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.
Asian greens - pak choi
Red Russian Kale
Lettuce (Little Gem) +
Yellow onions (Pinnacle Farm)
Winter squash (Acorn)
Asian greens - pak choi
Lettuce (Little Gem)
Yellow onions (Pinnacle Farm)
Potatoes (Yellow Finn)
Winter squash (Acorn)
1 bag mixed Fuji and Gala apples
1 bag Haas avocados (Marasalisi Farm)
1 basket Raspberries or Strawberries
This week's bread will be three-seed whole wheat
Transition, Diversity and Continuity
It is definitely fall. Last Friday and Saturday we were busy removing all the stakes and twine used for trellising this year's tomato crop. With more rain on the way, the timing was perfect for preparing those fields for their winter rest. Once all the stakes and twine were removed, the plants -- which for the last five months have stood lush and upright, laden with sweet red fruit -- looked spent, sprawled on the ground as if surrendering to their inevitable return back to the soil. The tangled mat of tomato plants got chopped into finer pieces with a flail-mower and then reincorporated into the topsoil with a disc-plow. With the soil surface now open and soft, we used a seed drill to sow a legume-rich winter cover crop. The half inch of rain which fell gently throughout the day on Sunday was the perfect amount for the cover crop seeds to germinate. Vetch, bell-bean, pea and oat seedlings will soon blanket the soil and keep it tucked away for the winter.
At our farmer's markets it's the time of year when sales start plummeting, as we have to recognize that berries and tomatoes rank higher on the produce hierarchy than rutabagas, turnips, winter squash, or cabbage. The hardy and starchier winter staples just don't measure up against the sexier and sweeter summer crops. I can't deny that I enjoy and often wish I could stretch the abundance and increased income associated with the popular summer crops out over a longer period. However our focus has always been on diversifying and increasing the menu of seasonal foods that we offer. So now it is time to surrender to the inevitable seasonal transition. The fifty plus crops we grow every year are not selected for monetary reasons alone. Many are marginally profitable. Growing the large variety of crops that we do has much more to do with the intrinsic value of promoting diversity than in merely turning a profit, whether that diversity means growing tasty and nutritious food, increasing the integration of livestock, or restoring native plant and wildlife habitat. However you parse it, it all adds up to building a stronger and more sustainable farm organism as a whole. Promoting diversity has always been the cornerstone of building a strong Community Farm; it allows us to offer stable employment for the farm's committed workers and their families, makes us better land stewards, and has turned the farm into an educational resource for local schools and a training ground for young farmers. As CSA members, you're not merely getting a box of veggies -- you support all the interconnectedness, all this diversity that is Live Earth Farm.
Looking into the system, I see we have a few Winter Shares (almost 80) still available; I am sure some of you prefer to skip the winter produce and wait until spring is back. Of course we can get almost everything we want whenever we want at a grocery store just minutes away from home, but eating what's in season during the winter is a real treat. Winter produce has wonderful tastes and flavors, nourishing and hearty goodness we come to enjoy during this darker and colder time of year. By accepting the ebb and flow of nature's seasonal abundance and continuing through the winter, you get a deep satisfaction of being nourished by what is still local and available. The kale, the Brussels sprouts, and all the root vegetables are richer in both texture and flavor during the winter. The wonderful preserves made by Happy Girl Kitchen -- a jar in each winter box -- are all from crops we grew during the summer season. A bowl of creamy parsnip, potato, or winter squash soup with a slice of good bread, some cheese, and a glass of wine may be a simple meal, but also delicious and deeply satisfying at many levels. So, don't miss out, sign up for a Winter Share and discover the joys of being a "winter locavore."
Are you sure you don't want a Winter Share?
Are you thinking about it but just feel you don't have enough information? Let me entice you!
In addition to our own winter veggies -- a rotation of broccoli and cauliflower, fennel, red and golden beets, lettuces, our fabulous
Brussels sprouts, the trusty cooking greens like chard, collards and kale [kale gets especially sweet and wonderful in winter!], cabbages and carrots, winter squashes (butternut, acorn, kabocha, sweet dumpling, hubbard), root veggies like parsnips, rutabagas and turnips, and the early green garlic -- we will continue to have fresh apples, plus other fruit like pineapple guavas, oranges and lemons, avocados; we'll have mushrooms from Far West Fungi, artichokes from Swanton Berry Farm, sprouts from New Natives, apple juice from Pinnacle Farms, plus one of my favorite winter goodies: celeriac, from Lakeside... and yes, as Tom mentioned, the shares themselves will include one jar of preserved 'summer' each week
! Happy Girl Kitchen has put up our dry-farmed tomatoes (both crushed and pickled whole with basil), tomato juice, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, and dilly beans!
