|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***
Asian stir-fry mix (mizuna and tatsoi)
Fava beans +
Bunching onions (scallions)
Sugar snap peas
Asian stir-fry mix (mizuna and tatsoi)
Fresh "green" onions (red or yellow)
Sugar snap peas
Asian stir-fry mix (mizuna and tatsoi)
Bunching onions (scallions)
This week's bread will be sesame 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.
Next delivery of meat chickens will be Week 11 (15th, 16th, 17th of June)
Greetings from Inside the Beltway
I feel like a fish out of water, better yet like an uprooted tree. Saturday morning I was still feeding the chickens, now (Sunday) I am sitting in a Holiday Inn on the other side of the country, in Washington DC. Here "inside the Beltway", the powerhouse of political action, far removed from all things farming, I don't quite know what to expect as I will spend the next four days with a delegation of fellow California farmers representing the Farm Bureau.
The intention of the trip is to meet with elected officials and people whose career it is to shape policies, implement legislation and appropriate money that affects our country's food and farming system. As the only organic farmer in the group (and being outside of my usual and more familiar "organic " surroundings in Santa Cruz), I am keenly aware that 95% of farming in this country is still conventional, and the Farm Bureau is the largest and probably one of the oldest grassroots farm organizations for promoting the agricultural interests of farmers and ranchers engaged in production agriculture. So it is no surprise that they advocate a conservative and conventional agenda. I am curious to learn how receptive legislators are to acknowledging that the current state of America's food system is seriously flawed and in need of reform. The statistics are sobering: 40 million Americans suffer from chronic hunger and improper nutrition. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese due to poor diet and lack of exercise. Obesity is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year and adds over 100 billion dollars annually to the escalating cost of national health care. The list of challenges includes the plight of millions of undocumented farm workers, the rapidly aging farm population, and our currently devastated rural farm economies, not to mention pollution issues, the loss of habitat and biodiversity, declining honeybee and pollinator populations, global warming and escalating energy costs. The good news is that there are all of us, plus a rapidly growing number of organizations out there representing more sustainable food and farming alternatives. Many of the models that could turn the tables already exist. To bring these solution-oriented models to life, however, what's needed is a gargantuan
shift in how Federal resources are allocated through one very particular piece of law -- namely the Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill establishes the rules of the game for how almost 100 billion dollars of our tax money is spent. For decades, agribusinesses, lobbying organizations such as the Farm Bureau, and legislators have essentially written those rules; now they need to take responsibility for the lion's share of the mess we're in. Which means that now is the time for all of us, people from all walks of life -- parents, doctors, farmers, food consumers, everyone -- to speak up and choose with our dollars how we want to shape the future of our food supply. It is time to change present and future legislation. We need healthy food to be brought back into our schools, workplaces and homes. To this end we as a community need to be become more knowledgeable about the issues affecting farmers and food producers so we can raise our voices together. It is time resources are shifted away from a few highly subsidized corporate agribusinesses focused primarily on the production of a handful of commodity crops, i.e. corn, wheat, soybeans, cotton and rice, and instead rewarded to those who want to engage in a more sustainable food system. Such a shift could help create the necessary change to shape policies that promote a more just, more balanced, and healthier food system for all.
So now that I am all inspired and energized, I will report back next week what the experience was like here inside the Beltway, the land of politicking and opportunism... I already get a sense that after four days of this I will sorely miss being on the Farm!
Sustainability won't come instantaneously, but we're on our way!
Young Farmer Program Update
Speaking of good examples of the future of farming... look no further than right here on the farm: Live Earth Farm's "Young Farmer Program". If we're going to change legislation to support more sustainable organic farmers, then we also need to train more organic farmers. This is exactly what this program is designed to do. Live Earth Farm's Young Farmer Program is intended to give serious journeyman-farmers the opportunity to get real honest-to-goodness hands-on learning - we provide the land and the tools, and they design and implement their own small organic farm.
This year's "young farmers" are Jeff Boesch and Anna Vinitsky, and they have been busy bees since last winter and are now up and running, complete with a mini-CSA and their own stand at the Willow Glen Farmers Market (as an aside: this was the first farmers market Tom got into when he began Live Earth Farm back in 1995). Check out what Jeff and Anna are up to by visiting their blog
; they would love the encouragement and support!
