LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
34th Harvest Week, Season 14 -
final week of the regular season!
November 16th - 22nd, 2009
in this issue
What's in the box this week
With Gratitude for a Wonderful Season
How come there's no fruit this week?
A message from CAFF - Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
2009 Calendar

"Our Hope lies in that minority of people whose lives are less defined by economics than by the beauty and the love which attends it."

- Wes Jackson

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
Apples, Fuji +
Green cabbage

Collard greens
Garlic +
Kale (Red Russian)
Lettuce +
Rutabagas +
Baby turnips

Winter squash (butternut) +

Small Share
Apples, Fuji
Red beets
Green cabbage
Collard greens
Kale (Red Russian or Dinosaur)
Winter squash (butternut)

Extra Fruit Option and
Fruit "Bounty" Extension
Both fruit options are done for the season. They ended last week.

The last bread of the season will be three-seed whole wheat! :-)

With Gratitude for a Wonderful Season

With the conclusion of another bountiful growing season there is now the opportunity to mimic nature's slower pace, like a tree that sheds its leaves or drops its seeds. I am looking forward to pausing and focusing more of my attention inward. With every passing season I gain a deeper sense of place for the land we farm and during the winter months ahead I like to pay attention and listen more closely to the wisdom of the land's unfolding story. The community supported journey of Live Earth Farm which sprouted over 15 years ago is based on what seemed like a radical idea, asking people in the community to share the risks inherently associated with growing their food. Today the Farm's vitality is directly linked to an astonishingly diverse living network of supporters. Whether it's the often forgotten soil organisms or the inspiring and dedicated human community of members, farmworkers, farmers, children, teachers, students, artists, and friends, all play a role in the nourishing cycle of this land. Food is the common thread that links all living organisms and as Wendell Berry so well describes, "Eaters must understand that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used."  If eating is an agricultural act, then in my opinion, the entire Live Earth Farm Community can confidently consider themselves agriculturalists that eat with understanding and gratitude.

If your kitchen is anything like ours much of our family time is spent around the kitchen table, preparing, sharing and enjoying food. Just this last week Elisa and I decided to try if the popcorn we grew on the farm this year actually pops. Thanks to the dedicated effort of Molly, Maggie and Taylor we had a beautiful tall stand of popcorn, a first for the farm, which we harvested just in time before the rain storm a few weeks ago.

Elisa and I first husked the ears and twisted the kernels off the cob, this was especially fun since every ear had beautiful ornamental colors in shades of yellow, blue, purple, white or brown. Once we had enough kernels in a bowl we put them in a pot with a little oil and heated it all up waiting in anticipation for the first popping sound. After a minute or so the kernels started popping as if we were dancing around on bubble wrap. As soon as the popping was over we tossed the white popped kernels back in the bowl and devoured them. It was the best popcorn I ever had. The pleasure of eating lies not only in knowing where our food comes from and how it is grown but equally important is the preparation, sharing and enjoyment of these gifts. Food is more than just food, it is sustenance for our bodies and our souls, it allows us to feel connected and alive. The food from this land is the common thread that links us together as a community, and all of us here on the farm are grateful to be a part of it.

At the end of every season I always like to quote Black Elk who once said, "Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were."  So, stay in touch. If you don't receive produce from the farm during our Winter Season, you can still read our winter newsletters, visit us at the farmer's markets and hopefully we'll see you all here on the farm again next year!

With Gratitude we extend our wishes of nourishing happiness to all of you.  - Tom

How come there's no fruit this week?
Both the "Extra Fruit" and "Fruit Bounty Extension" options received their last deliveries last week. All done for the season! So the only fruit you receive this week will be the apples inside your box - but Tom's giving everyone extra to help carry them over the holiday :-)

A message from CAFF - Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Dear members and friends of Live Earth Farm: CAFF is a major advocate for Family Farms in the state of California, both in government policy (where we need them!) and in the community. Both the farm and me, personally, support CAFF with our membership. Please consider donating to CAFF to support their ongoing hard work! (You can go to their website to learn more about them if they are new to you.) Below is their official appeal. In this coming week of Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for organizations such as this which work so hard on our behalf!  - Debbie

CAFF logo
"All of us here at CAFF are looking forward to 2010 with excitement and a firm commitment to strengthen our educational, marketing and policy initiatives as we move forward. We know how to work and educate farmers to ensure they can survive the mounting threats to their livelihood - whether it's deleterious food safety legislation, the drought, or the recession. In the New Year, we will tap our expertise and strong partnerships in the community to address these critical issues.

"By giving the gift of financial support to CAFF, you are helping sustain our family farms and ensuring fresh, local food remains on your dinner table. You can take pride knowing that growers all over California are reducing their pesticide use and working to keeping our waterways safe. Please consider making a donation during our annual year-end appeal.

"Together, we will make a difference for family farmers and our rich, diverse rural and urban communities. Thank you for your support."

Megan Sabato
Development & Outreach Associate
Community Alliance with Family Farmers

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

My oh my; we are once again at the end of a season! Doesn't feel like it to me though. Next week is Thanksgiving, and the week after that we start the Winter Share, so things are hardly slowing for me! It's all good though... I can remember the days before we offered a winter share, when we'd all go into withdrawal at the end of the season ("What, no more veggies until APRIL??").

So Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here are some recipes to get you through. And for those of you doing a Winter share, I'll be talkin' to you in December!
 - Debbie

New this week: turnips and rutabagas. Tom says the turnips are "baby", which means they're small and tender and won't require peeling in order to cook. Both turnip and rutabaga greens are also good cooking greens. Remember to remove them from the root and store separately so that they don't continue to suck moisture from the roots, leaving them rubbery. [Late breaking news: the rutabagas were so big that Tom says if we put them into the shares with their green tops attached, we wouldn't be able to put anything else in! So they removed the green tops :-( Oh well.]

