LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
1st Harvest Week, Winter Season 5
November 29th - December 5th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Winter Shares - a time to Slow Down
Pictures from around the farm
Winter CSA Delivery Schedule
2011 Season signup discounts available through Dec 31st
Amy's beans, Pie Ranch flour, and other goodies...
The happy chicken exodus (short movie)
Support Discovery Program through GoodShop.com
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."
 - Carl Sagan

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.

Winter Family Share
Apples (Gala/Fuji)
Brussels sprouts +
Green cabbage
Collard greens
Red Russian kale
Lettuce (Red leaf) +
Red onions (Pinnacle Farm) +
Parsnips (Lakeside)
Winter squash (Butternut) +
Jar of crushed dry-farmed tomatoes (Happy Girl Kitchen/LEF tomatoes) - the jar will be packed inside your box! Do not take from the jars set out for Preserve Option people, thanks!

Small Share
Apples (Gala/Fuji)
Brussels sprouts
Green cabbage
Collard greens
Red Russian kale
Lettuce (Red leaf)
Red onions (Pinnacle Farm)
Parsnips (Lakeside)
Winter squash (Butternut)
Jar of crushed dry-farmed tomatoes (Happy Girl Kitchen/LEF tomatoes)
- the jar will be packed inside your box! Do not take from the jars set out for Preserve Option people, thanks!

Preserves Option
1 jar crushed dry-farmed tomatoes
1 jar strawberry-blackberry jam

Bread Option
This week's bread will be plain whole wheat

Winter Shares - a time to Slow Down
A crisp morning sunrise on the farm.On Thanksgiving morning it was cold, frost covered the farm and it felt like that deep tranquility one experiences in winter landscapes when everything is blanketed with fresh snow. Although we aren't ready to slow down quite yet as we shift gears to start our 5th winter season and are busy planting next season's strawberry crop, Thanksgiving, of all the holidays, is always my favorite to celebrate the nourishing, savory, and pleasurable dimension of food with friends and family. With shorter days and cooler temperatures nature invites us to slow down, which is not easy to do in today's consumer-driven society. The holidays, with a flurry of activities, can be overwhelming. I can understand that a share of winter vegetables may feel a bit burdensome.  The hardier and less visually appealing parsnip, winter squash or celery root are not like the often sweeter more instantly gratifying vegetables we enjoy in the summer. They oblige us to slow down... a warm soup or hearty vegetable stew takes time to prepare.  I hope your winter meals offer an opportunity of quiet reflection, fun and joy during this often busy time of year. I am excited that we are almost sold out for the Winter and grateful for your commitment.

Weather is always calling the shots, and outside working conditions during the next 4 to 5 months are much more challenging. Most of our winter crops were purposefully planted on a staggered schedule. Crops planted back in August and September are only now ready for harvest. We have done our best to plan for an adequate harvest over the course of our winter CSA, but will also rely on a diversity of crops grown by other great local family farmers. In addition, every share will have one Preserve each week, hand crafted by Happy Girl Kitchen made from Live Earth's own fruits and vegetables, harvested during the 2010 season. - Tom

Pictures from around the farm
Below are some shots of the guys planting the strawberries. Top right is the "dibbler", the tool which cuts the openings in the plastic mulch covering the raised beds; at bottom, the guys reach through the carefully spaced holes with a special tool and pull each little plantlet through.
Planting strawberries into raised beds with plastic mulch.

Remember our little puppy Cella, the Maremma we got back last March? Well she has grown into a gentle giant who patrols the farm at night keeping predators at bay. Next time you visit the farm, you won't be able to miss her - she is huge!

Cella the Maremma, now grown.

Winter CSA Delivery Schedule
In case anyone is not sure, here is the full Winter delivery schedule. Note that ALL deliveries are on Thursdays - so those of you who are used to picking up on Wednesdays during the regular season will need to make the mental switch!

Week 1 - December 2nd
Week 2 - December 9th
Week 3 - December 16th
<3 week break over Christmas/New Year's - happy holidays everyone!>
Week 4 - January 13th 2011
Week 5 - January 20th
Week 6 - January 27th
Week 7 - February 3rd
Week 8 - February 10th
Week 9 - February 17th
Week 10 - February 24th - last winter CSA!

