|What's in the box(es) this week
Occasionally content will differ from this list (typically we make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.
Generally speaking, the Family share will get larger quantities of certain items than the other two shares, so even though lists look similar, they are actually getting more.
For any items not from our farm, we will identify the source in parentheses.
Baby bok choiBroccolini
Kale (Red Russian OR Lacinato)Meyer Lemons (from LEF or Marsalisi Farm)
Radishes (Regular red or French Breakfast)
Red butter lettuce
Dry onions (Pinnacle Organic)
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Baby bok choiBroccolini
FennelMeyer Lemons (from LEF or Marsalisi Farm)
Radishes (Regular red or French Breakfast)
Red butter lettuce
Dry onions (Pinnacle Organic)
Baby bok choiBroccolini
FennelKale (Red Russian OR Lacinato)
Meyer Lemons (from LEF or Marsalisi Farm)
Radishes (Regular red or French Breakfast)
Red butter lettuce
Dry onions (Pinnacle Organic)
This week's bread will be whole wheat with flax seeds
Extra Fruit Option
The "Extra Fruit" option does not begin until May.
Here we go again!
We are excited to welcome you all, both new and returning members, to Live Earth Farm's 16th CSA season. Of course I am a little biased, but for me, experiencing the farm's seasonal food rhythms is a delicious, nourishing, and mutually engaging journey. A journey where cooking your meals using the farm's weekly harvest turns into a refreshing creative challenge, motivated by the pleasure of eating great tasting food.
Your relationship to Live Earth Farm is more than a weekly delivery of produce: it's an opportunity to connect with the place where your food is grown. I encourage everyone to see this farm as an extension of their home; consider it our job to care for "your" extended food garden (including the chickens, goats and sheep). We hope you will engage with this "garden", and enjoy it with us over the course of the season.
Sometimes I wish I could follow the boxes of produce leaving the farm every week to their final destination in your homes, to experience how the food we grow ends up on your plates, prepared into meals. But short of multiplying myself, we hope instead to entice you
to come to the farm, to participate in any of the numerous activities and events we have planned this season, whether it be the monthly Community Farm Days, the always fun-filled seasonal farm Celebrations, farm summer camps, or any of a number of hands-on workshops (i.e. cooking, gardening, medicinal herbs, permaculture, sustainable building, and habitat restoration). [See our Calendar of Events for a complete list, and follow this newsletter; we always announce events here. - Debbie]
What's Up on the Farm
There isn't a place on the farm where Spring hasn't sprung. I love this time of year... the goats and sheep are almost ready to birth, the moist dark topsoil teems with life when you turn over a shovelful, apple trees are in full bloom, the chicken pastures are green and lush, and the thick blankets cover crops which have protected the soil from winter rains will now be plowed back in, to provide valuable nutrients and organic matter for the upcoming growing season. Even though this is our 16th year, every new season is unique and renewing. Winter definitely decided to hang around a while longer this year, as almost 10 inches of rain pounded the farm the last weeks of March (the apricots, once again, suffered the most).
But when the sun finally came out and temperatures soared into the 80's last week, everyone was ready to kick into action. With soils drying, the farm tractors are busy from dawn to dusk preparing the fields for Spring planting. The first wave of vegetable starts has been field transplanted; even green beans got sown. If the weather holds, our first succession of tomatoes will be freed from their confines in the green house and transplanted out too. The danger of frost is not quite over, but it's worth the gamble, as the earlier in April we can plant them, the sooner we get to enjoy this summer favorite.
The rains delayed our first strawberry harvest, but the plants look really healthy and I expect the first red berries will be showing up in your shares in a couple of weeks. We're glad it's Spring, and excited that you are joining us for another nourishing season at Live Earth Farm.
Tractors are busy busy busy out working the fields right now!
A cover-cropped hillside in the foreground; crop fields and apple orchards down on the flats in the background.
Lush up-and-coming chicken pasture outside the master hen house, and happy chickens under the orchard.
The mallards are back! They come to nest in the pond behind Tom and Constance's house every spring for several years now.
One very pregnant Moonshadow!
Our strawberry field is coming along nicely; berries are starting to get ripe... they'll be in our shares soon!
Discovery Program Update from Jessica Ridgeway
Welcome CSA Members and Friends of Live Earth Farm to the first newsletter of the 16th CSA Season!
The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program is proud to be entering its fourth spring season. We have lots of farm tours scheduled for local classes in April, May, and June, as well as several upcoming community events. We really hope you will get involved in some of the educational experiences offered at Live Earth Farm. There are attendee and volunteer positions still available for all of our events as well.
April 19, and every third Tuesday, 10:30 am - Noon: Wee Ones. Fun on the Farm for 0-3 year olds and their parents, grandparents, caretakers. $10-$15 per family. RSVP requested.
April 23, 11 am - 3 pm: Sheep to Shawl Day. Participate in hands-on demonstrations of the entire process of making clothing from wool. Attendance is free for CSA members, $10-$15 per carload for non members.
April 27, any time between 11 am - 3 am: Community Night at the Saturn Cafe. RSVP for Dinner with Jessica Ridgeway, and/or the LEFDP Board of Directors at 7pm. 10% of your purchase benefits LEFDP when you bring a flier. Flier available on our website or at the Wednesday Farmers Market.
June 13th-17th, June 20th-24th, and July 11th-15th, 9 am - 4 pm daily: Art on the Farm Camp. We'll be engaging campers in creative expression among our 100 organic acres of fruits, vegetables, farm animals, and wild spaces. During the week campers will plant, harvest, and create in the kitchen and beyond; make cheese, make masks, print, paint, and sculpt with natural materials.
We are pleased to continue expanding and improving the educational programs we offer to the community. This year we are also looking for volunteers to help with our events.
Please check out the activities calendars on both the LEF
websites for a full list of events offered throughout the summer and into the fall. We appreciate your support and look forward to meeting you on the farm. Please contact me, Jessica Ridgeway, Education Director, 831-728-2032, email@example.com
for more information on anything that strikes your fancy!
Account Login and "Balance on Account"
Hopefully most of you are now aware that when you sign up for a CSA share with us, you now have your own online "account". You log into your account
for lots of different reasons (summary of your subscription; address and directions to your site; access the Web Store; change pick-up sites; add to your subscription; donate your share), but many folks are confused by the box at the top of the login called "Balance on Account".
All this is is the sum total of payments received by the farm less deliveries received. Once the season is underway this will become clearer, as on the "History" tab there is a running balance showing the date and description of every transaction.
New CSA pick-up sites in the North and East Bay, courtesy of Happy Girl Kitchen!
Thanks to Happy Girl Kitchen we now have four new pick-up sites! They have partnered with us to deliver our CSA shares to the same drop-off locations as their Food Preservationists
(motto: "Together we can."), which has afforded us the opportunity to deliver a little further afield. Here are our new joint pick-up locations:
Palo Alto - Barron Park neighborhood
Redwood City - Mt Carmel neighborhood
San Francisco - Bernal Heights
Oakland - Temescal neighborhood
So if you know of anyone in these locations that you think might be interested in a LEF CSA share, give 'em the good news that they can now sign up and pick up here!
New site hosts wanted - interested?
There are a few locations around town that are extremely popular, and so we are very much interested in adding sites in these areas, so as to take the pressure off the existing locations. If you or someone you know in the following areas would be interested in being a CSA site host for us, please contact Debbie at the farm for details (she answers to the main farm phone and email addresses).
Aptos - in the Cabrillo College area
Rose Garden or Santa Clara area - someplace with easy access off 880, from The Alameda down to 280 (roughly speaking)
Downtown Palo Alto - ideally within walking distance from the train station, but anywhere in the Downtown, Downtown North, or University South neighborhoods would be welcome too.
Morris Grassfed Beef - and their Spring Field Day
Hi folks, it's Debbie - If you are an omnivore in search of a source of healthy, grassfed, grass-finished beef for your family, search no further. Joe and Julie Morris, of T&O Cattle Company down in San Juan Bautista are your answer. I have gotten my own beef from them for several years now (so have many other CSA members) and can attest to the quality of the meat and the integrity of the Morrises, who raise the animals and steward the land. As Julie will tell you, "Our cattle enjoy a completely organic diet of fresh grass, forbs and legumes, clean water, and better views than most of us do! We use neither synthetic hormones nor fed antibiotics: our animals grow only as fast as their genetics and the range will allow. Their range, of course, serves also as watersheds and habitat for us as well as other biological communities. We manage our animals so that they enhance the diversity of life on the range, as well as the quality of the water that falls on the range and flows to the towns and sea. We believe this web of relationships we are stewarding is an integral whole, depending for its health upon all its members: damaging the health of any member of the "whole" community, therefore, damages the rest. Our desire is to produce health with all we do. Only when this is done are we satisfied that Morris Grassfed Beef is all it can be-the best there is for all of us." Also, all their Morris Grassfed beef cattle are born and raised by them on their ranch in San Juan Bautista; they do not purchase calves and then just finish them on grass. The animals are under Joe and Julie's care from birth to the time the meat is delivered to you.
Here are a few factoids about eating meat from pastured animals, as gleaned from Michael Pollan's book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma": · A growing body of scientific research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn-fed beef. Cattle are ruminants, not designed to eat grain (organic or not). It makes them sick. This is why most of the antibiotics sold in America today end up in animal feed. The research further indicates that pasture substantially changes the nutritional profile of chicken, eggs, beef and milk. · The large quantities of beta-carotene, vitamin E, and folic acid present in green grass find their way into the flesh of the animals that eat that grass. · The fats created in the flesh of grass eaters are the best kind for us to eat. Grass-fed meat, milk, and eggs contain less total fat and less saturated fats than the same foods from grain-fed animals. Pastured animals also contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that some recent studies indicate may help reduce weight and prevent cancer, and which is absent from feedlot animals. But perhaps most important, meat, eggs, and milk from pastured animals also contain higher levels of omega 3s, essential fatty acids created in the cells of green plants and algae that play an indispensable role in human health, and especially in the growth and health of neurons - brain cells.
In a nutshell, the species of animal you eat may matter less than what the animal you're eating has itself eaten!
If you are interested, go to www.morrisgrassfed.com
to learn more and to sign up. You won't be disappointed.
About their Spring Field Day. Interested in spending a beautiful spring day outdoors with your family and learning more about the land stewardship of pasture-raised beef? Every year Joe and Julie host an Annual Field Day, and it is an event not to be missed. This year it will be held at the same (gorgeous!) place as last year: the Circle P Ranch in Watsonville, on the corner of Thompson and Carlton Roads, Saturday April 16th from 10 am to 3 pm. It's your opportunity to meet Joe and Julie in person, take a wildflower walk, learn about grassfed production and enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch. Cost is $15 per person, $10 for children (12 and under) or $40 for a family pack which includes two adult lunches and children. No pets please! The Morrises will provide the hamburgers and salad, and you bring your own drinks, sides and desserts. Please help them plan enough food by RSVP-ing with how many will be in your party to Liz Sparling: firstname.lastname@example.org. I went last year and will be there again this year too -- wouldn't miss it! Hope to see you there!
Pictured at left from Field Day 2010: thigh-high grass courtesy of Joe's holistic pasture management practices.
Goat's Milk and Cheese from Summer Meadows Farm
Watch this space next week - I hope to feature info about Lynn Selness and Summer Meadows Farm. New this year: she is partnering with artisan cheesemaker Cynthia Armstrong to create a special cheese share - one new and different aged cheese per month. Details next week! - Debbie
Web Store Teaser
Just a quickie reminder that our online Web Store is open weekly, all day Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Place your orders and receive delivery with your coming week's CSA share. Even non-members can now peruse our Web Store, see what they're missing out on (and maybe be tempted to join?).
To view our Web Store, simply go to http://csa.farmigo.com/store/liveearthfarm
Yes, we realize the timing of this newsletter and the Web Store hours are not compatible (newsletter goes out late Monday night, Web Store closes Monday nights), so that is why Taylor will email everyone a reminder on Fridays.
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Hi everybody! Welcome (newbies), and welcome back (old-bies?). We have a beautiful box to start the season with: all sorts of tasty greens like arugula and radicchio, beautiful golden beets, yummy oyster mushrooms from Far West Fungi... since we have three box sizes this season, there will be instances where I talk about a veggie you might not get in your particular share, but I'll do my best to cover at least something from each box. If you are truly new to this space, I highly encourage you to peruse the recipe database -- I've been doing recipes for this newsletter since, oh, 1998, and have been accumulating them in the database, so there are LOTS of ideas to give you inspiration. - Debbie
Let's start with that baby bok choi, because everyone's getting that!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bok choi. When Tom does his 'in the box' list for me, he's not always specific about the varietal, so I don't know whether we're getting a true bok choi, or mei qing choi, but in the end it is not too critical; they look and taste similar, and are more or less interchangeable in recipes.
That's bok on the left, and mei qing on the right.
Bok choi can be used in stir-fries and soups, but in a relatively recent happy experiment I found that it is just lovely as a substitution for celery in things like tuna or chicken or potato salads. It is more tender and easier to chew, but still provides sufficient 'crunch' to add texture. Chop up or shred the green leaves to add them as well! Got a favorite tuna/chicken/potato salad recipe? Try adding bok choi and see if you don't like the results!
It is also great in kimchi, but maybe this first week isn't the time for me to start on my fermented-veggies rant; you'll hear from me soon enough about that!
Radicchio is probably the other veggie that might leave some of you newbies at sea; I hope I can fix that! The radicchio we're getting this week are small, says Tom, but that's okay; a little goes a long way. Commonly you'll see it in torn pieces in salad mixes, and among the bitter greens family (love how we call it a 'green' when it's really a 'red') it is definitely towards the bitter end of the scale. So if you do use it in a salad (mmm, I can see it already, with the butter lettuce and thinly sliced or grated carrots...), you want to use it sparingly, for color and a kick. I find bitter goes really well with sweet; it also goes well with citrus, so I'll suggest a simple salad to get you started, below.
Another beauteous thing to do with radicchio is to cook it. Cook it and you'll mellow that 'bitter' out somewhat, making it rounder, richer, more complex. If you've been in my recipe database, you've seen my favorite pan-browned radicchio
. I highly encourage people new to radicchio give this a try!
Okay, here's a salad you can make:
Radicchio Apple Salad
Butter lettuce leaves, washed and dried, torn into pieces
A few radicchio leaves (don't go overboard), torn into small pieces
Thinly sliced or grated carrot
Diced fresh apple
Toasted walnuts (optional)
for the dressing:
juice from half a meyer lemon
a splash of vinegar (cider vinegar would be good)
a dab of honey
a dab of Dijon mustard
a pinch or two of salt
a nice nut oil if you have one (I have and use a roasted walnut oil a lot) or a canola oil or mild olive oil - maybe 2 tbsp or so
paprika (maybe 1/4 tsp or so)
Combine dressing ingredients and toss with salad ingredients just before serving, so the salad is glistening and fresh.
Kale, kale, kale. Kale has become the iconic CSA leafy green veggie, I think. I know I'd never had it before I was a CSA member (of course that was 15 years ago, but still). But I have been in love with it ever since. It is a staple, and I can (and do!) eat it weekly; sometimes a couple times a week! The trick is knowing how to work with it. Kale, like radicchio, is a bitter green, but not quite as high up on the bitterness scale as radicchio. Tom grows two kinds of kale: Red Russian (below left), and Lacinato (or "dinosaur", or sometimes "black kale" or "Tuscan kale"), below right.
Probably the biggest prep-tip bang-for-the-buck is the leaf-stripping technique. Followed in close succession by the chop after cooking tip (I'll get to that). So I found it to be kind of nuts to try to cut the stem away with a knife lengthwise along either side, like some recipes suggest. What's WAY easier is to hold the stem in one hand and strrrriiip the leaves off with the other. Into a bowl, or steaming basket, or pile on a cutting board, whatever. Much quicker! And a very satisfying hands-on experience too.
My default way for cooking kale is to boil in well salted water (think seawater) for just a couple minutes (one bunch of kale stripped from its stems I'll do for 2, maybe 3 minutes at most). Then you drain it really well, squeeze out the excess water - I use a wooden spoon and a colander - and you end up with a green lump about the size of your fist. Plop this out onto a cutting board and NOW you chop it. Easy peasy. Chopping the kale before cooking it gets outta control and leaves go everywhere. Chop it after cooking and it is much better behaved!
And now the kale is ready to eat, or to use in other recipes. I like to just drizzle the kale with a good olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (yes, the Meyer lemons would be perfect for this!), then sprinkle on additional sea salt and eat like that. In wintertime, I call this my "hot salad", for when I want a green salad, but not a cold one.
<> you can use vinegar instead of lemon juice
<> you could introduce plumped golden raisins and toasted walnuts, and use that roasted walnut oil instead of the olive oil
<> you can grate on fresh parmesan instead of sprinkling with salt
<> try chopping up a bunch of cilantro, and then chopping that in turn with the kale to kind of mix it together. You could use lime juice instead of lemon if you had it. This is MOST excellent for tucking into burritos with a nice hot sauce!
Mind you, this is not the only way to prepare kale (by far!), but it is a reliably good way to prepare it if you haven't cooked with it before; a good 'starter' way to use it, in other words. That's why I'm repeating this in the first newsletter (my regular readers are rolling their eyes, they've heard this so often).
Lastly, fennel is an item common to all 'shareholders' this week - so here is a recipe from a few years back (it's in the database) that is easy and delicious - give it a shot!
Mark's broiled fennel and goat cheese
inspired by the following grilled fennel salad blog, says Mark
1 large bulb of fennel [or 2 small], sliced about 1/2" to 3/4" thick (our bulb ended up with 5 slices) [I believe the slices are supposed to be lengthwise to the stalk, but crosswise to the 'flat' of the bulb, so that each has a bit of root-end to hold the slice together]
Tear washed salad greens (we did a mixture of arugula and green lettuce) and divide between two plates. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees, with rack at broiling level near top of oven.
Lay out fennel slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt (I used a salt combination with citrus and rosemary from Napa Style, so any grey/sea salt combined with your choice of dried herbs should work). Drizzle balsamic vinegar and then olive oil on the fennel slices over the salt. Let sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to penetrate the fennel.
Put pan in oven for 5 minutes to roast, then switch to broiler without removing pan and broil for 5 minutes more. Fennel should be starting to brown at this point.
Remove pan from oven. Add good-size dollop of goat cheese to the top of each of the hot fennel slices. Return to oven and broil for another 5-6 minutes. Goat cheese should be starting to brown.
Distribute hot slices of fennel over plated greens. Serve immediately. Yum!
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 family)
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. RSVP requested.
For more information, contact Jessica at the LEFDP office: (831) 728-2032 or email her at email@example.com.
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!)
April 16 - Sauerkraut, Kimchee and Kombucha
May 7 - Cheese
June 11 - Jam with Available Berries
July 9 - Jam with Apricots and Berries
August 13 - Pickles
August 14 - Pickles
August 20 - Tomatoes
August 21 - Tomatoes
(to sign up for any workshop, simply click on its name, above)
Contact Jordan if you have any questions:
Follow Happy Girl on Twitter! @happygirl_co
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 Sept 10 - 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 831.334.5177 or visit his website at www.rootsofwellness.net