LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
28th Harvest Week, Season 15
October 4th - 10th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
The loss of a wonderful farm... and a 'scramble' for eggs
What's Up in the Fields
Winter 2010 and Next Year (2011) Signup Details!
Why am I not getting my "Fruit Bounty"?
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in."
 - Frances Moore Lappe

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) +
Dry-farmed tomatoes +
Eggplant +
Green beans
Red onions (Pinnacle Farm)
Potatoes (Russian bananas)
French breakfast radishes
Summer squash +

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

Dry-farmed tomatoes
Green beans
Red onions (Pinnacle Farm)
French breakfast radishes
Summer squash

Extra Fruit
Apples and pears
Concord grapes (Thursday only, since Wednesday got them last week; Wednesday should get more raspberries)
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 whole wheat with flax seed

The loss of a wonderful farm... and a 'scramble' for eggs
In August, Jim Dunlop and Rebecca Thistlewaite, owners of TLC Ranch and suppliers of your weekly egg shares, announced that by the end of this season they will be selling their business. It caught us by surprise; their loss feels like a tear in the network of local artisan family farms.  Jim and Rebecca's dedication and community focused approach made TLC a unique operation. TLC was the first farm in this area to raise chickens on pasture at a large enough scale to supply our CSA, and developed a large following of devout customers at farmer's markets, stores and restaurants throughout the Bay Area. Over the last three years we have enjoyed some of the healthiest, freshest, most humanely raised eggs available. If I had to guess what factor most influenced Jim and Rebecca to sell TLC (I am sure there are many more), it was probably the lack of access to affordable land they could call their own. The long term sustainability of any farming operation needs to be linked to stable land we'll all miss TLC Ranch!tenure conditions which not only buffer against uncertainties inherent in farming but also inspire deeper levels of land stewardship, and provide the necessary stability to raise a family. I am sure Rebecca and Jim through their newsletter will personally shed some light on their current situation and give us some insight as to what led them to their decision, and I hope this will only be a "temporary" break from farming. We sure will miss them and the wonderful products they grew and produced for us.

As you can imagine, since their announcement we have been "scrambling" to figure out how we will adjust to the loss of TLC's egg supply, and so are currently establishing partnerships with other smaller scale operations. Here on the farm we are LEF chickens eating left-over tomatoesalso setting aside some land and developing the necessary infrastructure to increase our own flock of 200 laying hens to 400. Our goal is to supply half of the eggs needed to meet the current demand, and then supplement the rest through three new partnerships which we are building with Surfside Chickens, Hain Ranch Organics, and Your Family Farm. One of the challenges for all of us is the high upfront capital investment necessary to establish new flocks of laying hens. It starts now, in the month of October, with brooding the young chicks in order to have fully-grown laying hens by spring of next year. This is one of those opportunities for the spirit of Community Supported Agriculture to shine; one of those early-season expenses that your sign-ups and payments help to cover. Sometime this week (hopefully Wednesday), all our current CSA members will have the opportunity to register not only for the winter share, but also to make an early commitment for the 2011 season. I hope the incentives of discounts, lower priced budget shares, and monthly installment plans we are offering will make it easier for you to make that commitment, which in turn will help this partnership of pasture-raised egg producers get started so as to ensure you will continue getting eggs with your weekly shares during next year's regular season.

Now many of you are probably wondering if there are going to be any eggs for the winter season. Given TLC's departure and the limited amount of time for us to ramp up the number of chickens on such short notice (it takes 5-6 months) and the fact that winter season production typically drops by 50% (chickens are sensitive to the decrease in daylight hours and temperature), I have not yet determined whether we can offer any eggs this winter. I know that whatever amount we will offer will be limited. I am sorry to disappoint many of you, but I hope you understand the situation we are in. Our main focus is to make sure we are set up to produce an ample supply of wonderful eggs for the coming year.

