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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
Season 18, Winter Week 3
December 10th - 16th, 2012 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
in this issue
What's in the box(es) this week
It's Been a Good Year
Changes Coming with the New Year: Return of Debbie's Kitchen
Job Opportunity at California FarmLink
Discounts for Early Registration: Sign Up for 2013
Give the Gift of CSA for Christmas!
Rebecca's Recipes

" Again, again we come and go,
changed, changing. Hands join,
unjoin in love and fear, grief and joy.
The circles turn, each giving into each,
into all."

- Wendell Berry

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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
Apples +
Brussels sprouts
Romanesco cauliflower
Lacinato kale
Red Russian kale
Yellow onions (Pinnacle Organic)
Hachiya persimmons
Potatoes +
Winter squash +  

Regular (Medium) Share
Brussels sprouts
Romanesco cauliflower
Lacinato kale
Red Russian kale
Yellow onions (Pinnacle Organic)
Hachiya persimmons
Winter squash


Budget (Small) Share
Brussels sprouts
Romanesco cauliflower
Lacinato kale
Yellow onions (Pinnacle Organic)
Hachiya persimmons
Winter squash
Fruit jam from Happy Girl Kitchen (made with LEF fruit)

Bread Option
This week's bread will be whole wheat with sesame seeds

Preserve Option
Candied citrus peels; blood orange marmalade   


It's Been a Good Year
Farm field with winter cover crop
With Winter upon us I welcome this period in the farming cycle to take some time to reflect upon this past year's accomplishments, challenges, and learning opportunities. The germinating cover crops blanketing the moist dark soil feel peaceful... almost comforting. Where only a few weeks ago we were still busy harvesting crops, now the fields are resting and being renewed. During the winter season it slows down just enough for the farm to become a blank canvas upon which we are invited to compose next season's tapestry of crops. With new seed catalogs landing in my mailbox almost daily, I start browsing through them to create the 2013 crop plan; our roadmap to ensuring we have a timely, diverse, and nourishing supply of tasty fruits and vegetables over the year. Even after 17 seasons of farming I still marvel at how a handful of seeds can blossom into a thriving productive field. Just imagine... less than an ounce of tomato seeds can grow enough plants to cover an acre of land. With some diligent attention, hard work (and of course good weather) we were rewarded with abundance. Between August and October, literally thousands of pounds of flavorful dry-farmed tomatoes were picked every week -- whether it was during our u-pick events, for our CSA members, farmers markets, local stores, restaurants or even wholesale markets. This is just one crop among the dozens of others we grow. For most of the Summer and Fall the farm was buzzing on weekends with dozens of people shopping at our new farm-stand or picking on their own of whatever was abundantly available at the moment, whether it was berries, peppers, pumpkins, apples or tomatoes.

We have been successful in our mission to build community and contribute to a healthier food system. This year, together with the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program, the farm hosted over 2000 people through farm tours, hands-on classes, workshops, farm camps, monthly community events, seasonal celebrations, and u-pick days. I like that our farm gives people the opportunity to really connect with nature and experience how food is grown. Hiking the farm trails, one can see first-hand our farming practices; see how the crops are growing right next to the more untamed native oak and redwood landscape surrounding the fields. More importantly, we actively welcome people to engage directly with the farm themselves; getting their hands dirty either sowing, planting, weeding, or harvesting. Nothing is more satisfying than munching on a carrot freshly pulled out of the soil, or biting into a vine ripened juicy dry-farmed tomato, a sweet sun warmed berry, or a crunchy crisp apple picked right off the tree.  Next year we plan on expanding our farm-stand by keeping it open more days of the week; we also plan to continue organizing community events, u-pick days, farm dinners, celebrations, and hands-on workshops. So stay tuned -- we hope you'll join us for another eventful, fun, and nourishing season in 2013.

Lastly, we are so thankful for your support over the years, and encourage your continued participation in the farm's CSA. Right now (or before January 20th) is a good time to join -- we offer up to 4% discount on both shares and options. Remember, it is your membership which allows us to continue to build these nourishing relationships between the soil and the food on our plates. On this continuing journey, towards an earth-friendly and truly sustainable food system, we extend our warmest and most heartfelt gratitude to all who participate in the support of this farm.

From the entire Live Earth Farm Family, we wish you a happy Winter Solstice and a joyful Holiday Season.

- Tom

Changes Coming with the New Year: Return of Debbie's Kitchen
LEF's new website has been evolving since its launch a few months back, so with the coming year we will be evolving the farm's newsletter accordingly, to take advantage of its more dynamic structure. To begin with, the new newsletter will be shorter (yay!) and a different format; you'll be able to scan articles quickly, only jumping to the full stories (blog-post style on the website) for the ones that catch your interest. Also, I will no longer be newsletter editor; instead, each contributor will post their own articles, and Jason will take over sending it out to you all.

