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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
12th Harvest Week, Season 16
June 20th - 26th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Childhood joy in abundance for all at our Solstice Celebration
More pictures from the celebration: kids, kids, kids
What's Up in the Fields - all about potatoes
"Beat the Box" - a game the whole family can play!
Reminder: this weekend is Darren Huckle's Herbal Preparations class here on the farm
Rebecca's Recipes
2011 Calendar

" The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart.
- Meng-tse

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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
Carrots (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Collard greens
Fresh onions
Red potatoes +
Salad mix
Summer squash
Strawberries +

Small Share
Carrots (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Fresh onions
Red potatoes
Salad mix
Summer squash

Budget Share
Red beets
Carrots (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Collard greens
Fresh onions
Red potatoes 

Bread Option

This week's bread will be sesame whole wheat    

Extra Fruit Option

4 baskets of strawberries and 1 basket of either raspberries or blackberries! (Please always go by items/quantities listed next to your name on the checklist.)

Meat Chickens
Next delivery of meat chickens mid-July

Childhood joy in abundance for all at our Solstice Celebration
I had a flashback to my own childhood when on Saturday, at the beginning of our Solstice Celebration, I was showing a young boy how to plant pumpkin seeds in the ground. I remember helping my mother in her garden where I had a little patch of dirt of my own. Planting seeds and waiting for them to germinate, then caring for the vulnerable sproutlings until they were mature and ready for harvest are vivid childhood memories. I remember planting lettuce seedlings and watching them grow and bolt into inedible bitter stalks, and proudly bringing them into the kitchen for my mother to prepare into something. I had to laugh when I recently dug up a picture my mother gave me of holding a white hen in my arms when I was 4 years old -- it was almost as big as I was! I still remember sitting with her, by her nest in a tall clump of ferns, hidden from everyone's sight but mine. She would willingly let me place my hand underneath her to see if she had already laid her egg, and if she hadn't and I was patient enough, she'd lay one right into my hand. If I scratch the now imaginary surface of that little garden patch, it is probably where my enthusiasm for farming started. As I turn 48 today I am grateful for life to have given me the opportunity to farm and still be engaged in what has delighted and brought me the most joy since I was a little boy.

The Solstice Celebration on Saturday buzzed with activities all day and, as always, seemed to consist of more children than adults... maybe it was because for a brief moment we adults all got to slip back and join the children in their spontaneous playfulness which they
Tom giving his usual tractor rides

photo courtesy of MariaElena Jarson

share so generously. I spent most of my time offering tractor rides, with the loader bucket always full of children, me in the driver's seat, and the trailer behind me loaded with additional folks. There was something for everyone to do, from exploring the farm to planting the children's pumpkin patch, to going on walking tours, to picking and eating strawberries (dipping them in chocolate!), to baking in the cob oven, milking the goats and making cheese, to face painting, to exploring the newly-erected straw bale fort, to making hand-cranked ice-cream.

We formed our traditional welcome circle before dinner, and I get a little emotional thinking how it has grown over the years. The children together with John started the bonfire without matches or lighter, simply by using a traditional bow drill. Cheers went up when the kindling caught fire; Kuzanga accompanied the dancing flames with their wonderful marimba music and it didn't take long until many of us joined in the dance.
Live Earth Farm Summer Solstice Welcome Circle 2011
Celebration is an important element of the seasonal dance, and rewards us the farmers as well as our entire community with a wonderful connection to the Earth.  I want to thank all of you who helped make the day a success. Thank you for coming, thank you to those who volunteered their time. Potluck tables laden with food, LEF 2011 Summer Solstice CelebrationFour long tables were covered with wonderful dishes of food -- an amazing expression of the generosity and loving creativity of this community.  Thank you all for blessing this farm with your presence and support.  We wish you all a wonderful Summer Season.

- Tom

More pictures from the celebration: kids, kids, kids
Cutie with flowers in her hair

A little charmer with blossoms in her hair poses demurely for the camera.

many many painted faces

Anybody interested in getting their face painted? I'd say yes.

Kids take over the marimbas

And although Kuzanga took a break to eat with us in the potluck, the marimbas were by no means quiet, as children swarmed upon them and played with abandon.

What's Up in the Fields - all about potatoes
In previous year's newsletters I would feature different crops as they first appeared in your seasonal shares. This week we are digging our first red potatoes of the season, and since potatoes are one of my personal favorite crops I can't resist sharing what I wrote about this fascinating staple food in previous years' newsletters. 

Slipping my hands under the loose soil and pulling up the first new potatoes is like finding a buried treasure. Although potatoes grow underground they are not really roots. They are the swollen ends of skinny underground stems called rhizomes. To stimulate their growth, about a quarter to a third of the plant has to be covered with soil, or 'hilled up' to stimulate the formation of 'tubers.'
The so-called 'Irish' potato is home to the highlands of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, where it has been cultivated for over 5000 years today the potato is the leading vegetable grown worldwide, cultivated everywhere from below sea level to 14,000 feet above.  When I joined the Peace Corps in Western Samoa (South Pacific 1985-1988), I introduced potatoes to local farmers in the higher elevations of the island as a way to diminish their importation from overseas.

The cultivation of Potatoes together with the world's 5 other major cereal grains: wheat, corn, rice, barley, and millet, are the calorific engines of our civilizations. Before the Spanish invaded the Americas it was the Incas who built their empire on the cultivation of potatoes.  Once the potatoes nutritional qualities and production characteristics were discovered in Europe, it directly affected the peasants' standard of living and profoundly influenced the history of that continent. The nutritional status of the people improved, because the cultivation of potatoes yielded 4-5 times more calories per acre than any of the traditionally grown cereal grains. Better fed people were more resistant to disease, and overall death rates declined and birth rates increased. In Ireland where the potato was probably most widely cultivated, it allowed them to survive without having to depend on the English grown grains. In war-torn Europe, peasants planted potatoes as a kind of insurance, since potatoes could be left in the ground through the winter and dug only as needed for daily consumption. This would allow peasants to survive the raids of soldiers during wartime: soldiers usually would not take the time to dig the field to get their food, and certainly they would not do so if grains were stored in neighboring barns. The downfall of potato cultivation in Europe was that only one strain or variety of potato was being grown, very different than in the Andes where even today hundreds of varieties are still cultivated. Given the genetic uniformity, the vast acreage of potatoes being grown in Ireland at the time (1845-46) and the perfect environmental conditions (cool and wet) together caused the devastating "Irish Potato Famine", where a fungus commonly known as Late Blight (Phytophtora Infestans), wiped out most of the potato crop. Hundreds of thousands of people died before public relief could be organized, and scores of thousands who survived emigrated to America.

The harsh lesson of this famine was to avoid mono-cropping, something that continues in today's industrial agriculture model and is only possible because of the arsenal of harmful pesticides being applied. In order to avoid disease pressure, it is critical to rotate potatoes to different fields every year. The reason we are harvesting our potatoes relatively late this years is because our Spring was also wet and cold. However, the soil we planted them in has never been planted with potatoes before, so we are fortunate to have a disease-free crop. Over the course of the season you will receive 5 different varieties of potatoes: besides the Red Norlands we are harvesting this week, you will get several yellow-fleshed varieties including Yellow Finns, 'Yukon Gold' and two type of Fingerlings, Russian 'Bananas' and French Red Fingerlings.

- Tom
potato harvest pictures


A lovely comment from long-time CSA member Leslie Mackenzie, worth sharing with the membership, I thought! - Debbie

"I've been meaning to email you about your massaged kale recipe.  We LOVE it! The first season we were with LEF, I started to groan as the season went on and we were getting Red Russian Kale (or RR Kale as we call it at home) again - e v e r y week...  But over the years, I've learned to do so many things with it and now find it so delicious - it has surpassed broccoli as my favourite veggie.  Now I'm disappointed that we've never again had the volumes of RR kale that we did our first LEF season. :]

Anyway, the massaged kale salad was a new one for me and since it involved kale, I just had to try it.  FANTASTIC!  I told my husband about it and he just wrinkled his nose and took a pass (great, more kale for me!).  It took several weeks of me raving about it to get him to sample it.  He's a convert now, too.

