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LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
27th Harvest Week, Season 15
September 27th - October 3rd, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
The Coming Seasons
With Gratitude, from the LEF Discovery Program
Pictures from "Taste of the Fields" fundraiser
More Happy Girl Kitchen Workshops at LEF
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" The future depends on reconnecting with the natural world: knowing our food, regenerating our land, and strengthening our communities. We cannot isolate one aspect of our life from another."
 - Wendell Berry

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
Apples (Gala)
Asian greens (Pak choi) +
Beets (red, chiogga, or golden)

Dry-farmed tomatoes +
Lacinato kale
Red onions (Pinnacle Farm) +
Potatoes (Russian bananas)
Summer squash +
Sweet peppers +
Hot Hungarian and Padron peppers (mix)

Small Share
Apples (Gala)
Asian greens (Pak choi)
Beets (red, chiogga, or golden)

Dry-farmed tomatoes
Lacinato kale
Red onions (Pinnacle Farm)
Summer squash
Sweet peppers
Hot Hungarian and Padron peppers (mix)

Extra Fruit
Apples (Gala)
Concord grapes or Warren pears
please go by what's listed next to your name on the checklist. Sometimes there are last-minute changes - thanks!

Bread Option
This week's bread will be caraway rye

The Coming Seasons
ripe concord grapesWith the start of Fall we now are in full swing preparing for the upcoming Winter Season. The winter staples such Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage, leeks, carrots, beets, rutabagas, broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens have all been planted; the winter squash harvest, which looks beautiful and bountiful, will start soon. The apple harvest is in full swing, concord grapes are finally sweet enough to start picking, and fields set aside for next year's strawberries, raspberries, and garlic are growing a lush cover crop of buckwheat which, after this heatwave, will be tilled to prepare beds for planting in November.

The farm is alive with activity; work in the fields is buzzing, starting at the crack of dawn every day now, and the lively and spirited presence of children has returned too, as educational tours and programs are now back in full swing. With all the work and busy schedules, it was a remarkable accomplishment that last Saturday we were able to hold an exquisite "fun-raising" celebration for the Farm's Discovery Program. The farm looked beautiful, the food and wine was outstanding, and the live music created a joyous celebratory spirit for everyone.

In addition to field preparations for the upcoming winter season, we are well into planning for next year's 2011 growing season. This is the time when we "plant the seeds" to ensure that the life-cycle of our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program continues healthy, vibrant and abundant. The CSA is, in essence, who we are as a Farm.  It is a partnership with you, our members, and a journey through the growing seasons, where we commit to sharing both the risk and bounty inherent in growing your food. Early October every year is when we explain what is planned for the upcoming Winter and following year's CSA Season, and invite everyone to renew this partnership with us.

This November will begin the 4th season of our popular Winter CSA. The winter shares are a wonderful way to stay connected to the growing cycles of the farm and to experience the rich, hardy, flavorful and very nutritious produce that is abundant during what is commonly the "off-season" for most farms. As Debbie touched on briefly last week, this Winter we have made a few changes; we are extending the season from 8 to 10 weeks, and offering TWO share sizes, instead of just one. We will continue to include a bit of 'Summer in a Jar' from Happy Girl Kitchen Co., who has been busy putting up our tomatoes and other summer fruit and veggies for us to enjoy this winter. There will be bread in the offing from Companion Bakers as well, and we hope to have eggs too.

Very important to the livelihood of the farm, however, is your commitment for the 2011 Regular season. Although we will begin taking signups for both seasons next month, it is your financial commitment to 2011 during the slower winter months which is critical to helping us maintain a sustainable level of income for our workers, and also helps cover the costs of essential and early season purchases.

