LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
18th Harvest Week, Season 15
July 26th - August 1st, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Sup Sup Suppertime, very best time of day!
More Extra Fruit Options available in August!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" What's wrong with making mealtime a joyous occasion? "
 - Snoopy (from his song "Suppertime!" in the musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown")

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
Avocados + (Marsalisi Farm)
Beets + (Lakeside) bag of tomatoes and peppers
Carrots +
Collard greens
Green beans +
Lacinato kale
Summer squash

Small Share
Avocados (Marsalisi Farm)
Beets + (Lakeside) bag of tomatoes and peppers
Green beans
Lacinato kale
Summer squash

Bread Option
This week's bread will be plain rye

Extra Fruit
2 baskets of strawberries
2 baskets of raspberries
Please only take your fruit based on what is listed next to your name in the binder! Fruit items and quantities can change after the newsletter goes out, so don't take your fruit based on what you 'remember' from the newsletter. ;-)
Fruit Bounty is 'on' this week (floating week #12 of 15)
2 baskets of strawberries
2 baskets of raspberries

Sup Sup Suppertime, very best time of day!
I have to agree with Snoopy, Suppertime really is the best time of day (well... except for breakfast and maybe lunch!). Hard to believe that there are folks out there too young to be familiar with the Peanuts comic strip, but in the late '60s there was a wildly successful Broadway Musical created based on the strip (it was a very popular comic at the time), and though I've never seen the Broadway production, I had a record of the soundtrack when I was a kid. Of course, Snoopy's exuberant paean [definition: song of joyful praise or exultation] to 'suppertime' has just always been my 'theme song.'
the comic strip
As you may have guessed, this is not Tom, but Debbie writing. Farmer Tom is away this week, so since I'm covering for him, I thought I'd dedicate the whole newsletter to the joy of cooking and mealtime!

There are many organizations around the country and the world that focus on sustainable food issues and political advocacy regarding food equality and organic farming, and I am always thrilled whenever I see new news stories about eating local and organic, but sometimes I just want to let that all go and revel in the sheer joy of cooking and eating. The simple yet genuine pleasures to all the senses: smell, touch, taste, appearance, not to mention the happiness it brings to others when you prepare yummy food and share it... it is just a whole package that I never tire of.

Most of you have probably heard of the Slow Food movement, and one of the things that's really cool about them is that -- although their focus has broadened to food and farming advocacy (again, I'm all up with that) -- their original core message centers around the conviviality of food and eating together. What's not to like?

So if there's nothing else you do this week, I hope you will at least make time to sit down together as a family or with friends and share a meal. Better yet, prepare it together. When you get your CSA goodies home, don't just rush to shove everything in the fridge, but take a little time and smell the sweetness of the strawberries and earthiness of the potatoes, feel the silky softness of the dill, eat a green bean raw, and delight in its crunchy-freshness! Daydream a little about what you might make during the week with your fruit and veggies. What's wrong with making mealtime [or the preparation thereof] a joyous occasion?

- Debbie

the framed picture

PS - I really wanted to upload the song off my (now) CD of the original Broadway production, but suspected there'd be some copyright issues; found a you-tube of the animated version of the musical online, but it falls flat; doesn't do the musical justice. So instead I took a photo of the original strip upon which the song in the musical was based... it actually ran in the Mercury News a few years back -- on Sunday, in color! -- and I was so amped to see it again after so many years that I cut it out, saved it, and eventually framed it. It hangs in my kitchen ;-)

More Extra Fruit Options available in August!
Excellent news: Tom is going to offer 50 more Extra Fruit options for starting the second week of August! So all of you who are on our waiting list for fruit will hear from me later in the week with details on how to sign up for it. If you're not on our waiting list for fruit, but think you may want to add a fruit option anyway (you can have more than one, if you like! Some folks do.) shoot me a quick email and I'll make sure you are notified about the offering. FYI it won't begin until the 2nd week of August, so if you need to discuss this with your sweetie before signing on, you have a little time. [For those of you who need deadlines, you'll have until 6am Tuesday Aug. 10th, to receive the fruit starting Weds/Thurs the 11th/12th.]

Think about it though... Tom says we've got a bumper crop of raspberries this year, which is a first, so we should have those delicious delicacies for several weeks yet!

- Debbie

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

I'm so glad we're getting dill again, because I've got a new recipe to share! Lots of carrots in the Family share lately, so if you're not a juicer, let's see what other things we can come up with for them. Of course my friend and neighbor (and fellow CSA member) Mary Hall would say, "Just pack a few for your lunch every day! How hard is that?" They are sweet and delicious, so she's got a good point!

