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Wednesday, June 24, after the farmers market next week, is a fine time to be in downtown Santa Cruz. Amy Padilla of Feel Good Foods (my personal favorite caterers in town, if not anywhere) is preparing fabulous appetizers (local, organic, seasonal, ya, you betcha) for the "Grow a Farmer" Summer Soirée. The party will take place at 101-B Cooper Street, underneath the NextSpace offices.
Wine, good food, good people, and probably live music. We hope to meet a lot of new people from the Downtown Santa Cruz Association, and look forward to hooking up farmers with new friends.
We are VERY close to making our original goal of $250K, and the Board of Supervisors will present a UCSC Farm representative with the official proclamation that "June is 'Grow a Farmer' Month in Santa Cruz County."
All proceeds benefit the campaign to build permanent housing for the UCSC Farm apprentices during the six-month residential program.
Pictured here: our neighbors' darling baby boy, Julian, who occupies a little of my time nearly every day. Because babies are church.
The short answer is that I've been working really, really hard for the "Grow a Farmer" Campaign, on an almost daily basis. The good news there is that we (the board of directors for the Friends of the UCSC Farm & Garden, and the staff and everyone affiliated with CASFS) have very nearly reached our first goal of $250K. The next goal will be to replace the funds that we took from our resources, which is not like robbing Peter to pay Paul—those funds were for general use, such as scholarships and other needs for apprentices.
It feels FABULOUS to be in this position, especially given the severity of emotional turmoil surrounding our little grandson's broken leg. (He is fine, after nearly four months in casts, a metal boot, and being careful.) Coming up: swimming lessons for a boy!
I have had several great adventures, including turning fifty (April 30), something I had dreaded badly—turned out to be one of the best birthdays of my life.
So here's installment #1 of "Where I've Been Since April 8."
April 13: a visit to Love Apple Farm, to meet up with the wonderful Harold McGee, who arrived seeking advice for his new garden in San Francisco. It's been three years since we had dined under redwoods on foraged food and wild boar, and it was a great visit. Cynthia chose some tomatoes especially for his climate (and palate), and he in turn autographed our "McGee" books.
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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