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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
17th Harvest Week, Season 17
July 23rd - 29th, 2012
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
The Farmer and Gardeners hidden within us all
Third Annual Community Wheat Harvest this Saturday July 28th
What's Up in the Fields
Discovery Program Update, from the Director
Art on the Farm, Session 2
Rebecca's Recipes
2012 Calendar

"As a gardener, farming can feel overwhelming with its long rows, complex irrigation systems, and tractor-managed soil. But I'm also finding it really empowering as Tom encourages us daily to take on the learning of new skills and responsibility in the field. It is no easy task, but at the end of each day I can safely say I've learned something new - and what an amazing way to spend the day!"
- Live Earth Farm Apprentice

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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 which are part of your share, like strawberries, are packed outside your box. Quantity to take 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
Summer squash or pickling cucumbers
Dry-farmed tomatoes and yellow Hungarian peppers (mixed bag)
Strawberries and raspberries

Regular (Medium) Share
Dry-farmed tomatoes and yellow Hungarian peppers (mixed bag)

Budget (Small) Share
Dry-farmed tomatoes and yellow Hungarian peppers (mixed bag)

Bread Option
This week's bread will be whole wheat with flax seed

Extra Fruit Option
Strawberries, blackberries or raspberries, and cherry tomatoes  


The Farmer and Gardeners hidden within us all
At 91 years of age my mother's love for and excitement about growing plants has not diminished, even though her gardening space is now reduced to the sunny side of a small apartment. When I visited my parents last week, she proudly showed me her first tomatoes, picked from her three tomato plants growing in large pots in a corner of her terrace. Her "garden" this year consists of a couple planter boxes of her favorite herbs and salad greens, and I wasn't surprised to see the balcony outside her kitchen bursting with colors from her favorite flowers.
Tom and his mom with 1st tomato, flowers
When I was growing up, the kitchen and garden were always closely connected; my favorite place to play was right outside the kitchen door. I was lucky enough to enjoy the company of several domesticated animals including chickens, dogs, parrots, guinea pigs, and rabbits. We had a large eucalyptus tree with a tree house to climb around in. We also had many different fruit trees, so I could harvest and eat directly from the garden to my heart's content. Hedges, shrubs and a vacant lot adjacent to our garden provided the "wild" exciting places for me to explore and hide in. I always liked helping my mother in the garden, especially sowing seeds and then eagerly waiting for them to germinate. Harvesting something from the garden was always special as well, and I loved bringing the things I picked into the kitchen where they would then be cleaned and prepared into a dish for the next meal or preserved for later use.  Our garden was like a little sanctuary, a place to play and spend time with friends and family; there's no question it inspired my later interest in farming. In some ways Live Earth Farm is an extension of that childhood experience -- a place with an abundance of plants, animals and diverse landscapes where community is built around growing healthy seasonal fruits and vegetables, and transforming the harvest into meals shared with family and friends is a natural extension of the process.  

A little over a hundred years ago, agriculture was not only the major source of income in this country, it was the center of every community, providing sustenance, social interaction, and lively mealtime conversations around the dinner table. In the early 1900's more than 30% of the US labor-force were farmers. Today the U.S. census has stopped counting farmers since only 2% of the workforce -- less than a million people -- are farmers. It seems like we've reached an extreme, where the majority of the population buys their food in the supermarket (much of it processed, with little evidence of its source). But this "fast food" mentality is starting to crumble; many people are again making the conscious link between nutrition of our bodies and the health of our environment. One indicator is that all across the country there is a resurgence in gardening, focused on growing food at schools, in vacant lots in and around urban centers, at home... even the White House has an (organic!) vegetable garden, which is supplying the First Family's kitchen. This popularity in gardening of course has its many reasons. Motivations include the desire to improve our diet, to enjoy fresher and better tasting fruits and vegetables, for convenience, to learn to cook with the seasons, to lower grocery bills, to create time to spend with the family... sometimes it is just done for the sheer pleasure of growing something and/or bartering/sharing the surplus with friends and neighbors.   

