Blogs for October, 2014
checkout the archived city farm blog articles to learn about our takes on farm & city life
checkout the archived city farm blog articles to learn about our takes on farm & city life
Artist Sam Van Aken is making magic with agriculture (magriculture?), creating a tree that blooms in various colors and then produces over 40 different fruits. No, Van Aken is not trying to play God, though he was inspired by the Catholic rite of the priest transforming the wine and bread into the blood and body of Christ.
Sam had been performing “hoaxes” on the radio, hijacking commercial stations with his own versions of ads and songs. Researching the etymology of the word “hoax,” he was led to the transubstantion of the Eurcharist in the Catholic church, as “hoax” is derived from “hocus pocus,” which is in turn from the Latin “hoc est enim corpus miem,” meaning “this is my body,” the phrase the priest uses to bring the mystery of the body of Christ into the present, physical space for the people of the church.
As an artist, Sam was intrigued. How could he alter the appearance of a thing while the reality of it remained the same? Combining his childhood, growing up on the family farm, with his work as an artist, he began to build a fruit tree. To graft together the more than forty stone fruits, he approaches local farmers and growers for their fruit, adding an element of the political surrounding the diversity of food production to his growing statement on art and commerce.
But, Sam told Epicurious in the interview, “first and foremost I see the tree as an artwork. Like the hoaxes I was doing, I want the tree to interrupt and transform the everyday. When the tree unexpectedly blossoms in different colors, or you see these different types of fruit hanging from its branches, it not only changes the way you look at it, but it changes the way you perceive [things] in general.”
You may not get the chance to graft together a fruit tree to blow your mind and neighbors’ preconceived notions about life. So how can you see the daily or mundane in a new light? Oftentimes all it takes is a shift in perspective. Growing your own fruit tree, caring for it, nurturing it, watching it finally blossom and produce delicious fruit can be a way to see your world through new eyes.
If you want to plant a peach tree, put it on your calendar for this spring!
I admit, I take compliments ALL the time for remembering birthdays, anniversaries, and first dates and I don’t give Google calendar ANY credit. But it’s the only way I remember to do anything. Mail my rent? Check. Eat lunch? Check check. Fertilize my peach tree three years after planting? Definitely need to set an e-mail reminder for that. It’s like a free personal, electronic assistant. To take the best care of your peaches, add these dates from the time you plant your peach tree:
(Photo Credit: Epicurious.com)
Satisfy your sweet tooth! From now until Halloween, save 50% on our City Farm Caramels, now only $7.50!
While supplies last. Promotion ends 10/31/2014
In the spirit of pumpkin patches, hay rides and Halloween costumes, we’re celebrating here at the farm.
Halloween, being one of our favorite holidays, is a time to enjoy sweets, like our bubblegum, bob for apples and yes, even dress up the horses. The best thing is… they love it! Meet Peanut, Chiquita and Chocolate, even at their young ages, they’ve had their fair share of costumes. From the time I first brought them home in my minivan, they’ve had a hat, sash, or cape on a few times a year. Of course I would never push them to do dress up so the fact that they’re willing to trade an apple for a witch hat adds to the festivities!
This year, we carved our pumpkin patch at night to really let our jack-o’-lanterns glow! Everyone was in costume and excited for the fun. Chiquita struts by Chocolate’s stall each night since she’s arrived so we knew they had to dress up together. In true Chiquita fashion she started to nibble at Chocolate’s hair piece just to get his attention. My life on the farm brings me many pleasures but few compare to the happiness my horses bring. It was a wonderful start to the holiday season and the horses are just another reason I will be extra thankful come Thanksgiving.
What is your favorite way to include your pets at the holidays? Are they as happy as our minis and dwarves to join in the fun? Enjoy more snapshots of our life at The City Farm below… stay tuned for more!
I was shocked – as shocked as one can get about vegetables, which, frankly, runs pretty low on my shock-scale. But still, when my brother-in-law ordered a small plate of roasted cauliflower for the table, I didn’t think I’d be (softly) stabbing his hand with my fork in order to eat the last piece.
That night, the Olympic Provisions kitchen handed over the incredibly easy recipe (see below) to replicate the yummy dish at home, so we might make as much as we wanted and ensure familial bliss.
If you read this blog and recently planted easy peas, you’ll have more time to tend to your slightly more needy cauliflower crop. The benefits are awesome: adding more cruciferous veggies to your plate will not only give you more vitamin C and K, but also add glucosinolates to your diet, “compounds containing sulfer that are found only in cruciferous vegetables. Eating glucosinolates might help lower your risk of cancer, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.”
Cauliflower thrives in a cool climate of consistent 60 degree weather, and grow best planted in the fall. If you live in a warm area, you can plant any time from now ‘til early winter, but want to wait ‘til the weather is consistently around 75 degrees or colder.
