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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
10th Harvest Week, Season 16
June 6th - 12th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
One for the Record Books
Scenes from a Soggy U-pick
Summer Meadows Farm has more Goat Milk Shares Available
Rebecca's Recipes
2011 Calendar

" Nature is a fluid entity that changes from moment to moment.
- Masanobu Fukuoka

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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.


The Family share will get larger quantities of certain items than the other two shares, so these items will be marked with a "+" sign.  

For any items not from our farm, we will identify the source in parentheses.

***Click here for a picture of how to tell share sizes apart at your pick-up site***

Family Share
Red beets
Green cabbage
Green garlic
Red Russian kale
Mei qing choi
Bunching onions (scallions)
Rapini (broccoli rabe)

Small Share
Red beets
Green cabbage
Green garlic
Mei qing choi
Bunching onions (scallions)
Strawberries, maybe (depends on how quickly they come back after Saturday's downpour; if we don't have strawberries for the Small Share, we will substitute something else) 

Budget Share
Red beets
Green cabbage
Mei qing choi
Bunching onions (scallions)
Rapini (broccoli rabe)

Bread Option

This week's bread will be three-seed whole wheat    

Extra Fruit Option

3 or 4 baskets of strawberries (again, depends on conditions. Please always go by items/quantities listed next to your name on the checklist.)

Meat Chickens
Second delivery of meat chickens will be next week, Wk 11 (15th, 16th, 17th of June)

One for the Record Books
There is always one for the record books, and Saturday's Strawberry U-Pick surely qualified. It was pouring as Elisa and I readied for our usual morning-in-the-field together, and I gaped incredulously at the rain gauge which showed that 1 inch of rain had fallen overnight. This is June. I was in complete denial, and proceeded to set up a tent near the strawberry patch. The furrows had standing water -- in some areas, ankle deep. The strawberry patch, which was intentionally left unpicked, was loaded with sweet, ripe strawberries, rain rinsed, all screaming to be picked. The rain on Saturday morning didn't let up; it just kept intensifying. Nobody in their right mind, I thought, will want to come and pick in this weather.

I took advantage of the moment to assess the fields, in full rain gear. Trudging through the mud, I couldn't help but feel a little concerned about the prospects of having a normal growing season. Never, in June, have I experienced the drainage ditches flowing with water. Having storm systems coming our way this late in the season is unusual and throws off the timing of a lot of our field tasks. We do our best to stay on schedule, to plant crops in succession in order to ensure a steady harvest, but this year Mother Nature is calling all the shots. Thursday and Friday, in addition to harvesting and packing the shares and preparing for the weekend markets, we worked feverishly to do in 2 days what normally would have been spread out over 7-10 days. Over 60,000 seedlings of leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and peppers had to be planted and beets, sugar snap peas, spring onions, spinach, green beans, and radishes had to be field sown. The timing of these plantings is preceded by other important field tasks such as mowing, plowing, bedding, fertilizing, weeding, cultivating... and all are linked and affected by the amount of rain that just passed through.

What if this cool, wet weather continues? Has climate change now really set in? Are predictable weather patterns along this unique and sheltered Central Coast microclimate a thing of the past?  Will we just have to adopt new farming practices to adapt to an increasingly unpredictable climate? With all these thoughts running through my head I made my rounds in order to put together the coming week's work schedule and harvest plan. Fortunately the raspberries and blackberries, typically very sensitive to rain, are still only in the beginning stages of ripeness; the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are mostly sizing up but not yet flowering; the green beans are still a few weeks away from developing harvestable pods, and as long as we keep the basil and cucumbers under blankets of row cover they may still mature in a timely manner. With the Summer Solstice just around the corner, I am hopeful that the weather may finally turn dry and warm. It would be a blessing, too, if the typically cool overcast summer days ahead are delayed to give our heat-loving summer crops a little boost.

Back to the u-pick. Well the rain just kept falling, with no break in sight. The dark clouds kept pouring in from the coast, yet to my great surprise the first cars pulled in at 10 o'clock sharp and out came eager pickers ready to be the first in the field. Dressed for the occasion in full raingear, everyone was ready, mostly ignoring my cautious remarks about the poor conditions and the wet berries. It only took one sampling of a freshly picked strawberry, and all the seemingly adverse conditions -- slippery mud, water drenched shoes and clothes, and nonstop rain -- became just minor inconveniences as buckets, baskets and trays got filled up with red luscious strawberries. We even rescued a mom whose van got stuck in the mud on our neighbor's farm, just in time so she could still pick her share of strawberries before returning home. As I occasionally checked in with the pickers, my earlier worries got all but erased with enthusiastic remarks about how much fun this was. One member said, "I am in heaven, picking in the fields, eating fresh sweet strawberries while the kids are having a blast playing in the rain and mud." Another member savoring a strawberry exclaimed, "These are the best berries I ever tasted, bar none," as he carried a full bucket out of the field.
Strawberry u-pick in the rain

Dreary grey skies and rain do not daunt these intrepid u-pickers!

