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
Tomatoes/sweet peppers mix
Winter squash (sweet dumpling)
... and one small Halloween pumpkin!
Tomatoes/sweet peppers mix
Winter squash (sweet dumpling)
... and one small Halloween pumpkin!
Haas avocados (Marasalisi Farm)
Raspberries or Strawberries
(see checklist for quantities)
This week's bread will be whole wheat with flax seed
The gradual and gentle onset of rain on Saturday afternoon didn't keep us from having a lively and fun Harvest celebration. As we all explored the many corners of the farm we also pressed apples into sweet cider, gathered and carved pumpkins, picked apples in the orchards, milked the goats, and baked and ate fresh apple tartlets straight out of the cob oven. The kids played with the chickens, raced each other in potato sacks... and a few of them, disappointed that tractor rides got canceled because of muddy conditions, got rides in a wheelbarrow instead. As the rain started to intensify, Pumpkin Man, like a pied piper, led laughing and skipping children (and the rest of us) to the barn for the pie and carved-pumpkin contests.
As darkness settled in, the day ended with a delicious potluck in the breezeway of the upper barn. Thank you to everyone who came, helped organize, and contributed to making this end-of-season once again reflect the generosity and creative spirit of our community.
With the arrival of rain, lots of transitions are happening in the field which will in turn impact the content of your CSA box. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant will most likely come to an end this week (we'll be harvesting the best of what's left and putting them in this week's shares). Green beans will hold up just fine as long as there isn't a strong frost. Sadly though, we'll have to start saying goodbye to our berry crops, which have faithfully filled our baskets and bellies since the start of the season.
The time has come, though, to harvest winter squash. This week it will be Sweet Dumplings - one of my favorite. I love them just cut in half, with a slice of butter or dribble of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and bake in the oven. I eat both the flesh with the skin together. Yum! Kabocha, Acorn, and Butternut Squash will follow in the next few weeks. For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of carving a pumpkin or preparing a winter squash for cooking is scooping out the slimy, slippery mass of seeds held safely inside the thick fleshy walls of the fruit. The seeds reflect the abundance of nature, because from planting just one seed we get so many in return. Every seed stores the energy and information on how to grow another plant. I felt compelled to place a baby pumpkin in everyone's share, not just because we have an abundance of them, but because they symbolize the seasonal transition right now, a time when plants are pulling their energy into the over-wintering roots or seeds, and a time where we as a community celebrate Halloween, accepting that light is giving way to darkness. From all of us "Live Earth Farmers", have a wonderful and magical Halloween!
PS from Debbie: after this week, there are three more delivery weeks to the CSA. Last delivery will be Weds/Thurs Nov 17/18 (the week before Thanksgiving). Then the Winter Season begins first Thursday of December. See info below about "signup" if you haven't yet signed up.
Webstore closed 'til after Thanksgiving
Because so many things on the farm are in transition right now, we are temporarily closing the webstore. If there are any surprise bounties we hadn't though of we'll open it again and let you know, otherwise it will open again during the winter season. Stay tuned for surprise items and possible goodies for Christmas!
Discovery Program Update
Hello LEF CSA Families,
Thank you to the diehards who braved the rain to join us for our Harvest Festival on Saturday. The day started out promising with a bit of sunshine and blue sky, but as the event time approached the sky darkened. And right around our 2 pm start time the sprinkles began. In spite of the wetness we had a large crowd and everyone had a great time.
We carved pumpkins and painted faces under our market tents, we judged pies and pumpkins in the breezeway. We roasted pumpkin seeds and baked apple pizzettes in the cob oven. During a break in the rain we ran some very exciting potato sack and three-legged races. The Broz family made a great showing in the races, with the kids taking the lead. I must admit I thought our Farmer Tom would be faster. I guess jumping in a potato sack does not correlate to the speed with which he tears around the rest of the time. ;-)
And in LEF Discovery Program news, we are now officially offering classroom visits November through March. We will address California Content Standards through hands-on activities, and customize the visit to your curriculum. See the Discovery Program "Learn" page on our website for more details.
More pictures from the Harvest Celebration
Logan, age 9, basks in his win of the 'best kid creation' for his raspberry tart; Nicole Pullman's award-winning lattice top apple pie; and wait -- what's that note Pumpkin Man is writing for Taylor... surprise surprise!
The pumpkin-carving contestants...
Strawberry picking is good in ANY kind of weather! So is face painting. And who selected the largest pumpkin in the patch to take home?
Scenes from the pot-luck: Alexis and her contribution, complete with signage; Taylor and a little friend wait in the welcome circle for the pot-luck to begin.
