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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
13th Harvest Week, Season 15
June 21st - 27th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
A Moment of Celebration
One of my favorite Crops - Potatoes
Discovery Program Update
Discovery-Adventure Camp
Debbie's Kitchen Open Again Next Week
2010 Calendar

" Wildness and wilderness is determined not by the absence of people but by the relationships between people and place "
 - Jack Turner

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
Mixed Asian Greens
Broccolini +
Collard Greens +
Bunching Onions
Red Potatoes
Radishes or Baby Turnips
Summer Squash

Small Share
Asian Greens
Collard Greens
Bunching Onions
Red Potatoes
Radishes or Baby Turnips

Bread Option

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

Extra Fruit
3 baskets of Strawberries
1 basket of raspberries or blackberries

Fruit Bounty is 'on' this week (floating week #7 of 15)
4 baskets of Strawberries

A Time to Celebrate
Happy  Solstice to all, today marks the zenith of the sun in our hemisphere and the beginning of Summer. Saturday's Solstice Celebration was  blessed with wonderful weather and great attendance. The farm was buzzing with hands-on activities all afternoon, picking strawberries, baking pizzas, milking the goats, making cheese, face painting, tractor rides, exploring the newly erected strawbale fort, mingling with the farm animals, hand made ice-cream and many more, often self initiated,  explorations.  The pictures probably best reflect the fun we had and capture a few of the many  priceless moments of the day.

As the sun started setting we gathered around the fire circle to feast on an abundance of wonderful food and danced or swayed to the rhythm of Kuzanga's uplifting marimba music until darkness settled in.  As a fitting finale Azalyne blessed us with her enchanting firedance before we all had to part.   I always cherish the Summer Solstice, it is a moment of joy where we as a  community celebrate life's abundance and interconnectedness and once again the land wove its magic to revitalize our bodies and spirits to embrace the rigors of summer . Many thanks to all who participated and helped make this another great celebration. - Tom

One of my favorite Crops - Potatoes
This week we will harvest our first red potatoes. Slipping my hands under the loose soil and pulling up the first new potatoes is like finding a buried treasure. Although potatoes grow underground they are not really roots. They are the swollen ends of skinny underground stems called rhizomes. To stimulate their growth, about a quarter to a third of the plant has to be covered with soil, or 'hilled up' to stimulate the formation of 'tubers.'
The so-called "Irish" potato is home to the highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, where it has been cultivated for over 5000 years.  The cultivation of Potatoes together with the worlds 5 other major cereal grains, wheat, corn, rice, barley, and millet are the calorific engines of our civilizations. Before the Spanish invaded the Americas it was the Incas who built their empire on the cultivation of potatoes.  Once the potatoes nutritional qualities and production characteristics where discovered in Europe it directly affected the peasants standard of living and profoundly influenced the history of that continent. The nutritional status of the people improved, since the cultivation of potatoes yielded 4-5 times more calories per acre than any of the traditionally grown cereal grains. Better fed people where more resistant to disease, and overall death rates declined and birth rates increased.  In Ireland where the potato was probably most widely cultivated allowed them to survive without having to depend on the English grown grains. In war-torn Europe peasants planted potatoes as a kind of insurance, since potatoes could be left in the ground through the winter and dug only as needed for daily consumption. This would allow peasants to survive the raids of soldiers during wartime: soldiers usually would not take the time to dig the field to get their food, and certainly they would not do so if grains were stored in neighboring barns.  The downfall of potato cultivation in Europe was that only one strain or variety of potato was being grown, very different than in the Andes where even today still hundreds of varieties are cultivated.  Given the genetic uniformity, the vast acreage being grown in Ireland at the time (1845-46) and the perfect environmental conditions (cool and wet) all together caused the devastating "Irish Potato Famine", where a fungus commonly known as Late Blight (Phytophtora Infestans), wiped out most of the Irish potato crop. Hundreds of thousands of people died before public relief could be organized, and scores of thousands who survived emigrated to America. The harsh lesson of this famine is to avoid monocropping, something that continues in today's industrial agriculture model and only possible because of the arsenal of harmful pesticides being applied.  In order to avoid disease pressure it is critical to rotate potatoes to different fields every year. The reason we are harvesting our potatoes relatively late this years is because our Spring was also wet and cold, however, the soil we planted them in has never been planted with potatoes before so we are fortunate to have a disease-free crop. Over the course of the season you will receive 4 different varieties of potatoes, besides the red ones we will harvest Yellow Finns, Butterballs, and two type of Fingerlings.

Discovery Program Update

This weekend on the farm was one of celebration.  We celebrated the Summer Solstice, Thomas' birthday and Father's Day and we had a lot of help doing so.  I want to thank all of you who helped make the day a success.  Thank you for coming, thank you to those who volunteered their time, and thank you for sharing your selves and your culinary prowess at what has to be Santa Cruz's best potluck.  I barely had time to breathe between the tractor rides, face painting, hay fort, ice cream making, cheese making, goat milking, chocolate dipped strawberries, and fire dancing.  I had to be rolled home; I was so full of the season's bounty.


We are now looking forward to the summer's activities.  We have two regular helpers in the garden and helping us keep up with all of the activities in the field.  We are planning our art on the farm camp, which is shaping up to be an amazing week (and still has a few spots left).  We are hosting a few groups here and there including kids receiving occupational therapy, and we are developing an amazing event for September 25th.  As always there are as many ways to get involved in the farm as there are plants in the field.  So we look forward to seeing you and hearing from you.  Happy Summer!

Discovery-Adventure Day Camp

Our education team would like to invite kids from within our community to join us for a weeklong adventure day camp July 12th - 16th.  Campers can expect to get their hands dirty while exploring pieces of Live Earth's 80 acres in both organic vegetable row crop production and fruit orchards. In addition to learning about life as an organic vegetable farmer, campers will spend time getting to know our herd of goats, our flock of sheep and visit with chickens. Campers will assist in daily chores of our animals while learning about the benefits of humane livestock management. 


Throughout the week campers can also expect to explore the wonders of the farm while creatively expressing their interpretation of the natural world through the visual arts. Activities will include printing from natural materials, fort making, working in the education demonstration garden, animal spirit mask-making and so much more! Each day we will harvest something from the garden to contribute to our sustainable lunch picnics! We are limiting participation to 20 kids between the ages of 8 and 12, so sign up today, we still have a few openings!


Although this summer camp will be a day-camp affair, we are also offering an optional Thursday night pizza-making camp-out and sleepover! This option is for campers who wish to carry the fun of daily farm life long into the night. Join us for cob oven baking, s'mores making, and a roaring fire. There is an additional cost for campers who choose to do the overnight, but the cost covers a farm fresh dinner, and breakfast in the morning. Don't forget your sleeping bag!



Age: 8 - 12


· $325/camper for the full week (not including Thursday sleepover). Cost includes  plenty of art supplies and a daily farm-fresh snack!

· There is an extra charge of $50/camper for the Thursday night sleepover.

· We are also offering two partial scholarships to those most needed. Please contact us if interested.

Hours: 9am - 4pm Mon - Fri, plus the optional Thursday night camp-out sleepover.

Dates: July 12th - 16th


For more information contact Taylor Brady at vermontaylor@gmail.com or call the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program office at (831) 728-2032.

Debbie's Kitchen will open next week!
Debbie will be back next week, inspired with European flavorings!! In the meantime please use our extensive recipe database Click here

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