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Slow Food saves the Gravenstein Apple

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In collaboration with the Russian River chapter of Slow Food and Sonoma county libraries, we explore a simple, clever program to raise awareness of a unique local treasure. In August, at the height of the Gravenstein apple season, free apples are given to library patrons, raising awareness of their taste and seasonal nature.

Written by Paul Berg

February 17, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Blankity-Blank Potatoes & Produce

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RussianRiverTV visits a small farm on Blank Road in Sebastopol, CA.

Owner/Farmer Denny Hunt is a part time farmer with a day job and he chose to grow potatoes because they offer a generous harvest ‘window of opportunity’ and so allow time for the 9 to 5 side of his life. Join us now to hear about his start-up adventures and how he is amending the soil on the property that his family has owned for over 100 years.

Special Thanks to Phil Graf for Allowing us to use his archival footage.

Written by Paul Berg

February 4, 2012 at 11:52 am

Greenstring Farm Event

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In the SF Bay Area during the early 70’s when people like Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower, and Chuck Williams were changing the way we thought about food and cooking, one of the most pressing problems was to find dependable sources for fresh local ingredients. In accordance with the newly developing sensitivity toward the land, it was necessary to build an entire network of producers from scratch. One of the early shining stars in this network of farmers was Bob Cannard of Greenstring Farm in Petaluma, California. Bob’s approach to farming mimics nature by design and is well beyond anything you might call organic. It is imminently sustainable, it is productive, and it is delicious. Fertility increases year after year due to careful attention to natural processes, and the food produced is amazing.

Hearing Bob Cannard speak about the soil is like hearing Euell Gibbons talk like Jack Kerouac writes. The information comes fast from every direction, crossing from the mineral nutrient-cycle to California history to the importance of ducks or the history of the carrot, all in a few sentences.

This event was was held on February 12, 2011 in celebration of the graduation of a new crop of interns from the Greenstring Institute, the educational component of Bob’s farm. With an introduction by Michael Dimmock of Roots of Change, the afternoon was a wide-ranging discussion of some of the issues facing future farmers.

Naked Ladies

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The surest sign of the dog days of summer here in the Russian River valley are the naked ladies. Out of the parched earth, just when most wild plants are gasping for moisture, pale green spears of amaryllis belladonna push skyward to remind us that our native plants are adapted to this Mediterranean climate. Further research reveals that they are in fact native to South Africa, and have spread throughout the temperate regions of the world.

In the wet winter the amaryllis bulbs produce abundant green foliage that dies back in May, almost as if the plant has forgotten to flower. Finally in mid-August, as the stalks reach about 2 feet high, dramatic pink blossoms explode with aroma, a welcome treat for my hungry bees. I find naked ladies a perfect color contrast and blossoming partner with lavender: just as the bees are exhausting the purple lavender, the naked ladies are ready to visit.

The fact that amaryllis belladonna is poisonous comes as a mixed blessing, because that makes these hardy beauties also deer and gopher resistant. Go for a drive around west county this month and enjoy them in unexpected places.

Written by Paul Berg

August 11, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized