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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
7th Harvest Week, Season 16
May 16th - 22nd, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
The faces behind your veggies
Controlling "Bad" Bugs -- A Balancing Act
Rainy weather = fragile strawberries!
But once the rain's over...
New Pick-up Sites: Companion Bakers (West Santa Cruz) and Moss Landing
Notes from Debbie's (and Rebecca's) Kitchen [Recipes!]
2011 Calendar

" Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
- Chief Seattle

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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
Red beets
Cauliflower +
Green garlic
Cooking greens (either Chard, or Red Russian or Lacinato kale)
Mustard greens
Bunching onions (scallions)
Sugar snap peas
Watercress (Santa Cruz Aquaponics)

Small Share
Red beets
Green garlic
Cooking greens (either Chard, or Red Russian or Lacinato kale)
Mustard greens
Bunching onions (scallions)
Watercress (Santa Cruz Aquaponics)

Budget Share
Red beets
Green garlic
Cooking greens (either Chard, or Red Russian or Lacinato kale)
Mustard greens
Fresh "green" onions (red or yellow)
Sugar snap peas 

Bread Option

This week's bread will be plain whole wheat  

Extra Fruit Option

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

Meat Chickens
This week is our first monthly meat chicken delivery. Meat chicken subscribers: you will receive an email with instructions Tuesday morning. Keep an eye out for it.

The faces behind your veggies
When you open your weekly box and bite into a sweet juicy strawberry, some of you may wonder who are the faces behind the food. This is the most recent group picture of our farm team. A few couldn't make it on Saturday for the photo-shoot, and since there isn't enough time or space in this newsletter to describe the many hats each of us wears, I plan to introduce everyone over the course of the season. Currently we are an amazing farm team of just over thirty workers, everyone committed to stewarding the life-nourishing process, from the planting of seeds through delivery of your weekly produce to you.
Group portrait of LEF team, 2011
I'd like to express my thanks to Leander Hopf, a close friend and professional photographer who is visiting from Germany. We organized a small internal Farm Fiesta/Photo-shoot on Saturday, where everyone in the group including family members lined up to have a real professional portrait taken. Leander loves to come to California on photo-shoots and enjoys teaching hands-on photography. Last week both the Wavecrest Montessori and the Blue Mountain Homeschool group -- who have regular classes on the farm -- spent time discovering the magic and art of photography with Leander.

- Tom

Controlling "Bad" Bugs -- A Balancing Act
Every week I tend to receive an inquiry about how we control our pests.  Often the questions are triggered when someone discovers a particular creepy-crawly on or inside a produce item they received. My intent in controlling insect pests is not to eradicate them, but to minimize their damage by allowing a favorable coexistence between pest and prey. This biological approach is not always consistent, since fluctuating conditions can favor one population over another. We typically know when the "bad" bugs (such as aphids in broccoli, cauliflower or Brussel sprouts) are winning.

The urge to eradicate an insect pest comes from the economic loss of not being able to sell the crop one has invested so much time and effort into. Typically a pest outbreak occurs when plants are stressed. Just like us, plants tend to have weaker immune systems under stressful conditions, and so researchers have found that plants will send out signals that they're vulnerable. Typically a healthy soil will grow a healthy plant - which in turn will have a better chance of fighting off pests.

Another long-term strategy here on the farm is to create a diverse habitat to attract a healthy population of resident beneficial insects. So we have been planting hedgerows along the edges of fields, and grow rows of annual flowering plants such as sweet alyssum right in between our crops. If that is still not enough, we purchase and release beneficial insects as in the case of strawberries, where we release red spider mites (Persimillis) to control the detrimental two-spotted spider mite. Sometime all it takes is confusing the mating cycle of certain bugs, such as the codling moth in apples, by releasing pheromones or attracting beneficial bugs by baiting them with food such as brewers yeast.

The predator-prey cycle can be incredibly intricate, and the worst thing to do is to step in prematurely to take control and disrupt the process. Controlling an insect pest biologically is a chance to step away from our usual dominant role at the top of the food chain and better understand the importance of the many critters "beneath" us, especially those we might find unappealing. I know that the sight of aphids inside broccoli florets, or a worm tunneling inside a cabbage or apple is unappealing and we will try our very best to make sure they are not in your produce. I believe we have a healthy balance between good bugs and bad bugs here on the farm and hope you understand that we don't aim for complete control.

- Tom
Ladybugs in different stages

Everybody's favorite beneficial insect: ladybugs. Note the two different (and far less familar) larval stages of the ladybug: the mostly black on in the inset above left, and another, inset right.

