October 2017

Farmers’ Note

I think I speak for everyone at the farm when I say I am totally done with Summer. The heat waves this summer have been really brutal and this end of October oven is really not enjoyable for us. I’m pretty lost as to what to plant in this weather, though my guesses so far have been okay. I’ll be gone to the Bay area this weekend for a few days and I’m hoping that when I’m back it he cooled down a bit.

I hope everyone is staying cool and enjoying some relaxing time indoors during this week. Please get your relaxing in now so you have energy to plant many trees this fall. They are our only hope for reversing these alarming weather trends.

Farmer Rishi
The Growing Club

Photos of the Week

Farmer Trainee’s Journal

This Week’s CSA Box

(Please click each item below for a larger photo, description, and preparation instructions.)

Large Box

Vegetables:
– kale
– pak choy
– eggplant/zucchini
– salad box
– long beans
– Chinese broccoli
– radish
– daikon micro greens

Fruit:
– pomegranate
– persimmon/guava

Herbs:
– chives
cilantro

Small Box

Vegetables:
– Chinese broccoli
– radish
– daikon micro greens
– pak choy
– salad box
– mustard greens

Fruit:
– pomegranate

Herb:
– Egyptian onion

Notes

Leafy Vegetables
In case your greens are wilted by the time you pickup your box, please follow these instructions:

– Fill a small bowl or tub with 1 inch of water
– Cut a 1/2 inch of the bottoms of the stems of your leafy greens
– Place greens, with stems down, into the bowl of water
– Leave the greens in the bowl overnight and by morning they should be rehydrated

Wrap your rehydrated greens in a towel and store the in the fridge. Summer greens like water spinach, moringa, and yam leaves don’t last long either way, so eat those as soon as you can.

Herbs
The best way to store your herbs so that they keep longer is to cut the stems a little and place them in a glass filled with about an inch of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a bag and keep them in the refrigerator. Replace the water inside when it gets cloudy. This works great with basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, and many other herbs.

Please feel free to share your recipes with us and also any storing tips you may have.

Farmers’ Note

I am busy this week preparing for our first Regenerative Urban Farming Intensive. We are so excited to have people on the farm for 3 days learning our methods and ideas. The farm is doing well despite the unseasonably hot weather, and we are just wishing for some clouds so we can go full force into fall. Enjoy your week and lovely vegetables!

Farmer Rishi
The Growing Club

Photos of the Week


Farmer Trainee’s Journal

This Week’s CSA Box

(Please click each item below for a larger photo, description, and preparation instructions.)

Large Box

Vegetables:
– squash
– bok choy
eggplant
– salad box
– long beans
– daikon sprout
– kale
– mung bean

Fruit:
– pomegranate

Herbs:
– garlic chive
– jalapeño

Small Box

Vegetables:
– bok choy
– radish
– daikon sprout
– long beans
– salad box
– mung beans

Fruit:
– pomegranate

Herb:
– garlic chive

Notes

Leafy Vegetables
In case your greens are wilted by the time you pickup your box, please follow these instructions:

– Fill a small bowl or tub with 1 inch of water
– Cut a 1/2 inch of the bottoms of the stems of your leafy greens
– Place greens, with stems down, into the bowl of water
– Leave the greens in the bowl overnight and by morning they should be rehydrated

Wrap your rehydrated greens in a towel and store the in the fridge. Summer greens like water spinach, moringa, and yam leaves don’t last long either way, so eat those as soon as you can.

Herbs
The best way to store your herbs so that they keep longer is to cut the stems a little and place them in a glass filled with about an inch of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a bag and keep them in the refrigerator. Replace the water inside when it gets cloudy. This works great with basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, and many other herbs.

Please feel free to share your recipes with us and also any storing tips you may have.

Last week’s class about tree management, particularly the part about pruning, made me marvel yet again at how much we have to learn from plants.

In tree pruning, it’s important to cut off the things that we don’t want, that we know won’t develop into anything we want. Only if we cut those things off, can we grow what we know we do want. By cutting off unwanted branches and limbs, it allows the tree to focus the energy into what’s important. Pruning is what gives the tree its shape and its direction.

I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this…

It reminded me of how important it is to acknowledge ourselves as physical bodies, and how universally important it is to clear the things we don’t want, so that we can focus on what we do want.

Up until recently, I fully bought into the myth that you can do it all, all the time, firing on all cylinders. You just have to want it bad enough. You need to persevere and push past your limits, and if you can’t, this is a failing of character or strength or…something.

