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Community Supported Agriculture: A healthy partnership of land, plants, animals, and people

It’s “Sign-up time” once again, and it’s wonderful to see how many of our current members have responded so quickly to participate in our 19th CSA season. It is a confirmation and a reassuring feeling to be able to count on the pivotal support of our CSA partnership.

Aldo Leopold in his classic book, A Sand County Almanac, spelled out a “land ethic” which is at the core of our Community Supported Agriculture Program and a guiding principle for land stewardship.  The land, Leopold says, “is like a community of interdependent parts, with the soil, the plants, the animals, and the people all playing equally important roles. We share an equal responsibility in contributing to the strength, sustainability and health of the community as a whole.” For the last 18 years the farm’s CSA program and everyone’s participation in it has directly contributed to the health and life of our land, its people, plants, animals, and soil and we are excited and committed to continue on that journey.

We invite you to sign up for our upcoming seasons, starting in December with the 2013-14 Winter Season and continuing with our 2014 Main Season that starts in April 2014. In addition to offering our traditional Small and Regular ShareBoxes, we are also offering, for the first time, a Member “Choice Share”.

What made us introduce this new type of Choice Share, you might ask?

Although we grow a large diversity of different crops throughout the year some crops just don’t match the tastes and cooking habits of everyone. In our family for example, lettuce, arugula, kale, and radishes are a kitchen staple, whereas in others a weekly supply of these is too much. Giving a choice to remove an item in exchange for something that is more desirable, and possibly available in in varying quantities, will increase the value of the share and overall satisfaction for members.

A member who just signed for the Choice Share last week summed it up well: “It’s like having the choice of shopping at the Farmers Market, but still receiving the convenience and reliability of the CSA membership with the Farm.”

Choice Share or Traditional Share, we will of course always strive to give everyone participating in our CSA the best possible experience of eating the freshest, tastiest, and most diverse fruits and vegetable this farm can grow. Thank you for signing up and continuing with us on another nourishing seasonal cycle.

[button link=””]New Season Info[/button]

[button link=””]Choice Share – FAQs[/button]

[button link=””]Sign-up for 2013 Winter Season[/button]

[button link=””]Sign-up for 2014 Main Season[/button]

[button link=””]Sign-up for a Choice Share[/button]

Freshness Test for Eggs, and Other Info

The way to test the freshness of an egg is to do a “float test”.

Fill a bowl of water to twice as tall as the egg, then gently slip the egg into it. A fresh egg will rest flat on its side on the bottom; a bad egg will float to the top; and an egg that balances on its smallest tip is about 3 weeks old.

The test works because an air pocket inside the egg gets bigger with time as the egg contents lose both moisture and carbon dioxide. As the air pocket gets bigger, the egg is more likely to float in water or make a “sloshy” noise when shaken.

Blood spots (also referred to as “meat” spots) don’t signify a bad or fertilized egg. A blood spot is caused by a ruptured blood vessel during the creation of the egg. Since blood spots are diluted as the egg ages, their obvious presence actually means you have a fresher egg. You can eat it safely, or remove the blood spot with the tip of a knife if it makes you feel better.

Stringy, rope-like strands of egg white are chalazae, which are present in every egg to keep the yolk centered. They’re not a sign that the egg is bad or fertilized, and they can be consumed safely or removed.

An egg white that is cloudy or has a yellow or greenish cast to it is caused by carbon dioxide not having had enough time to escape through the shell, and is especially common in the freshest eggs.

Why are eggs washed and refrigerated?  Click here for an NPR article.

Hens in Field

How to make a one-time monetary contribution

The way to make a one-time monetary contribution to your CSA balance is either by clicking the link below, or by using the blue Make Payment button located above the Summary box in your online account.

Once you have reached the place where you can choose a payment amount, scroll to the bottom of the list and enter the amount you wish to contribute in the “Enter Amount” box at the bottom. Once you select a payment method the blue “Continue” button will become active. Click the button to get to where you enter payment details.

Making a one-time contribution will add to the balance in your account, and your usual recurring payment will be delayed until you use up the increased balance.

Payment process link:

Account login link:

Cabbage with Citrus

1 small cabbage
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 medium oranges
2-3 small tangerines or mandarins
3 tablespoons walnut oil
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Discard any thick outer leaves of cabbage. Cut cabbage into quarters. Remove core and slice cabbage thinly. Place in a serving bowl.
2. Sprinkle cabbage with salt. Knead firmly with your hands for about 5 minutes; the cabbage will soften slightly and become milder in flavor. Leave 15 minutes. Place in a colander. Rinse under cold running water; drain.
3. Peel and segment oranges and mandarins or tangerines. Cut into small pieces over the bowl to catch the juices; discard seeds. Combine fruit and cabbage.
4. Whisk reserved citrus juice, oil, vinegar, and pepper until combined. Top with walnuts.

Serves 4

Sweet and Sour Carrots

1 bunch carrots, green tops removed, peeling optional
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1½ tablespoons sugar or sweetener of choice

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Toss carrots with oil and salt and pepper to taste in a shallow baking pan. Roast in the middle of the oven, stirring once, until barely tender, about 20 minutes. Leave oven on.
3. Stir together vinegar and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Drizzle over carrots, shaking the pan to coat, then roast until carrots are tender and vinegar is evaporated, 5-8 minutes more.

