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Sunday, May 31, 2015

White Satin Carrots

I was told it was difficult to grow carrots in Riverside's heavy clay soil.   They tend to be crooked as they try to grow through the hard soil.   Mine were all nice, long, and straight.  I have only been growing small amounts of items to see what will grow and what will not grow before I start planting more to sell.  I am now planting larger quantities to sell produce.  I have 900 tomato plants that are flowering and will be producing soon.   Here is a picture of the carrots.  The variety is white satin and the flesh is white instead of the traditional carrot orange.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

April Showers - bring May flowers

Things are starting to bloom in the flower bulb portion of the farm.    I am growing irises, dahlias and gladiolus bulbs to sell on ebay.    

Here are some of the plants that are blooming.

Stellar Lights Bearded Iris.     This is a very deep blue-purple iris.

Seapower - this is another bearded iris - with a light blue color

This variety is called Tiger Honey - this is a yellow bearded iris with stripes in the falls.

Beverly Sills Bearded iris - this variety is a light pink color.

Red Asiatic Lily - these bulbs were planted last year and this is the first year they have bloomed.

One of the varieties of Dahlia's are blooming.  It looks like a cactus variety but I am not sure what the name is.

Gladiolus - There are two varieties that are blooming -  One is Passos which is a plum color and the other is Fiesta which is orange with a yellow throat.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

City of Riverside Photographer at Farm

The City of Riverside sent a staff photographer to the farm to take pictures and also interview Sue Struthers and Nick M or the Riverside Food Coop.   They also interviewed me regarding my thoughts on preserving urban agricultural land in Riverside.

Here are a couple of pictures they took of me.    He had a really nice camera, so the pictures were nice and clear.

He also conducted a interview with Sue Struthers - treasurer of the food coop, and Nick M, core member of the Riverside Food Coop. regarding the importance of food hubs to the local food economy.  Here are a couple pictures of them during the interview.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2nd Dinner in the Grove - The Event!

The second "Dinners in the Grove" event was held at my farm.  Proceeds of the ticket sales are used to Support the Grow Riverside Conference which will be held on June 11-13th at the Riverside Convention Center.

The event started at 6:30, and there was a gathering under the old pepper tree where we had a bar with Wine from the local Galleano Winery.
and Beer from Heroes Restaurant and Brewery in Downtown Riverside.

Finally,  the wonderful food was prepared by the Chefs at RUSD - Riverside Unified School district.
On a daily basis - they prepare food at their commercial kitchen for 43,000 students and deliver it to 31 schools in the district.     They were led by Rodney Taylor who will also be speaking at the Grow Riverside Conference.
And Finally - Thanks to the Riverside Food Coop, especially Nick who prepared all the signs highlighting the animals that call the farm home.

Here is a picture of Duane and Lana.   Lana is the person who owns the farm and is allowing me to run and manage the orchard and farm.   She's a cowgirl as you can tell from the hat and boots!

Here's a picture of Duane along with John and Dorothy.  They were kicked out of their house because RUSD was using their kitchen and back yard to prepare the food.   The dog is Coco, who usually comes out the visit me every day when I am working there.

Here's some people in the bar area and also a singer who was entertaining the crowd.

City Councilman Mike Gardener speaking about his relationship with Lana and her late husband - Clark.   He helped place the orchard and farm in a covenant which basically protect the farm from development.

Here is a picture of Rodney Taylor speaking about his Farm to Schools program.  They try to buy as much local produce as possible for the school nutrition programs.  There also a picture of the team who prepared and served the food.

Finally - some images of the feast.  Along with pitchers of Sangria, we were served a wonderful salad with citrus dressing,  roasted vegetables, chicken, polenta, and braised shortribs.  The dessert was a chocolate ganache, and lemon tarts topped with fresh berries.     It was wonderful.

2nd Dinner in the Grove - Fox Farm - Supporting Grow Riverside Conference - Preparing for the event.

The 2nd Dinner in the Grove dinner was held at my farm last saturday.  The tickets were 75.00 a person and only 65 tickets were available.   The dinner sold out in 2 weeks.    RUSD - Riverside Unified School Districts chefs prepared the dinner using vegetables from my farm and other local farms.

