Monthly Archives: January 2009

The scion exchange is coming, the scion exchange…

Bill likes to pronounce it “sky-on”. No, monkey, it is “sigh-on”.

Here’s the deal: every winter trees go dormant, they drop their leaves, their energy recesses into the trees roots and trunk. Because of this, it’s a good time to prune trees, to shape them, keep them short, keep them shapely. The twigs and sticks that you prune off your fruit tree can be called scions. Some genius figured out that you can take scion cuttings and graft them onto other trees. Usually you graft one kind of apple onto another kind of apple. For example, a granny smith scion cutting can be grafted onto an apple tree that usually makes galas. After a year or two, your apple tree makes galas *and* granny smiths! It’s a freaking miracle. You can graft pears, apples, apricots, persimmons, plums, peaches, mulberries, etc.

And this Saturday, Jan 17, will be the Golden Gate Rare Fruit Growers Scion Exchange. Last year was awesome, with lots of crazy rare varieties. I successfully grafted a fancy French pear scion onto my boring bartlett. If you have just one fruit tree, you don’t want to miss this event. Even if you don’t know how to graft, you can learn. Even if you don’t have a fruit tree, there are often vines and plants for sale as well. Remember: figs, kiwis and pomegranates can be simply rooted into the ground!

WHEN: 12 noon to 3:00 PM
Saturday, January 17, 2009

WHERE: UCSF Mission Center
1855 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA

Bring ziplock bags, masking tape, and some pens to label the scions (believe me, you won’t remember what varieties you get, there are that many!). If you see a crazy slobbering lady with orange glasses, do me a favor: give me a slap and say howdy farmer!

Meat and Greet

There’s a meme going around, it’s called Meat and Greet. On January 10th, there’s a M and G at 2nd Street in Oakland for the latest incarnation of the Bay Area Meat CSA:

The following day, January 11, MeatPaper magazine is hosting a Meat and Greet at the Acme Chophouse to celebrate their latest issue of the meat-y magazine. (I have an article in the mag about meat powered cars.)

I’m curious to see how both these organizations will address the issue of eating meat on a budget, or ask the question how we can eat less but better meat.


I’ll be doing two meat-related things on the farm this weekend. One is smoking the last of the pork bellies from the pigs we raised on dumpster scraps.


The other is finally harvesting the rabbits from the last litter. They are getting so big, I can barely afford to keep them fed (they eat greens from the dumpster and Templeton Rabbit Food which costs $25/bag). I figure that if I sold the rabbits, they would have to cost $25/rabbit just to recoup their feed costs. It’s part of the crunch of being a small-scale farmer. No matter how wiley I am by feeding the animals scraps and stale bread, they still need some feed to thrive. And feed is getting more and more expensive.

Which makes me know that meat should be more expensive than it is. And that we should probably eat less of it.

OPEN Restaurant

amaranthFood–it’s so boring.  I mean, yes, it should be delicious, and lovingly prepared. And plucked fresh from the earth. But with the economic crisis exploding around us, all of a sudden our (my) food geek tendencies seem a little trivial. During the fat years, we all had more time and money to natter on and on about what we were eating, and making food consumption into a meta experience. I remember checking out a book called Food Is Culture at the library at UC Berkeley, and the librarian couldn’t help himself when he snarled, “No, food is just food!”

Well, that’s one way to look at it. But. There’s a group of food world folks who know how to geek out on food in a way that isn’t annoying. They are called OPEN, a group of food professionals who host awesome events in the name of food. They aren’t caterers, mind you, but more like storytellers. For instance, they did an event at SFMOMA where they deconstructed a pig before the eyes of the eaters. After what sounded like an amazing porky dinner, everyone took home a bit of pancetta to cure at home. They sometimes make donuts in parks and give them away, for free.

Now they’re hosting an event at Yerba Buena that sounds really fun. Here’s the scoop, from the YB website: “Participants will share a simple meal while chewing on the question: How can the urban landscape be productive? …enjoy dinner and a glass of wine while learning more about urban farming, foraging and gleaning from people directly involved in these practices. Entry to discussion is open to everyone.

The menu includes a stew made of white beans, greens and pork (there will also be a vegetarian stew), pork rillette, dessert (not yet determined) and a glass of wine.”

I’m going to be there–I hope some of you can make it. Here’s more info:

YBCAlive!: OPENrestaurant with Slow Food Nation
Tue, Jan 6, 7pm • Grand Lobby
Meal Ticket is: $20 General / $15 YBCA Members
Discussion is FREE
For tickets, please call our Box Office at 415.978.2787.