|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***
Asian greens (Tatsoi) +
Green beans +
Summer squash or cucumbers
Asian greens (Tatsoi)
Summer squash or cucumbers
Asian greens (Tatsoi)
Summer squash or cucumbers
This week's bread will be 3-seed whole wheat
Extra Fruit Option
2 baskets of strawberries and 1 basket of raspberries, and a bag of Santa Rosa plums
Next delivery of meat chickens mid-July
Farming to a Different Rhythm
With all the warm weather and long growing days, the farm is finally starting to show signs of a more diverse abundance. With greater abundance, however, the work picks up as well. I am no classical musician, but in the fields the pace has shifted from 'andante' to 'allegro.' Allegro means a brisk, lively tempo, but may also be interpreted as happy -- which we are, as more of our favorite summer crops are maturing. Only mother nature conducts the summer crescendo, however; we the players must pay close attention to each crop's unique rhythm and manage the specific tasks and skills associated with them.
The green bean harvest started last week, which means with more than 6 successive plantings and another 8 to go, we can expect them as a weekly staple in our shares; the summer squash, now picked three times a week, is increasing in yield; the next block of red potatoes is ready for harvest, with fingerlings and yellow finns to follow in a couple of weeks; caneberries are steadily increasing their fruit load (assuming they didn't get singed by yesterday's heat); and the first cherry tomatoes should be in your shares in a couple of weeks. The variety we grow are Sungolds, a "toe-curling" experience (one of Debbie's expressions) and a sweet treat much like strawberries, in that you'll likely find them irresistible on your way home from picking up your box.
On the flip side, not only does the warm weather make the field crops grow, but it also amplifies their wilder weedy companions as well. We have been busy with weeding. Once weeds reach a certain size they are too labor intensive to remove and quickly outcompete the crop that is growing. For example, with our first spring planting of leeks, the soil didn't dry out enough between successive rains, which prevented the tractor from cultivating. As a result, weeds got the upper hand, which left me no choice but to harvest them now, bunched as baby leeks. Hand weeding is out of the question at this stage, but by harvesting them now I will at least prevent them from going to seed. The next two plantings all got cultivated on time, so they should grow to full size.
Staking and trellising is another time-consuming but critical activity. All of our tomatoes and the tall-growing raspberries have to be staked and trellised in order to support the plants, allow access for harvesting, and ensure adequate light and air flow so as to discourage diseases and promote optimal fruit development. This week you might be surprised to find some long green sweet peppers tucked away in your shares. Most of our peppers are still immature, but some of the long Italian varieties needed to be thinned, to take the load off the plants that haven't grown tall enough. Peppers on these shorter plants are at risk of touching the soil, where they would be prone to rot.
Plants, whether crops or weeds, don't stop growing on a 4th of July holiday weekend either, so we can't afford to stop working and risk falling behind on all of the tasks at hand. Whether it's watering, cultivation, harvesting, planting, fertilizing, or caring for the animals, right now there seem to be an innumerable number of simultaneous tasks piling up.
The farm operates much like a living organism, and it is astounding to realize the community of participants involved, interconnected, all performing an incredible diversity of functions to keep the farm operating as a "living whole". I like to believe, as I have said in years past, that the food we share bonds us as a community; we celebrate our interdependence while at the same time respect our freedom to express our own unique individuality. As a farmer, my commitment to the land and its community is to listen, hear what it says, understand what it can and cannot do, and continuously improve my own shortcomings in this mutual dance. Happy "Inter-Dependence" Day!
Below from top: weeding; harvesting arugula; Juan, the guy who never stands still, out perusing the fields; packing the boxes; one very happy helper!
New Account Feature: "Farmigo Credits" = Web Store Credits!
We are very pleased to announce a new CSA member perk! If we ever end up crediting you for something (for a downgrade in subscription size, say, or a vacation taken), we can now set you up with "Farmigo Credits", which can be used dollar-for-dollar same as cash towards your purchases from the Web Store.