But in the last few years, I’ve slowly awakened to the truth or at least what is true for me. I have come to acknowledge and embrace the fact that I am a finite being with finite resources. I can’t magically produce more than I am generating. I’ve had to focus my energy on what’s important and to be more thoughtful about what I do want and what I don’t want.

Trees require intentional care that utilizes the finite amount of energy it produces to grow in an ideal way. Just as we require intentional care that utilizes the finite amount of energy we produce to grow in an ideal way. It’s such a simple concept, but easy to forget, I suppose.

 

Tonight I’m thinking about progress. I just came home from a gig tonight (I’m learning to become a DJ), which went poorly. To an outsider, it might seem like nothing bad happened. But to me, they were glitches that were a result of preventing major ones, and major ones did happened tonight. None of which should have happened in the first place, but they did. I’ll spare you the details on what exactly they were, but it was an emotional night to say the least. I was thrown into the deep end and totally in over my head. Was it a good thing? Probably. Was it a bad thing? Probably. But it got me to thinking about how all living things (plants included) show stress and how they progress. Part of being a DJ is never showing your stress, which may be true for many high stress jobs. I usually wear my heart on my sleeve and I have a terrible poker face, but after being in the entertainment industry for so long (in my case, dance), you learn to smile big through pain, stress, abuse, and being chewed out. I definitely put on my best poker face tonight and smiled throughout the whole thing. This got me to wonder about the flora and fauna on the farm that take a lot of crap from the weather, people, animals, bacteria, thirst, and lack of nutrients. The plant world gets the life beaten out of it everyday because of people, animals and the environment. It really is survival of the fittest and those who are fit will have a better chance to make it. They will live to see another day of sunshine, the quest for water, and protection from pain. Maybe the lesson in that is that every day we pick up our fallen pieces or fall short of our best or strike out spectacularly, those moments are the real gifts of progress. The privilege to struggle is progress. It’s not always supposed to feel good. It’s the privilege to try again.

The experience tonight really turned my old thought pattern on its head. It goes back to the saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Whether your a fruit or a human, survival is a bit subjective, but it’s still about getting through it. And progress is all of that and more.

Farmers’ Note

Well it is now mid-October, and the weather remains hot and dry. We definitely feel the cool down in the evening and mornings at the farm, but at the same time, the daytime temperatures are still reaching into the 90s and the late season tomatoes we planted are actually starting to ripen fruit (hurray!?). The lack of moisture, continued heat, and complementary winds have meant terrible fires locally (Anaheim Hills) and regionally (Sonoma County). Though I have long known that with climate changing and human activity not changing, this would be the inevitable result, I am hoping that other people will wake up to this fact as well.

I find it completely ironic and sad that as our technology “progresses” to predict and control the Earth’s cycles (water, climate, nitrogen, phosphorous, energy, etc.), the Earth’s cycles become more variable and unpredictable. It’s time for us all to wake up and realize that our health, safety, and happiness do not lie in the hands of gadgets, widgets, and apps, but in the healthy, safety and happiness of those we live with. I named our farm Sarvodaya (upliftment of all), because I hoped we could demonstrate that idea on this little ol’ piece of land. Hopefully we are making an impact, and others will follow.

Farmer Rishi
The Growing Club

Photos of the Week

Farmer Trainee’s Journal

This Week’s CSA Box

(Please click each item below for a larger photo, description, and preparation instructions.)

Large Box

Vegetables:
– zucchini
– bok choy and yam leaf stir fry mix
moringa leaf
– salad box
– long beans
– shishito pepper
eggplant
– mung beans

Fruit:
– jamun
– pomegranate

Herbs:
– garlic chive
cilantro

Small Box

Vegetables:
– bok choy and yam leaf stir fry mix
winter squash
moringa leaf
– long beans
– salad box
– microgreens

Fruit:
– pomegranate

Herb:
– onion chive

Notes

Leafy Vegetables
In case your greens are wilted by the time you pickup your box, please follow these instructions:

– Fill a small bowl or tub with 1 inch of water
– Cut a 1/2 inch of the bottoms of the stems of your leafy greens
– Place greens, with stems down, into the bowl of water
– Leave the greens in the bowl overnight and by morning they should be rehydrated

Wrap your rehydrated greens in a towel and store the in the fridge. Summer greens like water spinach, moringa, and yam leaves don’t last long either way, so eat those as soon as you can.

Herbs
The best way to store your herbs so that they keep longer is to cut the stems a little and place them in a glass filled with about an inch of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a bag and keep them in the refrigerator. Replace the water inside when it gets cloudy. This works great with basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, and many other herbs.

