Monthly Archives: February 2012

Meet the Crew

Here is our full-time crew:

photo credit: L. Butler

Pictured left to right: Hailey Stiers, Shaun Periso, and Mandy Caldcleugh.

These folks are amazing.  Each would be a star in their own right, and together they make the perfect team – diligent, tenacious, inquisitive, and really, just a lot of fun to work with.  Most of all, perhaps, is that they really work hard.

They were kind enough to offer these brief bios:

Hailey

Hi! My name is Hailey and I was born and raised in Fresno, CA. I attended UCSC and graduated with a B.A. in psychology in March 2011. After graduating, I moved to Hawaii where I worked and lived on a lettuce and coffee farm for 4 months. I began working at Lindencroft in August and immediately fell in love with the farm. I have seen it transition through summer, fall, and winter and am excited to see spring soon. Working at Lindencroft is helping to prepare me to have my own farm someday.

I’m also an avid distance runner and love to go trail running around the San Lorenzo Valley. Sometimes I even run along Highway 9 just for thrills. I’m also practicing to be a stand-up comedian. I think Linda appreciates this the most 🙂

Shaun

Hi.  I’m Shaun.  I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA. where I grew up surfing and fishing the central coast.  In Santa Barbara I worked as a climber with my dad, who has a small tree care company.

Since moving to Santa Cruz, I’ve been working up at Lindencroft.  I love spending my time growing plants and being in the ocean.

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Mandy

Hi! My name is Mandy and I have been working at this beautiful farm for three months now. My husband, JP, and I moved to California two and a half years ago, from our home state of Louisiana. I graduated from LSU with a B.S. in Dental Hygiene in 2007. Very soon afterwards JP and I moved to Australia for two years where he obtained a Masters in Oenology. We then went on to New Zealand where we both worked for Spy Valley Winery, I in the vineyard and JP in the winery. Watching the sunrise every morning at work and being outside with nature made me feel truely alive. From then on I knew I wouldn’t be spending my days in a dental office. It wasn’t until we moved to California that I really fell in love with food and realized I needed to be an organic farmer. Shortly afterwards I found Freewheelin’ Farm, where I worked as their apprentice for eight months last season. My interest was sparked and as soon as the season ended I took classes and obtained a Certification in Permiculture Design. I am facinated with growing food, continuosly reading and taking classes and courses whenever possible. I am so happy that life has led me in this direction and planted me at Lindencroft.

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This week’s box in picture

photo credit: L. Butler

This week’s box has baby turnips w/ tops, salad reds and greens, Red Russian kale, rapini, arugula, lemons, red and golden beets, Italian flat-leaf parsley, collard greens.  Not pictured: asparagus or rainbow chard.

–posted by Steven

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Filed under CSA

Newsletter for Feb 28 – Mar 2, 2012

News from the Farm

So, which is it?  Spring? Here’s what’s going on at the farm:

photo credit: L. Butler

or Winter:

My money (rather literally, I’m afraid) is on Spring.  Things are bursting forth all over.  The asparagus is starting to poke up steadily, if still slow.   Things in the greenhouse are also doing well.  Here are the pepper babies:

photo credit: L. Butler

Yes, Spring.  It’s such a joy to be living here, especially in Spring.  Everywhere you look, anywhere you listen, wherever you breathe – it’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by the glory of life.

–Steven (and Linda)

What’s in the Box? (picture here)
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  • salad reds and greens
  • rapini
  • parsley
  • collards
  • beets with tops
  • Lacinato OR Red Russian kale
  • lemons
  • turnips with tops
  • asparagus (for just a few this week – we’ll keep track and catch the rest next week)
Recipe of the Week
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We ate lunch at Gather Restaurant in Berkeley Saturday, and had the most wonderful Beet Salad.  Although this recipe isn’t exactly the same, I think you find it a great way to enjoy the salad (and/or other greens) and beets in your box this week.  It’s from the October 1995 issue of Bon Appétit via epicurious.com.
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Beet, Walnut and Gorgonzola Salad

Pour a chilled dry Gewürztraminer to accompany the salad and offer crusty bread throughout dinner.

Ingredients

  • 6 small beets, trimmed (about 18 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
  • 3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 large garlic clove, pressed
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 12 cups mixed baby greens
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (about 2 ounces)

Procedure

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets in foil, enclosing completely. Bake until beets are tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Peel and slice beets. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  • Whisk olive oil, Sherry wine vinegar, garlic and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Combine mixed greens, sliced green onions and beets in large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss to coat. Divide salad among 6 plates. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola cheese and toasted walnuts and serve.

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Your Meat Choices Matter

There is a recent trend in meat producers that we in the sustainable movement have often praised – pasture raising of cattle, pigs, sheep, and chickens – with no antibiotics and no hormones.  Some even ensure whatever supplemental feed they use is 100% organic.

But I think for many (most?) people, this is just another tree-hugging fad, and besides that, it just costs too damn much.

