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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
22nd Harvest Week, Season 16
August 29th - September 4th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
A Magical, Bountiful Summer Day
What the...?
Countdown to Fundraiser: just...two...weeks!
Puttin' Up Tomatoes (a how-to)
Decadence squared: tropical basil chocolate truffles!
Rebecca's Recipes
2011 Calendar

"Plant a Seed so your Heart will Grow.
- Haphez

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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.


If one share is scheduled to get larger quantities of certain items than the other two shares, these items will be marked with a "+" sign. Note that delicate share items like strawberries or cherry tomatoes are usually packed outside your box; see checklist in binder at your pick-up site for what to take. 


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
Asian stir-fry mix
Green beans
Leeks +
Summer squash
Sweet peppers
Dry-farmed tomatoes (lots!) 


Small Share
Potatoes (Yellow Finn)
Summer squash

Sweet peppers
Dry-farmed tomatoes (lots!)


Budget Share
Asian stir-fry mix
Summer squash
Sweet peppers   

Dry-farmed tomatoes 


Bread Option

This week's bread will be 3-seed whole wheat      


Extra Fruit Option

Strawberries, raspberries and sungold cherry tomatoes


Meat Chickens
The next delivery of meat chickens is next month (Sept 7-8-9).

A Magical, Bountiful Summer Day
Perfectly ripe dry-farmed tomatoesOf all the fruits and vegetables, the tomato must rank amongst the most worshipped. Like all plants, it captures the energy of the sun and uses it to transform a few simple ingredients - water, minerals and an abundance of C02 - into an amazingly tasty, attractive and nourishing piece of living fruit... nothing short of miraculous. We may not believe in miracles, but Saturday's Tomato U-pick event was blessed by the farm fairies. Just as the first eager pickers pulled in, the sun broke through the morning fog. The walk from the parking area to the tomato patch passed by a spray of sprinklers watering freshly planted lettuce and cabbage which, as if on cue, glittered brilliantly against the dark soil in the emerging sunlight; rows of green beans and lettuce looked vibrant accordingly, and of course an abundance of bright red tomatoes peeked through thick green foliage, waiting to be plucked off their vines.

Many arrived early to harvest and head back home to process and preserve their bounty of red summer gems, however the tomato fields were busy with pickers all day long, well beyond the 3pm 'closing' time. A constant stream of buckets, baskets, bags, and boxes laden with tomatoes were carried out from between rows to be weighed. Tractor rides kept circling back and forth between the fields and the parking area, hauling both riders and their often very heavy harvests. Many places beyond the tomato field got explored as well, especially the nearby raspberry and blackberry patches, which became a popular snacking spot; the juicy berries hanging within easy reach were too tempting to ignore.

Naked Ladies (Amaryllis belladonna)The "Naked Ladies" with their striking pink flowers (Amaryllis belladonna) are popping up alongside the roads again, so if you believe the old saying, then summer should almost be over. But since our coastal summer is still waiting to materialize, I am hopeful that the length of summer this year will not be measured by a flower, but rather by a longer-lasting tomato season. For once, maybe, "Summer will only be over once there are no more tomatoes in our shares." According to my estimates, over 3000 pounds of tomatoes got picked Saturday, which is definitely one for the record books. For me though, it was not so much the quantity picked as the magic enjoyed by everyone harvesting together as a community that swelled my heart. The pictures below express more about the fun we had than words ever will, so thank you all for coming and stay tuned for more upcoming Community Events on the Farm.

- Tom

Scenes from the U-pick: tractor rides; fingers green from harvesting; happy harvesters of all ages picking buckets to boat loads, then lining up to weigh and pay.

Many happy tomato U-pickers

What the...?
If anyone looked up from the parking area for the U-pick, they would have seen this most unusual of sights... this is not photoshopped, and we are not in Gilroy Gardens; Date palm with evergreen growing out of itthere is actually an evergreen growing out the side of this date palm! I can understand how a seed likely got there (bird or squirrel), but what's it using for 'soil' and 'water'? That 'branch' is about a food in diameter. The palm doesn't seem to be the least bit worse for wear.

- Debbie

Countdown to Fundraiser: just two 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 you can always make a donation or become a sponsor. We appreciate donations of any size!]



