This is the world's quickest post, since I'm overdue with one…things are busier than ever, and the housing crisis for the apprentices at the UCSC Farm is eating up some of my unfree time, so to speak.
But I did get out on Monday to visit one of my friend's new farms. Joe Schirmer, a graduate of UCSC and of the CASFS (UCSC Farm & Garden) program, has had the good fortune to find two new farms to add onto his existing acreage. The farm I visited on Monday is the same spot I visited a few years ago, when it was covered in Vanessa Bogenholm's strawberries. Happily, Joe's still growing those—three kinds, including the wondrous Albions that are my favorite, ever—but he's diversified so much that I was bowled over.
The occasion was inspired by a visit from Joe's sister, Jen, and her family: husband Ian, and their son, Alex, and brand-new baby, Colin, who seems to be his papa's clone. They'd come down from San Francisco with some friends with babies and girl.
I'd been at the Sunday market on East Cliff with my not-so-new, and ever-better friend, Robin Somers, the writer. She's also newly on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden with me, and we are absolutely on the same plane where babies and family and farms are concerned. Robin's C.V. also includes, in 24-point type at the very top: "Joe's Mother."
We were a little late arriving: Jen and friends had already strolled down to the strawberries and their knee-high charges were pillaging (in the mildest way) berries and beans. Shortly thereafter, Rebecca Thistlethwaite and Princess Fiona arrived, and the San Franciscans left for lunch and jellybeans to Capitola, while we three women guided two little people back to the Albions. I bent over to score some of the Frenchies (haricots verts) and Romano beans, and watched Logan and Fiona stain their faces and sink their shoes into some nice, gooey brown mud.
(I designed Logan's shirt that says "I'm Berry Sweet": you can find them, and other items at my GastroGear.com store:"Because cooking naked hurts.")
I'll have more about Joe's operation very soon: it's very much a family affair with the Schirmers, which will be reflected on Robin's new website—which we're collaborating on. I think you will love her work. I do.
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In today's mail, my first check arrived from UCSC for the portraits I took of farmers who are taking part in the UCSC Library's Oral History Project on sustainable agriculture in this region. It is a tidy sum, and it's such an honor. I can't tell you what it means to me.
More about that anon, but now, I am headed downtown to meet Leon Vehaba, a second-year apprentice at the farm, for cheese selections and more, for a reception we're coordinating.
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Visiting any farm is so liberating. I'll be on at least two this week, maybe more.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief... For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." — Wendell Berry
Thanks for visiting.