Tasty Tomatoes ARE in!

If it’s Labor Day the chances are pretty good that tomatoes are available and in demand.   Ingomar Packing is one of the biggest tomato processing companies in the Central Valley / Los Banos area. A typical tomato truck holds 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, which is about 300,000 tomatoes. California is the nation’s largest producer of processed tomatoes, accounting for 96% of U.S. output and one-third of the fresh crop.

BUT, you don’t need to wait for that long distance tomato truck to arrive!  Hit your local farmers markets and find some that were picked this morning, probably organic, not sprayed, handled, packaged, stored, refrigerated, crushed in the truck, etc.

PVILLE F.MKTThat same farmer can tell you tips for use, storage, preserving, and making a fantastic tomatillo salsa!

 

When will people learn?

WHEN WILL PEOPLE LEARN?

Our children are at risk, the risk of cancer in pets is increasing, kidney and liver cancer is on the rise, and yet homeowners as well as commercial industry continue to use known carcinogenic products irresponsibly. Think of the chemicals used on lawns and gardens/landscapes alone, and wonder about all the dogs you’ve heard die of cancer. Where are their noses most of the time? Because these chemicals get into the water table, scientists believe it contributes to the epidemic of bee decline as well.

The link for this full story is below.   http://www.drmercola.com and his newsletters are a primary resource for healthy living.

“After two decades of planting glyphosate-tolerant crops, resistant weeds have overtaken farm fields across the U.S., leaving farmers to battle an increasingly difficult situation. At least 35 weed species are now resistant to glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup.1

Studies2 have also linked glyphosate to increases in Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a deadly plant disease that causes plants to turn yellow and die — including crops that have never been sprayed with the herbicide but were planted in a field that received an application the previous season.

In an effort to skirt disaster, Monsanto developed a new breed of genetically engineered (GE) seeds tolerant to other pesticides besides Roundup. This, they claim, is the answer to rising weed resistance — a side effect the company said would not occur from the use of their GE seeds in the first place.

We now know, without any shadow of a doubt, they were wrong. And there’s every reason to believe they are wrong about their next generation of GE seeds as well. If anything, it will likely boost weed resistance, continue driving the increase in pesticide use and make our food even more toxic.”

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/08/30/monsanto-roundup-dicamba.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160830Z1&et_cid=DM115332&et_rid=1643564161

The Gold Rush Week in El Dorado

Free things to do in the Gold Country during World Gold Panning Championships and Gold Week Sept. 11-18, 2016
August 28, 2016
Posted by: El Dorado County Visitors Authority

49 Free Things to do
The Gold Rush is returning to where it began next month. The World Gold Panning Championships, which were last held in the U.S. in 1998, are a rare opportunity to experience international competition, Gold Rush history, mine tours, live music, and plenty more unique events that you don’t see every day. Whether you come for the day, or the whole week, it’s a celebration you don’t want to miss.

Even better, much of it is free – so much so that we’ve compiled a list of 49 free things to do during Gold Week. Read on for inspiration!Art-on-the-Divide.jpg

