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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
19th Harvest Week, Season 16
August 8th - 14th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Tomato harvest: a moving target
Surprise Crop of the Week: Fresh Garbanzos
Countown to Fundrasier: five weeks!
Rebecca's Recipes
2011 Calendar

" The more one gives to others, the more one possesses of one's own.
- Lao Tzu, from the Tao-te Ching

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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
Chiogga beets
Pickling cucumbers +
Fresh garbanzos, bunched

Green beans
Asian stir-fry mix (tatsoi/mizuna)
Padron peppers +


Small Share
Pickling cucumbers
Fresh garbanzos, bunched

Green beans
Sweet peppers


Budget Share
Chiogga beets
Green beans
Asian stir-fry mix (tatsoi/mizuna)
Padron peppers


Bread Option

This week's bread will be plain whole wheat    


Extra Fruit Option

Strawberries, raspberries and sungold cherry tomatoes! 


Meat Chickens
Fourth monthly delivery of meat chickens this week! (August 10-11-12). Don't forget to mark the weight on the checklist.

Tomato harvest: a moving target
We may enjoy a year-round bounty here along the coast, but the wait for tomatoes to ripen can surely be frustrating. All my predictions as to when we'll start savoring Live Earth Farm tomatoes have failed miserably. It is somewhat consoling when I walk into the grocery stores in town and see that locally grown dry-farmed and heirloom tomatoes are still missing from the produce shelves. Basket o' gold - Sungold, that is!Last Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to offer a few baskets of Sungold cherry tomatoes to some CSA members who were picking up their shares here at the farm. It's been so long (over a year) since we last tasted these sweet tangerine-colored tomatoes that the basket in my hands felt like golden treasure.

These last two weeks, while the rest of the country was sweltering in the heat, we have had very cool foggy days with only a few hours of direct sunshine each day. So the tomato harvest is having a slow start this season. Although the plants are laden with fruit, most are ripening slowly, keeping harvestable quantities way below normal. This week the "Extra Fruit" options will get the first small sampling of tomatoes. I know our patience will be rewarded manifold as soon as the weather turns warmer, which, according to the forecast, will start next week.

LEF's dry-farmed tomatoes - ripening slowly!

So why are other warm season crops like cucumbers and peppers showing up earlier in the shares than tomatoes, you might ask? Choosing the right variety, one adapted to our particular coastal micro-climate, plays a big part. The last few years, for example, we've had some success with pickling cucumbers, which are better adapted to cooler climates and have a shorter but more prolific growing period than their more heat-loving cousins, the slicing and "snake" (Armenian) cucumbers. With peppers, not only is there a larger selection that grow well in cooler climates but, unlike tomatoes, they can be harvested at different stages - from immature green to fully ripened, when their colors change to yellow or red. In contrast, with tomatoes - especially our dry-farmed ones - their flavor is only expressed when picked fully vine ripened.  Therefore we continue to wait patiently. What is encouraging is that the warmest days of the season are still ahead of us, which means we can hopefully pull off an extended tomato harvest. Sometimes, if we are lucky, it can last into early November.

A new and exciting pepper variety is the Pimento (Chile) de Padron, or Padron Pepper, which many of you have responded to with rave reviews. They are fast becoming the rising star among the peppers we grow. Roasted, then sprinkled with olive oil and coarse salt, they are irresistibly tasty. In our family, even our 7-year-old Elisa will help us finish a large plateful at dinner. Fresh picked, fresh roasted!I first heard of Padron peppers a number of years ago, when Andy Griffin of Mariquita Farm first wrote about them in his poetic and humorous style in one of his weekly newsletters. [Aside from Debbie: if you have the time, I highly encourage reading Andy's story - he's a fabulous writer and storyteller!] Andy is always one-up on most of his fellow organic growers when it comes to experimenting with and selecting unusual and great tasting vegetable varieties. So thanks to Andy and subsequent requests by customers at the farmers markets, we have gradually increased our production over the last two years. This year we planted almost 3000 plants, which I thought would be more than enough, but given their sudden popularity we could have planted even more. The Padrons are said to have been brought to Spain from Mexico by Franciscan monks in the 16th century, where they were then adapted to the soils and climate of Galicia near the town of Padron, after which the Peppers are named. The town of Padron is located near the Atlantic coast, where today they are grown extensively in a climate probably very similar to ours. The people of Padron best describe the character of these peppers in their native galician as "Os pementos de Padron, uns pican e outros non." (Padron peppers, some are hot and some are not.) Indeed, eating Padron peppers is likened to playing a Russian Roulette -- you never know which one you bite into will be burning hot. Since Padrons are harvested earlier than tomatoes, they help ease the wait... serving as an "appetizer" crop while we wait for our unpredictable summer friends to ripen.

