LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
29th Harvest Week, Season 14
October 12th - 18th, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
How exciting, it's raining again...
Packing the shares (pictures!)
October Canning workshop at the farm still has space
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

" The world begins at the kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live. "

 - From a poem by Joy Harjo, taken from the book "In Praise of Fertile Land" edited by Claudia Mauro

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
Napa cabbage
Collard greens
Eggplant +
Green beans +
Lettuce +
Dry-farmed tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes <----(remember: packed outside the box)

Small Share
Gala apples
Napa cabbage
Green beans
Sweet peppers
Dry-farmed tomatoes

Extra Fruit Option
Weds: Apples (gala/fuji), pears and strawberries
Thurs: Apples (gala/fuji), pears and raspberries
Remember, always go by what's on checklist; things sometimes change after this newsletter goes out!

Fruit "Bounty" Extension
Note: this is now only for the folks who signed up for the 5-week extension.
Weds: Apples (gala/fuji), pears and strawberries
Thurs: Apples (gala/fuji), pears and raspberries
Remember, always go by what's on the checklist; things sometimes change after this newsletter goes out!

This week's bread will be plain whole wheat

How exciting, it's raining again...

By the time you read this newsletter we'll be in the middle of the season's first powerful storm. Forecasts are predicting more than 3 inches of rain in the next 48 hours. Last time this much rain (3.15 in.) was recorded in Santa Cruz in the month of October was in 1899. The soil is dry, so most of the land will absorb the first couple of inches like a sponge. We always wish for summer to last... at least a little longer, and postpone winter preparations as long as we can. Generally, rain in California throws people off; we are surprised when it happens, worried when it doesn't. Transitioning the farm into winter mode takes time, it's a little bit like turning an ocean liner around.
 rain rain rain!!!
Monday was hectic and we all worked late to take care of the most pressing needs.   Highest priority was of course the weekly CSA harvest, and in order of importance  the most perishable crops came in first. Monday morning we started with Strawberries, moved on to Raspberries, Tomatoes, and just as we thought we were doing good on time, I looked at our "almost" mature green beans and knew all my well planned intentions to get everything harvested before the rain was down the drain. The green beans - one of the most time consuming crops to pick - had to come off the plants; nobody wants to pick them when it's muddy and wet. The beans were so beautiful and abundant it was hard to stop picking, but darkness prevented us from completing the task; half the field was left.
Also Kale, Cabbage and Lettuce were scheduled to be transplanted, the field beds were ready and this was our last chance to get them in the ground before the rain. The next  planting window would at least be two weeks away, and by then the seedlings would be too old. Molly, Maggie and Taylor, who had just finished getting the popcorn all harvested (big job), came to the rescue, joined by Ruben (one of our tractor drivers who had just finished moving the winter squash into storage) and the farm's three irrigators Clemente, Angel and Jonathan (who suddenly found themselves with time on their hands, since mother nature was turning on its own irrigation by day's end). Together with the aid of a mechanical transplanter, over 10,000 seedlings got transplanted just before dusk. Meanwhile, Juan was busy making sure ditches were dug to divert runoff and avoid any erosion or flooding in the fields, and Juanillo didn't stop hauling bins into storage all day, filled with freshly picked Fuji apples and Newton Pippins. As the day came to an end we were all tired but ready to welcome the rain.
When you open your share this week you may want to pause just for a moment to realize the seasonal transition, the rain, the land, the plants, and us, the community of people, all forming part in a connected and continuing nourishing cycle.
Just like you know where these crops in your share were grown, when they were picked, how the land where they were being grown is cared for, so our awareness and responsibility as farmers is heightened knowing where our food will go and who will prepare and eat it.  Being connected to food in this way I like to believe that the act of eating then becomes an act of caring, for our bodies, those of our families, and the body of the earth of which we partake.