  1. Check out the “Visions of the Gold Rush” Invitational Art Show at the Divide Gallery in Georgetown, Sept. 10-11.
  2. Visit the Veerkamp Collection of Antique Tractors – docents lead tours sharing the history behind the magnificent machines, including the very first Caterpillar tractor ever made! It’s No. 0000, verified by Caterpillar itself as being the first one built, in original-as-found condition. For more information about seeing the Veerkamp Collection call (530) 626-0825.  Sept 13 – 15.
  3. Got lederhosen and nowhere to go? Head to Placerville Oktoberfest on Main Street where you’ll find German music (complete with Chicken Dances!), wiener dog races, games for all ages, Bavarian dance demos, a scarecrow contest (new this year) and German beer and cuisine. Sept. 17, 3-8 pm.
    07-2012Oktoberfest
  4. Feeling a little bit country? Head to the 2nd Annual Cameron Park Countryfest, which includes a BBQ competition, music, and more. Sept. 10, Christa McAuliffe Park.
  5. Go Stargazing – See the universe through two 14 inch telescopes at the Community Observatory. Sept. 10, 17-18, 7:30-9:30 pm, Placerville.
  6. Explore the UCCE Master Gardeners of El Dorado County Placerville Sherwood Demonstration Garden, which includes 16 individual themed gardens that feature plants well adapted to our Mediterranean climate. Trained docents will be on hand during these special evening hours. Placerville, Sept. 10, 5:30pm-7:30 pm.
  7. Love quilts? The Patchwork Sierra Quilt Show is at the Fausel House Gallery on 722 Pacific Street Sept. 10 – 19.
  8. Browse the crafts fair at Georgetown Park, where you can see fabulous and tasteful arts and crafts, and see the work of our locals (and maybe an alpaca or two!). Georgetown, Sept. 10-11.
  9. 26th Annual Show N’ Shine and Fly-In: Expected this year are nearly 250 cars and 40 airplanes including vintage war birds on display. Attendees will be treated to a fly-over by Chuck Wahl of Vultures Row and his pilot friends. Cameron Park Airpark, Sept. 17 10 am–3 pm.
  10. Coloma Gold Rush LIVE! Step back in time to the years 1848 – 1849 and experience what life was like in Coloma, where the California Gold Rush began. Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, Sept. 15-18, 10 am–4 pm.
  11. As the sun goes down, Placerville’s Main Street comes alive at the Hangtown Street Stomp. Think classic rock and country tunes, piping hot miners stew courtesy of the Old Town Grill and Placerville Hardware, and much more. Sept. 13 7:30-10 pm, Main Street, Placerville
  12. Georgetown’s historical stamp mill, at the corner near Georgetown Park, will be providing an exciting display as you view the rock crushing machinery. Georgetown, Sept. 10-11.
    Stamp Mill Georgetown
  13. Kodak Moments with Historical Figures: Living Legends of the Gold Rush era, such as Wyatt Earp, Belle Starr, James B. Hume, and Alan Pinkerton will be available around the Forni Building for photos with guests. Check front gates for special legends appearing like John Studebaker, Lily Langtrey, Lotta Crabtree and the Buffalo Soldiers. Sept. 14-18, El Dorado County (EDC) Fairgrounds.
  14. Old West Shootout & Skit – You never know who’s going to be in town and causing trouble. Our Georgetown Divide Regulators and Hangtown Marshals work daily to keep law and order and peace in PlacerTown, but where there’s gold to be had, there’s trouble that follows! Sept. 14 – 17, EDC Fairgrounds.
  15. Explore two historical inns located one block apart! The Georgetown Hotel and the American River Inn are locales where you can stay in the same place where Gold Rush characters bedded down. Sept. 10-11, Georgetown.American River Inn
  16. Kick off the 2016 World Gold Panning Championships and El Dorado Gold Week with the Parade of Nations opening ceremonies that will take place on Main Street at the Bell Tower in Placerville. Sept. 13, 6 pm.
  17. Wander the Georgetown Nature Area to find a magical setting of acres of forest, open areas, paths, a real mine, and an amphitheater where you are free to explore and create your own magic. Nature Area, Georgetown, Sept. 10-11.
  18. Whether you’re an oenophile or simply curious about how it feels to crush grapes with your feet, the Grape Stomp Competition is a rare opportunity to see old-school wine making techniques in action. Sept. 14, EDC Fairgrounds.
  19. Taste a bit of life in the El Dorado Gold Rush era at the El Dorado Gold Rush Museum, with gold rush era exhibits, docent tours, mining research, local history publications and more! Sept. 14-18, 10 am – 6 pm, Placerville.
  20. Take a self-guided tour of Placerville’s historic main street – pick up a map at the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. 542 Main Street Placerville.
  21. Enjoy Native American dancing and flute by Marion Cole at the Georgetown Nature Area. Nature Area, Georgetown, Sept. 10-11.
  22. John M. Studebaker Wheelbarrow Races – A local favorite during the fair, Competitors carrying a bag of “ore” in the wheelbarrow muscle their way through a treacherous Gold Rush field of obstacles and challenges including a waist-deep water crossing at Grizzly Water Hole. Sept. 18, EDC Fairgrounds.
    2013 teen girls winner mt demo
  23. Visit some of the 50 farms and ranches of Apple Hill, where you’ll find lots of free activities for kids, including nature trails and photo cutouts.
  24. Visit the Sarpika Gypsy Encampment to meet the Gypsies of 1850; see them dancing on the Wells Fargo Stage (times posted) and have your palm read or fortune told as in Gold Rush times. Sept. 14 – 17, EDC Fairgrounds.
  25. Fun Gold Panning Events, Pixies and Children’s categories, 18, EDC Fairgrounds.
  26. Music – Fern – This lively lady plays steel guitar and sings western songs the way they were in the GOLDen Days. Joining her are musical friends on harmonica and wash-board, George Sangster and Marlene. Sept. 15, EDC Fairgrounds.
  27. Music – Gold Rush Kids Ukes, Sept. 18, EDC Fairgrounds.
  28. Music – Native Flute, Sept. 18, EDC Fairgrounds.
  29. Okei San – Japanese Dance, Sept. 18, EDC Fairgrounds.
  30. Listen to Cliff Habig, Chuck Carroll, and Michael Smith as they tell poems and stories of the past. Nature Area, Georgetown, Sept. 10-11.
  31. Snake Oil Show – A cure for all! Come one come all! A historic snake oil show as was popular in the days of the Gold Rush era. Sept. 14 – 17, EDC Fairgrounds.
  32. Local historians Larry Anderson, Guy Nixon and Ken Deibert will tell you what life was once like during the Gold Rush. Have a question about the past?  They may have an answer. Nature Area, Georgetown, Sept. 10-11.
  33. Take a hike along the American River – at Cronin Ranch all trails lead to the river – close to where that first gold nugget was discovered.
  34. Music – 120 West, Sept. 14, EDC Fairgrounds.
  35. Music – Alan Candee Portraying OLD PUT, EDC Fairgrounds.
  36. Music – Down Home Country Friends, EDC Fairgrounds.
  37. Gold Rush & Mining History Research Days are a great opportunity to learn about the details of mining in El Dorado County. Sept. 15-18 The Museum at EDC Fairgrounds.
  38. World Gold Panning Competition 600 Competitors from 20 different countries vying for a gold medal. Sept. 14 – 18, EDC Fairgrounds.
    EldoGoldPanning
  39. Music – Gold Rush Chorus, EDC Fairgrounds.
  40. Music – The Fabulous Liars, Sept. 14, EDC Fairgrounds.
  41. Square Dancing, EDC Fairgrounds.
  42. Go treasuring hunting! Stroll Placerville’s Historic Main Street and explore the antique shops.
  43. Music – Bisson Blue Grass Band, EDC Fairgrounds.
  44. Explore all the historical museums and locations in Gold Country with the Historical Museum Alliance.
  45. Music – Cheryl Kent and the Hickory Wind Band.
  46. Mineral & Gem Exhibits (free entry)
  47. Music – Bob Raleigh – Reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, easy listening, jazz, swing, vocal jazz. Sept. 16, EDC Fairgrounds.
  48. Taste the place! El Dorado County is home to 4 world-class olive oil companies. Winterhill Farms,321 Main Street Placerville; Windmill Creek Olive Oil, 8148 Mt Aukum Rd, Mt Aukum, Mad Dog Mesa Olive Oil, tasting by appointment only; and Collina di Mela, 1925 Carson Road, Placerville.
  49. World Gold Panning Championship Awards and Closing Ceremony with Fireworks, Sept. 18, EDC Fairground.

