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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
3rd Harvest Week, Season 17
April 16th - 22nd, 2012
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Why No Strawberries Got Picked
Return of the Fava Beans
Debbie Here: Cooking with Young Fava Bean Pods
Update from the LEF Discovery Program
Sign Up for a Goat Milk Share from Summer Meadows Farm
Rebecca's Recipes
2012 Calendar

"It's all here... the seasons will show you how nothing is ever really gone but keeps turning out and over again and again and again. We set the seeds, speak to the sky, nurture the plants, drink the rain, give back to the soil, curse the cold, dance to the sun, sing with the wind, weep at the passing, dream with the moon."

- from a poem by Sherrie Mickel

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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
Small artichokes (Swanton Berry Farm)
Red beets
Golden beets
Young fava bean pods
Green garlic

Regular (Medium) Share
Small artichokes (Swanton Berry Farm)
Red beets
Young fava bean pods


Budget (Small) Share
Small artichokes (Swanton Berry Farm)
Golden beets
Young fava bean pods
Green garlic


Bread Option

This week's bread will be whole wheat with pumpkin seeds     


Extra Fruit Option

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


Why No Strawberries Got Picked
If you've been a member before, you know that if rained upon when still in the field, red ripe strawberries become ruined (they quickly mold). You would also know that certain spring farming activities are also incompatible with soggy fields: tractor work, bed-shaping and transplanting to name a few. Keep this in mind as Tom tells his story. - Debbie

Last week we experienced the full spectrum of weather patterns: sun, wind, rain, hail, thunder, lightning... it was an impressive and at times tempestuous performance by Mother Nature. In farming  we learn to adapt, to make the most of what we have when we have it, and to let go of it when the time comes to let go. Last week was a good example of letting go. You may recall that Monday was the only sunny and warm day before the forecasted storm system passed through. With a long list of tasks that needed to be accomplished before it started raining, I was in a quandary trying to figure out how to fit in a harvest of our first ripe strawberries -- which by my estimates were plentiful enough to have given each CSA share at least one basket. I was torn, because I really wanted to harvest them... but time and labor were limited and our top priority was to transplant a large succession of mature seedlings that were waiting in the greenhouse. The soils in most of the fields had dried sufficiently since the previous rains to allow us to shape enough beds for planting, but we only had this one day before the new storm arrived, and if the fields got soaked again it would probably be 10-14 days before they were dry enough for transplanting into... and by then the seedlings in the greenhouse would be too old for planting. So Monday's planting window was important in order not to trigger a loss and delay in both our planting and subsequent harvest schedules.

As it was, it was still a marathon. We all started early, 6:30 in the morning, loading the first truck with seedlings. Every seedling is planted by hand: one person lays the plants on the marked line of the raised bed at the right spacing, then another person follows and tucks the seedlings into the soil.  Since rain was anticipated to arrive Monday night, we kept on planting until 7PM. I estimate we planted over 60,000 seedlings including chard, broccoli, lettuce, kale, summer squash, cucumbers and even our first block of tomatoes.  We managed to plant all the seedlings we had that day, but our bodies were so tired and aching that picking strawberries was the last thing on anyone's mind.

Below, the seedlings in the greenhouse, and being transplanted into the field. 
Seedlings in greenhouse and being transplanted into the field

Tired or no, just before retiring on Monday evening, Juan still jumped on the tractor to check and reshape all the drainage ditches, to make sure water would drain away from the fields to avoid ponding or flooding. With over three inches of rain (half of which fell in less than six hours on Thursday night), it was important that most of the water was able to drain along these ditches and not end up spilling into the fields.

Transplanting and drainage ditches weren't the only priorities that trumped strawberry-picking on Monday. I also couldn't afford to miss spraying our apple orchards - important right now to prevent severe outbreaks of apple scab. For Organic apple growers their only choice is to spray a sulfur solution before every rain event so as to temporarily acidify the surface of the leaves and fruits which in turn prevents the growth of the fungus.  Apple scab manifests as dull black or grey-brown lesions on the surface of tree leaves, buds or fruits. The disease significantly reduces yields, and affected fruits have unsightly black fungal lesions.
Needless to say, I am glad we are finally getting a break in the weather this week! With warmer and drier days ahead, thankfully the strawberries will quickly bounce back. When it comes to fruit, strawberries are our perennial superstars. Once they start ripening, they will keep growing all season long without interruption - sometimes until late October. At this time of year, no field walk is complete without a visit to the strawberry patch to pick a fully ripe, sun-warmed strawberry. I yearn for that characteristically rich, tangy, sweet, juicy flavor. Growing strawberries organically has many challenges though. Every part of the plant, from its root tips to its leaves and berries, is vulnerable to being eaten or damaged by something. So it really is a formidable odyssey for a strawberry to end up in your hand, unblemished, juicy, and full of flavor.  

