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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
21st Harvest Week, Season 15
August 16th - 22nd, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Weeds: allies or foes
Coming in the shares soon...
LEF Discovery Program Update
Last week of Fruit "Bounty"! Some Extra Fruit options still available though...
NEW! Members can now log in to their accounts online
NEW! Web store now in operation
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" Weeds always have the last laugh; better to laugh with them. "
 - Tom

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
Collard greens
Eggplant! (globe, zebra stripe or neon)
Green beans
Lacinato kale (or Red Russian, if we run out of Lacinato)
Lettuce (Lakeside)
Bunching onions (pearl onions)
Sweet peppers
Padron (hot) peppers
Potatoes +
Dry-farmed tomatoes +
1 basket Strawberries

Small Share
Collard greens
Green beans
Lacinato kale (or Red Russian, if we run out of Lacinato)
Sweet peppers
Padron (hot) peppers
Dry-farmed tomatoes
1 basket Strawberries

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

Extra Fruit
Weds: Raspberries (2) and strawberries (2)
Thurs: Raspberries (2), blackberries (1) and cherry tomatoes (1)

Fruit Bounty this is the last week of "Bounty"! If you wish to continue getting additional fruit, see below about adding an Extra Fruit option.
Weds: Raspberries (2), blackberries (1) and cherry tomatoes (1)
Thurs: Raspberries (2) and strawberries (2)

Weeds: allies or foes
At this time of year when much of our labor in the field is focused on harvesting, weeds can sometimes get the better of us. This week our block of spinach became the latest victim of a weed occupation. The spinach is hidden underneath a thicket of amaranth, commonly known as pigweed. Harvesting spinach from in-between the pigweedThe pigweed's tactic is to produce lots of seeds -- hundreds if not thousands just from one plant -- hence the common saying: "one year's seed, seven years' weeds".  The pigweed's success at this time of year comes from speed. In almost 30 days they can go through an entire life cycle.  Over the years I've learned not to get too frustrated; weeds always seem to have the last laugh, and all I can hope for is to let them laugh where it's least infuriating.  I can't deny that at some level, primarily the financial one, my urge is to control and eradicate weeds in order to maximize yield and minimize labor costs. However weeds have also taught me to slow down; they appeal to my less tidy nature, favoring an approach of coexistence by allowing for a larger diversity of organisms.

Every plant by spreading it's roots improves soil structure by tunneling, adding organic matter, and holding soil in place.  Plants also feed the microbial population of fungi, bacteria, protozoa, and nematodes, establishing diverse symbiotic nourishing relationships that support the greater ecological balance of the soil. From this perspective the unwanted, unappealing and unrelenting weeds don't seem quite so bad, and my anger-driven determination to control and eradicate every weed on the farm changes. I integrate them as nature's way to help me cover crop, and it is my responsibility to learn ways to manage their competition for space, light and nutrients with our planted food crops in the field. 

Cultivating between rows of baby lettuceThere is an art to weeding so as to give our crops a competitive advantage. It's mostly about observation, anticipation, pro-activity instead of reactivity. When dealing with weeds, timing is critical. Planting should happen when soil moisture and tilth are optimal, transplanting instead of direct seeding during certain times of the season when weeds tend to have a natural advantage, such as in the spring months when we plant early squash, lettuce or onions. The best way to avoid weed competition is to pre-irrigate the planting beds, let the weeds germinate, then lightly cultivate or flame the weeds -- and only then plant or sow the desired crop. Competition is most easily managed during the early stages of development. Our goal is not to weed, but to cultivate. Cultivation aerates the soil around the crops, and cuts off or buries young, tender weeds. If we end up falling behind, it is often better to let both the crop and weeds grow together -- as happened with this week's spinach.

I am of the philosophy that if nature doesn't like bare soil and does everything in her power to protect it, then we need to adjust our growing practices so that our crops benefit from the biodiversity which ultimately results in richer and healthier food for our community. 