Background: the Young Farmers' fields; inset: Farmer Jeff out setting gopher traps.
Pictures from a field walk
Last week it just poured
on the farm - especially Tuesday! It rained nonstop all day long. Had to check a calendar to remind myself it was May and not February! Below are pictures from the following day, when the sun finally returned. - Debbie
That's about 4 lbs. of clay-heavy mud on the bottom of my boot!
The tomatoes all got planted before the last wave of rain though, and seem to be
holding up just fine. Mmmm, I can almost taste them already, can't you?
Community Farm Day and Strawberry U-pick Reminder
Not this weekend but the next -- Saturday June 4th -- will be our first Community Farm Day of the season... and it's ALL about strawberries! Sweet, juicy, and especially delicious this year (as you all know!), we hope you will join us and pick your fill! Mark your calendar for now, then keep your eye out for details of times and activities to come in next week's newsletter.
[What happened to "Notes from Debbie's Kitchen?"]
Good Morning everyone! I am having so much fun coming up with recipes for using the beautiful, vibrant foods from the farm... it is hard to decide what to send! I am grateful though; may you be blessed with a week full of health, joyous cooking, and eating! Please let me know if you have any requests, or if you have recipes or ideas to share. Meanwhile, here goes, hope you enjoy! - Rebecca
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NORTH AFRICAN CARROTS with HARISSA
Harissa is a traditional North African chile and spice mixture that can be added to sauces, soups, meats, and vegetables. This dish is so warming and delicious - it makes the house smell so good while it is cooking!
Serves 12 [I'm sure this can be halved - I'd make the full harissa recipe, but cut the carrot part in half. - Debbie]
6 dried New Mexico or ancho chilis
1 guajillo chili
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (can use green garlic)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. caraway seeds
3/4 tsp. coriander seeds
3/4 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
2 tsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 tsp. harissa
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (can use green garlic)
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp. ground cumin1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped; divided
olive oil to drizzle
To make the Harissa
1. Wipe off the dried chilies with a damp cloth. Break off the stems and shake out as many seeds as you can. Pull out any large veins (wear gloves if you like). Tear the chilies into pieces, put them in a large bowl, and then cover with boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes to soften. Remove from the bowl, then snip them into smaller pieces with scissors, or chop.
2. In a food processor (or by hand in a mortar and pestle) grind the chilies with the garlic, salt, caraway, coriander, cumin, and oil until a smooth paste forms. Add a little of the chilies soaking water as needed, to loosen the mixture.
3. To store the harissa: pack into a glass jar and cover the surface with olive oil and refrigerate.
To make the carrots
4. Mix the 1 1/2 tsp. of harissa with 2/3 C water in a pan.
5. Heat this diluted harissa mixture over medium heat; add the garlic and cook a few minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest, cumin, and salt and stir well.
6. Add the carrots, cover and cook about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook, reducing the liquid so that it creates a glaze. The carrots should be tender but with a slight crunch. Stir in half the mint. Plate the carrots and drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle the remaining mint on top and serve.
FAVA BEANS and WILTED GREENS
This makes a excellent side dish with roasted or grilled poultry, and it is also a fine sauce for a sturdy pasta such as penne. When the fava beans are tender, mash about half of them to thicken the sauce, then stir in the cooked pasta. Add a little more liquid if the mixture is too thick.
2 C cooked fava beans [click here for basic fava bean preparation]
1 lg. bunch mixed greens - chard, kale, spinach, and/or arugula
Bouquet garni: celery, thyme, parsley, bay leaf
6 cloves garlic (can use green garlic)
5-6 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. chopped rosemary leaves
6 C stock or water
sea salt and pepper
1. Boil water in a medium sauce pan. Remove the skins from the fava beans and place in the pot and boil until tender, just a few minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
2. Wash, trim, and chop the greens.
3. Finely chop the garlic and gently saute it in the olive oil with the rosemary, about 1 minute. Add the beans and about 1 C of their cooking liquid and simmer about 3 minutes until some of the beans crumble apart.
