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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
30th Harvest Week, Season 16
October 24th - 30th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Live Earth Farm's Community Celebrates Another Bountiful Season
Variations in Produce Appearance and Quality
Don't forget to order your Thanksgiving Turkey!
TWO workshops to choose from this Sunday the 30th
Rebecca's Recipes
2011 Calendar

"The future depends on reconnecting with the natural world: knowing our food, regenerating our land, and strengthening our communities. We cannot isolate one aspect of our life from another."
- Wendell Berry

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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 (or the next smaller) 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
Gala apples
Basil or cilantro
Bok choi
Green beans
Red Russian kale
Rutabagas (with their fresh green tops)
Summer squash or cucumbers
Dry-farmed tomatoes (the last of them; please use quickly - very ripe) 


Small Share
Gala apples
Basil or cilantro
Bok choi
Green beans
Red Russian kale
Rutabagas (with their fresh green tops)
Summer squash or cucumbers 


Budget Share
Basil or cilantro
Green beans
Red Russian kale
Yellow Finn potatoes


Bread Option

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


Extra Fruit Option

Fuji apples, strawberries, and then either Warren pears, Concord grapes or pineapple guavas 


Pasture-raised Organic Turkeys
Order them via the webstore! Delivery will be last week of the season (week 33: Nov 16-17-18). See below for more details.

Live Earth Farm's Community Celebrates Another Bountiful Season
Saturday was a glorious day - clear, sunny and warm... ideal conditions for celebrating the season's last Community Farm event. It was wonderful to see so many friends and members come out to the farm, to see the land come alive in celebration. The joy this land brings to the people who visit and the shared commitment the community has in this farm always leaves me inspired and renewed.

Literally bucket loads (and trailer loads) of apple pickers enjoyed the tractor rides to and from the apple orchard; the apple press was once again "cranking-out" refreshing sweet cider which kept flowing as fast as it was being consumed. Pumpkins got carved, the pie contest was deliciously successful, and so were the apple cinnamon pizzetes baked fresh in the farm's cob-oven. The goats willingly participated in a milking demonstration and by day's end we gathered around the traditional bonfire and always bountiful potluck. Wendell Berry's quote reflects what Live Earth Farm lives by,  the food we grow is not just a product to be consumed but a shared experience which reconnects and brings us closer to nature. Thanks to everyone who attended, and who helped make this such a wonderful celebration.

- Tom

LEF's Fall Harvest Celebration, Oct 2011

Variations in Produce Appearance and Quality
Believe it or not, thanks to slugs, bugs and insects we actually grow healthier food. That not-so-perfect looking bunch of arugula peppered with tiny holes you sometimes find in your share not only serves to show that we are striking a balance with the creepy crawlies in the field. Scientists are actually proving that looks can be deceiving and it's what's inside that's good for you! According to studies by Alyson E. Mitchell, Ph.D., a food scientist at UC Davis, organic produce boasts up to 50% more antioxidants than conventionally grown produce; this is in large part due to the fact that plants fight off insects and disease by naturally producing phytochemicals (plant chemicals) such as flavanoids to protect themselves - a process similar to the human immune system. What this means is that conventional crops which are doused with pesticides are not only laced with toxic chemicals, but also lack the antioxidants, because there is no pest pressure to induce the response! If you look at this week's bok choi or last week's arugula, both show clear battle marks of a successful fight against flea beetles. They may not win the beauty contest, but nutritionally they are probably winners, being highly enriched with substances healthy for our bodies.

Inset: closeup of flea beetle on arugula leaf; background: pak choi w/flea beetle damage.
Flea beetle damage in arugula, pak choi

Everyone here really puts their heart and body into making sure the food you receive is the best we have to offer, and your weekly share is a reflection of that. There are times during the year - especially when crops transition out of season, but also when we experience unusual growing conditions, whether caused by nature (i.e. heat waves, rainfall, frost, seasonal outbreaks of pests and diseases), labor shortages, equipment breakdowns, or a number of other often unexpected situations - that we hear concerns about blemishes, soft spots, discoloration, or a change in taste. For example, how much longer will we harvest tomatoes, even though they are at the end of their seasonal life cycle? Given that there are still a lot of good fruit in the field and the demand is high, we will take the extra time to pick and select the best that remain. Since their shelf-life is limited, we don't value the tomatoes in the same way we did earlier in the season, or we'll add extra to make up for the ones that are blemished. In order to make full use of the share's content, I encourage you to plan ahead by prepping and cooking with the more perishable portions of your share right away.

- Tom

Don't forget to order your Thanksgiving Turkey!
That's right, we are offering turkeys through our web store - certified organic birds which have been raised entirely on pasture by our local "Pasture Chick", Lisa Knutson of Pasture Chick Ranch out in Hollister. (Click here to see the more detailed writeup in last week's newsletter, if you missed it.) Time's a-wastin': only three more weeks within which to place your order... less, if we sell out (there are only 40 available, so they'll go 1st come, 1st served). Don't forget: web store hours are only Sat-Sun-Mon (Taylor always emails everyone a reminder on Fridays), so mark your calendar so you remember to place your order during that window. Of course, this being such a unique specialty item, if the web store doesn't work for you but you wanted a turkey, you could probably email Taylor and place your order that way.

