LEF logo (small)
Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
4th Harvest Week, Season 16
April 25th - May 1st, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Farm activities just "one step" in the dance
What's up in the Fields: A lean spring, but good things coming
LEFDP First Event of the Year: A Look Behind the Scenes
Pictures from Saturday's Sheep to Shawl
Yet another happy CSA member
Nati's CSA; talk about connections - what a small world we live in!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2011 Calendar

" Farming is about growing food, not about speculating. It's continuity, it's about always having something to eat, always having something from nature.
- Bob Cannard, a Sonoma County farmer

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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.

Generally speaking, the Family share will get larger quantities of certain items than the other two shares, so even though lists look similar, they are actually getting more.

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 green: "Green Lance"

Broccolini (LEF or Lakeside)

Red cabbage (LEF or Lakeside)
Carrots (LEF or Lakeside)

Green garlic


Meyer lemons (LEF Marsalisi Farm)

Fresh red onions (new crop!)
Dry onions (Pinnacle Organic)


Watercress (Santa Cruz Aquaponics)


Small Share

Broccolini (LEF or Lakeside)

Red cabbage (LEF or Lakeside)

Carrots (LEF or Lakeside)

Green garlic


Fresh red onions (new crop!)
Dry onions (Pinnacle Organic)

Oyster Mushrooms (Far West Fungi)



Budget Share

Broccolini (LEF or Lakeside)

Carrots (LEF or Lakeside)

Green garlic

Meyer lemons (LEF or Marsalisi Farm)


Fresh red onions (new crop!)

Watercress (Santa Cruz Aquaponics)

Bread Option
This week's bread will be sesame whole wheat

Extra Fruit Option

The "Extra Fruit" option does not begin until May (that's soon: next week!).

doesn't start until May; see story in Week 2 newsletter.

Farm activities just "one step" in the dance
On Saturday Live Earth Farm's Discovery Program held its second annual "Sheep to Shawl" event. It was wonderful to see how many people came to enjoy a day on the farm, to witness the shearing of our small flock of sheep and to engage in the many hands-on activities set up to help us understand the process of turning wool into products we enjoy like warm sweaters, rugs, fabrics, hats or quilts. Besides the sheep, visitors got to enjoy the other animals we raise -- chickens and goats -- and understand their role on the farm as well. The pictures and Jessica's story below will give everyone a good sense of the event.

It was a very fitting Community celebration to honor Earth Day; everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, especially the children bringing their spontaneous sense of wonder and exploratory playfulness to the land. Ever since we started Live Earth Farm, Celebrations and Events have been an important element of the seasonal dance. They reward us, the farmers, and the entire community with a wonderful connection to the Earth. So, check out all the events we have planned for the season and make sure to mark your calendar to come and celebrate with us.

- Tom

What's up in the Fields: A lean spring, but good things coming
Last week it finally felt like we made it over the first big hump of spring plantings. This is a tricky time of year; although a lot is in the ground, the harvest is meager, because many of the new crops are not mature enough to be harvestable. Soon -- probably next week -- we should see sugar snap peas and young fava beans. This week, enjoy the fresh ("green") red onions, plus more of our green garlic. If we believe the weather forecast, it should soon get sunny and warm, which would bump up the strawberry harvest just in time for the start of our Extra Fruit options, next week.

One of the biggest challenges of operating a CSA farm is maintaining continuity and abundance in the harvest throughout the season. This requires a keen sense of timing in planting all of our crop successions. For example, just the green beans (one of the 50+ crops we grow every season) are planted 15 to 20 times between early April and end of August in order to maintain a continuous harvest. Planting intervals vary depending on day length - from every 8-9 days, to every 3-4 days as the days grow shorter by the end of August. Successional plantings not only need to fit natural variables such as soil moisture, temperature, and day length, but also need to synchronize with the timing of field rotations and the unique physiological and cultural growing habits of all the other crops.

- Tom

LEFDP First Event of the Year: A Look Behind the Scenes 
Up to the very last minute on Saturday morning I was still receiving RSVPs for the Sheep to Shawl event beginning at 11 that morning. When I printed the attendance list for our parking professionals, there were 157 people on that list. It was made up of an eclectic mix of both CSA members and non-members of all ages. What brought us all together was an interest in sheep and fiber arts.

For LEFDP, it was an all-hands-on-deck event.  We were so lucky to have a few volunteers from the greater community, and we could not have done it without those fiber enthusiasts and our very own LEF Apprentices.  While I spent the week collecting materials and RSVPs, organizing the layout and the personnel, the LEF Apprentices "cleaned up" the farm and put all of the infrastructure in place. It is amazing how much time and man power some of those tasks take. Putting up signs to guide people to and around the farm alone is a two person, two hour job.  We placed 40 hay bales, 7 tables, and 3 tents in various areas around the farm, and made 18 quarts of lemonade. We organized produce for a farm stand and materials for the hands-on activities at 8 different stations.  We had the help of 25 different people to make this all happen, and my impression was it was a great success.