Happy Harvest Everyone!
Final opportunity for pigs from TLC Ranch
If you are interested in getting some top-notch pasture-raised pork, now is the time to take action. TLC Ranch will be harvesting the last of their pigs in a little over two weeks. We don't know of any other farmers in the area that raise pastured pork, so if you had been thinking about doing this in the past, don't delay -- this will be your last opportunity. I have wanted to get pork from TLC myself for a long time, but was daunted by the quantity. Then my brains came in and I did like a lot of you do with your CSA shares... I asked around (in my case, I used my local neighborhood elist) and quickly got a group of folks to go in on an order with me. You put down a deposit now (TLC even has a paypal button for this, to make it easy), and then pay them the balance upon delivery. Simple. And worth every penny. - Debbie
Here's the info from Jim and Rebecca:
TLC Ranch has one last round of pigs for sale as halves and wholes before they close their farm. These pigs were all raised on organic pasture or in the woods, supplemented with organic grains, and organic fruits & veggies picked up from local farmers. They were never given antibiotics. The pigs will be harvested on November 10th and delivered to the butcher on Friday Nov. 12th.
Here are the options:
Gilt half, around 100 pounds hanging weight, $6.00/lb.
Gilt whole, around 200 pounds hanging weight, $5.50/lb.
Sow half, around 200 pounds hanging weight, $4.50/lb.
Sow whole, around 400 pounds hanging weight, $4.00/lb.
The gilts are 7-8 month old females and the sows are two year old females with considerably more fat marbling and backfat, great for those who want to make lard and lots of sausage. Due to the large size, the sows will have to be skinned, so you won't get any skin-on roasts, belly, etc. All the gilts and sows are heritage breeds, either Tamworths, Gloucester Old Spots, or crosses of those two breeds. More information and deposits can be paid on our website at www.tlcrancheggs.com. Reservations are due by Sunday November 7th.
Signup for Winter and 2011 seasons now open to everybody!
If you are not yet a member and have been patiently waiting your turn to sign up for either Winter or next year's Regular Season, wait no more - you can now simply go to our website, click "join" or "become a member" and sign up! [Existing members: you can still sign up as well - we would not shut the door on you!] We will continue to take signups until we are full (400 winter shares, 800 regular season shares). If any share, option, or pick-up site you were interested in becomes full, please be sure to waitlist yourself for that item or site. That lets us know that there is demand and we can try to make adjustments to accommodate.
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!
For detail about prices, schedules etc. for both seasons, click here.
"Every other week" eggs now available!
Since starting in 2011 we will no longer offer eggs by the half-dozen, I have now set up the system so that you can order a dozen eggs 'every other week'. If you haven't signed up for your 2011 share yet, piece of cake: it will be a part of the signup wizard.
Members: if you HAVE already signed up for your 2011 share, here's how you can add the 'every other week' egg option:
Simply log in to your 2011 account and then click on "add subscription" under the Summary section on the right side of the window. This will take you to a 'mini-wizard' and you can add the option from there.
We should have plenty of eggs for the 2011 season, so no worries about waitlists! But if you'd like to take advantage of the 'early registration' discount, be sure to add this before December 31st. ;-)
Support OFRF through your food purchases Tuesday Oct 26
Tom generally likes to keep news in our newsletter about "local" issues, but I just had to add this brief item. Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) is an organization worth supporting - they fund important organic farming and research projects throughout the country and share the results with farmers and growers interested in adopting organic production systems. OFRF is also one of our valuable assets in government policy making, stepping in and informing policymakers on organic farming issues.
You can support OFRF by doing something you have to do anyway: grocery shop (well... for those things other than your organic fruit and veggies anyway!). This Tuesday Oct 26 is "Regional Community Giving Day" at all Whole Foods in the Northern California/Reno area. Five percent of their net sales on that day only will be donated to OFRF. What's not to like about that?
I know this is really short notice, so if Tuesday isn't your normal shopping day but you are otherwise a regular Whole Foods shopper and would like to support OFRF this way, you could just pop in on the 26th and buy yourself a gift card (they'll prepare one for you in any amount; it's like a debit card and has no expiration date), then spend from that at your leisure the next time you go grocery shopping.
Medicinal Herb classes at Live Earth Farm
CSA member Darren Huckle is a licensed herbalist and accupuncturist, and starting next spring he will be bringing his knowledge here to the farm for a series of classes on learning how to identify, taste and safely and effectively use medicinal plants common in Northern California.