Maybe not.  Here in a very mainstream source (Popular Science) is an article that should seriously alarm you:

How Pigs on Antibiotics Are Making Superbugs Stronger

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, (MRSA) a nasty strain of bacteria that resists most antibiotics, probably developed its defenses while spending time down on the farm, a new study says. It has been thought that humans’ antibiotic abuse is the catalyst in superbug genesis, but this new research suggests it’s the animals, and the drugs we feed them, that we should worry about.

A new paper in the journal mBio, published by the American Society for Microbiology, describes how a human strain of MRSA started out as a drug-defeatable bug and then transferred into the pig population, where it developed resistance to two common forms of antibiotics. Then the newly potent antibiotic-resistant staph jumped back into humans. Researchers traced its evolutionary history by examining 89 genomes from humans, turkeys, chickens and pigs from 19 countries.

It goes on to say [my emphasis added]:

The CC398 strain of MRSA first appeared in 2003, and is found in pigs, cattle and poultry in the United States, researchers said. It’s in nearly half of all meat in the U.S. food supply, according to the American Society for Microbiology.

Read the whole article here.  Once again, it would appear that the industrialization of our food that started about mid-20th-century may have resulted in temporarily higher yields and lower consumer prices, but also in steadily eroding quality and nutritional value, and ever mounting environmental and health consequences. Whatever purported savings there may have been (much of which is neatly banked by the agro-industrial complex) is more than offset by the cost of the mess left behind.   Sustainable food production, which includes the natural raising of meat animals, will ultimately prove to be the only system we can live with.

So, your choices do matter.  Two great examples of where to find meat from animals that have never been given antibiotics, and are humanely and sustainably raised are el salchichero in Santa Cruz and Prather Ranch Meat Company, in San Francisco, and both at several farmers markets.  Our friends at Gather Restaurant in Berkeley also ensure that they will only use meat that is humanly and sustainably raised.

–posted by Steven

 

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…what you eat

picture from gemplers.com

We receive catalogs for farming supplies that feature products like this. Now, I have nothing bad to say about gemplers, the company whose safety products are pictured here – they seem to be a fine company.  My point is simply that needing to wear safety equipment like this is standard practice when dealing with the kinds of chemicals routinely used in conventional farming.  Chemicals that are applied to the foods people eat.  Many will tell you that the food is perfectly safe to eat.  But for me, if you need to protect yourself like this just to apply the stuff, why would you want to eat it?

Which leads me to this little news gem:

Breaking: Monsanto Found Guilty of Chemical Poisoning in France

by: Anthony Gucciardi, Natural Society

February 13, 2012

In a major victory for public health and what will hopefully lead to other nations taking action, a French court decided today that GMO crops monster Monsanto is guilty of chemically poisoning a French farmer. The grain grower, Paul Francois, says he developed neurological problems such as memory loss and headaches after being exposed to Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller back in 2004. The monumental case paves the way for legal action against Monsanto’s Roundup and other harmful herbicides and pesticides made by other manufacturers.

In a ruling given by a court in Lyon (southeast France), Francois says that Monsanto failed to provide proper warnings on the product label. The court ordered an expert opinion to determine the sum of the damages, and to verify the link between Lasso and the reported illnesses. The case is extremely important, as previous legal action taken against Monsanto by farmers has failed due to the challenge of properly linking pesticide exposure with the experienced side effects.

When contacted by ReutersMonsanto’s lawyers declined to comment.

Monsanto’s Deadly Concoctions

Farmer Paul Francois was not alone in his quest to hold Monsanto accountable for their actions. He and other farmers affected by Monsanto’s deadly concoctions actually founded an association last year to make the case that their health problems were a result of Monsanto’s Lasso and other ‘crop protection’ products. Their claims were also met by many other farmers. Since 1996, the agricultural branch of the French social security system has gathered about 200 alerts per year regarding sickness related to pesticides. However only 47 cases were even recognized in the past 10 years.

Francois, whose life was damaged by Monsanto’s products, has now set the powerful precedent in the defense of farmers.

“I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of this,” Francois, 47, told Reuters.

It is also important to note that Monsanto’s Lasso pesticide was actually banned in France back in 2007 following a European Union directive that came after the ban of the product in other nations.

–posted by Steven

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Ravenello Candela di Fuoco (Candle Radish)

picture credit: L. Butler

These were harvested just about an hour ago, soon to be delivered to Gather Restaurant in Berkeley.  To help with perspective, here they are in Hailey’s hands:

picture credit: L. Butler

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Filed under Crops

Monday Farm Cat Blogging

In this week’s newsletter, I posted a picture of Lynx rufus.  Well, here’s the other rufus we have on the farm.  He goes by the regal name of Titus Rufus Felines (pronounced fa-line-us):

picture credit: Terri Basile

He is, by the way, every bit of crazy as he looks.  He is also the most loyal friend for our old timer, Hopse Apu:

picture credit: Terri Basile

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