As promised, the recipe for roasted cauliflower a la Robert the brother-in-law:
Chef’s note: Measurements don’t really apply for this recipe. You go where the spirit leads you. Baking on a pizza stone is ideal, but a baking tray works well, too.
Serve to happy eaters who never knew cauliflower could be so good. Are you growing your own cauliflower?
(Photo Credit: Pirate Kitchen)
Have you noticed pumpkin patches have become more like mini-theme parks lately? They start setting up round about Labor Day, and a visit to one can range from overwhelming to downright scary – bounce houses with children’s screams of delight turning to cries of exhaustion, kids running untethered and hyped up on cotton candy and candy corn, their adorable face paintings turning garish as the sweat from a sunny Indian-summer day beats down on them.
I will concede that there’s something magical to a hay-bale ride, so if your local pumpkin patch offers that, plan a quick visit, and then plan your own, home-grown, DIY pumpkin patch and carving party.
To create a rustic, farm-inspired party, find a box to display your pumpkin-carving tools, like the City Farm’s primitive shoe shine box. Toss in pens for sketching, spoons, carving knives for the grown-ups, and a few orange marigolds to add some bright fall color.
To add a touch of the carnival to your pumpkin patch / carving party, create a cut-out for photo opps. With a box-cutter, slice apart a cardboard box, and sketch a pumpkin “head” outline on one of the squares, including a neck and shoulders. Cut out a face-sized hole in the middle of the pumpkin, and paint as traditional or crazy as you feel that day. If the box is big enough, cut out hand holes at the wrist, so your party people have a place to wag their hands through. Make sure it is dry before your party, to avoid unwanted face painting. For DIY face painting, check out Today.com for a video guide of easy tips and ideas here.
What will you serve your guests? Pumpkin spice cupcakes? If you want to get a little buggy with gifts for your guests, head over to Martha Stewart and print out a variety of bugs on card stock. After you’ve cut out the shapes, glue a clothespin to the back to create a candy bag clip, put your favorite candy in a small paper bag, and close with your clip.
To learn more about the history of the jack-o-lantern, check out our Grow post, here.
Share photos of your pumpkin patch / carving party or tell us your favorite fall traditions over on Twitter. Happy Halloween!
It’s time for me to ‘fess up: I think vampires are real. Well, maybe not *real* real. But back in ’92, after watching the Luke Perry / Kristy Swanson cult classic “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” I began to seriously consider what it meant to invite some vampire err… someone into your house. And while it’s *mostly* a running joke about my weird phobias (clowns ARE real and they’re terrifying, people), I’m not opposed to keeping a clove of garlic handy come Halloween time.
Are you planning a ghoulish gathering or hosting a Halloween pumpkin patch party this year? A quick Google search reveals all kinds of ideas for adding vampire-repelling garlic to your menu, from cupcakes to pumpkin sage bread to a warm and savory soup. If you want to pick your garlic from your garden next year, now is the time to plant! Garlic grows year-round in mild climates, and will be ready to harvest in spring or summer for those living in colder regions. Just be sure to plant your cloves six weeks before the first real frost.
Even if you’re not worried about keeping vampire visitors at bay, there are many other benefits to garlic. Rich in antioxidants, it was used to fight gangrene in both world wars, and continues to battle disease as a regular part of your diet, combatting the common cold. Research is ongoing, but studies show that garlic benefits your heart health and blood pressure, as well as adding tons of flavor to your food.
(Photo Credit: HarvestToTable)
WHAT is it with the October heat wave? I’ve lived in Los Angeles long enough to know that this is our hottest season. Despite my protestations that it should be time for boots and sweater weather, October greets me full of fire-inducing, hot Santa Ana winds and the temptation to buy an air conditioner. But I can’t seem to get over wish for a cold, damp, blustery fall, pumpkin patches, fires in the wood stove instead of the surrounding hills, veggies roasting in a crockpot for a hot, filling dinner. Whether your weather collaborates with your seasonal dreams or not, October is a good time to sow certain seeds, especially peas: snow peas or snap, if you get them in the ground now, you’ll have a jump on fresh peas for a spring harvest. I’ve always loved snow peas, whether it’s the crunch they add to a stir-fry or the reminder of the princess who felt the slight change beneath her 20 mattresses, reminding me that I can be high maintenance about a few things. “You’re the worst kind; you’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance.” ~ When Harry Met Sally
Despite their princess-y reputation, peas are pretty easy to grow, though you have to give some special attention when it comes to watering them.
How to plant your peas:
“On the side” is a very big thing for you.” (When Harry Met Sally) How do you prefer your peas? In the pod, tossed in a salad or stir-fry? Steamed or added to a Thanksgiving mystery casserole? Tell us any tricks and tips you’ve learned about growing and harvesting peas in the comments or over on Twitter @TheCityFarm.
(Photo Credit: loghouseplants.com)