TWO workshops to choose from this Sunday the 30th

Happy Girl Kitchen's Pumpkin & Spice Baking Workshop here at the farm, 10 am to 3pm (for more info or to register, click here);


Vibrant Foods Catering's monthly Cooking from your CSA Box class at Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos, 1pm to 3pm (for more info or to register, click here). 

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?"]  


Looking forward to seeing some of you at our "Cooking from your CSA Box" class in Los Gatos on Sunday! Feel free to email me with questions or comments about my recipes; I would love to get your feedback! - Rebecca

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

Rutabaga are a member of the cabbage family (Brassica); they have a mild, sweet flavor and readily absorb other flavors. Use them raw in salads or for hors d'oeuvres by peeling and cutting into cubes, curls, sticks, or triangles. They can also be steamed, baked, roasted (with or without meats), sliced, fried, boiled and mashed, roasted and mashed (delicious with potatoes and carrots), or cubed, blanched and added to stews or soups. Some of their health benefits: sometimes recommended for cases of constipation, but apt to cause flatulence due to their mustard oil content; they should not be used by anyone who suffers from kidney troubles. All Brassica-genus vegetables contain a group of compounds that have anti-cancer, antioxidant properties, indoles that protect against breast and colon cancer, and sulfur which has antibiotic and antiviral characteristics.This family of vegetables also stimulates the liver and other tissues out of stagnancy. 4-6 small to average rutabagas yield 3-4 cups chopped, enough for 4-6 servings.
3 to 4 rutabagas, scrubbed, greens trimmed and washed
sea salt and pepper
2-4 tbsp. butter
several thyme or lemon-thyme leaves

Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil for the greens and set a steaming basket over the salted water for the rutabagas. Add 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt, add the greens, and simmer until tender. Meanwhile, steam the rutabagas until they are tender-firm, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the greens, press out any excess moisture with the back of a spoon, toss them with half the butter, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange them on a plate. Toss the rutabagas without the remaining butter, a few pinches of salt, a grind of pepper, and the thyme. Pile the rutabagas on the greens and serve them together.

2 potatoes
2 pounds rutabagas
2 medium leeks, white parts only, chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
sea salt and pepper
2 tbsp. or more of cream or alternative of choice
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. chopped thyme

1. Chop the potatoes and chop the rutabagas about half the size of the potatoes.
2. Put the vegetables, leeks, and garlic in a pot with cold water just to cover, add 1/2 tsp. salt, and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.
3. Mash the vegetables with a fork for a rough texture or put them through a food mill. Add 2 tbsp. or more of cream or reserved broth to thin the puree. Stir in the butter and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Variations: Stir 1 cup grated gruyere cheese into the puree. Or simmer the vegetables in milk instead of water. Add a tbsp. of whole roasted garlic and a tsp. of finely chopped rosemary to the puree. Or enrich the puree with creme fraiche and stir in 1 C watercress or arugula that has been blanched briefly in boiling water, then finely chopped.

Slice the rutabagas into long batons or French fries. Soak them in water for 30 minutes, then drain and towel dry. Toss the rutabagas with oil to coat lightly and sprinkle with few pinches of salt. Spread them out on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees F, turning occasionally, until golden and tender, about 30-40 minutes. When done, toss them with a little finely minced rosemary, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, cut in half and then thinly sliced
1 tbsp. minced garlic
4 C summer squash, diced
1 bunch collards, stems removed, washed and chopped
1 bunch chard, part of the stems removed, washed and chopped
1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped (optional)
1/2 C chopped parsley
12 ounces whole grain pasta of choice
1/2 C crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, blue cheese, or feta or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring often until they are tender and have turned a golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and the diced squash, cover the pan and reduce the heat slightly. Cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add the chard, collards, and sun-dried tomatoes to the pot and continue to cook covered, until all the vegetables are tender. This will take about 10 minutes more. If things begin to stick, add 1/4 C water to the pan.
4. While the vegetables are cooking, bring a large pot of sea-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, just until al dente. Drain and rinse under hot water and return to the pot.
5. When the vegetables are tender, toss them with the pasta, adding in the chopped fresh parsley. Garnish with the cheese if desired.

Serves 4-6

1 C brown rice, soaked for 1 hour or overnight
1 large leek, whit and pale green parts, chopped
2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and sliced on the diagonal
1 bunch kale or collards (or a combination of both), washed, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp. minced garlic, divided
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp. white miso
3 tbsp. tahini
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 C water
2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

1. Drain the rice and place it in a pot with 1 1/2 C water and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender and all the water is absorbed, about 35 minutes. If the rice becomes dry and is not tender, add 1/4 C water and cook 5 minutes more and check. When rice is done, place in a bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots and continue cooking, stirring every few minutes, until the leek is beginning to brown and the carrots are almost tender.
3. Add the chopped greens and half the garlic, stir to combine everything and reduce the heat and cover the pot. Stir every few minutes and continue to cook until the carrots and greens are tender. Add the cooked vegetables to the rice and stir to evenly combine.
4. To make the sauce, combine the shallots, the rest of the garlic, the lemon juice, miso, tahini, olive oil, and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Alternately, you can whisk the ingredients by hand.
5. Toss the rice and vegetable mixture with enough sauce to coat everything evenly. Add the toasted sesame seeds and stir to combine.

