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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
17th Harvest Week, Season 16
July 25th - 31st, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
The Wilderness that Feeds Us
My Day on the Farm
"Cooking-from-your-box" Class - Los Gatos - July 31st
Laurel's lovely preserves
"From Seed to Bread" Community Farm Day Saturday July 30th
Rebecca's Recipes
2011 Calendar

" Harmony with the earth is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm. The earth is one organism
- Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac

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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
Green beans
Parsley or basil tips
Potatoes (Yellow Finn)
Red radishes
Summer squash


Small Share
Green beans
Parsley or basil tips

Red radishes
Summer squash


Budget Share
Green beans
Parsley or basil tips
Red radishes
Summer squash 


Bread Option

This week's bread will be whole wheat with flax seed   


Extra Fruit Option

Strawberries and raspberries  


Meat Chickens
Next delivery of meat chickens will be mid-August.

The Wilderness that Feeds Us
Wild turkeys on the farm!Last week during an early morning walk I finally got a closer look at a family of wild turkeys which has taken up residence in the orchard on the hillside behind the house.  The mother was roosting on a wooden fence on top of the hill with her four chicks, two on each side of her. I got within about 30 feet before they decided to jumped off and find better cover in the underbrush of some large Ceanothus (California Lilac) shrub. Only 15 years ago this hillside was nothing but an overgrazed horse pasture. If it wasn't for the shrubs there now, planted as part of our ongoing effort to establish more hedgerows alongside our fields, this small family of wild turkeys probably wouldn't be here. California Lilacs when in bloom also attract pollinators and beneficial insects, and in this particular location the hedgerows also help slow water run-off and erosion problems.

It takes time to experience the importance of this balance between fields and wilderness, and often as farmers we are so caught up in the economics of food production that wilderness is often left out of the equation or worse -- purposefully removed. On our weekly CSA deliveries to Monterey, Salinas, Moss Landing and Castroville it is striking at times how far into the distance one can see only cultivated, perfectly straight rows of laser-leveled fields. Often the banks of the drainage ditches, creeks and rivers are denuded, devoid of any natural habitat. Not a shrub or tree in sight poking out through the landscape. Farming has been in place in these areas for so long that we accept it as part of the landscape. We do not realize that these areas used to be covered by lush dense forests, wetlands, and grasslands. Today the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys are centers of industrialized farming practices. The intensity of these large-scale production systems has removed native habitats, displacing populations of native species and polluting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with agricultural inputs and byproducts.

Weed-free straight rows of arugulaDon't get me wrong; as a farmer I love the sight of weed free "linearity" in the fields. It gives a pleasant sense of controlled organization, and straight rows are testimony to a job well done, especially in front of your fellow farmers. In nature we seldom see straight lines though -- the general pattern is overflowing with curves, corners, knots, and unpredictable twists and turns. In farming we temporarily trick nature into a predictable pattern, to influence the natural process into our favor so that we can enjoy the beauty and bounty of nourishing foods. Since both patterns live side-by-side here on the farm, we try to balance straight rows, important to grow food for us, with the native habitat which other living creatures need to get their food.

Our ponds, woodlands, grasslands and hedgerows are the home of many birds, insects, frogs, and larger animals such as coyotes, deer, rabbits, snakes, as well as many native plants, perennial shrubs, grasses and flowering plants. Although creating wilderness habitat doesn't necessarily fit into a financial equation, I know we feel nourished and strengthened when it surrounds us and removed, starved, and cut off when it's lacking. Studies now show that these wilder areas play an important role in reducing pest and disease problems among the crops we grow, and researchers are measuring these benefits to justify them economically. But shouldn't these areas exist anyway, as they have before people farmed this land? To farm sustainably, to me, means that we need to learn to farm with the wild, which includes conserving native landscapes among the crops we grow. As I said once before, food should not just be organically grown, but "wildly organically grown."

  Below: our "upper fields"; the pond with farm fields around it; interplanting with alyssum;

  planting in swales; honeybee on ceanothus

Various images of farmland-wildland interfaces at LEF

This leads me to an item we are putting in the shares this week that needs some explaining. Every year I risk my reputation by offering purslane, a common but unintended "wildly grown" vegetable here on the farm. Right now we have a healthy patch of it which is thriving and almost outcompeting the spinach we intend to harvest this week. Instead of ignoring it as a weed, however, we will harvest the tender shoots and bunch them for you to try. Purslane is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, containing more than any other vegetable, and has six times the vitamin E content of spinach. Purslane leaves have a mild nutty flavor and are a popular salad ingredient in Europe. They are eaten extensively in soups and salads throughout the Mediterranean. In Mexico and among our workers, purslane is eaten in omelets, as a side dish, or in soups and stews.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with the purslane in this weeks share! As you savor this non-cultivated vegetable, you can rest assured that all these foods you receive from us are connected to their larger and often wilder environment around them.

