A woman at the Free Farm Stand yesterday asked me asked me how long the Farm Stand would be open, in other words would I be there in there in the late fall and the winter? She imagined that there wouldn't be much produce and that I would close. I told her that this was partly an experiment for me to see how much food I could grow year round in San Francisco, so that I plan to keep coming as long as I can keep bringing something to the table that was locally grown and organic. Don't the CSA's keep providing food boxes all through the year? As long as I have some sunny space I know I can grow food.
It really is feeling like fall right now or is it a warm Indian summer? Angie and I love this clear Autumn light and there is a crispness in the air too. Now is a good time to be growing cool weather crops, especially leafy greens and lettuce, peas (I love planting snap peas), garlic, and fava beans. We don't usually get frost here, so we can grow a lot during the fall and winter. The problem is our gardens are usually shady in the city this time of year, unless we are lucky, so growing greens and fava beans are our best bet.
I had a huge amount of food and flowers at the farm stand this week. I spaced out and didn't take any photos at the start and only have a few photos after an hour or so passed by .There was still a lot of food on the table then. I really could use a good photographer!
First of all, I harvested apples from two trees. In my last post, I showed the photos of the apple tree in Golden Gate Park I harvested. I also picked my neighbors apple tree and cleaned the ground of the fallen apples too. Her lemon tree is still producing lemons and that is really the story of "plant you now pick you later". What an incredible gift! I also had all the tomatoes from the organic farmer in Sebastopol and his big banana squash. Just like Tom said (the guy who brought the tomatoes and squash to me from the country), I cut the squash easily with a "sawzall", and I wrapped 1 lb. pieces in cling plastic wrap. I still have more to cut up and he wants to bring me more.
On Saturday Angie and I prepared a big salad for our friends wedding. It is like the gold rush all over again in San Francisco with the number of gay people getting married before the election (hopefully though it looks like Proposition 8 the Same Sex Marriage Ban will go down for defeat). At the end of the event, I was described in a good way as a bottom feeder. I collected a lot of flowers for the farm stand and even went through the compost bin collecting the bamboo plates to wash). It was a good attempt at a green wedding. I also had a box of salad mix from Green Gulch farm leftover plus some prepared salad, and some sunflower greens and clover/brassica mix sprouts. Oh I grabbed all the leftover delicious vegan chicken sandwiches and they went fast to my surprise.
The table was overflowing and the flowers made everything look fabulous. There were also apples, beets, and a lot of herbs (a lot of basil) from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. And more wonderful Acme bread. I harvested some yellow zucchini and tomatoes from the Secret Garden. Christy came by with tomatoes and Cape Gooseberries from the Corona Heights Garden and a woman came by with a big spaghetti squash from her garden. And Jose and Minda dropped off more cucumbers from their garden at Potrero del Sol.
I have been giving away cilantro and kale seedlings and this week I started distributing tree collards that I rooted. They really root easily and it is a great plant to grow. They grow year round and the leaves are especially sweeter in the winter. They can grow pretty tall and it is a great perennial source of greens. I have more plants if anyone wants to try growing them. I have had two people tell me they have harvested broccoli from the seedlings they got from the stand. One guy grows his entire garden in containers (I think mostly in 5 gallon buckets).
Mini-farm update and other news
I met last week with David at the new permaculture mini-farm/garden at 18th and Rhode Island. He is going to try to have the swales laid out by next Friday. Once those are laid out we can begin sheet mulching. We are trying to get manure, cardboard, and wood chips on the lot and ready to use when we are ready. We will see how that goes, but in any case there is a lot of ivy to pull up and woody stuff to chop up. Dave and I thought Fridays would be a good work day and I am going to line that up as a day I will be there. This week I will be at the lot at noon and so will Dave. I am really hoping that we get at least one swale ready to plant soon so we might start putting seeds and bulbs in the ground (I have garlic that I especially want to plant and we will probably plant fava beans and some kale too).
The local food growing enthusiasm is still growing strong. There is a new movie coming out on the Edible City. Here is a link to the trailer…http://www.vimeo.com/1814818. Here is a link that Kevin posted about an inspiring urban farmer in Milwaukee ... http://www.truveo.com/Farmers-in-the-City/id/1368342214. One shortcoming of the Free Farm Stand is the lack of a consistent person at the stand every Sunday that speaks Spanish. I want to get the word out to everyone that comes what we are doing, that it is more than just giving out free food. I want to talk to people about forming a network of neighbors who can grow food and share it at the stand. I want to communicate about where our food comes from and help people who might like to try growing some food. A large percent of the people who come to the stand speak only Spanish so I hope we can do better eventually at having more Spanish speaking people helping out.
There are more trees to pick right now and fruit trees to research. I am stretched out pretty thin these days and am looking for someone to train to help go out and get the fruit or at least find out if the trees are being harvested and if we can pick them. This Saturday morning if I don't have any fruit I may go out and pick some.