We hosted as many people (if not more) at this year's Sheep to Shawl event as we did last year, but it felt a bit less hectic.  We spread the stations around the farm more and we were better organized, having the experience of one year under our belts.  We were all so pleased to rekindle relationships with members and non-members alike, after the long winter of little contact.  It was a great kick-off event, and we look forward to the many more Community Farm Days we have planned throughout the summer.  Thank you all for supporting both Live Earth Farm and the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program.

LEFDP logoJessica Ridgeway
Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP)

Pictures from Saturday's Sheep to Shawl

Photos courtesy of member Helmut Salmen, plus a few from Tom!
Shearing the sheep

Bruce Wool shears the sheep.  

Carding, spinning and weaving

Carding, spinning and weaving demonstrations.      

                                       Fun making felt!

Yet another happy CSA member
Email received April 22nd at the farm:

Hi Guys!
This is my first year as a member and I have to say how happy I am with your program already. I've been a part of other farm shares in the past while living in other states but there's nothing like a California veggie! (I don't have to tell you that, though.)

I look forward to Fridays even more than ever now, and when I walked up to a bright red box of strawberries this afternoon, all my weekly troubles seemed not so important. I ate half on the way home, thank you very much. 

I love what you're doing and the info that's included in the weekly newsletters makes everything seem much more "community" and it's something that I'm proud to be a part of.

Happy Earth Day!

Hope Blueberry

Nati's CSA; talk about connections - what a small world we live in!
Last week I included a story about Nati from Puerto Rico (click here to read, if you missed it), who discovered our farm's newsletters on the internet several years ago and has read them vicariously ever since, as there was no CSA where she lives... until last year. She was so excited that she emailed me to tell me she was picking up her very first CSA box ever. She told me a bit about the women who run it - Tara and Olga, and how thrilled she was to finally have a CSA of her own to participate in.

Now the small world part kicks in! Lynn Selness of Summer Meadows Farm, our neighbor here in Watsonville (who has a goat share program where you can get raw goat milk and cheeses) wrote me later last week with the following:

"You won't believe the coincidence this week, I read the article in your newsletter about the woman waiting for the CSA to come to Puerto Rico, what a sweet story, and guess who visited me from Puerto Rico this week -- same week -- this is too strange!  The woman Olga who started the CSA recently in Puerto Rico! She was visiting family here in Prunedale with her mother and a friend and so much wanted to visit farms in this area to see how it is here, so she found me and such a lovely visit we had; they were so warm-hearted and told all about farming there. Her mother was a vegetable grower for many years (and actually had had her own small CSA for the last few), but now her daughter Olga was gathering organic produce from her and other farms and running a larger CSA, distributing and organizing the customers, so her mom can just grow without all that work of having to grow such a large variety of things herself, can just grow what she enjoys. I took a sweet picture of the 3 of them, they were dressed so colorfully in bright reds and prints, its pretty... I am so amazed at this coincidence, isn't this strange!"

Silka, Tara and Olga from Puerto RicoHere is Lynn's picture of them: that is Olga's mom Silka, seated, Olga Casellas on the right, and their friend Tara Rodriguez -- who is Olga's CSA partner (don't think Lynn realized this) -- in the middle. 

So Olga, Tara and Silka, next time you come to Prunedale, let us know you will be in town and come visit Live Earth Farm - and perhaps bring Nati and Bernard with you!

- Debbie

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to the recipe database.     

As Tom mentioned above, Spring is a 'lean' time when it comes to having a good variety of items in the shares. This is why, more than any other time during the season, you will tend to see more items from other local farms. Soon enough though it will be all or nearly all from our farm. The fresh red onions are ours, and will be juicy and wonderful; you can use the green stalks just as you would scallions
. Everybody's getting turnips this week; these are no longer the baby Japanese turnips, but a more typical white turnip (Tom tells me they will be topped and bagged, so no turnip greens). I'll give you some new turnip recipes to work with. The Green Lance (Family Shares only) is absolutely wonderful! We had that last fall and it is delicious! Of course I love all kinds of rapini. Cook the lance as you would any other rapini [broccoli raab] or broccoli-type recipe. If you're new this week, check out the recipe database for lots of ideas.  - Debbie

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
Okay... turnips! Let's see what we can see. In browsing around for recipes on the internet, I see a lot of different East Indian recipes for using turnips in combination with various spices. Here is one that I have adapted slightly for use with box ingredients (mostly the turnips and fresh onions - too bad we don't have cilantro this week, but we have it intermittently, so this will be a good recipe to have in the database).

