At the Verge

Hello beings!

Ah, yes, we are at the cusp of summer, at the edge of The End (or the beginning), in that space in time when everything is heightened, every sensation and moment somehow more vivid for its fragility. Time warps in the transition. Friends! Do not despair that you will soon part from those among you, for there will be friends wherever you go, and the uniqueness you’ve found is true of others a thousand times over. Perhaps in times of chaos and change it is useful to remind yourself that you are a body pumping, heart beating, mind racing-human, and no matter what happens that will never stop being true. Remember you are a creature of the earth, and that you belong on this planet. Your body is as much a reflection of mountains and oceans as they are a reflection of you. This week at the farm, we are grounding, making things, and endlessly moving on:

Sagen Café Farm Special: Monday 11:30-1pm, SCC
Today! Kale salad! And another special on friday for old time’s sake.

Leatherworking: Thursday 4pm on West Side
Take a break from studying during reading days to learn some handy skills.  Would you like to make a custom case for your favorite pair of garden clippers? Or would your harvest knife stay honed longer in a new sheath? Bring your tool to a basic leather workshop! If you have thirty minutes and want to lace up a simple design, great! If you have an hour and would like to trace your tool and create your own design to incise and stamp into the leather, we will provide the supplies! Vegetable tanned hide, lacing, rivets, and leather sealer available to all participants. Start thinking about a favorite plant or symbol to be your design motif! There are limited spots so please sign up here. Led by Elizabeth Voth,  Claremont community member and elementary teacher in Upland. She enjoys using leather for practical projects which reflect culture and natural beauty.

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
The perfect earthy de-stressor for whatever you have in store next week (or whatever happened this week)

The Farm

Landscape of a Leaf


Thank you to all who came out for the moist and drizzly farm fest! The farm is in the throes of soaking in the vibes and the water deep into the last crevices of rock and soil. This week we’re hosting Alumni at Pomona College as part of Alumni Weekend, a time of great merriment and a general air of nostalgia on campus, not at all minimized by the imminent departure of a batch of seniors. if the world seems a bit too large right now, if everything in scope is a bit too big, let me indulge you with the same world in macro perspective.

It is morning. A few dew drops hang from a broccoli leaf, shrinking as the sun ascends and the air warms. A ladybug ambles along the leaf, six legs skittering along. It’s hard shell gleams in the morning sun. It is on the hunt. It stumbles over a vein and finds, in a small valley of the leaf, a cluster of aphids plugged into the leaf’s vein, gorging on its sugars, bloated and ripe for the kill. The ladybug approaches and with hungry intentions rips one of them from its tissue hold and crushes it between its mandibles. Sugar-water oozes from its mouth as the aphid turns into a sweet-crunchy breakfast. The ladybug swallows and cleans itself off with two front legs, not one to be sloppy. It turns it’s attention to the next morsel and rips another from the leaf. The rest of the aphids are alerted but they have already invested their body to this leaf, and the sugar water moves through them largely undigested, exiting in a round drop from their translucent bodies. The ants, their keepers, soon come to drink the drops, unable to tap into the leaves themselves. An ant looks up and notices the ladybug happily devouring their food-machines! An invasion! It skitters over to the valley in the leaf and crawls right up to the ladybug with accusing mandibles, poking here and there, trying to find something soft to assault. The ladybug retreats into its hard shell and squeezes everything inside, hiding, eyes shut, waiting it out. The ant retreats, confounded, and the ladybug, found out, ambles its way out before the rest of the ants are altered to its intrusion. But breakfast was good and there is no more work to be done here. The ladybug reaches the tip of the leaf, lifts its red shell outer wings and unfolds from beneath feathery papery wings twice as big, waving them at inert air particles, and quietly floats into the sunlight.
This week in farm:

Alumni Farm Stand: Friday 4-5:30pm at the SCC Courtyard
Farm stand will continue its irregular schedule and will happen on Friday, this time we’re back on Pomona’s campus for Alumni Weekend! Featuring all your favorite fresh veggies, in addition to newly printed farm shirts and sweatshirts, teas, and the first edition of a farm booklet! Basically, it is a compilation of missives and pictures from the year. This edition is limited and printed for alumni weekend, but the final version will be available to order in the summer so watch this space. We will also have lots of free mulberries and loquats for all to enjoy!