By late April/early May our strawberries should be bountiful though -- so much so that in addition to going into your shares, we also plan to begin having strawberry u-picks. And then starting in June we hope to open a weekend on-farm farmstand as well, so you can come visit for either or both! As always, our intention is to encourage your taking the opportunity to experience the farm throughout the season. As a society where most of us are used to running into the grocery store to get our food, getting to know and feeling comfortable visiting "your farm" is not only fun, but also gives us all a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it takes to enjoy a good meal each day.

- Tom

Below: the strawberry field left unpicked; one very full drainage ditch, and an example of ponding at the end of field rows. 
Unpicked strawberry field, full drainage ditch, and ponding at the end of field rows 

Return of the Fava Beans
The "bell bean" favas we grow as a cover crop are not the edible kind, however their close cousins, the commonly known "broad beans" are. They are much larger, fat and oval. The favas we eat are highly regarded among people living in countries once part of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman world. Fava beans, a kind of shell bean, are not as well known in America. When they come into season in Italy, Romans go on countryside picnics where they feast on raw fava beans with cold white wine. The beans are spread out on newspaper, shelled, and sprinkled with Romano cheese. One of the more tedious aspects of preparing fava beans has always been shelling and peeling them. The naked little beans are worth the trouble, but you still wind up throwing out about two thirds of what you started out with. This year, like last, we are fortunate to again have a large enough acreage of favas planted that we can start harvesting them young and immature, which means you can cook them whole (see Debbie's recipe ideas below). In the next few weeks they will size up to where you no longer want to eat the pods anymore, but for now, just eat them whole and avoid the hassle of shelling.

- Tom

Young fava bean pods in the field 

Debbie here: Cooking with Young Fava Bean Pods
This is an item you'll never see in the store. I'm not even sure you'll see them this way at the farmers market (everyone always waits to harvest favas until the pods are huge and the beans inside are mature), so you are in for a treat. As you by now have guessed, that bag inside your box this week containing what looks like outsized green beans would be the young favas.

Storage: As long as they're not wet, you should just be able to stick them in the fridge in the bag they came in. If they are wet for some reason, spread them out on a cotton floursack towel or similar to dry, then put into a clean, dry bag and refrigerate. They should keep most of the week.

To cook and eat: top and tail the pods, washing as needed, and cut into bite-size segments, steam just a few minutes, until just tender and bright green, then eat any number of ways: simply tossed with a little butter, salt and tarragon (or other herb), or saute up in olive oil with - what else - some chopped green garlic of course! (See recipe below.) For variety, maybe add a little herbes de Provence when sauteeing. Another yummy way to prepare them is to lightly oil the whole pods, sprinkle them with salt and chili powder, toss them on the grill for a few minutes until they start to brown in places and wilt. Then pull 'em off the grill and, while still hot, squeeze a little lime juice over them, sprinkle with additional salt and chili powder to taste... and eat! Double-yum!

Sauteed young fava pods and green garlic
Quantities are not an issue here, as you can't ruin this with 'too much' or 'too little' of something really. Just take as many fava pods as you think you are going to eat, trim the ends and cut them into bite size (inch-ish) segments. On the diagonal if you want to be fancy ;-) Then partially steam them: just a few minutes; two, maybe three at most.

Meanwhile, chop up one or more stalks of green garlic (as with leeks, use the white and light green parts, just not the dark green leaves) and throw it into a heated skillet with some olive oil and saute it while your beans are steaming. Add partially steamed beans to the skillet and stir/toss/coat with the olive oil and garlic and cook a minute or two more, until tender to your liking. Season with salt, to taste.

Now you could stop right there and you'd be fine, but if you want you can elaborate... cut up and then plump some sundried tomatoes in a little hot water and add them, along with the water, to your saute. Stir and cook until the water has mostly evaporated. You could also add some olives, kalamata or similar; just be sure to pit them first (or warn your diners that you've left the pits in). You could add them whole, or sliced, or minced... whatever your mood.

Another elaboration: try mincing up some anchovies and adding them to the sauteeing garlic. You won't need to add salt in the end, in this example. Squeeze some lemon juice over all when you're done. If you don't like anchovies, try some diced up bacon or ham. If you're vegan or vegetarian, try throwing in some chopped walnuts.