I didnt keep count of how many people showed up, but in the six hours from 10am to 4pm, during which it never stopped raining, the entire dedicated block of berries was picked clean. Nothing stirs a deeper sense of satisfaction and delight than seeing and hearing people express the pleasure triggered from eating and being surrounded by tasty, healthy food. It is what keeps me inspired, especially on an unusually wet day in June! So thanks to all who came this last Saturday, and I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to mark your calendars and join us at our upcoming Summer Solstice celebration, on June 18th -- our biggest farm community event of the year. Especially if you missed the tractor ride and farm tour last weekend, or couldn't make it for the u-pick. We'll have the strawberry patch open again for another scaled-down picking event. Hope to see many of you here on the farm, under sunnier skies!!

- Tom

Scenes from a Soggy U-pick
Wet, happy strawberry u-pickers

Wet, happy strawberry u-pickers; check out the innovative raingear on the tyke

 in teal, upper left!

finally the storm clouds break

As the sun headed for the horizon, well after the u-pickers had all returned home, the skies finally began to clear, portending (hopefully!) better weather to come.

Summer Meadows Farm has more Goat Milk Shares Available
A note from Lynn

Hello Live Earth Farm CSA members -- Summer Meadows Farm has more goat shares available! All our does have birthed their sweet and saucy kids (except for one late romance, Leah Babe). Anyway, most of those kids are now over a month old and are separated from their moms at night, so that every morning we are milking 4 gallons of frothy milk before allowing those eager kids to rapturously rejoin their moms for their breakfast milk.

So the upshot is, we are swamped with wholesome, delicious, raw milk and so are taking additional subscriptions! First come first served, so call soon so I can set aside your share for the season before all the milk is apportioned out for the year.

[note from Debbie: FYI you sign up for the goat share with Summer Meadows Farm, not Live Earth Farm. Lynn has just made arrangements with Tom such that she piggy-backs delivery of her customers' shares along with our members' CSA shares to our pick-up sites. This allows Lynn a greater range for getting goat shares to her customers; she is a very small operation! Also FYI, I have been getting Lynn's goat milk share for years now and it is just wonderful. It is very rare to have the opportunity to have access to fresh, raw goats milk, and so I treasure every year that Lynn continues to offer this precious resource. I am also doing the new Specialty Cheese option -- see below -- and can't say enough good about that either! :-)]

In addition to just milk, we offer you the service of making your choice of products from that milk: raw milk yogurt, kefir, chevre, ricotta, and queso blanco. And new this year I have partnered with Cynthia Armstrong, an artisan cheese-maker [click here for a link to Cynthia's blog]. So sign up for our Specialty Cheese option and get a unique artisan cheese once a month!

For details, please download and read our goat share agreement and then call or email me to sign up.

Come and visit us and our friendly goat herd!

Lynn Selness
Summer Meadows Farm

Summer Meadows Farm goats; Cynthia's artisan cheese

Rebecca's Recipes
Click here to go to Debbie's recipe database. Rebecca's recipes will be included in the database as well. [What happened to "Notes from Debbie's Kitchen?"]  


Greetings! What a joy it is to go to the farm and pick up my CSA share! It feels like Christmas when I open the box and see all the luscious, vibrant vegetables. I couldn't wait to get them home and start enjoying all the goodness. I sure hope all of you feel the same! Anyway, please enjoy the recipes I am sending your way this week. May you be filled with health and joy! And feel free to email me via the farm if you have any questions or recipes to share. I would be happy to chat with you anytime. - Rebecca

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

Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Onions, and Olives
1 medium onion
sea salt and pepper
olive oil
2 sprigs thyme (optional)
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 clove garlic (I use the green garlic)
1 pinch hot pepper flakes
Pizza dough for 1 pizza (see recipe below)
1/2 C grated mozzarella cheese
16 olives of choice
1 lemon