Makes about 8 cups.
This simple soup yields an elegant, subtly sweet flavor that you won't be able to stop eating.

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, yams, or butternut squash
4 C water or light vegetable stock
3-inch cinnamon stick
1 1/4 tsp. sea salt
3 large pears [or 4-5 if small], cored and sliced thin (you can peel them if you like)
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/3 C dry white wine or stock
1/3-1/2 C dairy or non-dairy milk

1. Place the sweet potatoes, water or stock, cinnamon stick, and sea salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.
2. While the sweet potatoes are simmering, melt the butter or olive oil in a large skillet or pot. Add the pears and saute for 5-10 minutes. Add the wine, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the pears are very tender.
3. Add the pears to the sweet potatoes, then stir in the milk.
4. Cool the soup slightly, then puree in batches until velvety smooth.
5. Return the soup to the pot and taste to adjust seasonings as needed.

Makes about 2 quarts of salad.

1 pound beets, trimmed and quartered
1/1/4 C barley, soaked for 4 hours or overnight, then drained
4 C water
1 small piece kombu (optional)
1 bunch arugula, washed and roughly chopped, about 4-5 cups
1/4 C walnuts or pecans, toasted
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1 4-oz. package crumbled feta cheese or goat cheese (optional)

1. Place the beets in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until the beets are tender when poked with a fork, about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your beets. When they are tender, drain and rinse under cold water. When the beets are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off and slice into wedges. Set aside.
2. While the beets are cooking, bring the water, barley, and kombu to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low, cover, and cook 20-25 minutes until the barley is tender; drain and rinse under cold water and drain again. Place the barley in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fennel seeds, and sea salt. Toss the dressing with the barley, then add the beets, arugula, toasted nuts, and if desired, the cheese. Toss gently to combine.

This is Karen Haralson's simple, delicious recipe, one that will make you go back for more and more! Thanks, Karen, for your magic touch! [Karen is Rebecca's business partner at Vibrant Foods Catering; the two of them teach the monthly "Cooking from your CSA Box" class, mentioned above. - Debbie]

1 bunch kale, stemmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into bite sized-pieces
1/2 C sliced Kalamata olives (or as many as you like!)
chopped garlic (as much as you like!)
lemon juice, to taste
olive oil, enough to coat the kale
 sea salt to taste

1. Place the kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and several teaspoons of lemon juice. Massage the kale with your hands for a few minutes to tenderize. (Make sure you only do this for a few minutes, if you do it for too long, the kale will become wilted.)
2. Drizzle in some olive oil to coat lightly. Add the cut avocados and Kalamata olives, and chopped garlic and toss to combine. Taste to adjust the seasonings -- you may want a bit more lemon juice or perhaps a sprinkle more of sea salt. Serve immediately!

Makes 4 servings
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. It is so fragrant and luscious and easy to make. If you don't have a vanilla bean you can substitute vanilla extract, about 1-2 tsp. in the poaching liquid, but the vanilla bean really makes a big difference in the taste if you can get one.

2 pears, cut in half and peeled (I don't recommend leaving the peel on in this recipe)
pear nectar, about 3 C
1/2 whole vanilla bean, sliced in half with the seeds left in
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 C dried apricots, sliced in half
Cashew cream ingredients:
1 C cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours (overnight is best)
2-3 dates, pitted
water or coconut milk to thin the cream
Vanilla to taste, about 1 tsp.

1. Place the pears, sliced vanilla bean, cinnamon stick , and apricots in a large skillet.
2. Pour the nectar over the pears, covering them to about halfway up.
3. Simmer them on low heat, uncovered, until just tender, about 10 minutes. (I emphasize JUST -- you want them to still have a bite.) Baste them a few times as they simmer, to coat the tops. When they are are tender, remove them and the apricots and place on a plate. Continue to simmer the remaining nectar until it is a little thicker. You may need to add a touch of water to thin it. Turn off the heat and put the pears and apricots back in the sauce. Set aside.
4. To make the cream: drain the cashews, discarding the soaking water. Add the cashews, dates, and vanilla to a blender or small food processor and start to blend, adding the coconut milk or water to thin to desired consistency: a thick cream texture is the goal. Continue to blend until it is very creamy. Taste and adjust the flavors: sometimes I add a few drops of maple syrup for extra sweetness. A pinch of sea salt heightens the flavor, too. Take out of the blender and set aside.
5. Place the pear halves on individual plates and pour a little of the poaching sauce over each pear half. Add a few of the poached apricots to each plate, then add a dollop of the cashew cream.

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

New! October 30th - Pumpkin & Spice Baking Workshop
(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

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

Sept 17th - Another Tomato U-pick! (due to popular demand, Mother Nature's sun!)

Sept 24th - Yet Another Tomato U-pick!

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