Monday, May 31, 2010

Farm Internship

If you want to become more self-reliant, connect with the earth, learn skills from the "good old days" and are not afraid of hard work and lots of it, apply here. We grow a variety of vegetables, flowers, fruits, herbs and chickens with organic methods, placing a high value on sustainability. We emphasize hand labor and techniques. Our farm is part permaculture landscaping, biointensive vegetables, & "wild" gardening.
Responsibilities, duties, and job requirements:
Interns will learn about and participate in growing a year-round garden in San Martin, California. Garden activities (dependent on time of year) include soil preparation, sowing and saving seed, transplanting, composting, weeding, plant propagation, harvesting, food preservation, and other skills. We grow food for 15 families. We also provide a steady supply of canned, dried and baked goods.
Preferred Skills and Experience: Qualified interns will have previous gardening experience, however basic, and be ready to work. In summer we start early every day to "beat the heat." We pace ourselves, try to vary activities frequently, and attempt to use wits rather than brawn (of which we are often in short supply) whenever possible. Farm work is strenuous and/or repetitive, and does require endurance in an outdoor environment. Important traits include interest, enthusiasm, responsibility, honesty, and the ability for self-care, as we aim to practice sustainability with ourselves as well as with the garden. Those who have “gaman” are strongly urged to apply.
The Fine Print:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Saturdays 7:30 - 12:30. You may not bring your pets or children with you. Shoes are required and for those adverse to sun stroke - a hat! $8.00 an hour to start. (Gaman - Japanese - the will to keep trying over and over, to persevere.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Well, Leo found those 100 strawberry plants sleeping in the fridge and we did a marathon planting. Of course we no sooner got them in the ground and the thermometer jumped into the 80's. I knew I should have planted them in the rain! These are a French strawberry called Mara Des Bois. They are small like the forest berries of my childhood with a flavor and fragrance that will knock your socks off. With favorable weather and good luck, we should have these by late summer. Berries are highly perishable. They will come to you unwashed and I recommend not washing them till you are going to eat them. Think happy berry thoughts. Enjoy your Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the Ground

What's up? Zukes, green beans, cukes, tomatillos, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, leeks. We've just finished planting peppers and eggplants. For those of you who asked for more colors of peppers, this year we have red, yellow, purple and green. Some like it hot, so there are a few anchos and mulatos, but the majority of the peppers are sweets and bells. I have doubled the amount of tomatillos since last year, the better for green salsa. Of course there are more kinds of cukes this year: Lemon, Delicatesse, White Wonder, Marketmore, & Poona Khera. I have them hiding under a row cover to protect them from the dreaded leaf hoppers and cucumber beetles. See the lace holes those pest are making in the tomatillos.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tomatoes & Corn

Corn is up! I have spotted the first green tomato. This is the last year that we will be planting any hybrid tomatoes. We have a huge tomato trial going on. Thanks to Dr. Carolyn Male we will have more tomatoes that I can probably process. But hopefully, this will help us eliminate those pesky hybrids. We want to eliminate hybrids because we are worried that since the future of seeds and farming is in the hands of so few multinational companies, it puts our food at risk. We can't have that, so as of this year, the seeds of future crops planted on the farm will be in our hands. As for other crops. 90% is already OP and we save the seeds. That only leaves corn. As GMO corn contaminates all corn it becomes a problem to even buy clean seed. The early corn will all be old hybrids and we will transition to OP later this summer. We have received some beautiful seed from Dr. Alan Kapuler (many blessings on his head) which we will trial late summer. Last year we grew some gorgeous tamale corn and now have enough seed to plant enough for everyone.

Feral Cats

One of the things about farming that we have come to accept is that the farm attracts critters. This year we have had a plethora of feral cats. Some of these are extremely afraidand kind of scary. Some of them like Otis, are now happy to sit on our lap and have a steady food supply. We trap them, spay & neuter and then release them. Why do we have so many feral cats? Someone in our neighborhood has not spayed their female, she's big beautiful and black. She has made 3 litters this year. To the right is "Bossy Boots" he's a huge part Siamese male. He is the father of all. He's wary and cagey and we haven't been able to trap him. It's kind of sad. We are up to 8 cats that we can count. Big Black just had another litter. Sigh. There's 4 more kittens in the creek. We really can't feed anymore. This one in the old rabbit hutch on the left is the only one hunting gophers so far.

CSA MAY 27 (P&P)

IN THE BOX: Peas, Carrots, Chives, Radishes, Beets, Fava Beans, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Spring Onions & Garlic, Baby Artichokes, Allium Flowers, Mint, Pumpkin Pudding or Glutten Free Cupcakes & Jam


1 c. of trimmed and grated radishes & carrots
2 c. shredded cabbage
2 chopped spring onions
2 T. Olive Oil
2 T. Lemon Juice
1/2 t. sugar
2 t. mint, cilantro or parsley

In a bowl toss together the radishes, the cabbage, the carrots, the onion, the lemon juice, the sugar, the oil, the herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. This is also great with tangerine marmalade with mild vinegar and oil. (Well, if you haven’t already eaten all your marmalade.)

1/2 cube butter, room temperature
2 t. of lemon
Sprig of Mint
4 sprigs of Chives
1 T of parsley
3 Radishes, washed, trimmed & chopped

Beat the butter until smooth, add lemon juice, herbs. Spread on bread. Toss radishes on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper. I had this for breakfast once in France. It is so good, you'll have to make it twice. When radish season is over, you'll wish you could have it again. The secret to this great recipe is really fresh radishes.

PUMPKIN PUDDING - cut a square, top with square of chocolate and microwave for 30 seconds. (I like Equal Exchange, Milk Chocolate with a hint of hazelnuts...Leo likes the Theo dark chocolate with a hint of peppers.) Both are available at People and Planet.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dixie Chicks

Chick Flicks
Otis, the feral farm cat has been sitting and watching the Dixie Chicks all morning. This is their first week as home on the range chickens, what we call the traveling chicken road show. Every evening we move the chicken coop and the pen while the chickens are inside the coop. In the morning I open the door, put up the ramp and out they go. While the chicks were still inside the traveling coop, Otis would sit and stare through the round door. This is docudrama at it's best. Now that the chicks are outside he sits on top the house and stares at them for hours at a time. I'm glad that Otis has a good soap opera to take his mind off his troubles. It's not enough that he lost his sister, but our son brought home a kitten. Zack asked me if I wanted another cat. I said yes, but only if it was a hunting female. So, from the mountains Zack brought home an abandoned male Himalayan/Persian. Otis is not impressed with Dr. Professor Longhair.

CSA Week of May 17, 2010

From the family of Fabaceae, all peas are beans, (phaseolus) but not all beans are peas! Here at the farm we grow 3 kinds of peas: shelly which you only eat the peas out of the pod, edible pod peas, and dry peas. These next few weeks in your boxes you will be receiving Snow Peas. These were one of the earliest cultivated plants, about 12,000 years old. Of course, your peas we picked yesterday. If you don't sit down and eat them as soon as you receive your box, I recommend wrapping them in a damp cotton towel to be stored in a vegetable bin in the fridge for 3-4 days. Peas in a pod are alike genetically, but on the same vine, some pods may be different due to cross pollination. The first works in genetics were done on peas by Mendel. Although Mendel thought peas were easy to grow, I'm not so sure. I find that I have a lot of pea pests...gophers, lbb's (Little Brown Birds), and teenagers, who stand in the garden grazing. The harvest has been plentiful due to the lovely rains. And I think you should all give peas a chance.

Try them lightly stir fried with a splash of Mirin.