Although the 'less than 2% of US population is a farmer' statistic -- combined with the average age of today's farmer being over 55 -- is alarming, there is evidence that it's not due to a lack of interest in farming. According to a recent article published by Cornell's Small Farm program, one of the most popular video games on the market is called "Farmville", with over 80 million people here in the United States currently signed up and playing it.  That is amazing... 80 million people! This just shows that the interest in farming is alive and well, that there is a farmer or gardener hidden somewhere in all of us, even if only in the "cool" world of virtual farming.  Suddenly I can see Community Supported Agriculture turning into a movement, where knowing your farmer, growing your own, and/or going to farmers markets is mainstream, the norm. (Farmers market attendance alone has doubled from 2011 to 2012.) I am sure this is possible, that a much larger percentage of people will be more passionate and excited about farming for real. It might just be the trend of the future, who knows?
For the last 16 years we have offered young people the opportunity to experience what life on a farm is like, by providing the hands-on experience of running a farm, from planning and organizing to growing, harvesting, selling and delivering quality produce to the community. Many apprentices have moved on to start their own farms or engage in careers that help build sustainable food systems. Live Earth Farm's Discovery Program hosted more than 1400 children last year, using the Farm as a classroom to teach field-to-fork environmental stewardship. The farm is an ideal venue for teaching about where our food really comes from, and for learning about the interconnectedness between humans and the larger natural ecosystem. As CSA members and friends of the farm, your  commitment and financial support have been essential to the strength and development of the farm's educational efforts.

I would like to encourage everyone to support us this year so we can expand our programming and outreach and continue to inspire the next generation of young farmers and gardeners. If you haven't done so yet, I want to invite you to get your tickets now for one of the farm's most memorable annual events: our annual fundraiser dinner. This year, "DIG", the in-the-field dinner (September 22nd - details below) will be in an amazing setting here on the farm, with incredible food and entertainment. The best part, though, is that all of the proceeds will go to inspire the next generation of new farmers and gardeners growing food directly in and for their communities. I hope you can join us!

- Tom

Below, farmers of all ages at Live Earth Farm, from kids working in the Discovery Garden, to trying their hand at milking a goat, to apprentices learning how to use a tractor; at bottom are Jeff and Anna, last year's "Young Farmer" team, who have since married and gone off to start a farm of their own... 
Apprentices, interns, Discovery Program kids  

Third Annual Community Wheat Harvest this Saturday July 28th
This Saturday, July 28th from 10-3, join us for our Third Annual Community Wheat Harvest! Experience the full circle from field to mouth: together we will gather our wheat crop, thresh the grain, mill it into flour, and then bake delicious crusty pizzas in the farm's cob oven. If you're not sure how much fun this will be, here are some pictures from last year's event, to convince you; once we've got you hooked, read on for details about how to attend.

Harvesting and winnowing, Seed to Bread 2011
Above: wheat being harvested and winnowed; below -- pizza making!
Pizza making, Seed to Bread 2011We'll harvest fresh ripe tomatoes, peppers, basil or other crops straight from the fields to add as toppings, and if we have enough milk we'll even make goat cheese to add as well.

For the event itself, we request a donation of $10/car, so carpool with friends and family. Save a couple bucks and burn less hydrocarbons! Please use the Litchfield Lane entrance to the farm and follow signs for parking. Directions are on our website. Please wear clothes you don't mind getting some "dirt" on, sturdy shoes (sneakers are fine, sandals not so much), and layers of clothing: a sweater to keep you warm for when it is cool and foggy in the morning, and a t-shirt, hat and sunscreen for when the sun comes out. Friends and family are welcome, so spread the word if you like. Look forward to seeing you on Saturday!!

If you have any questions please contact our Farm Office: 831-763-2448 farmers@cruzio.com

- Tom 

What's Up in the Fields
Tomatoes, peppers, tomatoes, peppers... The first fabulous-tasting dry farmed tomatoes are here, as well as the first Yellow Hungarian and Padron peppers. Lettuce still needs to size up; should have plenty again next week. This week, arugula is abundant. Green beans: unfortunately the first three successions this year were planted in a heavier soil (higher clay content), which meant water drainage was not optimal. This resulted in the plants getting "wet feet", which promoted the growth of a fungus which girdles the stems at the base of the the plants, stunting both growth and yield. The newer plantings are looking good though, so I am expecting that in a couple weeks we should be back to normal, harvesting large quantities and supplying all the shares. In the meantime enjoy the abundance of raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, yum!!