- Tom

Packing the shares
In all his crazy running-around, Tom managed to snap some pictures on his i-phone and send them to me of today's share-packing. Quite the efficient operation in our beautiful new barn! At one end of the roller-tables, the flat, empty boxes (the ones you leave at your pick-up site after you take out your veggies) are re-assembled, lined with a fresh bag, then rolled down the line. Workers on either side load produce from crates behind them as the boxes roll by. That's Gloria loading apples, and below is Pedro, who offloads the finished boxes from the roller tables and stacks them nice and orderly in our walk-in cooler.

Packing the CSA shares on a wet, rainy day

October Canning workshop at farm still has space
The October 17 canning workshop by Jordan Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen, held here at the farm, still has a few spaces left! If you missed this and want to know more, click here for the scoop on their website and to register. This workshop will be on learning to preserve fall fruits (apples, pears, quince).

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

Hoo-eee, what a downpour, huh?? Okay... what do I have for you this week, they inquire... ;-) - Debbie

Freezing whole tomatoes
Member Cara Finn wrote me a few weeks back to say, "did you know that you can freeze, whole, unpeeled, washed tomatoes? They are like giant marbles, and when you thaw them out the skins slip righ off and they are perfect for pasta sauce or other tomato sauce recipes!"  [They will not be suitable for using raw; once un-frozen they'll be mushy... but perfect for cooking with, as Cara says!]

Garlicky pizza dough tip
If you recall my palaver on pizza dough a month or so ago, member Andrea Richter had to write in, not only to sympathize about the disasters and concur on the use of polenta (as the preferred method of transferring dough onto a pizza brick), but also with this lovely little gem: she suggests mixing some garlic powder in with the polenta on your pizza peel. That way, the crust will have a nice garlicky flavor. Sounds good to me! Make a sauce from your thawed frozen tomatoes to go on top!!

Escarole with sweet peppers and olive oil
modified slightly from a recipe in the NY Times by Mark Bittman
serves 4

"This classic braised escarole dish, which uses a series of techniques that can be applied to almost any green vegetable, relies on a hefty amount of garlic and olive oil, which are added both at the beginning and at the end of cooking, the final additions to freshen and intensify flavors. It can be enhanced with toasted pine nuts, raisins or currants, pitted black or green olives, or chopped tomatoes. Wine can replace the water, for a slightly more complex dish." [All sounds good to me!]

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil [seems like an awful lot, but, well... okay]
1 tbsp.  minced garlic
1 or 2 dried chilies, or 1 tsp. dried red chili flakes, or to taste
1 or 2 sweet peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut in strips [the equivalent of one bell pepper]
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs.  escarole, radicchio, endive or other bitter green or vegetable [not sure how big our heads of escarole will be; you can always adjust the other ingredients down somewhat to make it more or less proportional]

[Mark left out this bit!] Separate escarole leaves from head and wash to remove any dirt or bugs; spin-dry, wrap in a flour-sack towel (or similar) and set aside.

Put all but 1 tbsp. of the oil in a large, deep skillet or casserole that can be covered, and place over medium heat. Set aside 1 tsp. garlic, and put the rest in the oil, along with chilies, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pepper softens, about 5 minutes.

Add escarole, along with 1/2 cup of water, and adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Cover.

Cook about 20 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally and adding water if mixture starts to dry out. When escarole is tender, remove lid, and raise heat if necessary to cook off excess liquid; stir in reserved garlic, and cook a minute more.

Taste, and adjust seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature, drizzling with reserved olive oil just before serving.

Smoky Greens and Beans
from the latest (Nov 09) issue of Bon Appetit
serves 4

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-oz can diced tomatoes in their juice [or just use the equivalent qty. of peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes -- click here to learn how to peel tomatoes if you don't know how]
1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika <----ha! the secret ingredient!!
1 14 1/2-oz can vegetable broth [or your equivalent homemade]
8 C coarsely chopped assorted greens (such as kale, mustard greens, and collard greens; about 8 oz.) [Two bunches of greens'd probably do it. Remember to strip leaves off stems of collards and kale.]
1 15-oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained
Grated Manchego or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes with their juice and paprika; stir 1 minute. Add broth and greens; bring to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until greens are wilted and tender, stirring occasionally, about 15  minutes. Stir in beans and simmer 1 minute to heat through. Divide among bowls; sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

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