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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
1st Harvest Week, Season 17
April 2nd - 8th, 2012
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Welcome from Farmer Tom
What's Up in the Fields
Sheep-to-Shawl a Smashing Success!
Meet the New Farm Folks
New for 2012: Bi-weekly Newsletters
Rebecca's Recipes
2012 Calendar

"As you eat, know that you are feeding more than just a body. You are feeding the soul's longing for life, its timeless desire to learn the lessons of earthy existence - love and hate, pleasure and pain, fear and faith, illusion and truth - through the vehicle of food. Ultimately, the most important aspect of nutrition is not what we eat but how our relationship to food can teach us who we are and how we sustain ourselves at the deepest level of being."
- Marc David

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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.


Quantities of certain items will be more in the larger shares. Delicate items are sometimes packed outside your box. If so, it will be spelled out next to your name on the checklist at your pick-up site. 


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 (Large) Share
Red beets
Golden beets
Red cabbage
Collards or kale
Green garlic
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)  


Regular (Medium) Share
Red beets
Green cabbage
Collards or kale
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)    


Budget (Small) Share
Red beets
Red cabbage
Meyer lemons


Bread Option

This week's bread will be sesame whole wheat    


Extra Fruit Option

Remember: the Extra Fruit option does not begin until May!  


Welcome from Farmer Tom
Farm fields in early April 2012With the Farm "springing" into life, we are happy to extend a warm welcome to the entire Live Earth Farm Community for our 17th CSA season!  We are delighted to be starting with almost 700 members this year, and look forward to another seasonal "dance" of growing, sharing, eating and celebrating nature's abundant and enduring gifts with you.

What makes farming meaningful and exciting to me every day is the link between  my passion for farming and you, our wonderful community, who cares about the farm, the land, the animals, and the people who work here -- you, who have for so many years deliberately chosen to eat and be nourished by the abundance this land so generously provides. When you open your box, remember this link; as you prepare the food you receive, remember you are an extension of this relationship.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership which reflects a shared commitment by all involved. It is at the heart of Live Earth Farm's long-term well-being, and shapes the unique character and mission of this farm. As such, the farm is a resource, a place for all to enjoy and celebrate. As E.F. Schumacher once said, it is a place "where people matter, the land matters and where the love for our work brings forth from the earth health for us all."
In order for everyone to have the chance to experience the farm in all its seasonal splendor, we are hosting a large diversity of farm events, activities, workshops, and summer camps this year (see our 2012 Calendar, below). To highlight a few: we will again be holding our popular family-oriented Community Farm Days, on the last Saturday of every month; starting in May, we'll open the farm on weekends for U-Picks of fruit and vegetables; and new this year: we'll be opening our own on-farm Farm Stand, complete with a wonderful assortment of our own fruits and vegetables, as well as a large selection of amazing hard to find artisan farm products unique to this region such as cheeses, jams, meat products and hand-crafts. Also new this year, I am especially excited to announce that we'll be hosting two on-farm community dinners (dates to be set by next week); of course you won't want to miss our annual Summer Solstice and Fall Harvest Celebrations! We'll also continue to host numerous popular cooking and preserving workshops. Of course if all you want to do is explore the farm on your own, we now have a trail and a map to let you go on a self-guided tour to explore both the fields and native habitats surrounding them.

This past Saturday's "Sheep-to-Shawl" event served as a wonderful kick-off to the season. It reflected the true spirit of Live Earth Farm's sense of community (see pictures and story, below), and so we invite you all to make time to join us for as many events this year as you can. Thank you again for joining the Live Earth Farm Community this season.

- Tom

What's Up in the Fields
Tom checking apricot trees for fruit setRegular field walks are one of my favorite things to do, as well as the best way to evaluate field conditions and decide how to manage them. The recent rains, although much needed, coincided with our apricot bloom and subsequently affected their fruit set -- which means we'll have only a light crop this year. I am still hopeful it'll be better than last year though, when rains kept falling until almost June, causing a complete apricot crop failure.

