Persimmon tree at All in Common Garden

Persimmon tree at All in Common Garden

Hi, this is Pax, and this week’s post is sponsored by the letter P. I’m very excited to announce that we are harvesting persimmons at the All in Common Garden! These beautiful orange globes, popping with color amongst the green leaves of their tree, have been tantalizing volunteers and visitors since they finally began ripening a few weeks ago. Guests have repeatedly asked when we are going to pick them, and even if we’re going to sell them. We’ve been explaining that once harvested, they will be given away with the other locally-grown produce at the Free Farm Stand.

Tree and friend with persimmon

Tree and friend with persimmon in All in Common Garden

You can see how big these beautiful fruits are, it takes two people to show one off! Tree’s friend is here to help us build our new greenhouse at All in Common. More help is still needed!

Fruits from All in Common Garden

Basket of fruits from All in Common Garden: Persimmon, pineapple guavas, avocado

My persimmon is keeping company with other fruits from the garden I’ve mentioned in previous posts: Pineapple guavas (feijoas) and avocados. When it’s fully ripe, I plan to make pudding out of it. I am working on perfecting a vegan-friendly persimmon pudding, using silken tofu as the base. I still haven’t figured out just the right spices though. Any suggestions?

Basket of purslane at Free Farm Stand

Basket of purslane at Free Farm Stand

While everyone is excited to see persimmons, far fewer know or appreciate another food I’ve been harvesting: Purslane, also known as verdolaga. This beneficial, edible weed pops up everywhere. It was the first weed I learned to recognize when I began volunteering at Alemany Farm. I was trained to wait until the patches of purslane grow fairly large before picking them, as long as they’re not growing directly next to another plant and thus competing with it for nutrients. I still always harvest large amounts.

Purslane starts and information

Purslane starts and information at Free Farm Stand

I printed out some information on purslane that Tree forwarded to me, so that volunteers and guests at the garden know how and why to eat this plant. The leaves, stems, and buds are all edible, and can be enjoyed raw or cooked. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and also high in Vitamin C. Their juice be used as a remedy for minor bites, stings, and swellings.

Pop over to the Free Farm Stand or the All in Common Garden, and see what other edible treasures we have to share!


Lettuce at Free Farm Stand

Lettuce at Free Farm Stand

Hi all, this is Pax. One of the most gratifying things about volunteering at the All in Common Garden is participating directly in the process of growing the food that we share at the Free Farm Stand. Whenever I visit there I feel like I’m in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by trees bearing so many good things to eat: Avocados, pears, apples, persimmons, chestnuts, passionfruit, guavas… Then we have have pots filled with herbs, peppers, and other edibles, and now we are harvesting the first of the vegetables from the new planter beds we built this summer.

All in Common Garden - preparing beds

All in Common Garden – preparing beds

All in Common Garden - preparing beds

All in Common Garden – preparing beds

We constructed the planter beds from wood retrieved from the recently-closed Growing Home community garden, and lined them with layers of cardboard at the bottom, edge-to-edge, to help keep out weeds. We then added layers of compost, mulch and soil and got the beds thoroughly wet before planting.

All in Common Garden - planting beds

All in Common Garden – planting beds

All in Common Garden - planting beds

All in Common Garden – planting beds

The first seedlings were planted in August, and included lettuce, chard, and other greens. The soil in our planter beds was also retrieved from the Growing Home garden, and contained seeds, so we were pleasantly surprised to find turnips growing in our garden! Here’s Tree harvesting the first turnip this Saturday:

Tree with turnip at All in Common Garden

Tree with turnip at All in Common Garden

And here’s that turnip, along with more like it from Alemany Farm, on the Hecka Local table at the Free Farm Stand this Sunday:

Turnips at Free Farm Stand

Turnips at Free Farm Stand

Along with the turnips, we also harvested the first lettuce heads from the garden.

Lettuce at All in Common Garden

Lettuce at All in Common Garden

Tree with lettuce at All in Common Garden

Tree with lettuce at All in Common Garden

And as always, we brought avocados. Picking fallen avocados off the ground is the first thing I do whenever I arrive at the garden. I always find at least a dozen good ones. It’s like a treasure hunt!