When I drive -- whether in and around Watsonville or anywhere that I see farming going on -- I can't help but scan the fields on toth sides of the road. I am always curious what other farmers do. Seeing weeds and crops growing together may look chaotic and unattended, but instead of judging a field by its clean look, perhaps we might ask the deeper question as to whether it is sustainable in the long run.

- Tom

Coming in the shares soon...
Soon it's salsa time; next week we'll have tomatillos and cilantro, great for making "salsa verde", and of course there will continue to be plenty of tomatoes and peppers for making salsa fresca, with either sweet or hot peppers. Folks who like to make ratatouille, your eggplants are slowly sizing up and all the shares should be getting them soon (Family shares are getting the first of them this week).

On the fruit end of things, raspberries will continue for the foreseeable future (until October), our delectable sungold cherry tomatoes are finally coming in, so you should be seeing more of those. By the end of August we will have a large and beautiful patch of cantaloupes to harvest. Let's hope the sun comes out to make them nice and sweet. We'll be harvesting the first Gala apples around the end of August and into early September. End of September we typically pick our concord grapes, and the pears (not so plentiful this year) we'll pack in October. Lastly, we have a nice watermelon patch, so watermelons may also be in the picture if we get some more heat.

This is my crystal ball report from the fields -- enjoy the bounty!

- Tom

LEF Discovery Program Update
I feel like after two weeks in Panama I am returning to a vegetable paradise.  Any of you who have traveled in Central America will be familiar with the noticeable lack of greens in the diet.  This is heightened by our sensitive American stomachs and our fear of consuming anything grown or washed in the waters of the second and third worlds.  Add to these conditions the ubiquity of fried foods and you end up with a diet much like the one I try to steer all participants in the Discovery Program away from.  Thank goodness for tropical fruits and the European and American expatriates, who create markets for things like plain yogurt and aged cheese.  So, plenty of yoga and beach time paired with lots of papaya, pineapple and guineo (Panama's word for banana) have prepared and rejuvenated me for the coming school year.

Jessica in Panama

Best of all, I have the pleasure of returning at the height of the harvest season, with green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and berries bursting from my fridge.  And what else do I have to look forward to?  A job that I love, ramping up for a new season of students on the farm, and an exciting party to throw (see below) -- all in the pursuit of healthy, local, organic diets for all.

It's the students-on-the-farm part that the party's all about. I'm talking about our September 25th fundraiser - purchasing tickets to this event helps support our ongoing farm education programs. This is a delicious way to 'contribute', so I hope you will consider attending! Almost everything for the fundraiser is donated, leaving nearly all of your donation to go directly to our program. And to entice you to invite all your friends along, we will give you a 10% discount if you buy 8 or more tickets.  

For complete information on the Taste of the Fields Fundraiser, and to purchase tickets, check out the new fundraising page on our website: http://www.liveearthfarm.net/dp-fundraiser.aspx

Thanks, and I hope to see you there!

- Jessica

Last week of Fruit "Bounty"! Some Extra Fruit options still available though...
As mentioned last week, members who are getting the Fruit "Bounty" option*: this will be your last week of receiving additional fruit. There are 13 weeks remaining to the season however... would you like to continue getting additional fruit with your share through the end of the season (Nov 17/18)? We still have some "Extra Fruit" Options available!

Sign up to add one 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 ;-)

Note: the Store is "open" Friday 6am to Tuesday 6am, so if you go right now (this newsletter was sent out about 11pm Monday night) you can actually add it for this week, otherwise make a note to yourself to 'go shopping' Friday if you want to add an Extra Fruit option to your share starting next week.

*Don't know which fruit option you signed up for? Log in to your account online and see!

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 ;-)

Access our Web Store (see below) for purchasing certain items in bulk.

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!


NEW! Web store now in operation
Through the same portal you use to log in to see your account activity, you can also access our Web Store (web store is available to CSA members only).

We are currently offering things in bulk such as juicing carrots, dry-farmed tomatoes (lots!), green beans, flats and half-flats of raspberries and strawberries, even padron peppers! Purchase through the store and automatically receive what you ordered with your next week's CSA delivery!

