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.
Apples (Gala) +
Green beans +
Red Russian kale
Hot peppers (mix of padrons, Hungarian yellow, and red serrano)
Tomatoes, mixed types
Hot peppers (mix of padrons, Hungarian yellow, and red serrano)
Tomatoes, mixed types
Haas avocados (Marasalisi Farm)
(see checklist for quantities)
This week's bread will be plain whole wheat
Thank you Dirt, Thanks a Bunch
After months without rain, the first showers such as the ones we had last weekend, are always a welcome relief for the thirsty landscape. The end of the "dry-season" also signals the transition to cooler and more rain-loving crops, setting the mood to gradually embrace the fall season. It's time to decorate the farm with pumpkins for Saturday's Harvest Celebration (see below); the winter squash is ready to be brought in from the field, and if the forecast of more rain materializes, it is also the time to start sowing cover crops for fields meant to rest over the winter.
Harvest of our Fuji apples starts this week. Fujis are a late variety which doesn't reach that perfect ripeness -- crisp, sweet and juicy -- until mid to late October. Since Fuji apples tend to hang on the tree even when ripe, it allows us to selectively harvest them 2 to 3 times over the next month, maximizing the development of their natural sweetness.
Important field preparations are underway for planting next year's strawberry, raspberry, garlic and fava bean crops, so I keep a close eye on the weather forecast. A sudden storm system like we experienced last year, which can bring several inches of rain, always requires that beds are prepared well in advance. The summer cover crops planted in fields slated to be cropped during the winter have been plowed in, compost and mineral soil amendments have been added, and Juan with his expert eye and feel for the land will grade any dips and low spots to improve the drainage. In a nutshell, our focus is always on nurturing the soil; growing a healthy crop requires growing vibrant soils that are full of humus and alive with microorganisms.
It pains me to see how many conventional berry growers in the Pajaro Valley right now, instead of nurturing the biological health of their soil, will do just the opposite. Last week, Elisa asked me why the strawberry and raspberry fields she's been watching from her backseat window on her way to school are suddenly all plowed under and covered with large "plastic blankets". I couldn't help feel both anger and frustration, since what my six year old is seeing is a reflection of everything that is wrong and hypocritical about the conventional food system. How is it possible that soil -- the very foundation of our existence, filled with complex and microscopic life forms essential to the nutrient exchange between soil and plants -- is allowed to be sterilized with Methyl Bromide, a poisonous lethal gas and ozone depleter?
A conventional farmer's field, recently injected with methyl bromide and
covered in plastic sheeting, with a wholly insubstantial warning sign
at one corner!
Above, our fields: the correct way, the organic way - plowing in cover crop and spreading compost.
After taking a deep breath, I held off slipping into an emotional rant and instead tried to explained how the soil is filled with the life of tiny "creepy crawlies" that help us farm and grow healthy, tasty fruits and vegetables, and that by using nasty chemicals, those conventional farmers are cheating on mother nature, making her and all of us sick. I also remembered some of the lyrics of the Banana Slug String Band's hit song "Dirt made my Lunch". Singing will always work better than any "wordy" explanation when it comes to children. "Thank you dirt, thanks a bunch, for dirt made our lunch!" And thank you, Banana Slug String Band, for all your words of wisdom in your earth songs, which help us to pass this important information on to our children and educate them in a fun and memorable way.
Pumpkins and Apples
It's Pumpkin picking time, so don't forget to come to the farm this Saturday for the Harvest Celebration and pick up your pumpkin! CSA members get one pumpkin for free and if you like more, there should be plenty available for a small donation. We're open all Saturday!!! If you can't make it this Saturday but just want to swing by at a later date to get your pumpkin, I am sure we'll have enough left over for last minute carving or Halloween decoration projects.
