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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
22nd Harvest Week, Season 15
August 23rd - 29th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Every bite a vote for local eating
More wildlife on the farm
Community Farm Day this Saturday, August 28th
Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes
Clarifications re: web store and online member accounts
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" If heaven had given me a choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the productions of the garden. No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that  of the garden. "
 - Thomas Jefferson

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
Napa cabbage
Collard greens
Green beans
Lettuce (Lakeside)
Bunching onions (pearl onions)
Sweet peppers
Potatoes +
Summer squash
Dry-farmed tomatoes +
1 basket Strawberries

Small Share
Collard greens
Green beans
Lettuce (Lakeside)
Sweet peppers
Summer squash
Dry-farmed tomatoes
1 basket Strawberries

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

Extra Fruit
Cherry tomatoes (1 bskt)
Raspberries (2 bskts)
Strawberries (2 bskts)
please go by what's listed next to your name on the checklist. Sometimes there are last-minute changes - thanks!

Every bite a vote for local eating
My wife Constance was out of town traveling with her niece, and my son David is on a two week camping trip, so I enjoyed some quality one-on-one time with my daughter Elisa. She is my most enthusiastic helper when it comes to farm chores, feeding the animals, watering the plants, milking the goats, and her favorite of all activities: collecting the eggs.

With her, the focus is not to just simply to get the chores done but more importantly the excitement and fun that come with them. Her senses are all engaged, especially her feet, she loves to walk barefoot.
Elisa's 'feelers'
Elisa's barefoot 'feelers'
Walking with her I get an assessment what her "feelers" on the ground are sensing, whether it's prickly when she steps on a sharp stone, squishy if it's wet and muddy, or sometimes slippery and smelly when it's chicken poop. She loves collecting things, and her basket is always filled with pretty stones, fruits, leaves, sticks, seeds, and flowers. We always gather things on our "outings" to process when we return to the kitchen. This weekend the fresh goat milk  was turned into goat cheese, and the pink pearl apples gathered from the ground were turned into a tart, bright pink apple sauce. We ate it still hot with vanilla ice cream. Yum! Eggs were turned into omelets and strawberries into smoothies.  Life on the farm couldn't get any better for us two.Elisa and the fruits of her and daddy's expedition
The only challenge for me was on Monday morning when I was faced with writing something for this week's newsletter.  The weekend with my daughter sparked my inspiration. Children like Elisa and daddies like me are fortunate to grow up learning life's lessons by being in touch with nature and experiencing how nourishing food comes directly from our natural surroundings. With today's fast-paced lifestyles we have become too separated from our agrarian and farming values. Even I benefit from being slowed down by my daughter to appreciate the joy, beauty, and magic of the land and it's bounty.  

Today's commodification of food has manipulated the relationship and increased the distance between the people who produce food and eaters of that food. As a consequence of this separation, too many people harm their health and the environment by eating poorly.  We are experiencing the symptoms of our poor eating habits in the form of runaway obesity and diabetes, an imperiled environment, the disintegration of core family values, and a general deterioration in the overall social and economic well-being in many sectors of our community.

We know that food is always more than just a commodity; it is connected to personal well-being, to our relationships with family and friends, to the vitality and persistence of community and culture, and to the care and respect for the land. We have a responsibility and opportunity to change how we feed ourselves and our children. It shouldn't be a dream but a reality, like it is for Elisa, that all children receive the best possible nutrition through locally grown foods and feel encouraged by their community to experience the lifecycles of the food they eat - feeling the soil in their hands, harvesting the food they eat, and participating in preparing affordable foods that nourish body and spirit. We have the ability to turn this ship around, by voting not just at the ballot box, but also with our forks, to create a sustainable food system in our communities.

In celebration, and to support our fledgling (2-year-old) Live Earth Farm Discovery Program, we are inviting everyone to join us for a fun and delicious afternoon on September 25, so as to continue our efforts to conduct hands-on educational programs, teaching about local, organic, and sustainable food systems using the farm itself as the classroom. We reach out to all segments of the community with an emphasis on low-income, diverse and underserved populations. We hope you can join us (click here for details) and please help us spread the word since we still have plenty of tickets still available.