<no deliveries the entire month of March>

The 2011 Regular Season then begins Weds/Thurs April 6th/7th

2011 Season signup discounts available through Dec 31st
Many folks have already signed up for next year (and we thank you!), but want to make sure that those of you who haven't yet know that if you do so before December 31st, you are eligible for our 2.5% Early Registration discount! There is an additional 2.5% discount if you are able to pay in one payment. Spread the word, anyone can now sign up -- just go to our website, www.liveearthfarm.net, click on the "Join" page, and look for the signup button.

Amy's beans, Pie Ranch flour, and other goodies...
Black Turtle, Eye of Goat, and Hidatsa Shield Figure beansGreat news! Amy Kaplan of Barn Dance Seeds is going to be offering her fabulous heirloom dry beans through our CSA again this year! She'll have three varieties this time around: Hidatsa Shield Figure (my favorite!), Eye of the Goat (a new one - I'm going to have to try them of course!), and Black Turtle (a traditional black bean - everybody loves black beans!).

When the webstore opens again this Friday, you'll be able to place your orders for these and other goodies, and we'll deliver them to you along with your share the following week. What other goodies, you might ask? Well... we are, as we speak, looking into getting you access to fresh flour from Pie Ranch in Pescadero, to homemade granola from Erin of Companion Bakers (our bread share baker here in Santa Cruz), and possibly to some delicious olive oil from two different local producers (will tell you more about them when we're sure we can have it available for you).

LEF CSA gift certificateWe will also continue to offer our Gift Certificates for CSA shares for next season -- two to choose from: a 4-week trial of a Small Share, or a new deluxe certificate for a 4-week trial of a Small Share PLUS a dozen eggs PLUS an Extra Fruit Option! Gift Certificates will be mailed to you rather than sent to your pick-up site, but they are pretty enough to wrap up and put under the tree!

- Debbie

The happy chicken exodus (short movie)

For no good reason other than because it is just plain entertaining, I am running Jeff's youtube video again of the daily "chicken exodus" (ran it in the last Regular Season newsletter - some of you may have missed it and it is worth seeing!). You see, every morning when we open up the coop to let the chickens out onto pasture (they roost at night in the safety of the coop, protected from predators), they are SO eager to get out onto grass they come boiling out willy-nilly. The camera angle is great, and if you just want to put a smile in your day, click on the photo below to go to the you-tube page. It is only a minute long. Enjoy! :-)

Eager chickens leap for pastureClick on this picture to see a great short youtube video Jeff shot of letting the chickens out onto pasture in the morning. Talk about eager!

Support Discovery Program through GoodShop.com
Hello Members! Jessica here. Remember, when you're shopping for the holidays, consider doing so through GoodShop.com. More than 1,600 top stores will donate a percentage of virtually every sale to the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program through this portal, at no additional expense to you. So if you're already doing some shopping online anyway, it is something worth looking into.

Just go to GoodShop.com, designate us as the cause you support, and then click over to your favorite store.  You pay nothing extra - and you can even save money as GoodShop lists thousands of money-saving coupons and free shipping offers.

Last Day of Art Camp 2010Or, add our toolbar to your browser at http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar - and your purchases will count even if you forget to go to GoodShop first!  There's no easier way to support us this holiday season!  Please spread the word.


Art on the Farm Day Camp 2010

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

Welcome back everyone - I hope you all had a delicious, wonderful Thanksgiving! I know we have a few new members starting this winter, so I welcome you to our CSA as well. As everyone else knows, I like to provide more than just recipes; I like to provide you with ideas and inspiration for how to cook and eat with the goodies you get in each week's box. And if you don't find inspiration below, you can always go to my recipe database and for sure find something there ;-)


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

New this week: parsnips! I think based on what's in this week's box that the time is ripe for a nice winter veggie roast (the outdoor temperatures certainly are... brrr!). I'd put in parnsips, and winter squash, and red onion, and Brussels sprouts. Maybe even add some apples after the veggies were partly done, that'd be good! There's also the crushed dry-farmed tomatoes... yum! Those'll be easy to use - lots of different ways, or save for another time (they're preserved, so you don't need to refrigerate them until after you open them). Okay, let's see...

Roasted Winter Veggies with Apple
Brussels sprouts
Red onion
Winter squash
Olive oil
Rosemary (optional)
Salt and pepper

Scrub and/or peel parsnips and cut into chunks. Trim Brussels sprouts as needed (cut off bottoms, remove any loose outer leaves). Peel and quarter red onions. Depending on which winter squash you decide to use, peel or not (don't need to peel sweet dumplings or kabocha), remove seeds and cut into chunks of similar size to the parsnips. Basically you want things to be more or less the same size for even cooking, but some variation is fine - no need to be too finicky about it.

