Acorn Food

Hello humans!

While we sweat away over our young tomatoes, the oaks stretch on, oblivious to my fussing with irrigation drips and shade cloth. They have been here long before we ever were and will be here long after we’re gone. Thanks to these ancient trees and the sheer abundance of acorns they provided, the native people of this area never had a reason to develop agriculture- the oaks provided. And how baffling to think that a tree that’s two hundred years old, branches casting long shadows on a ground of leaf litter, started with a single acorn. To trees growth is timeless. The acorn does not worry about how it could possibly ever grow into a giant tree. Doesn’t think about everything that can go wrong, lose hope by comparing its small, hard rounded self to the glorious canopy of its forebears, despairing at the long road to come. It just puts out one more root, and one more leaf, one second at a time, one photon at a time, collecting its energy, patiently, simply, getting bigger every year. And eventually there it is, as big as the tree it came from, building its own set of round, hard, bitter acorns. Do not get frustrated! Even the most massive of endeavors must, by necessity, happen one day at a time.

This week we’re thinking about food- from acorns, to tomatoes, to honey, to anything else you put in your body. Food Week at the Claremont Colleges is almost upon us! Events officially begin on Friday, and the farm is braided through the week’s calendar, attached for your perusing pleasure. Food Week will end in the massive celebration that is Spring farm fest (but more on that next week). This week, join us for the following:

CANCELLED: Cooking Workshop: All about carob, Thursday 4pm Farm Kitchen

Sagen Café Farm Special: Friday 11:30-1pm, SCC
The usual delicious salad-fare. Probably featuring kale.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
We’ll probably be weeding but will definitely be covered in dirt by the end of it.

Beekeeping Workshop: HONEY HARVEST! Saturday 2pm on the East Side
Finally we can harvest some delicious fresh honey from our busy hive! There are limited spots available for this workshop so jump in now! Sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. You will be able to take home a small container of honey with you!

Claremont Eclectic Garden Tour: Sunday 1-4pm, all over Claremont
This garden tour is organized by the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and the Claremont Garden Club! If you are interested in spectacular and inventive Claremont landscaping, you won’t want to miss this! The tour is Sunday, April 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. and the price of the ticket ($20) includes admission to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (within 30 days of event date). Ticket holders are welcomed to enjoy the Annual Wildflower Show event also occurring on April 19 at the Garden. FMI, and for tickets.
Love,
The Farm

Flower to Sun

Hello People!

Somehow, a sunflower started to grow right smack in the middle of one of the paths at the farm. It shot through the mulch and its stalk got thicker as it reached upwards. But sunflowers are not known as tight rope walkers and sometimes they lose their balance in their eagerness to grow big enough to bloom. This particular sunflower, perhaps destabilized by its unconventional growing spot, grew tall enough to fall right over, the stem bending in a 90 degree angle at the base. When I saw it like this a month ago I assumed it to be dead soon. It could have easily sighed and given itself up back to the earth it now lay on. Somehow, though, the stalk reconfigured itself to keep the now-horizontal plant alive as it figured out what to do next. It began changing its direction of growth and reaching vertically again from the fallen tip. Every week I was surprised to still find it alive. Its stalk is bent at the base, and again a couple of feet along when it twists up to soak the  sun. Now it’s huge leaves face the sky and its round bud, at the height of my shoulders, contains hidden the beauty of a bloom we’re only allowed to see when the plant is good and ready to show us. Until then, my unconventional sunflower! Perhaps we can all be as patiently stubborn as this marvelous plant, and just start growing up again every time we fall over, because reaching for the cosmos is as natural as growth itself. This week at the farm, grow with us:

Farm Stand: Thursday 4-5:30pm at the GROVE HOUSE!
Farm stand at the beautiful Grove House! We’ll be selling all of our recently-picked delicious organic-local produce, as well as your favorite stuffed and unstuffed breads. Check out the Grove House on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGroveHouse.atPitzer  The Grove House is north of Benson Auditorium on Pitzer’s campus- there is a parking lot on 9th street right east of Claremont Boulevard. Hope to see you there!

Sign Painting: Friday 5pm West Side
Come down and help us paint beautiful signs for our fruit trees- so you know what everything is! You don’t need to be an artist! Anyone will do!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Come on down and get some sun and some work done and some produce.