Two weeks ago Darren offered a 'preview' herb walk on the farm, and this is what attendees had to say:
"The medicinal herb walk led by Darren Huckle on Live Earth Farm last Saturday (Oct. 9th) was fun and informative. We covered about 30 herbs all together, tasting many, smelling, touching and learning about their varied uses. Most of the herbs we found and discussed were "volunteers," but many were cultivated as well. Many of us recognized herbs that we see growing in our very own yards as "weeds." It was exciting to learn of their practical uses in our lives. As an example, one of my personal favorites was plantain, which hides in almost every lawn and grows as a weed in many yards. It is great for myriad of skin irritations and infections, and the seeds can be used as a laxative. One of the prettiest was echinacea, a popular immune activator. We all walked away with new knowledge about many of the plants that happily grow in our local environment." - Linda Rae Mays
"I went on the Herb walk this weekend and it was terrific. Darren is a knowledgeable, generous, joyful soul and it was delightful to spend time on the farm with him and the others who attended the workshop. I now think of herbal remedies instead of off-the-shelf remedies. My husband came home with a cut on his head and I immediately thought of using plantain herb compress to treat it. I'm considering taking more herbal remedy workshops from Darren." - Laurel Pavesi
For more information, contact Darren email@example.com or 831.334.5177 or visit his website www.rootsofwellness.net.
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
There were some absolutely gorgeous pies at last weekend's harvest celebration, and some wonderful savory ones too (one yummy crustless one with chard, pine nuts and currants); I'm hoping that those of you I met and talked to will send me your recipes so I can share them with everybody! - Debbie
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sweet Dumpling squash... what can I tell you about them? Sweet Dumpling winter squash look like squatty little ornamental gourds, but don't let the looks deceive you -- they are incredibly delicious! Like their "cousins" called "Delicata" (same flavor, different shape), they are both thin skinned, so you can eat the peel just like you would a baked potato... and they're so sweet! Really, there is no need to add brown sugar or maple syrup like lots of people do to winter squash recipes. I highly encourage you to try it simply first. Here's a perfect way:
Taylor's baked Delicata or Sweet Dumpling squash with butter and rosemary
Oh. My. God.
This is SOOOOO good!!!
This is dead easy, and absolutely amazing. So -- just halve the squash lengthwise [Delicata] or around the middle [Sweet Dumpling], and scoop out the seeds. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Put squash halves in a baking pan cut side up. Put a generous chunk of butter in each half (1 tbsp? 2 tbsp? depends on how big the squash halves are; don't be shy with the butter). Scatter minced fresh rosemary over this (a little goes a long way; maybe only 2 to 5 rosemary leaves, minced, per squash half), and bake until completely soft... 30 minutes, maybe 40 if they are bigger... check on them after 20 minutes, then continue checking at 10 minute intervals, but be sure to bake them until compleeetely soft. The aroma is just amazing; your mouth will be watering. What's really great about these babies is that you can eat the skin too! If you're the sort that likes baked potato skins, you'll be a happy camper.
Cooking notes update from Nov 15: for the Sweet Dumplings, I put the halves in a covered glass baking dish with about 1 tbsp. water in the bottom at 350 degrees for an hour, then uncovered it for another 20 minutes or so. It came out incredibly tender and wonderful! See Week 34 Newsletter 2010 for pictures!
Here's a cool idea for that Napa cabbage (and carrot and fennel and radishes and scallions): make kimchi! We've got the perfect combination of veggies this week, especially if you have any hot peppers left in your fridge from last week's shares. It's a pretty quick fermentation (only takes about a week), so you can be enjoying your kimchi in relatively short order.
from "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz [this is a fabulous book, by the way! As always, my comments are in square brackets, Sandor's are in parentheses. - Debbie]
Ingredients (for 1 quart kimchi)
Sea salt or Himalayan salt [do NOT use table salt; it has additives - read the label sometime and you'll be amazed. It has to be pure, unadulterated salt because any added chemicals will mess up the fermentation process!]
1 lb. Chinese (Napa) cabbage or bok choi
1 daikon radish, or a few red radishes
1 to 2 carrots
1 to 2 onions and/or leeks and/or a few scallions and/or shallots (or more!)
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (or more!)
3 to 4 hot red chilies (or more!), depending on how hot-peppery you like food, or any form of hot pepper, fresh, dried, or in a sauce (without chemical preservatives!)
3 tbsp. (or more!) fresh grated gingerroot
[and I would optionally add fennel too!]
1. Mix a brine of about 4 C water and 4 tbsp. salt. Stir well to thoroughly dissolve salt. The brine should taste good and salty.
