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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
11th Harvest Week, Season 15
June 7th - 13th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Farm Equipment, Straight Rows, and Balance
What's a 'Mystery Item'?
Don't miss our Summer Solstice Celebration -June 19th
Discovery Program Update
Debbie's Taking a Break
Guest and Member Recipes
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen (recipes!)
2010 Calendar

" Anytime we try and contain life, or interfere with its fundamental need for expression, we get into trouble."  from 'a simpler way' by Margaret J. Wheatley and Myron Kellner-Rogers

What's in the box this week
Content differences between Family and Small shares are in red; items with a "+" in one size share are more in quantity than in the other. For any items not from our farm, we will identify the source in parentheses. Occasionally content will differ from this list (typically we make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

Family Share
Bunch of Chard
Bag of Fava Beans (last of the season)
Bag of topped Red Beets
Bunch of Broccoli
Bunch of Onions
Baskets of Strawberries (3)
Lettuce (Romaine hearts)
Bunch of Carrots
Bunch of Fennel
Bag of Oyster Mushrooms +
Mystery Item (see explanation below)

Small Share
Bunch of Chard
Bag of Fava Beans (last of the season)
Bag of topped Red Beets
Bunch of Broccoli
Bunch of Garlic
Baskets of Strawberries (2)
Lettuce (Romaine hearts)
Bunch of Carrots
Bunch of Fennel
Bag of Oyster Mushrooms
Mystery Item (see explanation below)

Bread Option
This week's bread will be sesame whole wheat

Extra Fruit
4 baskets of Strawberries

Fruit Bounty is 'on' this week (floating week #5 of 15)
4 baskets of Strawberries

Farm Equipment, Straight Rows, and Balance

Farming requires a large number of tools and using the right ones can make all the difference in how successful we are in growing our crops. Members who have seen the farm grow over the years (we're celebrating our 15th anniversary this season) have probably noticed that we have proportionally accumulated more equipment and tools. That, combined with the fact that I like to hold on to every piece of "junk" that could possibly have some use on the farm, our tool collection has grown remarkably. Of course not all tools are used with the same frequency.  If you visit our "equipment yard" you can tell how much use an implement gets based on the weeds growing around it, as well as the amount of rust, paint or grease that's  on it.   A spring-tooth harrow, used only once or twice during the season to cultivate the soil in our orchards will be sitting in a corner, rusty and overgrown with weeds, whereas the spader, the disc-plow and weed cultivator, used almost daily, look shiny and worn.  

The heaviest and most energy consuming task on a farm involving equipment and horsepower, is working the soil with the help of tractors - the mechanical substitutes for traditional draft animals. Although draft animals may be one of the best power source alternatives available, I never had a mentor nor the time to acquire the skills and facilities necessary to farm with them.  So, instead of Clydesdales (a type of draft horse), we have  tractors to help us do the heavy lifting, pulling, and hauling.
For example the more powerful 80-100 horsepower tractors, are excellent for deep and surface tillage. Deep tillage involves pulling 2-3 foot long shanks of steel through the ground to aerate the soil, break up compacted layers without mixing the subsoil with the topsoil. Generally, deep tillage improves the process of topsoil deepening, drainage, rooting depth,  and nutrient uptake.  On the other hand  surface tillage, focused mostly on the top 4-6 inches of the soil, can be achieved using a disc-plow or mechanical spader ideal to achieve the right tilth for planting and sowing.

The primary reason to invest in farming equipment is to reduce the time and physical exertion required for a task. For example the mechanical transplanter we acquired last year has reduced  the number of people and time required to transplant thousands of seedlings every year. Typically every seedling needs to be transplanted by hand continuously bending over, whereas now with a transplanter they can be planted sitting down. Switching to a more mechanical way of doing things has it's challenges, we  discovered that if the rows in the field are not perfectly straight, many of the seedlings end up too close to the edge of the bed, near the furrow. Driving in a straight line may not seem like a difficult skill to master in a car on a paved road, but in the field, on a tractor, it is almost an art form.