- Tomclutch of eggs

What's Up in the Fields
Record heat last Monday, and now cool with a chance of rain next week makes it difficult to predict what we can expect in the next few weeks. If we don't get heavy rainstorms like we did last year, we can anticipate a continuation of our warm season crops. The green beans are back in force, and if you ever considered pickling or preserving them, the next 3 to 4 weeks is probably going to be your best opportunity (they'll be available in bulk quantities via the webstore). I didn't want to predict anything, but last week's heatwave helped the cucumbers make a growth spurt. So this week we are harvesting some pickling cukes, and with some luck everyone should get them, or the Armenian "snake" cucumbers, this or next week. The tomatoes will continue; you will notice some are a little on the softer side, so please use them promptly. Soon we will start picking from a newly maturing block of tomatoes which, with any luck, should last until the end of the season. Basil is plentiful, and loved last weeks heat. For many members, the tender purslane is a treat to cook with so I am putting it in the shares. For those of you who don't care for it, put it in the exchange box at your pick-up site, or share it with someone who does like it. Debbie's recipe database is your best inspiration for cooking with it, if you like to experiment. Purslane is one of the richest sources of Omega-3 in the vegetable world. With the advent of Fall, the crop of the season is winter squash, of which we have a nice variety and quantity.  I will wait a little longer to place them in the shares though. Probably closer to Halloween.

- Tom

Various winter squashes

Winter 2010 and Next Year (2011) Signup Details!

As Tom mentioned above, we hope to be sending out our 'early registration' signup notification email this week (target: Wednesday). Anyone who is currently an active member will receive this email. We are just waiting for the Farmigo guys to dot a few "i"s and cross some remaining "t"s in the 'signup wizards', and then we should be good to go. If you're NOT currently a member, but want to sign up for either Winter or the 2011 Regular Season, please be patient - your turn will come in November, when we open signup to the general public.

We apologize in advance for one small inconvenience: if you are signing up for both seasons, there is no way to combine your signups in one 'wizard' (because of different parameters), so you must go through the selection payment process separately for each season. I will provide you with a separate signup link for each season, and once you're done signing up for one, you must return to the email and click on the link for the other. We wish this could be done differently, but for now there is no other way.

I have finally updated all the costs and schedules on our website to reflect the coming seasons, but below is a recap. Look for my email in a few days!

- Debbie

Winter 2010

Costs (all costs are for the full 10-week season):
Winter Family Share = $350 [$35/wk]
Winter Small Share = $300 [$30/wk]
Winter Bread Option = $60 each [$6/loaf/wk - can order more than one]
Preserves Option = $110 [$11/2 preserved items/wk - can order more than one]
Winter Eggs = $35 [$3.50/half-doz/wk, if available] at the moment you will only see this option available as waitlisted. This is because we are waiting to see if Surfside Chickens will be taking over TLC's flock. They are in negotiations, and the Winter season doesn't start for 2 months, so if that comes to pass, we will follow up with waitlisters on a first-come, first served basis. We will likely be limiting them to half-dozen per member, so that more people can get them.

Note: Because the season is relatively short, there is only the one-payment option for Winter. The installment plans and discounts are for the 2011 Regular Season (see below).

Pick-up Locations for Winter (more sites added this year!):
Los Gatos - University Ave
East Los Gatos
Campbell - Pruneyard
Saratoga - Westgate
Downtown San Jose
Mountain View
Palo Alto - Downtown
Palo Alto - West Midtown (brand new)
Menlo Park
San Carlos
Rose Garden
Willow Glen
South San Jose

Morgan Hill
Watsonville (at the farm)
Downtown Santa Cruz
West Santa Cruz - Baldwin
Scotts Valley - Skypark

Winter Delivery Dates:
Week 1: Dec 2nd 2010
Week 2: Dec 9th
Week 3: Dec 16th
<no deliveries for the 3 weeks encompassing Christmas and New Year's>
Week 4: Jan 13 2011
Week 5: Jan 20
Week 6: Jan 27
Week 7: Feb 3
Week 8: Feb 10
Week 9: Feb 17
Week 10: Feb 24
<no deliveries in March. Regular Season 2011 begins in April.>

Regular Season 2011

Family Share = $34/wk ($1122 for 33 weeks)
Small Share = $29/wk ($957 for 33 weeks)
Budget Share = $22/wk ($726 for 33 weeks)
Extra Fruit Option = $13/wk ($377 for 29 weeks - doesn't start 'til May)
Bread Option = $6/loaf/wk ($198 for 33 weeks)
Pastured Eggs Option = $7/doz/wk ($231 for 33 weeks) Note: with the start of the 2011 Regular Season, eggs will no longer be available by the half-dozen, but on the bright side: we should have plenty for everyone that wants them!

Early Registration - 2.5% (sign up before Dec 31st)
One Payment - 2.5% (pay for full season in one payment up front)
...and YES, if you pay in one payment before Dec 31st, your total discount is 5%! :-)

Payment Methods:
If you sign up before the start of the season, you have the option of paying by check or electronically. Once the season starts, we will only take payments electronically (with a few exceptions; contact the farm at that time if you need to make different arrangements and we'll see what we can do).

