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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
6th Harvest Week, Winter Season 5
January 24th - 30th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box this week
"Laptops" - A Step Towards a Healthier Food System
Winter CSA Delivery Schedule
Website revise/update
How about a fermentation workshop?
Sourdough Basics bread-making class, Sunday Feb 13th
Share-splitter wanted in Aptos
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2011 Calendar

" It's bizarre that the produce manager/farmer is more important to my children than the pediatrician."
- Meryl Streep

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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
Apples (Fuji/Pippin)
Brussels sprouts +


Romanesco cauliflower +
Lacinato kale
Meyer lemons
Shitake mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Dry onions + (Phil Foster/Pinnacle Organic)
Turnips with their greens
Watermelon radishes [loose; no tops] (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Pickled dry-farmed tomatoes by Happy Girl Kitchen from LEF tomatoes and basil - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Winter Small Share

Apples (Fuji/Pippin)
Brussels sprouts
Romanesco cauliflower
Lacinato kale


Meyer lemons
Shitake mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Dry onions (Phil Foster/Pinnacle Organic)
Turnips with their greens
Watermelon radishes [loose; no tops] (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Pickled dry-farmed tomatoes by Happy Girl Kitchen from LEF tomatoes and basil - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Preserves Option

1 jar ketchup
1 jar raspberry jam

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


"Laptops" - A Step Towards a Healthier Food System
Sitting in my office staring at my laptop computer on Monday morning, not sure what to write for this week's newsletter, I remembered when a few weeks ago, our daughter Elisa came home from school wanting a laptop.  A bit surprised by her request, since she only just started the Montessori equivalent of 1st grade, I began explaining to her how important it is to first learn how to read and write.  "But Dad", she interrupted, "not a computer, a laptop for my lunch."  Her unexpected response made me laugh and when she explained to me about the laptop lunchbox her fellow classmates had, I immediately thought of  Amy Hemmert, a CSA member, who in 2006 wrote a inspiring commentary in our newsletter to promote waste-free and wholesome school lunches.*  Elisa's idea of a "laptop" was designed by Amy with her partner Tammy Pelstring.  We ordered one online directly from their company, Obentec, here in Santa Cruz.  To Elisa's excitement, her laptop arrived last week together with a comprehensive User's Guide filled with nutritional information, ideas for preparing lunches, and emphasizing the use of organic and locally grown food. This morning Elisa helped me make her lunch. On the menu: steamed Brussels sprouts, carrots, and Romanesco cauliflower florets; sliced kiwi, persimmons, and oranges; a ham and cheese sandwich, and some nuts and chips all nicely distributed among the various colorful containers provided.  Before she went into class, she posed for me with her new laptop and said, "can't wait to have lunch today!" Congratulations Amy, I hope your business thrives and that millions of kids become laptop fans like Elisa.
Elisa and her lunchbox "laptop"
I believe that if we make it our goal to provide children with the best possible nutrition, and provide an environment where kids feel encouraged by their community to experience the life cycles of the food they eat - feeling the soil in their hands, harvesting the food they eat, and participating in preparing affordable foods that nourish body and spirit - we will have made a giant leap towards a sustainable local food system.

My belief, which has guided me as a farmer, is that to grow food is much more than just treating it like a commodity. Food is and always will be so much more; it is connected to personal well-being, to relationships to family and friends, to the vitality and persistence of community and culture, and to the care and respect for the land.

This is the reason we embraced the farming philosophy of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). We want our community to experience that direct connection with the farm that grows their food; we want everyone to have the opportunity to reestablish their knowledge of how food is grown, for that connection to be more visible.

- Tom

* see 2006 Week 7 and 8 in our newsletter history, subject "school lunch poison", if you want the back-story - Debbie

Winter CSA Delivery Schedule
I'm going to keep this in the newsletter so folks always 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

Website revise/update
We have updated our website to make a few things clearer, so when you get a chance, check it out http://www.liveearthfarm.net . We are still tweaking a few things, but one ready-to-use-now improvement is that you can now log in to your account or the webstore directly from the home page. Look down to the lower-left corner, above Frequently Asked Questions. (The FAQs haven't been revised yet, but that's on my list!) ;-) Debbie

How about a fermentation workshop?
When I sent out that email last week about the sauerkraut and kimchi, I received many comments from folks who have really enjoyed getting the live fermented food, but who also had many questions and were curious about the process. I love fermenting stuff, and talk about fermenting veggies in this week's recipe section, but the best way to learn is to get some hands-on experience. So I'm hoping we can convince Todd Champagne from Happy Girl Kitchens to do another fermentation workshop on the farm sometime soon! If you agree with me that this is a good idea, email Todd and put "Fermentation workshop at LEF - yes please!" in the subject line (or something like that, so he'll know). Let's get it to happen! :-) Debbie

Sourdough Basics bread-making class, Sunday Feb 13th
Erin Justus of Companion Bakers, who makes the loaves for our wonderful weekly Bread Option, will be holding another Sourdough Basics class here on the farm in just a couple weeks! In this three-hour class you will learn the inside scoop on the mysterious sourdough starter as well as walk through the baking process. This class will include a brief history of sourdough as well as hands on practice in mixing, shaping and baking off a batch of bread. We will be using the Live Earth Farm's wood-fired oven (weather permitting), as well as their indoor "home" oven with a stone hearth. The class will include bread, spreads and cheeses to sample and enjoy throughout the class, as well as a chance to bake off your own loaf to take home. Come and learn the basics! Aprons and towels provided for you. Please bring a pencil and paper for notes.

Cost: $45/person. (Limited to 15 spaces)
When: Sunday February 13th, Noon - 3pm

To sign up:  
Please email or call Erin at Companion Bakers.  
companionbakers@gmail.com   831-252-2253

Share-splitter wanted in Aptos
Another member is interested in finding someone to split with in the upcoming Regular Season which starts in April. Priscilla Mann is looking for someone to share a Family Share plus Extra Fruit with, picking up in Aptos. If you are interested, please contact Priscilla at zebrasnake@sbcglobal.net or call her at 831.662.8156.

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

Looks like a great box this week! The beautiful watermelon radishes continue, as do the Brussels sprouts; the pickled dry-farmed tomatoes which Happy Girl Kitchen put up for us from last summer's tomatoes and basil - yum! - of all the preserves, this is really "summer in a jar". Kale has transitioned from Red Russian to Lacinato, the dark-green dinosaur-skin-looking stuff. Meyer lemons... mmmmm. And fresh Shitake mushrooms from Far West Fungi -another real treat! Like I said, great box! ;-) Debbie

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

The first thing I thought of when I saw Tom was putting the watermelon radishes in again, and also cabbage (and of course we always have carrots) was... fermented veggies! I want to encourage everyone to learn how to ferment veggies, because it is the simplest thing to do, because it's a lot of fun, and because they are delicious and nutritious!

Simple fermented veggies
This is a sauerkraut-kimchi hybrid of my own making; you can ferment all sorts of veggies!

Basic ingredients
1 head cabbage, quartered, cored and chopped or shredded (save 1 leaf whole)
1 or 2 watermelon radishes, sliced, slices halved or quartered
a couple carrots, scrubbed or peeled, then sliced
4 tbsp. low-mineral content sea salt or kosher salt (not table salt; you don't want the anti-caking ingredients, and I just recently learned that a high mineral sea salt, while good for general cooking - I use it all the time - is not the best for fermenting because the minerals can impart an off taste)
4 C filtered water (don't use tap water; you don't want any chlorine, which will inhibit or kill the good bacteria you want to grow!)

Optional additional veggies/fruit from this week's box:
trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts
sliced turnips
turnip greens coarsely chopped
sliced cauliflower florets
cauliflower leaves, sliced or chopped
chopped apple

Optional seasoning additions:
1 or 2 sliced leeks or onions
several cloves of garlic, peeled, then sliced, chopped, or even left whole!
crushed dried chilies (or you could chop up some of the pickled peppers, if you received them with your preserve option last week), quantity to taste based on heat preference
1 or 2 tbsp. grated ginger root

Other items:
2 or 3 wide-mouth quart jars
2 or 3 narrow jam jars filled with water for weighting (any jar that is narrower than the mouth of the quart jar will do) [alternatively you can use a ziploc bag filled with brine; just use brine and not plain water, in case the bag leaks]

Chop and/or slice the veggies (basic ingredients plus optional additional veggies but not the "seasoning additions") and toss together in a big bowl or non-reactive pot (NOT aluminum!). Dissolve the sea salt into the water completely to make a brine. Pour the brine over the veggies and let soak a couple hours or overnight.

Drain veggies, reserving brine. Add optional seasoning additions to drained veggies at this point and mix in.

Pack veggie mixture into quart jars by putting in a few handfuls then literally pushing down with your fist (or anything that will work) to squish them together and cause the brine to rise. Add more veggies and pack until your jar is about 2/3 full. I've learned to not overfill them, then they don't overflow when fermenting, because the brine expands. This is why I suggest using 2 or 3 jars, so you're not tempted to try to get it all into one jar. [these pictures are from a sauerkraut-making blurb I did a few years back]
packing the brined veggies into a jar
Now's where the saved whole cabbage leaf comes in: tear it into 2 or 3 large pieces (one for each jar)... ideally each piece should be just slightly larger than the diameter of the jar. You're going to use this to keep the veggies contained in an orderly fashion below the brine. Slip the leaf down into the jar and using your fingers, tuck it down and around and push on it so that the brine rises but the veggies stay below. If you don't feel you have enough brine covering the veggies, add a little from what you reserved. About a half-inch of brine is my visual rule of thumb.
Putting the leaf in to contain the veggies
Now take that jam jar filled with water and stick it into the bigger jar and gently push down on it to make the brine rise, then leave this sit at room temperature to ferment! Length of time: 5 to 7 days. If your kitchen is on the warm side, check it at 4 days; if you're fermenting in a cool spot, it can go longer than 7 days. It is not an exact science.
weighting the kraut with a jar filled with water
It's fun to watch the progress: the veggies will bubble and a foam will form on top of the brine. Sometimes a little mold or scum appears too, but you can just skim that off. The veggies will not be harmed and neither will you.

NOTE: the pictures above are, like I said, from a few years ago when I was making plain sauerkraut. You can see how I've put the jar in a bowl to catch the brine overflow. If you do like I suggest above and only fill your jar 2/3 full, you shouldn't have this problem. If in doubt, set the jar in a bowl so you don't have a puddle on your counter ;-) Below is some sauerkraut (cabbage, leeks, fennel seed) I started just last Saturday, so this is how it looks after just 2 days. Note how I didn't fill the jars so much, so they're not overflowing.
sauerkraut with leeks and fennel seed, partially fermented

Taste the ferment after a couple days; it should start to get tangy - just lift out the jar, stick your fingers down into the brine and taste. Or carefully pull aside the covering leaf of cabbage and try a forkful of the veggies beneath. If it is still salty, push it back down under the brine and let it ferment longer. If it tastes sour to your liking, then that's great! Take the weighting jar out, put a lid on it, and stick it in your fridge, where you can enjoy it over the course of a couple months. It will continue to ferment in the fridge but much more slowly.

I love to have a small bowl of sauerkraut or kimchi or fermented veggies with my lunch. The brine is as good as the veggies, so don't toss that part!

Note 2/14/11: If you're interested, please see further discussion on fermented veggies in Winter Week 9 newsletter - I documented in pictures a mixed veggie ferment!

Made this recipe last week, with last week's turnips. It was good!

Farmhouse Turnips
modified slightly from a recipe in the cookbook "Greene on Greens"
serves 2 generously or 4 as a side dish

3 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, minced
1 bunch turnips, with greens
about 1/2 C tomato puree or canned chopped tomatoes, or just use 1 or 2 tomatoes from the jar of pickled dry-farmed tomatoes in your box this week, chopped
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
[if not using turnip greens, use 1 to 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley]

Cut green tops from turnips and set aside. Trim top and root away from turnip bulbs and scrub (no need to peel), then cut into half-inch wide slices, then cut the slices into sticks, kinda like french fries.

Go through the turnip greens, discarding any discolored leaves, and coarsely chop the rest for use in the recipe.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in the turnips, tomato, sugar and allspice. Mix well. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Stir the chopped greens in for the last 3 minutes or so of cooking, so that they wilt but still keep their color. [If not using the greens, just mix in the chopped parsley at the end, or sprinkle on top when serving.]
Farmhouse turnips in a skillet

Barley Stew with Leeks, Mushrooms and Greens
from a Bon Appetit clipping, Dec 2009
serves 6

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 C chopped leeks (about 2 small stalks; white and pale green parts)
8 oz crimini mushrooms [use the fresh shitakes!]
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 1/4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in their juice [can substitute the crushed dry farmed tomatoes from a few weeks back or this week's pickled ones, just chop 'em up]
1 C pearl barley
4 C (or more) vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped

Heat oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add leeks; sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until leeks begin to soften, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, and rosemary; increase heat to medium-high and saute until mushrooms soften and begin to brown, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice; stir 1 minute. Add barley and 4 C broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until barley is almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add kale; stir until wilted, about 1 minute. Cover and simmer until kale and barley are tender, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls as needed for desired stew consistency, about 10 minutes.

Lemony Leek Soup
from "Recipes from the Great Chefs of Santa Cruz County" (this particular recipe was from Sheperds Garden Seeds)
serves 6 to 8

1 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 C thinly sliced leeks (about 6 to 8 leeks)
1 carrot, thinly sliced [farm carrots are small; I'd use two?]
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
6 C chicken stock
1 tbsp. grated lemon zest [use the Meyers! Yum!]
2 tbsp. lemon juice [ditto!]
2 tsp. fresh marjoram or 1 tsp. dried
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1/4 C rice
1/2 C milk
salt and white pepper (to taste)

3 tbsp. minced chives [optional; got any baby scallions left from last week's box?]

In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan, heat butter and oil, add leeks, carrots and celery and saute until softened.

Add chicken stock, lemon rind, lemon juice, marjoram, parsley and rice and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes, until veggies are very tender.

Puree in batches in a blender or food processor.

Pour mixture back into saucepan; add milk, salt and white pepper to taste. If soup is too thick, add extra milk or stock.

Heat soup through but do not boil. Serve hot or cold, sprinkled with chives and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt.

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!

Contact Jordan or Todd if you have any questions:

Community Farm Days and Events

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