Monday, June 29, 2009

The Pride Day Free Farm Stand

Someone at the Free Farm Stand yesterday asked me why I started this project and I stumbled around for words to answer her. Last night in a bit of a sleepy state I remembered one of my first inspirations for the stand was harvesting a lot of kale in my backyard and washing it and tying it up with an reused organic label wire. I was thinking how exciting it was to grow that large amount of kale; and to be able to give it away in a classy and beautiful manner to people that could use some free healthy produce. Peace Pilgrim spoke about us all having a personal calling in life and that we just need to look inside ourselves and figure out what our calling is and start following it. I know I have always had a calling to deal with food, to give it away in some manner or growing it. So my early inspiration for the Free Farm Stand was to grow a lot of beautiful food (and flowers too someday) and give it away as a gift to those in need.

I was reminded this week that I have been having a hard time fulfilling that original dream of growing a lot of food and giving it away. Last week I visit the Pe'ah Garden in the Home of Peace cemetery in Colma (it is really an acre farm). I have written about this farm in the past that grows food that is donated to the San Francisco Food Bank. Also, Jonathan has been teaching free gardening classes every Sunday out there that I having been putting on my events column for the last month. I knew I would be totally jazzed visiting this farm and I wasn't disappointed. I tell you something is genetically wired in me to get excited when I see large amounts of food being grown to feed the hungry. Thinking about it, I could see some possible improvements that could be made there in terms of the way they were growing things, but all the same there were rows and rows of beautiful organic broccoli, chard, tomatoes, and a big strawberry bowl with sweet strawberries ripe and ready to pick. I was literally overjoyed and feeling a definite pull towards that project. Plus Jonathan has use of a fabulous greenhouse. While I was there we planted two big trays of lettuce for the Free Farm Stand.

I started thinking that with my current situation of working in a number of small gardens, it is challenging to grow a lot of food like that (at least for the numbers of people that are coming these days…see below). I must constantly remind myself it is ok to not grow massive amounts of food. That I am doing the best I can with the space I have. And I have gardens that are small but still need a lot of attention (like my backyard that I have been trying to focus on recently). Anyway I am still meditating on this and am thinking about whether I should take Jonathan up on his offer for me to do some farming there at Pe'ah Garden or to stay more local. The advantage to gardening in the Mission or even Potrero Hill is that I can get volunteers more easily (Colma is a little harder to get to or at least more expensive if you take Bart which is only blocks from the garden/farm).

People lining up for produce seems to be the normal thing at the Free Farm Stand these days. It got really busy fast and I realized how spaced out I got. Fortunately we have some great volunteers that have been helping and I think things ran pretty smoothly, though it gets very hectic at the beginning.
On the local table I had 21 pounds of sweet purple plums that Erin and Asher gleaned in the Mission on Saturday. They also picked some lemons. I picked some lettuce and kale from the Secret Garden and yellow zucchini (also kale and zucchini from Esperanza Gardens and I think someone else brought some). From 18th and Rhode Island I picked about a pound of African Blue basil (which I left in my refrigerator hopefully for next week) and some chard. Page brought by a cauliflower and some spinach and a few artichokes from Holy Innocents. A woman brought some mint from her garden. The farmer's market table was loaded with produce and the bread table which we moved further away from the produce table had more than the usual amount of yeasty delights. The plant table was a little skimpy though we did have some seedlings to give away. I still would like to see us have one person to staff that table and be able to be there full time, offering garden advice and information. I am thinking I could do that if I could just train someone to take charge of the produce table. What happened this week is that we had a lot of helpers at the produce tables, but no one person taking real charge and making sure all the food was being put out. At the end we had a lot of basil left that fortunately Maggie took home with her to distribute somehow.

On Saturday night I happened to be walking near Dolores Park where I ran into the Free Tea Party Bus ( I met Guisepi who started the project and a friend Sarah who was helping (she had come in from out of town). They had been serving free tea all day and were packing up (it was a busy day with the Pride Weekend bringing a lot of people out in the hot sun). Whenever I see something like a free project I like to check it out. It turns out that they had just heard about the Free Farm Stand by people who came by to get some free tea. I thought it was a beautiful project and then he offered to come by the Free Farm Stand and serve tea. When I got home I looked up their website and found it also very inspiring and it seemed we were on the same wave length. Here is some of what they say on the tea party web page:
The Free Tea Party cultivates community and encourages dialogue about peace, environment, and health through actions like serving free tea.

