Monday, September 29, 2008

Random Acts of Sharing

In the nineties there was a popular movement of people practicing random acts of kindness and now there is even a Random Acts of Kindness Foundation that "is committed to spreading kindness". The Free Farm Stand has become a place where people come and practice random acts of sharing of food and I think it is very sweet and a big turn-on.

Lyz whom I haven't seen in a while came by with some squash she had grown in her Potrero Hill garden. It was a great example of what I had hoped would happen with the Free Farm Stand. That someone would pick up some seedlings they had gotten from the stand and then bring back some of the extra produce to share with others. I think for that for the idea to really take off I would need someone to hang out by the seedling table to talk to people wanting plants, and to explain the idea behind sharing free seedlings. It would also need to be someone to speak Spanish ideally and who would have a little knowledge of gardening. I want to eventually help people more than I do now to start gardens in their backyards, either by just giving advice or having a crew of volunteers that would help put in gardens for people and be their garden mentors throughout the garden season.

Lyz also brought by some vegan Horchata in a thermos that she had made to share with people. A real random but beautiful gesture that I always appreciate. I thought it was delicious and she is going to send me the recipe that I will share with you (basically almond rice milk with sugar and cinnamon). I think like the honey I give away it is a special treat and we all need to limit ourselves in how much sugar we consume…it can get addictive and is calorie increasing! Plus I am not totally comfortable buying almonds after being reminded of our states out of control almond industry and the negative effect it has on our honeybees.

Another beautiful touch to the stand was that Jenny showed up with oregano that she had trimmed the other day in the garden. She dried it and packaged it and printed up instructions in Spanish and English for it's medicinal and culinary uses.

Dave came by with more of his delicious cherry tomatoes from Treat Ave. (this might be the last of them). Jamie brought by more Acme bread. I want to send out a prayer for Fred and Carolyn who started picking up the bread to make it easier for Jamie. Fred is in the hospital and won't be driving for a while. They were not only picking up the bread, but had just started making sandwiches with some of it and giving them to Rita's Mission Reading Project for the kids that go there.

I am still recording here what is at the stand every week, and I am amazed we continue filling up the table: In terms of vegetables, there were lots of tomatoes (some from the Ferry Building Farmer's market, salad mix, lettuce, various kinds of greens, a few hot peppers, squash, cucumbers from Potrero de Sol Community Garden, some flowers, and a lot of herbs. I also harvested chestnuts that I helped plant in 1982 on 23rd St. There were also a lot of apples that I picked this week and a bucket of lemons. I also got some plums from the Ferry Building Farmer's market. And I grew more sunflower sprouts that have become very popular.

Gleaning report

This week I harvested apples from two locations. First I went back to David's house across from McLaren Park to pick peaches. One tree apparently had already been picked and the other one the big peaches were not ripe yet. Then we went next door and ask his neighbor if we could pick his fruit trees. He had two apple trees and an Asian pear. He was ok with us doing that so I climbed his small fence and picked a lot of apples. I also cleaned up the ground of apples and separated the apples that were compost from the ones for apple sauce. I think I had three milk crates filled with apples (there weren't a lot of Asian pears that I could find). I also went back to the tree on Folsom and harvested another two milk crates of apples and a bucket of lemons. Here is a link to an interesting apple tree story from the Chronicle that someone sent me: .

Today I started making applesauce with the apples left over from this week; there are quite a lot, mostly ones that I picked off the ground. Turns out they are filled with worm damage and take a lot of work to process. I cut out all the bad parts including the core and seeds. I cut them up a bit and then put them in a pot and cooked them until they were mushy. Then I put them in a cuisinart and blended them until they were pretty saucy. I found that I didn't like the texture of the skins so I put the sauce through a strainer. I have been thinking of getting a fruit strainer attachment for my kitchenaid mixer that someone gave Angie and I, but am not sure if I want to shell out $100. Maybe I can find one used. I did one crate of apples so far and made about a gallon and a half of apple sauce. It is pretty tasty. I have two more boxes of funky apples to go. Anyone want to have a food processing party? I also have walnuts from our backyard to shell and more honey to put in small jars. If I were really serious about making sauce and giving it away I would need to get a whole canning set up going…getting jars and the equipment. In the old days when I lived in a commune I did all that, but at some point we stopped canning and I think gave away all the equipment. Funny how things circle back around. I'm growing sprouts again too.

Maria has started wearing her Sunday best for the stand

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