We will continue to have the Bread Option from Companion Bakers, and the Preserves Option from Happy Girl Kitchen will will be two additional jars of preserved goodies each week! In addition to the above-mentioned treats, there will be apricot jam, ketchup, salsa, pickled peppers, spicy tomato juice, applesauce, sauerkraut and kimchi! All fabulous, all made with produce from our farm!
Did I talk you into it? If so, just go to our website and click on "Join
" or "Become a member
" and there will be a sign-up button. Click, and follow the instructions, and you'll be all set. [Yes I know, there are no installment payments for the Winter Season, because it is only 10 weeks total... but if that is the only
thing preventing you from signing up, give me a call 831.763.2448 or send me an email; we'll try to work out a payment plan.]
When does this season end? When does the next season start?
Including this week, there are TWO weeks left to the season. The last delivery of our regular season is always on the week before Thanksgiving. So this year, that means for Wednesday folks it's November 17th, Thursday folks November 18th.
If you signed up for the Winter Season, those deliveries will begin the week after Thanksgiving, Thursday Dec 2nd. [Please note that during the Winter season, ALL deliveries are on Thursdays.] The Winter season is 10 delivery weeks total: the first three weeks in December, then no deliveries for the next three weeks over the Christmas/New Year's holidays, then 7 more deliveries starting the second week of January (Jan 13) and going through the end of February (Feb 24).
***No deliveries the entire month of March - farmers are taking a break!***
If you signed up for the 2011 Regular Season, those deliveries will begin the first week of April, 2011 (so, Weds/Thurs April 6/7). And as usual, will end the week before Thanksgiving again! ;-)
Winter Shares in Monterey County?
[repeat from last week, in case you missed it]
It is true, we do not deliver down to the Monterey Peninsula during the winter season, however there is a fun and wonderful way around this! Since we began offering a Winter share four years ago, a group of staunch CSA devotees in Monterey have banded together and organized themselves into a kind of share-shuttling group. The way it works is, one member of the group makes one trip to the farm and picks up all the shares for everyone in the group, delivering them to an agreed-upon central location where everyone can then come and pick up. There are only ten weeks to the winter season, so with ten or more members, you would only need to make one trip to the farm the entire time. Interested? Email me at the farm with "Monterey Group Info Please" in the subject line, and I'll put you in touch with the member who is coordinating this.
Summer Camp on the Farm: survey
[repeat from last week, in case you missed it]
Hello Esteemed LEF CSA Community,
We are working to plan next summer's summer camp season and we need your input. Please answer a few simple questions so that we can do our best to tailor our summer camp schedule to your (our CSA community's) needs. Of course, we will not be able to accommodate every single person, but if you get back to me we will do our very best. Participating in this survey does not obligate you to attend camp.
Thank you! - Jessica
How to participate in this survey:
Simply e-mail Jessica at LEFeducation@baymoon.com with the answers to the following questions:
1) Here are a few weeks we are thinking of offering camp. Which works best for your family? (Please choose two)
July 5-8 (a 4 day week)
2) We want to have camps for groups of ages, for example 4-6 year olds, 6-8 year olds, 8-11 year olds. What are the ages of your kids? (Please list)
3) Would you consider sending your different aged kids on different weeks?
4) Questions, Comments Concerns...
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Not to get too excited, but a little bird told me we will likely have Brussels sprouts in our last share of the season (next week)... yum! I'm glad, because usually they're not available until we're into our Winter Season. So all you Regular Season members will get a teaser taste of one of our flagship goodies to come in December and January. Of course our returning Winter members are already rubbing their hands together in anticipation... I know I am! - Debbie
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If you haven't tried it yet, you Small Share members getting the chard should definitely make that crustless swiss chard pie (in last week's newsletter). I made it yesterday and it is delicious! For cheese, I used part chevre, part grated fresh parmesan... and mmmmm was it good.
For you Family Share members getting the kale, here's a recipe I made up a week or so ago which I think you will thoroughly enjoy. It's really fun to make, 'cuz you get to use your hands -- get the kids to help! They'll have a blast.
Debbie's Massaged Kale and Brown Rice Salad
1 bunch kale (any kind)
1 to 2 C left-over cooked brown rice
1/4 C or more of some kind of nuts: I used pistachios, but you could use broken walnuts or pecans, or pepitas (okay, they're seeds), hazelnuts (I'd chop them)... you get the idea
1/4 C or so diced fruit: I diced up some frozen apricot and threw in a handful of dried sour cherries; you could use mango, or diced dried apricot, or even raisins
a fresh lemon*
Strip kale leaves from stems (wash, if needed, first -- I don't wash it unless it has dirt or something on it; I inspect the leaves and if I deem them to be clean, no need to wash). Tear or chop leaves into pieces and put into a large bowl. Squeeze a little lemon juice over this, and sprinkle with salt... oh, maybe a quarter teaspoon or so. Have the kids wash their hands, roll up their sleeves, and then start massaging! That's right, squish and squeeze the kale with the salt and lemon for a couple minutes, until the cell walls break down and the leaves get soft and translucent and limp. You can't 'over-massage' it, so you/they can have at it as long as you like. ;-)
While they're doing that (or if you're doing it yourself, before or after, doesn't matter), make the dressing:
Combine the juice from the rest of the lemon, 2 to 3 tbsp. olive oil, about 1 tbsp. honey, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Whisk together to blend.