To bring people of all classes and colors, shapes and sizes, political beliefs and philosophies together in order to foster a connection between those who normally would never have connected in conversation. In this way valuable ideas can be shared and a human face can be put on people who one may have never related to before
They did show up and serve tea and it was very wonderful. We also had a preview taste of apricot jam from the apricots from last week, served on bread. And the herbal tea was not only cool and refreshing on the hot day it was, it tasted great. I gave them some fresh picked herbs and some honey for further tea parties. Can you imagine meeting a young man who realized that his calling in life is to serve free tea? It only confirms my belief that the "times they are a changing" again. That there are a lot of great things happening all over the world and we all need to continue the revolution/evolution by doing what we can to beautify the world and serve the poor.

Here is a good news flash. The project of planting fruit trees in the park where we have the Free Farm Stand is moving forward. I met with three big shots from Park and Recreation today and they ok'd a plan to fence off the unused and neglected part of the park for the mini-orchard (extending the garden into the park). And they will support me in applying for a grant that is coming up to put in the fence. I do believe that any urban revolution must include planting more fruit trees. I was really happy this Friday to see a small round avocado fruit on the Lamb Haas tree we planted at 18"th and Rhode Island.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Planet of the Apricots

Early Saturday morning six of us packed into our van with ladders, pole pickers, buckets, a tarp, picking bags, shallow cardboard boxes, and a cooler and a box of food. We were headed to the church of 100 apricot trees in Winters near Davis (about 73 miles from San Francisco). We were invited there to participate in a day of fruit picking and picnicking. I imagined that we were traveling on the Sabbath to the church of apricot trees, because I know what a graceful experience it would be.

When we got there we were all immediately hit with a wave of awe and excitement. There were others there already picking the trees, friends of the sisters whose parents own the property. We had all been invited to pick as much as we can use, including a man who inherited two pigs (under the agreement that he wouldn't eat them) who was getting all the smashed apricots off the ground. He mixes the rotting fruit with grains and some other waste product to make fermented buckets of food for his pigs that love it. They eat the slop and then flop down in drunken bliss.

Picking so many trees for a number of hours was truly a religious experience and it makes one not only feel grateful but it is a direct connection to the power of creation. All that magic and beauty in a simple red orange yellow fruit warmed by a hot sun! The sweet taste of the apricots was also divine. As was the warmth and generosity of the people we met. In our own way we were all high and drunk with the vibe the trees were singing out. Man we've got to be planting more fruit trees everywhere, especially in the city, so we don't have to drive to get that high we got to feed the masses with more than grasses.

At some point we took a break and had a lovely picnic under a large oak. Sharing food together is another holy act and being outside on a somewhat hot day under the shade of a tree with friends was great. Lauren with Produce to the People and her friend Sarah showed up and joined us. Then we all went back to picking, actually shaking and catching (at that point we figured out that shaking the small trees and having four of us holding a tarp worked better than hand picking…it also was a more communal activity like praying together rather than by oneself. I guess they both are good.

When we got back to the city I weighed the fruit and we had collected approximately 428 pounds of apricots, some that went to Martin de Porres and the rest mostly to the stand. Another magical thing that happened is that we saved a lot of the soft fruit that was on the ground for jam. A woman at our church that has made jam for the stand in the past agreed to make jam Sunday and took 30lbs of apricots home with her to do just that.

It turned out that we didn't get a lot of left-overs from the farmer's market. I had some produce I picked from my backyard, Treat Commons, and Rhode Island garden. It was the apricots that made the day exciting. Besides apricots, we had beautiful carrots from Treat Commons (Purple Haze and a fat orange kind...thinning the carrots is the secret to successful carrot growing), oregano, marjoram, mint, chard, kale, flowers from Treat Common and also African Blue Basil. A woman came by with a bag of beautiful lemons, another brought some purple plums, and Erin brought plums that she helped pick on Saturday. A couple of people brought rosemary. Rosemary and oregano are both herbs that we seem to have no problem getting a lot of because they grow so well in our Mediterranean climate. I also should mentioned that I still could really use someone to come and take photos at the Free Farm Stand. This week I totally spaced out in taking pictures of the produce, which was so beautiful on the super local table. The photos here were taken after a lot of the produce was gone and I finally found the camera.

