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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
19th Harvest Week, Season 15
August 2nd - 8th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Farming the next generation
Everybody's favorite farm dog
Local pasture-raised pork available from TLC Ranch
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" If I was an 18-year old today, I would not go into physics, I would choose to be an organic farmer. An organic farmer is the best scientist of today, because they're having to actually understand how nature works in order to produce. They are the best health specialist of today, because they're giving us the food that gives us health. ... An organic farmer is the best steward of the land; the best ecologist. And I am increasingly feeling an organic farmer is the best peace maker today, because there is more violence, death, destruction and wars through a violent industrial agricultural system. To shift away from that into an agriculture of peace is what organic farming is doing. "
 - Dr. Vandana Shiva

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)
Mixed chiogga and golden beets [from the apprentices' land - see story]
Green beans +
Either Lacinato or Red Russian kale
Radicchio +
Summer squash
Bag of tomatoes and peppers
plus a melon from the apprentices' garden too! (jewel, cantaloupe, or Galia - a green-fleshed melon)

Small Share
Avocados (Marsalisi Farm)
Mixed chiogga and golden beets [from the apprentices' land - see story]
Collard greens
Green beans
Either Lacinato or Red Russian kale
Summer squash
Bag of tomatoes and peppers

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

Extra Fruit
1 basket of strawberries
2 baskets of raspberries
1 basket of blackberries
No substituting! Only take the fruit that is listed next to your name in the binder.
Also, fruit items and quantities can change after the newsletter goes out, so don't go by what you 'remember' from the newsletter either. ;-) Thanks!

Fruit Bounty is 'on' this week (floating week #13 of 15)
2 baskets of strawberries
2 baskets of raspberries

Farming the next generation
Since its first year of operation, Live Earth Farm has always had interns, but as the farm matures (we are now in our 15th season), so does our intern/apprenticeship program. It has evolved from something very loose and unofficial, where young people got to experience a single season of living and working on a farm, into a system specifically designed to train and inspire future organic farmers. We are very pleased this year to have three dedicated organic farmers-in-training. Taylor Brady, Jeff Boesch, and David Evershed are not playing at farming - they are motivated and extremely hard working. Taylor is in her second year at the farm; Jeff and David their first, but all three are serious about wanting to become farmers in some capacity, and so we are doing our best to provide them the tools, the land, and the experience from which to grow into farmers in their own rights.

The apprentices have been allotted approximately two full acres (four half-acre blocks) of land with which to do as they please, and have been more or less in charge of everything from planting plans, seed orders, tractoring (tilling, cultivating, listing, forming planting beds), irrigation, soil fertility, crop rotation, weeding and pest control, to harvesting. The education gardenOne block is dedicated to the Education Garden, which Taylor designed and created during her first year on the farm, and which she uses with all the student groups that visit during the year. (Taylor's job is unique on the farm, as she divides her time between our educational non-profit, working with Jessica, and her apprentice work on the farm.) The other three blocks are currently planted with a rotation of heirloom tomatoes, melons, peppers, cucumbers, beets (the ones you are getting in your shares this week!), and lettuces (in the shares the last few weeks) as well as a beautiful Italian flat bean.

There is a lot to learn in farming, and the apprentices are really grateful for this opportunity. Tom gives them lots of responsibility, but also lots of freedom to explore whatever they're interested in, and it is this combination of responsibility and freedom which accelerates learning. "It's a perfect lead up to the real world," says Taylor. And they are constantly learning; not only from their own blocks of land, but say if Juan is doing something new or different he will invite the apprentices to come watch (or help), to broaden their experience. There is more of that sort of activity in the spring, when things are a little slower paced.

Now that summer's here these guys are working especially long and hard. "Sixty hours a week is pretty typical," Taylor says, "but we wouldn't have it any other way -- we're addicted to it!" There are of course the daily chores, which they have divided into three task groups. They rotate chore duties weekly (each taking on one), and then every third weekend one of them is 'on duty' for all three. This system allows them to have at least something of a break once in awhile! What are the chore duties?
Goats and Sheep - feeding twice a day; milking the goats, making sure the sheep are out on pasture during the day and in at night; monitoring health, being on the look-out for anything amiss;
Chickens - letting them out onto pasture during the day and enclosing them at night; feeding scratch and grain and watering; collecting eggs; monitoring health and conditions, same as with goats and sheep;
Greenhouse - two greenhouses: monitoring temperature and water needs; watering; applying a foliar fish emulsion every other day to 'feed' the seedlings; whoever's on duty for greenhouse is also the point person for seeding for the week, getting together the seeds and organizing when seeding gets done.

