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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
31st Harvest Week, Season 16
October 31st - November 6th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Seasonal Transitions and Commitments
Beginning of the Month: best time to sign up
Are you sure you don't want a Winter Share?
Don't forget to order your Thanksgiving Turkey!
Eggs like gold
Discovery Program Update
Rebecca's Recipes
2011 Calendar

"Let us not forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man. When tillage begins, other arts will follow. The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization."
- Daniel Webster

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Or follow the Young Farmer Program (YFP) on their blog

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
Brussels sprouts! (the very first of them)
Collard greens
Cucumbers or summer squash
Green beans
Yellow Finn potatoes
Dry-farmed tomatoes (still hanging in there!) 


Small Share
Gala apples
Basil or cilantro
Collard greens
Cucumbers or summer squash
Green beans
Dry-farmed tomatoes (still hanging in there!)  


Budget Share
Basil or cilantro
Green beans
Yellow Finn potatoes 


Bread Option

This week's bread will be plain whole wheat


Extra Fruit Option

Fuji apples, strawberries, and then a mixed bag of either pineapple guavas and Meyer lemons, or  avocados (Marsilisi Farm) and Meyer lemons 


Pasture-raised Organic Turkeys
Order them via the webstore! Delivery will be last week of the season (week 33: Nov 16-17-18). See week 29 newsletter for more details.

Seasonal Transitions and Commitments
It's time to remove all the stakes and twine used for trellising this year's tomato crop.  The wonderful weather pattern this month has helped extend the season a little (this is the last week you'll see tomatoes in your share), but now with shorter days, frost, and rain in the forecast the tomatoes - which stood lush and upright, laden with sweet red fruit only a month ago - look spent, sprawled on the ground as if surrendering to their inevitable return back to the soil. The tangled mat of tomato plants will get mowed, then reincorporated into the topsoil and then the field will be put to rest for the winter by seeding it with a legume-rich winter cover crop of purple vetch, bell-beans, peas and wheat.

Debbie's 2004 Halloween PumpkinToday is Halloween, and I can't help but remind myself that nature's energy is turning inward. In our culture all too often we promote endless youth and growth, and avoid acknowledging the darker, dying and decomposing aspects of life, which actually hold the key to continued fertility. I can't deny how I wish I could stretch the abundance of - and increased income associated with - popular summer crops out over a longer period. At our farmer's markets, this is the time of year when sales start plummeting, as we face up to the fact that berries and tomatoes rank higher on the produce hierarchy than rutabagas, turnips, winter squash, or cabbage. But Mother Nature is in charge, and we have to surrender to the inevitable seasonal transition.

As with every transition, it creates instability, and I have learned that our focus on diversity plays a critical role in achieving balance. By growing over fifty crops every year we not only increase the menu of nutritious seasonal foods, but also it balances our crop rotations so we can rest the soil, it promotes networking with other growers and producers, allows us to integrate livestock such as chickens, goats and sheep into the system, while at the same time restoring native plant and wildlife habitat. All in all, it makes Live Earth Farm a stronger community farm, allowing us to be better land stewards.

One of the principal cornerstones in sustaining the health and vitality of Live Earth Farm is the committed participation of its CSA members. Right now, with the renewal of your membership for the coming winter and 2012 season, you are receiving not only a share of the best this land has to offer, but you are also supporting the interconnected diversity which defines this farm. Your membership means that all of us - the farm's committed workers and their families - can continue to have stable employment that is meaningful, rewarding and fair. So, thank you to all who have signed up early for the coming season(s), and I encourage everyone else to do the same, to take advantage of the discounts and the many payment options which we hope make this financial commitment to the farm a little easier. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions, concerns or suggestions on how to make our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program the best it can be.

- Tom

Beginning of the Month: best time to sign up
Why? Well, only if you plan on using our "installment" payment plan - if you can pay in one payment, the timing is less important. But if you're on a cash-flow budget, and want to sign up for the CSA, the beginning of a month is always the best time. Remember: the installment plan takes the total cost of the season and divides it into equal payments, charging the first "now" (the day you sign up), and the rest "on the 1st of each month". So you don't want to wait to sign up until the end of the month or you'll have two payments close together.

Oh, and don't forget: sign up for next season before the end of the year and take advantage of our "Early Registration" discount! Click here to Join now!

Are you sure you don't want a Winter Share?
There are only about 75 Winter Shares left and only a month remaining to sign up for them. Not sure about the Winter Share? Here, let's see if we can entice you...

In addition to our own winter veggies -- a rotation of broccoli, white and Romanesco cauliflower, fennel, red and golden beets, various lettuces, our fabulous Brussels sprouts, all the trusty cooking greens like chard, collards and kale [kale gets especially sweet and wonderful in winter!], cabbages and carrots, winter squashes (butternut, acorn, kabocha, sweet dumpling), root veggies like parsnips, rutabagas and turnips, and don't forget that early green garlic -- we will continue to have fresh apples, plus other fruit like pineapple guavas, oranges and lemons, avocados; we'll have mushrooms from Far West Fungi, artichokes from Swanton Berry Farm, sprouts from New Natives, plus one of my favorite winter goodies: celeriac, from Lakeside... and a twist we are really proud of: the shares themselves will always include one jar of preserved 'summer' from Happy Girl Kitchen! Goodies from a Winter Share, 2008Happy Girl has put up our dry-farmed tomatoes whole, as sauce, and as tomato juice, made jam from our strawberries, and more. We will also continue to offer Bread from Companion Bakers, and a separate Preserves Option from Happy Girl (two additional jars of preserved goodies each week) is also available. Alas the Pastured Egg option for winter is already fully subscribed.

Did we talk you into it? If so, just go to our website and click on "Join". It's that simple! [True, there are no installment payments for the Winter Season, but that's because it is only 10 weeks total. If that is the only thing preventing you from signing up, give Jason a call 831.763.2448 or send him an email; he can try to work out a payment plan.]

Don't forget to order your Thanksgiving Turkey!
If you've somehow missed this message the last two weeks,  FYI 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 the Week 29 newsletter.) Time's a-wastin': only TWO more weeks within which to place your order... less, if we sell out (at this juncture, there are only about 15 turkeys left). 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 can email Taylor and place your order that way.

Eggs like gold
Many of you have been inquiring about the egg situation on the farm. Whether you've been shorted eggs the past couple of weeks with the CSA, or have tried with no avail to purchase them at market - it's no secret that we are going through a serious egg shortage here. So what's going on?!

In the natural world (as opposed to that of CAFOs or so-called "free range" production, i.e. not 'caged', but still crowded indoors under controlled conditions), chickens actually slow down in egg production in the winter. This can be attributed to a few factors including the natural process of molting, changes in daylight length, and changes in weather. Molting is a natural biological process adult chickens undergo in the fall in which they lose old feathers and grow new ones. Daylight length and changes in temperature (colder in the winter) not only induce molting, but also the chicken must expend more energy to maintain basic biological processes, which means less energy to produce eggs! To help compensate for this, just like vegetable farming, our pastured egg producers follow successional plans so as to have chickens of different ages and varieties laying - ideally - a constant supply of eggs all year round.

Freshly collected basket of eggs from Pasture Chick RanchLive Earth Farm works with three fabulous producers who believe in raising their chickens outdoors on grass as nature intended. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned. This year there was a high predation rate among a few of the flocks - meaning coyotes broke into the pastured fencing and ate a bunch of hens. Then there's the challenge of timing the  successions of laying hens. A few new flocks did not start producing in time to fill in for the older hens whose production was dropping - the result: fewer eggs. As you can see, there is a general sense of unpredictability involved with raising animals and, as much as you think you are prepared, you never know what might alter those best intentions. This year was certainly a learning opportunity for all involved.

Please bear with us in this time of "egg crisis". As the new flocks start laying, we should be back up to full production. If you're like me, you're probably sitting there thinking: "I can't LIVE without my pastured eggs!" Well, hang in there - things should be back to normal soon.

In the meantime, cherish your golden eggs!

- Taylor

Discovery Program Update
Hello Live Earth Farm Fans! Jessica here with love from the Discovery Program. First, I want to thank our members, all of their guests, and the community at large who made the Harvest Festival a great success. We had a spectacular day with you all and we raised about $1500 for the Discovery Program! This is no small feat! $1500 will pay for 3 private buses for 6 classes to join us on the farm, or for 7 classes to have their tour fees waived, or for 15 classes to pay reduced tour fees. Thanks to all of you for making the Discovery Program more accessible to our underserved community.

There is one group of students we can count on sharing the farm with twice a year, every year, and that is Kim Woodland's classes at Soquel Parent Education Nursery School (Soquel PENS). In my four years on the farm, I have seen many of these young ones grow from toddlers to Elementary students with toddler siblings. Last week, Kim hosted her two classes on the farm with her husband - our LEFDP Board President, Doug "Dirt" Greenfield (of The Banana Slug String Band). Kim and Doug brought their magic to the farm. The visits culminated in a mini concert, two clips of which are available on our website, directly through
Live Earth Farm's YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/liveearthfan
or LEFDP's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LEFDP
My almost 3 year old daughter, Ophelia, fell in love with Kim and Doug in just one morning and can't get enough of the videos.  Please share them with your families, to spread the Discovery Program magic just a little further.
And Happy November!  Can you believe it?

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?"]  