This week was the first time I actually noticed a line of people forming to get produce. I must admit I started getting a little scared that the Free Farm Stand was going to have the feeling of a bread line vs. a community gathering of neighbors sharing their surplus home grown. I did notice around 2 or 2:30pm there was no line and it seemed less busy. We also didn't have a lot of bread at the get go so we limited the number of loaves a person could take to two. That seemed to cause some tension at times, especially when a Russian couple came and took five loaves and wanted more and he didn't understand English. I am thinking next week moving the bread table away from the produce section and also possibly move the plant table too. Maybe this will help mellow the scene. Also I wonder if the crowds are due to all the publicity I have been getting. With the digital age it doesn't even matter if you give an interview, word of mouth is not what it used to be with the internet.

Talk about links on line, there is a link for the Free Farm Stand on my friend Christy's online journal What If? Journal of Radical Possibilities ( When I first met Christy she told me she once published a journal that had an article about the Diggers in it and she gave me a copy (at that time it was in real ink). I enjoyed reading it and now she is putting What If? online and is looking for "wonderful sources of information on transformative projects going on here locally (and elsewhere!)." In this issue she explores permaculture.

Recently I have been reading a lot of email discussions about the idea of people living together like we did in the sixties and seventies. The idea of intentional communities, service ashrams, gift economy villages. I agree that is what is needed now more than ever. I lived in a communal household for 24 years where we shared income and were pretty communal and it was the greatest experience ever. I wrote previously of an Urban Kibbutz or a urban communal house of hospitality and farm located in the middle of the city. That is the dream I will put out in the universe today. Did everyone enjoy the summer solstice?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Flower Child vs Farmer Dude

Yesterday’s Free Farm Stand was a real whirlwind of activity. Besides a number of close friends that showed up for the first time, there were at least five other first timers that came by either with produce to share or to help. Plus there were a lot of people with a lot of different questions. I certainly wasn’t free enough to take many pictures let alone talk to everyone that I wanted to talk to more in depth. A lot of people came by to shop and by the end of the day we were pretty much out of everything.

The biggest harvest this week was the 62 pounds of loquats and 18 pounds of cherry plums that we picked on Saturday mostly from one tree next door to the secret garden and the plum located in the Secret Garden (read about that later). We also had some lemons that I picked from our Meyer lemon tree and I think Clare brought some too. We had two pounds of mustard greens from 18th and Rhode Island (and a handful of fava beans) and two pounds of kale from the Secret Garden. I harvested 25 Baby Gem and Spreckles lettuce from the Esperanza Sustainability Center Garden. Page’s son Forest, who is temporarily taking over Page’s garden and gleaning responsibilities brought by some artichokes, and then he stuck around to help. Margaret brought by some produce from Holy Innocents Church including carrots and rosemary (I am not sure what else). Maggie brought by some beautiful kale from some garden and at some point we had more fresh lettuce (I forgot who brought it). My friend Michael who is in a wheelchair brought mustard greens from his garden. Christy brought some chamomile and a lettuce too from Corona Heights Community Garden. She also came by with a woman named Ania who brought a number of extra broccoli seedlings and some jars of produce she canned too much of, including pickled carrots, green beans, and jam. Ania just sent me an email about a group she is involved with called transition ( This is another group trying to achieve the same goals as many other groups around including the Free Farm Stand (“Local Self-Reliance for a Post-Petroleum World”). Though I am not sure if I believe we will ever be in a post petroleum world. Does anyone else feel overwhelmed by all the groups out there doing the same kind of work? Is it possible for more groups out there to merge or does it matter?

Molly came by with some nopales growing near her house that she prepared and put in plastic ziplock bags. That was a lot of effort! As we were closing up at the end, a man and his young daughter came by to get some food and he got some of the leftover braising greens mix and some rosemary and loquats. Then a neighbor showed up with a few nice lettuces she just picked and he got some of that too.

I was walking down the street the other day and I saw a poster in a window that said “Hope” with a picture of Obama. I do think there is a lot of hope in the air, but for me it mostly doesn’t come from the top down. These days it comes from the exciting people I am meeting like the woman Binal, a naturopathic doctor that Pancho brought over Sunday. She helps run the free or gift-economy Karma Clinic in Berkeley ( Binal has such a warm and beautiful presence and I think we share a lot of similar dreams (like forming a household/community dedicated to healing and service and doing things with no charge). We looked at the garden together and she knew a lot about some of the herbs we were growing there.

On Friday at 18th and Rhode Island we had a good turnout to work in the garden. We have been planting more food including basil, tomato, and edamame seedlings. I also was excited to plant some sunflower plants for cutting. I think putting in a long row of sunflowers really made my day. I love planting flowers and I would love to plant more in the future if I ever had unlimited amounts of growing space. I do believe we need beautiful gardens to stroll in, places in the urban environment to heal our soul and senses, places to let our spirits roam free, to smell the roses and to tip toe through the tulips, bamboo groves to meditate in, flowers to talk to and wear in our hair. Not just farms to grow huge amounts of produce for the people. We need the flower child as well as the farmer dude.