Access the web store by logging in and then clicking on "Web Store" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. As mentioned above, 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 ;-)

Check the web store weekly for new items!

Just added (for example): a button to purchase your tickets to the LEFDP fundraiser!

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

This week some member-submitted recipes... but not before I do my annual Eggplant Dance! I absolutely love eggplant! Roasted or sauteed, it becomes unctuous and creamy and delectable. Mmmmm... can't wait to get my box!

 - Debbie

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

First off, a recipe that member Annette O. sent me recently for something I bet a lot of you didn't even realize you could eat -- radish leaves!

Radish Leaf Pesto
from a lovely blog called Chocolate & Zucchini, by Clotilde Dusoulier, a Parisian foodie.

Clotilde likens the flavor of radish leaves to "somewhere between watercress and nettles, but a few notches milder. The texture of the larger leaves can be a bit rough so they're not ideal for salads, but they make fine soups and gratins, and work beautifully in pesto, which is what I make with them most often." She also says, "The recipe below is really just a guide; the concept of pesto as a puree of greens, hard cheese, and nuts, is very forgiving and can be adapted to what you have on hand [Listen to what Clotilde says - she is absolutely right!]. You can use more or less cheese, more, fewer, or no nuts at all, add a little lemon peel, which brightens up the whole, and/or throw in otner fresh leafy herbs that need using or pruning."

- 2 large handfuls of good-looking radish leaves, stems removed
- 30 grams (1 ounce) hard cheese, such as pecorino or parmesan, grated or shaved using a vegetable peeler
- 30 grams (1 ounce) nuts, such as pistachios, almonds, or pinenuts (avoid walnuts, which make the end result too bitter in my opinion)
- 1 clove garlic, germ removed, cut in four
- a short ribbon of lemon zest cut thinly from an organic lemon with a vegetable peeler (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to get the consistency you like
- salt, pepper, ground chili pepper

Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender or mini-chopper and process in short pulses until smooth. You will likely have to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. This produces a thick pesto; add more oil and pulse again to get the consistency you prefer. (This can also be done with a mortar and pestle; it's great for your karma and your triceps.)

Taste, adjust the seasoning, and pack into an airtight container (I use a recycled glass jar). Use within a few days (it will keep longer if you pour a thin layer of oil on the surface) or freeze.

Clotilde suggests making the pesto thick initially, then thinning it out as needed (combined with a little pasta cooking water to make a sauce, for example). She also uses it to flavor polenta, line crusts of vegetable tarts, garnish sandwiches, rub on a lamb roast, or stuff oven-roasted fish. It would also be great with potato gnocchi. Me, I'd spread it on homemade pizza! Or toss it with pasta and fresh tomatoes.

On to some more member-submitted recipes. These next few are from Jennifer Black and Oscar Ortiz. Jennifer says, "We love hot sauce, especially homemade with fresh ingredients!"

Roasted Tomato Salsa
from Jennifer's mother-in-law

Equal numbers of tomatoes*, jalapenos [or padrons], and unpeeled garlic cloves
Salt to taste
On a hot ungreased griddle or comal, roast the tomatoes, jalapenos, and garlic cloves until blackened on all sides.  Remove and let cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and blend with salt.
* Think in terms of small-medium round tomatoes for size here -- if your tomatoes are smaller, use more.Roasting padron peppers on a comal

At right: roasting padron peppers on a comal.


Chipotle Salsa

[modified] from a Rick Bayless cookbook

4 to 5 small dry-farmed tomatoes
2 unpeeled cloves garlic
1-2 chipotle chiles (from a can)
Salt to taste
On a hot ungreased griddle or comal, roast the tomatoes and garlic cloves until blackened all over.  Remove and let cool.  When they are cool enough to handle, peel them and blend with the chiles and salt.