- Tom

A healthy 'planting' of purslane

 A beautiful crop of purslane!



My Day on the Farm
A few weeks ago Elias Alonzo and his wife Heidi, both residents of Watsonville, came to visit the farm as part of a program organized by the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau to promote farming and agriculture awareness among local residents. They took the time to write up a short article about their experience, and captured in pictures some typical scenery and activities going on that day. I thought you might enjoy reading Elias and Heidi's reflections about their visit. - Tom

LEF's logo on the side of our truck as seen through one of the barn's windows
"Webster's New World Dictionary defines Eden as any place seen as delightful, highly pleasing or happy. Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains amid the splendor of the Pajaro Valley, the relatively small scale, 80 acre, Live Earth Farm at 1275 Green Valley Road, Watsonville is the Eden where Heidi, my wife, and I spent our day on the farm. Upon arriving... (click here for PDF of Elias's whole story; a very complete picture of the farm!)


"Cooking-from-your-box" Class - Los Gatos - July 31st
Are you a relative newby to cooking out of a CSA share? Still a bit tentative about how to go about using all the produce you get each week? Want to build your confidence in that arena? Here's your perfect opportunity. This coming Sunday meet chefs Rebecca Mastoris (yes, our recipe-writing Rebecca) and Karen Haralson at Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos and learn how to cook from what's in your box! This will be a very up-close-and-personal class; you will be working with the same kind of ingredients as you would receive this time of year in your CSA share, watching, tasting, sampling, taking home recipes... ask as many questions as you like! If there is enough interest, future classes will be offered with the same theme but using different CSA box goodies as the seasons change. If there's REALLY enough interest, this class could be expanded to other Williams-Sonoma locations in the Bay Area. But let's start with the first class!

Where: Williams-Sonoma, 122 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos
When: Sunday July 31st, 1 to 3pm
Cost: a nominal $15

Space is limited to 30; pre-registration is required so they know how many to plan for.

To register (or if you have additional questions) please contact Karen directly via Karen  and Rebecca's Vibrant Foods Catering website (click on "Upcoming Events"). Or you can email Karen directly at ktese@cruzio.com


  Below: the infinitely variable quinoa salad, and chefs Karen (left) and Rebecca (right). 

Karen Haralson and Rebecca Mastoris of Vibrant Foods Catering 

Laurel's lovely preserves
Look at the beautiful results of Laurel's handiwork using LEF veggies from her box! She sent me this photo this morning, saying, "Hello hello: thought you'd enjoy this photo of our lovely LEF produce - there was such a bounty of green beens (yes!) in my "small" share I was inspired to 'put up' some.

"Here's my results from left to right:
1) Tarragon* Green Beans in Rice Vinegar and Lemon Juice  (yield = 5 pint jars)
2) Black carrot chips in apple cider vinegar with fresh ginger (yield = 3 half pint jars)
Note how the process turned the brine cherry red!
3) 'Bread and Butter' zucchini chips with onion slivers (yield = 2 pint jars)

"I will let these 'rest' on my pantry shelves as long as we can resist popping them open! Thank you for all your hard work and TLC at LEF.  You are the best! Oh, one more thing: Happy Girl Kitchen taught me a LOT about water bath canning. In fact, I used Jordan's recipe for the zukes. Their workshops are absolutely excellent - can't recommend them highly enough!" - Laurel

I hope this inspires others of you out there to 'put up' some of your summer bounty! If you're interested in any Happy Girl canning workshops, see our calendar, below. Several are scheduled for next month!

- Debbie


Laurel's preserves from LEF veggies *Laurel says these could just as easily be made with basil or cilantro - she just used tarragon because she had some in her herb garden.


"From Seed to Bread" Community Farm Day Saturday July 30th
This is your final reminder! Its coming up this weekend!

Experience the full circle from field to mouth: together we will gather our wheat crop, thresh the grain, mill it into flour, and then bake baking delicious crusty pizzas in the farm's cob oven. We'll harvest fresh ripe tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and basil from the field to add as toppings, as well as make and add goat cheese from goats we can milk the same day.

For members who like to camp out from Friday to Saturday, we have limited space (for about 10 tents), so if you're interested, please make your reservations now.

For the event itself, we request a donation of $10/person or $30/family, and if you are camping overnight $15/person or $45/family. Please leave your dogs at home.

Please RSVP by e-mailing farmers@cruzio.com or calling 831-763-2448.

- Tom

wheat field, braided bread, wheat being milled into flour

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?"]  


