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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
20th Harvest Week, Season 15
August 9th - 15th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Farming: the Stories of Tiny Treasures
Up and coming veggies
Fruit "Bounty" expires next week! More Extra Fruit available...
NEW! Members can now log in to their accounts online
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders. "
 - Henry Thoreau, from The Dispersion of Seed

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
Beets (chiogga, or a mix of chiogga and golden)
Carrots (mix of regular orange plus purple!)
Collard greens
Cucumbers +
Green beans +
Sweet peppers +
Hot peppers (bagged separately! a mix of Padron and Hot yellow Hungarian)
French breakfast radishes
Summer squash
Dry-farmed tomatoes +

Small Share
Beets (chiogga, or a mix of chiogga and golden)
Carrots (mix of regular orange plus purple!)
Collard greens
Green beans
Sweet peppers
Hot peppers (bagged separately! a mix of Padron and Hot yellow Hungarian)
French breakfast radishes
Dry-farmed tomatoes

Bread Option
This week's bread will be three-seed whole wheat

Extra Fruit
Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. There may also be some surprise other fruit -- plums? melons? We don't know yet. See checklist at your pickup site for actual fruit and quantities.

Fruit Bounty is 'on' this week (floating week #14 of 15)
Strawberries and raspberries. There may also be some surprise other fruit -- plums? melons? We don't know yet. See checklist at your pickup site for actual fruit and quantities.

Farming: the Stories of Tiny Treasures
The art of farming, as is the case with most things in life, has to do with timing -- anticipating, adjusting, and adapting to the unique variables mother nature has in store every season. By this time last year we had already experienced several blistering heat spells; this year we're still waiting for our first one. I am hoping fall is going to be warmer than the "summer" weather we're having. Most of July and August so far have been cooler than normal. The gray, wet, drizzly fog bank hugging the coast has been so thick that generally the sun doesn't break trough the marine layer until after lunch. By the time we close the chicken coop in the evening, the fog is back as if someone is pulling a blanket over the farm to tuck us in for the night.

One of the challenges of operating a CSA farm is maintaining continuity, diversity and abundance over the course of the season. We grow over 50 different crops during a typical season and timing the successive plantings is a challenge I enjoy. A good example is our green beans. To achieve a continuous harvest of them in sufficient quantity to supply both our CSA members and farmer's market customers, we typically have to sow 20 successions of quarter-acre blocks between April and the end of August in order to harvest from July to November. If we are lucky with the weather -- no frost or rain -- we sometimes have green beans for Thanksgiving. Planting intervals vary depending on day length - from every 8 days to every 3-4 days as the days grow shorter by the end of August. Successional plantings need to fit natural variables such as soil moisture, temperature, and day length, and synchronize with the timing, field rotations and unique growing habits of each crop.

Elisa in a field of winter squashAlthough we have only recently begun our tomato and pepper harvest, we are already well on our way with sowing and planting of fall and winter crops.  Our winter squash was field sown in June (see Elisa standing between rows, at right); they take over 100 days to mature and should be ready for harvest by mid-October. Another fall crop is leeks, which were sown in the greenhouse in May and field transplanted mid July and will be ready for harvest by the end of September. Still other crops already planted for fall and early winter harvest are Romanesco and regular cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and cabbage.
The other day as I was ordering seeds (we propagate almost all our own starts), it struck me how much our entire operation depends on the availability of these small living treasures of nature. Consider for a moment the miracle of a broccoli seed: in just 60-70 days one tiny seed weighing no more than 1/250th of a gram matures into a 4-6 inch head of broccoli weighing close to a pound. That's a several thousand-fold increase. When cutting open a melon we often forget about the slimy mess of seeds inside, even though it's the most important part of the plant, at least botanically speaking. Every seed stores the energy and information on how to grow another melon plant and many thousand new seeds. Each seed encoded with its DNA tells a long, winding, and subtle story. It includes the history of how seeds have crossed human hands, how they have been cultivated, selected, and traded, often shaping the destiny of human civilization and cultures across the world.

Different veggies and their respective seeds
For example, the dry-farmed Early Girl Tomatoes we are harvesting right now can trace their ancestry all the way back to wilder relatives in the highlands of Peru where Incas and Aztecs used them for cooking and religious ceremonies.  With the Spanish conquistadors tomato seeds got dispersed through the colonies all over the world. In Europe tomatoes were cultivated, selected, bred out and again traded back and forth across continents. The Early Girl Tomato was bred in France in the 1970's. When they arrived in the United States, they became an instant hit among home gardeners and today still rank as one of the most popular tomato varieties. For us, and many small scale organic farmers, the Early Girls are the variety of choice since they are one of the very few varieties, if not the only one, that can be dry-farmed. Dry farming means the plants grow on little or no added irrigated water, which gives them their unique, rich, sweet and tangy flavor.