On Saturday we had just enough people to pick a lot of fruit. David who lives next to the Secret Garden let us in his backyard to pick his 30 or 40 foot loquat tree that was loaded with perfectly ripe fruit. We carried in the 14ft tall orchard ladder and the extendable pole pruner. Dave got up on the ladder and picked by hand all that he could reach and then he clipped the fruit off with the pruner. Below Clare, Renae, and I held a plastic tarp out and caught the falling fruit. This method worked out pretty good. Later others joined the fun and we had Erin, Julia, Nave, and Pancho picking cherry plums, loquats and harvesting lettuce and kale, and planting more lettuce. We wound up picking 62 pounds of loquats from two trees though most came from Dave’s tree (and there are probably another 50 pounds on the tree and hundreds of pounds of cherry plums that are not ripe yet).
On Saturday there was also an event that I wrote about last week which was a queer bike tour of gardens in the Mission ending at an art gallery in SOMA where there was a Free Farm Stand set up. I actually gave them a little extra produce and some basil plants. I heard is that on their tour of the different gardens, gardeners would give them some surplus vegetables for their stand. I wonder if there are any pictures out there of the event, especially of their Free Farm Stand? My friends told me it was really great. I love the idea of having a regular bike rider or two visiting community gardens on Saturdays and connecting with gardeners to see if there is any surplus that could be picked up to be given away. I have a bicycle cart that could be used for this purpose.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Local Farmer Dude

Yesterday's Free Farm Stand was one of the best ever. It was the first time where the amount of locally grown neighborhood produce really out shined the left over produce from the Farmer's Markets. I realized on Saturday evening that I didn't have a lot of produce from the Farmer's Market and I was feeling OK about that, that whatever I have to give away is a beautiful thing no matter the amount. So it turned out that the very local table had so much produce it had to expand onto the plant table and all the stuff looked really great. I felt like a real local farmer dude showing off the stuff I grew and the stuff neighbors and friends grew or picked from trees. Not just like a schleper with a tired back.

It wasn't like the left over table wasn't pretty full, but just compared to some weeks we didn't have crazy amounts of things. We had a lot of nice young onions, some whole wheat flour from Eat Well Farms, and more odd greens. On the local table I had a bowl full of just picked Baby Gem lettuces from my backyard, sunflower greens that I grew, two pounds of mustard and chard greens and 2lbs of fava beans from 18th and Rhode Island, some mint and oregano and rosemary from there too, and a lot of citrus fruit from 20th and South Van Ness. On Saturday SF Glean had its first fruit tree gleaning orientation and then they went and picked some fruit trees. I heard about one tree through Neighborhood Vegetables, another fabulous local project trying to take off in San Francisco (it has already in Berkeley). I was out of town, but when I came back there was 12lbs of plums, 27 1/2lbs of navel oranges, 23lbs of mandarin oranges. Here is a slideshow of the picking crew in action:
I also picked chamomile from Treat Commons, some beautiful carrots, including some called Purple Haze, sweet pea flowers, and mustard greens and herbs The rest of the day people came by bringing things they grew or picked. It started with my friend Page who brought a number of cauliflowers that he had grown at Holy Innocents Church in Noe Valley. He also had a few lemons from a tree in Stanford. Steve our neighbor on Treat Ave. came by with a cooler filled with fresh lettuce and kale and big lemons from his Dad's home in Sebastapol (he said he has just picked it that morning and everyone was oohing and awing at how gorgeous the produce looked). Pam came by later with some collards flowers for me to try cooking (more on that later) and I think she dropped off some extra lettuce. Another friend brought a box of lemons they picked from a neighbors tree down the block. I am not sure if I saw all the food that people brought by because I was kept busy talking to people, but the table had stuff on it for a while.

The other thing that was so exciting is that the plant stand was a big hit. Two people brought a lot of beautiful seedlings and we had a lot of plants to give away.

