Any day that one can spend at Love Apple Farm is a blessing, a de-stressing. This was a fine day, indeed, especially because the sweet peas were tall and fragant.
On April 24, I got to do one of my favorite things in the world, which is to cook for the apprentices at the UCSC Farm. This is the annual reception, a couple of weeks after they've arrived. So many new faces, and so much great experience among them.
I just walked around and met a few folks before heading over to the kitchen to help my darlin' friend, Forrest Cook, get things prepped. Our team (other board members and volunteers) shelled ten pounds of fava beans, peeled 11 dozen hard-boiled eggs, and made a whole lot of other stuff.
Also got to see Brent Walker (Tennessee's loss, California's gain: he stayed after his apprenticeship last year), who came down from Oakland to make hush puppies for the party. These aren't your mother's hushpuppies: he made some with rye, and some with jalapeños and peppers...best hushpuppies I've ever had. And the only hushpuppies some people have ever had. Brent's now managing the farm for the People's Grocery in Oakland, and is loving it. (Lucky them!)
The very next day, Matthew Sutton, co-president of our board, hosted a pizza and beer fundraiser with some other former apprentices. Some hundreds of people turned out for Matthew's famous wood-fired pizza, live bluegrass, and more: the event raised over $1500 for the "Grow a Farmer" Campaign.
A little later in the week, I headed up to SFO to bring Sam Miller back to Love Apple Farm. Sam's hoping to move from England to start up a farming venture of his own—something that would make a huge number of people I know very happy. We came down coastal Highway One, stopping in Pescadero. First stop: Harley Farms Goat Dairy, where the goats were just coming in to be milked. Well, not this little kid.
There is only one place to eat in Pescadero—rather, only one place worthy of consideration—and that is Duarte's Tavern. And there is one thing that I order every time, weather permitting, and that is the combination bowl of cream of artichoke and cream of green chile soup. Served with fresh, warm bread and butter…
Sam had never had calamari, so we shared a steak sandwich and agreed that it wins Best of Show for All Breeds of Seafood Ensconced in a Perfect Roll. A little beer, a little wine, and that was Pescadero in April.
Coming up next: my birthday, some farm visits, some food-centric happenings, Big Sur, and more.
TWO QUICK ANNOUNCEMENTS
1. If you're going to be downtown Santa Cruz after the farmers market next Wednesday, June 24, see about getting a ticket to the "Grow a Farmer" Summer Soirée. Appetizers and wine, great people…all proceeds benefit the campaign. Also: the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors will present the "Grow a Farmer" Month proclamation for the month of June. It should be a fine event, and there will be more news about our progress in raising the funds for the apprenticeship housing project.
2. Want a direct way to support a local farm? TLC Ranch (my friends and heroes) are trying to buy the house they've been renting before it gets sold out from under them. For a limited time, you can purchase egg shares at a substantial discount: visit their website for details.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "I work during my leisure time, and play while I work." —me
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