Category Archives: Organic

Workings of a Local Food Farm

 

Most of us are interested in eating locally grown food these days, and some of us even try to grow as much of our own food as we can. Try as I may, I don’t seem to be able to keep enough growing to insure that I’m well fed. There are certain times of the year that I seem to have more time to do the nurturing (and work) that is involved, but at other times, I get too busy with my teaching career and something called “Life.”

Fortunately, there are some who make their career out of producing food for the rest of us. Such is the case with Chas Canon and his family. Our Garden Club made a trip to his acreage here in Ocean View in late October of this past year. If you’re like me (and if you read my blog regularly, I suspect you are), you enjoy seeing where your food comes from.

Rather than elaborate too much on what we saw there, I’m going to give you a quick look at what he grows and how he grows it. Please click on the slide show at the bottom to see all of these pictures, and more.

There is a deep gulch on the property where he grows a few things at the bottom – even along the edge of the gulch as shown here.

 

Path to the gulch
Path to the gulch

 

Growth in the gulch
Growth in the gulch

 

Up above near the house, we were shown how he mulches, sets out the irrigation lines, and grows great produce.

 

 

I don’t even get tomatoes like this that I try to grow intentionally!

Volunteer tomatoes
Volunteer tomatoes

 

Here is where it all starts.

 

He showed us the book that he follows religiously. I promptly ordered a copy for myself. It is put out by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Cornell University strongly supports the organic food movement.

 

Look for his produce at our local farmer’s market on most Saturday mornings.

You’ll get much more out of this if you watch it in full size here.

Tiptoe through the…Sweet Peas?

 

I must have gotten to the market on California Avenue in Palo Alto too late in the season to see tulips, but there were plenty of other flowers to enjoy! The sweet aroma of huge bunches of sweet peas was almost overpowering. These in the above photo gave my room a wonderful ambience.

Other flowers that were in great abundance were the gerberas, iris, roses, dahlias and so many other spring blooms.

 

Brilliant yellow iris filled buckets everywhere I looked, almost in competition with the various colors of the cauliflower in the background.

 

Flowers everywhere! Of course, I was so envious of any farmer who had enough good soil to grow this kind of beauty. When I got home, however, I was happy to see so many of my canna, daylilies, and gladiolus bulbs had grown. I’ll show those on next week’s post.

 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many Canterbury Bells in one spot in my life! The color combination of these blossoms with raspberries was like eye candy for the soul.

 

Even though I live in “orchid land,” I still get a thrill at the sight of the Phaleonopsis (also spelled Phalaeonopsis), also often called the moth orchid.

 

I was pleased to see a display of eco-pots. Produced by the Sweetwater Nursery in Sepastapol, these pots can replace your clay or plastic pots. They are made of substances that are by-products of renewable and sustainable crops. Even when they can no longer be used, the pots are biodegradable.

 

Cole Canyon Farm had so many wonderful varieties of herbs. Please visit their site for information on purchasing and growing not only herbs, but veggies and fruits. I was especially interested in this display of mints. I didn’t know there were so many varieties. I want to taste them all!

 

I wanted to bring home one of each of these! I’ve looked all over for seeds for some of these varieties.

 

I couldn’t resist taking a picture of these aromatic thymes, mostly because the saying by the famous “anonymous” is so correct! I may start using that as part of my signature on emails. Currently, I use “live gently on the earth,” another philosophy I attempt to adhere to.

 

This basket of basil looks like the profusion of sweet basil I grow in my own garden. I will soon make up a big batch of fresh pesto when I harvest mine. I can’t use up enough of it on a daily basis.

 

The New Natives company started out almost thirty years ago with wheatgrass as their original product. Since then, they have branched out into all kinds of healthy sprouts. This crop is experiencing renewed popularity. You can read about some of the health benefits here.

 

I need to tell you that there is so much more at this market than just fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. These next few photos come in the “miscellaneous” category, but they are as important as anything else I’ve talked about in these posts.

For example, who couldn’t resist having fresh pasta?

 

I absolutely adore fresh oysters! Too bad that we have to import our oysters from Washington and the East Coast here.

 

In Hawaii, we have our “huli huli chicken” – an enormous rotisserie along the side of the road that sends delicious smells into your open car window as you drive by. At this California market, I found RoliRoti Chicken.

 

Of course, no one can go to the Bay Area without eating hot sour dough bread. Pardon me while I drool for a few minutes!

 

At the end of the rows of produce, there was this musician giving us a background that was totally in keeping with the ambience of the market.

 

I’ll end this series on the California Avenue Farmers’ Market with a scene that is familiar to those who live in the Bay Area, or visit there often. I think most people understand when I say that I both miss it and don’t miss it. In case you want to go back and check out the other two in this series, go here and here.

 

Next week, I’m going to give you a break from California and show you an update of my garden. Things are beginning to grow again.

In the meantime, you might like to enjoy a slideshow of the California Avenue photos all in one place.


Click here to see a full sized slide show.

A hui hou!

 

Are you a WWOOFer?

MY ORGANIC BEETS
click here for larger image
MY ORGANIC BEETS

One wonderful aspect of this blogging is all the stuff you learn! Being a college instructor, I love to learn, and especially when it has to do with an activity I love so much, like gardening!

I wrote a blog about the home and garden of a friend where I spent a relaxing Thanksgiving with other friends. When I talked with my host later, to make sure I had all of his information correct, he told me about the WWOOFers on his acreage.

No, it’s not a tech part for a stereo system, nor is it related to the Alaskan wolf.

WWOOF means World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. It seems there are quite a few people who knew about this – all except me!

There is a specific site about the WWOOFers in Hawai`i as well as the home page of the organization and more information on another page.

One paragraph I read gave other possible interpretations of WWOOF besides the official one. For instance, some call it “World-Wide Orientation on Organic Farms,” and I like the one that refers to it as “Willing Workers on Organic Farms.”

What a superb organization this is – and what a great travel opportunity for those who want to learn more about organic gardening, be of help to those who can’t do all the gardening themselves (like elderly or disabled), and travel around the world at the same time.

WWOOFing is the sort of thing that would have attracted me in my hippie-trippy days – actually, it STILL attracts me! (laughing) But like most of us, I’m too tethered to my property, my job, and my house.

Perhaps in another lifetime!