California Native Foods Lunch Event (December 8th at CNGF) @CalNativeGarden

Eating California

Tre Magnifique Anatomica Bee and Beetle Models from the 19th century

19th century papier-mâché anatomical bee and beetle models

This is sooo fabulous!


19th century papier-mâché anatomical bee and beetle models.

Great weekly purchase at Full Circle Farm today


Icicle Echeveria pups and Splitting Lithops! Oh My!

The Heirloom Expo – Part 2

Missouri Farmers

Meeting the farmers & gardeners at the Expo was a really neat experience.  In my experience, folks who are heavily immersed in growing plants tend to be connected to nature in their surroundings and are the most giving and sharing people.  They care mostly about high quality returns while sticking to their budgets and utilizing the most efficient & practical ways to get their results.

I attended only 3 talks  on the second day of the Expo.  I learned quite a lot.

Biointensive Farming – John Jeavons

John Jeavons’s talk’s highlights were about curbing eminent rising costs of food and possible famine by farming your own food in small compact sections of land.    This, by their model can be achieved by Biointensive Farming.  A major benefit to gardening in compact spaces is the minimization of loss of soil.  By signing up for his classes, one can also learn how to compost and create nutritious soil as well.

Urban Homesteading

I really enjoyed this talk about urban homesteading.  They really stressed connecting your community through urban farming and sharing your harvest.  Eric has an edible lawn and it attracts lots of attention.  Here are the links to their websites & books:

Gardening resources

Petaluma Urban Homestead
Weed Cuisine
Urban goats justice league

Books by the Panel
The Urban Homestead (Eric Knutzen)

Urban Homesteading by (Rachel Kaplan)

Percy Schmeiser

Percy Schmeiser

Percy Schmeiser’s talk was so moving, I even teared up at the end.  Please watch the movie below to see for yourself the evils of Monsanto.


GMO’s were introduced in 1996.

4x more toxic chemicals are being used pre GMOs were introduced.

Monsanto has created a culture of fear amongst farmers.

Percy has been sued 5x by Monsanto.

He is a Canola farmer.
Percy’s case with Monsanto was the 1st case in the world where patent could control a living thing.

Percy Schmeiser’s farm got contaminated with Monsanto seeds through wind and nature.  50 years of R&D Percy had developed had been ruined by Monsanto but trial judge ruled against Percy.  The ruling stated that when the Monsanto seed landed on Percy’s farm and contaminated it, Monsanto had won the right to all of his crops and the profits on the sale of those crops.

Who owns life?

Monsanto has created a system of farmers reporting on each other for a prize.  Very much like the red scare.

GMO plants will effect organic plants in the same family because of pollination.

Terminator gene: makes harvested seeds sterile thus making the farmer purchase seeds every year.

Plus selling chemical to go with the GMO seed they made.

Monsanto used to be the largest chemical company in the world, now it’s the largest seed company in the world.

Cheater gene: plant can not produce seeds till plant is sprayed with chemicals.  Then Terminator gene kicks in to make seeds sterile.

Pharma plants: grown in open and wild and can pollinate with other plants.  What if a pregnant woman eats a plant with contraceptive genes?

Can not have all organic, conventional, and GMOs.  They all become GMOs.  No such thing as containment.

Canola used to be 90 cents/acre and now it is $60 per acre.  And there is less variety.

Monsanto controls seed dealers to disallow which farmers to sell to.

Labeling: Vote Yes on Prop 37!  So you can make an educated choice if you want to ingest a GMO product.

The Heirloom Expo 2012 – Part 1

I’m really happy I made the 2 hour trip up to Santa Rosa with Greg (President of the Board of Full Circle Farm) to check out the Heirloom Expo.  There were a few new seed vendors I discovered and bought plenty of seeds for next year’s season!  Here are some of the vendors I checked out :

Aztec Dahlias:

This was my favorite new vendor find!  I really enjoyed the gigantic blossoms that were displayed and were for sale.  Unfortunately, since dahlias and their tubers are seasonal, there were none for sale.  They are currently taking orders for tubers that will be available early next year.  Orders can be placed on their website.  I will definitely be ordering the Elsie Houston and the Vassio Magos.

Living Earth Structures

Living Earth Structures

Tree Line Tear Drops

These mini trailer thingies are so cool.  They run at around $10k.  They look really cozy complete with a small 2 person bed inside and come with a cooking unit!