Please feel free to share your recipes with us and also any storing tips you may have.

A few weeks ago, I learned how to lacto-ferment my first jar of peppers. Like so many other things at the farm, it was something I had always been curious about, wanted to try, but seemed so daunting that I always found an excuse to shelve it for another time.

And like so many other things at the farm, it was actually far easier, far more possible than I had thought.

We cut up a bunch of peppers and onions, threw those into a quart jar with some ginger and turmeric, inoculated the jar with brine from a previous batch Elinor had, and then filled it up with filtered water and a tablespoon of pink salt.

And then…I waited. For five anxious days, I hovered around my jar of potentially pickling peppers, looking out for any signs of mold or danger.

Finally, the day of reckoning was at hand. I twisted the top off, peered in, and…

There was my thriving colony of bubbling bacteria! I, with some trepidation I must admit, forked out a few peppers to see how they tasted.

Y’ALL, they were great. Still a little salty for my taste, but nothing a few more days of fermenting wouldn’t take care of. After about five more days, my peppers had the perfect amount of sourness to them, and so into the fridge they went.

It was such a revelation to me how easy the whole process was, and it reinforced for me yet again how distorted people’s idea of clean is, how distorted my idea of clean was before I started this program. A big lesson for me throughout this program has been to rethink what words like “clean” and “healthy” really mean, and to break my association of those words with the idea of sterility. Instead of needing to kill everything to make it “safe,” the process of lacto-fermenting reminded me that working with nature to create the right conditions often produces better and healthier outcomes.

I know, I still have 6 weeks to go until the end of my farmer training. But I’m feeling it. I know good things are ahead and there’s a lot of work still left to be done, but I’m feeling it. I’ve made these friendships and learned more than I ever thought I would and this space and time will soon be a memory like all other great memories I’ve had. In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday, I feel like it’s such a gift to come back to the farm and see everyone. Every workday, at noon, we say goodbye and assume that we’ll all be back the next time. It’s a fairly reasonable expectation and certainly absurd to be constantly worried if it doesn’t happen. Why? Because we have to let go. We don’t have control over where we all move around after the farm or what life hands us. We just show up and do the best we can and then we leave and hope to see one another again. It’s bittersweet for me. I genuinely wonder about what my peers are learning off the farm, what they will reveal about their journey, and how it will change them now and beyond. I also wonder about our farm in this way. I wonder, how did nightfall treat them? What was lurking in bed B-6? What died near the Barkman berm? What does sunset look like from the farm? Did the chickens learn anything about the Mooch’s behavior and how they’ll beat him at his own game? What did the heat do to the poor long beans and how are they adapting to all of this? I do. I honestly do think about this. Not all the time (that would be just exhausting), but the thought does cross my mind. I care about the farm and I care about the people on the farm. This isn’t just a place we go to work each week. It’s a time capsule where we lose and gain, we grow and shrink, we pay debts and we overspend, we see and become blind to. It’s a fountain of youth and a black hole. It’s a tabula rasa and total chaos and it’s this beautiful mess where gratitude grows.

I’m blown away with how much I’ve learned by being on the farm. Every day I come to the farm I feel like I want to do more, feed the earth, plant another tree, spend more time digging in the dirt and over all lean into being more zero waste. The farm is a magical place. It attracts the most amazing like-minded people. My cohort of fellow farmer trainees blow me away every day. In small, special ways, I feel I want to be more like each and every one of them. At the same time, I also want to be more like the earth and the trees and the little crops that we grow each week. I feel like I’m more connected to the lifestyle of a plant and of living things than I have ever felt working with a team of people at a large company. We’ve lost touch. It’s true. We’ve lost touch with living things and I feel that pull to be stronger every day I’m not on the farm. Every bug, weed, pod, shell, furball, or mulch fiber on the farm reveals a little more about the rhythm of nature and how living things are a part of a larger whole. Rishi laughs whenever he hears that things are  unnatural. I thought he was looney at first and thought about all the unnatural things in the world out there, but now I feel like he’s right. I mean, if it’s on planet Earth, it has come from nature at some point. How can it be unnatural?! Sure it’s been pulled and tugged and transformed and diluted and manipulated, but it’s still here on this earth. It exists on our planet. The problem I think is that there are too many middlemen between the soil and ourselves. Too much middle management that have their hand in delivering products and services. I’m getting a bit off topic, but at the end of the day, that direct experience with the soil, air, water and heat (or fire) makes me feel more complete. Almost as if little gaps that were too small to the naked eye are getting filled in. It’s nice.