IRISH CREEK RANCH … A Story in Time

Barn1

“Schlein – Hurley” are two historical El Dorado County family names carved into the sign on Garden Valley Road along with “Irish Creek Ranch”.Grandparents   Twenty-nine gravGreat Grandmotherestones in the cemetery at Georgetown attest to the size of this large local family who lived and worked here. It was great-grandmother Rebella Schlein who continued the ranching tradition by buying up 350 acres three miles south of Georgetown many years ago. It was her home from the 1850’s.Parade Wagon

The Georgetown Walking Town Tour is still available with a tourist map and handout to see historical sites and old original family homes. Robb’s Valley (still on the map above Georgetown), was named after Maxine’s Great Uncle Robb Jarrett. The Schlein Fire Watch Tower, though no longer manned, still remains in north of Georgetown off Wentworth Springs Road. There were many other aunts and uncles who were land owners and maintained homes in Georgetown. They ran a multitude of businesses, including a grocery store, Wentworth Resort, ranches, and cow-camps. original house

The original ranch house, built in 1870, was purchased by Grandfather Schlein. Great Grandmother Rebella Schlein lived on Georgetown Road between Kelsey and Georgetown (now Hwy.193). Grandmother Schlein also owned more than one section of property near Loon Lake and on Ice Road (between Rt.50 and North of Georgetown). To just say “the rest is history” is to put aside the probable book series that might describe this family’s movement through time.   Grandmother Schlein and her daughter, Leah, were key in the raising of a fourth generation young lady named Maxine Hurley.BarnFar

Maxine was not always a ranch hand at heart, though riding horses at two or three years of age is still a vivid memory. Locally she participated in horse shows, parades and trail rides, sometimes riding from Garden Valley to Placerville to compete. She attended local schools until Reno called her entrepreneurial spirit out to play. She saw little of her dad, Red (Daniel) Hurley. The Hurley boys were known throughout Grass Valley and Auburn as roustabout miners with attitude, cowboys turning the world upside down.