But really their main focus is their land - maintaining what's growing up there. Summer is incredibly busy, simply because it's when fields are really producing and everything is growing (including weeds!) and needs water and attention; harvesting can be a day's long job, so that needs to be taken into consideration when planning a week. The apprentices have regular Monday morning meetings with Tom, but are always talking among themselves as well about what's going on, what's working, what needs working on. Although mostly focused on their land, they might just as easily be called on to jump in and help out when hands are needed elsewhere on the farm. It goes both ways though, because sometimes they are able to call for help from the crew when there is a particularly heavy harvesting job on 'their' land. [Below, they are harvesting the last of their lettuce planting, on a foggy Friday morning, for Saturday's Farmers Market.]
Apprentices harvesting lettuce
The most daunting task, of course, is learning how to make a living from farming; it is a difficult transition to make, from apprenticeship to actual farming. In the greater Bay Area in particular, land is of such a premium; ag land in particular is incredibly expensive to lease, rent, or buy, as compared to other areas of the state or the country which are further from urban centers. There's also the whole business side of farming to learn -- how to get startup capital, how to market your produce. That is another area of learning yet to be added to this farm's apprenticeship program, which, though maturing, is still (and will probably always be) a work in progress.

So anyway, when you eat your beets from this week's shares, I hope you will take an extra moment out to appreciate Taylor, Jeff and David's hard work, care and tending which brought them to you!

- Debbie

PS - speaking of land for farming in urban centers, in the middle of the city of San Jose, where I live, we have the most incredible piece of undeveloped land -- the County Fairgrounds -- which is still up in the air with regards to what to do with it. How forward-thinking would it be to convert it to organic farmland and use it to produce food for the surrounding city, instead of developing it in the usual fashion? Just my two cents! ;-)

PPS - Tom will be back writing for the newsletter again next week...

Everybody's favorite farm dog
Scooby the farm dog is well loved by all; word from the apprentices is that she accompanies them to the fields all the time, just hanging out or and sleeping. But if there is work to be done she's a smart cookie - she's Johnny-on-the-spot when they're working with the animals, helping to herd them, or even bringing in strays. They say she just watches what they're doing, figures it out... and then lends a paw! Pictured below, a mini Scooby schmooze fest from when the lettuce harvest was done; lots of affection to go around!
The apprentices schmooze with Scooby the farm dog

Local pasture-raised pork available from TLC Ranch
Packing the SharesLooking to fill your freezer with tasty, local, pasture-raised pork? TLC Ranch pasture-raised, organically-fed, heritage pork -- available by the half or whole -- now taking deposits for late August-September harvest. A half pig is between 80-100 lbs. and costs $6/lb. Carcass weight while a whole pig weighs between 160-200 lbs. and costs $5.50/lb. carcass weight. Pigs are slaughtered in Modesto at a USDA-inspected facility then transported back for butchering to one of three options: do it yourself, Willow Glen Meats in the North Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose, or Loren "Rib King" Ozaki in his Soquel commercial kitchen. Butcher costs are separate and run between $1.50-2.50/lb.  You can choose to have the heads, organ meats, and bones if you so desire in addition to the meat.

Read all the details at www.tlcrancheggs.com/products.html. Deposits of approximately 50% of the cost are required to reserve your pig; the balance is paid once the meat is ready.  Thanks and we look forward to supplying you our excellent meat!

- Rebecca & Jim, TLC Ranch

[Pictured above, Jim Dunlop talks to customers at a recent ranch tour.]

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to the recipe database.     
Packing the Shares
I hope you were all as pleasantly surprised as I was by the substitution in last week's shares: after the newsletter went out, I learned that we had sufficient tomatoes and peppers coming out of the fields and so Tom decided to put
them in the boxes instead of beets from Lakeside. The tomatoes are finally here... hooray! One member emailed me, disappointed, as she had had dinner plans, with guests, centered around the beets which were supposed to be in the box. She told me what she was making and I asked her for the recipe, because I knew we'd be having fresh, sweet beets from our apprentices' fields in the box this week. Beautiful chioggia and golden beets; both delicious and gorgeous. Enjoy!

 - Debbie

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

The first recipe comes courtesy of member Nerija T., who says, "This 'awesome pink' cold beet soup or 'saltibatsciai' is super easy to make and delicious! It is a summer staple in Lithuania, where I am from."

Lithuanian Beet Soup
quantity: Nerija says, "a group of five friends finished it all (most had seconds) ;-)"

3 medium size beets, boiled, peeled and grated (coarsely)
5-6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3-4 cucumbers (from the box) diced
dill and scallions/chives to taste (I put LOTS of dill!)
salt & pepper to taste
1.5 quarts of kefir or buttermilk
optional: squeeze half a lemon if buttermilk is too mild

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until totally cold. Serve cold.

Nerija also says, "I never eat this soup by itself, always with boiled (fresh) potatoes seasoned with some more dill! I also have to say that the ingredients make this meal. Last night my beets (from Whole Foods) were so-so, so the soup lacked sweetness that good beets would contribute."

Since this week's beets are a mix of chiogga and golden, I bet it would be lovely to make two separate, smaller batches with each color of beet, then serve them side by side in a bowl. If someone does this, I hope you take a picture and send it to me! (If I make it, I'll take a picture, of course.)

Probably there's no pressing need for tomato recipes just yet... if you're like me when the first precious few arrive, I just cut them and eat them with a little salt. Oh they are so good!