The real art of driving a tractor however is not limited to driving in straight lines but perfected when cultivating and weeding between rows of crops that are already established in the field. Here, different knives, shovels and discs are set up in such a way that they cut, remove and throw soil all at the same time, just inches away from the crop that is growing. If the timing of soil moisture and the growth stage of both crop and weeds are just right, we can cultivate everything mechanically  and avoid the more time consuming and arduous task of hoeing and weeding by hand.

To avoid high growing costs, weeding requires vigilance to effectively determine when weed control is needed in each crop, choosing the best cultivation tools for each crop, and harmonizing weed control tactics with other cropping practices such as irrigation, fertilization, and insect/disease management. Typically we achieve the best results through a combination of hand and mechanical cultivation.

I love the sight of weed free "linearity" in the fields, it gives a pleasant sense of controlled organization and straight rows are testimony to a job well done, especially in front of your fellow farmers. In nature we seldom see straight lines, the general pattern is overflowing with curves, corners, knots, and unpredictable twists and turns. In farming we temporarily trick nature into a predictable pattern, to influence the natural process into our favor so that we can enjoy the beauty and bounty of nourishing foods. Since both patterns live side-by-side here on the farm, we try to balance straight rows, important to grow food for us, with the native habitat which other living creatures need to get their food. - Tom

What's a 'Mystery Item'?
The "mystery item" you see in the veggie list  (the first time this season) is a special category; for you it is a sort of 'bonus' item, and for us it is an outlet for items we have or intend to harvest, but which we don't have enough of so that everybody can receive some of it. But rather than leave these items out entirely, we kind of spread 'em around. So that means some of you may get one item, and others may get something else. Hence the 'mystery'!

Please do NOT open other boxes to see who got what mystery item! Usually all the boxes at one pick up site will have the same 'mystery'; it may vary from site to site, or day to day (i.e. Weds gets one thing, Thurs gets another), but that's usually the extent of it.  - Tom

Don't miss the Live Earth Farm 2010 Summer Solstice Celebration: June 19  2PM-until Dark


Again I want to remind all our members, friends and families to come and join us on the weekend of June 19th, for the farm's biggest yearly event: The Live Earth Farm Summer Solstice Celebration. If you haven't been to the farm, this is a good time to do it, meet fellow CSA members and enjoy a fun filled celebration. Come early, we have a lot of interesting hands-on activities for everyone, especially the kids. This is a good opportunity to just enjoy the farm for a day, if you are eager to help, let us know or just show up around 12 Noon. The schedule of events is as follows:

Start  of Celebration: 2 PM

Baking bread and pizzas in the Farm's traditional wood fired cob oven with Seth : Learn how to prepare sourdough to make Breads, Pizzas,and  Pastries and bake some goodies to taste 2:00 -5:00

Milking and Cheesemaking workshop with Molly (LEF) and Jordan (Happy Girl Kitchen) Participate and learn more about goat husbandry, milking and basic cheese making techniques. 2:00-4:30

U-Pick Strawberries:  Ongoing all afternoon.

Farm tours with Farmer Tom: 2:00 - 5:30 (every 40 minutes). Tractor/wagon riding tour. See the apple and apricot orchards, see first hand the fields where your veggies are growing,  visit the Farm's rebuilt 100 year old Redwood Barn, learn about sustainable farming practices, the history of the farm, the future of farming in the Pajaro Valley.

Self-guided walking tours encouraged all afternoon.

Children activities: Scavenger Hunt, Strawbale fort, farm animals, strawberry chocolate dipping, face painting, ice-cream making and more... IMPORTANT: Please bring your own bags, i.e. tote bags, to take part in the scavenger hunt.

LEF Discovery Program with Jessica and Taylor: Visit our education garden and become more familiar with our ongoing educational programs as well as future efforts currently being developed. 