Discovery Program Update, from the Director
LEFDP logo, purple background                                     
The Discovery Program is busy as ever with 5 groups visiting the farm this week, and planning for Dig! is in full gear.  We are pleased to be adding Birichino Wine to the delights and a gorgeous, eco-friendly, lakefront vacation home to the auction.  Don't wait -- get your tickets to this September 22nd event now, before they sell out!  Now is also the time to get your auction items in.  Are a knitter?  Have season tickets to any sporting events, have a vacation home or craft to share? We would love to feature them in our auction.  We look forward to your participation in any and all ways.

Thank you!

Jessica Ridgeway
Live Earth Farm Discovery Program
Seed to Mouth, Farm to Fork, Child to Community Connections

Art on the Farm, Session 2
LEFDP logo, purple background                                     
Pickles and felting and masks, oh my!  Last week's session of Art on the Farm camp breezed by in a haze of arts and crafts, cooking and baking, and planting and harvesting projects.  We had a small group this session (only 5 campers by the last day of the week), but that meant we got to spend a lot of time swapping stories, telling jokes and getting to know each other really well. The pictures below tell the story.
Art on the Farm 2012 pics group 1

We couldn't have made camp so special without the help of our amazing LIT's (Leaders In Training) and enthusiastic campers though! So thanks to everyone who participated.
Art on the Farm 2012 pics group 2

Grace Chollar-Webb
Education Programs Coordinator
Live Earth Farm Discovery Program

LEFDP Fundraiser Mark your calendars and get your tickets to the Discovery Program's 4th Annual Fundraising Dinner, "Dig!" - you won't want to miss it!

Take a unique guided tasting "tour" of the fields while noshing on specially made goodies from their bounty and sipping wine from local wineries; following that, there will be an elegant 'en plen air' sit-down, four-course dinner, complete with more wine pairings... and there's sure to be something sumptuous for dessert! And no need to leave the kids at home either: there will be a children's program with pizza-making and games, so you can still relax and enjoy the evening, no babysitter necessary!

When: Saturday September 22nd, 4 - 8pm
Where: at the farm (click for directions)
How Much: $150 per adult; children's program $25 
Why: your donation will directly help support farm visits, transportation costs and garden supplies for the 1500 students who will visit the farm in 2012.
How do I get tickets? You can by them directly from our website by clicking here, or call LEFDP or email Jessica (see below).

for more information:

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 - No special stories this week, just on to the recipes. As always,  blessings for strong health and a joyous week! 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.]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Serves 8

1 pound bow tie pasta (or pasta of your liking)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic or 1 bunch scallions, sliced
2 large carrots, grated
pinch of sea salt
pinch freshly ground pepper
2-3 medium summer squash, shredded into long pieces
dressing ingredients:
1/2 c. olive oil and vinegar vinaigrette
2-3 teaspoons prepared mustard or horseradish
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1.Salad: prepare the pasta according to the package directions; drain and rinse with cool water. In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the garlic or scallions for 1 minute. Add the carrots, sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir frequently until the carrots are slightly wilted.
2. Add the squash and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and spread out the vegetables to cool. Add the pasta to the vegetables.
3. Combine all the the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and pour over the past mixture. Toss lightly. Garnish if desired.

From a beautiful book called Ripe by Cheryl Rule. If you get the chance, take a look at this book -- beautiful photography and great recipes!
Makes about 18 toasts if using a half baguette

1/2-inch thick slices of French baguette
softened butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup Kalamata olives
1-2 bunches radishes, scrubbed, trimmed, and thinly sliced.
1 bunch fresh basil or thyme
zest of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for drizzling

1. set the broiler rack 4 inches from the heating element.
2. Lay the bread slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil until the edges are just golden. Flip over and broil the other sidefor 30 seconds to 1 minute longer. Cool to room temperature.
3. Spread each crostini with butter and top with olives and radishes. Sprinkle basil leaves or thyme leaves, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

4 large cloves garlic, minced, divided
2 tablespoons red miso paste
5 teaspoons packed, fresh grated ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon toasted peanut oil, divided
1 block firm tofu, pressed very dry by wrapping several layers of paper towel and weighing it down with a plate or heavy can or jar.
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, plus more if needed
1/2 bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into strips, then roughly chopped, dry well
1/2 bunch chard, stemmed, cut into strip, then roughly chopped, dry well
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds for garnish