Thank you for another awesome recipe and tell Farmer Tom the Red Russian Kale ROCKS!"


"Beat the Box" - a game the whole family can play!
And here's a fun concept from member Melissa Armanini! - Debbie

"The box has been glorious and we have been able to 'beat the box' with pleasure (to beat the box, the family must get through all the veggies each week without freezing or feeding the neighbor's bunny!) :-)"


Reminder: this weekend is Darren Huckle's Herbal Preparations class here on the farm
This Saturday June 25th from 10am-3pm, come out to the farm and learn how to make effective oils, teas, salves and tinctures from fresh garden or dried medicinal herbs.   This will be a fun and informative class that will allow you to confidently make herbal preparations on your own. Participants will also leave with a jar of all-purpose salve great for cuts, scrapes, burns etc, and a custom-made herbal tincture for promoting sleep/calm or digestion.

Pre-registration is required by Friday noon so I know how many materials to bring.
$75 class fee includes materials.
Best Wishes Darren Huckle's home-made salves

Darren Huckle L.Ac, Herbalist
(831) 334-5177

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! Happy Father's Day to all of you blessed fathers! I am welcoming in the Summer Solstice as I open this beautiful box of amazing vegetables and fruits; my heart is open heart full of gratitude for this bounty. The vibrant colors make me feel good and healthy just looking at them -- and eating them makes me feel even better! I was reading an article recently about sun and our exposure to its rays, the benefits and the cautions... in the article it said one could obtain that glowy look the sun gives us by eating lots of fresh, organic vegetables often -- especially carrots and the leafy greens! What a great way to have the "glow", protect your skin and nourish yourself! So enjoy the bounty this week, and eat in harmony with the sun. HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE!
- Rebecca

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

We made some of these jams at Bauman College the other day and they are scrumptious! Using agar-agar (a seaweed-based alternative to pectin) is a great way to thicken the jam. These are also not loaded with sugar like commercial jams.

1 tsp. agar-agar powder
1/3 C fresh fruit juice, any kind
2 C fresh fruit (raspberries, strawberries)
honey, if desired
1/2 tsp. powdered spices of your choice (use your imagination!)
1 tsp. lemon juice

1. Choose what fruit you want to use and prep. Dissolve the agar in juice and add to a sauce pan. Bring the mixture to under a boil.
2. Stir in the fruit, and the other ingredients. Adjust the sweetness to taste, if desired, using just a little honey.
3. Return to a boil. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Pour into a jar and let cool. Refrigerate. The mixture will solidify into a jam by the next day.
5. Will keep for about 1 month in refrigerator (I would be surprised if it lasts that long though!).

Simply toss 1 C raspberries into a glass jar. Next, heat but don't boil about 1 1/2 C mild white vinegar. Pour over the berries, cover, and leave at room temperature overnight. In the morning, drain and refrigerate. (Sometimes I leave the raspberries in longer, for a stronger flavor.)

You will love the sweet-sour sparkle this adds to your salad dressings, marinades, and sauces. You can also use it to de-glaze roasting pans.

1 pint raspberries (2 C)
2 medium shallots, chopped
1/4 C Dijon mustard
1/4 C olive oil
1/3 C raspberry vinegar (see above recipe)
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the shallots, raspberries, and mustard in a food processor or a blender. Puree for 45 seconds, until smooth.
2. With the processor or blender still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until a smooth emulsion is formed, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the vinegar and combine well.
4. If the dressing looks too thick, you may want to add a small amount of water or cranberry juice to thin to the desired consistency.

This dressing is welcome on any green salad. Try tossing it with raw, seasonal vegetables as well. You may use frozen strawberries or raspberries  in this recipe. ( I often freeze my berries if I don't use them right away. I don't wash them, they freeze better this way. Then you have them for smoothies, too!) Be sure to defrost them before using in the dressing recipe. This vinaigrette will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator. It is also wonderful drizzled over grilled salmon, tuna, or chicken breasts.