Beekeeping Workshop: Saturday 2pm on the East Side of the farm
The second to last workshop! There are limited spots available so sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. Workshops are free and open to all.

Love,

The Farm

There will Always be Leaks

This morning as I walked back to the West side of the farm, the irrigation was on and running, placidly dripping out of drip tape. In a verdant, young peach tree, new leaves fresh and bright, I saw a rustling. On high alert for squirrels, I peered into the branches, trying to figure out what was going on in there. As I approached I noticed that there was a leak in the irrigation around the tree, likely the result of thirsty squirrels gnawing, and a thin stream of water was shooting in a brilliant sun-drenched arc into the low branches of said peach tree. There was a bird, probably a sparrow, who came upon that leafy shelter with droplets falling on it, just in the middle of that low branch, and began to take itself a bath. A shower, I should say. There the bird was, fluttering, fluffing, preening, loving this little rainy jungle, rustling away in the branches with not a care in the world. This not-supposed-to-be shower, this accidental opportunity, this anarchist chaos-loving bird, having a grand old time at the expense of a would-be problem. Was the water, then, wasted? Folks, there will always be leaks! But worry not, because there is always an opportunity in a problem, and there are always birds ready to shower. This week in farm, join us to celebrate an abundance of opportunity:

Sagen Café Farm Special: MONDAY 11:30-1pm, SCC
Switching it up! Today I harvested a boatload of kale for a delicious kale-watermelon-strawberry salad! We’ll also do a special on Friday, so stay tuned for that.

Cooking Workshop: Fava bean nori rolls, Thursday 4pm at the Farm Outdoor Kitchen
Who said sushi had to be made of rice? The farm is bursting with lava beans right now, so come on out to learn how to use fava beans instead of rice in sushi! We’ll be concocting rolls in all sorts of delicious combinations.

Beekeeping Workshop: Saturday 10am on the East Side
Learn the basics of beekeeping and hive life! There are only a few spots available for this week’s workshop. Sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. I will keep sending out the form every week that we’re hosting a workshop. Workshops are free and open to all.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Work! Outside! Dirt! Jokes! Dirty jokes!

 

Love,

The Farm

a Burst of Spring

Hello Folks!

With the coming of spring buds are bursting, fruit is ripening, and shoots break the surface of the earth anew. It is a time for beginnings and a time for evolution. As you settle into post-spring-break times, remember that the earth is awakening with you. There are tender green leaves unfurling in every tree, distinctive from their lighter color and delicate tissues, not yet toughened by the sun but already blessed by the new moon. There are flowers drying up and turning into seedpods, storing their energy into little versions of themselves. Pollen from the oak trees swirls through the air unnoticed, carried by micro-currents that whisper past us unseen. Trees are stretching into time, reaching for water and finding warmth. The air is heating up and the universe pulsates while we breathe. This week, come alive, feel your skin tingling with the sheer vibrancy of your pumping cells, and join us in celebration:

Juicing Workshop: Wednesday 5pm on the West Side
The ever-popular juicing workshop is back! Featuring Chinese herbalist and juicing master Dean Rehmannia Thomas whipping up the most nutritious, delicious concoctions for your awaiting palate. Come on out to sample these delicious super foods straight from the farm.

Farm Stand: Thursday 4-5:30pm at the GROVE HOUSE!
Farm stand at the beautiful Grove House! We’ll be selling all of our recently-picked delicious organic-local produce, as well as your favorite stuffed and unstuffed breads. Check out the Grove House on Facebook.  The Grove House is north of Benson Auditorium on Pitzer’s campus- there is a parking lot on 9th street right east of Claremont Boulevard. Hope to see you there!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Come on down and get some sun and some work done and some produce.

Beekeeping Workshop: Saturday 10am on the East side of the farm
Learn the basics of beekeeping and hive life! We’re going to have a series of four workshops over the next few weekends and this is the first. There are limited spots available so sign up here and look out for a confirmation email. I will keep sending out the form every week that we’re hosting a workshop. Workshops are free and open to all.

Native Sage Festival: Saturday, 10am-3pm at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Come on out to RSABG this Saturday for a festival honoring the very key and foundational plant of this very ecosystem, sage. We’ll have a booth at the festival and will be selling fruit/veggies/t-shirts.

Growing Home Potluck: A Journey Into Spring, Saturday 4-8pm at the Farm
Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, and joy. Cultures throughout the world celebrate this time with a variety of festivals and traditions that welcome the coming warmth, growth, and abundance.  From Easter in the US to Chinese New Year to India’s Holi to Persia’s Nowruz, Spring has come to Los Angeles in a myriad of smells, tastes, and colors. At this potluck, we will hear from a variety of local residents how their cultures celebrate spring traditionally, and how that celebration has traveled across Ocean’s to the America. Tickets here. and for Pomona College students, use the promotional code “pomegranate”

And with that, go forth and feel the earth underneath your feet.

Love,
The Farm

Hello folks!

You may think that in a garden or in a farm, we are harnessing nature’s gifts and coercing her to work for our profit and enjoyment. That the plants labor and grow just for our palates. But perhaps the picture looks different if we flip the coin. Perhaps it is the plants themselves that have harnessed our energy for their purposes. They have found ways to tempt us into caring for them. How we dote on our trees! We flutter around them like handmaidens, checking them for disease, giving them rich compost for food, meticulously removing dead leaves and branches from their canopies, cooing over their bright, new leaves. They have domesticated us to provide them with everything they need. They have a world of advantage over their more unfortunate cousins in the wild. And who could ask for a more gentle and benevolent ruler! In exchange for our services we’re blessed with beauty, shade and fruit. We have the privilege of being guardians for these magnificent beings, so verdant, so vibrant, so alive. This week in farm come celebrate our fruit-giving labor:

Farm Stand: Thursday 4-5:30pm at the GROVE HOUSE!
This week we’re switching it up and hosting our farm stand at Pitzer’s Grove House! We’ll be selling all of our recently-picked delicious organic-local produce, as well as your favorite stuffed and unstuffed breads. Check out the Grove House on Facebook.  The Grove House is north of Benson Auditorium on Pitzer’s campus- there is a parking lot on 9th street right east of Claremont Boulevard. Hope to see you there!

Sagen Café Weekly Special: Friday 11-1pm at the SCC
A fresh dish of the most local and organic you could have.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Come on down and get some dirt under your fingernails.

Love,
The Farm

Peach Laden

Hello folks!

It seems Claremont has caught delusions of weather in this latest bout of rain and cold. The compost is soggy but the trees are stretching into the moisture, soaking it up. Clover shoots are peeking through the mulch in the East side orchard and the peach trees already laden with small fruitlets. We’ve been spending our time up in the branches, thinning them out. Peach trees put out way more peaches than they have the energy to ripen, so we release them from the weight of quantity by picking off more than half of the fruit when it’s still young. If we don’t, they will half-ripen clustered together, fruits smashing into each other and weighing down the branch they sit on (which can break), ultimately not quite reaching the full juicy sweetness of a ripe fruit from lack of sugars. If we do thin them, then the tree can allocate more energy to each one, and they develop in peace and distinction, getting as big and fat as they possibly can before we pluck them from  their unbroken branch. You, too, have limited energy! Make sure to limit the peaches you set so each one can benefit from your attention and be fully manifested. This week shed some metaphorical peaches and be free to join us:

Sustainable Claremont Dialogue: Monday (TONIGHT) 7pm in Hahn 101
Catch us at this month’s Sustainable Claremont Dialogue! We’re going to be co-leading it and talking about the farm’s work and about food security in Claremont (flier attached)

Farmdue cooking workshop: Thursday 4pm at the Farm Outdoor Kitchen
Come on out for some farm fondue! We’re going to be whipping up a piping hot and marvelously fragranced pot of cheese, and then we’ll be running around the farm harvesting things and dipping them in cheese and gobbling them up. What else could possibly be better on a Thursday afternoon?

Sagen Café Farm Special: Friday 11:30-1pm, SCC
The best lunch. Come get one on fridays.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
We’ll probably be thinning and maybe planting. Come on out.

Love,
The  Farm

Be a Tree

Hello humans!