We are also offering an Apple U-Pick this coming Saturday at our Celebration. The U-pick will be from 2-5pm. Please follow the signs for directions (the U-pick will be at our 'lower farm'); U-pick parking will be near the orchard, at our 1275 Green Valley Road address. After you pick your apples, however, you can either walk up the hill to join us for the Harvest Celebration, or you can drive back around to our Litchfield Lane location and park closer to the event. PLEASE BRING YOUR OWN BAGS AND CONTAINERS TO PUT YOUR APPLES INTO. Suggested donation for the apples is 50 cents per pound.
Newsletter pictures should be working now
I heard from many of you that the images were not showing up in the email version of the newsletter, so I am trying something different this week. It's a long story as to why they weren't always coming through (fun tech stuff like '.htaccess files' and my attempt to eliminate 'referrer spam'), but anyway, I've come up with an alternate solution that should work.
Fall Harvest Celebration this Saturday!
Mark your calendar and cm'on down to our 15th annual Harvest Celebration!When:
this Saturday, Oct 23rd
2pm until darkWhere:
for the Celebration
, come to the 'upper farm'
for the Apple U-pick
, go to the 'lower farm' and follow signs for parking
(the two locations are connected, so you can park at either spot and walk between them, just be aware there's a steep hill in-between!)CLICK HERE for directions to both locations
No cost - just bring something to share in the pot-luck! (And cash for the donations box if you pick apples or extra pumpkins)Schedule of Events:Ongoing Activities: 2pm on<> Apple U-pick
- Please follow signs to Fuji orchards when you come in the driveway at our 1275 Green Valley address. Pick a bag or a bushel then come join us at the 'upper farm' for the rest of the celebration! <> Apple Cider Pressing
- by the fire circle<> Face Painting<> Pumpkin Harvesting<> Strawberry Picking!<> Pumpkin Carving
- carve a pumpkin to enter into our pumpkin-carving contest
and light it for the potluck! (You can also pre-carve your pumpkin and bring it if you'd rather participate in other activities the day of the celebration)Structured Activities:<> 2:30pm - Goat Milking Demonstration
- meet at the goat pen<> 3pm - Walking Tour with Farmer Tom!
- meet Farmer Tom at 3pm by the fire circle for a personalized walking tour and history of Live Earth Farm<> 2 - 5pm Warm Apple Focaccia Bread Making
- at the cob oven<> 4 - 5pm - Potato Sack Races for kids of all ages!
- meet by the hay bale fort with Jessica<> 5pm - Pie and Pumpkin Carving Contests Awards Ceremony!
- Join us for the award ceremonies for both our pie-making and pumpkin carving contests (details below). Please meet at the fire circle to cheer on our hard-working contestants and then enjoy the fruits of our labor at the potluck!<> 5:30pm - potluck dinner with pie-contest pies for dessert!
We encourage you to bring your own plates, bowls, forks, spoons, cloth
napkins... even cups for cider, in order to minimize the un-recyclable
waste of paper plates and plastic utensils and such going into the landfill. Thanks! OH, and don't forget a serving utensil for your pot-luck item!<> Dusk - traditional bonfire
- kids of all ages gather 'round to light the harvest bonfire What to bring:
<> Above-mentioned plates, utensils, cups etc for pot-luck
<> A dish of some sort to share in the pot-luck (don't forget to bring a serving utensil! Please also bring a card or note with ingredients if not obvious, so people with food allergies will know what they can and cannot eat)
<> A blanket to spread on the ground to picnic on
<> Hats, jackets, sweaters, etc - it gets cool in the evening!
<> A flashlight, if you plan on staying until dark<> Don't forget to bring your pie for the pie contest and/or your carved pumpkin for the pumpkin-carving contest!
:-) (see below for details)
Harvest Celebration - Pie-baking contest!
Break out your favorite recipe and bake your finest pie for entering in our second annual Pie-Baking Contest!
A panel of pie experts will judge your pie based on a variety of categories, from most like mom's, to best crust, to most local pie! After what is sure to be an eventful tasting and awards ceremony, the rest of the community will enjoy the pies as the main dessert for the potluck.Pie Contest Categories
Most Local Pie - complete with a list of local ingredients!