To make this financial commitment for 2011 easier for all our members, we are offering what we hope are helpful price saving and payment options:

1. Everyone who signs up by Dec 31st will receive an 'early registration' discount.

2. If you are able to pay the whole season in advance, there is an additional discount.

3. For members who are on tighter purse strings, we hope you will like our new "Installment Payment" plan. Instead of making a big deposit, and then monthly payments that don't start until May (how we did it in prior years), our new 'Installment' plan will spread your payments equally over the months from when you sign up to the end of the season, so each payment will be less, and very regular, so you can manage your monthly expenditures a lot easier.

4. Lastly, we will be offering a limited number of "Budget Shares". This is our first time offering something like this; they are designed for members who, for financial reasons, are challenged to commit to the cost of our current choice of farm shares. The Budget Share will be priced much lower than our Small and Family shares. It will only include vegetables (no fruit), and instead of the 9-12 items in the small share or the 12-15 items in the family share, it will include 6-8 items. This share is intended for members who want to compliment their or their children's diet with seasonal farm vegetables, and will generally include items that are abundant during the farm's seasonal cropping cycle. In the spring that may mean lots of greens and roots; in the summer and fall it may mean that their assortment will be whatever's abundant from week to week, such as summer squash, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes cucumbers or leafy greens.
planting seeds
I like to compare your CSA participation to that of planting a seed: it is always an act of trust - a trust that nature, no matter how unpredictable, will provide us with sustained nourishment. Your CSA membership is much more than just getting a weekly box of vegetables. Your participation is directly woven into the life of our land, its people, plants, animals, and soil.

Aldo Leopold in his classic book, A Sand County Almanac, spelled out a new way of thinking about land. He saw it as a community of interdependent parts, with the soil, the plants, the animals, and the people all playing equally important roles. In other words, instead of being masters of the land, humans share an equal responsibility in contributing to the strength, sustainability and health of the community as a whole. This level of ecological consciousness may be difficult to achieve, but it is an ideal we are committed to and constantly striving towards.

Every week you receive a sampling of our efforts in the form of food, which in turn becomes a part of your family meals throughout the season. I am reassured, and grateful, to know that the inherent risks involved in growing food can be shared, and that as a Community Supported Farm, we can rely on each other for support.

- Tom

With Gratitude, from the LEF Discovery Program
A great big THANK YOU goes out to our whole community.  We had a wonderful Taste of the Fields event this weekend, and it was only possible with the help of many of you.  You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child?  Well it also takes a village to raise a not for profit organization, and you are all wonderful parents.  We had very talented chefs prepare amazing local produce, cheese, honey, and meat into many taste sensations.  We sipped fabulous wines, and enjoyed great music, by fantastic musicians.  Stir in a lot of volunteer support, some active and reliable board members, and just a touch of heat, and you get a great time!  So thank you, we look forward to next year.

- Jessica Ridgeway

list of sponsors and donors

Pictures from "Taste of the Fields" fundraiser
Photos courtesy of member Jennifer Chen. Thanks Jennifer!

scenes from our "Taste of the Fields" fundraiser for LEFDP

More Happy Girl Kitchen Workshops at LEF
For all you fans of Happy Girl Kitchen Workshops out there, you will be pleased to note that they have added two new ones to their agenda!

Their very popular "Pickles" workshop this coming Saturday has sold out, so they are offering an additional one the next day, on Sunday October 3rd. Jordan and Todd Champagne like to pickle all sorts of veggies, and this workshop will focus on currently ripe, seasonal veggies from the farm.

Then on Saturday November 6th, mark your calendar for their "Apples, Pears, Quince" workshop. Learn how to make apple butter, how to preserve pears in a light honey syrup, and -- my favorite -- how to make quince jelly from quince growing right here on the farm (If I'm not mistaken, you actually get to go out and pick the quince)! I took this workshop last year and it was fabulous (they all are, really). Quince jelly comes out this absolutely gorgeous rich, dark amber color; you just want to put a jar on your windowsill, let the sun shine through it, and admire it!