Puttin' Up Tomatoes (a how-to)
The day after the U-pick I dedicated to canning tomatoes, putting up the bounty I'd picked (fifty pounds - what was I thinking?) and documenting the process so that I could share it with you all (rumor has it there is a hunger to learn how to do this). Because there are so many photos though, rather than try to do it all in the newsletter, I decided to create a web page and link to it from here. Turns out I was a little over-ambitious! I am in the middle of putting it together, but am not yet finished; I will be working on it tomorrow (Tuesday), so by tomorrow afternoon/evening you can go to this link for a step-by-step:



Decadence squared: tropical basil chocolate truffles!
Chocolate Basil TrufflesDebbie here with a cameo recipe appearance. ;-) I've been saving this recipe for when we got basil in our shares again... don't know about you, but I was running out of inspiration when it came to basil; you can only eat so much pesto, and it just doesn't keep fresh all that long for tucking into recipes here and there. And of course it is really only best when it IS fresh, so... what to do? At a loss last time we got basil, and in a mood for something completely different, I noodled around online. On a lark, I searched on "basil dessert"... and that's when I hit pay dirt. We were having friends over for dinner the next day, I happened to have all the necessary ingredients at hand, and I was, as is usual for me, captivated by the unusual pairing of ingredients... basil, dark chocolate, coconut milk, orange zest... so I made them.

The basil comes through as a floral undertone; at first I didn't taste it, just the orange zest... then, like savoring the complexities in a mouthful of wine, the basil suddenly emerged, like an explanation point. Basil! In chocolate! Who'd'a thunk it?

Here's the recipe, with a few pointers added. Mind you, this makes a LOT of truffles (to my mind, anyway; I'm not a chocoholic), so as long as you're okay with that, proceed accordingly - but I think if I made them again I would halve the recipe myself (although my husband soldiered through them somehow without complaint). ;-)

Tropical Basil Chocolate Truffles
found online here http://www.wineandfoodtravel.com/food/basil-does-dessert-how-sweet-it-is/

16 ounces semisweet chocolate chips [or equivalent; if you use bars like Bakers Semi-Sweet, you need to grate or chop it up into fairly small bits]
3/4 C coconut milk
1/4 C packed basil leaves [I used more, just 'cuz I could!]
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. grated orange zest
1/2 C cocoa powder

1. Place chocolate in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
2. Place coconut milk and basil in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and steep 30 minutes.
3. Remove basil and return milk to a gentle simmer over medium. Pour over reserved chocolate chips and stir vigorously to melt and blend. Add butter and zest; stir until smooth. Place in refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes, until firm enough to hold shape.
4. Scoop out a teaspoonful and form into a ball in your hands. Roll into cocoa powder to coat, gently re-roll with your hands to adhere cocoa, then roll again in cocoa. [See my notes about this, below.] Place on parchment-covered baking sheet and repeat with remaining balls. Chill until firm and serve.

Notes about 'rolling chocolate into a ball' with your hands: this is messy business. Chocolate melts at a very low temperature, your hands are warm, so lots of it just sticks and builds up. Yes, you can lick them off but you will be sick to death of chocolate if you do this after forming each truffle. What finally worked decently for me (after a fashion; it still stuck, but a LOT less) was to wash my hands after each truffle or two, then roll ice cubes around in my palms to bring their temperature down as low as I could stand, dry my hands quickly, then form a few more truffles before they warmed up again; I then repeated this as often as needed until they were all made. Like they say, "necessity is the mother of invention!"

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?"]  


It was great to meet some of you at our second monthly "Cooking From Your Box" class at Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos on Sunday. Debbie says we're getting lots of tomatoes in the shares right now, so I'm going to start with some tomato recipes. Hope you enjoy! Blessings, Rebecca

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

Tomato nutrition and handling: There's been a lot of press lately regarding the health-promoting properties of tomatoes. The focus has mainly been on the lycopene they contain; lycopene is the substance that gives tomatoes their red color. It is a potent antioxidant, and is believed to be an effective protector against the development of cancers (especially prostate cancer in men) and heart disease. Lycopene is particularly abundant near the skin of the tomato and is said to be more readily absorbed when cooked with certain oils - particularly olive oil. Tomatoes are also generous providers of vitamins A and C and, in their raw state, vitamin E. They contain a veritable brew of minerals including potassium, calcium, and folic acid. They should be stored at cool room temperature, out of the refrigerator, and used within a few days. Refrigeration diminishes the flavor of the tomatoes; they do not like the cold. The best way (other than canning) to store a glut of tomatoes for future use is by freezing. This can most easily be done by simply freezing them whole. Once they thaw, the skins will slip off and you just need to cut out the stem end. Alternatively they can be frozen chopped, or peeled and pureed.


Serves 6
Roasting tomatoes lessens the acidity and adds sweetness. This soup is equally delicious served hot, at room temperature, or chilled.

4 lbs. tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp. olive oil
sea salt
1 onion, diced small
3 carrots, diced small
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 C broth of choice
1/4 tsp. sweetener if needed [not needed with LEF dry-farmed tomatoes! - Debbie]
Parsley-basil drizzle (from last week's recipes; optional)
grated parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Gently squeeze the tomato halves by hand to remove excess seeds, then put them in a bowl and toss with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt until evenly coated. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, in a single layer on sheet pans and roast for 20-30 minutes, until their skins are just browning and the juices are bubbly. [If the sheet pans are aluminum, I suggest laying them on a layer of parchment so the acid of the tomatoes does not come in direct contact. - Debbie] Let cool for 5 minutes, then lift off the skins with a fork.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.
4. Add the carrots, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. of salt and continue to saute until the carrots are just tender, about 5 minutes.
5. In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juices along with the carrot mixture until smooth. You may need to add some more broth at the end of the blending process depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes. Add one cup at a time until you have the desired thickness.
6. Return the soup to the pot and gently reheat over medium-low heat. Stir in another 1/4 tsp. salt and check for flavor. Tomatoes can be acidic, so you may want to add a little sweetener.
7. Served topped with Parsley-basil drizzle and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

about 4-5 tomatoes (more if they are small), small dice
1 hot pepper, padron if you have it, diced (you can substitute jalapeno or serrano if you like, or simply omit if you don't want it hot)
2-3 sweet peppers, small dice
1 small red onion, small dice
1/2 bunch cilantro or parsley, chopped finely
1 stalk celery, small dice (optional - I love the crunch it adds)
2-3 cucumbers, diced
1 small carrot, small dice
juice of 1 lemon (or to taste)
1-2 squirts of worchestshire sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste
2-3 extra tomatoes to puree, scored on the bottom (cut an X across the bottom with your knife)

1. Boil water in a sauce pan and drop (carefully) the extra scored tomatoes in for about a minute, just until the skins start to split and pull away from the tomato. Take out of the water and let cool. When they are cooled, peel the skins off and puree in a blender. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix all of the other ingredients together, adjusting the flavors as you blend.
3. Add the pureed tomatoes to moisten the mixture. (You may like more puree; I like mine thick, so I don't add very much of the puree)
4. You may need to add bit more acidic flavor; I sometimes use red wine vinegar with the lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
5. This is good served at room temperature so that all the flavors shine.

I'm adding this next recipe, but the rest are all Rebecca's ;-) - Debbie

Dean and DeLuca's Classic Sevilla Gazpacho
Serves 6
I wanted to include this recipe here, as it is a very different style of gazpacho, yet extremely delicious (I've made it twice now, and really love it!). Of course I only use the quantities given as proportion guidelines but don't actually measure, and it comes out fine. And I've never actually gotten around to adding any of the garnishes, but I'll include them because you may want to. Enjoy! - Debbie

1/4 lb. crustless French or Italian bread (weigh after removing crust), torn into coarse chunks [I use Trader Joe's Organic Demi-miche sourdough, which has a coarser crumb, but still tastes wonderful. The soup is not as smooth though.]
12 oz. ripe, red tomatoes, cut in coarse chunks
2/3 C chopped onions
1 large garlic clove
6 oz. cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut in coarse chunks
6 oz. red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into coarse chunks
2 tbsp. Spanish [or other flavorful] olive oil
1/4 C sherry vinegar [try to stick with sherry; the flavor is distinct]
salt and pepper to taste
For garnish (optional)
finely chopped green bell pepper, red bell pepper, onion, cucumber, hard-boiled egg, and olives

1. Pour water over bread to cover, then squeeze out the water and place bread in the work bowl of a food processor. (If bread is fresh, squeeze immediately. If bread is stale, wait a few moments.)
2. Place the rest of the ingredients, except garnishes, in the food processor. Puree until very smooth (2 minutes or more). Season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for several hours.
3. [I never do this last step, but am including it because it is how you make the gazpacho very smooth; a classic 'drinking' consistency, which is how it is served in Sevilla.] Strain through a fine sieve. Just before serving, if desired, thin with a little ice water. Serve either in tall glasses, ungarnished, or divide among soup bowls, offering as many of the garnishes as you wish.

2-3 tomatoes, peeled
1/2 red onion, diced
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C olive oil
sea salt
6 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1. Puree the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a blender or food processor. In a small saucepan, warm the oil wit a pinch of salt. Whisk in the vinegars and mix in the tomato puree.

This lovely salad is a great way to add more cruciferous vegetables, which are cancer fighting, to your diet.