Whatever you do - enjoy! :-) Debbie

Update from the LEF Discovery Program
LEFDP logo, purple backgroundIt has been a busy winter here at the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP), preparing for all of the fun we have in store for spring! Though our Homeschool and Montessori groups come to the farm regularly throughout the winter, April marks the beginning of our Spring Farm Tour season. From now through June, we will have several local school groups a week come for half-day tours on the farm. Groups range in age from pre-school through college, and they get to engage in various farm and garden activities. A favorite activity, of course, is harvesting (and eating) strawberries - our strawberry patch just started getting red speckles over the last few weeks, and the first fruits of the season are, as one student put it, "Unbelievably delicious!" Groups learn about the Live Earth Farm CSA model, learn what it means to be organic and take care of the soil, visit our goats and chickens, and get their hands in the dirt!
April also marks the beginning of our Small Farmers (for 3-6 year olds) and Wee Ones (for 0-3 year olds) programs, which will run monthly through November.  Check out our Activities Calendar for more information on all LEFDP happenings.
Art at the Farm logotype, purple background And a reminder: we still have slots open in all four sessions of Art at the Farm Summer Day Camp (for 6-12 year olds) - register your child today!

- Emily Mastellone-Snyder

Discovery Program Spring Fund Drive
Hands-on experiences in the fields of Live Earth Farm can help students to develop a new appreciation for the outdoors, for physical activity, and for healthy produce. We believe this is one of the best ways to combat health problems like diabetes and obesity, which are so prevalent in our local and under-served schools. Our goal of raising $5,000 by April 31st will help us to provide financial aid and transportation for 300 students in 2012! Look for our informational flyer attached to your box this week, call LEFDP at (831) 728-2032 if you have questions, or simply click here to jump to our donations page.

Sip to Support
Are you a Jamba Juice Junkie? If so, be sure to grab a Jamba Juice Community Appreciation Card from the binder when you sign-out your share this week. When you swipe this card at participating Jamba Juice locations, they will donate 10% of your purchase to our educational non-profit, the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program!

Sign Up for a Goat Milk Share from Summer Meadows Farm
Summer Meadows Farm invites you again this Spring to own a goat share in our herd and receive our fresh delicious raw milk each week through the season. We also offer to process your milk into raw yogurt or kefir, or our artisan cheeses. We have shares available right now, first come first served, and all our new Spring moms offering more milk soon.  

We are a small family farm milking a herd of Nubian goats, producing rich milk. We love and respect our herd, raising them with our best care while allowing them to live with as little interference as we can, enjoying their natural behaviors in a herd. Spring is birthing season and how sweet the new kids are, how devoted the moms, the births have been safe, we're so thankful. It's a good time to visit the farm to watch the frisking kids in the lush pastures.

To read more about us and how to purchase a goat share, click here to download our story and Goat Share agreement. We'll be happy to welcome you to be among our goat share families!  

From, Lynn, Forest and Meadow and our devoted helpers on the farm, Osanna, Jesse and Trish, Kat and Ryan, and Frank.

Lynn's goats
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?"]  


Greeting everyone! WOW, Mother Nature really was active this last week; wild thunder and lightening storms whipped with rain and wind -- oh, so exciting! I drove out to the farm on Friday to pick up my CSA box. What a glorious afternoon, lots of mud and fields of vibrant yellow mustard painting the landscape with electric color. Many buds are beginning to blossom and the air smells sweet and divine. Baby goats are being born, and Spring is doing her magic dance and intoxicating me. I almost forgot why I was going to the farm because it was so beautiful; I could have stayed for hours... The farm is bursting with amazing bounty. I hope all of you are enjoying every luscious bite of the bounty we are so blessed to receive. Delightful cooking and strong health to you, and thanks for your comments and suggestions. I love hearing from you! Joy to you! 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.]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Serves 6-8

2 1/2  c. plain or brown rice flour or whole wheat pastry flour
4 ounces butter, chopped
1/3 c. ice water
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves washed thoroughly, shredded finely.
1/2 c. chopped pistachios (or nut of choice)
3 Tbs. chopped currants or raisins (I like golden raisins)
1/3 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
4 eggs
2/3 c. cream or almond milk, or other alternative  
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

To Make the Pastry:
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the butter. With your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is fine and crumbly. Add enough water to mix to form a firm dough, adding more water if necessary. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press together until smooth. Roll out 2/3 of the dough and line a greased 9 inch pie pan. Wrap the remaining pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate both for 20 minutes.
To Make the Filling:
1. Preheat the oven to a moderate 350 degrees F. Steam the chard until tender, about 3 minutes. Cool and squeeze out any excess water, spread out to dry.
2. Sprinkle the nuts onto the rolled pastry base. Combine the chard, raisins, cheeses and spread over the nuts. Whisk 3 of the eggs with the cream and nutmeg and pour over the chard mixture.
3. Roll out the remaining pastry to cover the top of the pie and trim off the edges with a sharp knife. Press edges together to seal. Beat the remaining egg and brush the pie top with it. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Serves 6
These pies are best eaten the day they were made.