For now, in order to spread the Padron harvest evenly among our entire membership, we will alternate them in your shares; half of the shares will get them one week, the other half the following. While we are on the subject of harvesting, carrots will be back in some shares this week too, as we are starting a new field. And a new block of cauliflower is looking really nice too, so we'll begin to harvest them next week.

Have a wonderful week, and to all you members on the "other side of the hill" -- please send us some of your summertime sunshine!

- Tom

...they're coming!

Tomatoes are on their way! 

Surprise Crop of the Week: Fresh Garbanzos
We like to grow a small crop of garbanzo beans every season and, as in year's past, place a bunch in your share so you can experience tasting them fresh. Picking pods off the plant is extremely time consuming, and time is something we have in very limited supply right now -- which is why we will just bunch them for you instead. In Latin America or hispanic neighborhoods here in California, it is common to see them being sold this way, by the bundles, off the back of a pickup truck or in corner grocery stores. We hope you will enjoy the experience of seeing how they really are when they're fresh on the plant, and have fun cooking with them too. Me, I like to pluck the pods off the plant and steam them like Edamame, then eat them as a fun and tasty side dish, splitting the pods and popping the beans directly into my mouth.

- Tom


Fresh garbanzos come one to two beans per pod. 

Fresh garbanzo beans 

Countdown to Fundraiser: five weeks!

LEF Discovery Program 2011 Fundraiser Postcard 

The LEF Discovery Program Third Annual "In The Fields" Food-And-Wine-Tasting Fundraiser will be here sooner than you know it! Mark your calendar, save the date: Saturday September 10th, from 3pm - 6pm, then click below to purchase your tickets! If you are planning to attend, please purchase your tickets soon if at all possible, so that we can have a head-count and plan - thanks! 


Don't know what we're talking about? Click here for details, pictures, and to purchase tickets!

<> Did you know there's also going to be a barn dance afterwards?
<> Did you know you can attend the barn dance even if you're not attending the fundraiser (dance tickets are only $10)?
<> Did you know a dance ticket is included in the cost of the fundraiser ticket?
<> Did you know there's also going to be a silent auction, with great items from local artists, artisans and producers?
<> Did you know there will be separate child care during the fundraiser for kids 3 and above, including fun farm activities and pizza-making in our wood-fired oven ($20 per family, not per child)?

<> Did you know if you buy or sell 5 tickets you can get a 6th for free?? Spread the word and invite friends!


Please support this great cause; The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program is a 501(c)3 non-profit - all contributions go towards bringing school children from under-served communities onto the farm to discover the joy of eating fresh and healthy organic food and experience the wonders of the earth.


Hope to see you there, and thanks for your support!


[If you cannot attend but wish to support our educational nonprofit by making a donation or becoming a sponsor, click here. We appreciate donations of any size!]



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 to all; I am sitting here in a sea of recipes, some floating in my head, and looking at other ones I love and want to share with you. Sometimes it is a hard decision choosing a select few and wondering if I will remember the ones not chosen for next week... and hoping you will enjoy the chosen ones. Today (Sunday morning) I am leaning towards more substantial ones because it is cold and dreary here. I feel like getting a fire started and cooking warming foods with lots of potatoes and Indian spices. I guess it is nice and hot over the hill though. I'll just have to dream of the warm sun streaming through the windows as I write. Thanks, Tom, for the incredible tomatoes last week! That sweetness cannot be replicated! If you were fortunate to receive some too, I hope they made it into a salad or maybe a green bean saute; mine made it to my stomach without a recipe - and all are gone! YUM! Blessings for a great week, enjoying this amazing bounty we are graced with, vibrant health wishes.
- Rebecca

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

[Note from Debbie: since Tom put the garbanzo beans into the shares after he sent the veggie list to Rebecca, she has no recipes for them. So click here for recipe ideas from when we had them in the shares two years ago.]