Puffer mushrooms are popping up on the farm these days. Darren was one of the first to taste test them and now they are the latest delicacy of farm life.  I’ve been thinking about what mushrooms on the farm mean. I hear that they are good for the farm. The indicate that the space under our feet is communicating and mushrooms are the fiber optic highway of the soil world. As a kid they were just my soccer and kickball practice. Whenever I saw one, I’d run up to it and kick it over for fun and to see how far I could hurl the tops into the air. I also used to think that they were just signs that the soil was diseased and that the soil was dying….in other words, they were bad. In my defense, in a way I was right, the soil is constantly dying, but it’s also regenerating. Mushrooms were a sign of something bad, I thought. It made me wonder, what if all those things we assign as “bad” were actually “not so bad” or even, (gasp) “good”? We’ve all heard that story about eating our vegetables. As kids, many of us felt they were bad, and then we came to understand that they were the exact opposite. What if people we thought were bad were actually good? Or vice versa, what if good people are actually bad? It’s a disservice to think in binary terms of course, but humor me with this little flip of the switch. Lately, I’ve been applying this mushroom principle to circumstances on the farm. For example, how to properly prepare and turn over a bed. Is there one way that surpasses all ways? (In my opinion, No.) Should we care more about quality over efficiency? (Perhaps.) Can we let go of our own personal preferences for the sake of learning? (In my opinion, a resounding Yes.!) All things aside, there is another perspective that isn’t popular. But does popularity mean it’s right? I don’t think so. What I learned from the farm this week is that binaries just don’t reveal anything about how the world really is. There isn’t just one way or one explanation and when I get so adamant about things or people being “good” or “bad”, I’m usually totally wrong or worse, unempathetic. The next time I get the urge to scoff at something I think is “bad”, I hope it will inspire a greater internal dialogue and curiosity that goes something like this…”

Ugg, there’s a mushroom. They are bad. Well, I guess that’s what I used to think when I was a kid and I’ve learned a few things along the way. The farm tells me that they are actually good, helpful, supportive, vital to life and growth. Maybe I didn’t look into it that hard before and just believed what other people told me. Maybe there’s more to the eye than what I’ve been fed. I could be wrong, but it just looks so gross, so it must BE gross. That’s not true for everything. So are mushrooms really bad? I don’t know. Let’s find out for sure.

Farmers’ Note

Sometimes on the farm, I can get caught up in all the business and todo lists that I forget to take a look around me and enjoy the beauty I am swimming in (I think this is also easy to do in the summer when its over 100 degrees). The past week, I’ve been remembering that beauty and taking the time to stop and enjoy it. It is in these moments that I am reminded in today’s ever speeding world, the greatest luxuries are the simplest: time to be slow, time to enjoy, time to relax. There is not much of a point in growing the world’s best fruits and vegetables, if you don’t take the time to chew them completely, notice every flavor, breakdown every nutrient. So in this fall season, when the living organism of Los Angeles is cast in clouds, when darkness creeps in further to our mornings and evenings, when the birds start chirping a little later, and when the blood in your veins takes a little longer to warm up, I leave you and myself with a little reminder: take is slow. Taste every one of those pomegranate seeds.

Farmer Rishi
The Growing Club

Photos of the Week

 

A post shared by Pearls Page (@zerowastefarmer) on


Farmer Trainee’s Journal

This Week’s CSA Box

(Please click each item below for a larger photo, description, and preparation instructions.)

Large Box

Vegetables:
– zucchini
water spinach
– Egyptian onion
moringa leaf
– salad box
– long beans
nopales
eggplant

Fruit:
– jamun
– pomegranate

Herbs:
– chive
– basil

Small Box

Vegetables:
nopales
water spinach
moringa pod
– long beans
– salad box
– Egyptian onion

Fruit:
– pomegranate

Herb:
– basil

Notes

Leafy Vegetables
In case your greens are wilted by the time you pickup your box, please follow these instructions:

– Fill a small bowl or tub with 1 inch of water
– Cut a 1/2 inch of the bottoms of the stems of your leafy greens
– Place greens, with stems down, into the bowl of water
– Leave the greens in the bowl overnight and by morning they should be rehydrated

Wrap your rehydrated greens in a towel and store the in the fridge. Summer greens like water spinach, moringa, and yam leaves don’t last long either way, so eat those as soon as you can.

Herbs
The best way to store your herbs so that they keep longer is to cut the stems a little and place them in a glass filled with about an inch of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a bag and keep them in the refrigerator. Replace the water inside when it gets cloudy. This works great with basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, and many other herbs.

Please feel free to share your recipes with us and also any storing tips you may have.