The GreenLeaf Blog
September 24, 2012
Get ready to dig your own potatoes, milk a cow, pick a pumpkin, and taste some fresh cheese on CUESA and GreenLeaf’s October farm tour to two Petaluma farms.
First we’ll visit David Little at Little Organic Farm, where we’ll get a personal tour during the height of the harvest season and learn all about his main crop: dry-farmed potatoes. We’ll find out how dry farming fosters superior flavor and is invaluable in the face of drought.
Next we’ll head over to Spring Hill Cheese, a farm that started with potatoes in the early days of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and grew into a full-time dairy. The farm now raises 400 Jersey cows for its farmstead cheeses, including fresh curds, quark, and aged cheddars. In addition to a private tour of the dairy with owner Larry Peter, we’ll enjoy some public activities the farm offers in October: homemade ice cream and cheese tastings, a tractor ride, and the chance to dig for potatoes, pick pumpkins, and milk a cow.
The tour costs $25 and includes a pasta lunch provided by our hosts at Spring Hill, with sides made from Ferry Plaza Farmers Market ingredients. We’ll leave from and return to the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus. Please bring cash for harvest activities such as pumpkin picking and potato digging at Spring Hill Cheese. Tickets are nonrefundable.
August 27, 2012
Join CUESA and GreenLeaf for a late summer tour where we’ll get to taste, see, smell, and harvest summer vegetables on two long-time Ferry Plaza Farmers Market farms.
Our first stop will be the Peach Farm in Winters, where farmer Ed George will give us a tour of his 35 acres of interesting summer crops, such as Marvel Stripe and Lemon Boy tomatoes, Ancho peppers, and Magda squash. Attendees will get to taste the pick of the season, harvesting some of their own samples. Ed will talk to us about how his decision to plant only summer crops helps the land recuperate over the winter and maintains soil nutrients. He’ll also talk about how his relationship with market shoppers keeps him getting up early every Saturday.
Our next stop will be Capay Organic, where we’ll eat lunch by the oak trees. The farm, founded by the current owners’ parents in the early days of the organic food movement, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. We’ll learn about their approach to sustainable farming and discuss the various ways the business has evolved to reach more customers, including through markets, a CSA, and a grocery in the Ferry Building. We’ll enjoy a tractor ride into the fields and taste what the farm’s summer bounty has to offer.
The tour costs $25 and includes lunch made with farmers market ingredients. We’ll leave from and return to the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus. Tickets are nonrefundable.
The tour is geared toward adults. Young people who are interested in attending with their parents and who are likely to enjoy the tour without causing disruption are welcome. Please use your discretion and call if you have questions.
July 27, 2012
Join CUESA for a trip to two respected Brentwood farms to learn the ins and outs of organic production. First, we’ll visit Frog Hollow Farm, where Farmer Al will walk us through his organic orchard, which has grown from 13 to 130+ acres in the past 30 years. It’s stone fruit season, giving attendees a chance to see pluots, peaches, and nectarines hanging from the trees. From compost production to a native bee project, attendees will see how organic methods yield thriving fruit trees.
Our next stop will be Knoll Farms, where we’ll see how organic practices work on a smaller scale. Known for their ecosystem-oriented farm management and focus on diverse plantings, farmers Kristie and Rick Knoll will show attendees how many different crops can grow on 13 acres. We’ll also get to learn more about their farming philosophy, including the role of biodiversity, weeds, permaculture, and biodynamic methods in creating healthy soils. Attendees will get to enjoy a picnic lunch beneath the fig trees.
This tour is organized in collaboration with GreenLeaf Produce, CUESA’s 2012 farm tour sponsor, which works closely with both farms. The tour costs $25 and includes lunch made with farmers market ingredients. We’ll leave from and return to the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus. Tickets are nonrefundable.
July 5, 2012
CUESA has organized a field-to-jar experience that will help you connect to where your veggies are grown and find out how to preserve them for later. Learn about how heirloom plant varieties enhance biodiversity and flavor, and then discover the magic of preservation through fermentation.
Our first stop will be Heirloom Organic Gardens in Hollister, a farm dedicated to cultivating a diversity of plants and to sustainable production methods. Farmer Grant Brians is a founding member of California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), having participated since 1975. The farm grows over 200 varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and Grant is always expanding his selection. We’ll tour the farm and learn about how agriculture has influenced the rich history of the region. Grant will also discuss how flavor develops in plants, and the importance of cultivating heirloom varieties within our modern agricultural system.
We’ll then head over to Mountain Feed and Supply in Ben Lomond for a sauerkraut class with Kathryn Lukas of Farmhouse Culture. Kathryn is inspired by the diversity and rich culture (pun intended) of California cuisine, and she produces krauts inspired by food traditions from all over the world. Set in the redwoods, the class will cover the basics of sauerkraut and fermentation as well as the inspiration for Farmhouse Culture’s award-winning krauts. We’ll enjoy lunch made with farmers market ingredients and will have time to explore the shop, which is bursting with canning and kraut-making supplies. Everyone will go home with their own jar of sauerkraut, a recipe, and confidence to start kraut-making on their own.
The tour costs $35 and includes snacks, lunch, the class, and a jar of sauerkraut. We’ll leave from and return to the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus.
June 1, 2012
GreenLeaf is proud to sponsor the “Sweet Spot” tour of local stonefruit farms on Friday, June 15, organized by CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. As part of their mission to cultivate a sustainable food system, CUESA organizes 5-6 tours each year to Ferry Plaza Farmers Market farms and artisan food businesses in order to give eaters a first-hand look at where their food comes from and how it is produced.
Join CUESA for a tour of unprecedented sweetness. The first stop will be Bella Viva Orchards in Denair, where Victor Martino’s family has been farming since the 1940s. It’s cherry season, and the Martinos, known for both their dried and fresh fruit, will walk the tour through the entire cherry-drying process. The farm dries fruit at the peak of ripeness, retaining flavor that can be enjoyed throughout the year. The tour continues to the organic orchard, where Bella Viva’s famed peaches and other stonefruit are grown. Attendees will eat lunch at the farm and stop by the farm store for dried goodies.
Next the tour will head over to CandyCot Fruit Company for a visit with John Driver. John selected his apricots over many visits to Central Asia, where apricots are intensely flavored and sweet. While these sweet varieties are typically difficult to grow in the United States, John’s CandyCots do well in the California climate and, at an average of 26 degrees on the Brix scale of sweetness, are twice as sweet as some of their grocery store counterparts. Attendees will get to tour the orchards and learn about CandyCot apricots as the farm gets ready for harvest.
The tour costs $25 and includes lunch made with farmers market ingredients. The tour leaves from and returns to the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus.