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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
10th Harvest Week, Winter Season 5
February 21st - 27th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Thank you.
From a happy member: CSA = kids eat veggies!
Who's the new guy?
Medicinal Herb classes at Live Earth Farm
Please spread the word about LEF CSA
Winter CSA ends this week; 2011 Regular Season begins in April
Last chance for webstore orders before Winter Season is over!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2011 Calendar

" Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.
- Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)

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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
Fuji apples +
Broccoli (Lakeside Organic Gardens)

Red cabbage

Napa cabbage +

Lacinato kale

Red Russian kale
Meyer lemons (Marsalisi Farm)
Lettuce (LEF or Lakeside)
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Dry onions (Pinnacle Organic)

Mustard rapini

Crushed Dry-farmed Tomates by Happy Girl Kitchen - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Winter Small Share
Fuji apples
Broccoli (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Napa cabbage


Red Russian kale
Meyer lemons (Marsalisi Farm)
Lettuce (LEF or Lakeside)
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Dry onions (Pinnacle Organic)
*Spicy* Dry-farmed Tomato Juice by Happy Girl Kitchen - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Preserves Option
1 jar jam (it's the last week, so we have odd lots of many kinds; we will "spread" them around!) ;-)
1 jar spicy tomato salsa

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

Thank you.
panorama of the farm in February

The farm in February 

Tom is away from the farm this week visiting his family in Germany (his mom is turning 90!) and so he has entrusted us with taking care of business in his stead. Tom: when you read this, you can relax - we are up to the task! :-)

As most of you know, this is the last delivery week of the Winter Season, so I thought it would be nice to take a moment to reflect on what a good season it has been. Our heartfelt thanks go out to you, our committed member families, for sharing this journey with us through the "tougher" growing season. Not everyone goes for a winter CSA, but it has definitely grown in popularity since we began offering it five years ago. It seems that the more folks realize the value of eating in season, the more they develop a taste for and grow to love the things that can be grown around here in December, January and February (and you know I do my best to inspire you with ways to cook and eat them!). It's such a joy, too, to be able to complement the winter veggies with a snippet of summer each week (our tomatoes and other summer fruits and veggies preserved by Happy Girl Kitchen). The proof is in the pudding, as we were fully subscribed this Winter, with a waiting list to boot; that says a lot! So thank you all. By continuing the CSA through the winter, we are able to employ a significant number of our workers year 'round, so they thank you as well.

We are not fully subscribed for the upcoming Regular season though, so I know Tom would want me to make a plug for you to continue to put the word out (see green text box, below). But that's all I'm going to say about that here.

I will put a bee in everyone's bonnet about this though: we are indeed trying to work out a way to offer a pastured chicken option (the price was overstated in the survey we sent out last month; we're sorry for any heart palpitations we may have caused!), and there's a chance we may be able to offer a small grassfed beef option as well, so stay tuned! If we can make it work, I will definitely be in touch to let you all know.

The CSA will be taking the entire month of March off  this year -- the longest break we've had since we started offering a Winter Share five years ago. I know it sounds like a long time -- five weeks! -- but it will just fly by. We may not be packing and delivering shares, but we'll be working feverishly in the background to get all our ducks in a row for the start of the Regular Season in April. Those of you who live within striking distance of Los Gatos, Scotts Valley, and Downtown and West Santa Cruz should know that we have stands at those farmers markets (click here for details), so you can continue to get your veggies from us in the interim, if you like. Eggs too!
a fine apricot crop
The year of the apricot bumper crop.

Meanwhile, here's hoping the weather gods smile upon us and the sun comes out this spring, so that our Blenheim apricot trees get pollinated and produce a prodigious crop this summer!

Take care everyone, and we'll see you in April!


From a happy member: CSA = kids eat veggies!
Received this delightful note from member Anna Brunelle, about her experience as a member of Live Earth Farm CSA:

Wanted to let you know that we really are enjoying our veggie boxes each week.  We joined at the end of last season, so have mostly been winter members.  Our kids are eating two veggies per night with dinner (in order to use the box up, we often forego a starch).  We are all healthier for it as we get plenty of starch at work/school.

Also, the kids are eating things that we never put in front of them before.  Initially they pushed the unfamiliar veggies around on their plates, but have now become used to many different greens, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts, etc.  They are used to it and accept it now.

It has also pushed us to try new recipes and we are enjoying the variety of eating with the seasons.  Luckily Dave is an excellent cook, so finding a way to use everything in the box is a tasty challenge.

I just thought you should know we appreciate the hard work that you all do to get us the veggies!

Thanks, Anna & Dave

Who's the new guy?
We have a new apprentice on the farm this year, Nick Slobodian; we thought you'd like to meet him and so asked him to write a few words about himself. Take it away Nick!