1. Add half the garlic to a mini food processor with the miso, ginger, vinegar, and sesame oil. (You can also use a blender.)
2. Set a large skillet or wok over high heat until drops of water sizzle and evaporate. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and tofu, stir fry until tofu begins to turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in cornstarch and continue stir-frying until tofu loses its sheen and get 1 shade darker, 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add the remaining teaspoon of peanut oil and remaining garlic to the skillet or wok. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the greens. Toss until the greens wilt, about 2 minutes.
4. Return the tofu to the skillet, scrape in half the miso dressing and heat through completely. (If the dish looks watery, add in an additional teaspoon of cornstarch and continue cooking until the moisture evaporates.) [Note from Debbie: never add cornstarch directly to hot liquid or it will make a gluey lump. Always dissolve it in a small amount of cold liquid, then pour/stir this into your hot liquid.]
5. Garnish with the sesame seeds and pass the remaining miso dressing alongside. Serve immediately.
You can serve this over steamed black rice (forbidden rice) to make the dish heartier.

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium fennel bulb (no fronds), cored and diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
2 bunches of kale (I like to use arugula)
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces spinach linguini or fettuccini, broken into 2-inch strips
1 1/2 cups coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces), divided

1. In a large sauce pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, garlic, crushed red pepper, 3/4 teaspoon saltand 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, strip the kale leaves. Roughly chop leaves (discard stalks). Add the kale, beans and linguini to the pot. (If using arugula wait to add.) When the soup returns to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 8-15 minutes, depending on the type and the brand. Add the arugula, if using just before the pasta is cooked.
3. While the soup cooks, make the parmesan crisps. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. For each crisp, drop 2 teaspoons of cheese into a little mound, making 6 total. Cook the crisps undisturbed for about 5 minutes, or until they bubble, brown, and begin to solidify. Flip over with a thin spatula and cook the other side for 2 minutes longer. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the crisps harden completely.
4. Stir the remaining half cheese into the soup. Adjust seasonings (you will need more salt and pepper). Divide among 6 bowls and float 1 crisp in each. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.

Serves 6-8

1 pound carrots, pared and cut into thin strips
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 gloves garlic, bruised
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
dash of paprika
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint

1. Drop carrots into boiling salted water and cook 1 minute. Rinse under cold water and drain.
2. Place butter, oil, and garlic in a sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter foams, add the carrots, and cook, stirring constantly, until crisp-tender, 5-6 minutes. Remove garlic.
3. Add the shallots, vinegar, cloves, cumin, and paprika. Mix well and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the parsley. Refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with mint.

Serves 4 more or less...

8 potatoes depending on size, more or less to your liking
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Panko bread crumbs for this)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, melted
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taster

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut potatoes into long wedges (about 8 depending on size of potato). Combine bread crumbs and nutmeg. Dip potatoes in butter; roll in bread crumbs.
2. Arrange potatoes in a single layer in a grease baking dish; pour any remaining butter over potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until crisp and brown, about 1 hour, depending on potato size. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. It is so tempting to eat these hot - please don't burn your lips!

Serves 4-6 as luncheon entree, more as first course

2 1/2 pounds kale or other greens
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons flour of choice
1 cup milk, or milk substitute, scalded
1/2 cup grated gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup buttered bread crumbs

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Wash kale under cold water. Remove and discard stems. Cook leaves in a large pot of salted water for 10-20 minutes (if using chard it takes less time to cook). Rinse under cold water and drain, pressing out all liquid. Chop fine.
2. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; whisk in flour. Cook and stir 2 minutes; whisk in milk. Add 1/4 cup grated cheese, the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and hot pepper sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until very thick, add the chopped kale.
3. Transfer mixture to a buttered baking dish; sprinkle with bread crumbs and remaining cheese. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.

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 4th Annual Fundraiser - "Dig!"
Sept 22nd, 4 - 8pm - click here for more info and to buy tickets

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 at the Farm" Summer Camp!
Enroll your child in an art and adventure-filled week-long day camp at Live Earth Farm. 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: July 16-20

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 - cancelled
May 26 - Strawberries!
July 28 - From Seed to Loaf
Aug 25 - Totally Tomatoes
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!)
<> October 20 - 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 - Whole Foods workshop 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.


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.)