I like making a simple rutabaga 'mash' (like mashed potatoes); peel, cut into cubes, and simmer in salted water until tender, i.e. easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Depending on the size of your cubes this can be anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Don't cook 'em so long they fall apart though; you'll wash out the flavor. You want 'em juussst tender. They are a lovely deep buttery-yellow. Mash them with plenty of butter, and additional salt to taste. You can embellish on this with a little nutmeg or coriander, or minced fresh parsley. Or experiment with other seasonings!

On to turnips! This next recipe is good because it calls for using small turnips like we're getting, which don't have to be peeled. [More late breaking news: I saw the bunches of turnips in the cooler today, and they are really baby... I don't think you'll have a pound to do this next recipe (perhaps enough to make soup for two though, if you halve the rest of the ingredients). I think I might just trim them, halve them, saute them in a little butter, and season with salt and pepper! And cook the greens as a side.]

Creamy Turnip and Turnip Greens Soup
from an un-dated newspaper clipping
serves 4

1 lb. small turnips, with very fresh greens [naturally!] attached
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for garnish
1 C thinly sliced leeks, white and pale green part only
1 large clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Approximately 4 C chicken or vegetable stock

Separate turnips from their greens. Trim greens, removing tough stems, and wash well. Quarter unpeeled baby turnips.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Add the leeks and saute until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute briefly to release its fragrance. Add the turnips, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat with the butter. Add 3 cups of stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until the turnips are almost tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the turnip greens, cover and cook until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes.

Puree the soup in batches in a blender. Strain through a sieve, if desired, to remove any threadlike shreds of turnip greens. Return to a clean saucepan and stir in enough additional stock to thin soup to desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reheat soup. Divide among warm bowls. Top each portion with a slice of butter.

Butternut Squash, Feta and Cilantro Quesadillas
Bon Appetit, October 2009 (modified slightly)
Serves 6

3 C 1 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash
1 finely chopped seeded jalapeno (about 2 tbsp)
12 flour tortillas
10 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 C coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges

Cook squash in boiling salted water until tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes [or you could steam them]. Drain and cool 10 minutes. While squash is still warm, transfer to a processor and puree until smooth. Stir in jalapeno; season with salt and pepper.

Divide squash mixture equally among 6 tortillas (about 1/4 C per tortilla) and spread evenly. Sprinkle feta over each. Top each with 1/4 C cilantro and sprinkle with black pepper. Top with second tortilla.

Heat a heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Cook quesadillas until golden and dark char marks appear, about 1 minute per side. Serve with lime wedges.

You'll just have to keep this next recipe handy; as of last night, we were maybe going to have a mix of Kabocha and Butternut squashes in our shares so that's why I included it; today, as the shares are being packed, Tom says it'll only be Butternut. Ah, but many of you may still have Kabocha's from prior weeks, so there you go - you can still use it!

Simmered Kabocha
from "Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes"
Serves 4

This recipe says, "Squash is filling and flavorful and is excellent eaten warm or cold served alongside meat or on its own. Children love its slightly sweet taste, and it's melt-in-the-mouth texture is simply irresistible."

8 oz. kabocha squash, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces [remember from earlier recipes; you don't have to peel kabocha if you don't want to. The peel is soft and edible when cooked using moist heat.]
1 3/4 C dashi or broth
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. mirin
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. soy sauce
Chopped parsley and fresh ground pepper, to garnish

Combine the squash, dashi, sugar, mirin, and salt, cover and cook over a medium heat until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Add the soy sauce and cook uncovered over low heat until the liquid has almost all been absorbed. Take care when handling the squash as it will fall apart easily.

Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped parsley and black pepper and serve.

Here's a nice Thanksgiving side dish!

Thyme-roasted apples and onions
Bon Appetit, Nov 09
Serves 8 -10

4 C apple cider
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
6 7- to 8-oz. onions, halved through the root end, each half cut into six wedges
6 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh thyme, divided
6 apples, peeled, halved, cored, each half cut into 4 wedges

Boil cider in a large saucepan until reduced to 2/3 C, about 28 minutes. Whisk in butter. Season glace with 1 tsp. coarse salt.

Position 1 rack in top third of oven and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F. Butter two large rimmed baking sheets. Toss onions in large bowl with 2 tsps. thyme and 3 tbsp. glaze. Arrange in single layer on 1 sheet. Toss apples in same bowl with 2 tsp. thyme and 3 tbsp. glaze. Arrange in single layer on second sheet. Sprinkle onions and apples with coarse salt and pepper.

Roast onions on upper rack 10 minutes. Place apples on bottom rack. Roast onions and apples 20 minutes. Remove both sheets from oven. Drizzle remaining glaze evenly over onions and apples. Reverse position of sheets. Roast 20 minutes longer.

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees. Roast onions and apples until tender and slightly caramelized, watching closely to prevent burning, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer onions and apples to large bowl. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tsps. thyme.

We don't have any farm events scheduled during our Winter season, and have not yet set up our calendar for 2010, however, we DO expect to continue our Community Farm Days, Seasonal Celebrations (Summer Solstice and Fall Harvest), Canning Workshops with Happy Girl Kitchen Co, and more next year; and of course there are also the educational programs via our new nonprofit, the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP). See below for the popular "Wee Ones" program, for example, which is monthly.

And do visit our calendar page on our website for photos and videos of past events if you would like to get the flavor of what it is like visiting the farm!

NEW in 2009!! 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.

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763.2448