Hazlett’s goodbye shindig: Friday 5-6:30pm at the West Farm
Our wonderful farm guardian and EA professor Rick Hazlett will be retiring after this year, so we will gather to celebrate his contribution and work at the farm! Come on down to bid him farewell and to see pictures and quotes from the farm’s history and reminisce on the long journey that got us here. There will be music, there will be food. It is also the best time to be at the farm- when the evening light bathes everything cool and golden. See you there!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm, Farm West side
A call to alumni and any other souls who have an impulse towards dirt! We’ll be doing a fair amount of summer planting and winter clearing. Just the thing to invigorate your soul, and the weather even promises to cooperate.

Alumni Weekend Tours: Saturday 4:45- 6:30pm starting from the Greek Theatre
Tours of the farm will be leaving from the Greek Theatre from 4:45-6:30pm on Saturday.

Farm Alumni Lecture: “Trends in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems”  Saturday 5-5:30pm in the Outdoor Classroom, West Side
Happening during the tours, so you can join and go as you please, Professor Marc Los Huertos gives a lecture describing environmental, economic and policy trends that influence agricultural sustainability. He will highlights the results of research projects, changes in farming practices and various policy developments that influence the environmental outcomes in food systems in California and US. Free and open to all.

Love and ladybugs,
The Farm

Farm Festival and other celebrations!

People, my People!

This week is a week like no other! This week we open our arms wide and embrace every last drop of spring, letting it fill our every pore and fling our arms wide in celebration!This week we catapult ourselves into summer, soaking in the longer days and the sweet sunshine that beats mercilessly down on this humble town! Food week is in full throes and upon us and our great festival looms ever closer! This week throw off your cardigans and spring caps and twirl in anticipation of the warm summer nights to come! Breathe the subtle changes of the seasons deep into your lungs and regard the world anew! This week, my friends, is so special, and we find ourselves in this place on this planet with nothing left to do but rejoice in every way we know how. So join us for a festival and join us for pickling or mushrooming or eating or whatever your heart desires from the abundance revealed below. Relish the warmth! Linger on the vivid hue of a leaf! This week we inhale the world and breathe it out again to see it changed! Join us!

Pickle Workshop: Monday (Today) 4-6pm, Farm West Side
Come on down to harvest carrots, radishes, and whatever else your pickling heart desires. Your quick pickles will be ready to eat within a week, so you don’t even have to wait months and months to enjoy them! Participants can take home a jar. FMI:

Mushroom Growing Workshop: Tuesday 4-5:30pm, Farm West Side
We’ll be throwing together another batch of spores to grow king oyster mushrooms! Come on out and learn about the process and about this way understood mystical part of the evolutionary tree!

Earth Day Farm Stand and Sustainability Fair: Wednesday 4-5:30pm, SCC Courtyard
A celebration of Earth Day at pomona college! Come on out to buy some produce and learn about other groups doing sustainability work on campus! FMI:

Sagen Café Farm Special: Friday 11:30-1pm, SCC
A meal of champions!

Volunteer Hours: Saturday 10-12pm at the Farm
Help set up for farm festival!

There will be quail! Seed bombs! Bacon! Local vendors! Come one come all! FMI: Festival Poster

SAHS Fundraising Dinner: Sunday 4:30-7:30pm at San Antonio High School
Our neighbors are putting on a fundraising dinner for their Plant Justice program! Buy a ticket and enjoy a delectable, local, organic, multi-course meal and music, all the while supporting a great initiative! See poster for details.

The Farm

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.
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:  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.


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!



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.

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.

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.

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).