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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
6th Harvest Week, Season 16
May 9th - 15th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
One of the humblest and most important of creatures!
Temporary Strawberry Shortage
Community Farm Day Strawberry U-pick update
New pick-up sites: 880/Stevens Creek, and Naglee Park
Herbal Basics of Stress Management this Saturday
Kids and Parents: check out Art at the Farm Summer Day Camp! And Teens: become a Counselor-in-Training
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2011 Calendar

" What is bad for the beehive cannot be good for the bee.
- Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor)

" If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination - no more men!"
- Albert Einstein

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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
Broccolini (LEF or Lakeside)
Cauliflower +
Fava beans +
Fennel (LEF or Lakeside)
Green garlic
Kale (Red Russian or Lacinato)
Lettuce (romaine or bibb) +
Bunching onions (scallions)
Fresh "green" onions (red or yellow)
Sugar snap peas

Small Share
Broccolini (LEF or Lakeside)
Fava beans
Green garlic
Kale (Red Russian or Lacinato)
Lettuce (romaine or bibb)
Bunching onions (scallions)
Fresh "green" onions (red or yellow)
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Sugar snap peas
Watercress (Santa Cruz Aquaponics) 

Budget Share
Green garlic
Kale (Red Russian or Lacinato)
Lettuce (romaine or bibb)
Fresh "green" onions (red or yellow)
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Sugar snap peas 

Bread Option

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

Extra Fruit Option

3 baskets of strawberries is the plan. Please always go by items/quantities listed next to your name on the checklist though. 

Meat Chickens
First delivery next week! see article in last week's newsletter if you would like to order this option. Meat chicken subscribers: you will receive an email with instructions sometime between now and the beginning of next week. Keep an eye out for it.

One of the humblest and most important of creatures!
One thing tomatoes, squash, eggplants, cucumbers, pumpkins, blackberries, apples, strawberries, quince, pears, and raspberries growing on the farm all have in common is that they need pollinators to grow fruit. The much publicized decline of pollinators, especially honeybees, became apparent here on our farm one sunny day in late January; while out doing chores, when I was struck by how quiet it was among the flowering mustards and citrus trees. Also the rosemary and lavender bushes around the house, which are typically buzzing with bees, were rather quiet too.

It worried me, so I checked in with Anselmo Rivas, a local beekeeper who manages approximately 400 hives and who over the years has always left 8-10 of his hives stationed here on the farm to meet our pollination needs. He explained that he had lost a large percentage of his hives this winter due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), that still-mysterious plague affecting bees all over the country. To meet his quota for an almond grower in the Central Valley, he had to take all of his hives, including the ones he typically leaves on the farm.  He assured me that they would be back in time for when our apricots, pears and plums started blooming in mid-February and early March.

This year, however, the hives arrived late due to bad weather and a delay in the almond bloom. Although Anselmo managed to get me a few hives locally, it was a scramble since everyone was short. Anselmo's primary income is not from the honey but from renting his hives, so he of course likes to rent as many hives as he can to maximize his income, especially during the almond bloom when growers pay a premium. On average, each acre of fruit trees needs 2-3 hives to set a good crop. With more than 700,000 acres in almond production here in California, this translates into a huge number of bees. Anselmo was telling me that the demand for bees in the Almond industry is so high that beekeepers from as far away as Florida will ship their bees to California, to take advantage of the $140-$200 per hive servicing fees.

The honeybee is truly one of nature's workhorses. What makes them so popular, besides the honey they share with us, is that they are able to pollinate a large number of different plant types. Due to their social nature, they tend to recruit other bees to visit the same plant several times during their blooming period, increasing the chances of higher yields of fruit or seeds produced per plant.  Honeybees are the most important pollinators for farmers (more than 90 fruits and vegetables depend on bee pollination) and nobody has yet been able to figure out what exactly has triggered their alarming decline. The consensus is that it is a number of stress factors are contributing to the problem.

Colony Collapse has been found to be most prevalent among larger and mobile beekeeping operations, where bees are stressed from being trucked around, and because of the large number of hives involved, they often cannot be cared for adequately. Another serious problem has been the Varroa mite, an external parasitic mite that attacks bees and is difficult to control. Many beekeepers use increasingly stronger miticides to combat these mites, especially in situations where they see a buildup in resistance. Unfortunately these more toxic products also end up being toxic to the bees. Furthermore, many of the bees used in conventional farming landscapes pickup pesticide residues which then end up in the honey they feed on.

Sadly, many of this country's yield- and profit-oriented farming practices eliminate the natural habitat; consequently the many beneficial ecological services of living organisms that have evolved in those habitats also go away. So not only have bees  been found to be at risk, but pollinators in general are at risk of decline.  Several species of bumblebees are nearly extinct, and many others are suffering severe declines. Other pollinating insects are similarly suffering from reduced habitat.

