...where you can see the food growing in the ground, see us harvest it, and you
know that it's fresh and truly local. A farmer's market right at the farm!
Please check back for updates
P.S.~ Think Summer (-:
looky here- it's an update!
Hello from the Retirette and Retiree!
(aka the Parents of the Farmer). After Lee Allen's excellent article in the March issue of the Desert
Leaf which quoted both Rebecca and Jesse, my son says 'we' should do an update. (He said "I should..."
and I said "I will." That makes it 'we'.) Every year the celebration of spring includes
media articles of farmers' markets, and each time we have been included we would get an increase in new visitors when
we were between crops (no tomatoes?!). Thankfully this time around we are actually closed for the season, as it is so
painful to see dream bubbles of tomatoes and peaches pop when the eyes register "only" a shelf of greens.
As Rebecca said, it's seasonal eating.
of that green would include asparagus, and I am finding a few spears out there, but the old asparagus beds had been petering
out in recent years (interested in origins of word usage? http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/peter-out.html).
No worries though- there are younger beds on the way. And there are summer crops on the way too! Jesse has seeded
the transplants for peppers and tomatoes, and soon the tiny greenhouse will be crammed full of greenery. I know he is
anxious to return to his regular farm work. He enjoys carpentry and painting about as much as I enjoy income tax paperwork,
but both have been necessary evils this year as we get our ducks in order.
Who is the mama duck? Why, Rebecca of course! Like Wayne, she feels the vision of
how life can be, while Jesse and I follow along, enjoying, fussing about, becoming overwhelmed about what the moment is
and how it fits with our own vision. I think a successful life requires both the long strong reach toward
goals and enjoying the more immediate maintenance as we inch toward them. And when we duckies start
a-quackin' and a-flappin- along the way we just need to center and breathe and cheerfully carry on. (Jesse may not care
for this paragraph but this is how I see things, and I'm the one doing the writing (: )
And write on I will, as those who know me know I will. The new border photo of apple blossoms
represents another circling of the garden. When we started out we had a few rows of espaliered apples, east of
the pecans. Turns out the apples liked neither the espalier pruning nor the texas root rot- just too many challenges!
So we took them out and expanded the annual vegetable garden instead. Now Wayne has decided to try apples amongst the
pistachios, eventually replacing the nut trees that had problems, with apple trees, but still keeping some pistachios also.
Fruit and nuts in one basket, companion planting. So far we have 2 rows in apples and nuts, each apple tree a different
variety or root stock or both. Once we see who of the apples likes the arrangement best we'll continue throughout
the orchard, and eventually have apples for sale. Not this year though. Thus ends the update of Our Garden.
But of course I will write on.
to Lee Allen for his emphasis on the words small and 'Family' as they relate to farm. My cousin
inherited the 18th century version of family farm back in Connecticut, probably what most people today think of as
a family farm- simple acreage (not huge sections) involving woodland, crops, and a small amount of livestock.
My great grandfather was born in that farmhouse. His father bought that farm in the mid 1800's, and in 1964 my grandfather
described his grandfather's operation as market gardening. Today we would probably call it truck farming.
My cousin focussed more on dairy farming which requires a lot of acreage, especially in a state where there are no grazing
allotments, so no doubt the cultivated area was a bit bigger than his market gardening ancestor's. He used to come
visit our little plot before Jesse took over, and I am sure we fit his category of "gentlemen farmer". Farming
was not our major means of income. We'd have starved if it were, as the farm could not have paid the cost
of irrigation! But little by little the income increased. Of course so did the expenses, but at least we have
hovered around the break even point. Our pride lets us boast that we have not received any grants or outside income.
We're building it up the old fashioned way. To an agressive capitalist businessman it may not make sense, but to
us it feels right. It especially feels right not to incur debt. And as Jesse said, we're in the right place
at the right time, a small family farm. Employees? Heaven forbid!
So please keep checking for updates, especially as June approaches, but I'll try to write
each month until that time. Oh, and for those of you who know Wayne and I, the place in NM is soon to have insulation
and dry wall... at last!!!
Now back to the regular web site.
|beginning of orchard re-vision
|one of the new babies
Wanted: Seasonal Eaters!
We are growers of "our~ganic" (not officially certified organic - see below) fruits and vegetables
in Catalina, AZ, slightly north of Tucson. Our aim is to be a source of freshly harvested local produce for the Catalina
area, including Oro Valley and NW Tucson.
Puh-leeze ! (note the emphasis (-: )
may be sharing the long driveway with bicycles, pedestrians, chickens, cats and dogs, not to mention on-coming
traffic. Serious thank yous to all you respectfully slow drivers.
Try to remember to BYOB (bring your own bag), but we
have a few for those who forget. I forget sometimes too!
We have a new email address!
Now you can reach Jesse and Rebecca directly at email@example.com
Directions to Our Garden are on the "Location"
page (see links above).
(not now, we're closed for
Wednesdays and Saturdays
9am til noon
|sneak preview of things to come
example of the last harvest in December:
and whatever else I don't know about that he hasn't
added to the list (:
Thank you so much to all of our friends who have supported us!