Maxine went on to obtain a pilot’s license; work in a number of industries,including a Sunglass store in Reno, eventually returning to Placerville in 1984 to build the Irish Creek Ranch and the home it is today.  Feeding cows in the early morning and working the ranch by herself wasn’t enough. She went to work on Main Street, owning a dress shop, “Maxine’s”, and getting a real estate license in 1989.   “I like my own money,” Maxine states with a shrug.

RanchSign2TractorBest

Jump ahead through marriages, divorces, missing parents, her mother’s death in 1994, and many moves of house and home as we follow Maxine to her current tenure of Irish Creek Ranch with her husband Wendell Smith, whom she met on a blind date in 1998.

Wendell is no stranger to the entrepreneurial spotlight. He is distinguished in USAF military service, and a graduate of Cornell’s Agriculture School and Michigan State University. He began a long history of community involvement throughout the U.S. as President of the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, at the same time building a unique reputation in building and repositioning food industry firms for better production and profit. He has held key positions as a consultant, Chamber president, and CEO and founder of Super Petz in Ohio, for example.

His latest experience with Cielo Vineyards and Winery LLC, as Chief Operation Officer, resulted in a 66% increase in sales with lower operational costs.  His most current business endeavor culminated in getting his license and joining Maxine in real estate.TomatoesArthurCalves2

Irish Creek Ranch is home to a heard of cattle, Maxine’s Arabian riding horse, and Arthur and Harley, two lovable Jack Russell terriers. Arthur has front seat rights in the tractor! Vegetables, grapes, and almond, apple, olive and peach trees grace the 55 acre property. The current drought has put a set of challenges upon Irish Creek as well as other ranchers who now must rely on buying bales of alfalfa at $10-15/bale. The cattle easily consume one bale per day and would normally be grass-fed.   The only water source are two wells that supply the agricultural needs of the ranch.

Future plans for Irish Creek include buying additional adjoBarnCloseining property; expanding the cattle herd, potentially expanding into camping facilities. Perhaps the “1870 Original Home” might become a “Farm Stay Guest House”. Maxine continues to live the ranch life, despite challenges like water, time and not enough hours in a day, and says: “My secrets include my enthusiasm, energy, a positive attitude, and Wendell as a ranch hand!”

 

 

 

 

Two Glorious Fig Recipes

Fig Crostata

FRESH FIG CROSTATA

Use your favorite pie crust recipe, or try whole grain, sprouted grain or store made.

Whole Wheat Nut Piecrust
Makes one 9-inch crust

½ c whole wheat flour
½ c unbleached white flour
3 T sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 c walnuts or pecans
¼ lb. (1 stick) butter plus
4 T organic shortening
2 egg yolks

Pour the flours, sugar, salt in food processor bowl and pulse to blend. Add nuts and process until chopped. Sprinkle the butter over the mixture, and pulse until mixed, resembling crumbs. Add egg yolks and process until dough clumps. Wrap the disk in plastic, and chill 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes.  Roll dough out to a 12” circle on floured surface. Roll onto rolling pin and transfer to pie plate. Brush bottom and inside edge of crust with egg wash.  Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 15. Fill with recipe below.  Preheat oven to 375º.

Filling

10-15 large brown figs (approx. 1 lb.), stems removed, chopped coarsely
¼ c sugar
¼ cornstarch
2 T lemon juice
Zest of one orange

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and mix to combine quickly.  Crostata recipes do best with as little juice in the pie crust as possible.  Transfer to prepared and ready pie crust, folding in the edges of the dough as neatly as possible.  Brush crust edges with egg wash, bake 40-45 minutes until bubbly, cool completely on wire rack.  Refrigerate or freeze.

LEMON FRANGIPANE AND FIG WALNUT TART

Sprouted Spelt Oat Tart Crust

1 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Spelt Flour
1 cup One Degree Organics Quick Oats
5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg for egg wash
Pulse oats, spelt, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt in food processor until the oats are coarsely chopped and the mixture resembles wet sand.  Firmly press into the bottom and sides of a greased tart pan or removable bottom cake pan.  Brush with egg wash. Freeze for 15 minutes while you make the filling.