If you log into your account, currently you will see any Farmigo Credits issued entered as a line item
on your History
tab, along with a short description of what the credit was issued for:
When you go to place an order via the Web Store, any Farmigo Credits you have will be automatically applied
towards your purchase total:
Couple things to note: this is a new feature and, as such, I believe the folks at Farmigo are still ironing out some of the details. The functionality
of how credits are issued and applied is sound, however the way they're presented is not as polished. I expect over time they will tweak things to make it clearer for everyone, but in the meantime, here are a few things to be aware of:
Please do NOT confuse the box that says "Credit on Account" with "credits" you have to spend. The number in that box only represents your account "balance" -- i.e. payments received to date less deliveries made to date
-- and does not
include any Farmigo Credits. [I currently have a request in to the developers to change the wording in that box to "Balance on Account", and to add a separate box for displaying any Farmigo Credit balance you may have.]
At the moment, Farmigo Credits can only
be spent on Web Store purchases, i.e. they cannot be applied towards additions to your share or towards future seasons. But I also have a request in for this as well, so keep your fingers crossed!
Of course as with any credit you have on your account, you always have the ability to request a refund (if you don't use the Web Store, say). In that instance, our usual $25 refund processing fee would apply.
The Amazing Blueberries from BB Hill Farm
Blueberries are one fruit crop that Live Earth Farm does not grow, however luckily for us AND for you, they are
grown literally just up Green Valley Road from us at BB Hill Farm
. What's more, this farm's delicious fresh berries are going to be available to you via our Web Store the next couple weeks, so we wanted to give you the heads up. Taylor says right now they're in 6-oz containers, but soon we will offer them in 1-lb. clamshells too. These berries are very special and limited in availability due to their short harvest season, but Laurel and Lou have promised to make their fresh berries available exclusively to us and our CSA members this year (normally they only sell the jam Laurel makes from them), so don't miss this opportunity! Blueberries are easy as pie to freeze [spread on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, freeze, then transfer frozen berries to a ziploc bag and keep in the freezer] so stock up while you can! Here is a little info about BB Hill Farm, to whet your appetite:
* * * * * * * * * * * *BB Hill Farm and Farmer Lou and wife Laurel
We are the 'guardians' of a petite blueberry field located about one mile north of Live Earth Farm. The term 'guardian' is appropriate because blueberry bushes live long productive lives of up to 30 years. Blueberries are chameleons while they grow. They begin with a pale green flesh, then turn reddish-purple, and finally take on their famous purple-blue hue once they are ripe. The bushes have no thorns, and depending on the variety grow anywhere from two feet to 8 feet tall. They are generous plants, yielding their fruit in stages over several weeks. Our blueberry varietals ripen from late June through early August.
Our blueberry field was planted in the mid-nineties to test the viability of growing blueberries in Santa Cruz county. The owners amended the soil to lower the pH (blueberries insist on acidic soil conditions) and planted out two acres with multiple varieties. The bushes produced delicious fruit, but the growers couldn't successfully compete with the central valley growers in the wholesale market, so they converted to organic farming practices and sold their fruit at local farmers markets for several years. In 2003 the grower retired and put his property up for sale. We purchased the 10 acre farm in 2004 with the intention of retiring from a hectic life in Silicon Valley. Wow, were we naive! Thankfully our neighbor down the road, Farmer Tom of Live Earth Farm, welcomed us to the community as only he can, and we embraced the farming life.
Now our lives move and groove with the rhythm of our precious blueberry bushes. Laurel learned to make award-winning blueberry preserves, and since 2005 we had never offered our fresh blueberries for sale. But that's about to change, thanks to Live Earth Farm's Web Store! Our favorite blueberry varieties are the Jubilees, Georgia Gems and Ozark Blues. Yummy. And we are offering a blend of these three tasty varieties to Live Earth Farm CSA members exclusively. Only CSA members are able to purchase them fresh. Make new memories or relive old ones while eating fresh blueberries from BB Hill Farm! BB Hill Farm blueberry varietiesJubilees:
Jubilee bushes are beautiful. They have grey-green leaves that turn red in the fall. Their berries are medium-sized and have a complex, delicious flavor - after you eat a handful you want more, more, more! They are Laurel's favorite variety. They ripen early in the season.Georgia Gems:
GG bushes are tall and stately. This is an older variety and no longer readily available for cultivation. Their berries are medium-sized and have excellent flavor that lingers on the palate. They are everyone's favorite, and make delicious desserts. They ripen mid-season.Ozark Blues:
Ozark Blue bushes are low and scrawny, but what they lack in beauty they make up for in the size and flavor of their berries. Ozark Blue berries are LARGE and juicy. They are Lou's favorite variety. They ripen late in the season.
