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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
Season 18, Winter Week 1
November 26th - Dec 2nd, 2012 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
Welcome to another Winter Season
Discounts for Early Registration: Sign Up for 2013
Give the Gift of CSA for Christmas!
Rebecca's Recipes

" I have that itch that farmers have had for the past 10,000 years: to plant hope, to work toward success and to accept what comes."
- Steve Beck, of Esalen's Farm and Garden

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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
Romanesco cauliflower +
Pineapple guavas
Lacinato kale
Meyer lemons +
Winter squash +
Fruit jam from Happy Girl Kitchen (made with LEF fruit) 

Regular (Medium) Share
Romanesco cauliflower
Lacinato kale
Winter squash
Fruit jam from Happy Girl Kitchen (made with LEF fruit)

Budget (Small) Share
Romanesco cauliflower
Lacinato kale
Meyer lemons
Winter squash
Fruit jam from Happy Girl Kitchen (made with LEF fruit)

Bread Option
This week's bread will be plain whole wheat

Preserve Option
Apricot jam, membrillo (holiday spice flavor)   


Welcome to another Winter Season
Wild turkeys on Live Earth Farm
 Wild turkeys wander the farm late fall, early winter. 

Eating locally grown, in-season vegetables and fruits takes on a whole new meaning in the winter. One becomes aware that crops we took for granted as plentiful a mere few weeks ago -- tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, spinach, even lettuce and arugula -- are now out of season, and that if you find them on store shelves, they have been shipped from further afield (usually the desert southwest, or Mexico). Our shorter days (we are only a few weeks away from the winter solstice) and colder temperatures have slowed the lives of our important allies, the soil microorganisms, and as a consequence slowed plants' uptake of nutrients. With the start of our Winter shares, we will be dancing to the rhythm of more challenging weather conditions. A Pacific storm coming our way this week is the first of several we hope to enjoy this winter, however they  often bring flooding, freezing temperatures, strong winds, power outages, equipment breakdowns as well -- all sorts of things that can contribute to difficult harvest and field conditions, which in turn translate into more variability and uncertainty in quantity and diversity of the crops in your shares. We have planned ahead though; most of our winter crops were purposefully planted on a staggered schedule, so as to mature at different times. On my field walk today I took a few photos to give you a snapshot of crops currently growing in the field (see below). Since we are expecting several inches of rain, besides harvesting we are busy turning our compost piles one last time before covering them up for the winter, pulling the last tomato stakes, making sure all the drainage ditches are in place along the edges of fields, orchards and roads, finishing a late planting of cauliflower, mulching the strawberries... the list is never-ending, since there is always something more to do. Generally, rain in California throws people off; we are surprised when it happens, worried when it doesn't. Transitioning the farm into winter mode takes time -- sort of like turning an ocean liner around.

Food is always center stage here at the farm, and as is customary at the end of every season, the entire Live Earth Farm family celebrated with a feast of traditional Mexican dishes. Alejandro and Juanillo serve carnitas toIn honor of the occasion we traded several of our goats for a 200-pound pig, which Juanillo and Alejandro expertly prepared into delicious "carnitas" accompanied by Maria Elena's popular pozole, a rich stew made with parts of the pig and hominy. Big steaming bowls of black beans, rice, and stacks of warm tortillas complimented the entrees while Angeles' spiced fruit punch was so popular that one large pot was not enough and more had to be made.

With the holiday season upon us, cooking with the hardier winter crops will hopefully remind us to slow down and enjoy the warming flavors of a soup, stew, or pie made from the winter squash, potatoes, leeks, cauliflower or kale in your share. By being so connected to your food the way you are in a CSA, I like to believe that the act of eating becomes an act of caring -- for our bodies, our families bodies, and the body of the earth from which we partake.