Here on the farm we are dedicated not only to growing food for you, but also to providing food and habitat for native pollinators. We have the land, tools, and know-how to create insectary plantings and wild areas where pollinators can take refuge. Pollinators in turn ensure we have a more abundant and reliable food system. In addition, those non-crop plantings attract other beneficial insects, which improves pest management. I believe farmers, if given the incentive and public recognition, can be instrumental players in the conservation and restoration of natural, non-cultivated environments, the ones which play such a key role in our efforts to balance the biotic relationship so important in maintaining a healthy food supply.

- Tom
various pollinator bees on the farm

Clockwise from top left: bumblebee in poppy; honeybee in quince; bumblebee on vetch, mason bee in blackberry; active honeybee hive in background

Temporary Strawberry Shortage
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the leanest period in the production cycle of the farm is right now, and deciding what to include in your weekly shares is one of the most challenging balancing acts of managing a CSA. The content of your shares is what drives our entire production system; it is the end result of a complex matrix and intricate web of interacting conditions. Last week I misjudged the harvestable quantity of ripe strawberries in the field and we ended up having to replace strawberries with apples and blueberries. But conditions are now favorable, and the plants are healthy and loaded with lots of green, soon-to-ripen strawberries. This means that production will rapidly increase. This week we'll have enough berries for all the Extra Fruit Options and Family Shares; next week the Small Shares should also see their first strawberry allotment.  Thank you for your patience and understanding!

- Tom
strawberries in different stages of ripeness
Here's a good image of strawberries in different stages of ripeness, and above, a typical morning strawberry harvest.

Community Farm Day Strawberry U-pick update
A little update on the upcoming Community Farm Day and Strawberry U-pick:

we changed the date.

classic u-pick child!
Please join us from 10-2 on Saturday June 4, 2011 at the 1275 Green Valley Road entrance to Live Earth Farm. The day will center on our new barn and the production portion of Live Earth Farm at this location.  In addition to strawberry picking, we will also have tractor ride tours leaving from the strawberry field several times throughout the day. Wondering why we changed the date?  Do you remember those weeks of rain that lasted through part of April?  Those rains pushed our whole growing season about 2 weeks back, which means our strawberries are going to peak a little later than usual.  Mother Nature has given us another opportunity to learn flexibility in the face of natural forces we can only try to control.  Thank you for joining us on the roller coaster of seasonal food production and consumption.

- Jessica, LEFDP

New pick-up sites: 880/Stevens Creek, and Naglee Park
For you commuters who pass through the 280/880(17) highway interchange on your way to or from work, we have established a new location that is very easy to get to. It is right off of Stevens Creek Blvd. (the other side of 880 from Valley Fair, kinda the northwest side of the Burbank neighborhood).

And due to popular demand, we have also finally established a new site in Naglee Park.

If one of these locations is closer or more convenient for you, you are welcome to switch there. You can do so by logging into your account and clicking on "Change Location." (Remember: subscription changes can only be made on a Sat/Sun/Mon)

- Debbie

Herbal Basics of Stress Management this Saturday
by Darren Huckle

Stress is an amazing force in our lives.  It both generates us and breaks us down.  When we have just enough stress it catalyzes us to perform to a higher level in life.  If we had no stresses or challenges in our lives both our minds and bodies would atrophy and there would be no force inspiring us to adapt and perform to a higher level.  But as most of us experience, stress can have a very negative impact on our lives.  In the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we say that stress stagnates and exhausts our life force.  Stagnation can be experienced through stress responses such as tight muscles, indigestion, constipation, tight chest, frustration, and headaches.  Exhaustion of the energy is just that.. fatigue, and a feeling of lack of vitality. 
Fortunately there are many ways to buffer the effects of negative stress on our bodies and minds.  Herbal remedies have a great role in stress management.  Some categories of herbs that are useful in buffering or decreasing the effects of stress include:

California PoppiesCalmatives - herbs that calm or sedate us such as chamomile, California poppy etc.
Adaptogens - these are herbs that buffer the effects of stress on our physiology and strengthen our life force such as Eleuthero, Ashwaganda, Holy Basil or Tulsi etc.
Nervine Tonics - herbs that soothe and nourish our stress frazzled nervous system such as Milky Oats, Saint John's Wort etc.
Aromatics - these are herbs that keep the energy flowing as a buffer to the constraint we can feel with stress, Mint, Lemon Verbena, Lavender etc.

Stress affects each of us in different ways, thus other herbal categories that may be employed include digestives and adrenal tonics to strengthen particular body systems being most affected. Of course keeping your body nourished through good nutrition like you get from your Live Earth Farm CSA shares is a must!

May the delight of fresh and vibrant foods in your CSA share lift the veil of stress off your shoulders.

Darren Huckle L.Ac., Herbalist

If you are interested in tools for dealing with stress in your life, come to the farm this Saturday from 10-3 for an empowering class on The Herbal Basics of Stress Management.
For more info or to register for this class, please call or email Darren at 831.334.5177 or rootsofwellness@gmail.com

Kids and Parents: check out Art at the Farm Summer Day Camp! And Teens: become a Counselor-in-Training!

Live Earth Farm Discovery Program is excited to offer its second summer of Art at the Farm Summer Day Camp. Kids can come spend a week at the farm, learning about animals, getting their hands in the dirt and making nature based arts and crafts. We are also looking for participants ages 13 and above to be counselors-in-training for one or more of the week long sessions. This is a great opportunity to develop leadership skills and get involved with the community.

We are offering three one-week long sessions:
June 13-17
June 20-24
Jult 11-15

For more information, see description on our website (be sure to click on "Reveal/Hide the details), or, contact the Discovery Program:
Jessica Ridgeway
LEFDP Art on the Farm Day Camp flyer

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

This week, some recipes submitted by members. :-)
- Debbie

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

If you're new this week and also new to fava beans, please see last week's recipes for a detailed explanation of working with them. Meanwhile, here's an option for preparing favas in your home oven, similar to the grilled option I talked about last week. This is from an April 24 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, sent to me by member Tonya Parnak:

Whole oven roasted fava beans
"Toss clean whole fava pods with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until tender. (Timing depends on the size of the pods.) Put the roasted pods in a shallow bowl, and sprinkle with your finest sea salt. Serve to guests a la edamame, or if the pods are small and tender enough, eat them whole."

For the complete story in the Chronicle, click here.

Okay, this one's not member submitted, but I just had to put this in after the idea was planted in my brain last week of making hummus from fresh fava beans!

Hummus from Fresh Fava Beans
Debbie's version

I am modifying my favorite hummus recipe from Jane Brody's Good Food Book. What I've always loved about this version of hummus is that the onion and garlic are sauteed first, making them sweet instead of sharp. This will be a gorgeous emerald green color!

1 large onion, minced (perfect use of the big fresh onions we're getting!)
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced (substitute 1 stalk green garlic, white and light green parts)
oil for sauteeing
2 C cooked and peeled fresh fava beans (or if you don't have enough favas to make 2 cups, substitute garbanzo beans for some portion)
juice from 1 lemon (about 1/2 C)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 C tahini
additional flavorful olive oil (optional)

Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent and soft. In a blender or food processor, puree the favas with the onion and garlic, lemon juice, soy, and tahini. Add a couple blorps of flavorful olive oil at the end to incorporate, or serve with flavorful olive oil drizzled on top. Use as a veggie dip, or with pita, or however you like to use hummus!

Are you beginning to accumulate alliums? Onions and green garlic, say? Well member Robin Horn has this solution for you: Pasta a l'Olio. She talked about it in her blog, seasonaleating.net. I'll provide her recipe here, but please feel free to go to her blog for the complete back story!

Pasta a l'Olio
by Robin Horn
serves 4 - 6

1 large bunch spring onions, or approximately 1 dry onion per serving
1 large bunch green garlic, or about 5 cloves dry garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
Garnish: olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon
Miracle Noodles [see Robin's blog] or pasta

Wash and trim the onions and garlic: the easiest way to remove dirt is to slice stalks lengthwise so that you can see the dirt to wash it away. Discard tough, wilted, or yellowed green parts. Slice or dice up the green parts that look good along with the white parts of both onion and garlic.

Boil water and cook pasta per directions. If using Miracle Noodles [Robin talks more about these in her blog], rinse them now per directions, but wait to cook them 'til onions and garlic are almost done. It's recommended that they only cook one minute, but I cook them for 2 - 3.

Preheat large non-stick pan, or preheat electric frying pan to 325 degrees. Add olive oil and coat bottom of pan. Add onions and saute stirring constantly for 2 minutes, until volume is reduced. Add garlic and continue to saute and stir for about 8 - 9 minutes, until onions are cooked throughout, and slightly limp and shiny. [Hm, I bet this'd be good with some fresh favas tossed in too! - Debbie]

Drain the pasta and serve with a big scoop of sauteed onions and garlic. Serve with salt, pepper, lemon, and olive oil, all of which are optional but delicious additions. It is surprising how much a tiny bit of fresh olive oil (not more than 1/2 tsp. at most) will bring out the flavor of the cooked oil.

Here is a recipe sent in by member Lori Fox back in February, when she was getting our Winter Share. Since we're getting cauliflower and carrots, and some of you may still have turnips, I thought this would be a timely inclusion. Here's what Lori says, "I wanted to send a recipe I used a couple of weeks ago for all of these great winter veggies. It is from the magazine Saveur. It calls for roasted cauliflower, but I used cauliflower, carrots, and turnips as well. The sauce is super easy."

Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce
from Saveur Magazine
serves 4 - 6

Roasting cauliflower in a very hot oven gives it an appealing crisp-tender texture and toasty flavor that pairs perfectly with the tart tahini dipping sauce in this dish.

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
4 tsp. ground cumin
2 heads cauliflower, cored and cut into 1 1/2'' florets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 C tahini
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced into a paste
Juice of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Toss together oil, cumin, cauliflower, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 rimmed baking sheets; spread out evenly. Bake, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to back, until cauliflower is browned and tender, 25- 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 C water in a small bowl and season with salt. Serve cauliflower hot or at room temperature with tahini sauce.

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 5/9/11; 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 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