Strawberries have started to ripen, but they also got knocked back a bit with the recent rains. Most of the strawberries are still green but Elisa has found a red one!You won't see the first baskets in our shares until the second or third week of deliveries.

Flea beetles damaging the young brassica seedlings was also a concern -- until it started raining; now we probably have a couple of weeks before they ramp up in numbers. Flea beetles are tiny, shiny and jumpy insects which love to munch on all brassicas, but especially on arugula.

As soon as we detect the flying stage of aphids, I know to watch out for a breakout, and it's always a gamble as to whether and how long to wait for the beneficials to catch up with them, or if applying an early spray of a soapy solution can knock them back. Sometimes a combination of both works well.
If as predicted the weather stays dry, the next couple of weeks we'll begin planting the first warm weather crops: peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash, cucumbers and of course green beans.

A peek under the row cover protecting the young spinach seedlings Spinach is developing nicely under the warm protection of row-cover (see pictures), beneath which is also the arugula, to protect it from flea beetle damage.

Now that the apples are starting to bloom, we are hanging mating disruptors in the trees to control codling moth, the main cause of wormy apples. These mating disruptors mimic the female pheromone, confusing the flight and mating process of the male moths.

We'll keep you posted as to what's happening in the fields as conditions change; right now, change is happening fast with all this warmer weather and the lengthening days. The farm is humming with activity.

- Tom 

Sheep to Shawl a Smashing Success!
Well over 200 people piled into our big barn on Saturday, despite the pouring rain! Families, kids, grandparents, long-time CSA members and first-timers to Live Earth Farm all enjoyed a fun-filled day of sheep shearing demos and educational activities. Crowds gathered around as our expert shearer sheared the sheep; the mountain of wool that resulted became a soft place for toddlers to take a break.  

Participants rotated through stations that showed the entire process of how to take raw wool freshly sheared from a sheep and turn it into a usable textile.  Everyone washed, dyed, carded, felted, knitted, spun, and wove the wool. We had story times, where a retired librarian read sheep-related stories to groups of eager children in the back of the barn. We sold out at our mini-farm stand, people were able to get information about our educational programs and our CSA, and, new this year, we had a couple of vendors selling their wool and farm-related arts and crafts.

The day's success was entirely dependent on our wonderful crew of committed volunteers: they arrived in their rain gear early on Saturday morning to set up, led the hands-on stations, helped our shearer, and stayed late to help clean-up.  A big, heart-felt thank you to our many volunteers!

This event officially kicked-off our 2012 season of bringing Community alive on the farm. Sheep-to-Shawl served as a way to connect our community to a greater sense of awareness not only about where their food comes from, but where their textiles come from as well. We at the farm are honored to be able to help all of you make these connections, and hope you will join us for more fun community events on the farm in 2012!

First, of course, the sheep must be shorn! The crowd was rapt.
Expert shearer makes quick work of removing wool from the sheep
Before and after...
The sheep, before and after

Kids of all ages enjoying the wool... (that's Farmer Tom on the right!)
Kids of all ages enjoying the pile of freshly shorn wool

A barn full of activities, including dyeing, carding, spinning and more...
Rain didn't keep this event from being a huge hit.

The mini Farmers Market stand, and one shy customer...
Sheep-To-Shawl's mini Farmers Market

Clearly the rain did not set anyone back. In fact, it appears to have been a feature!
And Chella the farm dog relaxes, safe in the knowledge that her coat will never fall under the shearer's hands.

Chella hardly working, and a small boy enjoys the mud puddle

Meet the New Farm Folks
Farmer Tom you all know, of course (or if you're a new member this year you 'met' him in his introduction and welcome, above); you've probably all connected with Jason, our CSA coordinator, when signing up; and you also heard from Taylor, our market manager, on Friday when she emailed you with "What's in the Web Store This Week" (which will be a regular occurrence) -- but there are some new staff this year, and so with this first newsletter of the season, we would like to introduce them to you. You will likely meet them all when you come out to the farm for any of our many events:

EmilyFirst off is Emily Mastellone-Snyder, the new Education Programs Coordinator for LEF's Discovery Program, our educational non-profit (LEFDP for short). Emily took over for Jessica when Jess went on maternity leave. Jessica was bumped upstairs to Director, and will return to the farm in a couple months, and Emily will stay on when she comes back to help enrich the LEFDP. Emily has a broad background in farming, gardening, teaching, and working with non-profits.  Hailing from a tiny town in western Massachusetts, Emily found her way to California to teach residential outdoor environmental education for four years.  She spent her summers off from teaching farming on the central coast and in Alaska.  In 2009, she attended UC Santa Cruz's Center For Agroecology and Sustainable Food System's Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture Program.  Since then, she has had her own ecological gardening/landscaping business, and has directed the North Coast Teen Center in Davenport, CA.  She is excited to bring her energy, enthusiasm and creative vision to the program.  She is especially looking forward to bringing her guitar and incorporating more garden education songs into the curriculum.  Emily can be reached at lefeducation@baymoon.com.

RogerNext is Roger Tompkins, our Farm and Garden Assistant, who tells his own story: "I have recently relocated to Live Earth Farm from San Luis Obispo where I was born and raised. I studied Environmental Management and Protection at Cal Poly with a minor in Sustainable Agriculture, so I am very pleased to find a job in which both of these topics seem very relevant. My introduction to agriculture came through a job at the Cal Poly Organic Farm, which I really enjoyed. My favorite parts of Live Earth Farm are probably the wild areas; it is very refreshing to work in a place that strives to maintain a harmony with nature. I also adhere to a plant-based diet, so the abundance of fruits and veggies is a dream come true!"

LauraThen there's Laura Bazzetta, our Farm and Marketing Assistant. She says, "The first thing other LEF employees said to me when I arrived here was: 'We are so glad you are here!' I think that very much represents what draws me into this farm. There is openness to new people, ideas, and the energy they bring with them. Apart from a bounty of good food and an organic farming philosophy, the commitment to building (and maintaining) community alongside the business is one unique to this place.
"I am originally from the Midwest, where I grew up on a hobby-farm property that has left me with a love for the outdoors. But it was mostly during and after my undergraduate studies in geology that I began to take on the task of organic farming as a way of life. An increasing awareness of social issues surrounding food availability, safety, and long-term sustainability of production has led me to pursue solutions to these problems.  Re-structuring methods of production, land management, and the channels food passes through to move from farm to table is a large part of this.
"I am excited to get involved in a lot of new developments for the 2012 season! Helping make Live Earth Farm products accessible to people even beyond the CSA route, taking on the greenhouses and a herd of lovely goats, and improving our field maps are just a few among them. This summer looks to be a busy one ahead, and I hope to meet all of you at the many farm events to come."

KathleenLast but not least is Kathleen Doherty, our new Education Intern. Kathleen Doherty graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in French and International Studies.  Her class in renewable energies sparked her interest in living sustainably and consciously.  After years of schooling, she decided to work on an organic, permaculture farm through the WWOOF program in the Santa Cruz mountains.  Since then she has continued to learn about organic farming, animal husbandry, beekeeping and other various aspects of permaculture. Currently she is the garden manager of an organic farm and is taking horticulture classes at Cabrillo College.  She hopes one day to live as lightly on the land as possible and to share this knowledge with others.

New for 2012: Bi-weekly Newsletters
We piloted this during the Winter Season, and Tom wishes to make it permanent. So instead of sending you a full-blown newsletter every week, we'll be sending them only every other week, and in the off weeks Jason will email members with a "what's in the box" list so you'll at least know what's coming. We would love to get your feedback on this policy change, so please email us at the farm farmers@cruzio.com if you have an opinion to share.
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?"]  