Note regarding electronic payments:
1) If you're going to be selecting the Installment Payment plan and paying electronically, you will need to have a PayPal account (this is not a requirement if you are paying in one payment). If you don't have a PayPal account, it is very easy to establish. You can set one up during the signup process and link it to a credit card.
2) Amex will no longer be supported as of Oct 20. If you pay in one payment before then, you may use your Amex card, however if you are setting up an installment plan, please do not link your paypal account to an Amex card, because after October, that will not work and it will cause a mess! ;-)

Payment Plans:
One Payment, in full, or Installment Payments (we have discontinued the 2-payment plan).

The skinny on the Installment Payments plan:
We are hoping everyone likes this new arrangement! It is designed to make your payments more manageable by spreading them out over a longer period. So... the way it works is, the total cost of your share+options-discounts is divided equally over all the months between the time you sign up and next November.

Here is an example:
You sign up for 1 Family Share + 1 Egg Option on Oct 8th.
$1122 + $231 = $1353 - $33.83 (2.5% Early Reg discount) = $1319.17
Divide $1319.17 by 14 and your payments will be only $94.23 per month, with the first payment charged on Oct 8th (the day you sign up), and the remainder charged on the first of each subsequent month through Nov 1 2011.
Let's say you didn't sign up until December 15th. You would still get the early registration discount (because it is before Dec 31), but your payments would be a little bigger because they were spread out over less months. Using the same share combination as above, $1319.17 ÷ 12, your installments would be $109.93 each, with the first payment charged Dec 15th (again, the day you sign up), and the remaining payments charged Jan 1, Feb 1, Mar 1... etc, until Nov 1 2011.

When does the Regular 201
1 Season begin?
Weds/Thurs, April 6th/7th

Why am I not getting my "Fruit Bounty"?
The last few weeks I've received some emails and calls from members who signed up for our Fruit "Bounty" option wondering why they're no longer 'getting their fruit'. This is because the Fruit Bounty option was only 15 weeks long, and ended in mid-August (if you log in to your account online you should be able to see this).

The only fruit option which is still happening is our "Extra Fruit" option. That is 29 weeks long and runs from May through the end of the season in November.

FYI next year we are dropping the "Bounty" option, partly because of this confusion (which happens each year), but also because we now have the web store function, which we didn't have before. So all our 'bounties' of fruit will be made available there, and you will be able to order it on a weekly basis, as you wish! We think this will be better (and less confusing!) for everybody ;-)

- Debbie

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

Aaah yes, the purslane challenge! We have our purslane lovers, and our purslane, well... not-so-lovers ;-) As Tom says, this tasty 'weed' (it is only considered a weed in the USA; in European and South American countries it is a legitimate veggie!) is highly nutritious, and I find it totally fun and easy to use. If you haven't tried it yet, give it a shot before writing it off. I think you will be pleasantly surprised! The rest of the recipes this week are member contributions.  - Debbie

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

closeup of purslane
Purslane is a succulent, with a delicate lemony flavor. Both the stems and leaves can be eaten. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Snack on a bit of it while you're putting it in your fridge! Don't be shy!

Purslane Ideas

1) pinch off the leafy clusters and add them to tossed salads, either savory or sweet

2) put sprigs of it into sandwiches instead of (or in addition to) lettuce or sprouts

3) chop it coarsely and add it to quiches

4) chop it and add it to tuna or chicken or taco salad or burritos

5) saute it with onions and garlic; add some tomatoes and basil, and a little salt and pepper for a quick veggie side-dish

[If you cook it, note that it doesn't take long to cook; just a few minutes!]

6) saute it with onions and scramble in some eggs and have it for breakfast. Crumble a little feta cheese on top.

7) chop and saute it up and add it to your favorite ratatouille

This is by no means an exhaustive list. It should just give you enough ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

First member contribution. A few weeks back, member Jill Brewer sent me this lovely green bean and potato recipe. I was saving it for when we got green beans again!

Balsamic Potato and Green Bean Salad
by Jill Brewer

1 1/2 lbs. small potatoes
Bag of green beans (about 10-12 ounces)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 scallions thinly sliced
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1.  In a large pot, place the potatoes, some salt and enough water to cover by one inch.  Bring to a simmer and cook until tender (12-15 minutes).  Add the green beans and cook another 3 minutes. Drain and let stand.