Car Camper

Laughing Frog Farm

I bought Soghurm and Millet seeds from Laughing Frog Farm.  How unusual, right?

Peaceful Valley Farm

I bought some of my favorite green heirloom tomato seeds such as Aunt Ruby German, Evergreen, and Green Zebra.  They had 5 varieties of garlic and one type of shallot.  I also bought two varieties of seed garlic heads: Spanish Roja and Purple Italian Garlic.  The prices were very reasonable from what I can remember.  Remember, each clove is supposed to produce a whole head of garlic, so I only bought about 4 of them.

Natural Gardening Company

I had never heard of this seed company, but I am so happy I got to meet them!  Surprisingly, this was the only vendor that sold seed potatoes.  They were sold for $14/lb.  I had to try some out so I bought only 5 small pieces.  I love exotic salad greens and was so impressed by their selection!  I purchased sorrel, epazote, summer savory, lovage, and 2 kinds of mache.

Botanical Interests

I love this seed company.  They got me into sprouting with their cool sprout seed packets.  I didn’t pick up anything from them at the Heirloom Expo, because nothing really jumped out at me.  They are always available at Suncrest Nurseries.


From the website, “A Fibershed is a geographical landscape that defines and gives boundaries to a natural textile resource base. Awareness of this bioregional designation engenders appreciation, connectivity, and sensitivity for the life-giving resources within our homelands.”

Rebecca Burgess, Founder of Fibershed

Knowledge is power. I never would have thought about the ethics of foraging, but thanks to Alrie Middlebrook’s recommendation, I read this article and have a deeper understanding of the responsibilites a forager must realize to treat nature respectfully.

SF Natural History Series

When he was a boy, Jonah Raskin’s father used to take them out down the beach at low tide,  and below the water line looking for clams. They’d occasionally fall into arguments with their neighbors, but his father — a lawyer — knew his business, the property line stops at the waterline. He also brought home perhaps another important lesson — don’t take home more than you need.

Jonah Raskin now lives on an old farm in Sonoma, and gleans from old orchard trees,  a neighbor farmer lets him pick what he needs from his fields, and goes out know and again for mushrooms.

Mushroom pickers delight in sharing recipes for their finds, but are notoriously secretive about their locations. Locations are jealously guarded secrets because people fear coming back to their spot and finding nothing left.

Leaving something behind is a big part of a foragers ethic — not…

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Did you miss the U Pick Tomato Event? It’s happening again this Sunday (9/16)

It’s That Time of Year Again: Tomato Time!

Join the fun at our Second U-PICK Tomatoes Event of the season:

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH from 11am to 3pm

This summer we have stellar crop of tomatoes, with a huge variety of heirlooms, cherries, slicers, and paste tomatoes. Explore the tomato patch and take home your share of the harvest for eating fresh, canning, and sharing with friends!

Please bring your own harvest bag, box, or bin. All tomatoes are $1.75/lb. First come, first serve, so get here early for the best selection! 

Full Circle Farm Heirloom Tomato Tasting and U Pick Tomato Event

Wonderful Full Circle Farm Volunteer adding up my bill

I attended the annual Heirloom Tomato Tasting at Full Circle Farm for the second time last friday.  I was able to drag my friends Anna, Nancy, and Rebekah over.  They quite enjoyed the variety of tomatoes.  I believe there were at least 30 if not 40 kinds of tomatoes sliced up and offered for our tasting pleasure.  My favorite was the Lime Green Salad tomato.  There is a strong flavor of lime in it.

I gotta say, this is seriously the BEST deal in town amongst all heirloom tomato tastings.  Usually the prices in San Jose for a similar event can range from $50-100.  $100 being Sent Sovi’s tomato themed dinner, so not exactly comparable, but this is still an excellent way to find out what your favorite heirloom varieties are.

Lime Green Salad Tomato

Tomato Table – See Rebekah on the right side!

Anna Tasting Tomatoes

Nancy tasting

Nancy and Anna chatting

Two days later, FCF had a U Pick tomato event where you could pick the tomatoes you had enjoyed at the tasting.  It was so much fun!  I bought 6 lbs of tomatoes for $9! What a deal!

Picking tomatoes

Fresh off the vine!

All 9 lbs of heirloom tomatoes

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