 - Debbie

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Ricotta-Dill Gnocchi
I made this up last night, as my dill from last week needed to be used ASAP or it was going to be history. Sometimes the most delicious things spring out of necessity!
serves 2 generously
very easy to make; doubles easily

1/2 lb. fresh ricotta*
1 tsp. salt
1 small egg
1/4 C grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 bunch fresh dill, fronds removed from stems and finely chopped
1/2 to 1 C flour

*[If your ricotta is on the wet side, place it in some cheesecloth in a colander (or something like that) over a plate to drain away the extra whey. Leave it sit in your refrigerator for a couple hours, or even overnight.]

Ricotta-dill gnocchi with sugar snap peas and garlic-lemon-butter-tomato sauceIn a bowl, combine ricotta, egg, salt and cheese and whisk/stir with a fork until everything is completely incorporated. Blend in minced dill. Add flour and mix to form a kneadable dough: start with just a half cup, and see how that goes. If it is still sticky, add more, a little at a time, until it comes together and you can handle it. Try not to add too much; additional flour will be incorporated when shaping the gnocchi.

Either break apart with your hands or cut the dough into four pieces with a knife. Generously sprinkle a cutting board with more flour.

Shape each piece of dough into a fat log, then roll out into a rope of roughly 1/2" to 3/4" in diameter. (Do you remember making coil pots out of clay when you were a kid? It's a lot like that! And just as fun!)

Cut dough into segments about an inch long; roll each segment into an ovoid in your hands, using more flour as needed. Then roll the dough ball against the tines of a fork to create interstices for any sauce to cling to. You can make the balls then roll them against a fork one by one, or you can make all the balls, then roll them all against the fork. Whatever works for you!

Have a cookie sheet or another cutting board or something sprinkled lightly with additional flour standing by, and place the prepared gnocchi on it. If you're going to be freezing them for use later, put them on a lightly floured sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet then pop this into the freezer. Once frozen, they can then be decanted into a ziploc bag and returned to the freezer.

Regardless of whether they are fresh or frozen, you cook them the same way:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil (salt like you would for pasta). Drop the gnocchi in and stir a little bit to get the water moving so they don't drop to the bottom and stick. The gnocchi are done when they float to the surface! Fresh gnocchi cook very quickly; frozen, only a little longer. Remarkably fast though. The only thing to know is that you want to keep the water at a boil, so if you're cooking frozen gnocchi, don't add them all at once or the water may drop below boiling temperature.

Once cooked, they're ready to serve! You can serve them simply, of course, drizzled with a little good olive oil and maybe grating some additional Parmesan cheese on top, or be creative with your saucing! I made a very simple red sauce -- a garlic-lemon-butter-tomato sauce (melted butter, added minced garlic, squeezed in lemon juice, then added tomato puree that I'd put up from last summer's tomatoes; simmered this down maybe five minutes. That was it.) I also steamed up the sugar snap peas and combined them with the gnocchi, then topped them with the sauce and more cheese. Yum! You could also use green beans :-)

Drying Dill, cont'd
I talked about drying dill last week, but then came up with another surface to dry it on (instead of cheesecloth on a rack on a cookie sheet)... a splatter screen! I didn't dry that much in this example, but you get the idea. Scatter fronds on screen, place in oven with pilot light (or if no pilot, set to veerrrryy low, like 150 or less), prop door ajar and let dry. With the pilot light, it was dry in about 24 hrs. then crumble between your fingers into a small bowl then transfer to a jar. It should still smell very 'fresh' and 'dilly'.
drying fresh dill in the oven

Making your own dill pickles the real way: fermented
This is extremely fun and very rewarding! And since we've been getting pickling cucumbers... what better thing to make with them? (Although they are perfectly delicious as an eating or salad cucumber too.)

My favorite book on this is Sandor Katz' "Wild Fermentation". Here are some excerpts from his section on making 'sour pickles':

"...As it turns out, brine pickles are easy. You just need to give them regular attention in the summer heat, when cucumbers are most abundant. ... One quality prized in a good pickle is crunchiness. Fresh tannin-rich grape leaves placed in the crock [or jar] are effective at keeping pickles crunchy. ... The biggest variables in pickle-making are brine strength, temperature, and cucumber size. ... I don't worry about uniformity of size; I just eat the smaller ones first, figuring the larger ones will take longer to ferment. ... [regarding brine strength,] a general rule of thumb to consider in salting your ferments: more salt to slow microorganism action summer heat; less salt in winter when microbial action slows."
fermenting your own dill pickles
Tools and ingredients:
<> Fresh cucumbers, unpeeled
<> a clean quart jar (mayonnaise, canning; in the example pictured, I just used an old pickle jar)
<> a clean smaller jar (that will fit within the mouth of the quart jar), filled with water (for weighting down the pickles while they ferment)
<> water - filtered or distilled (you don't want chlorine in there as chlorine kills microorganisms, which in this case, we want!)
<> salt - either Kosher, pickling, or unrefined sea salt. Don't use regular table salt. Check the label: you don't want salt with iodine and 'anti-caking' agents put there to make it 'free flowing.' Iodine is also antimicrobial, so you want to avoid it for the same reasons you avoid chlorine in the water.
<> garlic - several cloves, peeled
<> peppercorns - 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.
<> fresh dill (a couple sprigs - more if you like your pickles 'dilly')
<> grape leaves (optional, to help keep pickles crunchy)

Brine: 1 tbsp. salt to 1 1/2 C filtered water worked for me. Dissolve the salt thoroughly in the filtered water.

