Harvest Hootenany

There is nothing secret here nor are we exposing any covert activity. We are not WikiLeeks  The power of word of mouth is not to be underestimated. There is joy in service, karma yoga, performing a mitzvot or good deed, and sharing with our neighbors. We have a fantastic long harvest season here in the Bay Area and at the Free Farm Stand the word has gotten around that a weekly celebration and happy harvest hootenanny, something we just can’t put a word to, is happening.

I took only a few photos this week of the bounty.  I especially liked the different varieties of potatoes we harvested from the farm. We are also getting a nice variety of squash from both the Free Farm and 18th and Rhode Island.

squash just harvested from 18th and Rhode Island

We  are still harvesting green beans (some that are purple until cooked), kale, a small amount of broccoli, and some garlic. We are newbie farmers and without a greenhouse and a constant supply of vegetable seedlings, so we are going to have some gaps in between harvests. Also, we are giving away produce at the Free Farm on Saturdays, so we have less to bring to the stand. And no one seems to be planting more at 18th and Rhode Island, don’t know what is planted at the Secret Garden at the moment (we are getting lots of plums), Esperanza is doing great, and so is Treat Commons. My backyard also needs planting. Produce to the People keeps supplying us with local gleaned fruit (now it is plums and they just got a lot of apples from a tree that was heavily pruned…mostly green apples). Towards the end of the day at the Free Farm Stand we sort of start all over and a new line of people forms. The amount of produce we are getting is phenomenal, especially in the fruit department. I was happy that at least one person told me they were inspired by the fruit compote I gave away last week and is going to start making it. I showed him a box of ripe squishy fruit and he went through it. We can still use fruit processors to make compote, jam, pies, fruit leather, or whatever. Or we can use a fruit dryer. To get an idea of theamount of fruit we had,we had over 17 cases of perfect organic strawberries (I brought a half dozen berries from the farm).

The Free Farm keeps progressing. Last Wednesday we had a fantastic group of 19 visitors from a church in Mt. Vernon Washington and it is amazing how much can get done with people power.  We are finishing the creation of the last planting beds and now we are going to need seedlings more than ever to get our fall crops in. Yesterday I heard Temple-Emanu-El, who is opening the farm on the 1st Sunday of the month, had ten people volunteer and created some new planting beds and watered. I am so amazed and proud that we have harvested over a half of a ton of produce in five months on the land.

There is a lot of great news this week. Produce to the People has launched their fundraising drive and they made a nice video that has a lot of footage of what they do:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1216293948/produce-to-the-people-community-through-food.

We are so close with this group and totally support their efforts. They are one of the cornerstones of the Free Farm Stand and the Free Farm. We really want to see Lauren be able to somehow keep doing the great work she is doing and not having to work full time and possibly lose her to the work-a-day world.

Another shining diamond in the world of service is our friend Pancho who is currently taking time away from San Francisco and the free projects here, and is involved in a non-violent campaign to bring justice and love to Arizona. Recently he got arrested and then miraculously released (after a facebook entry said he was on fast tract to being deported). Anyway, we are keeping our ears and eyes open about what is next for him and see if there is going to be a trial. Much love and prayers for Pancho and all the others involved in this effort.  This issue is related to our work in so many ways. For one thing, think about who harvests most of the food that winds up on our tables.

Lastly I was humored and delighted to hear that Hayes Valley Farm and the Wigg Party is starting a  “Fresh Produce Free-for-all” on Sundays: Below is the email I got from Jay:

Hate seeing food go to waste? Love fresh produce from the Farmers’ Markets? Is your money from last year’s harvest season starting to run out? The Wigg Party and Hayes Valley Farm are here to solve a whole lot of problems with one simple action: We’re going to gather the food that goes unsold at the Farmers’ Markets and give it away at HVF.

If you want to help gather food on Saturday or Sunday, contact [email protected] If you simply want to get some free produce for the week, come by the Farm on Sunday (times are subject to change. It’s the first week. We’ll be learning by doing). Tell your friends!  Diggers, eat your heart out.

And here is what the Wigg Party wrote about it:

“Really exciting new project between the Wigg Party and Hayes Valley Farm! We’re going to gather the food that goes unsold at the Farmers’ Markets and give it away at HVF. Can you help collect? We need people to gather on Saturday and Sunday. Do you have a truck, car, bike trailer or little red wagon? You can feed hungry people this week. Action is sexy”

On their Facebook page they also wrote this:

What a bounty! Fresh produce free or all between the Wigg Party and Hayes Valley Farm a success. We’re not even done collecting. Come get some goodness. It’s free because it’s yours!

Sounds like they filled a truck and a car with left-over produce from the Alemany’s Farmer’s Market and brought it to HVF. Here are some pictures they posted on the HVF blog:

http://www.hayesvalleyfarm.com/blog/327-honeybeesandsharingabundance.html

I  think it is great they are getting inspiration from the Diggers, a source of our inspiration too. Maybe people in that neighborhood that go to the Free Farm Stand will now go there and save the hike across town. A Free Farm Stand in every neighborhood!

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