I came to Live Earth Farm in January from the University of California, Santa Cruz where I just received my Bachelors degree in Agroecology and Natural History. My senior thesis was on the Sustainable Reintegration of Livestock into Agricultural Landscapes, and it looks like this background promises to mesh well with where Live Earth Farm is going. I'm very happy to be here. Live Earth Farm is the fourth farm I've worked on so far, and these collective experiences have really solidified farming as a passion and lifestyle for me. Right now I'm being brought up to speed with the daily farm routine, as well as taking on projects of my own. Among other things, I'm assisting Sam Earnshaw of CAFF (Community Alliance with Family Farmers) with restoration projects on the farm, with the goal of integrating California Native Plants into our crop fields and surrounding landscapes. These plants will increase wildlife habitat, provide flowering plants for bees to pollinate, and otherwise assist in keeping our land healthy and productive for many years. I've also taken on a few smaller gardening projects on the farm such as preparing beds to be planted with a variety of ornamentals and plants used to encourage the presence of beneficial insects. My interests include orchard management, animal husbandry, agroforestry, botany, and land management; I am also an avid cyclist, play bluegrass music, enjoy working with wood, and am a local sea kayak instructor in Santa Cruz.

- Nick

our latest apprentice

Medicinal Herb classes at Live Earth Farm

CSA member Darren Huckle is a licensed herbalist and accupuncturist, and starting in April 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.

Last fall Darren offered a 'preview' herb walk on the farm, and this is what attendees had to say:

"Darren Huckle's medicinal herb walk on Live Earth Farm 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 Darren's Herb walk 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
Darren explains medicinal herbs to attendees

Here is the schedule of upcoming classes: 


April 2nd (Saturday 10-3) Herbs of Live Earth Farm - take a fun, informative and flavorful walk around Live Earth Farm meeting common medicinal plants found in the fields, hedgerows, orchards and pathways.  You will learn practical uses and identification of plants that will have you feeling empowered for years to come.  $40 in advance  $50 day of class if space is available

May 14th (Saturday 10-3) Herbal Basics of Stress Management - Herbal remedies have so much to offer us in these intense times.  In this class we will learn about categories of herbs that support the body systems most affected by stress (nervous, endocrine, digestive, muscle systems).  We will discuss the energetics of stress and how to use common herbs, foods and lifestyle choices to decrease the ravages of stress on our body and mind.  You will leave class empowered with tools and perspective to help you keep breathing deeply in stressful times.  $50 $60 day of class if space is available

June 25th (Saturday 10-3) Herbal Preparations - Let's make some really effective herbal products. In this class we will discuss the basic theories of herbal medicine making;  from garden to jar.  We will make herbal salves and tinctures to take home.  The basics of herbal teas, tinctures, oils, vinegars, baths, poultices, etc will be discussed.  This is a really fun and hands-on class where you will learn some great self-care strategies.  $75 pre registration is required.  No sign ups day of class.

Space is limited, so pre-registration is strongly suggested.
Register for the entire series ($165) by March 25th and receive a 2 ounce tincture free.
Bring a friend for half off when you register for the series by March 25th (only an additional $80 for the series)

For more information about Darren Huckle L.Ac see RootsofWellness.net  For any questions or to register, call Darren at (831) 334-5177 or email him at rootsofwellness@gmail.com.

Please spread the word about LEF CSA
We still have room for new CSA members for the season which starts this coming April, so please feel free to let friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers know about us. We would be happy to send you flyers you can post, or brochures for giving out to people. Or if you find yourself talking to someone about our CSA and they are interested, just direct them to our website. The only thing to remember is that we are at "live earth farm dot net" not "dot com" [i.e. www.liveearthfarm.net ] ;-)


Oh, and if you haven't renewed yet yourself, you do so by "joining" -- just go to our website and click on "Join" or "How does it work?" or "What does it cost?" and look for the "Sign up!" button. Or just click here to go directly to our signup wizard now!
Taylor and our new market sign
Taylor holds our new market sign

Winter CSA ends; 2011 Regular Season begins in April
This is the LAST WEEK of the Winter Season! There will be no CSA deliveries during the month of March. We are taking this needed time off so as to prepare for the upcoming Regular Season. This doesn't mean you won't be hearing from us -- you probably will! We're working on a few new offerings and will keep you posted.

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


Last chance for webstore orders before Winter Season is over!
Stock up while you can! Remember, there's going to be a five week break between seasons, so make sure you aren't left short-handed! Click on the image below to jump to the member login, then click on the "Webstore" tab in the upper left-hand corner.

LEF Webstore Week 10, Winter 2010

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

This is it - the last recipes (and box goodies) for a month! There's no magic that will make them stretch to last that long, but here are some ideas to help you try. - Debbie

Let's start with the Napa or Chinese cabbage. One recipe is from a cookbook of mine, and this first one, a recipe sent in by member Michelle MacKenzie, who says, "Here's a fantastic recipe for using Napa Cabbage and radishes - light, fast to make."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
Shredded Napa Cabbage Salad with Radishes, Golden Raisins, and Dijon Dressing
from marthastewart.com
serves 6

1/4 C white-wine vinegar
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard, preferably whole grain
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 small head Napa cabbage, cored and shredded (about 6 cups)
4 or 5 radishes, thinly sliced and cut into matchsticks [if you have any watermelon radishes left, this would be a great place to use them!]
1/2 C golden raisins
1 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh chives [hmmm... got any in your garden?]
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together vinegar, mustard and sugar. Toss together cabbage, radishes, golden raisins and chives. Drizzle dressing over salad. Season with salt and pepper.

Spicy Sweet and Sour Chinese Cabbage
from Madame Wong's Long Life Chinese Cookbook
(as found in "From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce")
serves 4 to 6

1 lb. Chinese [Napa] cabbage
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. thinly shredded ginger
1 tbsp. cooking oil
3 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. pepper oil*

Cut cabbage into 2-inch pieces. Place in bowl and sprinkle with salt; let stand 4 hours. Squeeze liquid from cabbage. Distribute ginger over cabbage. Heat cooking oil in wok to 350 degrees. Add vinegar, sugar and pepper oil (keep your face away from the steam). Turn off heat as soon as sugar is dissolved. Toss sauce with cabbage. Marinate in covered container overnight. Serve cold.

*to make pepper oil, heat 1 C oil in wok to 325 degrees. Add 1/4 C coarsely ground red chili peppers. Cook 3-5 minutes. Cool. Store indefinitely in refrigerator.

Here's a recipe for the other kind of cabbage - or for the green cabbage you and I have in our refrigerators from recent weeks. One you can use with your mushrooms!

Farmer's Cabbage and Mushroom Pie
from Farmer John's Cookbook - the Real Dirt on Vegetables
serves 6 to 8

"This is a farmer's pie -- rustic, a little rude, and downright delicious. Traditionally, the pie was set in the middle of the table and everyone, fork in hand, had at it. But you can serve it in slices to avoid fights over the last bits. Try crumbling a few slices of crispy bacon into the pie for even more flavor" - Angelic Organics Kitchen

2 unbaked 9-inch pie crusts [i.e. a top and a bottom]
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 C chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
1 1/2 C chopped mushrooms
1 tsp. fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 C chopped cabbage (about 1/2 head)
4 oz. farmers cheese or cream cheese, softened
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 hard-cooked eggs, sliced

Place one of the pie crusts into the bottom of a pie pan, making sure to leave at least 1/2 inch of the dough hanging over the edge. Refrigerate both top and bottom crust until you are ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, thyme, and lemon juice. Add the cabbage; cook until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

Layer half the cabbage mixture in the pie crust. Add a layer of sliced eggs. Top with remaining cabbage mixture.

Moisten the overhanging edge of pie crust with water. Cover the pie with the top crust, sealing the edges with your fingers. Bake until crust is browned on top, 30 to 40 minutes.

This next recipe was sent to me by member Christie Boone, and is for broccoli rabe; we're getting mustard rapini, which is very similar - it is the budding stalks of wild mustard - and could be easily substituted in this recipe:

Broccoli Rabe with Cannelini and Pasta
[click here if you want to read the entire recipe link]
from blue-kitchen.com
serves 4 as a side, two as a main course

1 bunch broccoli rabe, about 1 lb. [1 bunch of mustard rapini]
2 to 3 thin slices of prosciutto, sliced into smallish pieces (about 1/2 to 3/4 C)
4 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste-see Kitchen Notes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 15-oz. can Canellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 oz. small pasta (see Kitchen Notes)

Broccoli rabe, pasta and cannelini beansFill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile rinse the broccoli rabe thoroughly under cold running water. Trim off the bottom inch or so of the stems, plus lower leaves, which may be tough [use your judgment with the mustard rapini; it may not require this 'trimming'] . Slice the stems and leaves into 1-1/2 to 2-inch sections. When the water comes to a boil, add the chopped broccoli rabe and stir to make sure it all comes in contact with the water. After 1 minute, drain broccoli rabe in a colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking. Set aside in colander to continue draining.

Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over a medium flame. Add 4 tbsp. olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, Add prosciutto and saute until just crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant-about 45 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and toss to coat with oil. Add Cannellini beans and cooked pasta. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately.

Kitchen Notes

Heat things up a little. The crushed red pepper is a key ingredient in many Italian recipes. Adding 1/2 tsp. gave the dish a nice, lively touch. Use slightly less if you're particularly sensitive to spicy foods; on the other hand, feel free to add more if you like serious heat.

Choosing your pasta. If you can find it, I'm a big fan of Ditalini (little thimbles), the small, short tubes you see in the photo. If not, small shells will work, as will orechiette (little ears-pasta has such cute translations, doesn't it?). But keep the scale - and the amount - in proportion with the dish and its ingredients.

Making it vegetarian. You could just eliminate the prosciutto and be done with it. But I think the savory edge it adds is key. To replace it, grate some good quality parmesan cheese over the finished dish before serving.

In this next idea, the picture mostly speaks for itself -- I came up with this just tonight when making dinner! It's based on the concept that adding variety of color to your meals really does perk things up; the visual senses impact your overall pleasure in the food you eat. So anyway, you know how salad recipes often have 'red bell pepper' or 'tomato' in them, to provide contrast? Well, I know that neither is fresh or local in February, but this is: red chard! I just sliced up some red chard stems like celery, and scattered it into my salad. When you're tired of the contrast always being carrot orange, give this a try. Added a little crunch and a lot of visual punch. Fun, huh?

Red Chard Stem "Celery" in Saladsdiced red chard stems in salad

Here's a wonderful recipe from Pie Ranch I can't wait to try:

Bread Soup with Beans and Kale
from Jim Denevan's Oustanding in the Field

1 C dried navy beans
2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 dried red chile, chopped or 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. tomato paste
large bunch of dinosaur kale
4 qts. chicken stock
1 loaf of stale country bread
freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese, for serving

Cook beans. [Soak in filtered water overnight; drain and bring to a boil in fresh water to cover by an inch. Boil 10 minutes to destroy lectins, then reduce heat and simmer until tender. This could be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how old/dry the beans are. Check periodically to see if they're cooked through. - Debbie] After removing from heat, stir 1 1/2 tsp. salt and some black pepper into the [beans and their] cooking liquid. As the beans cool, they will absorb the seasoning from the water. Set aside to cool.

In a large pot, heat 3 tbsp. olive oil over low heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, chile, and rosemary to the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables soften and become fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Cook until the tomato paste begins to caramelize and become sweet, about 3 minutes.

In the meantime, wash the kale, strip leaves off the stems and chop the leaves into 1-inch pieces. Add to the vegetables and season to taste. When the greens have wilted a bit, add enough of the chicken stock to cover.

Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the kale is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain the beans and add them to the pot along with the remaining stock. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove and discard the rosemary spring.

Remove and discard the crust from the bread and tear the bread into 2-inch pieces. Add the bread to the soup a few pieces at a time, stirring after each addition so all the bread is completely moistened. The soup should begin to thicken once the bread absorbs the liquid; when all the bread is added, the soup will be very thick.

Ladle into bowls, grate some cheese on top, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Okay, this last one's not for the kiddie set (although you could make them a virgin version by leaving out the vodka), but just for fun, how about a Bloody Mary recipe for using that wonderful spicy tomato juice made by Happy Girl Kitchen from Live Earth Farm's dry-farmed tomatoes? A little something for with Sunday brunch, perhaps...

Spicy Tomato Juice and Meyer Lemon Bloody Mary
serves 1

1 1/2 oz (1 jigger) vodka
1/2 C spicy tomato juice
juice from half a meyer lemon
1 C ice cubes
1 celery stick (or sprig of parsley) and additional lemon wedge, for garnish

Combine the vodka, tomato and lemon juices and ice cubes in a shaker and shake well. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice cubes. Garnish with the celery stick (or parsley) and lemon wedge.

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.


Companion Bakers Sourdough Bread Workshops at LEF

February 13th (Sunday) -

Sourdough Basics: Companion Bakers "wood fired" Workshop 

Happy Girl Kitchen Workshops at LEF
(all workshops include an organic lunch, as well as take-home items from what is made that day -- these workshops are not to be missed!)

Feb 5 (Saturday) - Farm Walk and Pickle Party a big success! 

Next HGK/LEF workshop coming soon - stay tuned!

Contact Jordan or Todd if you have any questions:

Community Farm Days and Events

April 23rd - Sheep to Shawl
May 28th - Community Farm Day and U-pick strawberries
June 18th - Summer Solstice Celebration
July 3rd (fingers crossed for this year's crop!) - Apricot U-pick
Aug 27th - Community Farm Day and U-pick tomatoes (our "Totally Tomatoes" day)
Sept 17th - LEFDP Fundraiser
Sept 24th - Community Farm Day and U-pick apples
Oct 22nd - Fall Harvest Festival and U-pick pumpkins

Medicinal Herb Walks/classes on the farm
April 2nd - Herbs of Live Earth
May 14th - Herbal Basics of Stress Management
June 25th - Herbal Preparations

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