Music with Kuzanga Marimba and Community Potluck Dinner:  Starts at 6:00 to bring us all together for the pot-luck dinner and continues from 6:30-9:00PM

Solstice Bonfire @ 7PM ending with Firedance @ 9PM

Answers to some common Questions about Live Earth Farm's Solstice Celebration :
How do I get there? Directions are on our website www.liveearthfarm.net
***save gas and the environment and carpool if you can! Try the Friends of LEF Yahoo Group for finding carpool buddies if you don't know other members in your area***
When should I get there? Activities will happen between 2-5:30 PM, Kuzanga begins playing around 6:00, then we break for our traditional potluck around 6:30pm. After the potluck, Kuzanga continues to play, and then we light the bonfire at dusk.
Do I need to make a reservation, or let you know I'm coming? No.
What is the cost? There is no cost; all we ask is that you bring food to share in our potluck.
What else should I bring? We encourage you to bring your own picnic plates and utensils in order to minimize unrecyclable garbage. We will have a washing station, where you can rinse them when you are through eating. Also, bring a blanket to picnic on, and it gets cool in the evening so don't forget sweaters and jackets.
Can I bring someone who is not a member of the CSA? Yes, certainly! All friends of the farm are welcome! Just remember to bring food to share in the potluck!!

Discovery Program Update
This morning LEFDP hosted the last school farm tour of the season.  It was such a treat to have one of the first drop off site hosts out on the farm with their, Family Network Preschool.  We had a lovely morning milking the goats, hunting snails for the chickens, and hunting strawberries for ourselves.  We tasted a few of the first black berries and looked closely at their flowers.  We planted spinach seeds and tasted salvia nectar becoming happy butterflies in the garden. 
This morning was my first opportunity to apply some of the methods I learned this weekend at our Outdoor Educators Training with Solar Steve.  Along with the LEF interns, the Brozes and some family and friends, I spent Saturday afternoon in the Mataganza garden learning many of Steve's tips and tricks for engaging with kids in nature.  We learned ways to get their attention and methods for getting them interested in learning about their surroundings.  We even learned good ways to divide up into groups.  Steve's knowledge is extensive and his enthusiasm is infectious, we will all be better educators thanks to his expertise. 
Alas, the spring tour season is winding down, which means it is time to get ready for our first Art on the Farm Day Camp, the mighty Summer Solstice event and in September, Taste of the Fields.  In the meat time you will find me in the fields and the Discovery Garden with my hands in the dirt!

Debbie's Taking a Break ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Debbie is off on a well deserved break. She and her husband Ken are traveling to Europe for three weeks.
 Debbie's Kitchen will be closed but you can find many archived recipes on our  website by clicking on Recipes. Molly will be sitting in as CSA coordinator and I will be her "assistant"... when necessary. If there are any issues, please contact her via e-mail (farmers@cruzio.com) or you can leave a message on the farm's voicemail box.
If the subject can wait until Debbie is back, such as complicated payment arrangements, please hold off until she's back the 28th of June.

Thank you.  - Tom

Guest and Member Recipes
This recipe was sent by Darcey Yaley (Ben Lomond), thank you!

Marinated Kale Salad (I Am Giving)
1 cup marinated shiitake mushrooms* (use fresh mushrooms not dried)
4 cups shredded kale
1 cup hijiki seaweed (presoak for 2 hours, drain)
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup julienne-cut cucumbers
1/2 cup sesame seeds to garnish

1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 1/2 T Nama Shoyu (aka soy sauce or you can use Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
2 1/2 T rice vinegar
1/2 T sesame oil
1/2 jalapeno pepper (I left this out)
1/4 t salt

Blend all ingredients until well combined.


*Slice shiitake mushrooms into thin strips and marinate in 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup Nama Shoyu. Set aside.

 In large bowl place kale, drained hijiki, carrots, and cucumbers. Drizzle with marinade and toss until well coated. Remove shiitake mushrooms from liquid and add them to salad mixture. Toss lightly. Garnish with sesame seeds.

 Recipe Source: CafĂ© Gratitude

Here are a couple of summer squash recipes sent in by Jennifer Black (San Jose).  They're both from the Bon Appetit cookbook.  Squash blossoms are usually available at the farmer's market during summer squash season.