1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 C thinly sliced red onion
3/4 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
4 tbsp. plain yogurt
1/2 C diced cheddar cheese (optional)
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley

1. Steam the cauliflower just until it is tender, about 5 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. Warm the olive oil in a small skillet and then saute the red onion and cumin seeds over a medium heat until the onion is very soft. Don' t hurry this process or you will burn the onion rather than melt it.
3. Whisk together the yogurt, cider vinegar, garlic, and sea salt.
4. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, tossing to mix everything evenly. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Serves 1 - 2
This is a power-house drink that will boost your immune system and make you feel strong. The key to this smoothie is the spinach, bitter greens, protein powder, and green powder. Feel free to mix and match other ingredients as you see fit, such as 1 banana, 1 tsp. vanilla, 6 soaked almonds or walnuts, or 1 tsp. tahini (sesame paste).

1 handful spinach
1 handful bitter greens (arugula, kale, Asian greens)
1 C whole dairy or non-dairy milk (such as rice, almond, soy, or coconut), kefir, or yogurt
1/2 C fresh berries
1 scoop protein powder (whey, rice, or hemp)
1/2 to 1 tsp spirulina or green powder
1 tbsp. ground flax, chia, or hemp seed
1 tbsp. maple syrup or honey (optional)
4-6 fresh mint leaves

1. Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add a little more milk or water if you want a thinner consistency.

Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are all very high in fiber and Omega 3, things which we all need to get more of in our diets.

Serves 4
Colorful and delicious, this is one of my standbys. You can eat it hot with potatoes, rice, pasta, or garlic bread, or as part of a salad meal.

6 peppers (or more)
3 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 leeks, depending on size, sliced thinly
2 large onions, chopped
1 lb. summer squash, sliced
2 lbs. whole, peeled tomatoes (technique in above recipe), chopped, with juice
sea salt and pepper to taste
a dash of balsamic vinegar
chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, to garnish
fresh basil to add in at the end of cooking, if available

1. Roast and peel the peppers: Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place whole peppers on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (you don't have to use the paper, it just makes it easier to clean the sheet after cooking; sometimes the peppers bleed a bit) and roast until the skins start to turn dark and bubbly. Remove from heat and place in a brown paper bag, twisting the top tightly to hold in the heat. This will steam the peppers and make the skins come off easily. Leave them in the bag for about 10 minutes, then take them out and peel the skins off.
2. Remove the stalk and seeds from the peppers and cut the flesh into strips. Set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, peppers, and zucchini, and stir well. Cook, stirring from time to time, for 5 more minutes.
5. Pour in the tomatoes. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender and much of the tomato liquid has evaporated; 20-30 minutes. Toward the end of cooking, stir in the chopped basil and heat through.
6. Season and serve, sprinkled with parsley.

So many good salsa recipes are out there for the using. I like my simple version; it is quick and easy, and can be tweaked to your liking.

2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
1-2 hot peppers (padrons work well), minced finely. Taste the peppers before adding them -- sometimes they are hotter and sometimes they can be milder. Be careful to only take a very small taste, so you aren't surprised by the heat!
1/2 bunch cilantro or to taste, chopped
1/2 red onion (or onion of choice), chopped finely
juice of 1 lemon or lime (I like lime)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
sea salt to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and let marinate for about 30 minutes before using. If the tomatoes are really juicy, you can squeeze them a bit to get out some of the juice. I Ieave it juicy, as you can strain off the liquid later if it gets too runny. If the tomatoes don't have a lot of liquid and you want a more soupy salsa, puree another raw tomato in the blender and add it to the salsa.

Add some fresh cooked shrimp to this and you have a nice, spicy shrimp cocktail.

Karen Haralson, my catering partner, prepared this salad so quickly at yesterday's cooking class, I thought I'd share it here. It was great using the strawberries to cut the bitterness of the radicchio, and balancing it with a simple orange vinaigrette.

1 head radicchio, halved, cored, and sliced thinly
1/2 basket of strawberries (or to liking), sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
2 oranges; zest of one and juice from both
olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, mix radicchio and red onion.
2. In a separate small bowl, put the orange juice, and whisk in olive slowly to your taste, probably less than 1/4 cup, then season with salt and fresh cracked pepper.
3. Drizzle the dressing over the radicchio mixture and toss lightly. Add the strawberries, and gently toss to incorporate.
4. Sprinkle salad with the orange zest and enjoy! Thanks, Karen for your great love of cooking and innovation!

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, see "Upcoming Events" on Karen and Rebecca's Vibrant Food Catering website.  


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