Most like Mom's
Most Creative Filling Combination
Most Artistic Latticework
Best Kid-creation *** Please bring pies to the judging area near the fire circle upon your arrival to the farm for the day's events. ***
Harvest Celebration - Pumpkin-carving contest!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ New this year we are holding a Pumpkin Carving Contest!
Carve one at home and bring, or carve one at the farm (you may want to carve ahead of time so as to have time to participate in other activities while on the farm). Pumpkin's will be judged based on a number of categories from spookiest carving to best Live Earth Farm-themed pumpkin! After a rousing judging ceremony, carved pumpkins will be lit and put on display for the potluck. So get creative and leave those pre-made carving templates at home, this year's inaugural pumpkin carving contest will be fun for the whole family. Happy carving!
Harvest Festival Pumpkin Carving Contest Categories Include...
Best Live Earth Farm- Themed Pumpkin**Please bring all carved pumpkins to a table by the fire circle **
Member sign-up reminder
In just a few short weeks we will be opening up sign-up for Winter and Next Season 2011 to the general public (beginning of November), so members be sure to sign up soon! Our 'early registration' signup notification email has been sent out to all CSA members, so if you are a member and did not receive this, let me know, and I will re-send it to you.
The Winter Season begins the week after Thanksgiving (1st week of December).
The 2011 Regular Season doesn't start until next April, but sign up now (or soon) to take advantage 'early registration' discounts and smaller, spread-out payments! Also, remember: some options like "Extra Fruit" are in limited supply, so don't wait too long or there may be a waiting list for them.
For detail about prices, schedules etc. for both seasons, click here.
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
My my my... a pie contest, huh? Maybe this week I should give you some pie recipes -- the best from the database! - Debbie
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . First, a savory pie (for the 'savory' category!) ;-)
[from 2004] Member Karen Sauer, who submitted this recipe, says, "I got several
requests for this recipe after taking it to the potluck at the farm's
Mini-Camp - it's a much modified version of Cauliflower Cheese Pie
from Moosewood, and wheat-free. I often make this at the end of the week
when I have too many "leftover" veggies and our pick-up is the
next day, so it comes out a little different every time I make it!"
Karen says, "this makes one large spring-form pie, or you can cut
the recipe in half for a 9-inch pie plate."
4 C packed grated raw potato
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C grated onion
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Set the freshly-grated potato in a colander over a bowl. Salt it and leave
it for 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess water (which can be used for stock)
and add to remaining ingredients. Pat into well-oiled spring-form pan,
building up the sides with lightly-floured fingers. Bake for 40-45 minutes
- until browned. After the first 30 minutes, brush crust with oil to crispen
it. Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
2 C chopped onion
2 cloves crushed garlic
salt and pepper
lots of veggies (I use whatever is left from our box, plus mushrooms)
cooking wine, white or red
1/2 C milk
2 to 3 C grated cheese - can use cheddar, or mixture of cheeses
Brown the onion and garlic in butter or oil and add Italian spices in
whatever mixture you like (I cheat and buy the mixture) plus salt and
pepper. Then add whatever veggies you want - I use a varied combo
of carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach or chard, tomatoes, broccoli,
beets, cauliflower, etc, plus mushrooms. (This is one recipe for which
I'm sure to use the food processor!) After the above is well mixed, add
enough wine to layer the bottom of the pan/soup pot, cover and simmer
for +/- 10 minutes. Place the spring-form pan with baked crust on a greased
jellyroll pan (this will aid with clean-up). Spread about 1 cup of cheese
on the baked crust, then the sautéed vegetables [drain off any liquid before adding], then the rest
of the cheese. Beat the eggs and milk together and pour over all. Bake
35 to 40 minutes, until pie has set.Here's my very own Apple Pie recipe - I've been making it this way so many years, I've lost count. This originally ran in the Winter 2006 newsletter:Debbie's Apple Pie
Since we're getting lots of apples, I
thought I'd give you my old pie standby. This is long, but that's only because
I'm describing how I really make it, not just listing ingredients and steps.