BB Hill Farm organic practices
|Ozarks on the right (low and scrawny-looking) and Jubilees on the left (bushier), with Laurel and Lou's home in the background. This image was taken last December.|
Blueberries have few natural pests (other than birds and gophers), so herbicides are unnecessary. Wild predators (such as barn owls, bobcats, coyotes, weasels and gopher snakes) and our farm cat keep our gopher population in check. Sadly, even with all these predators, we still lose plants to gophers because we will not resort to non-organic methods of control. We use nets to protect most of the berries from the birds who would otherwise eagerly devour all the berries if given the opportunity. We harvest and sort our blueberries by hand. In the fall we feed our blueberry bushes an organic source of nitrogen and thoroughly mulch their roots. How to serve blueberries
Blueberries are one of the easiest fruit to prepare and serve. There's no peeling, pitting, coring or cutting. Blueberries will last for a week when kept covered in the refrigerator, or for up to a year if frozen. Do not rinse blueberries until you are ready to serve them.
Fresh Greetings! When I picked up my latest CSA box I was so excited about all the abundance. We are starting to get some even more amazing fruits and vegetables... what a great variety! This has to be my favorite time of year for eating (I probably say that with every change of season). I am having so much fun in the kitchen though, trying out new recipes with all this goodness. I hope you enjoy the ones I am sending you with love. Have a great week filled with joyous eating.
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JAPANESE CUCUMBER SALAD with VINEGAR
This simple salad that lets the cucumber shine in all its delicious glory. You can serve this as a side, or put on top of a green salad. It keeps in the refrigerator for about 4 days... but only if you haven't eaten it all yet! Sometimes I like to add to the vinegar for taste, color, and crunch some thinly sliced radishes that have been cut into rounds, then sticks. But that is of course optional.
1/4 C rice vinegar
1 tbsp. dark soy sauce or shoyu
2-4 cucumbers, depending on their size
1 tbsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. sugar, or to taste
sesame seeds, toasted
nori sheets [nori is the same kind of seaweed you use to make sushi]
1. Mix vinegar and soy sauce together.
2. Peel and seed cucumbers and cut diagonally into 1/8th -1/4-inch slices.
3. In a colander set over a bowl, toss the cucumbers with the salt and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
4. Rinse the cucumbers well and pat dry.
5. Combine vinegar and soy sauce in a large bowl and add cucumbers and sugar to taste. Toss to combine and to dissolve sugar, if used.
6. With scissors, cut nori lengthwise into small, thin strips and scatter on top as garnish.
7. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Sometimes I use black sesame seeds for brightness and contrast.
GREEN BEANS and SHALLOTS
Here's another simple yet delicious side dish that I make a lot. It's a family favorite.
2 large handfuls of green beans, with the stem end cut off (I leave the 'tail' end untrimmed)
2-3 shallots, finely chopped (you can use garlic instead of shallots)
about 1 tbsp. butter, or to taste
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the green beans. Cook them for just a few minutes; you want them to still be crisp. Then remove beans from pot and immediately place them in a bowl with ice and water. The ice water will stop the cooking process and leave the beans a vibrant green. (This process is called "blanching and shocking.")
3. In a large saute pan, heat the butter (or you can use olive oil), and saute the shallots (or garlic) until they are wilted (a few minutes).
4. Add the green beans and lightly saute in the butter and shallots until well coated and they begin to get warm. You can add the fresh grated nutmeg now, and mix. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve warm. They are also great cold the next day.