Yield: 3 C
The first time you glimpse at this dressing, the title will make perfect sense. This vivid crimson-colored beet dressing lights up any salad with its sweet and tart flavor. Drizzle over field greens and add a crunch of rye or pumpernickle croutons. Although beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable, they are low in calories, high in iron, and your liver loves them!

2 C shredded, peeled beets
1 C roughly chopped yellow onions
1/2 C honey
2 cloves garlic
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1 C mayonnaise (or plain yogurt)

1. Place the beets, onions, honey, garlic, cider vinegar, and mayonnaise (or yogurt) in a food processor or blender and puree until the mixture is smooth.

Some cobblers are crusted with more of a biscuit dough; this version is a bit softer. Cobblers can be made in dishes of any shape. Use one of your old ceramic crocks, if it is the right size. You can add some spices such as cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, or allspice to the fruit. Vanilla rounds out the flavor of the berries as well.

The dough
1 3/4 C flour of choice
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/8 C organic cane sugar
6 tbsp. cold butter
3/4 C milk or milk substitute

The filling
2 quarts strawberries, stemmed and cut in half
1 C sweetener of choice
1/3 C flour of choice
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 C water or apple juice
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. butter
1/8 C brown sugar

Preheat  the oven to 400 degrees F.

To prepare the dough
1. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter by hand or in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, until the mixture is the consistency of coarse sand.
2. Add the milk (or substitute), and process just until a round ball forms. Refrigerate the dough.

To prepare the filling
1. Place the strawberries in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and sea salt. Slowly whisk in the water and lemon juice, then stir in the strawberries.
3. Place the mixture in a 9X9 baking dish.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the fruit bubbles. Stir at once. Remove from the oven.
5. Using your finger tips, pinch pieces of the dough about the size of half-dollars, about 1/4-inch thick.
6. Place the dough pieces on top of the hot berries, covering the entire surface.
7. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with the brown sugar.
8. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.

This salad of shredded root vegetables and dark salad leaves is tossed in a honey-lemon dressing. Beets are an excellent source of folate, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.

Salad ingredients
1 1/2 C carrots
1 C raw beets
1-2 C mixed dark salad leaves (I use a mix of kale, radicchio and salad mix from the box)
2 tbsp. parsley
2 tbsp. basil
1/4 to 1/2 C roughly chopped hazelnuts (or nuts of choice)

Dressing ingredients
2 tsp. hazelnut oil (or olive oil)
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. honey
1 clove garlic, crushed
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

1. Peel and coarsely grate or shred the carrots and beets.
2. Add the salad leaves and mixed herbs and toss. Divide among 4 serving plates.
3. Put the oils, lemon juice, honey, garlic, and seasonings in a bowl, and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss.
5. Scatter some of the nuts over each salad.
6. Serve immediately, with thick slices of bread of your choice.

Notes: You can use lime juice instead of lemon, zucchini instead of beets,
and/or almonds or pecans instead of hazelnuts.

Serves 6-9
You can use this basic recipe with many different combinations of ingredients. Asaparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, kale, chard, and artichoke hearts are all additions. You can use whatever cheeses you like, or leave the cheeses out all together. You could even add a little flaked salmon for extra protein. Experiment with what vegetables you have in your CSA box.

2 bunches kale or collard greens (or mix them together)
6 C broccoli florets and peeled stems, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 medium onion, chopped (or you can use 2-3 scallions, chopped instead)
olive oil for sauteeing
8 eggs
1 C milk (or alternative such as rice milk)
2 C cheddar cheese, or other favorite cheese (optional)
1 C feta cheese (optional)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and grease a 9X13" pan.
2. Blanch the greens in a large pot of boiling water until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain well, squeezing out as much liquid as you can. Chop and set aside.
3. In the same pot of water, blanch the broccoli until just crisply tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, then drain it well and add it to the greens.
4. Saute the chopped onion in olive oil until the onion is tender and is beginning to turn golden (if using the green onions, just slightly saute a few minutes, until the onions begin to wilt). Add the onion mixture to the vegetables, and toss everything to combine well.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add the sea salt, pepper, parsley, basil and cheddar cheese (if using), and stir to combine.
6. Add egg mixture to your vegetables and sir until everything is evenly mixed.
7. Pour the mixture into your prepared dish, then sprinkle the feta on top. Bake the frittata in a preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the frittata is set in the middle. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I like to serve this with a large green salad using the radishes sliced on top, tossed with the raspberry vinaigrette.