4. Add the greens and stew, uncovered, just until the greens are wilted and tender. Add more bean liquid, if needed, to keep the greens moist. Taste for seasoning and grind in some pepper. Serve with olive oil drizzled over the greens.
GREEN GARLIC SOUP
Being the garlic lover that I am I had to share this recipe - it certainly helps to cure the garlic blues...
Adapted from Chez Panisse VEGETABLES, by Alice Waters
1 lb. green garlic (8-10 stalks)
1/2 lbs. potatoes (Yukon gold, or some other tasty variety)
2 medium onions
1/4 lb. butter (or ghee)
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
1. To clean and prepare the garlic, trim the root end and peel away any tough or dirty outer layers. Trim away the dark green portion of the leaves [the part that branches away from the stalk]; the light-green part of the stalk is fine to use [check for dirt though].
2. Cut the cleaned garlic into thin rounds and optionally into half-circles.
3. Peel the potatoes and cut into half-inch cubes.
4. Peel the onions and chop into small dice.
5. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot; add the onion and cook slowly until translucent and tender; season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic and potatoes. Cook these together for 5 minutes, then pour in the stock and bring to a boil.
6. Lower the heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Check the seasoning.
7. This soup can be served rustic and chunky or pureed - either way it is delicious!
MIZUNA, TATSOI, and RADISH SALAD
1 big handful Asian stir-fry mix per person
1 meyer lemon (or other lemon)
2 shallots (or green garlic)
3/4 C olive oil
white wine vinegar
1 bunch radishes
sea salt and pepper
4 scallions [more, if small]
1. Wash and dry the Asian greens. Refrigerate.
2. Peel a few strips of zest from the lemon and chop very fine to make about 1/2 tsp. Juice the lemon (it should yield about 1/4 C).
3. Peel and chop the shallots very fine, put them in a small bowl, cover with the lemon juice and zest and macerate for about 20 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Add a splash of white wine vinegar, to taste.
4. Trim the tops and roots off the radishes then slice radishes very thinly.
5. Wash the green onions and slice thinly.
6. Remove Asian greens from the refrigerator and place in a large bowl. Add the radishes and scallions and toss with the dressing to coat. Serve immediately.
Rebecca's Notes: Sometimes I like to add thinly sliced fennel bulb to this salad for nice flavors and texture contrasts. These bitter greens and radishes stimulate the digestive process and help to protect the liver and gall bladder (in addition to being so very tasty).
ALMOND and BROCCOLI SOUP
A very simple and elegant soup; so easy to make!
1/2 C ground almonds
1 1/2 lbs. broccoli
3 3/4 C stock
1 1/4 C milk (or I use almond milk or coconut milk)
sea salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden (keep an eye on them - they toast quickly!). Reserve 1/4 of the almonds and set aside for garnish.
2. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Steam for 6-7 minutes, until tender.
3. Place the remaining toasted almonds, broccoli, stock, and milk in a blender and process until smooth.
4. Pour the pureed mixture into a pan and heat to simmering. Sprinkle with the reserved almonds.
BAKED CUSTARD SQUARES
I just taught a class in Thai cooking and this was so delicious and easy I just had to share it with you! It is a great, simple dessert; popular in Thailand, not too sweet, just luscious! And perfect for eating with fresh strawberries!
1 1/2 C THICK coconut milk with its cream (I use Thai brand whole coconut milk - I think it is the best)
6 eggs, beaten
3/4 C palm sugar (brown sugar can be substituted)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
sometimes I add a little cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg, too; this is optional!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Beat all the ingredients together thoroughly in a sauce pan.
3. In a double-boiler over high heat, stir this mixture until it thickens (about 10 minutes).
4. Pour into a greased glass oven-proof dish and place this dish in another larger oven-proof dish filled 1/3 of the way with water.
5. Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
6. When cooled, slice into squares and serve with sliced strawberries.
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 Ones3rd 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 email@example.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 - CheeseJune 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 strawberriesJune 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 ManagementJune 25th - Herbal Preparations
For more info, contact Darren Huckle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831.334.5177 or visit his website at www.rootsofwellness.net