ROASTED CHICKEN with LEEKS, LEMON and GARLIC
This is another of my all time favorites; I play with this recipe a lot. You can change the herbs and seasonings to delight your taste buds. It is easy and makes a lovely presentation, as well as great leftovers!
One whole chicken, cut in half [don't know how to do this? Google the internet; there are several "how-to" videos. I asked Rebecca, and she says to cut through the breastbone between the breasts, then lay it open and cut through the back; you will of course need sturdy kitchen shears or a good sharp knife. Alternatively, she says you can leave the chicken whole, put the herbs inside the cavity, and set on top of the leeks/onions in the pan in step 4. - Debbie]
2-3 leeks, tops off and bottoms trimmed, cut lengthwise down the middle, then washed thoroughly -- they are usually pretty dirty and may need a few good rinses. Check in between the leaves for more dirt. [We're getting "baby leeks" this week, according to Tom, which I suspect will be more like large scallions, so up Rebecca's quantities accordingly! ;-) Debbie]
3 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 lemon (may use more if you want the chicken really bright)
fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)
olive oil to rub on the chicken
potatoes, as many as you want
any other herbs you like
1-2 onions from the CSA box last week, if you have any left, sliced
sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place the cleaned leeks on a rimmed baking sheet or in a very large baking dish.
3. Put the onion slices all around the bottom of the sheet with the leeks. Add the cilantro, if using, and any other herbs you choose. Spread around evenly.
4. Put the chicken halves on top of the leeks and herbs, cut side down. Rub each half with a little olive oil, then smear with the minced garlic. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken too, then season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
5. Bake prepared chicken on the middle rack of the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours. Check for doneness. The temperature should read 165 degrees (using a meat thermometer). It may take longer depending on the size of the chicken. I like mine crispy and browned nicely, so I usually let it go a little longer.
6. About half way through the cooking time, add the potatoes to the pan (whole if small, or halved or quartered if larger) and roast them with the chicken. This gives them a delicious flavor and texture. If you have any carrots, cut them into chunks and add them as well.
7. When the chicken is roasting, if it looks like it is getting dry you can baste it with broth and add a little to the pan.
8. For variation, instead of serving the potatoes whole, sometimes I mash them with the carrots for a tasty side dish.
9. When the chicken is done, serve it on a nice platter with the leeks and vegetables around it. If there are any pan juices, you can drizzle them over everything.
9. If using the cilantro, chop up a little more fresh and sprinkle on top. Enjoy!
I have been making a lot of this salad and keeping it in the refrigerator so that I can have it whenever I want. To keep it fresh, put a moist paper towel over the top and then cover with plastic wrap. This keeps the greens crisp and tasty for a few days [do this with the veggies only; do not dress the salad until you're ready to eat it, or everything will go limp - Debbie]. Again, this is so simple, satisfying and versatile. It uses a lot of the ingredients from the box and is easy to prepare.
(ingredient amounts are to your liking)
carrots, sliced on the diagonal, then into sticks
spinach, washed well
arugula, washed well
tatsoi, washed and cut into pieces
radicchio (if you have any left from last box), torn into pieces
cilantro to taste (cilantro is a wonderful herb that helps the body detoxify, so I try to use it whenever possible)
beets, grated, and soaked in a little raspberry vinegar
radishes, cut into rounds, then sticks for fun
kale, sliced very thinly lengthwise into ribbons, then cut crosswise into thirds
onions from last box (if any left)
leftover potatoes from the roasted chicken (I like the flavor and texture), cut into small cubes
toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
raspberry vinaigrette (recipe in a prior newsletter)
1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients except sunflower seeds and vinaigrette, tossing well to combine.
2. Place the amount you wish to eat in one sitting in a bowl and season with raspberry vinaigrette to taste, tossing well. Store remaining prepared greens as described above.
3. Sprinkle dressed greens with the toasted sunflower/pumpkin seeds.
4. You can add gorgonzola cheese or other cheeses.
5. Tuna is great on top too, as is salmon... or even some of the leftover roast chicken!
This makes a wonderful summer meal during these hot days we are having; very refreshing with the raspberry vinaigrette.