- Tom

More wildlife on the farm
Sorry, but I couldn't help but throw this one in here - this was a nest of baby barn swallows under the eaves of Tom and Constance's house. Unbelievably adorable, these guys were clearly within a day or so of leaving the nest!

nest of baby swallows

Community Farm Day this Saturday, August 28th
I meant to mention this in last week's newsletter. This coming Saturday, August 28th, everyone is invited to come to the farm for our latest Community Farm Day. Community Farm Days are not the same as our Summer Solstice and Fall Harvest Celebrations (which always have music and workshops and a big potluck); instead, as with all such community days that 'Farmer Tom' leads, they are about getting to know the land/the farm, and experiencing it from a more hands-on perspective. So although the theme for this farm day is "Totally Tomatoes", it will be about more than just tomatoes. We will go on a walking tour to explore our raspberry fields, apple orchards, carrot patch, the tomato and tomatillo fields, and if we have time we'll visit the animals as well (of course we'll have time).

crates of dry-farmed tomatoesThe weather forecast calls for very foggy and drizzly conditions, so bring something warm and dry, as well as your own lunch. In honor of our theme, there will of course be tomato-picking. You are welcome to pick up to 5 lbs. of tomatoes per family for free, so bring plenty of containers with which to carry your tomato harvest. Alternatively (or if you would like more than 5 lbs. to take home), you can purchase already-picked tomatoes for a nominal fee. We have lots!

We will also have the tractor and trailer set up to help us carry our harvest, as well as anyone who might be in need of a ride.

Hope to see you all Saturday!

- Tom

PS - although on our website calendar it says 9am to 4pm, we actually will start 10 am... a more reasonable time for everyone (the 4pm end time does not change).


When: Saturday Aug 28, 10am - 4pm
Where: If you arrive around 10am, please drive up to 172 Litchfield Lane, which is where we will begin. If you are more than half an hour late, you may want to enter the farm at our "lower barn/CSA pickups" entrance at 1275 Green Valley Road. You will be able to join the group there, or wait for us, as we will be coming down the hill to join you.
Parking: Please follow the parking signs when you get here.
Cost: attendance is free to CSA members, or a $10 - $15 donation per car for non-members (donations go to our Discovery Program)
Other: We ask that you do not bring dogs to our farm; please leave them at home. Thanks.

Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes
You all have probably by now noticed how a few of our dry-farmed tomatoes sometimes have a funny spot on their very bottom. When it is in this location, it is almost always the result of a phenomenon called blossom-end rot. Blossom-end rot of tomatoes is a physiological disorder caused by a lack of sufficient calcium in the blossom end of the fruit, which, as you can see in the picture, causes decay at that location. tomato with blossom end rotWhen we plant our tomato starts in the spring, although we apply plenty of crushed oyster shell and gypsum right into the planting hole (a source of calcium), this year the plants were stressed by extremes in soil moisture: first too wet in early spring, and now the plants are experiencing extreme dry soils since we are dry-farming them. Both conditions can cause dry brown or tan areas the size of a dime on the tip of the fruit. This year we are experimenting with other tomato varieties for dry-farming, because seeds for our reliable favorite, Early Girl, may be discontinued (thanks to Monsanto). We are finding that some of these other varieties seem to also be more prone to blossom end rot.

If you have some fruit with these symptoms, don't worry - it doesn't affect their flavor; simply cut out the affected area and enjoy the rest! But do try to use the affected ones first, saving the blemish-free ones for later. Whether the tomatoes are pristine or blemished, however, don't keep them in the plastic bag in your refrigerator. Take them out of their bag as soon as possible when you get home, and leave them in a dry airy place on your kitchen table. That way, you get to enjoy their beauty as well... at least until such time as you devour them!

Clarifications re: web store and online member accounts
Last week I announced two new member-oriented features to our CSA management system: our new Web Store and online Member Account Login. Both are accessed through the same portal, and this portal is now accessible from our website (under "Info for CSA Members").

But I wanted to clarify a few things which, although I mentioned in the blurb 'last week of Fruit "Bounty"', I neglected to repeat in the text-boxes about the webstore and online accounts. So here, hopefully, is the complete story:

1) the Web Store is only available to members with an active CSA subscription, it is not available to the general public. [If you split a share with someone and wish to order through the store, you will need to use their login and password to do so.]

2) although you can log in and check your account status at any time (I'll repeat below what all you can see when you do), the web store is 'closed' from Tuesday morning 6am through Friday morning 6am, so that we have time to process orders for that week's deliveries and then set up the store with the coming week's available items. So yes: you can order as late as 5:45 am Tuesday morning and still receive your order with that Wednesday's or Thursday's delivery!

Since the newsletter always comes out late Monday nights, and the store closes Tuesday morning (bad timing, I know), I will try to make a point of sending out a quick email to all members on Fridays announcing what is currently available in the web store. But you don't have to wait for my email; you can simply log in and check to see what's available too.

3) You log in using your email address (the one your CSA account is under), and your password. If you have forgotten your password, no worries - there is a simple password reset option.