All Happy Girl Kitchen workshops include a lovely organic lunch, and you get to take home 2 jars of each of the 3 items you make that day, so -- six jars of goodies! If you haven't taken one of their workshops yet but have been intending to, don't delay - sign up now!

- Debbie

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

The only thing that's really new in the boxes this week is leeks (and of course the concord grapes or pears in the fruit option). So here are just a variety of ideas... some old, some new!  - Debbie

More regarding the strawberries
The strawberries are going to be fragile this week, with the heat, so I encourage everyone to use them quickly; don't try to store them. Since we're all only getting one basket per share, this isn't too big of a challenge! But if the berries make it home from pick-up (i.e. they haven't been eaten on the way home), cut them up and throw them in a blender with some whole milk plain yogurt (and optional juice from an orange), then save that for breakfast! Or cut them into a bowl and sprinkle with just a little sugar (you really don't need much), then drizzle with balsamic vinegar (the good kind, if you have it) and toss. Let it rest while you make dinner, then treat yourself to this as a succulent dessert! If you have fresh mint, sliver a few mint leaves and add with the vinegar. This adds a lovely third dimension.

The SJ Mercury News ran a story about the chef for Nepenthe (down in Big Sur) last week, and her simple recipe for this crisp made me think of our fruit share members - because it's just what we're getting right now!

Apple-Raspberry Crisp
Robin Burnside, "The Homesteader's Kitchen"
serves 6 - 8

1/2 C unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces
1 C sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 C rolled oats
1 tbsp. cinnamon (optional)
8 C sliced firm apples [the Galas will be fabulous for this!]
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice [I know this is to keep the apples from browning and to add tartness, but if you didn't have fresh lemons handy, you could leave this out and it'd be fine. You could also substitute 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar]
1 tbsp. whole wheat pastry flour or tapioca powder
4 C fresh raspberries [2 baskets will be enough, even if it doesn't measure to 4 C]

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the butter, sucanat and flour in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Add the oats and cinnamon and pulse again. By hand, use a pastry cutter or your fingertips to cut the butter in until evenly blended, but still crumbly. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the apples and lemon juice. Sprinkle in the tablespoon of flour, add the raspberries and gently toss. Place the fruit in an 8 x 12-inch ovenproof glass or ceramic baking dish and evenly distribute the crumb topping to cover the top, gently pressing around the edges to hold in place.

Bake 40 - 50 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the topping nicely browned.

Is your fridge overflowing with carrots? How about this soup then?

Moroccan Carrot Soup
Bon Appetit, undated clipping
serves 4

2 tbsp. butter
1 C chopped onion
1 lb. carrots, peeled, cut into half-inch dice [more or less]
2 1/2 C chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 C plain [whole milk] yogurt, stirred to loosen

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Stir cumin seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes; cool. Finely grind in a spice mill [or in a mortar and pestle, if you don't happen to have a spice mill - I don't].

Remove soup from heat. Puree in batches in blender until smooth [carefully! Hot liquid in a blender can 'explode' as the gas rapidly expands. Don't overfill, and/or allow soup to cool some before blending.] Return to same pan. Whisk in honey, lemon juice, and allspice. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt evenly over each bowl; sprinkle generously with toasted ground cumin.

Next up, a nice new leek recipe, from my clippings file.

Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks
Bon Appetit, March 2009
serves 6

Bon Appetit's 'spin' on this recipe: "An extra-sharp raw-milk cheddar from England is the perfect counterpart to the sweet sauteed leeks in this upscale twist on mac and cheese." [my two cents: find a more local raw-milk cheddar... you don't need one from England; lots of closer cheese-makers around here!]