Greetings everyone! Welcome new members. It is such a joy to know we are receiving our CSA boxes again. It always feels like Christmas no matter the time of year! I am so grateful; we are blessed with such bounty from this farm. I love the Farmer's Market, but I love my CSA box more! I hope you are getting outside and enjoying this beautiful weather, soaking up some of that powerful Vitamin D that is so good for us. I look forward to sending you recipes for using what's in your box again this year. Please let me know how you like them -- any comments or suggestions are so welcomed. Meanwhile HAPPY SPRING to all, with love and blessings. - Rebecca [email Rebecca]

[Rebecca Mastoris is a chef/teacher at Bauman College, and a partner in Vibrant Foods Catering along with Karen Haralson. Both Karen and Rebecca teach cooking classes at the farm and in town locally - see our 2012 Calendar, below.]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

1 bunch chard (stems removed and saved for another use) cut into bite sized-pieces
1/2 tsp. fresh chopped ginger
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
Tamari, to taste (or soy sauce)
1-2 tsp. toasted sesame oil (or to your taste)
splash of rice vinegar
1 Tbs. black sesame seeds (or brown)
diced tofu (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and saute for a minute, just to soften. Add the ginger and continue to saute for another minute.
2. Add the chard a little at a time, turning as you saute with tongs. Keep adding chard until all is in the pan. Splash with the tamari and rice vinegar, mixing well. Turn off the heat and add the toasted sesame oil, tossing to lightly coat.
3. Place on a platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
4. I like to add diced tofu to the saute, putting it in right after the garlic and ginger, saute for a few minutes then continue on with the recipe.

1/2 lb. beets (about 4 medium), scrubbed clean, cooked, peeled, and cubed (I like to roast them for extra sweetness)
2 Tbs. sesame seeds
5 Tbs. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. lemon zest (zest from approx. 2 lemons)
1 generous pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of fresh ground pepper

1. Cook your beets. To boil, cut tops off (save leaves - can be used in any chard recipe), scrub the roots clean, cover with water in a saucepan and simmer until tender when pierced with a fork, about half an hour. Alternatively, roasting the beets intensifies their flavor, bringing out their earthiness. To roast, again cut off the leaves, scrub off any dirt or debris with water and blot dry. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (easier cleanup), and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wrap beets in individual pieces of parchment paper, drizzling with a olive oil before wrapping, then then wrap additionally with aluminum foil and place on the baking sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes, then start checking for doneness. (Should pierce easily with a sharp knife or a fork.)
2. Whether boiled or roasted, allow beets to cool, then peel and cube them.
2. To make hummus, place cooked cubed beets and the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings and ingredients as desired.
3. Chill in the refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage. Eat with pita, sliced cucumber, carrots, etc., or on a crostini with goat cheese and mint!

2 tsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, or green garlic, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 bunch collard greens (or chard, or kale), washed, stems removed, and thinly sliced

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallots and cook until they just start to brown.
2. Add the greens and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 12 small portions
Leeks are caramelized to release their natural sugars. Toasted fennel seeds add a more robust flavor, and they are wonderful carminatives that soothe the digestive tract.

2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 c. sliced leeks
1/2 c. water
1 large bunch broccolini, cut into 2-inch stalks
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 lemon, juiced (or more, to taste)

1. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and dry-toast for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the olive oil and leeks; stir to coat. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the water, broccolini and sea salt. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until broccolini is tender but still crisp.
3. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with the lemon juice.

Serves 4 as a side dish
This is a spectacular and surprising side dish. It's mildly spicy and quite smooth.

1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
2 Tbs. plain yogurt

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the curry powder. Cook for 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
2. Add the onion. Cook until translucent.
3. Add the cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and soft to the bite.
4. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and yogurt until the cabbage is coated.

The secret to this salad is remembering to add the dressing to the kale an hour before you want to eat it. The lemon juice and olive oil soften the kale, and the shallots and garlic blend in a zesty flavor. The carrot adds color and extra nutrition.

1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves cut into strips to make approximately 6 cups.
1 shallot, minced
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt, or more to taste
1/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 c. crumbled chevre (goat cheese), optional
1 carrot, grated
chopped cilantro, to taste

1. Place the cut kale and shallot in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and sea salt. Pour dressing over kale, and toss to coat thoroughly. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour.
3. Add the almonds, shredded carrot, and chevre, if using, and toss thoroughly. Sprinkle with the cilantro, if desired.