Often we see things we want to change and get all mixed up in our intentions, expending a lot of energy but not changing a thing. But a tree doesn’t see faults in the world. It isn’t trying to do anything. It simply exists, grows, survives. A tree doesn’t leaf out for insects, but they find shelter among its leaves. A tree doesn’t reach into the soil for bacteria, but they still drink sugars from its roots. A tree doesn’t stretch out for squirrels but they find cool shade under its canopy and a highway in its branches. A tree is not just an individual but a whole ecosystem. Through its simple presence spaces are made to shelter, to ground and to hold. Life gravitates towards trees, as they go about the task of living. Simply, wholly, peacefully giving, as a collateral effect of their existence, with no afterthought but the creaking of wood and the whispering of leaves. This week, be a tree, and if it brings you to the farm join us for the following:

Farm Stand: Thursday 4-5:30pm at the Smith Campus Center Courtyard
So many greens! So much bok choi! So many sweet peas! Come on down to farm stand and get all your goodies, from the most local/organic/ethical source you could possibly have hoped for. This week there will also be GREEN SMOOTHIES for all! Come and get your powerful burst of green goodness! Enough nutrition to last a whoel week!

Sagen Café Weekly Special: Friday 11-1pm at the SCC
Salad, salad salad. Come get it.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Get down and dirty with the farm. We’ll probably be thinning.

Growing Home Potluck: Seeds of Abundance: Saturday 3pm in Hahn 101
Seeds were once saved by farmers and communities, revered for their offers of fertility and abundance. Today, seeds are hybridized, genetically modified, and commodified for the benefit of corporations and convenience. In the last decade, communities across the nation have been reclaiming their seed heritage by collecting and saving seeds. Organizations such as Seed Savers Exchange, Native Seed/SEARCH, and a coalition of public “Seed Libraries” have been helping communities identify and multiply seeds that are locally adapted, nutrition, resilient, and delicious!
This month, our Guest Speaker David King, founder of the Seed Library of Los Angeles, will talk all about his organizations efforts to restore Seed Sovereignity to Los Angeles and bring back local, community seed and how we all can make a difference by saving seeds in our own gardens and urban farms. Register here. (for PO students, use the promotional code “pomegranate” for your free ticket).

The Verdant

Hello minds and bodies!

This week we’re switching it up a bit, and mining the brilliance that surrounds us to draw out a couple of gems (that is, featured guests for the week’s proceedings). This email introduction was written by freshman Tom Lin, and cooking workshop will be led by senior Elicia Epstein. As always, friends, relish the day:

I. prelapsarianism
a taproot piercing the loose soil.
a flowering stalk above the inchoate greenery.
a crossing branch on an apple tree.
a zephyr dancing between

the beat of a bumblebee’s wings,
in isolation, is nothing special.
the heft of a pitchfork,
in isolation, is nothing special.

the stippled sunlight on live oak bark,
the east side, the west coast,
the egg, the cotyledon, the rain, the dust.
the powder blush of snap-pea flowers.

now i lie in the hammock and breathe.
it has rained and it will rain again.
the swing communicates through the trees,
we are in eden again.

II. the verdant
the mercury is high today. like every day. but some days it is not. in my hands the handle of the pitchfork is worn and rough. when i turn the earth a bloom of dust drifts low over the ground and pretends to settle over root and sapling. in the air the heady petrichor of parched soil drinking lingers. a moment’s rest, and now i drive the tines of the pitchfork deep into the dirt again.

III. postlapsarianism
stem vectors and ant cities
the universe after the fall.
harvest time approaches
and scions rest trembling
in the dark.

This week in farm:

The Existential Resource Center: Soda Making and Spellcasting, a Workshop. Thursday 4pm at the Farm Outdoor Kitchen
We’ll be making mystical sodas out of flower blossoms and citrus-y freshness, with some magic thrown in there, so come on out and find out what this is all about.

Sagen Café Farm Special: Monday and Friday 11:30-1pm, SCC
Fresh salads for years. Come get yours.