1/4 C (half a stick) butter
5 C chopped leeks (white and light green parts only) [as long as you cut off the outer dark green leaves above where they branch out from the stalk, you can use the medium-green layers underneath. Be sure to check for dirt though!]
1/4 C all purpose flour
3 1/2 C whole milk
1 lb. extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 C, packed)
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
2 large eggs
1 lb. penne pasta

Lightly butter a 15x10x2-inch baking dish. Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat. Cover saucepan and cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes (do not brown). Uncover saucepan; add flour. Stir 2 minutes. Add milk; bring to a simmer, stirring often. Add cheese, mustard, and pepper sauce. Stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Season cheese sauce to taste with salt.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 C cheese sauce (i.e. slowly and carefully... adding hot cheese sauce to eggs too quickly will make them curdle!) Stir egg mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot.

Stir cheese sauce into pasta in pot. Transfer to prepared baking dish. (Can be made 2 hrs ahead of time and let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake pasta until cheese sauce is bubbling around edges and some ends of pasta are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let stand 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Now that our sweet peppers are starting to color up, I thought this would be a good time for a 'mixed pepper' recipe.

Roasted Mixed Peppers with Capers and Marjoram
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping, adapted to box ingredients
serves 4 to 6

8 to 10 mixed color sweet peppers from the box
4 or so of either the Hungarian or Padron hot peppers
3 tbsp. flavorful olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp. drained capers
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh marjoram plus leaves for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. white wine vinegar

Char both hot and sweet peppers over a gas flame or in a broiler [or on a gas or charcoal grill] until blackened on all sides. Place in a large bowl; cover tightly with plastic wrap and cool. ]I just enclose them in a paper or plastic bag. This allows them to steam, which allows the skins to separate easily from the flesh.] Once cool enough to handle, peel, seed and stem them. Cut the sweet peppers into larger (inch-wide) strips, and the hot peppers into smaller (half-inch wide) strips; combine both in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, capers, chopped marjoram, garlic and vinegar and toss to incorporate evenly. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. Sprinkle marjoram leaves over top and serve. [I'd either serve this with toast or crackers, as an appetizer, or as a side dish to a regular meal.]

And lastly, I love this idea: a BLT salad!

Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Salad with Aioli Dressing
modified from another undated Bon Appetit clipping
serves 4 to 6

Bon Appetit suggests serving this salad with grilled bread... that sounds good too!

about 6 slices of applewood smoked bacon
1 lg or 2 smaller romaine heads, leaves washed, dried, coarsely torn
6 smaller dry-farmed tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp. white wine [or cider] vinegar

Cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels, leaving about 1 tbsp. of the drippings [and the yummy bacon essence] in the skillet.

Place lettuce and tomatoes in a large serving bowl. Heat bacon drippings over medium heat; add garlic, sizzle for a moment or two, then add mayonnaise and vinegar; whisk until blended, 30 to 40 seconds. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over lettuce and tomatoes and toss to coat. Crumble bacon over the top and serve immediately.

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]
(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 SOLD OUT
October 3 (Sunday) - Pickles JUST ADDED!
Nov 6 (Saturday) - Apples, Pears and QuinceJUST ADDED!

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
Oct 23 - Harvest Celebration and Apple U-pick - 3pm 'til sundown

Medicinal Herb Walk on the farm
Hidden in amongst the veges, lurking below the fruit trees, at home in the oak woodlands, and planted in the hedgerows, Live Earth Farm is chock-full of medicinal plants.  With literally hundreds of plants useful for treating common maladies and maintaining vital health, Live Earth Farm is an incredible place to go for an herbal adventure.  Come join herbalist Darren Huckle L.Ac for a fun, informative, and applicable tour.  We will identify, taste and learn how to safely and effectively use medicinal plants common in Northern California.  This is a stand alone class or a great entry to the monthly herbal series being planned for the 2011 season.  Bring a sun hat, water bottle, notebook and your questions for this fun filled class.

When: Saturday October 9
Time: 10:30 am - 3 pm
Cost: $45 per person

To RSVP or for more information contact Darren Huckle at or 831.334.5177

In the spring of 2011, Darren will be teaching a series on identifying, preparing, and using herbal medicines. Feel free to contact Darren for details.

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