Potato-Chile Soup
(Jennifer thinks this is from a Mollie Katzen cookbook, but is not sure - she got it from her sister)

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 C chopped onion
1 1/2 C chopped sweet pepper
1 1/2 C chopped Anaheim chile or other mild hot pepper
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil
1 C milk
3/4 C sour cream
3/4 C jack cheese
2 scallions, thinly sliced [use the bunching onions]
cilantro, minced
Cook the potatoes in the water until very soft, about 20 minutes.  Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large stockpot and add the onion.  When it is soft, add all the peppers and seasonings.  Cook 8-10 minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Scoop the potatoes out of the cooking water and put in the stockpot with the other vegetables.  Mash, adding just enough potato cooking water to get a smooth texture.  Add the milk; then add more cooking water as needed to thin the soup to desired consistency.  Reduce the heat and add sour cream and scallions.  Heat the soup gently.  Add the cheese and stir just before serving; sprinkle minced cilantro over each bowl.

After all that talk about eggplant, I can't not have a recipe now, can I? Noodling around on that Chocolate & Zucchini blog, I found a lovely one...

Roasted Eggplant and Goat's Milk Yogurt Dip

- 850 grams (30 ounces) eggplants, the smaller the better
- one clove garlic, peeled
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) goat's milk yogurt (substitute sheep's milk yogurt or plain Greek-style yogurt)
- ground cumin, to taste*
- ground chile pepper, to taste*
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste*
- a large handful of fresh cilantro leaves (a.k.a. coriander in some parts of the world), finely snipped

Makes about 240 ml (1 cup).

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Place the eggplants in a single layer in a shallow baking dish (or a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil), and prick them in a few places with a fork. Cut a small slit in the most bulbous part of one eggplant and slip the garlic clove inside. Roast for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until completely soft, turning the eggplants 2 or 3 times during the baking.

Set aside in a colander until cool enough to handle. Transfer each eggplant in turn on a cutting board. Cut a deep slit down the length of the eggplant to open it wide, and scrape the flesh using a wooden spoon. Discard the stem and skin, set the flesh aside (be sure to recover the garlic clove), and repeat with the remaining eggplants.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender**, combine the eggplant flesh, garlic, and yogurt, and season with cumin, chile pepper, salt, and black pepper. Process in short pulses until smooth. Fold in the cilantro, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours, if possible, to allow the flavors to develop. Serve with pita bread, or, in our case, fresh baguette. This also makes a fine sandwich/tartine spread, or a side to lamb meatballs or grilled fish.

* I've deliberately left out the measurements for the spices and seasonings: how much you need depends on how flavorful your eggplants and yogurt are, and on your personal preference. Start small, taste, and work your way up as needed.

** If you don't own either, you can mash everything with a fork; the texture will be chunkier and less dip-able, but it will still be good.

And to end with, something for all the berries in the fruit shares. This was sent to me last year by member Caroline Martin, who says, "We make this usually with blueberries, strawberries & blackberries and it's divine (and a good way to use up strawberries)."

Summer Pudding
original recipe by Mark Bittman (serves 4-6), edited by Caroline
4-5 C assorted summer fruit, such as: blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, red currants, black currants, red or golden raspberries, and/or small plums, rinsed well and drained, large fruit like strawberries and plums sliced
About 1 C water
1/2 C sugar, depending on fruit
2 tbsp. ruby port or brandy (optional)
Unsalted butter as needed
6-8 slices homemade style white bread, such as challah or brioche, crusts removed (I used about 3/4 of a a challah loaf)

In large saucepan, combine all the berries/fruit, except for raspberries with the water and the sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries fall apart, 10-15 minutes, Stir in the raspberries. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Recipe calls to pass through a sieve to remove seed and skins - but we like it with skins and seeds so don't do this step.

Meanwhile butter the side bottom and sides of a souffle, gratin or other dish and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Recipe calls to butter the bread, but if you use a challah or brioche, you shouldn't have to. If you want it richer, lightly butter the bread. Put half the bread in the bottom of the dish (cover the bottom of the dish with bread) and cover with half the berry mixture, then repeat the layers.

Cover with a plate that fits into the dish and weight it so it presses down on the mixture. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight (it's never made it overnight at our house). Serve straight from the dish or unmold it if you like. Great by itself, or with ice cream or whipped cream.

Can use frozen berry mixes in the winter.

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