Urban Foraging: The greens and flowers edition. Friday 3pm meeting at the Farm West side
Come see Claremont through the eyes of someone who lived off foraged/wild/free food here for over 4 months. There are so many plants out there that you can eat, hiding in between concrete. Plunge into your current habitat! Come on out for a mini walk-through field trip, exploring the edible landscape of Claremont. We’ll be focusing on the fresh new young greens and flowers that are peeking out for spring (fruits will be ready later). We’ll wander on and off- campus, but we’ll circle back to the farm and return by 4:30pm.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
The usual dig-in-the-dirt and make terrible jokes routine. Hope to see you there.

Love,
The Farm

Secrets from the Surface

Hello explorers!

Often the world we see appears to us repetitive, mundane. We see the same things every day, the same landscapes sprawl before us every morning. Hard concrete, low bushes, and the straight angles of desks and drawers. But friends, do not despair! This is only the first layer! There is a secret world hidden within this one, a world that awaits your touch. We can glimpse it when we munch on the tangy greens of a wild dandelion plant, when we climb into the welcoming arms of an ice cream bean tree and feast on its sweet pods, when it’s still enough to hear a hummingbird shoot past us. When we find a secret message scrawled on bathroom walls. There is something more to this world, something that only reveals itself for those that care to look. It’s the world we hide within ourselves when we talk about the weather, but that comes to light when someone says something absurd, revealing, hilarious. When we daydream about mountains and horses and building our own home, when catch the glint in a stranger’s eye. Everything can be an experience if you dare indulge it (and pay attention). This week in farm, come be surprised with us, you may find there is more to this world than you think:

FAMILY WEEKEND FARM STAND: Thursday 4-5:30pm at the Smith Campus Center Courtyard
There will be fresh produce! Arugula, lettuce, green onions, kumquats, herbs, broccoli, bok choi, gai lan, peas, and more! There will be NASTURTIUM TACOS! There will also be those delicious nettle galettes from last time! Fallen Fruit for Rising Women, a social enterprise, will also join us this week, selling their delicious locally sourced and made jams. Also, teas and t-shirts!

Family weekend open hours and tours: Friday 8am-5pm
Bring your family by the farm and show them Pomona’s most lush, most productive garden! The farm will be open for visitors all day.
OFFICIAL TOURS from 3-5pm: A farm representative will be in front of Frank Dining hall to lead a tour from there at 3, 3:30, 4, and 4:30pm.

Sagen Café Weekly Special: Friday 11-1pm at the SCC
A fresh dish of deliciousness!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Bring over your family and come out for a morning of weeding, mulching, planting and much more.

Love,
The Farm

Banality of Perfection

How we fret and worry over straight angles and rigid lines! Humankind has invented an impossible beast of perfection. We’ve built castles on decimal points and fortresses out of should-be’s. But trees find their shape as they grow, stretching into light and settling into life. Perfection is in the angle of a branch and the tilt of a leaf. There is no measurement, just artfully arranged scatterings of joints, things coming together as they do. There is no perfection in nature because there is no way that things should be, no one holding tools out ready to count, no one marking and re-marking lines on creaking, growing wood. Trees don’t make mistakes. Where branches fall new ones grow. Splotches of color on a petal just add pizzazz to the bloom. There is not a single rock that is a smooth sphere and not a single branch that grows at an exact right angle from the trunk. There is beauty to the way in which atoms fall into place, an order to it all that eludes our tools. Things are perfect simply because they are, not because of their resemblance to an abstract idea of what they should be. So next time you find yourself fretting over the shortcomings of your work, remember that whatever you created is beautiful because you created it, in whatever form that may be. This week in farm, join us in exploring the chaotic order of what’s been brought to life:

Cooking Workshop: Thursday 4pm at the Farm Outdoor Kitchen
Have you ever eaten stinging nettles? Have you ever made pasta? Do you like pesto? Do you like deliciousness?
Regardless of your answers, you should all come on down for the very first cooking workshop of the semester! We’re making stinging nettle pasta from scratch paired with some delicious arugula pesto. You know you want some. It is going to be delicious.

Sagen Café Farm Special: Friday 11:30-1pm, SCC
A delectably fresh and wonderful salad to boost your day.

Woodcarving: Friday 3pm at The West Side
Finally! Sorry about the last couple of cancellations, folks, but this week we are on.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Come on out and meet some folks and pull some weeds in the process.