Serves 6

Dandelion, Celery Root and Pear Salad

½ cup filberts (hazelnuts)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 bunch dandelion greens
1 celery root, peeled and coarsely grated
2 pears
1 lemon, halved

1. Preheat oven to350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and the skins have loosened, 5-7 minutes. While still warm, transfer to a kitchen towel. Rub vigorously to remove the skins; do not worry if small bits remain. Coarsely chop and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and shallot. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil to form a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Cut the dandelion greens into bite-size pieces and place them in a bowl. Add the grated celery root and all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Toss to coat evenly, and divide among chilled plates.
4. Halve and core the pears. Place each half, flat side down, on a cutting board and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Rub the cut sides with the lemon to prevent browning. Fan each pear half atop a mound of greens. Drizzle evenly with the reserved dressing, sprinkle with hazelnuts, and serve.

Serves 4

Green Garlic, Chard and Kale in an Orange Tamarind Sauce

2 cups fresh orange juice
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp, broken into small pieces
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon chili paste
6 heads green garlic
3 tablespoons peanut oil
½ bunch kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
½ bunch chard, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
about ¼ pound dried bean thread noodles, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

1. Combine the orange juice and stock in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and boil until reduced by one-half, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat add the tamarind then stir in the maple syrup until dissolved. Using a fork, mash the tamarind and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the ginger, garlic and chili paste. Set aside.
2. Trim off the root end all but 2 inches of the green tops from each head of green garlic. Mince the remaining green tops and set aside. Quarter each garlic head lengthwise.
3. In a wok or large sauté pan, over high heat, warm the peanut oil until very hot, but not smoking. Add the minced garlic tips and quartered heads and toss and stir for 1 minute. Add the kale and toss for 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in the chard and stir for another 1-2 minutes, until tender. Stir in the tamarind sauce, reduce the heat, and simmer until all the flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Cook a little longer if the garlic is not completely tender.
4. Meanwhile, drain the noodles and cut into 6-inch lengths. Add to the pan and toss until completely heated through. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Leek and Tofu Miso Soup

3 leeks
½ cup chopped cilantro (save the stalks)
3 thin slices fresh ginger root
2 star anise
1 small dried red chili
5 cups vegetable stock
½ bunch chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into small pieces
7 ounces firm tofu
4 tablespoons red miso
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce or shoyu

1. Cut tops off leeks and slice the rest finely. Place the tops in a large pan.
2. Add the coriander stalks, ginger, star anise, and chili to the pan. Pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain, return the broth to the pan and reheat.
3. Add the sliced leeks to the stalk with the chard and tofu. Cook gently for 2 minutes. Then mix 3 tablespoons of miso to a thin paste with a little hot broth and stir it back into the soup.
4. Stir in the chopped coriander and cook the soup for 1 minute more before serving, ladled into bowls.

Serves 4

Choice Share Instructions

Here is how the Choice Share works:

Each week, Farmer Tom will pre-fill the Shares with available items valued at an average of $25.00.

If you do not make any changes to your Share, you will receive the pre-selected contents as your Share for the week.

If you want to make changes to your Share – beginning Friday morning at 8:00 AM, you will be able to edit the contents of the Share to suit your needs.  You can make edits to your Share until Monday morning at 11:00 AM for the upcoming week’s delivery.

We require that your Share include a minimum of $25.00 worth of Farm Produce or other Farm Items.

We ask that you, please, do not include items under the Other Produce tab in the $25.00 minimum since this is produce we source from other farms.

During the hours listed above: Click here or use the following address to view and edit the pre-selected contents of your Share –

You may need to use the orange Sign In to Start your Selection button in the upper right corner of the page.

Sign In

You can also reach the place to edit share contents through your online accountOnce logged in during the Friday – Monday hours, click on the Web Store link in the upper corner to see and edit share contents.

Here is what your “Share” will look like –


You can add items by either clicking the blue Add button or by changing the Qty of the item in the green box on the right.  If the Add button is grayed out, it means there are no more of the particular item available.

The tabs at the top, just under “Available Now”, contain other items, like Preserves and Bulk quantities, that can be added to your Share.

To remove items from your Share, click on the X at the far right side of the item row in the green box.

Please note: there may be limits to how many of an item can be added – for instance, you may only be able to have a total of 2 bunches of carrots in your Share – if you try to add over the maximum number, the Qty will default back to the number it was before you attempted to add more.

Click on the “Details” link in the item to see the maximum order quantity. We also do our best to add any Crop Notes we can in the Details.

Once you edit your Share, the Checkout button at the bottom of the green box will become active –

If you do not edit the contents, you will receive the pre-selected items as your Share and there will be no need to use the Checkout button.  You will only need to click the Checkout button if you edit the contents of your Share.

When you click the Checkout button, this is what you will see –

Be sure to click the box next to “I agree to the terms of Live Earth Farm Choice” to proceed by clicking on the Submit Order button.

Once you submit your changes a “Share Changes Confirmed” email will be sent to you through our CSA software.  If you do not receive a confirmation email it means something happened and your changes were not properly saved.  You will need to go back and re-edit your share contents.

No payment will need to be made at the time you save your changes since the total cost of your delivery – including all items added to your Share as well as any Options – will be deducted from the pre-paid credit balance in your account at the end of the delivery day.  Here’s a link to info about Payment Terms:

Please follow our Pick-up Protocol at your Pick-up Location, where all Shares will be labeled with the names of the members they belong to.