The local gardening scene keeps growing and it seems every week there is something up with that, some movie about gardens and local food, or radio show, some local food project or event happening. Mentioning interviews, a few people told me the other day they heard me on KALW radio talking about the Free Farm Stand (see sidebar for interview). I knew KALW came by and that I talked to someone who was a freelance reporter, but I didn't know it was going on the air. I was rather disappointed that the interviewer didn't quite get what I was doing, seeming to emphasize and be mostly excited about the free food being given away, especially the bread. I don't think he understood the most important thing that I am trying to do which is to promote local food growing as a way of dealing with hunger and food insecurity in my neighborhood. Though I am giving away a lot of food, including bread, I really hope that people are coming because it helps with their tight budget, not because it is the hippest place to go to score some free food, which the interviewer seemed to imply.

My friend Ami who made the 4 minute movie on the Free Farm Stand for a city college project is organizing an event this Saturday which includes a Free Farm Stand. There is a queer gardens bike tour that is free at 4:30pm that meets at the Bike Kitchen (19th and Alabama) and ends at the event at SOMArts where there will be at 7pm "Hortisexual Installations and a free farm stand (bring your garden's excess to share!)" with: Queer Food for Love, Apothequeery by Dori Midnight, the genderqueer goat gods, music by Jesse Quattro and Devin Hoff". At 8pm the other part (movies and performances) will cost $15-$20.

Another friend Lauren has started a cool project called Produce to People ( From the website which seems like it is in its infant stage: "Produce to the People (PttP) is a backyard harvest project that collects excess produce from residential fruit trees and gardens in San Francisco. The produce is given to local organizations that redistribute free food to low-income families and individuals, including the Free Farm Stand and the Food Pantry. Perhaps SF Glean which I have been helping with might join forces with Lauren's project.

Near the Stanford campus in Palo Alto, Page who teaches a sustainability class at the university and is helping start gardens in churches here in the city, reported to me that the students have started a gleaning project there and that they picked 2 trees of the 140 they have located. Two of the organizers brought two large laundry baskets of oranges and lemons to the Julian Pantry on Saturday. To me this is the ultimate beautiful thing to do.

Last week Shandra, Marcus, and I planted two fruit trees in the Bay View in front of a house with some land in front of it. I keep pushing for planting more fruit trees in the city, because the more we plant now the better chances of having more fruit to pick in the future.

I was listening on the radio the other day while driving and I heard this guy talking about what a unique time we are in now, much better than the sixties. That not only do we have technology and the ability for lots of communication to happen, there are a lot of great ideas out there, and the system is collapsing for the moment. So this guy thinks we have the chance to experiment with alternative economies. And start helping each other out. I agree.

On the topic of "plant you now dig you later", the potato towers are growing in various locations about town. Some are doing better than others it seems, like the ones at 18th and Rhode Island don't seem as green as the ones in my backyard or the ones at Treat Commons. I planted a few more towers at 18th and Rhode Island, the kind that you layer with mulch as the potatoes grow. I used one upside down trash can with its bottom cut out and two with chicken wire with a black plastic insert that I found at Building Resources. I had to use stakes to keep the chicken wire ones from toppling over. I think I still have more spuds to plant, just need a spot.

So Pam Pierce yesterday turned me onto growing collard greens and harvesting the flowers as an less intense alternative to broccoli raab. You grow the collards and then in the second year they will start to flower (they are biennials) and that is when you begin harvesting them. You will have a harvest over a long period of time. Here is her recipe which I tried last night: Chop up some onions and garlic and sauté them in some olive oil. Then throw in the collard flowers and cook until not too crunchy. Then dry roast a small amount of pine nuts in a skillet and toss on top. They were quite delicious and better than raab.

Monday, June 1, 2009

“Dryad-maids together; your gifts I sing”

If I could sum up my feelings right at the moment into one word it would be gratefulness. If a person doesn't get a chance to feel grateful I would guess that would be a sad situation, because it is a great way of feeling high. A sense of being connected to that love energy out there. Maybe this weekly writing should just be a prayer blog, counting my blessings out loud.

This week again I got to work with some new people in my life and that was fun. And the Free Farm Stand this week was particularly energetic. I just reported last week that some of my dearest helpers were gone because of summer (or school graduation) and yesterday a new batch of volunteers came by to help. It was really fabulous and I was especially pleased that we got the plant table up to give away the seedlings that were in need of a home. Also, Page and Jay showed up for their first time and were helpful to the max; I especially appreciated not having to take photos to document the scene. I think Page took over 100 pictures!