Good day again! Did you know that purslane, a succulent herb, contains alpha-linoleic acid, one of the most sought after Omega-3 fatty acids, which is instrumental in regulating our metabolism? And the stems are rich in vitamin C? Use purslane in raw salads, sauteed, or as a side dish. I treat purslane as edible landscaping! I hope you enjoy this healthful, spicy, peppery succulent! Each week continues to give us incredible, delicious food from the farm. Again and again I am so grateful to all of the hard working people there that so lovingly care for it and all the food that nourishes us in such bounty. Another week of eating well, so we are blessed. Good week to you, filled with vibrant health.


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

Important ERRATA note from Debbie: Last week (Week 16) I took an editorial short-cut which caused some of Rebecca's recipes to have incorrect measurements! I used a search-and-replace function to make all the terminology consistent - "tbsp." for "T." and "tsp." for "t." - but neglected to specify 'case sensitive', so all became "tbsp." I apologize profusely to Rebecca and to anyone who may have followed one of those recipes "to the T" ;-} and had it come out tasting wrong. That would not be Rebecca's fault, but mine. I have gone in and checked all the newsletter archives since Week 7, the first week Rebecca began doing the recipes, and found only one other week -- Week 11 -- where I'd made this same mistake. I have fixed all the online copies (i.e. the Newsletter archive and Recipe Database), however the emailed copies of Week 11 or Week 16 will still contain the errors. So as long as you go by the recipes in the database or newsletter archive, you'll be fine. Again: my humble apologies!   

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

2-3 large cucumbers, peeled, and seeded, and cut into quarter-round slices
1/4 lb. purslane, washed and drained well, large stems removed, the rest chopped finely
2 tbsp. each: fresh chopped parsley, basil
2 C whole milk plain yogurt
1/4 C olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed with the back of a knife to a puree
2 tsp. coriander
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Place the cucumber, purslane, and herbs into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, stir together the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and coriander and season to taste with salt.
3. Add the yogurt mixture to the vegetables and mix well. Add a pinch of freshly ground pepper
4. Taste the dressed cucumber-purslane salad for seasoning, adding a little more salt if desired.

Serve chilled.
This salad can be used a side dish or as condiment.

[For additional purslane recipes, see recipe database!]

Serves 8

This traditional fruit-studded dessert is like a soft, moist cake. Use any fruit combination that works for you, but don't exceed the total of 3 cups fruit - too much fruit will make the cake too moist.

1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour or flour of choice
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 C milk or substitute (I like almond milk in this recipe)
1/2 C applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C raw cane sugar or sweetener of choice
1 large egg
1 1/2 C strawberries, sliced
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C raspberries
2 tbsp. sliced almonds
2 tbsp. raw cane sugar such as turbinado (you can substitute brown sugar; turbinado is found in the health food stores and is a coarsely ground sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch baking dish or springform pan with oil.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the milk, applesauce, oil. granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold until blended. Sprinkle the berries on top and fold until just blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with almonds and sugar (if using).
3. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center with just a few moist crumbs, about 45-55 minutes.
4. Let cool before serving.

This is a simple curry to be served with rice, pickles, and chutney if so desired.

2 medium potatoes (about 1/2 lb.), cut into 3/4 inch dice
1/2 tsp. turmeric
3 tbsp. oil of choice
15 basil leaves
1 C very finely chopped leeks, mostly the white part (I also use the tender green part)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. finely chopped ginger
3 green chilis cut into fine rings (I used the peppers from the box - delicious!)
3/4 lbs. green beans, cut on a diagonal at 1/4" intervals
4 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)
1 can coconut milk
1 stick cinnamon
 1 1/4 - 1/2 tsp.sea salt
 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1. In a medium pot, combine the potatoes, enough water to cover them well, and 1/4 tsp. turmeric. Bring to a boil. Cover partially, turn the heat down a bit, and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, but still hold their shape well. Drain.
2.Put the oil in a large saute pan or frying pan, and set over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, ginger, garlic, and green peppers. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the basil leaves. Add the green beans and saute for another minute. Add in the curry powder and stir at once.
3. Pour in the coconut milk, 1C water, the remaining tumeric, the cinnamon stick, salt, and potatoes. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to low, cover and cook about 15 minutes, or until the beans are just tender. (I like my beans on the crunchy side, so I don't cook them for the whole 15 minutes).
4. Add the lime juice and stir in.
5. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve. This is delicious over brown basmati rice served with a spinach salad on the side.

1 bunch arugula
1 bunch spinach
1 - 2 C of radicchio leaves, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 C vegetable stock (optional)
sea salt

1. Cut off and discard the very green part of the leek. Cut the remaining white and pale green parts into halves lengthwise then crosswise into 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch slices. Wash thoroughly in a sinkful of water. Lift out of the water, leaving all dirt behind (you may need to rinse them a few times to get them really clean). Put them in a colander to drain.
2. Put the oil and garlic in a wide, medium pan over a high heat. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle, add the leeks. Stir and saute for a few minutes, or until the garlic and leek are golden.
3. Now put in the spinach, arugula and radicchio. Saute for about 1 minute until wilted. This is where I stop (I take everything out of the pan and put it on a serving dish) but if you prefer your greens soft and silky, you can continue with step 4:
4. (optional) After sauteing the greens, add the stock and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until the greens are tender - it doesn't take too long, maybe 5-10 minutes depending on how tender you like them. At this stage you can either take them out of the stock, or leave them in with the lid off to cook away the rest of the liquid. I opt for taking them out and setting the stock aside.

This makes a great side dish all on its own, or it is good for a light snack with some yummy, cooked short-grained brown rice. I sprinkle sesame seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, or nutritional yeast on top for crunch and an extra nutritional boost!

Here are three different radish ideas for you:

serves 3-4

12 radishes, trimmed
4 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
1. Cut the radishes in half lengthwise and put in a small bowl. Add the soy sauce and vinegar. Toss to mix.
2. Set aside for 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
3. Drain and serve as an appetizer.

12 radishes, trimmed
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. sweetener
1/2 clove garlic, peeled, lightly mashed, but otherwise left in one piece
1/4 tsp. sesame oil

1. Hit each radish with a potato masher or heavy cleaver to crush it slightly. Try to keep the radishes whole.
2. Pour the soy sauce, vinegar, sweetener, garlic, and sesame oil in a bowl and mix well.
3. Add the radishes and mix again.

This salad may be served immediately or may be kept refrigerated in a closed jar for up to 2 weeks.

Serves 4

This is a delightful citrus-flavored salad that in Morocco is served as a first of many salads in a multi-course meal.

1 bunch radishes, cleaned and trimmed and sliced into thin rounds
1/4 C fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
1. tsp. sea salt or to taste
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves 2

This is a very refreshing, lightly sweetened dish eaten at all times of day in Iran; it is hardly a drink, although it is full of liquid. It is usually served in bowls and eaten with a spoon on blistery hot summer days; it is remarkably cooling.

2 good sized cucumbers, chopped finely
1 bunch basil leaves, very finely chopped
1/4C (or to taste) maple syrup, or honey
10-12 ice cubes

1. Combine the cucumbers, basil, and sweetener in a medium bowl and mix well.
2. Pour into 2 individual bowls and divide the ice cubes between the bowls. Stir to mix.
3. Serve immediately and eat with spoons.

Makes 1 large loaf, 2 small loaves, or 12 muffins
You can freeze this for up to 3 months

Add chocolate chips (dark chocolate) and this bread leans towards being a dessert. Alternatively, try it with toasted walnuts or golden raisins, or both. I like to add about 1/4 C chopped candied ginger, too. And I also play with the spices - maybe adding some cardamom and a pinch of allspice to give it some sass. Let your senses guide you in making this bread... oh, and a little unsweetened coconut is good, too...

3/4 C milk or alternative (I use almond milk)
2 large eggs
3/4 C sweetener of choice
1/3 C oil of choice (I use olive oil or grapeseed oil)
1 tsp.vanilla
2 C shredded squash (after you grate/shred the squash, if it is a bit watery, place it in a strainer over a bowl and let some of the liquid drain - just for a few minutes, you still want some of the moisture)
2 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 C chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat a loaf pan or whatever you are using with oil (I like coconut oil).
2. Whisk the milk, eggs, sweetener, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Stir in the the squash. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl; add the wet ingredients and chocolate chips (if using) and mix until just combined. Transfer batter to the baking pan of choice.
3. Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 minutes  to 1 hour if you're making a single loaf, or 25 - 30 minutes for muffins. Either way, be sure that the skewer comes out clean and the center feels firm when touched before you remove it from the oven. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn on to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.

Now sometimes I have a super-active "sweet tooth". When that happens, this is what I do (not recommended all the time, of course!). When the bread just comes out of the oven and is still so warm, I pour a lemon glaze over it, poking holes in the bread with a skewer to allow more of the glaze absorb into the bread (which is now more like a cake). If you do this, be sure to place a plate under the cooling rack to catch any run-off.
To make the glaze: Take about 1/2 C organic powdered sugar (it just makes me feel better if I use the organic, but really this sugar is sugar, no getting around it!) and mix it with fresh squeezed, strained lemon juice until it is smooth and runny and a nice pouring consistency. Then simply pour it over the bread to make a beautiful glaze. If I'm planning on doing the glaze thing, I usually add lemon zest to the batter before baking; this enhances the lemony-ness. Please know that I do not recommend sugar very often... but this really is lovely and sooo good!

Have a great week everyone -- full of joy and happy exploration in the kitchen!

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 

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 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 Celebration

July 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 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