I am feeling pretty crazy right at the moment which means I should probably get out into the garden more. I think the crowds at the stand are overwhelming me a bit! There were people lined up on the sidewalk. Yikes! I started worrying that the stand is becoming too successful and therefore big, and therefore a drag for people having to wait in line. I want to stay small and personal and have time to chat with everyone. To spread good vibes, not institutional rushed hurried vibes. At the same time manna is coming down from heaven. I feel spiritually nourished from all the great helpers we have and the harvests we are bringing in from our neighborhood gardens and fruit trees. I hope more people are growing some of their own food as that is the only sustainable way this will work, growing our neighborhood vegetables and fruit and sharing the surplus. I know we are planting many seeds of all kinds…seeds of change and hope, seeds of inspiration, seeds to grow our own, be it gardens or evolutions.
I am not going into too many details of the stand yesterday. I just realized I didn’t take a single photo yesterday at the stand. There was a lot of produce and a lot of people. Before we opened, Lauren organized a picnic for the high school students who having been picking fruit for a summer job with her Produce to the People program. Yesterday was their last day, but there might be a new crew in the fall. She did a lot of cooking and also made a pie with some of the damaged fruit from last week. I love it that she has been rescuing the left over fruit at the end of our day at the stand and processing it into something yummy. She is a true bottom feeder. I have really appreciated all the fruit Produce to the People (and her kids) have been bringing every week (this week 88 pounds of cherry plums, apples, and plums). It is nice to see fruit that would fall to the ground and get wasted, being taken home by people and families struggling to pay rents and put good food on the table. It also seems like the last few weeks someone has brought some homemade jam to share at the bread table. This week there was some jam made with the soft cherry plums from last week
18th and Rhode Island
I think the exciting news for me this week came out of the permaculture garden on 18th and Rhode Island Sts. on Potrero Hill. First of all, there are a lot of trailing winter squashes growing all over the place. They are growing well, but no one seemed to know what they were. We picked a few of them before we realized that they were a yellow pumpkin (later Cristina found a label). We also have kabocha squash growing and then by the sidewalk under the apple tree fence there are honeydew melons growing! They looked like melons, but again I didn’t plant them and wasn’t sure what they were. In all my years gardening here in San Francisco, in the Mission Neighborhood, I have never tried growing melons because I didn’t think they would grow or produce sweet fruit. Actually, I think I have tried growing melons and watermelons too and I had no luck. I took the melon home and cut it open to see what was inside and sure enough it was green and though a bit under ripe, was sweet and delicious. That really made my day and I brought half of the melon to the farm stand to share with everyone. There is also what looks like two or three watermelons growing there, but they are very small right now. We harvested a total of 54lbs of produce that Friday. One squash (it may be a volunteer) that was hidden weighed in at 6 lbs.! We have been having the greatest work days on Friday with a lot of nice volunteers showing up.
This garden is turning out to be quite a success and the fact that we are growing most things there with little soil and mostly wood chips is amazing! And it is a perfect example of what good work can be done turning a vacant lot into garden.
Clara has jumped into her role of overseeing the Secret Garden and is putting her beautiful energy into the place. Green Gulch Farm, who gave us another beautiful box of chard this week, also gave us some happy seedlings of kale, chard, broccoli, and bunching onions. They need to go into the ground soon and I hope they can get planted in all the gardens that are growing for the Free Farm Stand. Look for Clara’ contact information in the sidebar under My Schedule and Events. The Esperanza garden needs the attention of a gardening angel too.
Festival of Fruit
All this week I will be attending the Festival of Fruit 2009 (http://festivaloffruit.org/) in the Santa Rosa/Petaluma/Sebastopol area. I love this event which is really tours of many gardens by fruit and garden enthusiasts like me. I will be back at the stand on Sunday and I might return with some gleaned produce while in the area.