2. Coarsely chop the cabbage, slice the radish and carrots [and fennel], and let the vegetables soak in the brine, covered by a plate or other weight to keep them submerged, until soft, a few hours or overnight. Add other vegetables to the brine such as snow peas, seaweeds, Jerusalem artichokes, anything you like.
3. Prepare spices: Grate the ginger; chop the garlic and onion; remove seeds from the chilies and chop or crush, or throw them in whole. Kimchi can absorb a lot of spice. Experiment with quantities and don't worry too much about them. Mix spices into a paste. (If you wish, you can add fish sauce to the spice paste. Just check the label to be sure it has no chemical preservatives, which function to inhibit microorganisms [needed for proper fermentation].)
4. Drain brine off vegetables, reserving brine. Taste vegetables for saltiness. You want them to taste decidedly salty, but not unpleasantly so. If they are too salty, rinse them. If you cannot taste salt, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons salt and mix. [The salt is necessary to the fermentation process.]
5. Mix the vegetables with the ginger-chili-onion-garlic paste. Mix everything together thoroughly and stuff it into a clean quart-size (liter) jar. Pack it tightly into the jar, pressing down until the brine rises. If necessary, add a little of the reserved vegetable-soaking brine to submerge the vegetables. Weight them down with a smaller jar, or a sip-lock bag filled with some brine [so that if it leaks, no problem. The purpose of the weight is to keep the veggies fully submerged during fermentation.] Or if you think you can remember to check the kimchi every day, you can just use your (clean!) fingers to push the vegetables back under the brine. I myself like the tactile involvement of this method, and I especially enjoy tasting the kimchi by licking my fingers after I do this. Either way, cover the jar to keep out dust and flies.
6. Ferment in your kitchen or other warm place. Taste the kimchi every day. After about a week of fermentation, when it tastes ripe, move it to the refrigerator. An alternative and more traditional method is to ferment kimchi more slowly and with more salt in a cool spot, such as a hole in the ground, or a cellar or other cool place.
And a perfect way to USE your kimchi... member Diana Foss sent me this recipe from the New York Times back in January:
For the dipping sauce:
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp. minced scallion
1/4 tsp. sesame seeds
For the pancake:
1/2 C flour
1/2 C potato starch
2 scallions, cut into 1 1/2-inch-long pieces
1 1/2 tbsp. garlic, sliced thinly
1 1/2 tbsp. Korean red pepper powder or 1/2 tbsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt
1 C kimchi [drained, I'm guessing]
2 tbsp. kimchi juice
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1. Make dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, scallion, sesame seeds and one-half tablespoon water. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, potato starch and egg until smooth. Add scallions, garlic, red pepper powder, salt, kimchi and its juice. Mix well. Batter will be pale pink.
3. Place an 8- or 9-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When oil is hot, pour in one-third of the pancake batter. Fry until golden and crisp, about 3 to 4 minutes. Lift pancake with a spatula, add 1 tablespoon oil to pan and swirl it. Flip pancake and fry other side until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip again, without adding oil, and fry for 1 minute. Flip one more time and fry 1 to 2 minutes. Pancake should be dark gold.
4. Repeat with remaining batter and oil, making 3 pancakes. Remove to a large round plate and cut each pancake into 6 wedges. Serve with dipping sauce.
Yield: 3 pancakes.
Lastly, for the Family Share members who are getting the last of the eggplant this week, here's a recipe our of last week's SJ Mercury News:
Marinated Eggplant with Oregano
makes six hors d'oeuvre servings
recipe modified slightly
3 small eggplants (about 1 1/2 lbs)
Olive oil, for brushing
Freshly ground pepper
For the marinade:
1 small hot red pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh oregano, plus a few leaves for garnish
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, coat with nonstick cooking oil spray [or smear with a little olive oil]. Cut the stems from the eggplants, then cut in half lengthwise and crosswise. Cut each quarter eggplant further into 3 equal 'half-moon' slices. Arrange slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and brush each lightly with olive oil, season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, prepare the marinade: whisk the minced red pepper, herbs, garlic, lemon juice, oil, salt and black pepper.
Transfer cooked eggplant to a serving platter. Spoon the marinade evenly over them and leave at room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving (or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days; let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving). Sprinkle with oregano leaves and serve.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Walks/classes 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. Consider joining herbalist Darren Huckle L.Ac for a monthly series of fun, informative, herb walks and classes in spring 2011 where you will learn how to identify, taste and safely and effectively use medicinal plants common in Northern California.
For more info, contact Darren Huckle at email@example.com or 831.334.5177