Filling

1 jar lemon curd as the Frangipane
10-15 large figs (about 1 lb.), stems removed, chopped coarsely
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c brandy
1/4 c water
zest of one orange
1 c coarsely chopped walnuts

Bring figs, sugar, brandy and water to simmer over medium heat, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in orange zest and walnuts and cool to room temperature.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350º.
Spread about half the jar of lemon curd over the prepared crust. Spread fig mixture evenly to cover lemon curd.  Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired, and bake about 40 minutes.

IMG_1013

The Season is FIGS!

Figs:CheeseFigs3

Glorious Figs
The parable of the fig tree exists throughout the bible and in other spiritual and fictional works. In Matthew 24:32 it tells us “its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.” Many references of the fig and fig tree are translated over and over and symbolizing many things for many people.

“Figs have a short season in early summer and a main season from late summer until fall. The first crop of the season is called the breba crop, which comes in on the last season’s growth. Spring frost often eradicates the breba crop and the remaining previous season’s growth.

FarmersMktFigsSign      FigBasketClose

The majority of figs produced arise from the main crop, which are generally not subject to frosty conditions. The sweetest types of figs are Black Mission figs and Adriatic figs, which are commonly used in desserts and paired alongside cheese and fresh fruit. Kadota figs and Brown Turkey figs are not as sweet and are usually used in salads or in recipes that include sweeteners.”

Reference as it may, controversy often prevails over figs…. which tastes better, what to do with the first crop if there is one, and how best to use them. People seem to like them or not, not much in between. Black Mission and Brown Turkey figs seem to be the most common at most markets, but a wide range of figs—including striped Adriatic figs and pale green Kadota figs—is increasingly available fresh. While there are subtle differences in flavor and sweetness level, figs do more or less taste like figs, so there’s no reason to be wary of trying a new variety.

Many people are unaware of this culinary delicacy due to its rarety on the grocery aisle.  Black Mission and Brown Turkey figs seem to be the most common at most markets, but a wide range of figs—including striped Adriatic figs and pale green Kadota figs—is increasingly available fresh. While there are subtle differences in flavor and sweetness level, figs do more or less taste like figs, so there’s no reason to be wary of trying a new variety.

Figs are members of the Mulberry family and provide an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium and pantothenic acid. A low intake of potassium-rich foods, especially couple with a high intake of sodium-rich foods (such as processed or fast food), can lead to high blood pressure. Like other fiber-rich foods (apples, dates, pears and prunes), figs are helpful in a weight management program. Each fig has a calorie count of 47, outweighed by its other benefits, which extend to the fig leaf! High in antioxidants, choose fully ripened figs. Dark figs are high in phytonutrients.

Figs are delicate, perishable, hard to transport and available only part of the year: June-through September. Organic dried figs are available year-round, need to be relatively soft, free of mold and have a pleasant smell, and can be substituted in any recipe calling for figs, dates, raisins, and other dried fruits.

Ripe figs should be covered, layered with paper towels to keep them super dry, and used promptly to avoid mold.

USEFUL IDEAS FOR FRESH OR DRIED (Rehydrated) FIGS

Lay whole figs in a single layer on a baking sheet, then freeze in zipper bags up to a year.
Peeling is not necessary, and go well in any baked cake, muffin, cookie, jam chutneys.
Wash right before eating. Keep chilled in refrigerator.
Use as any fresh fruit, with breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Especially sweet due to sugar content – add to any dessert dish, or even meat sauces.
Add sugar, rum or brandy to mashed figs and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Add instant pizzazz to morning cereal with chopped figs and honey.
Skewer figs and alternate with chicken or pork on the grill.
Carmelize onions and mix with figs into any salad mix, pizza, or pasta.
Wrap with prosciutto for a classy hors d’oeuvre.
Spread halves with goat cheese or mascarpone and crown your primavera recipe.

For more super-easy yet utterly delicious ways to make tasty use of fresh figs, see 10 Quick Fig Recipes (these honey-fried figs  are a personal favorite, while these bacon-wrapped figs tend to disappear in an instant at a party).  See next blog article: Glorious Fig Recipes.

A WEEKEND MUST-HAVE-LET’S GO!