- Tom 
Pictures from Tom's field walk

 Field of Brussels Sprouts; inset shows how sprouts grow along plant stalk between leaves. 
Field of Brussels sprouts with closeup of stalk 
 Field of carrots; inset, a bunch just pulled from the soil. 
Field of carrots

 Field of lettuces under row cover; insets of little gem romaine and red butter lettuce. 
Lettuces under row cover

 Young rainbow chard. 
Rainbow chard closeup

 Pineapple guava hedge; inset, closeup of pineapple guavas on the bush. 
Pineapple guavas
 Just-turned compost windrows. 
Compost windrows

Discounts for Early Registration: Sign Up for 2013
Now is a great time to support the farm by signing up for the upcoming 2013 season. If you sign up before January 20th, 2013, your entire share -- including options like bread, eggs and extra fruit -- will be discounted (as much as 4%: 2% for "early registration", plus an additional 2% if you pay in one payment). Also, by signing up now you ensure your share and options are locked in for the coming season (some choices sell out early).  

Give the Gift of CSA for Christmas!
LEF CSA gift certificates Do you have friends or family members you've been itching to introduce to the joys of CSA membership? How about giving them the gift of a 4-week trial? We have lovely gift certificates -- pretty enough to wrap up for Christmas! Let us know if you'd like one, and we'll get it in the mail to you ASAP. You can either purchase them through the Web Store, or call or email Jason at the farm and he'll give you all the details, get you taken care of.
Please note that Gift Certificates and 4-Week Trials are only applicable for the Regular season, not for Winter shares.  
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?"]  

[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 Calendar, below. If you have any feedback on the recipes below, or recipes of your own to share, Rebecca would
love to hear from you. You can email her at rlmastoris@gmail.com]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 


From Mario Batali


Makes up to 8-10 servings as a side dish

1 large or 2 medium heads Romanesco cauliflower
1 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes (or to your taste)
sea salt
10 cloves garlic

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, submerge them in the ice water, and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine the olives, capers, parsley, and lemon zest on a chopping board, and chop together until minced.
3. In a small pot, heat the 1/3 cup olive oil and red pepper flakes over medium-low heat until hot. Remove from heat and stir in the olive mixture, 1 teaspoon salt, and the lemon juice. Set aside.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt. Drain the romanecsco from its ice bath and drop it into the boiling water, adding the garlic cloves. Cook until the florets are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well, separating out the garlic cloves. Chop and add the cooked garlic cloves to the olive-caper dressing.
5. Place the dressing in a large bowl, add the cauliflower and toss well. Taste and add more salt, red pepper flakes, and/or lemon juice as needed. Serve hot or at room temperature, drizzled with the remaining olive oil. (If serving at room temperature, adjust the seasoning again before drizzling with oil.)

Serves 12

Salad ingredients:
2 large beets, grated
2 medium carrots, grated
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves, chiffonaded (cut into ribbons), plus some left whole for garnish
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
1/2 head small cabbage, shredded
1 bunch kale, stems removed and cut into "ribbons" then, cut into bite-sized pieces, then massage with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt until just tender

Dressing ingredients:
1/4 cup white miso
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground, more to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons (or 2 tablespoons flax or hemp seed oil)

1. For ease, grate the vegetables in the food processor. Place the mint, beets, carrots, cilantro, and onion in a large bowl.
2. Prepare the dressing in a blender. Add all ingredients except for the oil and blend until smooth. Add in the oil a little at a time and blend to emulsify. Taste and adjust flavors if necessary. Add half of the dressing to the bowl with the beets, carrots, cilantro, onion, and mint, reserving the other half. Toss to combine and marinate.
3. Mix the shredded cabbage and massaged kale together in a large bowl and add the remaining dressing.
Toss and let marinate for 15 minutes.
4. Place the mixed kale and cabbage on a platter and top with the beet mixture. Garnish with whole mint leaves.