The process: if you have one, put a grape leaf at the bottom of the jar. Add garlic cloves, peppercorns and dill. I cut my cucumbers into spears because that way I could fit more in the jar. Pack spears in tightly (more pickles in the end!). Optionally top with another grape leaf. Pour brine over all to cover, weight them down with the smaller jar (filled with water) -- this keeps them submerged -- and place this in a bowl on your counter. [The bowl captures any overflow of brine; it expands as they ferment, and if you fill your jar too full, like I tend to do, it slops over.]

Time: You should have pickles within a week. The batch I just made (shown) took five days. Keep in mind that fermentation is a process that happens over time, there is no exact 'done' time - ferment for shorter periods of time and the results will be more salty; longer fermentation produces more sour. Use your senses of taste and smell. And remember, the pickles will continue to ferment, albeit a lot more slowly, in the refrigerator.

Observations: the cucumbers will turn from bright green to olive as they ferment. The brine will also turn cloudy, but this is what it is supposed to do - don't let it throw you! There was even a fine white sediment of sorts on the tops of my pickles...

Once the pickles smell 'pickley', remove the weighting jar, first swiping off any foam that may have bubbled up around the rim while fermenting, and taste them. You can stick your finger in the brine and see if it tastes sour; if it still seems more salty than sour, put the jar back in and let 'em ferment a little longer. Once soured to your liking, put a lid on and refrigerate them.

The final word: for those who are new to this or at all worried, be assured that you cannot get botulism from fermented veggies!  See this short youtube video Sandor Katz made to explain. Then rest easy! :-)

Chard or Kale Pizza
You've probably heard me say this before, but pizza is a great platform for your cooking greens. In this example, I used chard - but kale is also great!

Pizza is very versatile; you don't have to have tomato sauce, or even tomatoes. In this example, I topped my pizza with:

Sauteed chopped chard
Thawed frozen mixed peppers (from the farm, but Trader Joes also makes a 'melange a trois' frozen bagged mixed peppers)
Sauteed mushrooms
Nicoise olives
Cut up dried apricots (try it! it's delicious!)
Sliced onion
Chunks of mozarella cheese

See my recipe for pizza dough and how to bake it [you have to scroll down on the page]. Simply top the dough with whatever fun things you like -- pan browned radicchio would also be a yummy addition -- then bake as directed.
chard pizza

Oops... carrots! I was going to give you a carrot recipe. Here goes, then I need to format pictures and send this newsletter out! ;-)

Carrot-apple puree
Another yummy-easy. Scrub and cut several carrots into chunks. Place in a pan with water to cover (or almost cover). Add a little salt. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer then cover and cook ten minutes or so, until tender. While carrots are cooking, peel, core, and chunk up an apple. Add this to the pot for the last minute or two of cooking (the apple will soften quickly). Cool slightly, and place carrots and apple in a blender, adding enough of the cooking water so that they will puree. Return puree to pan to heat before serving. If you added too much water in the pureeing process, just simmer it a little while to evaporate the excess water.

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 [year-round]
added for Summer: Weds July 21st and Weds Aug 18
(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 11 (Saturday) - Heirloom tomatoes JUST ADDED!
September 12 (Sunday) - Heirloom tomatoes SOLD OUT
October 2 (Saturday) - Pickles

Contact Jordan if you have any questions

Community Farm Days and Events 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 CANCELLED.
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 (see below)
Oct 23 - Harvest Celebration and Apple U-pick

LEFDP Second Annual Fundraiser - "Taste of the Fields"
Wine, Hors d'oeuvres, and silent auction on the farm
Saturday September 25th, 3 - 6pm
some awesome local chefs:
The Butcher, The Baker, The Wedding Cake Maker
Happy Girl Kitchen Co
Cafe Ella
Vibrant Foods (Rebecca Mastoris and Karen Haralson)
some great wine:
Storrs Winery
Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery
Chronic Cellars
Peachy Canyon Winery
Savannah Chanelle Vineyards
and some beautiful art and music:
Ashley Lloyd
Groove Grass
Josh Kimball Photography
Tickets are not available at the door and space is limited, so please get your tickets today! All proceeds benefit the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program 501(c)(3)
To order tickets, contact LEFDP at 831-728-2032, lefeducation@baymoon.com

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