;-) I learned not to be afraid of making pies (some people have pie crust
phobia), because I've always made what my mom called a 'stir-and-roll' crust.
I think she got it originally from Joy of Cooking, and I have evolved it
over the years (the original recipe called for plain milk and white flour;
I love to use buttermilk or yogurt or kefir, and mix in part whole wheat flour). My recipe card
is brown and crumbling, written in my immature, teenager handwriting, with
scribbles and edits over the decades! crust ingredients
(for a 10" pie plate, top and bottom crust):
1 C whole wheat flour
2 C white flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk (I've also successfully used plain whole-milk yogurt or kefir)*
3/4 C plus 2 tbsp. canola oil*
*measured in the same cup, the total liquid volume comes to 1 1/2 C pie ingredients
7 to 8 large, tart apples
juice of half to one lemon, optional (i.e. for if you don't have tart apples)
1/4 to 1/3 C sugar
oh, maybe half a tsp. cinnamon (I never measure, just shake a bunch into the sugar and mix it together!)
ditto, but less (1/4 tsp?), with some ground cloves and even a little allspice
about 2 tbsp. butter
[since it is late fall and we're getting raspberries still, it'd be fun to sneak-toss a basket of raspberries in with the apples for color and yum!]
make crust: toss and combine flour(s) and salt in a medium bowl with a
fork. Whisk together buttermilk, yogurt or kefir and oil in the cup you measured it in.
Pour into flour/salt mixture and stir to combine. Form into a ball and
pull apart into two halves. Roll out half between two sheets of waxed
paper until wider than the diameter of your pie plate by about an inch
or more. Peel off one sheet of the waxed paper, and invert the bottom
crust onto the pie plate (I always use a glass pie plate, by the way).
Roll the other half of the dough between same two pieces of waxed paper
and let rest while you prepare the filing.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel, core and slice apples (I like to use my
food processor with the 4mm slicing blade 'cause it's quick, but it is just
as easy and very satisfying when you have the time to simply slice the apples
right into the bottom crust!). Combine sugar and spices in a separate cup
of some sort. I like to layer the apples and sugar, rather than tossing together
in a bowl, so I'll put about a third of the apples into the bottom crust,
then sprinkle a third of the sugar mixture over that, then dot with a little
butter, then apples, then sugar, then dot with a little more butter, etc.,
until I can't stack the apples any higher! (Oh, and if you're using the lemon
juice, just squeeze the juice from a lemon over the apples as you layer them
Now go back to your top crust and peel off the top sheet of waxed paper,
and cut a decorative design into the crust; the openings act as vents
for the steam to escape. I traditionally make a 'sand dollar' design, with
the vents extending radially out from the middle like the spokes of a wheel,
but not connected at the center: four larger slits, with four smaller slits
between the large ones. Once that's done, carefully invert the crust over
the top of your apple pile, doing your best to make it land on center! Then
tuck the overlapping top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp
(I use my thumb and first and second fingers to seal it into a fluted edge).
Optionally at this point, you may sprinkle additional cinnamon sugar mixture
lightly over the crust, mostly the crimped part.
To protect the perimeter of the pie crust from burning, make a shield out
of strips of aluminum foil (I take a long-ish piece off the roll, fold it
lengthwise, unfold it and then tear it in half - it tears neatly along the
crease - then
fold these halves in half lengthwise and wrap them around the edge of the
pie plate, overlapping the ends, and gently folding it in over the crust
edge and crimping it below the rim of the glass pie plate so it stays in
Place pie in the middle of your oven and bake at
425 degrees for about 18 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees
and bake an additional 35 minutes or so, up to 40 minutes, but not too
long, as you don't want the apples to get all mushy, just to cook down
and get tender.
Note: the top crust will remain a high and lofty shell even though the apples cook down. This looks cool! [from Winter 2008] Here is a sensational apple pie recipe, from Jesse Cool:
says, "This recipe was developed by Christine Guiterez, a former pastry
chef at Flea St. Cafe [a restaurant of Jesse's in Menlo Park]. A twist
on the classic Cheddar cheese and apple pie, this combination of apples
with salty cheese and pepper may sound a bit unusual, but to me, it's
even better than the traditional."