 Torta de Calabacitas--good as an appetizer for 3-4 or light lunch for 2
5 tablespoons butter
1 large chopped onion (or equivalent smaller farm onions)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 large zucchini (about 1 1/4 pounds) trimmed and grated
3 minced garlic cloves (or equivalent green garlic)
3 tablespoons minced jalapenos (since they're not in season yet, you could use chile powder, added with the cumin, or minced canned chipotle chiles)
3 11-inch flour tortillas
12 ounces grated Monterey jack cheese
--If you want to make the cooking go faster, put the grated zucchini in a cloth towel and squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cumin and sautee until tender, about 9 minutes.  Add zucchini and garlic to skillet; saute until mixture is dry and zucchini is tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add chiles and cook 2 more minutes.  Transfer to bowl and let cool.
Place 1 tortilla on a large flat plate.  Sprinkle 1/4 of cheese evenly over.  Spread 1/2 zucchini mixutre over cheese.  Sprinkle another 1/4 of cheese, then add another tortillas and repeat layers.  Press firmly on the top tortilla to compact the torta.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet over medium heat.  Slide torta into skillet.  Cover and cook until the bottom tortilla is golden, about 4 minutes.  Using spatula, slide torta onto plate.  Melt remaining butter in skillet, invert torta into skillet, and cook uncovered about another 4 minutes.  Transfer to platter, let stand a few minutes, slice into wedges, and serve.
Sauteed Baby Zucchini with Squash Blossoms
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound baby zucchini, halved lengthwise, each half cut lengthwise into 3 wedges
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil or lemon basil
Fleur de sel (or other fine salt)
18 zucchini squash blossoms
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add zucchini; saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.  Stir in basil and season with salt.  Transfer to a plate.  Melt remaining butter in skillet.  Add squash blossoms and cook until barely wilted and still bright orange, about 2 seconds per side.  Arrange atop zucchini and serve.

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

Debbie's Kitchen is closed until June 28th.

Visit our website's calendar page for more details, including photos and videos of past events. This is a great way to get the flavor of what it is like visiting the farm!

Live Earth Farm Discovery Program for WEE ONES
3rd Tuesday of every month, 10:30am - Noon
(free for children 0 - 3 yrs; $10 - $15 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 LEFDP office: (831) 728-2032 or email her at lefeducation@baymoon.com.
Happy Girl Kitchen's 2010 Workshop Schedule at LEF
(all workshops are from 10am to 3pm and include an organic lunch, as well as take-home items from what is made that day!)
March 6 (Saturday) - Fermentation (sauerkraut, kimchee and kombucha)
April 10 (Saturday) - Cheese and kefir
June 6 (Sunday) - Cherries and spring berries
July 10 (Saturday) - Apricots, strawberries and blackberries
September 12 (Sunday) - Heirloom tomatoes
October 2 (Saturday) - Pickles

Contact Jordan if you have any questions

Art on the Farm Summer Day Camp!
July 12th - 16th
click here for more information

Community Farm Days Schedule

(All Community Farm Days are Saturdays unless otherwise noted.)
March 20 - Sheep to Shawl
May 29 - Three sisters planting in the field! Help sow pumpkins, corn, and beans (update 5/24: see Event Schedule in Week 9 newsletter)
June 19 - Summer Solstice Celebration and Strawberry U-pick
July 3 - Apricot and Strawberry U-pick
July 12 thru 16 - Summer Celebration Art on the Farm Day Camp!
Aug 28 - Totally tomatoes. From farm to fork, cooking with tomatoes and making farm-fresh cheese. Also U-pick raspberry and tomato day!
Sept 25 - LEFDP Second Annual Fundraiser
Oct 23 - Harvest Celebration and Apple U-pick

Cob Building workshop
June 6th and 13th in Santa Cruz
Sunflower Cob Building of Santa Cruz

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763-2448
education programs/school field trips: (831) 728-2032