Shalgam Bharta (Turnip mash with Indian spices)

around 1 lb turnips [FYI Family and Small shares are getting 1.5 lbs; Budget 1 lb]
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 tbsp. Ghee or butter
2 tsp. ground anise seed [or fennel seed, if you can't find anise]
1 tsp. ground fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Salt to taste
1 to 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Scrub skins, top and tail turnips (you can peel if you like; the skins should be pretty tender though, so it is up to you. If there are bug channels in the skin, which sometimes happen, just cut those away).

Cook turnips in salted water until tender (check after 5 minutes, then gauge remaining time. Should pierce easily with a sharp knife when done). Drain well then mash. [The recipe says to mash well, but the picture shows it looking chunky, so I think I'd leave it a little chunky myself.]

Fry onions in butter or ghee a minute or two, until softened. Add spices and salt, stir and fry for a few seconds, then add the mashed turnips and stir and cook over medium heat another minute or so.

Turn off heat, stir in chopped cilantro, and serve.

The writer of this recipe says it goes well with chicken.

Here's another turnip recipe, this one courtesy of our friends at Mariquita Farm:

Turnip, Carrot and Split Pea Soup

3/4 C dried split peas 
2 tbsp. olive oil or butter 
1 onion, chopped 
1 C carrots, chopped 
1 C turnip, chopped 
Turnip greens, cleaned and chopped (optional)
2 C vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
Salt & pepper to taste 
splash of vinegar


Wash peas and soak them overnight in cold water, or in hot water for one hour*. Drain them and set aside. Heat the oil or butter in a saucepan and saute the onion until light brown. Add the chopped carrots and turnips and continue cooking 5 minutes. Add the peas, bay leaf, and vegetable stock, and stir well. Cover the pan, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until the peas are really tender. Stir occasionally, and add water if necessary. Season to taste. Stir in turnip greens 1-2 minutes before removing from heat, if using. Serve with a splash of vinegar.

*to my knowledge split peas don't require pre-soaking; they're not a bean. I'd just rinse them and cook them in the broth or stock until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours should be plenty.

Here's a turnip recipe from Finland:

Finnish Turnip Casserole (Lanttulaatikko)
from justvetegablerecipes.com (modified to suit CSA box veggies)
serves 6 to 8

6 C diced turnips [again, probably no need to peel, just trim tops, tails, and any blemishes]
1/4 C fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 C cream [avoid "Ultra-pasteurized" - and get organic if you can!]
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
3 tbsp. butter

Cook the turnips until soft (about 20 minutes) in salted water to cover. Drain and mash. Soak the bread crumbs in the cream and stir in nutmeg, salt and beaten eggs. Combine with the mashed turnips. Add the brown sugar (if using) to the beaten eggs before adding to turnips. Turn into a buttered casserole dish, dot the top with the butter, and bake in a moderate oven (350 F) for 1 hour or until lightly browned on top. 

Okay, on to other vegetables. If you still have your radicchio from last week, how about this recipe for chard:

Chard, Radicchio and Green Garlic Saute
Bon Appetit, Dec 2010 (modified)
serves 4 to 6

1 large bunch chard
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 stalks green garlic, white and light green parts, sliced thinly
1 large or 2 small heads radicchio
about 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. currants (optional)
1/4 C toasted pine nuts

Wash chard, chop leaves and stems separately (you're going to use both). Quarter, core, and chop radicchio.

Melt butter with olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and green garlic; cook until both are tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add chopped chard stems, cover and cook until tender, about another 5 minutes. Remove lid and add chard and radicchio (in batches if necessary; they will cook down considerably) and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted [I'd cover the pan and check on it periodically; shouldn't take long - a few minutes]. Cook uncovered until vegetables are tender, stirring often, 6 to 8 minutes more. Stir in vinegar and optional currants. Season with salt, pepper and more vinegar, if desired. Using a slotted spoon, transfer greens to a bowl and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

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 4/11/11; please note changes
April 23rd - Sheep to Shawl
April 27th - Community Night @ Saturn Cafe for LEFDP
May 28th - Community Farm Day - U-pick strawberries
June 18th - Summer Solstice Celebration
July 3rd - Community Farm Day - From Seed to Bread (no apricot u-pick) :-(
Aug 27th - Community Farm Day - U-pick tomatoes (our "Totally Tomatoes" day)
Sept 24th Sept 10 - "Taste of the Fields" wine and hors d'oeuvres fundraiser for LEFDP
Oct 22nd - Fall Harvest Festival and U-pick apples and pumpkins

Medicinal Herb Walks/classes on the farm

April 2nd - Herbs of Live Earth

May 14th - Herbal Basics of Stress Management
June 25th - Herbal Preparations

For more info, contact Darren Huckle at rootsofwellness@gmail.com or 831.334.5177 or visit his website at www.rootsofwellness.net

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763-2448
education programs/school field trips: (831) 728-2032