Rebecca will still be contributing her recipes, Tom will still write his reflections, and he and others will still keep you posted on what's happening on the farm and in the fields. The Discovery Program is already producing its own separate newsletter, so the only other new bit is that -- by popular demand, I am going to resume writing "Debbie's Kitchen". I'm calling it "Debbie's Kitchen 2.0" as it will not so much be recipes as it will be tips and techniques, plus any and all other things I can offer to inspire you to deal with what's in your box at any particular time.

So keep an eye out for the new format, coming to an inbox near you with the first CSA delivery of 2013!

Happy 12/12/12,

Job Opportunity at California FarmLink
California FarmLink Logo We are running this listing as a courtesy to an organization which provides a vital service to aspiring farmers in the state. If this sounds up your alley, or if you know of someone who you think may be qualified and interested, please forward the listing along.

Have accounting and finance background and interested in using your talents to support sustainable farming? The Santa Cruz-based non-profit California FarmLink is looking to hire a full-time Finance and Operations Manager.

Click here for a detailed job description and application instructions. (Disregard the application deadline of Nov 21st; they are still accepting applications.)

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]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 


Makes 2 1/2 dozen


This recipe comes from an OLD Sunset "cookie" book. These are more like a "cakey" bar than a cookie though. But I love this recipe; it is popular with friends and family, and is so easy!



1 cup persimmon puree (directions follow) from Hachiya persimmons
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil of choice
1 package (8 ounces) pitted dates, about 1 1/2 cups, finely chopped (sometimes it's eaiser to snip them with kitchen scissors)
1 3/4 cups flour of choice
1 teaspoon each: sea salt, ground cinnamon, and freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Lemon Glaze (recipe follows)
To make persimmon puree:  You will need fully ripened persimmons. About 2 to 3 medium persimmons will yield 1 cup of puree. Persimmon puree freezes beautifully, so if you find yourself with lots of them ripening all at once, prepare puree as described here and freeze in one-cup increments. Then thaw as needed and use in any recipe calling for persimmon puree.

Cut fruits in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon. Discard the skin, seeds, and stem. In a blender or food processor, whirl pulp (if doing large quantities, do this a portion at a time) until smooth. For each cup puree, throughly stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. To store, freeze in 1-cup containers; thaw covered, at room temperature.

To make bars:
1. Measure out 1 cup of puree and stir in baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, lightly beat egg, then stir in sugar, oil and dates.
3. In another bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; add the date mixture alternating with persimmon mixture, stirring until just blended.
4. Stir in chopped nuts. Spread batter evenly in a lightly greased, flour-dusted 10 by 15 inch rimmed baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until top is browned and a pick inserted comes out clean.
5. Let cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Prepare lemon glaze and spread over the bars. Let cool completely, then cut into 2-by-2 1/2-inch bars.

Makes 1 cake
This recipe was in the new Edible Monterey Bay magazine and I just had to share it with you -- it is soooo GOOD! Hope you enjoy it; it is worth the work!

1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons brandy
2 cups persimmon pulp (see above recipe for making puree)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 - 1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pinch cloves
1 pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1/4 cup egg whites (whites from two separated eggs)
1 handful sugar (about 1/4 cup)

Brandy Sauce:
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cream
1/2 cup brandy
pinch of sea salt
1. In a small glass or ceramic bowl, combine the raisins with the brandy, making sure all the raisins are submerged. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 3 hours or (preferably) overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a bundt pan; set aside.
3. Puree the persimmon pulp in a blender, then strain into a large bowl, using a ladle to force as much through as possible.
4. Add the sugar, vanilla, cloves and nutmeg, stirring well until blended.
5. Stir in walnuts and the raisin-brandy mixture.
6. Combine the baking soda and salt, and gradually add the persimmon mixture, stirring until well mixed. Stir in the milk, blending well, then set aside.
7. Place egg whites in a small mixing bowl. With an electric mixture set at low speed, beat the whites for 30 seconds, then increase speed and add sugar a little bit at a time every 30 seconds or so, until sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks form.
8. Carefully fold the beaten egg whites into the persimmon mixture until just barely blended.
9. Gently spoon the batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until done (i.e. just starting to brown and no longer "jiggling". You can test for doneness by inserting a toothpick or bamboo skewer; if it comes out clean, it's done). Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
10. While cake cools, make the brandy sauce: Whisk brown sugar into the butter. Boil for 1 minute then turn off heat. Add brandy, salt, and cream, whisking until smooth.
11. Turn cake out of bundt pan onto a serving plate. To serve, cut into slices, spooning brandy sauce over slices and then sprinkling with a little nutmeg.
12. Serve immediately.

Yes, another cole slaw! I am particularly fond of this one, so I am sharing...
Makes 8 or more servings

1 large head cabbage, quartered, cored, and shredded
2 cups yellow onions, peeled and sliced paper-thin
1/4 cup sweetener (or to your taste)
1/4 cup mild honey
2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2/3 cup bland oil (such as grapeseed)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon celery seeds

1. Place cabbage in a very large bowl and arrange the onion slices on top of the cabbage.
2. Sprinkle with the sweetener and drizzle with the honey, without stirring.
3. Combine the brown sugar, salt, dry mustard, oil, vinegar, and celery seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the cabbage and onions. Stir everything together and let sit at least 4 hours.
As slaw marinates, its apparent volume will shrink by at least half. Transfer to a glass dish and store in refrigerator, covered and use as needed. It will keep 2 weeks.