1 medium potato, cut into small cubes
1 medium yam, cut into small cubes
1 large carrot, cut into small pieces
1 c. cut-up-small broccolini pieces (I use more if I have enough)
1 leek, sliced
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. flour of choice
1 1/2 c. milk or alternative (I use almond milk)
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
2 egg yolks
sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste
2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
1 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. poppy seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F. Brush 6 ramekins with oil. Steam  potato, broccolini, yam, and carrot until just tender. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion and leek for 2 minutes, until soft. Add to the bowl.
2. Heat the butter in a pan and add the flour. Stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add milk gradually, stirring until smooth. Stir over medium heat or until the mixture boils and is thickened. Boil for 1 minute more, then remove from the heat and cool slightly. Add cheese and egg yolk to the sauce and stir to combine. Season to taste.
3. Add the sauce to the vegetables and stir to combine. Divide between the ramekins. Cut 6 circles of puff pastry to fit the top of the ramekins and press the edges to seal. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Serves 8

A few leaves of kale, julienned and chopped
A few leaves of chard, julienned and chopped
1 bunch of lettuce, washed and dried, then torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. grated carrot
1/2 c. grated beets
1 medium avocado, cut into thin slices
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. whole grain mustard

1. Place the greens, lettuce, carrots, beets into a large bowl and lightly toss.  Scatter the avocado slices on the top.
2. Heat 1 Tbs. of olive oil in a small pan. Add the sesame seeds and cook over low heat until they start to jump and turn golden. Remove from the heat immediately  and allow to cool slightly.
3. Add the lemon juice, remaining oil, and mustard to the pan and stir to combine, heating for about 2 minutes, until just warm. While still warm, pour over the salad and gently toss to coat the leaves. Salad is best served immediately.

Serves 8
I know I gave you a recipe last week for a beet hummus, but it is always fun to have alternatives. Hope you enjoy this one!

1 c. cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. cooked beets (steamed or roasted)
1/2 c. tahini
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1/4 c. olive oil
1 c. water or stock
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Chop the beets and place in a food processor, in batches if necessary. Add the garbanzos, onion, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and cumin; process until smooth. With machine running, slowly add olive oil until incorporated, then add additional water or stock until you've reached the desired consistency. Some people like it thicker, so you may not need all of the water. Process until mixture is thoroughly combined. Drizzle with a little additional olive oil and serve with Lebanese bread or veggies.

Serves 4

1 tsp. coriander seeds
1 large bunch broccolini
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. slivered almonds
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce or Tamari
2 tsp. sesame oil (I use the toasted)
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

1. Lightly crush coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle or rolling pin. Cut the broccolini into small florets.
2. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan. Add the coriander seeds and almonds. Stir quickly over medium heat for 1 minute or until the almonds are golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Add garlic, broccolini and ginger to the pan. Stir-fry over high heat for 2 minutes. Remove pan from  heat, add back the coriander and almonds, then pour the combined vinegar, soy sauce and oil into the pan over everything. Toss until the broccolini is well coated. Serve immediately, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.

Artichokes can be steamed, fried, braised, sauteed, marinated, stuffed, grilled, and roasted. They can be a succulent contribution to vegetable stews, pastas, grains or risottos.  Cooked hearts can be added to salads or pureed. You can freeze your own by trimming them then boiling for 5 minutes in a blanc - acidulated water mixed with 2 tsp. each flour and olive oil. This helps keep their color pale green. Drain and cool before freezing in freezer bags.

This is my favorite way to eat an artichoke -- simple, and you taste the artichoke in all of its deliciousness. Allow one artichoke per person, 2 if small.

1. Clip the thorns from the leaves, slice off the top third of the artichoke, and trim the stem end such that you can stand it upright, removing as little from the base as possible.
2. Now give them a goods rinse, pulling the leaves apart to flush them out well. Rub the cut surfaces with a cut fresh lemon to prevent browning.
3. Slice a garlic clove thinly and insert slivers between the leaves every so often, then drizzle prepared chokes with a touch of good olive oil.
4. Set artichokes upright in a steaming basket over boiling water. Cover and cook until a leaf, when tugged, comes out fairly easily, about 30-40 minutes depending on size.
5. If you plan to serve your artichokes cold, drop them into a bowl of ice water to halt cooking, then let them drain upside-down on a kitchen towel in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
6. Serve with an aioli, clarified butter, or a nice vinaigrette for dipping. Use your imagination for sauces you would like to compliment the choke!

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 at 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.)