Photo-essay. Community Supported Agriculture is BIG in San Mateo County. Farmer, Eric Munroe, shows off his certified organic, naturally grown veges.
“We grow all our own vegetables in high vitality, biologically alive soil. This produces the most nutritious, best tasting produce. We try to pick at peak ripeness, so you get full flavor and nutrition.”
The tour was part of the Farm + Flower + Fish event sponsored by the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce.
What the heck is that?! It’s a nabacon onion. Like a spring onion, but big!
Got fresh basil? Want to make it last longer in your fridge? Put the basil in a ziploc bag. Close the bag and squeeze out all of the air. Then, open the bag a bit, and blow big puffs (2-3) of your breath into the bag.
You just reduced the oxygen (and the oxidization process) by replacing it with air that has the higher rated CO2 levels of your breath.
Beautiful setting 2 miles back into the coastal hills. Here is their second hoop house. The first one blew down. Being in a valley, means that winds can really whip through the Ananda Valley. This is a high tunnel hoop house. They grow Verona tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, basil … in there. All the heat loving vegetables that people want.
Kohlrabi is a biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage. It is the same species as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, collards … ~ Wikipedia. Preparing and Peeling Kolrabi ~ small cubes in salads, or stir fry (similar taste to broccoli stems, but sweeter). Don’t be intimidated.
Kolrabi rows with Batchelor Button Cornflowers in the back. What a view on this sunny warm afternoon.
Buttons with Sunflowers out the back.
Nabacon onions tucked behind the sunflowers. An onion with a “high-five” attitude.
Pop-up harvest! Smells wonderfully onion-y. Eric used to replant Nabacon every year, but he discovered that if you just harvest by cutting it at its base, they grow right back!. Eric is aiming for zero-tilling. Lot less backbreaking labor, too.
Scarlet Emperor Runner Beans. Again, Eric is experimenting with the regeneration of the roots of the bean plant, allowing them to grow back after harvest, without replanting. Its working. Luckily, gophers don’t like the Emperor’s root structure.
I don’t know if a bean can be sexy, but wow. Colors fit for an emperor.
The broccoli and eucalyptus wood chip experiment, below. Six rows with wood chips from 1″ to 5″ in size, with a seventh control row with no wood chips. Each row is additionally testing chemical fertilizer and organic fertilizers.
“Our farm has been chosen to participate in a CA Healthy Soils Initiative 3-year project.
Our project proposal was accepted to trial adding wood chips to vegetable fields as a way to sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gases, and increase the soil health and vitality.” ~ Eric
To see Eric’s blog and videos on his wood chip experimentation GO HERE. This is a critical experiment as the current thoughts on wood chips is counter to Eric’s hypothesis. One inch chips seem to work best. And the cost of the wood chips is zero as tree guys love to reduce their dump fees.
Eric keeps these broccoli plants producing fairly large secondary heads by nipping off the secondary shoots from the main stem. If you just pinch the broccoli off, without the leaves, when pinching, you end up with lots of little heads which are more time consuming to harvest and less appealing to the consumer.
Netting to keep the quail from pecking at the new plants.
Gophers, quail, deer … and bunny rabbits, hence the chicken wire fence, below. Fence needs to be dug in 6 inches, or they burrow under. Eric tried neme oil to control aphids, but he could see it was just slowing them down and not worth either of their labor. Now they share with the aphids. ;-)
Eric planted Red Alders in and around the beds as he has discovered that they are nitrogen fixing. They need a lot of water but Frenchmen’s creek and its spring have never dried up.
The most common farm weed (below) … Wild Amaranth. 30% complete protein, and its a plant! And it’s free and wild.
Here’s how you cook it CLICK HERE.
About Ananda Valley Farm
Ananda Valley Farm is nestled amongst hills and canyons on 67 acres of rich farmland just north of Half Moon Bay and two miles from the beach. There are 12 acres of fields, but they grow on only 2-3 acres at the moment. This land has been lovingly farmed for more than 100 years. Water is available year-round from a mountain-top spring that Native Americans have long considered sacred, via Frenchmen’s Creek.
Tours of the farm are available most Saturday mornings during harvest season (May-November). We’d love to show you around; please contact Trisha to set a time, rsvp required.
Ananda Valley Farm offers annual CSA subscriptions (Community Supported Agriculture). It’s our mission to serve organic food lovers in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially Coastside (Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Miramar, Princeton, Moss Beach, Montara, Pacifica), and the Peninsula (Mountain View, Los Altos, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and nearby cities).
Ananda Valley Farm is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations are gratefully appreciated.
Ananda is also a spiritual community. GO HERE to learn more.