1 ½ C whole grain pastry flour
1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. salt
½ C very cold unsalted butter
½ C milk
1 C whole grain pastry flour
1 C packed brown sugar
1 C (2 oz) grated Asiago cheese
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 tbsp. very cold unsalted butter
6 large crisp apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
¾ C packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg [or ground, if you don't have fresh]
To make the crust:In a large bowl, combine the flour, thyme and salt. Grate the butter
into the mixture. Using your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter
into the flour mixture until the pieces are about the size of peas. Add
the milk, ¼ C at a time, and blend until a soft, moist dough is formed.
Add a few more tablespoons milk if the dough seems dry. It should be
Form the dough into a ball then flatten into a round. disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the topping:In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cheese and pepper.
Grate the butter into the mixture. Using your hands or a pastry blender,
work the butter into the flour mixture until the pieces are about the
size of peas. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to
350 degrees. When the crust dough is chilled, place it on a
well-floured surface and roll to about a 1/8" thickness, turning and
flouring the dough often to keep it well-floured. Fold the dough in half
and place in a 9" or 10" pie plate. [Unfold the dough on pie plate],
turn under and crimp the crust.
To make the filling:In a large bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, cornstarch, and
nutmeg. Place in the prepared crust. Crumble the crumb topping over the
Bake for 1 hour, or until the crust is browned and the
apples are soft. Place on a rack to cool for at least 30 minutes before
slicing.[also from Winter 2006; another savory pie!] Here's a very interesting recipe which I'm
anxious to try called "Lumbardy Pie," a savory beet, cheddar and
currant pie.Lumdardy Pie
Member Piper McNulty who submitted this says, "This is an amazing
recipe for plain red beets (does not work well with striped or yellow beets,
must be solid red). It is a savory pie to be served as a side or main dish.
It is from 'The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin,' by John
Partridge, 1594 - given to me by my cousin, who was a member of the Society
for Creative Anachronism in college. It sounds crazy but it looks gorgeous
and tastes amazing - (and I don't like red beets particularly). Slices are
a beautiful hot pink and hold together firmly."
1 1b. fresh red beets, finely grated (about 4 smallish beets)
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. to 1 tbsp. bread crumbs (you can make your own from a bit of bread)
3/4 C sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 C currants
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger or 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely grated
3 egg yolks (or you could try 2 whole eggs?)
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 bottom crust in pie pan [if you want an easy pie crust recipe, see the crust
in the "Debbie's Apple Pie" recipe, which ran in the last
newsletter, Winter Share week 3]
Mix all ingredients.
Fill pie crust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
Cool. Here's another savory pie recipe, also from back in 2004!Eggplant-Cheese Pie with Zucchini Crust
from Jane Brody's Good Food Book
6 main-dish servings
"The pie can be prepared in advance for baking. Or it can be baked
through and reheated at serving time," says Jane.
1 1/2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1 med. onion, chopped (about 1/2 C)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2" cubes (about 4 1/2 C)
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. dried basil
Dash or 2 of cayenne
1 small zucchini [summer squash], sliced
2/3 C (1 sm. can) evaporated milk
8 oz. mozzarella, grated (about 2 C)
In a large skillet, melt the butter or margarine and sauté the
onion, garlic and eggplant for 2 minutes. Cover the skillet, and continue
cooking the vegetables for about 5 minutes or until the eggplant is soft,
stirring the mixture a few times.
Add the salt, oregano, basil, and cayenne, and stir mixture well.
Line the bottom and sides of a greased 10-inch pie plate with the zucchini
slices. Carefully spoon the eggplant mixture over them.
In a bowl, combine the evaporated milk, egg, and cheese. Pour this mixture
over the vegetables.
Bake the pie in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
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)
Mothers, 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 email@example.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 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 - 2pm 'til 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.