 1 C corn kernels, cut from 1 - 2 ears
1 C chopped onions
1 garlic clove
1/2 C chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 C diced zucchini [any summer squash] (1/4-inch dice)
1 tbsp. fresh epazote or cilantro
1 tsp. dried oregano

Core whole tomatoes, creating 2 1/2-inch opening at top. Using melon baller, scoop out tomato, transferring juices and pulp to a small bowl (for filling). Turn tomatoes, cut side down, onto paper towels [or similar] to drain.

Heat 1/2 tbsp. oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn and toss until tender and beginning to color, 2 to 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer corn to medium bowl. Add another tbsp. oil to same skillet. Add onions and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic; stir 30 seconds.

Add chopped tomatoes and reserved tomato pulp and juices. Saute until tomatoes are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Mix in zucchini, epazote, oregano and corn. Saute until sauce thickens and zucchini is just tender, about 5 more minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Arrange tomato shells, cut side up, on small baking sheet. Spoon in filling, mounding high.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake tomatoes until filling is heated through and tomato shells are just tender, about 25 minutes.

Spinach, Apple, and Cheddar Cheese Salad
another clipping, recipe halved
serves 4

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. maple syrup [I think I'd do only 1tbsp.; maple syrup's sweet!!]
2 tbsp. olive oil
~ half pound fresh spinach leaves, washed, spun dry, and torn
4 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, cut into half-inch cubes
1 large or two small apples, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 C chopped toasted walnuts

Combine vinegar, syrup and oil in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine rest of ingredients, and toss with just enough dressing to coat [don't overdo it! Nothing's worse than an over-dressed salad]. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arugula and Cherry Tomato Salad with Lemon-Parmesan Dressing [and pizza topping!]
I love the idea included with this recipe! It says, "It makes a great side dish, but this salad is even better as a pizza topping. Brush the dough with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and shredded mozarella, then bake. When the pizza comes out of the oven, top it with the salad." Cool!

~ 1/3 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
4 C (packed) arugula leaves [just use the whole bunch or bag; throw in a little spinach if you don't think you have enough]
1 C halved cherry tomatoes

Blend first four ingredients to make dressing. Combine arugula and tomatoes in a bowl; toss with enough dressing to coat. [If you're going to go the pizza route, don't dress the greens until the pizza's ready to come out of the oven!]

Benghan Bharta (Indian Curried Eggplant)
from "Five Seasons" by Delphino Cornali

1 or 2 small eggplants
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic-chili paste
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt to taste
1/2 C cilantro
sour cream or yogurt (optional)

Roast the eggplants in a 350 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Peel them and cut into small pieces.

Roast the cumin seeds until they pop, then add the chopped onions. Saute until they're well browned [presumably in some oil or ghee??]
Add chopped tomatoes and stir. Add the eggplant and the remaining spices. Taste for salt and adjust.

Garnish with cilantro and optional sour cream or yogurt. Serve with naan, partha, or puri breads.

Oven-Dried Cherry Tomatoes
from last week's SJ Mercury News

2 pts. heirloom cherry tomatoes [the Sungolds will do!], cut in half
2 tsp. grey salt
1/4 C good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 C garlic cloves, sliced thin [yowza!]
1 C basil leaves
Pinch chili flakes

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Combine ingredients gently, spread on cookie sheet and bake for two hours.

[These would probably freeze well.]

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.

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

Canning workshops with Jordan Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen Co.
held right here on the farm, in the barn kitchen!
go to Happy Girl Kitchen's website to register
September 27th - Heirloom and Dry Farmed Tomatoes.  Learn how to preserve tomatoes safely working on the recipes of crushed heirlooms, stewed dry farms, salsa and spicy tomato juice and take home 2 jars of each recipe totaling 8 jars!
October 17th - Apples, Pears and Quince.  Learn how to preserve fall fruits by making honeyed pears, apple sauce and quince jelly.  Delicious!  Take home 2 jars from each recipe and we will cater lunch for you!
November 1st - Pickles and Fermentation.  Discover the world of food preservation by learning how to make your own pickled beets, spicy carrots, sauerkraut and kombucha.  We will explore hot water bath canning and live fermentation in this workshop and you will go home with your own starter kits for kombucha and sauerkraut along with 2 jars of beets and carrots.  Fun!

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.

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

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763.2448