2.  In a large bowl (maybe the bowl you will serve the salad in) combine the vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, sugar, pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.  Whisk in the olive oil until combined.

3.  After the potatoes and green beans have cooled a little add them to the dressing.  Toss until evenly coated.  Season with more salt and pepper (as needed).  Toss in the scallions and thyme.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Another member, Anna S., pointed out a while back that I was remiss in not having a basic Caprese Salad or Carrot Nut Bread in my recipe database, so here are her recipes for both, as well as a carrot salad she made up! :-)

Caprese Salad

3 vine-ripe tomatoes, 1/4-inch thick slices
1 pound fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick slices
20 to 30 leaves (about 1 bunch) fresh basil
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse salt and pepper

Layer alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarella, adding a basil leaf between each, on a large, shallow platter. Drizzle the salad with extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Quick Carrot Nut Bread

Sift together:
1 1/2 C sifted flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Add and mix:
3/4 C sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C vegetable. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt

Add and mix:
1 1/2 C grated carrots
1/2 C ground pecans or walnuts

Bake in a greased 5x9 inch loaf pan in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Cool in pan about 10 minutes. Turn out on rack for further cooling.

Anna's Moroccan Raw Carrot Salad

1 lb. carrots, coarsely grated (about 4 cups)
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 4 tbsp. mayonnaise
3 to 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 C currants
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro
4 cloves garlic, minced (the sweet tasting preprepared chopped garlic in a jar works well for this)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. sweet paprika
Pinch of Kosher salt
A few dashes of hot pepper sauce

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days to allow the flavors to meld and permeate the carrots. Served chilled or at room temperature.

Member Sue Burnham sent me this totally interesting new idea for using summer squash that she found on CCA net. She says it's a great use for large amounts of it, and it is healthy. Her preference is for more lime and less sugar, but she says it was totally fun.

Zucchini (Summer Squash) Lime Slushies
serves 4

"The slightly bland, watery quality of raw zucchini is a turnoff to many but makes it a great base for a refreshing hot-weather cooler. Pureeing the humble squash with lime juice, sugar, and ice magically transforms it into a pretty green slushy treat that is just sweet enough. Spike it with tequila for a fun summer cocktail or keep it virgin for the kids."

2 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 C superfine granulated sugar
6 tbsp. tequila (or omit for virgin slushie)
1/4 C fresh lime juice
3 C ice cubes
Garnish: zucchini slices
Puree zucchini with sugar, tequila, lime juice, and 1/8 tsp. salt in a blender. Add ice and blend until ice is finely crushed. Serve in 10-oz glasses.

And lastly, also from Sue Burnham, this idea about freezing eggplant:

Freeze your eggplant

Sue describes her learning curve as follows, "Trader Joe's sells frozen breaded eggplant cutlets.  They are great for a fast eggplant parmigiana or sub.  When we had all of that eggplant in out boxes I decided to try making and freezing them myself.  The 1st time I did the usual slice, salt, rinse, pat dry, dip in egg then seasoned bread crumbs and then fry in a skillet (I use my cast iron skillets and usually prefer to use butter in those), when soft put on a paper towel covered plate to cool. When cool place on a waxed paper covered cookie sheet and freeze.  When frozen remove from cookie sheet and place in solid plastic container.  Put container back in freezer till needed.  I thaw before using.
"This is yummy but pretty messy and time consuming.
"So next time I did everything the same except for when I got to the frying stage. This time I greased a couple of cookie sheets and placed the breaded uncooked eggplant cutlets directly on the sheet. I baked them in a 400 degree oven I think it took about 12 to 15 minutes before they were soft but I don't remember.  I did turn them. I let the whole thing cool, stuck it in the freezer then removed from sheet and placed in containers. This worked really well. Much less time and mess. Good and bad points of not as oily.  Less fattening but not quite as flavorful.  If I could figure out how to lightly spray the cutlets w/olive oil before baking that would be the best of both worlds.  Brushing w/oil does not work as it takes the breading off.
"One day I didn't feel like breading the cutlets at all, so after salting, rinsing and drying I brushed w/olive oil, salted and peppered, roasted till soft then froze and put into containers.  Then the eggplant can be reheated, and then used in sandwiches, dips, casseroles."

Great idea Sue!

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 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 SOLD OUT
October 3 (Sunday) - Pickles JUST ADDED!
Nov 6 (Saturday) - Apples, Pears and Quince JUST 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 - 2pm to 6pm

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 rootsofwellness@gmail.com 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