Every vegetable and fruit you get in your box has a story to tell. We all participate in shaping the story of these crops. They become part of our lives as we grow, cook, and eat them.  By choosing to eat with the seasons we tune into the story of food grown locally, the history of the land,  and the living community we are a part of.  It may not always be easy and convenient to be a "locavore"; it asks us to be more flexible, to be open to trying new things. It is amazing however, to think that the food we enjoy is a gift that manifests through the living stories contained in each tiny seed we plant.

- Tom

Up and coming veggies
Coming to a box near you soon... (probably in the next week or two!)

Eggplant, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos
Fruit "Bounty" expires next week! More Extra Fruit available...
A heads-up to all you Fruit "Bounty" members: next week is the last week of this option and then it will be done for the season. Would you like to continue getting additional fruit with your share through the end of the season (Nov 17/18)? We have some additional "Extra Fruit" Options available!

Sign up to add them by going to our new web store.

Log in using your email address on account, and password. If you forgot your password, don't worry -- there's a password reset option ;-)

Once there, ordering is a snap! You select and pay through a secure payment portal.

Note: the Store is only "open" between Friday 6am to Tuesday 6am

PS - you don't have to be an 'expiring' Fruit Bounty member to take advantage of this; if you would simply like to add more fruit to your share, you can do so.

NEW! Members can now log in to their accounts online
That's right - a new feature of Farmigo, the CSA management software we are using, is that now any member with an active account can go online and --

See a summary of your membership including
   - your next delivery date
   - your pick-up site, including day of week and pick-up time
   - your subscription (i.e. what Shares and Options you have)
   - your current 'credit on account' (i.e. total paid-to-date less shares delivered)

See a history of all share deliveries and payments

Review and update your Contact Info
   - update your name, address, phone numbers and email address for both yourself
     and one additional contact
   - indicate if you want additional contact to receive email notifications (new!)

See a map and directions to your pick-up site
   - includes 'where to find your box' once you get there ;-)

You can also check out our Web Store, to see if we have anything extra to sell (members only) -- we are currently using this feature to offer the additional Extra Fruit Options (see above), but hope to get to a place where we can offer items in bulk, which you would sign up and pay for, and then receive with the next week's CSA delivery!

Want to visit your account now? Click here. Be sure to bookmark this link so you can return whenever you want. You log in using your email address on account, and password. If you forgot your password, there's a password reset option ;-)

More features are coming to your 'account' in the future, so stay tuned!

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

This week I think I'll just pull some recipes from my clippings file. You think there are a lot of recipes in the database? (there are)... you should see my clippings file ;-)

 - Debbie

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

I'd like to start with a recipe I made last night:

Debbie's double-crust triple-berry pie
inspired by an old San Jose Mercury News clipping
Debbie's lattice-crust raspberry, strawberry and blackberry piemakes one 10-inch pie

6 cups mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, cut up strawberries; if you have blueberries you can include them too!)
2/3 C sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. granulated tapioca (use 2 tbsp. if you like your pie 'set'; use 1 tbps. if you like it to be runny)
grated zest of 1 orange
pinch of salt
1 to 2 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
your favorite double-crust recipe [I'll give you mine, below]

Put all the fruit in a large bowl. Combine sugar, tapioca granules, salt, and orange zest in a separate cup then pour over fruit and stir to mix. Let fruit mixture sit while you make your pie crust. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out half of pastry and fit into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Transfer fruit mixture to crust and dot with butter pieces. Put on top crust - either lattice it, or cut several slits for vent holes - seal top and bottom crust together and crimp edges.

Protect edge of pie crust with foil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool completely before slicing.

Debbie's Stir-n-roll Crust
Okay, this one's not from a clipping. The original recipe was out of the old Joy of Cooking, but I have modified it to suit my needs over the years. I like it because a) it is easy, and doesn't require any fussing with a pastry knife and ice water... and b) since it is easy, I make pies more often!

makes enough dough for two single-crust 10" pies or one double-crust

3 C flour (can make 1 C of this whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir
3/4 C plus 2 tbsp. canola oil (a little less oil if you use the whole wheat)
[you don't have to use measuring spoons -- 2 tbsp = 1/8th cup, so using a 2-cup glass measure, start with the buttermilk and fill it to the 1/2 C mark and then halfway to 3/4 C, then add the oil in on top until the combined total equals 1 1/2 C]

In a medium bowl, whisk flour and salt together with a fork. Take same fork and whisk oil and buttermilk mixture together to blend (I like to use a fork because the tines act like a mini-whisk), then pour into flour and mix quickly until it all comes together into a ball; shape briefly with your hands if you like.

Break or cut dough into two equal halves. Roll out each half between two sheets of waxed paper (I flatten and shape the dough into a disk about an inch thick first; makes it easier to roll). Lift off one sheet of waxed paper and invert dough over pie plate; lift off other sheet of waxed paper and carefully settle dough down into plate.