Preheat oven to medium (325 to 350 degrees). Toss veggies with some olive oil to coat; spread in pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mince up some fresh rosemary leaves and scatter over all (or if you have dried, try to chop them, or crush them in a mortar and pestle with some of the salt before sprinkling). If you have a roasting type pan with a lid, use this (put the lid on), otherwise, cover with foil.

Bake the first half hour covered; this helps steam and soften the harder veggies. Remove lid and test with a knife; if the veggies are still firm, cook covered a little longer.

Quarter and core some apples (leave skin on), then maybe cut the quarters into halves or thirds (depending on how big your apples are). Toss these with a little olive oil too (I'd even sprinkle them with a touch of salt as well) and then add to the pan with the partially cooked veggies; stir and toss together to combine. Remove lid and return pan to oven for, oh, another 20 minutes maybe? Enough time to allow the veggies to brown a bit and the apples to cook. Might be longer. It's okay to peek and poke and decide for yourself.

Timing with roasted veggies is very general... there's a lot of slop in there. If they are close to done but you don't have other parts of dinner ready yet, turn off the heat and leave them in the oven. They'll continue to cook... things like squash and apples and onions will just get softer and sweeter. If you're afraid they're going to get dried out, put the lid back on; they'll moisten themselves back up in their own steam.

Here's my latest favorite way to prepare kale, especially the Red Russian!

Aromatic cilantro-kale with lemon and olive oil
Kale (Red Russian preferred, but any will do; could even make with collards!)
a generous handful of cilantro
flavorful olive oil (the best you have)
a fresh lemon
sea salt

It is the heat from the just-cooked kale that volatilizes the cilantro and olive oil, so you want to work the last steps while the greens are still warm.

Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil (think 'seawater' - the salt in the water really brings out the flavor of the kale). Meanwhile strip kale leaves from stems (hold stem in one hand and zzzip off the leaves with the other) into a pile of some sort; compost the stems - we're using the leaves only here ;-)

Drop all leaves into the boiling salted water; poke 'em down in there so they all are submerged, turn down heat (doesn't have to be boiling hard - gently simmering is fine) and boil for, oh, maybe 2 minutes... 3 is plenty.

While kale is simmering, chop the cilantro, leaves, stems and all (lots of flavor in the stems!). Have standing by.

When kale is done, drain and squeeze out the water (I use a wooden spoon and a colander). You will be amazed at how small the volume of greens becomes at this point. Dump the lump of greens onto a cutting board, spread the chopped cilantro on top of it, then using a big knife, chop the kale and cilantro together. It's gonna smell great.

Now either plate individually or put all in a serving bowl, but either way, you'll want to squeeze fresh lemon juice over the cilantro/kale mixture, and then drizzle on the olive oil. Lastly, sprinkle to taste with additional sea salt and that's it! This is a delicious side dish with sweet winter squash prepared any way. It is also wonderful for breakfast - yes, breakfast! I'll make a plate of kale and have it with my eggs in the morning. With a side of toast. Major yummo!

Just one more recipe this week -- how about something for that cabbage? This is a recipe I ran originally back in 2006; I'd found it online originally, and the website credits the recipe to Terra Brockman, the director of The Land Connection Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving farmland and promoting small-scale, diversified, organic agriculture in Illinois.

Cabbage with Cashews
(Original recipe was for "Chard and Cashews," but said it was also 'good with kale, shredded cabbage, or other greens' so I modified it accordingly - Debbie)

One head cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. honey
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg
1/4 C cashews, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute shredded cabbage in butter for 5 minutes. Add honey, cinnamon, and cashews and saute until cabbage has softened, and/or cover and steam until tender, about 5 - 10 minutes. Season as desired and serve. [If you are making this with chard, chop the stems and leaves separately, and saute the stems in the butter first, adding the leaves later, with the honey et al.]

Variation for an oriental flavor: Instead of butter, use good lard, unrefined coconut oil, or olive oil. Instead of spices and cashews, splash soy sauce on the sauteing greens and add sesame seeds to taste. Mandarin orange sections [or tangerine or similar] add a nice touch.

Variation with an Ethiopian flavor: Use chopped onion and saute in butter until crispy tender. Season generously with turmeric, a very healthful spice, and toss to blend seasonings.

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 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 rootsofwellness@gmail.com or 831.334.5177

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