Here is what you can currently access via your member account:

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 your 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 ;-)

And for some sites (with site host's permission) there will also be a contact phone number and email for your host.

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.     

Since the theme of this weekend's Community Farm Day is "Totally Tomatoes", I thought I'd emphasize tomato-centric recipes. And although they're not 'tomatoes', I will stretch the theme to include tomatillos, which we are also receiving this week!  [I'm sorry my lead recipe last week - the one for radish leaf pesto - probably didn't work so well seeing as how, although the radishes themselves were big and juicy and crispy, the leaves weren't in tip-top shape ;-) Although I get the veggie list from Tom each week, I don't always know some of the finer details about what's coming. But the recipe's in the database now, so the next time your radish greens look too good to compost, you know where to find it!]

 - Debbie

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

Let's start with this recipe sent to me by member Traci Townsend, who said, "I made this for breakfast yesterday morning and it was fast, easy and total yummage!"

Traci's Tomato, Chard and Garlic Frittata
serves 4 (or two hearty eaters!)

1 tbsp. olive oil
4 VERY LARGE chard leaves, stems removed, coarsely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped or diced
2 (or more) cloves garlic, crushed
4 eggs, beaten
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese


1. Preheat your broiler.
2. In a 10-inch saute pan at medium high heat, heat the olive oil.
3. Add crushed garlic and stir or shake for 15-30 seconds.
4. Add tomatoes and saute until saucy.
5. Add chard and saute until wilted down but still bright deep green.
6. Reduce heat to medium or medium low and add eggs.
7. Let eggs cook until mostly set around the edges and towards the middle, and still gooey in the center.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle cheese over the top.
9. Set pan under the broiler and cook until eggs are completely set and cheese is melted/browned.
10. Cut into 4 wedges and serve.

A good friend of mine gave me her favorite recipe for roasting tomatoes -- they are SO good this way! I made a batch last weekend. Yum!

Sue's Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

tomatoes, any kind (heirloom, dry-farmed, cherry)
olive oil
thyme and oregano (fresh if you have it, but dried is okay too)

Cut tomatoes in half and lay cut-side up on a baking sheet [I slipped a piece of parchment paper under the tomatoes for easier cleanup]. Drizzle or baste cut sides of tomatoes with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper if you like, and herbs.

Roast in a slow oven (225 degrees) for a couple hours; the goal is to evaporate the liquid and caramelize the sugars. For all tomatoes, start by checking them after about 1 1/2 hours. Cherry tomatoes are usually done in this length of time, but bigger tomatoes can take 3 or 4, sometimes 5 hours or more if really large. Just check them every hour or so, and see how they're doing. They should poop out, lose a lot of their juiciness, and become a rich darker red, maybe browned a bit around the edges even.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

The skins slip easily off the tomato pulp if you don't like the skins [I wouldn't bother with the cherry tomatoes though].

Roasted tomatoes freeze well, so this is a great recipe for storing your summer bounty of tomatoes for enjoying during the winter!

Use roasted tomatoes with green beans and feta, or as a pasta sauce, or to enhance other dishes/sauces. Got some big zucchinis in your garden? Try stuffing zucchini-halves with it: scoop out innards, saute them up with some onions, mix that together with some ground lamb (or bulghur, if you don't eat meat) some feta, and roasted tomatoes, stuff the zucchini halves with this mixture (mound it up), then bake until zucchini and meat are done. Cut into slices and serve.

No tomato-centric story can be complete without a gazpacho recipe! Here's one from two years ago, sent to me by member Ignacio "Nacho" Martin-Bragado:

Gazpacho Espaņol
Nacho says, "This is a version I copied from my grandmother, and I have changed it a little for my personal taste. As with most traditional recipes, it is complicated to know which one is the 'authentic' one. In any case, here it is, my personal version of Gazpacho from Andalusia, Spain." [I have added some suggestions, since we don't have all the ingredients in this week's boxes.]