Serves 6
The creamy lemon sauce pairs well with the earthy flavor of collards or kale in this dish. The fats in the sauce make the fat soluble vitamins in the collards more absorbable. It is important to eat plenty of fats for satiety, to fight off food cravings.

1 bunch of collards or kale, stemmed removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces [*see Debbie's note, at end of recipe]
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 C tahini
1/2 C leftover cooking water (from cooking the greens)
sea salt to taste

Prepare the greens [*ditto]
1. Fill a medium pot wit enough water to go up about 1 inch up the sides of the pot. Bring to a light boil.
2. Add the collards/kale and simmer for about 5 minutes, until tender.
3. Remove collards/kale from the pot with tongs or slotted spoon and place in bowl of ice water. Reserve the cooking liquid for the sauce.
4. Remove the greens from the ice bath and blot with a towel to dry.
5. Transfer the greens to a large bowl and add the onions, reserving some for the garnish.

Prepare the dressing
1. Combine garlic, lemon juice, tahini, cooking water in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with sea salt.
2. Toss with the greens and garnish with the extra onions.

[*Debbie's note: an easy way to remove greens from stems is to hold the stem in one hand and strrrip the greens off with the other. Very fast, easy and satisfying! Now you have a pile of stem-less greens, which you can either chop before cooking, as Rebecca describes, or do it the way I do in my "hot salad" recipe (which is mentioned in several places in the recipe database), i.e. cook whole leaves in the water first, THEN drain and chop. Less muss, less fuss! ;-) Debbie]

These burgers are a colorful surprise! Use your food processor to grate and mince the vegetables and the burgers will be quick and easy to make. You can frezze these individually. If you want to make them without cheese, add an additional tbsp. of flour and a bit more beaten egg.

2 C grated beets (about 3/4 lb.)
2 C grated carrots (about 1/2 lb.)
1 C cooked brown rice, or cooked grain of choice
1 C cheddar cheese (optional)
1 C sunflower seeds, toasted
1/2 C sesame seeds
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 C grated onion
1/4 C olive oil
3 tbsp. flour of choice
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and generously grease a rimmed baking sheet.
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring to combine evenly.
3. Form the mixture into patties using a packed half-cup of mixture for each. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake the burgers for 25-30 minutes or until firm ant the vegetables are cooked through.
5. Serve on a sprouted whole grain bun with your choice of condiments. Top it with a generous helping of the salad mix!

Try making some baked potato "fries" to accompany these great burgers. All I do is cut the potatoes into half-inch wedges, toss in a bowl with some olive oil to coat and -- now her is where it gets good -- I sprinkle the coated potato wedges with Panko bread crumbs to coat, and add a sprinkle of garlic granules mixed with sea salt and fresh pepper. Place prepared potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven (about 400 degrees) until golden, at least 20 minutes. I keep checking them; I like mine super crispy! When they come out of the oven, you can sprinkle them with some freshly-chopped parsley for flavor and color.

Speaking of parsley, it is a fantastic herb that often goes unnoticed. Did you know that it has the power to freshen breath and neutralize indigestion? It is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, containing vitamins A, C, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, making it a good addition to the diets of anemic people. It is used for stamina and energy, because it contains high amounts of chlorophyll. So eat your parsley and reap the benefits in good health! Blessings to all, wishing you a good week and have lots of fun eating your gifts from the farm...

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


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

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 or 831.334.5177 or visit his website at

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