I was going to call this posting Return of the Planet of the Apricots. It was June 22, 2009 when  I wrote the report of our apricot picking  in the post Planet of the Apricots. Last week we returned to Vacaville and picked the orchard again and bringing 381lbs of apricots to the city to give away (including the amount of squished apricots that our volunteer gleaners brought home to can, brew mead,  and cook into jam, we picked easily at least 400 pounds of fruit). I think it is so amazing that we picked the same amount as last time, although it seems there was less fruit on the trees.

While researching using the apricot kernels which I discovered are not too hard to crack open with a nut cracker, I ran across this   http://egyptfarm.blogspot.com/2008/05/eating-apricot-kernel-in-egypt.html.  “Here in Egypt when we want to refer to something that will never happen we say “fel meshmesh”. This Egyptian saying in Arabic means “when the apricot season comes”. Meshmesh (مشمش) is the Arabic word for Apricot. The season for apricot in Egypt is so brief that as soon as it starts it comes quickly to an end.” “Egyptians do not only eat the apricot fruit, but traditionally we also break the seed coat of the apricot and eat the kernel inside. ” I have been slowly cracking open our kernels and drying them…why not use this good food source?

Produce to the People brought not only apricots, but 23lbs of  plums from Holy Innocents Church in Noe Valley and 47lbs of lemons from Gen Park (I think that was from two trees). I love Lauren and Produce to the People and her gleaning project is so right on! Right on target for what is needed in the city is to get our fruit trees picked and the fruit distributed to people in need. They are having their Ice Cream to the People! benefit this week at El Rio 3158 Mission St. on Thursday 5:00pm until 9:00pm. I love to support them and they always have delicious vegan ice cream besides the dairy kind. “And a new treat this year will be live bluegrass music from The Porch Collective! Plenty of space on the El Rio patio, under the lemon tree, to dance or at least tap your toes to the lively tunes”.

We are at the height of stone fruit season and it has been unreal how much fruit we have been getting left over from the farmers market.  Mike went to the Stonestown Mall Farmer’s market to pick up the left-overs and took these photos of the some of the fruit that was there.

I have been canning and freezing the soft fruit that is left over from our stand and at the Stand yesterday I brought a bicycle powered blender that I borrowed from my friend Megan.  The idea was to show people how they can use the mushy fruit and among other things make smoothies. Kids and adults especially enjoyed the smoothie making scene.

After the Stand I still had more left over fruit that I wound up canning. I was thinking there is a need for a fruit gleaning and processing  phone tree…people who we can call last minute to help pick fruit or process it.  It actually turned out that we couldn’t pick all the apricot trees when we went to the orchard, but at the same time it took some work to distribute it and to process it all. If someone wants to organize that I think the time has come.

We also got a drop off of very beautiful Red Russian Kale from Sam from the School Farm at the Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, between the Twin Peaks and Mt. Davidson and had plenty of summer squash.

here is a 12 pounder before we cut it up and gave it away (variety Costata Romanesco. We had a picture of a smaller one last week)


“Air moves us, fire transforms us, water shapes us, earth heals us.”  Those are words from a chant sung at the memorial celebration for our friend Moher who died of breast cancer recently. I  attended the event yesterday instead of being at the Free Farm Stand.

 Before I left I dropped off some vegetables from the Free Farm (and surplus from the farmer’s markets).  I took a few photos of the lovely produce from our Free Farm before I left. I do believe our produce right out of the garden/farm  does heal us and that fresh  food and flowers are medicinal as well as nourishing.

Yellow Rocoto peppers and two mini okra grown in our hot house

3 kinds of basil, Sweet Basil, African Blue Basil, Sacred Basil (also known as Holy Basil or Tulsi)

Just researching this type of basil I have learned that it is very medicinal and that tulsi tea is a very popular drink.

we had a lot of zucchini and lettuce (some came from Alemany Farm)

Alana  and her friend from Italy Carlotta(?) in the pink blouse from Italy.

They WWOOFed on farm in Italy her country. I forgot to tell her the variety of zucchini

she is holding is called Costata Romanesco from Italy.

 Arizmendi Bakery has been donating its Saturday night leftover venan muffins and bread that have been popular.

Cristina handed out plants like comfrey, Sunchoke, and mint and ran our garden advice table

Here is a link to a beautiful project called the Generous Garden Project http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf-Ver7Gq7U. Someone posted a comment that says “This is a glimpse into what a free & voluntary world will look like…” These kind of projects make my heart sing happily.

I was very moved by the memorial I went to for my friend Moher. I knew her too briefly from working at Martin de Porres soup kitchen. She apparently had worked there with her husband Louie about as long as I have, over 20 years. I never met her nor Louie, because I never worked a weekday shift there, only on Sundays. It feels I knew Louie because his photo  hangs over the sink where I wash vegetables on Tuesdays. Moher was an extremely warm and generous person that I just barely got to know, and also a beautiful artist. When I knew her she was recovering from a stroke and I was amazed by her strength and energy as a human being and her upbeat spirit.  The event was inspiring for a number of reason. First because I learned about all the great  service work Moher had done in her life and her political activism. I also felt privledged to be in a space with all her many friends, family, and her large community.

 Once again I was reminded  of the importance of  creating  community and encircling ourselves with seekers on a similar spiritual path that we are on. I was especially impressed with the 6 women who were in a circle with her that were really close. Three of them who were at the celebration sang this song that totally shook me up inside and moved me to tears. Here is a version by Sweet Honey on the Rock and I have put the lyrics below.

(Chorus)

Listen more often, to things than to beings(2x)

Tis the ancestors words, when the fires voice is heard

Tis the ancestors words, in the voice of the water

aaaaahhhhhh, chhhhhhhhhh, aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh, chhhhhhhhhh

(1st verse)

Those who have died, have never never left

The Dead are not under the earth

They are in the rustling trees, they are in the groaning woods

They are in the crying grass, they are in the moaning rocks

The dead are not under the earth

(Chorus)

(2nd verse)

Those who have died, have never never left

The dead have a pact with the living

They are in the woman’s birth, they are in the waiting child

They are with us in tho home, they are with us in the crowd

The dead have a pact with the living

(Chorus)

Please check out the latest blog entry at the Free Farm http://thefreefarm.org/. There is a great video made by two students that accurately captures what we are all about.

Finally, right off the press, a link to a report from our friend Christy who is reporting on the Peoples Alternative Earth Summit in Rio Grassroots groups confront the mastermind of the green economy.  Her write up is the first thing I have read that really clearly explains what is going on there…”At the heart of the issue is the idea [what the UN is pushing] … that everything in nature must be assigned a monetary value—because that’s the only way we’ll take care of it.”