LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
27th Harvest Week, Season 14
September 28th - October 4th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Small Leap of Faith for a lot of Potential!
Join LEF's...1st Pie Contest...for our Harvest Celebration...October 24th!!
Their children "get it"
CSA signup for current members starts this week!
Companion Bakers offering classes and new "Bakers Box"
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

" Food is not a commodity which price can capture,
   but exacting effort,
   carefully sustained,
   the life work of countless beings "
 - Edward Espe Brown

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 and/or Summerfelt apples +
Collard greens
Eggplant +
Green beans
Lettuce +
Peppers, sweet +
Dry-farmed tomatoes +
Heirloom tomatoes + <----(remember: packed outside the box)

Small Share
Gala and/or Summerfelt Apples
Peppers, sweet
Summer squash

Dry-farmed tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes <----(remember: packed outside the box)

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

Fruit "Bounty" Option
Apples, raspberries or strawberries, 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 3-seed whole wheat

 Small Leap of Faith for a lot of Potential!
Orchestrating the logistics of the farm's food web, from soil to the weekly harvests delivered in your shares, is a complex endeavor. With close to 800 members and a  growing waiting list, Debbie's task of managing all the myriad pieces of information in order to keep the CSA running smoothly (a lot of it very manual and repetitive at times) has become overwhelming. Picture a juggler who continuously keeps adding more balls to those already being juggled and flying through the air.

A few months ago, while in the process of searching for potentially better information management tools, we connected with Benzi Ronen and Yossi Pik, two inspired computer software experts, who recently launched a company called Farmigo. Their mission is to help farms like ours use internet based information management tools capable of tackling the challenges inherently associated with running a CSA farm.

Benzi described his company quite clearly in one of his blogs: "Farmigo, my new passion, is a web-based service created for small farms to promote, collaborate, sell and explain their food items online and aims to not only help farms prosper but also to build farming networks and improve communication. We aim to make small farming more sustainable so that many more farms can join the growing trend of farms selling directly to homes thereby becoming more profitable and expanding the number of people eating healthier fresher food. The Internet is a great medium for telling stories about the food we eat and providing transparency to the farmer that works so hard growing what we put in our bodies."

So starting tomorrow, September 30th, you can go on-line and check out the new system by signing up for our unique Winter CSA and also reserve a share for the 2010 season by renewing your membership with a deposit. With the help of Farmigo we hope not only to match the complexity of our operation but enhance and improve it. From a farming point-of view, Farmigo will help to better manage data  collected from the field (i.e. track crop rotations,  soil management practices, pest and disease problems, as well as crop yield and harvest data) and allow to more easily explain and communicate our farming practices to our members.  Farmigo will also help us expand and better network with other farmers and producers like we currently do with TLC, Companion Bakers, and Happy Girl Kitchen.

Although we are all a little nervous about this change, of letting go of the old and familiar tools, we are excited about the upcoming improvements and possibilities. Who knows, maybe this is the beginning, where high-tech is paying attention to developing scale-appropriate systems where future networks of small farms can effectively distribute healthy food to the majority of people in their local communities.

- Tom

Join LEF's 1st Pie Contest for our Harvest Celebration
                                  October 24th!!
Molly and fellow farm interns are inviting the entire LEF community to participate in this fun-filled contest. Since we always ask everyone to bring something for our traditional potluck, this year we thought we could ask you to substitute or add to your dish for the potluck by baking a pie to enter the contest. Lots of categories, come up with your own if you want to, everyone is a winner!!!

Molly's Instructions:

This year at our annual Harvest Festival, show off your pie-baking prowess in our first ever LEF Pie Baking Contest! Please create your favorite homemade pie and bring it to the Harvest Festival, where our panel of pie experts will judge pies in a variety of categories, from best crust to "most local" pie! (See categories below) All ages are encouraged to enter!  After a rousing awards ceremony, we all will enjoy the pies as the main dessert during our potluck. On the day of the festival, please bring your pie to the Judging Area near the fire circle by 12 pm sharp! On your marks - grab your rolling pin -- let the pie-baking contest begin! 


Pie Categories are as follows:

Best Apple

Best Pear

Best Combo Fruit

Best Pumpkin

Best Squash

Best Savory

Best Sweet

Best crust (Butter)

Best crust (Crisco)

Most local (please include a description of where each of your ingredients came from in terms of distance/miles - add up all miles for a total "food miles" calculation, and the pie with the least "food miles" wins!)

Most like Martha Stewart - we're looking for the prettiest pie!

Most like Mom's

Create your own category  (please email us your idea by October 9), and we will notify all by email in the CSA newsletter 10/13)

Their children "get it"
We received this wonderful letter from a member last week; it was so inspiring, I asked permission to share it in the newsletter this week.

Dear Debbie,

We joined the Live Earth Farm CSA in July.  I want to tell you what a positive experience it has been for our family.  When I ask my 4-year old daughter what she would like for snack, her answer is usually tomatoes, red peppers or carrots.  Her absolute favorite is the corn we received last week - she ate all of it.  My 7-year old son, who is a happy carnivore and usually eats fruits and vegetables because he is very obedient and knows they are good for him, actually cheered from the car when he saw me pick up the strawberries this summer.  They have tried vegetables they have never heard of, and although not everything was a hit, they are open to trying something new and I hope they will continue to be open-minded as they grow. I love to watch my children *enjoy* the organic produce we are receiving, and I am proud that they are learning the importance of eating what is local, organic and seasonal.  It makes all my time in the kitchen worth it (and I do spend a LOT more time in the kitchen now).

On the rare occasions when I do buy produce in the market to supplement our weekly box, my son watches to be sure I grab only local, organic produce. He understands the importance of supporting local agriculture.  Also, my husband and I are thoroughly enjoying everything I make!  Your database of recipes is invaluable.

Thank you for working hard to make your produce available to us.   We appreciate what you do.


CSA signup for current members starts this week!
Keep an eye out for an email from me later this week - I'll be sending out notification to all members about signup for both Winter and Next Season (2010). If you are an active member (or share-splitter) and do not see a signup email from me by the end of the week, email me at the farm to let me know and I can re-send it.

Here we go...!

Companion Bakers offering classes and new "Bakers Box"
Companion Baker's LogoThis winter season Companion Bakers is launching a new program called the "Bakers Box."  Sort of like a CSA, but more of a CSB (Community Supported Bakery)!  The "Bakers Box" is a chance to receive Companion's goodies for 6 months through the winter months and into the beginning of spring.  We have many wonderful sourdough options available to you, from our loaves to crackers as well as homemade granola, cereal and sweet baked goods... and last but not least, freshly roasted coffee!  Please check out our brochure! We have extended our sign up season and we have plenty of room for members to join us.  We also have a new website in the works!  No bells and whistles yet on the site, but we do have our "Bakers Box" forms available on line to fill out and easily submit.  Please go to: www.companionbakery.com.  Thank you for your support!

Also, around the corner is an awesome line up of baking classes!  This season we will offer the Sourdough basics class along with many others from Pastry Basics to our Pastry and Coffee pairing class coming right up at the end of October... a class for everyone.  To sign up please go to www.companionbakery.com and click "Classes and Dinners" in the top right-hand corner.  We are looking forward to an exciting winter season in the bakery!

Erin Justus
Companion Bakers

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Oh dear; I'm afraid it's going to be one more new-recipe-less week; please forgive me. Someday soon this transitioning to a new system will free up my time instead of taking it up! ;-) - Debbie

Recipe database

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