My mom make this soup and I try so hard to get mine to taste as good as hers. I am still trying. This soup uses a lot of vegetables plus yummy cannellini beans. I find this to be a very comforting meal.
1 C dried cannelini beans, soaked overnight
3 small onions, chopped small
2 leeks, cleaned well, sliced thinly (discard the tough outer leaves)
2 large carrots
1 large celery rib, sliced thinly
1 bunch kale, stemmed and cut into bite size pieces
1 bunch spinach, torn into bite size pieces if leaves are large
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 C fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
3 summer squash, cut into bite-sized pieces
green beans, about 1/2 C cut into 2-inch pieces
tomato puree, large can
olive oil to saute
8 C vegetable or chicken stock
1. Put 8 cups of water in a large pot and add the cannelini beans. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium simmer and cook until soft, about 1 hour or so. Set aside.
2. In a large saute pan, add the olive oil and heat; add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the leeks and cook until wilted and soft.
3. Push the onion mixture to the side of the pan and add the celery, carrots, garlic, and oregano. Cook for several minutes.
4. Add the basil, tomato puree, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low simmer.
5. Puree half of the cannelini beans and their liquid. Add this and the remaining beans to the soup pot.
6. Simmer all of this to desired doneness, about 45 minutes or so.
7. Add the spinach, kale, and squash, and green beans at the very end of the cooking time to just wilt the vegetables. You may add the kale a bit earlier than the other greens if you like it more tender.
8. Just before serving, add a splash of balsamic vinegar to brighten the flavors. Season with sea salt and pepper.
FRUITY BREAKFAST MUFFINS
Makes 9 muffins
You can't beat the aroma and flavor of these raspberry muffins; ideal for a breakfast treat! Raspberries are a good source of vitamin C, vital for healthy gums and teeth (much of the C is lost upon cooking, but some remains).
1 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of sea salt
1 C raspberries
1/4 C butter, melted
1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 C milk (or milk substitute such as almond or rice milk)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper muffin or cupcake liners.
2. Put the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the raspberries.
3. Mix the melted butter, sugar, egg, and milk in a separate bowl, then pour over the flour mixture and gently fold together until just moistened (don't over-mix).
4. Spoon dough in to the muffin liners, filling each about two-thirds full.
5. Bake muffins 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
6. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve on their own, or split and spread with a little butter, preserves, honey, or fruit curd.
Variations: Use other fresh fruits such as the plums or dried fruit instead of the raspberries. [If using dried fruit, soak first in a little orange juice or warm water to soften. Drain away excess liquid before adding. - Debbie] Add finely grated rind of one orange or lemon, or 1-2 tsps. ground mixed spices such as cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg to the batter before baking.
MIXED BERRY FOOL
This tasty fruit "fool" is quick and easy to make. Berries contain caretenoids and vitamin C, vital nutrients for joint mobility and function.
1/2 lb. mixed berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries
4 tsp. honey
1 1/4 C plain yogurt
6 tsp. creme fraiche or sour cream
fresh mint sprigs to garnish
1. Put the mixed berries in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Press the puree through a sieve into a bowl, reserving the juice and pulp and discarding any seeds.
2. Mix the honey with the fruit. Stir the yogurt and creme fraiche or sour cream into the fruit mixture until thoroughly mixed.
3. Spoon into serving glasses or dishes and chill for 30 minutes before serving. Decorate with the fresh mint.
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 Ones3rd 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (sold out!)
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 7/4/11; 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 CelebrationJuly 30th - Community Farm Day - From Seed to Bread
Aug 27th - Community Farm Day - U-pick tomatoes (our "Totally Tomatoes" day)
Sept 10th - "Celebrating Generations of Farmers" farm-fresh food and wine pairing fundraiser for LEFDP [click on link for more info and to buy tickets!] 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 PreparationsFor more info, contact Darren Huckle at email@example.com or 831.334.5177 or visit his website at www.rootsofwellness.net