I have to send my apologies for omitting a GRAND ingredient in Karen' Kale Salad recipe last week. I am ashamed of this because my grandfather raised me with it, as "candy", and it is probably my favorite food... GARLIC! So in the recipe, you add as much chopped garlic as you like, to your taste. This really makes a difference in the taste and the nutrition profile. [note from Debbie: I'll update the recipe in the database accordingly.] We had a great class at Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos yesterday. I am hoping that we can offer one at the farm soon. They are so much fun, and it is a great way to learn to use much of the contents from the box. Plus, it is so nice to share the dishes we create! This lovely, warm Autumn weather is hypnotic; I hope you are all getting some time to be outside enjoying it. Our boxes are brimming with more of the fall vegetables that are keeping our bodies in harmony with changing of the season. I hope you all have a good week, filled with amazing bounty from the farm. And as always, feel free to email me with questions or comments about my recipes; I would love to get your feedback! - Blessings, Rebecca

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

Serves 6-8

3 tbsp. each: olive oil, balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 small beets, peeled and halved
2 large pears, cored and cut onto eighths
1 tsp. melted butter
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 bunch arugula
walnuts, toasted
freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste
1. Whisk together oil, vinegar, Dijon and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Cover the beets with water and cook for 10 minutes or until soft when pierced with a  sharp knife; drain and let cool, then slip off the skins and cut into small wedges.
3. Cook the pears in butter in a large skillet over medium heat until nicely browned and slightly soft. Add the beets and maple syrup to the skillet and cook for a minute or so.
4. Toss the arugula with the dressing and place on 6-8 salad plates; top with equal amounts of beet, pears, and walnuts. Season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

Serves 6

1/2 C olive oil
2 tsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
2 bunches collard greens, large stems removed, cut in chiffonade
(about 6 cups packed lightly)
1 1/2 C large flake coconut
2 C cooked quinoa, still warm
sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl or jar, combine the olive oil sesame oil, and soy sauce. Toss half the greens with the dressing and spread evenly across 2 baking sheets.
3. Spread the coconut on another baking sheet, evenly.
4. Bake the coconut until golden brown, (about 10 minutes). Bake the collards until they start to crisp (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
5. Remove from the oven and transfer the collards to a medium bowl. Toss with the quinoa. Taste and add the dressing, if desired. Mix in the coconut. Serve warm.

Serves 4

2 tbsp. olive oil plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 C)
1 leek, light green and white parts, sliced thinly (about 1/2 C)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp. curry powder
2 large apples, cored, diced
6-8 rutabagas, diced [we're getting BIG rutabagas; maybe 4 big ones? Debbie]
sea salt and pepper to taste
4 C stock of choice
1/2 C cream of choice, I use coconut milk
Greek-style yogurt (optional)
1. In a medium size pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and leek and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and the curry powder and cook until fragrant (but do not allow the garlic to brown), about 2 minutes more.
3. Add the chopped apple and cook about 5 minutes, until the pieces soften. Add the diced rutabaga, a few pinches of salt and pepper, and cover with the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer and cook until the rutabagas are tender, about 20 minutes.
4. When the rutabagas are fork tender, remove the soup from the heat. Let cool slightly, transfer to a blender, and blend in batches. Strain through a strainer, add the cream, taste and adjust the seasonings.
5. Ladle the soup into bowls and add a dollop of yogurt, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

1/4 C each: golden raisins, hot water
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. applesauce
1 tsp. each: Dijon mustard, sea salt
3/4 C olive oil
1 bunch kale, stemmed and cut into half-inch strips
1 apple, quartered, seeded and sliced
1/2 head celery root, peeled and cut into thin julienne strips
1/2 C chopped nuts, toasted
2 oz. blue cheese
1 tsp. honey
1. Place raisins and hot water in a small bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Whisk together the vinegar, applesauce, honey, Dijon, and salt in a medium bowl. Strain the raisins (reserving them) and add the liquid to the mustard mixture, slowly whisking until emulsified.
3. Place the kale, apple, celery root, nuts, blue cheese, and reserved raisins in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat. Allow the salad  to stand for at least 10 minutes to let the flavors come together.

4 apples, 3 sliced thin, 1 chopped
1/2 C raisins, soaked 2-4 hours in water
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 C walnuts, lightly toasted at 250 degrees
1 C pitted dates
1. In a food processor or high speed blender, blend 1 C chopped apple, soaked raisins, cinnamon, lemon juice, nutmeg. and salt until smooth.
2. Pour sauce over the thinly sliced apples.
3. Spread an even layer of apple mixture in a medium sized lasagna pan and set aside.
4. Next, in a food processor, pulse the walnuts until finely ground; then add the dates, and continue to grind until evenly mixed. Crumble an even layer of nut mixture over the apples.
5. This is delicious served with a dollop of coconut cream: take a can of coconut milk (not "lite") and put it in the refrigerator (or freezer) for a few hours; take it out, being careful not to shake it. Open carefully and scoop out the the heavy, creamy top layer and place in a bowl. Add a touch of vanilla and cinnamon, if desired, and whisk gently to the consistency of "whipped cream". This is delicious! Sometimes I'll whisk in a few drizzles of maple syrup for extra sweetness.

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

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