Serves 6-8
There is no chicken meat in this soup, only chicken stock. You can use vegetable stock instead if you like. You can also substitute kale for the chard; just remember that kale requires longer cooking times. In this recipe, the Lacinato kale would work better than the Red Russian.

2 bunches chard (about 1 1/2 pounds) (can substitute kale)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
6-8 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup Basmati or short-grained rice (I use brown Basmati or short-grained brown rice -- so much better!)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
sea salt and pepper to taste
More Parmesan cheese for garnishing

1. Wash chard well and cut leaves into strips and chop stems. (If using kale, omit stems.)
2. In a 4-5 quart pot, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until softened.
3. Add the chard and stir to coat with the butter. Cover the pot and heat for 4-5 minutes to wilt the chard.
4. Add 6 cups stock; bring to a boil and add the rice. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.
5. If soup becomes too thick, add more stock.
6. When the rice is done, add fresh Parmesan and parsley. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking.
7. Serve piping hot sprinkled with more cheese.

Serves 6
This soup can be served cold, or both soup and sauce can be reheated and served hot.

For the soup:
3 pints vegetable stock (6 cups)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground coriander
1 head Romanesco cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1 pint cream

For the red pepper sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 red peppers, deseeded, trimmed and chopped
1 red chili pepper, de-seeded chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, peeled and grated

1. Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot. Add the nutmeg, coriander, and seasoning.
2. Add the chopped cauliflower and simmer for 20 minutes. Cool, blend to a smooth puree, then add the cream.
3. While cauliflower is cooling, make the red pepper sauce. Heat the oil in a pan, add the red peppers, chili, ginger, and some salt. Cover, and cook over a very low heat for 20 minutes.
4. Let cool and then blend to a thin sauce which will emulsify a little.
5. To serve, pour the soup into individual bowls. Carefully pour the red pepper sauce into the soup, starting in the center and making a thin spiral. Serve at once.

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 red chili pepper, de-seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon each: crushed cumin seeds, crushed cardamom seeds and crushed coriander.
1 bunch chard or kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces (if using chard, cut the stems into bite size-pieces and use as well)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon sweetener

1. Heart oil in a pan and add the ginger, garlic, chili, spices, and chopped chard stems. Stir-fry until the spices darken and the garlic browns; by then the stems should be softened. If you are using kale just stir fry the spices.
2. Now add the torn leaves of chard or kale and stir-fry rapidly for about 1 minute (2-4 minutes longer for the kale).
3. Add the salt and sugar, stirring again to season. When the greens are wilted to your liking, place them in a serving dish and serve immediately.

Makes 16 tamales
This is from an old Rick Bayless cookbook called "One Plate at a Time."

Steamer basket
Bowl to soak corn husks
Measuring cups and spoons
Bowls for mixing

1 8-oz package of corn husks (or a package that contains at least 16 husks!)
...for dough:
2 cups diced butternut squash
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup diced scallions (white and green) (from about 6 scallions)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chilies
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups masa harina
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
...for filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch scallions
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotle chiles in adobo, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup Spanish olives with pimentos, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup capers
1 cup vegetable stock
1 scant teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
hot sauce for serving

Prep Work:
First immerse husks in a bowl with hot tap water and weight down with a plate to keep submerged. Soak for at least 30 minutes. (It's okay to just leave them in the water until you're ready to use them.)
For the dough:
1. Put butternut squash in a pot with broth, scallions, adobo sauce, garlic, salt, and cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Remove squash with a slotted spoon, reserve broth. Set aside half the squash for the filling, then mash the remaining squash in a large bowl.
3. Mix in the masa with a fork. Slowly pour the reserved broth over the dough, mixing with a fork (or hands) until smooth. Stir in oils, a little at a time until dough is soft and moist. Cover and set aside.
For the filling:
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, garlic, chiles, cumin, and salt and cook until soft, about 1 minute.
5. Add reserved squash, plus the olives, raisins and capers and cook, stirring gently, until well combined. Add broth and orange zest and cook, stirring occasionally, until broth is slightly absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Remove from heat.
Assembly Instructions:
1. Cut 16 strings 8 inches long.
2. One at a time, spread out a soaked husk and place about 1/4 cup of dough in center of each husk, leaving enough husk free to enclose tamale. Pat down. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons filling on top, then cover filling with 2-3 tablespoons more dough, gently patting to cover filling.
3. Wrap husks around the filling and twist and tie ends with reserved string.
4. Lay tamales in a steamer basket, cover and steam until husks get slightly transparent, about 50 minutes.
5. Remove tamales from steamer, let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

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.)