Yacking about Yacón (and other things)

Between the scionwood exchange, the Free Farm Stand, and the fabulous weather, I would say it was a great weekend.  I loved the Free Farm Stand this week. Again we were low on produce, though that is a bit relative, we had more than last week, and it is amazing we had so much considering it is winter. I liked the produce we did have to give away. A neighbor came by with 10 lbs of lemons and Robert who helps run the Secret Garden brought surplus Sunchokes from the school garden in Berkeley where he teaches gardening. I harvested some Yacón root from the Free Farm. We didn’t have enough to give away so we sliced it and gave out samples. It is known as Bolivian Sunroot,  but is grown in the Andes of  Peru and Ecuador. It was a real hit (everyone liked the sweet juicy taste) and we were lucky that Spike dropped off a root she had at her home that was sitting in water and sprouting. It was nice to  to show people how they grow (each plant has the root that grows and that you divide to replant and the storage root that you eat). I hope to propagate more of these plants and give them away in the future. The Sunchokes that Robert dropped off are a relative of the Yacón root (they are in the daisy family) and they were very popular as well. I believe that roasting the Sunchokes in a little olive oil is the best way to cook them.

I must mention that Mike has his own “performance” every week at the bread table at the Free Farm Stand. It is quite a delicious show and recently he has been making the most yummy Kimchhi. I really appreciate Mike and the energy he brings to the stand every week, coming up with delicious prepared foods to share on the bread he gives out.

It is exactly what I imagine  the stand should be: a number of tables with people sharing what interests them or in other words sharing themselves with our neighbors. My longtime friend Jet was also there handing out surplus Maya Arte calendars for 2011…they are produced by a mutual friend Joe who is supporting Guatemalan artists by making these calendars and also selling their paintings.

Some of our great helpers this week

I hope I am not too much of a hippie when I say this photo sums up our Free Farm Stand

I mentioned the scionwood exchange, a yearly event I enjoy going to where people who like to grow fruit trees gather and share wood from their trees for grafting. Like if I want to grow a Santa Rosa Plum on my Satsuma plum tree I can get a Santa Rosa Plum branch and graft  or splice it onto the Satsuma plum tree I have.  The event is more than just getting the wood, it is connecting with others who are passionate about growing fruit (and gardening in general) and it is a good place to talk fruit and meet some  great people. I for example learned that a friend of mine in San Francisco has a Gwen avocado tree in his backyard and I got some wood from him from his tree. Another person I met on a garden tour two years ago told me what his favorite pear is—the Passe-Crassane variety.  This is knowledge you really can’t get anywhere else.

Guesss which fruit in the picture below is planted at the Free Farm? It hasn’t born fruit yet and the name is Pepino Dulce.  I see another fruit growing at the farm too…called Passion Fruit  (and we got fruit from it this year).

I continue to be excited by our greenhouse project, especially as we move closer to finishing them. I am hoping we can get them finished being built soon.  It is feeling like an early spring at the moment and that exciting projects are rumbling below, ready to burst up and sprout.  I will be doing some grafting of trees probably Thursday at my home and Saturday at the Free Farm if anyone wants to see how I do it. We will also be doing more construction on the greenhouses Wednesday and Saturday, and also Wednesday I will be helping prune some avocado trees and cleaning up a garden I worked in for years in the Mission. Please contact me if you want to join in the fun.

2 Replies to “Yacking about Yacón (and other things)

  1. Wow! Mike’s Kimchi looks awesome! I love kimchi in soup, perfect for a winter night. Just bought 3 kinds on Filmore/Japantown at the Koren mkt. — cabbage, daikon and garlic sprouts — all yummy in gochujang – chili paste. The building of the greenhouses is interesting–didn’t know about the wood framing. See you soon — with love and appreication, Big Tree.

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