We spent all day Saturday setting up the tables, bar, lights and preparing for the event which started at 6:30 that evening.

Here are images of the tables in the progress of being set and decorated with plants and flowers from the farm.  The last picture shows the tables all set with plates and decorated.

Here's some images of us setting up the bar area.   We hung some cafe lights in the old pepper tree by the pond and made that the bar area.   There was a open bar with wine from Galleano Winery in Mira Loma,  CA, and Beer from Heroes in Downtown Riverside.

The food was prepared at the RUSD commercial kitchen facility which is a couple miles away from the farm, but was staged at the neighbors - John and Dorothy Perez, who have access to the farm with a gate.  They are good friends of the owner, so they installed a gate.  The RUSD chef's used their patio to prepare the food.  Here some images of the prep area.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Strange Bird Nest

I found this bird nest hanging in the big pepper tree when I was hanging lights for the Dinner in The Grove which is happening tomorrow night.     I am not sure what kind of bird made this nest, but amazed at the work it must have taken to create it.   There is a hole in the top of it and it looks like some type of basket.   I am not sure if there is anything inside of it, but didn't want to disturb it if there was.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Tree's Full of Fruit! - Orchard update

The trees in the orchard are all carrying fruit as we move into summer.  Some are more productive than others.   Some of the older trees are showing their age - in lack of production.    Here is a photo tour off all the types of fruit in my orchard.

Here is the apple tree.  Although I planted a couple trees this winter,  this is the only one that is bearing fruit.

Black walnut -  The orchard was a walnut farm in the 1930's.    This is one of the few original trees that are left.    Its an old tree but still produces quite a few walnuts.

Blackberry -  Here is a blackberry bush - that is growing on the property.   There are quite a few of them that are ripe.

Mandarin orange.   This is the only Mandarin orange in the orchard, but its very productive and is loaded with fruit.   This is the type of fruit that is also sold as the cuties in the grocery stores.

Strawberries - These are the strawberries that we planted a couple months ago. The fruit is small, but will be bigger next year.

Apricot - This apricot tree is an older tree and production has dropped off dramatically.  There are a few apricots on the tree, but not enough to justify the water used to keep it alive and it may be time to replace it with a younger tree.   They are ripe and they taste very sweet.

There are 4 avocado trees on the property and this one has quite a few baby avocados on it.   I am not a fan of Avocados but they are a great cash crop and very popular.

Fig- Here are some figs on the tree.  There are 3 fig trees and they are generally very productive.  
They mature at different times, so it will produce all summer.  There is a large one and some younger smaller figs.

Here are some oranges that are growing nicely.   There are 4 orange trees on the property.  Two aren't producing that well and others are producing nicely.
This is one of the peach trees on the property.   This is one of 4 peach trees.   They fruit is still young and green, but the biggest problem is that as the fruit ripens, its a favorite of the squirrels.

Plum - this a tree with some plums that are still green.   There are 3 plum trees in the orchard.

Pomegranate -   There are a couple pomegranate trees on the property.   This is another tree that ripens at various times.   There are larger ones and smaller ones.  

Sapote or Mexican Apple Trees.   This is a very unusual fruit  -  The fruit is an ovoid drupe, 5–10 cm in diameter, with a thin, inedible skin turning from green to yellow when ripe, and an edible pulp, which can range in flavor from bland to banana-like to peach to pear to vanillaflan   The pulp can be creamy-white in green skin varieties or a beige-yellow in yellow skin varieties and has a smooth texture similar to ripe avocado. It contains from one to five seeds that are said to have narcotic properties.  Several recent in vitro studies have shown that zapotin has potential anti-carcinogenic effects against isolated colon cancer cells.  Eating the fruit has long been known to produce drowsiness.   There is one tree on the property its a very large tree. 

This is a grapefruit tree that produces a nice pink grapefruit that will grow quite large.

Macadamia nut.  This is what little macadamia nuts look like before they grow larger.   There is one tree and the squirrels love em.  We generally don't get any because they are all gone by the time they are ripe.

Finally- some persimmons that are starting to grow in size.  These are very young and will be mature around October.