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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
3rd Harvest Week, Winter Season 5
December 13th - December 19th, 2010
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Permission to Reflect and Dream
Pictures from Tom's field walk
Winter CSA Delivery Schedule
Sign up for 2011 Season before Dec 31st and receive discount
Web Store - last chance before the winter break!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2010 Calendar

" Most of us cannot imagine the wheat beyond the bread, or the farmer beyond the wheat, or the farm beyond the farmer, or the history beyond the farm. Most people cannot imagine the forest and the forest economy that produced their houses and furniture and paper, or the landscapes, the streams and the weather that fill their pitchers and bathtubs and swimming pools with water. Most people appear to assume that when they have paid their money for these things they have entirely met their obligations."
 - Wendell Berry, from "In the Presence of Fear"

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)
Haas avocados (Marsalisi Farm)
Green cabbage
Romanesco cauliflower
Red Russian kale
Lettuce +
Red onions (Pinnacle Farm)
Pac Choi +
Rutabagas with green tops
Winter squash (Butternut) +
Jar of Pinnacle Organic apple juice - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Winter Small Share
Apples (Gala/Fuji)
Haas avocados (Marsalisi Farm)
Green cabbage
Romanesco cauliflower
Red Russian kale

Red onions (Pinnacle Farm)
Pac Choi
Winter squash (Butternut)
Jar of Pinnacle Organic apple juice - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Preserves Option
1 jar kimchi (The kimchi is a live culture fermented product and has not been heat processed, so it is not shelf-stable; please refrigerate when you get it home. If it sits out for a day or two, that won't hurt anything, it'll just ferment a little more; you just don't want to store it on the shelf like you would the preserved tomatoes or jams.)
1 jar raspberry jam

Bread Option
This week's bread will be 3-seed whole wheat

Permission to Reflect and Dream
This is our last delivery of the year and we all look forward to taking a break from our weekly routine.  With the Winter Solstice -- the darkest day of the year -- just around the corner, I am finally accepting that the farm is allowing us to rest, to spend time with family and friends, to reflect on the year's many events, and giving permission to dream about the coming season.

beautiful persimmons against grey winter skyMost of the fruit trees are now bare; only the bright orange persimmons still hang on a skeleton of bare limbs like winter ornaments. The greenhouse is empty, next season's strawberries, onions, garlic, and raspberries have been planted. Fields are covered by a lush green protective blanket of cover crops, and the usual buzz of activities such as planting, plowing, watering, harvesting and weeding has come to a halt. Parts of the farm are now calm enough that even a coyote, typically shy and active at night, felt safe enough to come out of the forest and check us out as our family walked around the farm yesterday, and stayed long enough for us to take a few pictures. I felt fortunate about the experience; I am really glad that we farm in a way where we can connect with and promote wild nature around us.

Curious coyote at the field's edgeThe Wendel Berry quote above is one I chose two years ago because it touches on what inspired me when I began Live Earth Farm -- to be able to create a place where farming can change our relationship with food and bring us closer to nature. Nature, not just as a resource from which we extract calories to survive, but where tending the soil and growing, preparing, and eating food as a community is an interconnected experience. Community Supported Agriculture together with the farm's educational programs over the past 15 growing seasons has been foundational to building healthy communities by nourishing and tending to relationships from the soil to the food on our plates.

We may be surrounded by uncertainties and fear, but the darkness at this time of year brings to light the positive change we, as a community, have achieved. The farm has turned into a catalyst, reaching out to thousands of community members (adults and children alike) in such a way that they can experience for themselves how inseparable we are from the rest of nature. The farm is a resource for offering real connections with nature, whether it is by digging our hands into the soil to plant a seed, experiencing the generosity of the living world when we pick and taste a strawberry, pull a carrot straight out of the soil to munch on, collect freshly laid eggs that are still warm, milk a goat with our own hands, or harvest and prepare a meal that comes from land that is stewarded so that future generations can be fed and nourished. We extend our warmest and most heartfelt gratitude to our entire community who participates and supports this farm.

From all of us, the entire Live Earth Farm family, we wish you peaceful and joyful Holidays.

- Tom

Pictures from Tom's field walk
Bare plum trees
Naked but still beautiful, winter plum trees devoid of their foliage.
early winter cover crop
A verdant blanket of lush green cover crops on the hills to the back of the farm.
An Albion strawberry, still ripening even in December!
Still showing its love in December, a heart-shaped Albion strawberry. Note the deeply indented seeds... a distinct feature of the Albion variety.

many different mushrooms on the farm
A multitude of mushrooms reveal themselves if you take the time to look. At the top, chantrelles! The rest... we don't know what kinds they are. The brilliant orange one with polka-dots you'd swear was right out of Alice in Wonderland!

Winter CSA Delivery Schedule
I'm going to keep this in the newsletter so folks have it for reference ;-)

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

Sign up for 2011 Season before Dec 31st and receive discount
We know everyone is busy getting ready for the holidays, but if you were planning on signing up for next season anyway, keep in mind that if you do so before the end of the year you can take advantage of our "Early Registration" discount. You can still sign up in January or February or March, but that discount will go away.

There are two discounts: 2.5% for Early Registration, and another 2.5% if you pay in one payment. So yes, if you sign up by Dec 31st AND pay in one payment, you will receive a combined total discount of 5%.

A special note to those who choose the Installment Payment plan with automatic payments: the way this works is, your total cost is divided equally by the number of months starting now (i.e. the date you sign up) through November of next year. Then the first installment is charged immediately, and the remainder on the first of each subsequent month through Nov 1 2011. What this means, however, is that if you procrastinate and sign up on Dec 30th, say, you'll have one installment payment on Dec 30th... and then another on Jan 1st! Don't say I didn't warn ya! ;-)

Web Store - last chance before the winter break!
Remember, if you were thinking of getting something from the webstore to receive with this Thursday's delivery, the webstore closes Wednesday morning 6am (it's been open since Friday morning), so don't put it off much longer! ;-) It will re-open again to coincide with the resumption of the Winter Season the second week of January. Below is a picture of what's in the store this week! Click on the image to go to the webstore.

picture of the webstore screen

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

Let's just jump right into some recipes, shall we? Happy Holidays everyone - see you next year! ;-) Oh, wait - before I forget! The green tops of both the kohlrabi and the rutabagas can be saved and used as a cooking green, so don't discard them! - Debbie

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

Here's a recipe a member sent me way back in 2006 - a hearty, warming, winter stew:

Squash, Kale and White Bean Stew
from Maureen Dwyer Porras

1 lb. dry cannellinl beans
6 C water
8 C water
1/4 C olive oil
1 head garlic, stem and roots removed
1 bay leaf
1 C chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. minced fresh sage
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper      
3-4 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1.5 inch pieces
7 C vegetable broth (4 14-oz cans, if using canned)
12-14 oz kale, stems removed, leaves torn
salt and ground black pepper
Rinse beans.  In a very large bowl combine beans and 6 cups water; cover and let stand overnight.  Drain.  In an 8 quart dutch oven combine drained beans, 8 cups water, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the head of garlic, and bay leaf.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 to 2 1/2 hours (cooking times for beans vary; see bean package). Drain. Discard garlic and bay leaf.

In same dutch oven heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add onion; cook until tender.  Add slices garlic, sage, cumin, and crushed red pepper; cook 1 minute.  Add squash, broth, kale, and drained beans. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered 15 to 20 minutes or until squash is tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note from Debbie: if you are getting any of Amy's beans through the webstore, I bet this would be good with either the Eye of Goat or Hidatsa Shield beans... but since they will be much fresher than dried beans you'd get from the store, they won't require nearly the cooking time described above. Soak overnight, as described, but then in the cooking step with the garlic and bay leaf, I would bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then reduce to a bare simmer and then check after 10 to 15 minutes. As she says, cooking times for beans vary -- the longer they've sat dried, the longer they take to cook. Amy's beans were harvested and dried just this fall, so they are very fresh!

This will be pretty made with the Romanesco cauliflower and red onions:

Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
from Bon Appetit, March 2007
serves 8

1 small head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), cored, cut into 1-inch florets
2 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. truffle oil [nice if you have it, but not a tragedy if you leave it out]
1 refrigerated pie crust [or your favorite recipe - here's mine : scroll down to "Debbie's Stir-n-roll Crust]
1 lg. onion, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced [or a few smaller red ones!]
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 lg. eggs
1 (7- to 8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese (Italian cream cheese) [or a soft cream cheese such as Neufchatel]
1/2 C whipping cream
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 C grated Gruyre cheese
3/4 C grated Parmesan cheese

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl. Spread on large rimmed baking sheet, spacing apart. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes; turn florets over. Continue roasting until tender, about 25 minutes longer. Cool cauliflower, then thinly slice. Drizzle with truffle oil [if you have it; you could alternatively use minimal salt when roasting, then sprinkle with truffle salt in this step]; toss. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Press pie crust onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Line pie crust with foil; fill with pie weights. Bake crust 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights; bake until crust is golden, about 5 minutes, pressing crust with back of fork if bubbles form. Cool crust. Maintain oven temperature.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is deep golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes. Cool slightly. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Store crust at room temperature. Cover and chill cauliflower and onion separately.

Brush bottom and sides of crust with mustard. Spread onion in crust. Arrange cauliflower evenly over. Set tart on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk eggs and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in Gruyère. Pour mixture over filling in tart pan; sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until tart is golden and center is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 15 minutes before serving.

Split Pea Soup with Smoked Sausage and Greens
another Bon Appetit recipe, from Sept of this year, modified slightly
Serves 4

1 16-oz. bag dried green split peas (2 1/3 C)
12 oz. fully cooked smoked pork linguica or andouille sausages
8 C (or more) chicken broth or stock
5 bay leaves
3 to 4 C coarsely chopped kale

Combine split peas, whole sausages, 8 cups broth, and bay leaves in heavy large pot. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until peas are tender, stirring occasionally, 30 to 35 minutes.

Transfer sausages to cutting board. Cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-rounds.

Puree soup (including bay leaves) 1 cup at a time in blender until smooth; return to same pot. Add sausages and greens. Thin with more broth if necessary. Simmer soup until greens soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

[including bay leaves -- wow, I've never seen that before... interesting!]

Stir-fried Bok Choi and Mushroom
from "Vegetables and Vegetarian Dishes", modified slightly

4 dried black Chinese mushrooms
1 tbsp. vegetable or sunflower oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 lb. bok choi pak choi, mei qing choi or other Chinese vegetable, cut into bite sized pieces [including leaves]
2 oz. oyster mushrooms, rinsed, stems discarded
2 oz. shitake mushrooms, rinsed, stems discarded
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
[If you don't have all the different kinds of mushrooms, use ordinary white or brown mushrooms and saute them a little with the garlic... it'll still taste good!]

Rinse dried mushrooms thoroughly then soak them in half a cup of boiling water or enough to completely cover the mushrooms. Let them stand for 30 minutes. Squeeze any excess water out of the mushrooms, then cut them in half and set the soaking liquid aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or skillet and stir fry the garlic until light brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the bok choi and fry for 1 minute, then add the oyster and shitake mushrooms, and fry for 2 minutes more.

Stir in the soaking liquid and oyster sauce, toss quickly and serve.

Got carrots? How about this to use some of 'em up?

Moroccan Carrot Salad
Bon Appetit, Nov 2010
Recipe adapted from "Taste", a restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum

1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1/4 C fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 pound carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
4 C mixed baby greens [no need to get baby greens from the store - just tear up and use the lettuce from your share, or, mix all the rest of the salad ingredients and serve on a bed of lettuce]
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced [use the red onion - it'll be lovely!]

Whisk first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk in oil, lemon juice, orange juice, and mint. Add carrots and baby greens; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with onion and serve.

Lastly, here's a broccoli classic - very easy to make:

Roman-style Broccoli
from an old, un-dated San Jose Merc newspaper clipping, modified slightly
Serves 4

1 head of broccoli
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 oz. good quality olive oil
Sea salt
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Grated Parmesan cheese, if desired

Cut broccoli florets from stalks and slice. Trim bottom from and peel broccoli stems, then slice as well (half-inch slices, approx). Place prepared broccoli in a high-sided, thick-bottomed pot. Slice cloves of garlic as thinly as possible and add to pot. Add olive oil to the pot, throw in a healthy pinch of sea salt and a splash of water. Put on a low flame. You want the broccoli to slowly stew until soft.

Shake pot gently to prevent sticking and burning. Add pinch of red pepper flakes after 10 minutes of cooking. If it starts to sizzle, add another tablespoon or two of water. You want the contents to go soft and melt together. Do not worry if the broccoli loses its bright green color. The flavor will be complex and delicious.

When soft, adjust seasoning with some more salt if required, turn over into a serving platter, and grate some fresh cheese on top. Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 when tossed with some cooked dried wheat pasta for an entree.

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