Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Updates Galore!!

It's been a long time since we've posted anything. Two events have come and gone. Our members Anders Bengtsson and Pat Rodda (head table) represented Delta Diablo at the Golden Glass. It sounded amazing! Working with fruit donated by members Al and Becky Courchesne, Anders created a delicious combination of cherries and saboyon. We received high praise for the treats. Many thanks to Anders ,Pat, Al and Becky.

At the beginning of July, member Lesley Stiles organized and catered a farm tour of 3 farms in Brentwood. Gail Wadsworth went along to speak on the bus about the urban edge and the communities the tour traveled through. There were 18 attendees, the majority of whom were from Greenbelt Alliance.

Our first stop was Rose Lane Farm on the edge of Oakley. This 5 acre farm is incredibly diverse with fruit trees, tomatoes, squash and gorgeous flowers. Our host farmer, Penny, showed us around, talked about the history of the farm and her concerns about development. Bethallyn Black, UC Cooperative Extension, then gave us all a brief talk on urban edge issues, focusing on water use. Penny was a wonderful host and I think most of the people on the tour were ready to move into her lovely home.

Next on the agenda was a drive down the Urban Limit Line on Sellers Avenue. Our next stop was Frog Hollow Farm where all the owners shared in the task of showing us around. First Farmer Al, on his way to the Santa Cruz farmers' market, took some time to share his philosophies with us. Frog Hollow grows organic fruit on 120 acres. Then, his wife, Becky, took us on a tour of the kitchen. We were all grateful to be able to walk through the cooler since the temperatures were reaching 110! After Becky finished, Sarah Coddington took us on a tour of the packing shed and fields telling us all about how Frog Hollow meets the massive orders they get for fruit. She then took us to tables set up under the trees where we all enjoyed the delicious, fresh lunch Lesley had prepared. At this stop, Renato Sardo talked about Slow Food International and Slow Food Nation. Renato is the person who had requested a tour like this since he is a member of both Slow Food and Greenbelt Alliance. He sees our goals as intertwined.

After lunch, our time was getting short but it was off to Knoll Farms. Kristie Knoll spoke to us about their thriving 10 acre diverse farm considered to be beyond organic. Tour members were treated to a tour of the fig trees and an explanation of how Knoll Farms began. It was an informative and entertaining visit. Unfortunately, due to time constraints we had to cut this tour short. Everyone was sad but off we went to our starting point.

We have received a large number of emails from attendees praising the tour. All enjoyed the fact that the numbers were kept small so each one of them had a chance to speak to the farmers. The farms had some of their produce for sale so everyone had the opportunity to take some of the farms they had visited home with them. We didn't make any money on this tour but are happy we could introduce non-members to our wonderful agricultural region. We can't thank Lesley enough!