I thought I would tell the story of the Free Farm Stand this week mostly in pictures with captions. It was Pride Day and perhaps the crowd was a bit smaller, but I couldn’t really tell and we gave most of the produce away by the end.
Tim is one of our Stanford summer interns who is helping us at the Stand and at the Free Farm. We also have Brittany another summer intern from Stanford. She isn’t in any of these photos because she was behind the camera. I really appreciate all the help these days since I am trying to have others run the stand so I can concentrate on the Free Farm and growing seedlings, food, and flowers.
Here is our amazing Mike, a long time volunteer. I thought about calling him the Free Hummus Guy, but he has branched out into jams with all our over ripe summer fruit and delicious pickles. Really his pickling efforts have inspired me to try making them myself, he says they are so simple. He says he learns everything from YouTube. He was also responsible for bringing surplus dry pinto beans and brown rice and relish to the stand this week. Are we becoming more like a food pantry?
I brought new fliers in English, Spanish, and Chinese explaining to new people what the program is all about. Guess what it isn’t all about being a free food giveaway (you can read the English version of the flier at the end of this blog). Behind the fliers are seedlings we gave away from the greenhouse at the Free Farm. They were very popular although I think we grew too many collard seedlings. I am working on putting more sprinklers in the greenhouse (see our Free Farm Blog) and hopefully that will improve the quality of the starts, because they seemed to me a bit stressed out and yellow. Maybe they need a drink of compost tea also.
Here is me with a basket of loquats I picked from my backyard tree that morning (the fruit does not store well). I had to climb my 14 foot tall orchard ladder to get to them and I also used a fruit picker on a pole to get some of them. Most people liked them, though many people didn’t know what they are. Once they tasted them they were hooked. Also, in the photo are some zucchini from the Free Farm and a few Japanese cucumber that grew in our hothouse.
Quite a summer spread as usual
Mike’s pickles and jams
Many kids wanted to take home seedlings. I think we all have at an early age a connnection to the wonderment of nature and somewhere along the way we lose it.
Like I said the seedlings were popular and I hope to grow more variety and better quality seedlings soon. By the way we can use more potting soil, if you have a source for this valuable resource. So far we haven’t had to buy any.
At least one person suggested we try to let people know what we are doing, what the vision of our stand is. I tried to explain it here and had this translated into different languages to help with the communication. A number of people told me they appreciated the flier and a couple people said they liked what we were trying to do. There was still a bit of pushiness in the line around the time the second load of food came. I can understand it as the producce looked so abundant and delicious, especially the strawberries and fresh fruit. Hopefully everyone will have time to read the flier when they get home.