Roll out second half of dough the same way. For a simple top crust, just cut slits in the dough before inverting over filling (I like to make my slits radially, like on a sand dollar). For a lattice crust, cut dough into 1/2 to 3/4-inch strips and lay over pie in a criss-cross pattern starting from the middle and working outwards.

After applying either method of top crust, fold or tuck any extra dough overhanging the edges under bottom crust dough and crimp decoratively (I just pinch the dough between my thumb and two forefingers).

Okay, one more non-clipping recipe... and then I'll get to the clippings!

Padron Pepper Tapas
The Padron peppers you have in your shares this week are really delicious as a snack, appetizer or 'tapas' when prepared this way. Mind you, you must like a fair amount of heat, but if you do, Padrons have an exceptional flavor to them.

Ingredients: padron peppers, good quality olive oil, good sea salt

For this, a cast-iron skillet or comal is necessary... something you can heat really hot without warping.

pan roasted padron peppersWipe padrons clean of any dirt or clinging moisture (if they have been refrigerated, bring them to room temperature first). Leave peppers whole with stems intact; do not remove stems; you use them later as a 'handle' to hold and eat them.

Heat cast-iron skillet or comal -- do NOT put any oil in the skillet; you are going to dry-pan roast the peppers. The oil is for flavoring afterward! Put peppers into hot pan and, using tongs, turn and cook until blistered and blackened in places and they have started to soften. You'll want to turn on any stove ventilation if you have it; this can get a little smoky!

Once peppers are roasted to your liking, remove to a plate or bowl, drizzle and toss with a good, flavorful olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm.

This is a recipe I've wanted to try for a long time! Maybe by putting it into the newsletter, I'll finally be inspired to do so.

Savory Bread Pudding
modified from the original Bon Appetit recipe called "Southern Vegetable Pie"
serves 8

1/4 C good olive oil
3 medium summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Equivalent of 3 bell peppers [ours are all shapes and sizes], different colors if you have them, seeded and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
6 large eggs
1/2 C whipping cream [avoid 'ultra-pasteurized'!]
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 C half-inch cubes day-old crustless French bread
2 C (packed) grated Swiss cheese (about 8 oz)
1 8 oz. packaged chilled cream cheese, diced

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 13x9x2 inch glass baking dish. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, red onion, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic and thyme, and saute until vegetables are just crisp tender; about 15 minutes. Cool briefly. Whisk eggs, whipping cream, salt and pepper in large bowl to blend. Stir in bread cubes, Swiss cheese and cream cheese, then vegetables. Pour into prepared dish. Bake pie until egg mixture is beginning to brown on top and bubbling at edges; about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Tomato Salad with Cucumbers, Arugula and Sardines
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping
serves 4 to 6

"Serve with crusty bread to sop up the juices."

1 cucumber, quartered lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 1/4 lbs tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 medium onion, cut into thin rings
1/2 C chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 C coarsely chopped arugula
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
8 oil-packed sardines, drained, diced

1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon peel

Combine cucumber, tomatoes, onion, parsley, arugula, mint, and all but 2 pieces of sardines in a large bowl; toss to combine.

Place reserved sardines in medium bowl; mash with a fork until smooth. Whisk in oil and lemon juice. Season dressing with salt and pepper; mix into salad. Transfer to a serving bowl; sprinkle with lemon peel.

Why save the goop?
Here's a thought: if you seed your tomatoes in any quantity, save all the juicy 'goop' and strain to get 'tomato water' for other recipes! How? Here's from Bon Appetit:

"Take a good quantity of your favorite summer vegetable, puree it in a food processor, bundle the puree in cheesecloth [if you're seeding a bunch of tomatoes, though, why throw that part out?], and tie it to a wooden spoon. Suspend the bundle over a large bowl or pot and let drain (this can take overnight). The resulting liquid can be seasoned and used as a light sauce, as a surprise in a summery cocktail, or as the base for a clear soup."

So, assuming you probably won't get that much 'goop' from your tomatoes at any one time, why not accumulate and freeze it, then when you get enough, thaw and strain as described above?

Grandma's German Potato Salad
from an un-dated San Jose Mercury News clipping

3 lbs. potatoes
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb. bacon, diced
2 1/4 C white vinegar
1 1/8 C sugar
2/3 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper

Peel potatoes, cut into pieces and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well, Cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces as desired. Place in large bowl with diced onion.

Fry diced bacon until crispy and brown. Remove bacon from pan using slotted spoon; add to potatoes and onions in bowl. Set pan with drippings aside; you'll use it for the roux.

Heat vinegar, sugar and 3 1/2 C water together in small saucepan until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a simmer.

Meanwhile, return pan with bacon drippings to heat and add flour. Whisk this rough until well-combined, about two minutes. Add hot vinegar-sugar mixture and stir until it thickens, a minute or two. Add salt and pepper.

Pour sauce over potatoes -- you may not need all of it -- and toss well. Extra sauce can be stored in the freezer [and used for future batches of potato salad! I thought it sounded like an awful lot of sauce.]

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