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. Dice the onion and toss, along with optional thyme, in a small oven proof saute pan with a pinch of salt and enough olive oil to coat lightly. Put the pan in the oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until the onion is cooked and golden, about 30 minutes. [We've been getting lots of scallions lately; I bet you could chop up and substitute a bunch of scallions for the regular onion; roasting time would probably be a bit less - 20 minutes maybe? - Debbie]
2.While the onion is roasting, wash and drain the broccoli rabe, remove any heavy stems, and roughly chop the leaves and sprouts into a coarse chop. There should be enough to make about 2 cups.
3. Peel and finely chop the green garlic.
4. Heat a large saute pan and coat with olive oil. Add the broccoli rabe and its clinging moisture from washing, season with salt and pepper, add the hot pepper flakes, and fry over high heat until the broccoli rabe is tender. Add the garlic and fry, tossing for a few seconds more. Remove from heat and set aside.
5. When the onions are done, take them out of the oven and turn up the heat to 450-500 degrees. Roll or shape a 12-14" disk of pizza dough. Lightly sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and place the dough on the pan.
6. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil, leaving 1/2" border dry. Evenly sprinkle cheese on the oiled surface, spread the onions over the cheese, then top with the broccoli rabe and olives. Drizzle about 1 tbsp. additional olive oil over the pizza.
7. Bake pizza in pre-heated oven for 5-10 minutes until the crust is brown and crisp.
8. Remove pizza from the oven, sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice, slice, and serve!

Rebecca's Pizza Dough Recipe
There is really something extra delicious about making your own dough if you have the time! If you do not want to make your own dough, Trader Joe's makes a pretty good dough that is inexpensive and saves a lot of time. Also, some pizza places will sell you just the dough if you ask them. Enjoy!

1 1/2 C warm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 to 1 C flour of choice
3 to 3 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour (I like to experiment with different flours, but this combo works well)

1. Pour 1/2 C of the water in a mixing bowl, stir in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining water, olive oil, and salt, then beat in the 1 C flour of your choice, followed by enough of the whole wheat flour to form a shaggy dough. Turn it out onto the counter and knead until smooth, adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking. For a crisp, light pizza crust, dough should be on the moist side, which means it should be slightly tacky.
2. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, turn it once to coat, then cover with a towel and set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 40-60 minutes.
3. Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide into the number of pizzas you want. Shape each piece into a ball, set aside on a lightly floured counter, cover with a towel, and let rise for another 20-30 minutes.
4. Shaping the dough: Taking 1 ball at a time, flatten into a disk, pushing it outward with your palm. Working from the middle, push the dough out with your fingers until it's about 1/4" thick and fairly even, thickening slightly at the edge. Alternatively, roll the dough into a circle with a rolling pin, then push the sides up to make a slight rim. Dust the baking sheet with semolina or fine cornmeal, or flour; lay the disk of dough on top of this and cover with a towel and let rise for at least 10 minutes before you add the toppings.

[For an alternate pizza dough recipe, click here to go to Debbie's Pizza Dough Recipe. You have to scroll down a bit on the page to find it, but it's there! :-) Debbie]

Braised Cabbage
This is a simple, delicious dish, great served as a side dish (I like it with roasted chicken, or just as a light snack).
Serves 4-6

1 medium onion
1 cabbage
3 tbsp. oil of your choice (I like olive oil or grape seed oil for this recipe)
3 tbsp. sherry vinegar (you can use whatever vinegar you have - I really enjoy using apple cider vinegar with this, and it's better for you!)
1 bay leaf (sometimes I add crushed caraway seeds to taste instead of the bay leaf)
sea salt and pepper
1/2 C water
1 apple

1. Remove the outer leaves from the cabbage. Cut head in half, remove the core.
2. Slice the cabbage very thin.
3. Peel the onion and slice thin also.
4. In a large pan, heat the oil; add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Put in the cabbage, vinegar, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and water. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
6. Peel and grate the apple (I leave the skin on if the apple is organic - lots of great nutrients in the skin). Add grated apple to the cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and correct the seasonings and serve.

Surprise Cake
A dear friend shared this cake with me on dreary afternoon... it was sooo good we ate almost the whole cake ourselves! It reminds me of a red velvet cake, but this one's good for you. Recipe adapted from Linnea Edwards, N.C.
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

1 lb. raw beets (about 2 1/2 C puree)
2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 large eggs, separated
5 1/2 oz. honey
3/4 C olive oil
Seeds from 2 vanilla beans (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
2 heaping tsp. baking powder
2/3 C polenta [coarse corn meal]
zest of 1 orange, plus the juice
a good pinch of ground allspice (careful with the allspice! It is strong, so add a small amount at first. You can always add more later if you want it stronger.)
a good pinch of cinnamon
1 1/4 C flour of your choice (I like to use gluten-free)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Boil the beets until soft, then drain and allow to cool. [Click here for how to cook beets in a pressure cooker; fast and easy! - Debbie]
3. Rub the skins off, then puree beets in a food processor or mash with a masher until smooth.
4. Put the beet puree, ginger, egg yolks, honey, and olive oil in a bowl and add the vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract.
5. Whisk together, then add the baking powder, polenta, orange zest and juice, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and flour.
6. Prepare a 10-inch cake pan or springform pan by coating with butter and dusting with flour (or coating with butter and lining with parchment paper).
7. Pour in the mixture and bake for about 30 minutes or until spongy and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Kale with Sundried Tomatoes, Pine Nuts and Green Garlic
serves 6