5 big ripe tomatoes
1 or 2 red sweet peppers [the sweet green peppers work well too, the soup just won't be as 'red']
2 regular cucumbers or half an Armenian one [in a pinch, I'll use summer squash, but cucumbers are really best; or a combo of cukes and summer squash]
good quality Spanish olive oil
red wine vinegar
half an onion
1 garlic clove
(optional bread)
(optional ice)
(optional lemon juice)

The recipe is very simple: All the raw ingredients have to be blended until a thick liquid is formed. Once blended, put it in the fridge for a while, since it is better to have it cold. Nevertheless some suggestions might be useful:
* It has to be red. If it is not, add more tomato.
* Garlic, vinegar and salt: add according to your particular taste. Same goes with lemon juice, however the vinegar adds a very interesting taste, so I feel it is almost indispensable. [I'm in agreement with Nacho: there's something about the red wine vinegar that makes the soup 'just right'. Don't leave it out.]
* Depending how thick you like it, you might want to add bread (thicker) or ice/water (lighter/thinner)
* Blending everything at once is not that easy because the peppers are difficult to blend. Usually it helps to blend the tomatoes and onions first along with some olive oil and vinegar. It should look very "liquid". After that, it is easy to add the rest of ingredients. [In my experience, cutting up the peppers into smallish, relatively uniformly-sized pieces helps.]
* If the gazpacho tastes too "pepper", add more cucumber.
* Once done, some people like to serve it with croutons and additional diced peppers and finely chopped onions.

Members Jennifer Black and Oscar Ortiz sent this next recipe; Jennifer says it is traditional, from her mother-in-law:

 Traditional Salsa Verde
 1/2 pound tomatillos, rinsed and husked
 1/4 pound whole jalapenos, stems removed
 1/4 of a small-medium white or yellow onion
 1 clove garlic, peeled
 Salt to taste
 In a pot of water, boil the tomatillos and jalapenos about 10 minutes or until they have just turned from bright to dull green.  Scoop them out of the cooking water and blend with onion, garlic, and salt.  Add some cooking water if needed to thin salsa.

You can also make a marvelous Tomatillo salsa fresca with cilantro - tomatillos and cilantro... a match made in heaven!

Tomatillo Salsa Fresca
makes about 1 cup

8 - 10 tomatillos
1 jalapeno, seeded and de-stemmed
1 small handful cilantro
1/2 small white onion
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Remove papery skins from tomatillos (discard skins). Wash tomatillos under warm water to remove stickiness, then quarter them. Combine with rest of ingredients in a food processor and process almost to a puree (it helps to coarsely chop everything before adding). Serve with plenty of tortilla chips -- it'll go fast!

More things to try with tomatillos:

Mexican rice with tomatillos
Process 6 tomatillos with half a bunch of cilantro, 1 white onion, 3 garlic cloves, and 1 jalapeno. Fry 1 cup of white rice in olive oil until golden. Add tomatillo puree and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Cover and simmer until rice is tender.

Grilled or roasted tomatillo salsa
Grill or roast your tomatillos before making into salsa. To roast, place on a rimmed baking sheet in a 375 degree oven until they're soft and have dark areas on their skin, about 25 minutes.

Tomatillos are also fabulous in Mark and Mary's Paprika Roasted Veggies, a very versatile recipe in the database. (Scroll down on the page, it is the second recipe.)

Next is a recipe from our 'coop-etition', Julia Wiley, of Mariquita Farm (one of the farms in the Two Small Farms CSA). We poach from each other's recipe databases occasionally, with shared permission ;-)

Julia's tabouleh (when I'm too lazy to open a cookbook)

Cook up some cracked wheat or couscous (couscous is not traditional, but this recipe isn't either!) Dress the cooled, cooked grain with olive oil and lemon juice. Stir in chopped tomatoes, finely chopped onion or green onions, and piles of washed, chopped parsley. I like my tabouleh to be vibrant green. Throw in some chopped fresh mint if available. Season with salt and pepper.

Lastly, here's a recipe I've run before (and made before), and it is really delicious - it's one that's good to run when we truly are getting lots of tomatoes. It is from my same friend as the one who gave me the slow roasted tomatoes recipe (she has a large, beautiful garden and so is always giving me these great ideas):

Homemade Tomato Juice
from the book "You Say Tomato"
Makes 6 cups

Recipe intro: "There's nothing like a glass of ice-cold, freshly made tomato juice, far better than anything you'd ever buy in a bottle or can. And it just takes a big batch of the most flavorful tomatoes available and a little effort. Use it for Bloody Marys or add a squeeze of lemon to each glass and serve with cucumber and tomato sandwiches for a late summer lunch. This can also be made with yellow tomatoes." [I'm sure it could be made with any combination of tomatoes from the farm!]

5 lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 small red onion
1 stalk celery, with leaves
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the tomatoes, onion, and celery in a large pot set over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the toma-toes are soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Remove the onion and celery and discard.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the fine blade or a fine sieve. Discard the solids. Measure the juice and return it to the cleaned pot. For each 4 cups tomato juice, add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Stir the tomato juice over medium heat to dissolve the sugar and salt. As soon as they are dissolved, remove the juice from the heat and cool.

Taste and season with salt. Chill, and serve within 3 days.

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

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,

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