All that's left is mixing everything together! Add the left-over rice to the bowl with the massaged kale, breaking it up with your hands or a spoon; add the nuts and fruit; whisk one more time for good measure then pour the dressing over everything and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust for more salt if needed.
This is fine at room temperature, so it makes a great packed-lunch. I hope you enjoy!
*if you don't happen to have lemon, apple cider vinegar would be a good substitute. Use about a tsp. in the massage step, and a tbsp. in the dressing.
Here's a lovely cabbage recipe I ran in the Winter of 06/07, worth repeating:
Cabbage Soup with Apples and Thyme
by Mark Bittman
4 to 6 servings
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
8 C thinly sliced cored green cabbage (about 1/2 large head)
1 lg. onion, chopped
8 lg. fresh thyme sprigs [or if you don't have that, just some dried thyme; maybe 1/4 tsp. Thyme is pretty potent, like rosemary.]
Chopped fresh thyme [if you have it, for garnish]
6 C chicken broth [preferably your own homemade!]
1 1/4 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, cut into half-inch cubes
Melt 1 tbsp. butter with oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and onion; saute until vegetables wilt and brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Add the thyme sprigs [or dried thyme] and saute a minute longer. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-higih heat. Add apples and saute until brown and tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove thyme sprigs [if used] from soup. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with apples and chopped fresh thyme and serve. [Obviously if you don't have the fresh thyme, just skip this step, not the whole recipe!]
And this one's perfect for this week's arugula and cilantro:
Arugula Cilantro Pesto
from member Krista McClain
Krista says, "the exact ratio of greens doesn't matter much; just end up with 2 cups total."
1 C arugula
1 C cilantro
2 lg. garlic cloves
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C grated parmesan
2 tbsp. pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
Whirl it all in your food processor. We had it with tortellini. I actually made a double recipe and froze the extra pesto. Yummy!
Here's a great one for that acorn squash!
Acorn Squash rings with Honey-Soy Glaze
from an undated Bon Appetit clipping
(modified slightly) serves 4
Nonstick veggie oil spray [or just some oil]
2 acorn squash
3 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray with nonstick spray [or brush lightly with oil]. Cut off both ends of each squash, then cut them crosswise into 4 rings each. Scoop out seeds and discard. Place squash rings in a single layer on prepared baking sheet, cover tightly with foil and bake until squash begins to soften, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk next 5 ingredients in a small bowl to blend. Remove foil from squash and brush half the mixture over squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered 10 minutes. Brush remaining mixture over squash and continue to bake until squash is brown, tender and glazed, about 10 more minutes.
And lastly, here's another variation on potato salad using this week's box ingredients (okay, only Small Share members are getting potatoes this week, but I bet most of you Family Share members, like me, still have potatoes from last week):
Debbie's Potato Salad with Pak Choi, Cilantro and Scallions
4 medium-sized potatoes (red or yellow, doesn't matter)
4 or more stalks of pak choi, with leaves
2-3 tbsp. finely minced cilantro
2 large or up to 4 small scallions, finely sliced
2 tbsp. cider vinegar or lemon juice or lime juice, or a combination of any
1 clove garlic, crushed and/or finely minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 tbsp. olive oil
diced kalamata olives (optional)
feta cheese (optional)
Put washed whole potatoes, with skins, in a pot; cover with cold water, add some salt, bring to a boil, then turn down heat to medium and cover/boil 10 to 12 minutes or so, until they pierce easily with a sharp knife. (You want them to be just al-dente; don't cook them so long that they split and fall apart.)
While potatoes are boiling, wash any dirt away from choi leaves, and chop into small dice (like you would celery for tuna salad, say). Chop up the darker green leaves too. Mince your cilantro and chop the scallions.
Combine vinegar and/or lemon/lime juice, garlic, salt, sugar, oil and cilantro and whisk together.
Drain potatoes when done (save the water for soup-stock making), and when cool enough to handle (but still warm!), slice as carefully as you can (to keep the skins intact; do the best you can - sometimes it works better than others but don't worry about it, it still tastes good!), and then dice the slices. Toss warm* diced potatoes into a bowl with choi, scallions, optional olives and feta. Re-whisk the dressing and pour over the warm potatoes and veggies. Stir well to mix, then refrigerate until completely cooled.
*the dressing seems to be absorbed better when the potatoes are warm.
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 Workshops 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!)
No more workshops this year, but visit their website for the most current info!
Community Farm Days and Events
All done for 2011. We'll update you as soon as we have a new schedule for 2011!
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