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 large bunch kale, stemmed and cut into "ribbons" (chiffonade)
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1.In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and gently saute for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add remaining oil and add the kale and tamari. Gently mix in pan to coat the kale with tamari and oil.
2. Cover and reduce heat to low, and let cook for about 5 minutes, or until the kale is wilted.
3. Remove cover and let cook 1 minute more to evaporate any excess moisture.
4. Remove pan from heat. Taste and add more sesame oil and tamari if needed. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Yield: one 9-inch pie

One 9-inch pie shell of choice, unbaked
1/2 cup brown rice flour or flour of choice
1 tablespoon minced thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (can substitute fresh cracked black pepper), to taste
1/2 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, small dice
1 leek cut into 1/2 moon slices
1 cup diced carrots (or winter squash -I like to mix them)
1 cup Romanesco cauliflower florets
1 cup Crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 cup peas, frozen and thawed or fresh
4 cups almond milk
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prick the pie shell with a fork several times and bake for 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until well combined. Add the nut milk slowly, stirring constantly. Heat mixture until it bubbles, then turn it down to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat and season with thyme, salt, and pepper according to taste.
3. In a large heavy-bottom skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and leek. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onion starts to brown. Add the carrots and cauliflower and continue cooking for several minutes. Add the mushrooms and peas and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Once the mushrooms have released their juices, turn off heat. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Pour the sauce over the vegetable mixture and grate in the nutmeg. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
5. Pour mixture into pre-baked pie shell and bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes, checking after 20 minutes.

Makes 5 servings
Pozole is a traditional Mexican stew often made with pork and hominy (dried corn kernels that have been treated to soften the hull) cooked in a fragrant chili-based sauce. In this quick vegetarian version, the meatiness of pinto beans and butternut squash combined with hand-crushed tomatoes make this stew satisfying.

1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon chili powder
3 cups diced (1/2-inch peeled) butternut squash
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can hominy, rinsed
1 15-ounce can pinto beans or 2 cups own cooked beans
1 ripe but firm avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1.Working over a bowl, break apart tomatoes with your fingers one at a time, letting them drop into the bowl.
2. Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add chili powder and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add squash, broth, hominy, beans, and crushed tomatoes and juice. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the squash is tender, 25-30 minutes. Serve with avocado and cilantro.
You can substitute black beans for the pinto beans, or use both!

Makes 8 servings
Adapted from Eating Well
Roasted beets and sweet dates, tangy oranges, and juicy pomegranate seeds make this quinoa salad perfect for the holidays. Quinoa is a nutrient-rich grain that was a staple for the ancient Incan diet. Its available at most large supermarkets. Red quinoa gives the dish a stunning color.

3 medium beets
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups red quinoa (white is okay, too)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 medium oranges
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1 whole pomegranate, seeded

1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F.
2. Trim the root end of the beets and remove any greens (reserving for another use), pat dry. Wrap individually in parchment paper, then aluminum foil. Roast until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, depending on size.
3. Meanwhile bring broth, water, quinoa add salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat and cover, simmering until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer quinoa to a large serving bowl.
4. Zest and juice 1 orange. Place juice in a medium bowl. Working over another bowl, cut the remaining 2 oranges into segments after peeling. Set aside. Measure the juice from the first orange - if it isn't quite 1/3 cup, squeeze the juice from the membranes until you get enough for 1/3 cup. Add the zest, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and pepper to the orange juice; gradually whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream until well combined. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley.
5. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice the roasted beets. Add to the quinoa along with the dates and gently combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with the reserved orange segments, pomegranate seeds, and remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.

Adapted from Nancy K. Weimer

1 1/2 cups dried anasazi beans (soaked overnight)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups celery, 3/4 inch chop
2 cups onions, coarsely chopped
2 cups carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons turmeric
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups tightly packed chopped kale, stems removed
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Rinse pre-soaked beans with cold water. Put the beans in a medium saucepan, cover with 4 cups of water, add bay leaves and simmer until beans are soft, about 1 1/2 hours, adding more water as cooking if needed.
2. In a large pot over low heat, saute garlic, onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil until onion is translucent. Add butternut squash, vegetable stock, turmeric, basil, and cayenne. Cover and continue to cook until squash is fork-tender but not mushy.
3. Drain cooked beans, remove bay leaves, then combine all ingredients. Add kale, cover and cook to wilt, about 2 or more minutes. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: Start to cook the beans first -- while they simmer you can be prepping your veggies so they will be ready when the beans are done.

Calendar2012 CALENDAR
Visit our website's events calendar for details.

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.

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. 

"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.)