Salad ingredients
1 or 2 bunches kale
3/4 C pine nuts, toasetd
12 sundried tomato halves, chopped

2 lemons, juiced
1 tbsp. sweetener of choice (I leave the sweetener out sometimes)
1/2 C olive oil
Green garlic to taste, chopped finely (use a lot for a "garlic lovers delight!")
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash kale thoroughly. Pat dry.
2. De-stem the leaves and place them on top of each other. Roll this into 'cigar' and thinly slice lengthwise (chiffonade).
3. Place prepared kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with a little salt. Massage the salted leaves with your hands until barely tender (this only take a few minutes; it helps to tenderize the leaves and brings out the minerals for more availability). Set aside.
4. Toss the pine nuts in a warm skillet to toast golden brown and set aside.
5. Chop the sundried tomatoes and set aside.
6. Finely chop the green garlic and set aside.
7. Mix the dressing ingredients together (If you are only using 1 bunch of kale, you will only need half of the dressing - or to taste).
8. Mix the sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and green garlic with the kale and pour the dressing over the all. Toss to coat. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Note that this salad get better after it marinates awhile.

Warm Cauliflower Salad
Serves 6

1 stalk green garlic
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 flat anchovy fillet, rinsed
2 tbsp. capers
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 C olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, cored and cut into 1 1/2" florets
1/4 C chopped parsley, firmly packed

1. Finely mince the green garlic and mash down as much as possible. Add the anchovy and capers and chop it all together.
2. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and whisk in the lemon juice and pepper. Add oil in a slow stream and whisk until well combined. (Can be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.)
3. Cook the cauliflower in a large saucepan of boiling water until crisp/tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Drain well in a colander, then toss hot cauliflower with the dressing. Let cool slightly, tossing occasionally, then add the parsley and toss again to distribute.
No need to add salt to this recipe as it has plenty of saltiness from the capers and the anchovy.
Serve immediately.

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Croutons
Serves 4

1/3 C raisins (I like to use golden raisins)
1 thick slice of crusty white bread (or bread of choice)
1/3 C pine nuts
1 1/4 lb. spinach
2 cloves garlic (I use green garlic)
sea salt and pepper

1. Put the raisins in a small bowl with boiling water and allow to soak for 10 minutes to plump. Drain off water and set raisins aside.
2. Cut the bread into cubes. Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil and saute bread cubes until golden. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add more oil to the pan as needed and toast the pine nuts until beginning to color. Add the spinach and garlic and cook quickly, tossing and turning spinach until it has just wilted.
4. Add the plumped raisins and season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir to mix. Transfer spinach mixture to a warmed serving dish and scatter with the croutons. Serve hot.

Radicchio, Cauliflower and Walnut Salad
serves 4

1 large head radicchio (or 2 small)
6 tbsp. walnut pieces
3 tbsp. walnut oil (can use any oil you have, but walnut oil adds another layer of flavor)
2 C cauliflower florets
pared rind and juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and pepper
flat leaf parsley to garnish (optional)

1. Cut radicchio into 8-10 wedges. Put wedges into a flame-proof dish. Scatter the walnuts over all, then spoon on the oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
2. Lightly steam the cauliflower florets until barely tender (about 4 minutes). Remove from heat immediately. Drain if necessary.
3. Preheat the broiler to high.
4. Toss the cauliflower in with the radicchio in the flame-proof dish; add the lemon rind and lemon juice. Season with additional sea salt and pepper to taste. Broil until beginning to brown -- watch carefully, it only take a few minutes!
5. Serve at once, garnished with optional parsley.

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 (LEFDP) activities 

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.

Art on the Farm Camp 

Three weeks to choose from: June 13th-17th, June 20th-24th, or July 11th-15th
all camps from 9am - 4pm daily

(click here for cost and scheduling info)
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.

For questions about any LEFDP event or activities, contact Jessica at the LEFDP office: (831) 728-2032 or email her at lefeducation@baymoon.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 sold out!
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

this calendar was revised 5/9/11; please note changes

April 23rd - Sheep to Shawl

April 27th - Community Night @ Saturn Cafe for LEFDP

June 4th - Community Farm Day - U-pick strawberries

June 18th - Summer Solstice Celebration
July 3rd - Community Farm Day - From Seed to Bread (no apricot u-pick) :-(
Aug 27th - Community Farm Day - U-pick tomatoes (our "Totally Tomatoes" day)
Sept 24th Sept 10 - "Taste of the Fields" wine and hors d'oeuvres fundraiser for LEFDP
Oct 22nd - Fall Harvest Festival and U-pick apples and 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 or visit his website at www.rootsofwellness.net

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