I remember a few weeks back mentioning the spicy Mexican cucumber popsicles a friend had tried from a streetside vendor. She said they were really delicious, but didn't have a recipe, so I went online and did a little research and... voila!

Cucumber-chili "paletas" (Mexican popsicles)
This recipe calls for using fruit bar molds, however I'm sure you creative types out there can come up with a substitution if you don't happen to have them.

3 C 1-inch chunks peeled, seeded cucumber
2/3 C sugar
1/3 C lemon juice
1 jalapeno chili, rinsed, stemmed, coarsely chopped (remove seeds and veins for less heat)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and whirl until smooth. Push mixture through a fine strainer set over a 2-cup glass measure; discard residue.

Pour paletas mixture equally into 6 juice bar molds; attach covers. Insert sticks, leaving 1 1/2 to 2 inches of each exposed. Freeze paletas upright until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 2 weeks.

To decant, hold each mold up to the rim under warm running water just until the paletas are released from sides of molds, 5 to 15 seconds. Remove covers and pull out paletas.

Of course "paletas" come in many flavors... here's another everyone will have the ingredients for:

Strawberry paletas
3 3/4 C rinsed, hulled strawberries
1/3 C sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Puree strawberries in a blender until smooth. Push through a fine strainer into a 2-cup glass measure; discard residue. Add sugar and lemon juice; stir until sugar is dissolved. Freeze and decant as described in recipe above.

This year we have a healthy crop of raspberries too, so for you fruit option members, here's a raspberry idea I 'cooked up' last week:making raspberry cinnamon toast

Raspberry Cinnamon Toast

Sliced bread (I used bread from my Companion Bakers bread share)
1 lightly-rounded tsp. sugar per slice of bread (I like to use organic sucanat - something I discovered recently; it is simply evaporated cane juice, and so is a lot like brown sugar, but better! But any sugar will do just fine, really.)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon per slice of bread
half a dozen raspberries per slice of bread

Spread butter evenly to edges of bread. Don't be too skimpy; you want enough butter for the sugar to melt into it and get bubbly. Smash and spread raspberries on top of the butter. In a small cup, combine cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle evenly over buttered, berried bread. Toast in a toaster oven or broiler until sugar and butter combine and bubble hotly; you want it to kind of caramelize. Be careful when removing from toaster, as it will be extremely hot! And of course allow to cool sufficiently before biting into or you'll scorch the roof of your mouth. This was delicious! The photo looks like the toast is burnt, but it is just a beautiful dark, crunchy brown caramel.

Roasted baby carrots with chile, mint, and orange glaze
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping (with the usual slight modifications)
8 servings [but you can easily halve the recipe]

1/4 C fresh orange juice
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
4 bunches baby carrots, trimmed and peeled [just use farm carrots, peeled and cut into 'baby-carrot-sized' sticks]
2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh mint
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk juice, 1 tbsp. oil, and vinegar in small bowl to blend; set aside.

Stir remaining 1 tbsp. oil, crushed red pepper, and salt in medium bowl. Add carrots and toss to coat. Scrape carrot mixture onto large rimmed baking sheet. Arrange carrots in single layer.

Roast carrots until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes (depending on size). Add juice mixture and toss to blend. Roast until juices are reduced to glaze and coat carrots, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes longer. Season to taste with more salt, if desired. Transfer carrots to large bowl; add mint and orange peel and toss to blend. Transfer to serving bowl.

One more Bon Appetit clipping...

Farro, Radicchio, and Roasted Beet Salad
6 to 8 servings.

"Farro is an ancient variety of wheat with a hearty texture and nutty flavor. Here the whole grain is tossed with bitter radicchio and earthy beets for a pretty, delicious and healthful salad." (Those magazine copywriters...) ;-)

8 1- to 1 1/2-inch diameter beets, tops trimmed to 1 inch
Vegetable oil
1 1/2 C semi-pearled farro or wheat berries
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 tbsp. red wine vinegar, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 C (packed) thinly sliced quartered radicchio (from about 1 medium head)
1/2 C finely chopped red onion
1/3 C chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 C crumbled feta cheese (about 4 oz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange beets in single layer in 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Drizzle with oil. Cover with foil and roast until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. [Of course there are many ways to roast beets - this is just one way.] Cool. Trim beets; peel. (Can be made a day ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Cook farro in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Stir 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. vinegar, and garlic into hot farro. Cool to room temperature

Cut each beet into 6 to 8 wedges. Add beets, radicchio, onion and parsley to farro; toss to incorporate evenly.

Whisk 2 tbsp. olive oil and 3 tbsp. vinegar in small bowl. Drizzle over salad. Add feta cheese; toss to coat.

Note: this recipe calls for 'semi-pearled farro' -- a version of the grain that doesn't require soaking before being cooked. If you're using regular farro, be sure to plan ahead. It will need to soak overnight. Farro is available at specialty food stores, natural food stores, and Italian markets.

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