Chard is one of my favorite vegetables. I like to wash it well, trim and set aside the stems, cut the leaves into bite size pieces, then cut the stems into small pieces and put all of it in a steamer and steam, covered, for just a few minutes, until the leaves just wilt and are tender. I serve this hot with the raspberry vinaigrette I have been making from the farm's berries. Sometimes I sprinkle garlic granules over the steamed chard, or a pinch of sea salt, but it is so good it really doesn't need much added. I also like to lightly saute chard with a few chopped cloves of garlic in olive oil over a medium high heat until it is just wilted. Both of these preparations are good cold, too, if there are any leftovers. You can also use the 'massaged' kale recipe and substitute the chard for the kale. Remember the chard is a bit more tender, so you don't need to massage as long.

Serves 6
Chard is used in abundance in the Mediterranean. Garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon, and olive oil are a classic combination in Italian cooking.

1 C cannellini beans, soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
2 pinches of crushed red pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 large clove garlic, crushed lightly
1 medium onion, or 2 small leeks (tough greens removed), chopped
1 large carrot, small dice
1 bunch chard, leaves with stems rolled , then cut into  1/2-inch strips (chop stems separately)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tbsp. parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)

1. Drain the soaked beans. Put in a pot and cover by at least 2 inches with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the bay leaf, 1 pinch of the crushed red pepper, the rosemary sprig, and crushed garlic clove. Cook until tender, about 1 hour.
2. When the beans are finished cooking, drain, reserving the liquid, and set aside. Discard the bay leaf, rosemary sprig, and garlic.
3. Heat a heavy wide pan over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp. of the bean cooking liquid to the pan. Add the onion, carrot, and the chard stems, and another pinch of the red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is soft, but not browned. Add the sliced garlic and saute for another 30 seconds, until golden brown. Add the chard and continue cooking until it is wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Moisten with a little more of the bean broth if needed.
4. Add the beans to the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a serving platter and drizzle with the olive oil and squeeze lemon juice from the half lemon over all. Garnish with the parmesan (if desired) and serve.

Serves 6

1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 C olive oil
4 medium beets
1 pound potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces, skin left on
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 C greens of choice (the lovely lettuce)
2 C spinach or arugula or mixed
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1/4 C basil, cut into ribbons
1/4 C thinly sliced radishes

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap the beets individually in parchment paper then with aluminum foil (it is important to cover the beet with the paper first so as to not expose the beets to the aluminum, which can be toxic for us), and roast on a baking sheet in the upper part of the oven until tender, about 1 hr and 15 minutes. When the beets have roasted 30 minutes, toss the potatoes with olive oil and salt in a small baking pan and put in the lower third of the oven to roast along with the beets until tender, about 25-30 minutes.
2. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add in the oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified.
3. When cool enough to handle, unwrap the beets and slip off the skins. Cut into 1/3 inch dice and place in a large salad bowl.
4. Cut the potatoes into 1/3 inch slices and add to the beets along with all of the greens, herbs, and radishes.
5. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat.

Serves 8

3 medium leeks, (white and pale green parts only), washed and thinly sliced
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, ghee, or olive oil
2 bunches spinach, washed, dried, and chopped (you can also use the chard in combo instead, or both mixed together)
sea salt and pepper to  taste
10 large eggs
3/4 C parmesan cheese, freshly grated (divided)
3/4 C gruyere cheese, coarsely chopped (divided)
2 tbsp. chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp. basil or parsley, finely chopped

1. In a 12-inch skillet (cast iron works well) add 2 tbsp. of butter and cook the leeks over a moderately low heat, stirring, for 12-15 minutes, or until the leeks are soft. Add the chopped spinach or chard and wilt briefly; check for seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1/2 C of the parmesan, 1/2 C of the gruyere, the chives, the basil or parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until well combined. Stir in the leek and spinach (chard) mixture.
3. Using the same skillet, cleaned, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Pour in  the egg mixture and cook, for 14-16 minutes, or until the edge is set, but the center is still soft. While the eggs are cooking, preheat the broiler. When the eggs are set around the edges, sprinkle  the remaining 1/4 C each parmesan and  C gruyere over the top.
4. Place the pan under a preheated broiler about 4" from the heat for 4-5 minutes. Remember that you cannot do this if the pan does not have a heat-proof handle. Cut the frittata into 8 wedges and serve warm it warm from the skillet.