Rainy weather = fragile strawberries!
Tom asked me to let everyone know that due to this week's rainy conditions, the strawberries you receive should be eaten or otherwise processed as quickly as possible. They will not keep long. Rain and ripe strawberries don't mix; the berries can mold very quickly. So if you end up with a moldy berry in your basket, this is why. We are going to do our very best to pick around the rain, but it is tricky.

If you are an Extra Fruit member and receive several baskets and are not in a position to eat them right away or make a pie or something, I recommend freezing them.

To freeze berries: remove strawberry tops and lay whole berries on a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Freeze solid, then remove berries to a ziploc bag and return to the freezer. They will last months this way. I don't generally wash them before I do this (one of the 'bennies' of eating organic!), but if you prefer to, be sure to blot them dry before you freeze them.

- Debbie 

But once the rain's over...
Strawberries in 1 lb. clamshell packaging

Starting next week Taylor will begin offering our sweet and beautiful strawberries to you via the Web Store again. Several of you have been inquiring about it, so we wanted to give you the heads-up!

Ordering berries through the Web Store will be a little different than it was last year though. Instead of flats and half-flats, the Web Store strawberries will be packed in 1-lb. clamshells for $4 each. You are welcome to order as many clamshells as you like. Our desire is to clearly distinguish Web Store-purchased strawberries from the berries you receive with your CSA share or Extra Fruit Option so that nobody ends up taking the wrong berries. The CSA fruit will still be delivered as per usual.

Eventually we will be offering full flats of berries through the Web Store as well (but probably not half-flats), but we want to work out a good system for differentiating Web Store berry flats from CSA/Extra Fruit berry flats. Stay tuned!

- Debbie 

New Pick-up Sites: Companion Bakers (West Santa Cruz) and Moss Landing
We are very pleased to announce two more new Wednesday pick-up sites! If you wish to switch to either of these, just log into your account and click on "Change Location". On the other hand, if someone is signing up new for our CSA, both these locations will now be in the list of pick-up site choices.

West Santa Cruz - Companion Bakers
This new site will be hosted inside Companion Bakers new storefront on West Mission near King. Companion Bakers are the folks who bake the bread for our Bread Option, and Erin, baker/owner, is very excited about partnering with us, and folks who pick up their share at Companion will have the added benefit of being able to stop for a cup of coffee or get fresh baked goodies from their new store. Buttermilk scones to go with your strawberries for breakfast, anyone?

Moss Landing
This is at an excellent, easy to get to location on Moss Landing Rd., right behind the Haute Enchilada restaurant. Plenty of parking, shares are well protected.

Notes from Debbie's (and Rebecca's) Kitchen
Click here to go to Debbie's recipe database.     


As you may or may not know, I have been doing the recipes for Live Earth Farm's newsletter for 14 or so years now (hence the huge recipe database) :-) But everyone reaches a time in their life when they need a break, and I have reached mine, so I am going to be on hiaitus from recipe-writing for the indefinite future. This is a bittersweet moment for me, as I feel I know most of you personally from our interactions over the years, and it will be hard letting go.


But you know how they say about when one door closes, another opens? Change can yield good things, and so it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the person who has so graciously offered to take the helm for me here in the 'recipes' part of the newsletter. Her name is Rebecca Mastoris, and I've asked her to say a little about herself before getting to recipes. I think you will be very happy with her, and I myself am excited at the prospect of reading someone else's ideas for cooking with 'what's in the box'  for a change. ;-) Rebecca is a seasoned and knowledgeable cook, with a lifelong enthusiasm for what she does (you'll see!).


You'll still hear from me of course, as since I'll still be editing the newsletter, I will likely pop in here and there with my two cents in Rebecca's recipes [you know the way I do when I put my comments in square brackets like this!]. ;-)


Take care, everyone, and please give a warm welcome to Rebecca!

- Debbie

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

Hello dear Live Earth Farm CSA members! Allow me to introduce myself, and to give you a bit of my background and philosophy on food and eating. More than anything else I believe that food nurtures, that it can be healing, and that it is also a universal language. Being blessed with the goodness of the earth provides us this great gift of abundance to achieve radiant health and savor all its deliciousness! It is my deep passion to be able to excite people about eating food from the garden, make it educational and delicious, and healing on so many levels. I love to cook and create and inspire people on this journey.


As a child I was so blessed to have always had small gardens with my parents, and the opportunity to take that precious food from the earth straight to the kitchen to prepare. I was also blessed with a patient mother who gently taught me to cook. I have had organic gardens most of my life, and have always pursued cooking for sumptuous flavors, with health intentions and eating with mindfulness. It has been an incredible journey with over 40 years being a chef, restaurant owner, caterer (Karen Haralson, another CSA member, and I have our own business: Vibrant Foods Catering), private/personal chef, graduate of Bauman college from the Nutritional consultant program, Natural and Therapuetic Chef instructor at Bauman College and lead chef and grateful team member of our new non-profit organization, Nourishing Generations. I believe we can live in vibrance by eating organic, healthy food; that is why I feel so connected to Live Earth Farm - everything is always vibrant and alive! Bottom line is that I am so grateful to be doing what I do because I love it so much, and it is an honor to be working with you and the farm for which I have such tremendous respect.