Avocados at Free Farm Stand

Avocados at Free Farm Stand

If you’d like to visit the All in Common Garden – located on 23rd Street between Shotwell and Folsom – come by Monday through Wednesday from 1 to 3 or Saturday from 9 to 2. Volunteer hours are Tuesdays and Saturdays, with a free vegan lunch for volunteers on Saturdays at noon.

As Tree posted previously, we really need more volunteers, and have tasks for people of all ability levels. Next week (first week of November) we’re planning to move the greenhouse, and can use all the hands we can get. (This move might take place on a Wednesday or Thursday instead of the usual open hours; contact Tree for details.)

Notice: The All in Common Garden will be closed for one day only this Saturday, November 1.

 

 


One could say the world is a garden full of challenges growing everywhere. I grew up a good Jewish boy wanting to make the world better. There always seemed a lot to do.  I lucked out and at an early age and I found a group of people who became my real family (since I never had a family after the age of 17 years old). I lived in an “intentional community” or commune for 24 years with my new family.

The best thing that happened is they helped me do what I was passionate about, to live a life of service.  Karma yoga (selfless service), tikkun olam (world repair), love in action. That is what it’s all about and I love what I do.
Now I am not living communally though I still believe that it is the ideal life style for people who want to do service together. Share income and live together like a family: Catholic Worker style and creating Houses of Hospitality or homes of Love and Prayer.

These days I am running projects run entirely by volunteers and we don’t live in a commune together. For me it is somewhat difficult, since I am used to working together with people in a communal context.

The Free Farm Stand, after 6 years, has become the next best thing to a communally run project. We do pretty well for an all-volunteer group and we have some core people who have helped us run the Stand smoothly. It feels like a family event when I go there, a lot of neighbors connect with each other and it feels great. I also love it when people bring something from their garden to share. This week it was oranges and collards, and Padrón peppers.

Neighbors sharing produce

Neighbors sharing collards and peppers

Oranges from a neighbor's tree

Oranges from a neighbor’s tree

 

The All in Common Garden is in its infancy period. Since May we have been trying to create a core of volunteers to help to improve the space and turn it into an urban ag resource center. So far we are pretty shorthanded and can really use help, although we have done a lot so far. We are getting closer to setting up a greenhouse and that has been our next priority, getting a place to grow seedlings and having a place to work when the rains come. Right now we need carpentry, electrical, and plumbing help, help moving big things that take more than one person to move, and there is always gardening help (any skill level ok). I am especially interested in building a team of regular volunteers that want to help keep the All in Common Garden open to the public with regular hours.

All in Common Garden sign

All in Common Garden

This work we do is about making the world better. I don’t  want to live in a world where what’s yours is mine (for a price or fee), which sums up what is the fad right now, something that is deceivingly called the “sharing economy” or collaborative consumption.  Although AirBnB is getting some bad attention these days as the government tries to regulate it, it seems these kinds of operations remain pretty popular. I like the idea of a shift away from everyone having to own everything, but having to basically rent things from everyone is not what makes the world a place for happy campers in my opinion. I read on some “sharing” website  that their goal was to see people live less wasteful and more connected lives.  We too!

Here are some photos of what sharing gardens and produce looks like:

Hecka Local produce

Hecka Local produce

 

Salad from St. Aidan's Episcopal Church

Salad from St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church

 

Garden photos from volunteers and neighbors

Home garden photos from volunteers and neighbors

Also thanks to La Baguette from the Stonestown Farmers Market for donating bread.

Thank you La Baguette

Thank you La Baguette


Hi, I’m Pax. I’ll be helping Tree out with the Free Farm Stand blog going forward. I’m a regular volunteer there, helping with setup and breakdown and staffing our Vegan Information Station. I also volunteer at Alemany Farm and the All in Common Garden, helping grow and harvest food to distribute at the Farm Stand.

Harvesting pineapple guavas at Alemany Farm

Loren and Pax harvesting pineapple guavas at Alemany Farm. Photo by Tree

At Alemany Farm this month we’re harvesting a lot of pineapple guavas, also known as feijoas. These juicy green fruits are delicious raw. Many people peel them – amusing instructions here – but the peels are also edible, and their sour taste makes a nice contrast to the sweet pulp within.

I’ll be writing much more in the coming weeks. If you’re local, stop by the farm stand any Sunday and say hello!