For the first time I truly harvested only the surplus lettuce in my backyard garden, leaving some for Angie and I to eat later in the week. I knew I had gotten a lot of lettuce from the farmer's market so I decided not to pick all of ours. It turned out at the end of the day I still had a little lettuce left that I didn't give away that I will take to the soup kitchen if it holds up. On the very local table besides the lettuce, we had some mint that I had picked (I really like this variety of wintergreen mint that I am growing in two gardens), more fava beans from Rhode Island garden (25lbs), some misc. greens from there too, chamomile and flowers from Treat Commons, and loquats from my tree. Loquats are a great fruit to grow though getting a known variety that makes the sweetest fruit would be ideal (I now have a lot of seedlings that I want to try grafting sometime when I can find another tree that makes tasty fruit) The loquat trees I know of around here are crazy tall, needing a crane to harvest them. Or a good tree climber with a safety harness. I have a 14 foot tall orchard ladder and can only get to some of my loquats. I must admit I have a bit of fear of heights, but I do manage to get up on tall ladders to pick fruit. It is wonderful and sad to be on top of a tall ladder next to a tall tree loaded with fruit. I can pick a lot in a short time, but then when I look further up I can see fruit I can't reach. Jo gave me a great professional fruit picking bag that makes it easier to pick fruit, but my pole picker didn't work with the loquats. Right now it is the beginning of the fun fruit season here, apricots are in the market and there are trees in our neighborhood that are loaded with green fruit. Again I would sing a praise to fruit trees and recommend everyone plant one where they have space. I am still working with park and recreation to plant more fruit trees in the park here.

Getting back to the very local table, throughout the day people came by with garden gifts to share with everyone. Carla's surplus kale got the prize for being the most beautiful delicious looking kale I have seen in a while. Because I wasn't at the table I didn't see all the things that people brought, but I noticed some beautiful chard at one point. Also, Pam Pierce's husband brought a number of bags of produce, including some lettuce, herbs, and cilantro (I am not sure I saw it all). Nancy came by with some oregano and thyme from her container garden. Two people brought lemons. The plant/garden table was loaded with seedlings. This week I potted up plants with the Jamestown kids (our last workday for now). I also got a donation of seedlings from a gardener who visited the stand for the first time last week and on Tuesday his daughter dropped off a couple of flats of tomatoes, eggplant, and hot pepper starts. Tori and Davin with eco-sf showed up with several trays of seedlings too which was really great.

Again we had a lot of left-overs from the local farmers including zucchini which is starting to come in now. I actually picked up the bread this week because our regular driver was out of town. The man at Acme bakery was so nice and generous and gave me enough bread to fill a small station wagon. If I had really tried I probably could have stuffed more in and he had more to give away. At some point towards the very end I think we ran out of bread.

I have been giving out reusable cloth bags that Christy got somewhere and also I have a big stash of clear plastic produce bags I got from a closed bakery (and people have been bringing their used bags too). I have been thinking about the problem of plastic grocery bags and how to teach people to get less dependent on them. I know the Ferry Building Farmers market now no longer carries plastic bags. They sell for a quarter bio-bags that are made with cornstarch or something and they completely break down in the compost.

Another fun thing that happened at the stand on Sunday was that Bay Area Source had their zine release party on the grass and brought their ice cream making equipment with them (check out the slide show...the can is is the ice cream maker). The ice cream (both vegan and non-vegan) was very popular with everyone, especially the kids. I love the concept of having other free almost vegan educational or cultural events going on in the park next to the Free Farm Stand and it goes back to my idea of having a free farmers market in the park instead of just a lonely farm stand.

On Friday Ian came out to our regular workday at Rhode Island and we picked more fava beans. We also planted more potato towers and did some watering. I didn't realize how much work there is to do there so if anyone wants to garden, right now that is a great place to go if you have time available on Friday mornings. There is more planting to do and watering and harvesting.

On Saturday a bunch of people came over and helped extract honey from our bee hive. We got over ninety pounds of honey or eight plus gallons. If I can get some in jars by next week we will give some out at the stand. My new friend Andrew who is a member of the SF Bee Association like me and has a hive on a roof south of Market came and helped the whole day. I got excited because he reads Latin and Greek (something I wish they taught in schools). He was telling me about the Greeks who wrote about bees and he is now reading the Georgics published in 29BCE by the Roman poet Virgil, a book about rural life and farming. In the Georgics IV Vigil writes: "Of air-born honey, gift of heaven, I now take up the tale. Upon this theme no less". This kind of history thrills me, knowing that there is nothing new under the sun.

The title for this blog is also from Virgil. Dryads I just learned are tree nymphs.

Someone suggested I use Twitter so people could follow me and learn where I am gardening at the moment and other up to the minute updates. I guess I am going to try it. It is on the sidebar...