PvilleFarmersMktYOUR LOCAL FARMERS MARKET PUTS YOU IN TOUCH WITH  YOUR  COMMUNITY AND WITH REAL FOOD

You’re likely to see your local farming family, like the Hoovers (Hooverville Orchards, Placerville, CA, or the Perez family)  all pitching in to get the farm fresh produce out and about.

This is where Real Honest to Goodness takes place:  Real Food without hormones, pesticides, wax, sprays and irradiation.  Certified Farmers Markets foster the community as well as the farmers who grew your nourishment, because WholeFarmilyatF.Mktwithout them there is no food.  Farmers markets and farms are vital to the community and its economic sustainability.  Local restaurants rely on farm fresh produce and are quick to explain “locally grown” to customers who today seek fresher and healthier menu choices.  Farmers know that good food does not come in a box.  We need to teach children that delicious fruit does not grow inside a grocery store.  You will often meet the whole family or at least part of it.  The other half may be at another market location that same day.Kevin andBenFarmersMkt2016

Farm families often work all week, picking, planting, planning, and constructing within their farmland.  Summer weekends are devoted to sharing their bounty, Mother Earth’s bounty, with you.  You have the opportunity to meet and talk to the people who grew your food.  This is your chance to bring your family and encourage them to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables…the very ones they can pick out themselves.

You will run into friends, neighbors and perhaps make new acquaintances.  This is an activity much more important than talking politics, or shopping for shoes.  You can taste before you buy, and even get a discount if the farmer is smart enough to have “ugly fruit” for a better price.  You can find out exactly how the food was grown, and satisfy your concerns about food safety or problems growing your own vegetables.  RedBeets                              Eggplant:Cucumbers

You will find more than fruits and vegetables.  It’s an adventure discovering local honey, for example, not any from far away lands that are laced with sweeteners and chemical preservatives.

“If it came from a plant, eat it;
if it was made in a plant, don’t. ” 

―  Michael Pollan

local honeyColoma

Mama Earth Farm

Ben and Mary Woods, Proprietors
6267 Candy Lane
Somerset, CA 95684

Who is Tending Mother Earth … If it isn’t the next generation?

CherryPickersw:redLips
Helpers Yarrow and Alder

“Nothing is more rewarding or more practical than taking care of what gives you life.”  On this premise, in 2008, Ben and Mary started farming on a small lot. They acquired a bunch of chicks, a bunch of compost they could add to, two boys, Yarrow and Alder, and began planting perennials, trees and plants. In 2012, they found “a very nice acre” to rent close by with good water, full sun and amazing soil. It sounds like a smooth transition from here to there, right? Not as simple as all that. How did all this happen? What inspired these two young people to tend Mother Earth as a lifestyle vs. so many other fields of pursuit and perhaps less strenuous?

Mary grew up in Placerville and the two met in school. Ben attended UC Santa Barbara  and Mary,  Sac State.  Here is where the weather changed.   Ben attended prestigious Schumacher College, which has an enviable reputation of cutting-edge learning, with a respect for all living systems and an ecological worldview. They walk their talk on a daily basis in terms of sustainability, keeping that lifestyle at the forefront of all student activities, including horticulture.

Ben went onto holistic science endeavors by working on farms throughout Europe, Hawaii and California. “I saw myself for the first time with people honestly caring… much the same way Mom raised me on healthy food and concern for the earth.

Permaculture as culture and philosophy inspired me to do what I do. My goal is to offer hands-on experience to those under 35, and to high school students, and teach them how fruitful a farm can be. At the same time, the government must answer to the needs of farmers, not impose more regulations.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sprouting Shed                                              SproutShed“Farming for us is a way of life,” the couple says. They sincerely believe that organic farming methods have the potential to bring health to our world, and nothing else seems so rewarding. Ben’s mom, Shirley, feels the same way, working with Ben and Mary to tend the enormous amount of produce the one-acre of land produces.    Working with the local Placerville Natural Foods Coop, the family also sells through their own CSA, Saturday farmer’s market and local restaurants and events.

Kale Harvest
Kale Harvest

Two goats on the property serve to eat down weeds and residue after a harvest. Tranquility doesn’t reign long. “It takes 10 hours to pick for a market, 10 hours for CSA and wholesale, not including the need for planting and rotating crops.   We harvest 100 bunches of kale and chard each week alone. A farm like this, only one acre, could easily feed the entire community if more people farmed,” Ben said.
PVILLE F.MKTLettuceHarvest