Thanks, Kim, for sharing this great, tasty recipe!

Padron peppers
Cooked quinoa (instructions below)

Seasoning mix
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp.cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder

1. Cook the quinoa: 2-1 ratio liquid to water or stock (always rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove the "bitter" flavor it sometimes has). Bring stock or water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, and bring back up to a boil. Cover pot and reduce to a low simmer for about 15-20 minutes. You want the quinoa to be light and fluffy. Remove from the heat and let it sit, covered, for about 10 more minutes. Remove lid and "fluff" the quinoa with a fork. Set aside to cool slightly. While it is still warm, add the seasoning mix to your desired taste. Nutritional yeast is a great booster, full of vitamin B 12, and it gives the quinoa a nutty, cheesy taste.
2. When the quinoa is seasoned to taste, stuff it into the peppers that have the tops cut off. Place them in a baking dish, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake in a pre-heated 400 oven. Keep an eye on them so you can take them out when done to your liking and serve as an appetizer or a delightful snack!

The padron peppers are great just raw - I have been using the in salsa that usually uses a jalapeno or serrano. You can saute (fry) them in a skillet with olive oil, and serve warm with a a sprinkle of good, crunchy salt. They are fantastic grilled, similar to a bell pepper that has been grilled, but, oh, so much tastier! They are great stuffed with a creamy cheese of your choice, or you can even pickle them!

Serves 6
The green beans add a lovely accent of color and the slivered almonds provide a crunch in this fragrant, hearty dish with bulgur, a quick-cooking grain also known as cracked wheat.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 C finely chopped onion
1 C medium bulgur
2 C boiling water
8 ounces green beans, cut into half-inch pieces
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C slivered almonds
1 tbsp. chopped basil

1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cover and cook until softened.
2. Add the bulghur and continue to stir to combine. Add the water, the green beans, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Remove the skillet from the heat. Cover and let sit until the green beans are tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir in the almonds and basil.

A blending of East and West results in this assertive, creamy pesto that can transform spaghetti squash and other vegetable "pastas". It is also delicious with whole grain dishes, roasted vegetables, baked tofu or tempeh, or veggie burbers.

3 cloves garlic
4 C arugula
3 tbsp. white miso
1 tbsp. umeboshi vinegar (can be found in the health food store) or vinegar of your choice
1/2 C tahini (ground sesame seeds)
1/4 C olive oil

Chop the garlic in a food processor. Add the arugula and process until finely chopped. Add the miso, vinegar, and tahini and continue to process until well combined. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil and process until creamy and smooth.

This is a good choice when you crave pesto sauce but fresh basil is not available. A great thing about this pesto, in addition to the iron and other nutrients from the spinach, is that it remains a bright color (regular basil pesto loses its green color fairly quickly).

3 C spinach, chopped
1 C flat leaf parsley (if you have the fresh basil, use it for a stronger flavor), or
2 tsp. dried basil (if you aren't using the fresh)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 C pine nuts (you can also substitute walnuts or cashews for the pine nuts since they are so pricey now; remember that walnuts have a much stronger flavor)
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (I like Asiago)
sea salt and pepper to taste (I don't use salt in this recipe because I think the cheese has enough salt flavor)

1. Steam the spinach for 1 minute. Squeeze out any moisture from the spinach and place it in a blender or food processor with the parsley, basil, garlic, nuts, oil, cheese, and season with salt and pepper if desired. Blend until smooth.

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


"Cooking-from-your-box" classes

Join chefs and CSA members Rebecca Mastoris and Karen Haralson on the last Sunday of each month at Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos for this fun and informative session on making great food from what comes in your Live Earth Farm CSA box.
For info about the latest class, go to Karen and Rebecca's Vibrant Food Catering website and click on "Upcoming Events" 


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