We have been fortunate to have such a great community of people who love fresh produce. I will be taking a break from
growing this winter, but I do love to garden and will get back to it before long. Thanks again, Jesse.
|Fava beans and vetch make a great pair as cover crops.
Hi All! Jenny here. Just wanting to let you know how peaceful the garden
is during its long-deserved rest. It is asleep with cover crops blanketing the sections. I took a couple
pictures to share, and also one of the pistachio orchard with it's cover crop of rye grass.
As I've said in the past, we are similar to a CSA in
that what is being harvested right here right now is what you get to choose from. The difference is that you do have
a choice within the current harvest. You don't receive a huge bag of turnips for this week's allotment
(which I'm sure doesn't really happen all that often in CSA's!), and you don't pay ahead so if the current
harvest does not appeal to your tastes you are not out any money.
But for many of us eating seasonally is an adventure
we enjoy. Often people who join CSA's or shop at Our Garden go on to start their own garden. And often people
who have had their own garden end up joining a CSA or come here to shop since gardening is so time-consuming, exhausting,
frustrating, and expensive. Oh, but did I mention rewarding, fulfilling, and spiritually enriching?
|sunflowers as seen from the peppers viewpoint
not always out but almost always available:
bay leaves, basil, rosemary, parsley, sage,
and anything else I forgot!
|Jesse on the tractor, getting ready for planting.
Slow down. Be green. Shop local. Smile.
time someone thanks us for doing this work, I am thanking them back for allowing us to do it. People who are appreciating
the value of having a variety of local, freshly grown organic produce... food right out of the ground.. actually still alive
when you buy it!... these people are contributing to the life of the community and the planet, as well as their own
little bodies. Thinking globally and acting locally isn't just for Earth First now, is it.
|Wayne with the old Troy Built, long before we had a tractor!
You can click on this water color prickly pear to see some of Rebecca's art work. If
you are interested in purchasing any of her work, or contacting her for mural or other art-related work, just let us know.
|We have plants too!
We also have a few native and climate-adapted
plants available, both ornamental and food producing, under the shade cloth in the garden. This is an area we would
like to expand once we get the food production under "control". Jesse is the one to seek out for info on the
|HUSKING PISTACHIOS THE OLD FASHIONED WAY
"What are those trees?" When we first started doing this we thought people would enjoy driving through
the orchard. I took this picture of the flowers in early April one year, so look for them in the spring.
To learn about the orchard's history and odds and ends about us, click on this picture.
We had a pretty good
harvest a few years ago, with much volunteer help. Above is a picture John de Coville had taken of many
hands doing the husking. The machinery to do it all ourselves was cost prohibitive unless we won the lottery, but
then we found out about using a commercial potato peeler. I've always said, farmers are a resourceful bunch.
This year (2010) Jesse purchased a used potato peeler and with a little advice from another resourceful pistachio
farmer and the help of a few garden friends, he was able to harvest enough to sell. The crops are generally heavy every
other or every 3 years, with light ones in between.
If we are harvesting while you are here, please go over and check
out the operation. If you volunteer some time you can even leave with some fresh pistachios, not to mention an idea
of the time involved in harvesting from just one tree. Often this answers the question, "why don't you do anything
with those nuts?"
We call it "Our-ganic"
Just a word or two (okay, I'm a wordy person) about the
word "organic" here. Finally we have a government definition for a term that's been tossed about loosely
for years by gardeners. Some gardeners probably still don't know the meaning of 'organic gardening', and
some may dispute the definition adopted by our wise public servants. My feeling on the subject is you are best informed
by asking the grower how he gardens (which means buying it from the farmer). This means you need to know what your own
priorities are. Our family has always considered organic to mean without the use of chemical pesticides (commonly
known as 'spraying') and without the use of chemical fertilizers such as ammonium phosphate, sulphate,
etc. We feel that the main issue is the spraying of chemical pesticides, insecticides, which
are very harmful to us and the environment. However, chemical fertilizers are not exactly harmless and it
is possible to do without them as well. While we are not certified organic, we are honest about telling you that the
food we sell is grown organically in the true sense of the word, thus "our-ganic". However, there is
a lot to be said for the nutrition in fresh truly local food however it's grown compared to that coming in by truck
from who knows where.
I recently saw a sign on a contractor's truck that said "Unlicensed by Choice".
Right on ~~ me too. A license or certification doesn't automatically mean a good job done, and a lack of one doesn't
mean a lack of quality or honesty.
If you are really looking for organics, ask the grower not only if his crops
are sprayed with pesticides, but also what he uses for fertilizers. Don't count on our government to protect you.
Really it is up to each of us to take the responsibility to be as well-informed as we possibly can.
And, a tiny little word about pricing. So many new callers ask about our
prices, and I say it how it is- priced according to the local market (Whole Food and TJ's) for organics. What
we have over Whole Food and Trader Joe's (both of whom I really appreciate, don't get me wrong) is the freshness.
Where else can you get organic vegetables out of the garden the very same day unless you have your own garden? And if
you have had your own garden, you understand one of the major expenses. It's the water bill, isn't it!
For us the water bill is electricity to run a big enough pump to irrigate, not to mention the occasional thousands of dollars
on repairs. Don't look for bargains here. Look for quality.