Serves 6
Flower distillations were developed by the Arabs and continue to be a part of North African cuisine. This beautiful and refreshing Tunisian salad has a balance of warming and floral orange blossom water.

1 lb. golden beets
1 large lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. orange blossom water (you can substitute fresh orange juice, but it won't be quite the same)
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbs. chopped, fresh parsley
1 large bunch of lettuce, to serve

1. Place the beets in a steamer basket and steam until just tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes, depending on the size of beet.
2. Peel beets then grate them on a box grater into a bowl, or finely julienne them with a mandoline.
3. Toss beets with lemon juice, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, orange blossom water, and olive oil. Add a little more olive oil if it is still dry. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
4. Just before serving, add parsley and toss (if you add them too far ahead of time the beets stain them red and you lose the pretty contrast of colors). Line a platter with lettuce leaves and place the beets on top. When in season, garnish salad with pomegranate seeds from one medium pomegranate.

Calendar2012 2012 CALENDAR
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!

LEF Discovery Program "Wee Ones"
3rd Tuesday of every month, 10:30am - Noon [Apr-Nov, weather permitting]
($10 - $15 per family)
Mothers, fathers, grandparents, caretakers of any kind... bring the babe in your arms [0-3yrs] 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, and the many wild members of the Pajaro watershed. RSVP requested.

LEFDP office: (831) 728-2032 or email lefeducation@baymoon.com.

New! LEF Discovery Program "Small Farmers" 
2nd Wednesday of every month, 10:30am - Noon [Apr-Nov, weather permitting]
($10 - $15 per family)
Similar to our Wee Ones program, above, only designed for 3-6 year olds. 

LEF Discovery Program "Art on the Farm" Summer Camp!
There are four art and adventure-filled week-long sessions this year, two in June, one in July and one in August. Designed for kids age 6-12 yrs. Is your child 13 or older yet interested in getting involved? They may be a candidate for becoming a Leader in Training! Click here for all camp details on our website. (note that if Firefox is your browser, this link behaves oddly and you may need to scroll up on the page to locate the 'Art on the Farm' details.)
Session 1: June 18-22
Session 2: June 25-29
Session 3: July 16-20
Session 4: Aug 6-10

LEF Discovery Program Annual Fundraiser
Sept 22nd - Save the date... more info to come as the date approaches!

Community Farm Days and Events

We've set aside the dates (so you should too!), and will fill you in on what we're going to do as their time draws nearer. Stay tuned!

Apr 28 - TBA
May 26 - TBA
Jun 30 - TBA
July 28 - TBA
Aug 25 - TBA
Sep 29 - TBA    



As anyone who's attended them in the past will tell you, our farm celebrations are not to be missed! Chock full of activities, farm tours, music, always a pot-luck and bonfire... bring the entire family and enjoy!

June 16 - Summer Solstice Celebration (click here for a youtube video of 2009's!)
[Date TBA; usually in October] - Fall Harvest Celebration

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!

Apr 15 - Cheesemaking
May 20 - Baking with Stephanie Stein
Jun 9 [Sat] - Cherries & Apricots
Jun 10 [Sun] - Cherries & Apricots    

Jul 28 [Sat] - Pickles!
Jul 29 [Sun] - Pickles!
Aug 11 [Sat] - Tomatoes!
Aug 12 [Sun] - Tomatoes!    


"Cooking-from-your-box" classes in Los Gatos

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.


"Farm Fresh Cooking Class" with Vibrant Food Catering at LEF

Come to the farm, see where your food is grown, and learn to cook delicious, nutritious, easy meals using our beautiful farm produce! This is a hands-on class where you will get one on one instruction. To sign up, please go to Vibrant Foods Catering website's "Upcoming Events" page and scroll down a little. 

May 19th - Farm Fresh Cooking Class 


Contact Information
Farm/CSA Office phone: (831) 763-2448
LEF Discovery Program Office phone: (831) 728-2032
(This newsletter is edited and organized by Debbie Palmer, former LEF CSA coordinator.)