Below are the first recipes I have chosen for you based on what you will be receiving in this week's boxes. In the future I hope to branch out, as Debbie suggested to me, and provide you with tips and suggestions on 'what I'd do' with the box as well as come up with recipes. This is going to be FUN!  





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


1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 2-inch sprig tarragon (optional)
1/2 C fresh orange juice
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4. tsp. black pepper
3 medium beets (1 1/4 lbs. total without greens*), trimmed, leaving 1" of the stems attached
1/3 C fresh mint, coarsely chopped

*[save the beet greens for the arugula/bean hummus recipe, below - Debbie]

1. Put oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 425 F. Tightly wrap the beets in foil lined with parchment paper and roast on a baking sheet until tender, about 1-1/4 hours. Vent the beets by opening the foil package slightly. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
2. While beets are roasting, combine the orange juice with the tarragon sprig (if using) in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until reduced to 2 tbsp.
3. In a small saute pan, toast the cumin seeds lightly, then crush them with a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
4. In a small bowl, make a vinaigrette by whisking together the reduced orange juice with the lemon juice, cumin seeds, sea salt, and pepper. Stir in the oil and let stand while roasting the beets.
5. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, and trim off and discard the root ends and stems, then cut them into half-inch wide wedges.
6. Heat a skillet over low heat, add the vinaigrettte, and toss in the warm beets until thoroughly glazed. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the mint just before serving.

Yield: 6 servings. Recipe adapted from Lizette Marx, Natural Chef Instructor

2 C white cannelini beans, cooked and drained and rinsed [or you could substitute fresh peeled fava beans! - Debbie (Tom says we'll be getting them again next week.)]
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8. tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 C arugula, packed
1 C beet greens
1/3 C roasted tahini
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
2 tbsp. lime juice
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. In a saute pan, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil over low heat and add the onions. Saute them until they are soft and translucent, then add garlic and a sprinkle of salt. Sprinkle in the cumin and red pepper flakes. Saute another minute.
2. When the garlic, onions, and spices become intensely aromatic (after a minute or so of cooking), add the arugula and beet greens, tossing gently into the onions and garlic until just wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. In a food processor, add the white beans [or peeled fresh fava beans!], tahini, and olive oil. Blend until smooth.
4. Gradually add in the arugula-beet green mixture in three batches and blend until smooth.
5. Add the lemon and lime juices a little at a time until the hummus reaches desired flavor profile. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Yield: 6 snack servings. Recipe adapted from Lizette Marx, Natural Chef Instructor

1 head of cauliflower, minced finely
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1/2 red onion, small dice
2 tomatoes, chopped [ooh, no tomatoes from the farm yet... how about plumping and dicing up some sundried tomatoes? - Debbie]
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C olive oil (more or less to your desired consistency)
red wine vinegar to taste
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. (or less) allspice (this really adds a nice , unique flavor) 

1. Mix all the above ingredients together in a large bowl. Let this marinate for 1 hour to marry all the flavors.


This recipe is gluten free so it is great for those who cannot eat wheat and it is a nice alternative to using bulghur. I think it is a delicious way to eat cauliflower and it keeps well in the refrigerator!

Rebecca L. Mastoris, Natural Chef Instructor, N.C.

This is a little snack I like to fix when I have sweet tooth that needs to be fed!

maple syrup (or honey)
coconut milk in the can
toasted coconut (optional)

1. Slice the amount of strawberries you want and put them in a bowl. Add a drizzle of maple syrup (just to lightly sweeten). Set aside.
2.To make the coconut whipped cream: scoop the thick cream off the top of the can of coconut milk (save the water or "milk" for another time). Put the "cream" in a mixer or bowl and add a drizzle of maple syrup and vanilla to taste. Whip for a few minutes lightly to combine the ingredients (careful: over whipping will make it flat!)
3. Put your strawberries in a pretty bowl and top with a dollop of the whipped "cream" and sprinkle the the toasted coconut on top. I add another sprinkle of cinnamon on the cream for taste and color.

The coconut whippped cream is a nice alternative for those who cannot eat dairy, and I think it tastes better. Coconut is a good fat for us. It has many healing qualities, containing lauric acid which has anti-viral properties. Cinnamon can help reduce high blood sugar levels and can help curb sugar cravings...
(You can also add other fruits that I have available when so desired.)

Rebecca L. Mastoris, Natural Chef Instructor, N.C.

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