Monthly Archives: June 2009

Tour recap

A wise person advised me to keep a journal about my book tour–writing down the names of people I met, things I saw, and questions that were asked. Of course I didn’t do it. Much to my regret.

Here’s what I remember, very hazily: Flew to Portland and went to KBOO for a radio interview (never heard it). Dinner at Paley’s Place (rabbit raviolis) with my uncle and aunt (delish). Met up with Lana and Bill at my hotel. So good to see her. She brought her grandmother’s  tweezers. Which we employed that next morning as I had to go on Northwest AM–a television show–and couldn’t do so with my beard. Lana also cut my hair that morning, to the horror of room service. Met an urban farmer in Portland randomly (we just drove up, she came outside and gave us a tour). Her garden–Kung Fu Farm–put mine to shame. To shame! Lots of chickens. Read at Powell’s to a nice audience and offered people prosciutto (if they bought a book!).

Bombed into Seattle around 1:20am after my reading in Portland. Billy was demanding Dick’s burgers, so we stopped in and had a deluxe and milkshake. Stayed on my friend’s floor for the next three days. Read at the beautiful Town Hall. Met people from Grist. Rode my friend’s bike to Third Place Books. Interview with KUOW. Ate Thai food. Did a conversation/dinner/chocolate reading with Warren Etheridge. We mostly talked about growing pot. He’s great.

Went to my hometown of Shelton where I recuperated and my mom fed me in between naps. Her rural town garden is really going great guns, and she’s thinking about bees. Flew home the next day. Arrived home to see that our landlord painted the house pink and red, the goats were thirsty, and the garden just looked okay compared to what I had seen in the great Northwest.

Also: took zero photos. I’m an ass.

Tomorrow, July 1 (rabbit, rabbit) I’ll be on It’s Your Call with Rose Aguilar at 10am on KALW (call in with some love, ok?), then reading at Green Arcade books on Market, a new awesome bookstore filled with green living and nature titles.  It’s right by Zuni. 7pm.

July 2, I’ll be at Copperfields in Sebastopol. Might bring my extractor and do a demo.

Finally, Michael Jackson: RIP. I really loved you. And I’m so sorry.

Heading out

Here’s my list of crap to do before I catch the plane to Portland, Ore:

-milk goats

-plant seedlings

-deep water the garden

-wax chin (I have a near beard right now)

-pack prosciutto (yes, i’m bringing meat to share at the Portland reading)

It’s really hard to leave the farm, even for six days so I’ve been running around buying alfalfa for the goats, moving the rabbits from the deck to the garden, and trying to find some clothes that aren’t filthy. Thank the gods for my downstairs neighbors, who will be milking and feeding and caretaking while I’m gone.

To add to the pressure, there’s some weird guys painting our house. My landlord, who is a sweet but naive guy hired the most ghetto painters. They didn’t put down anything to catch the paint chips, for example, so I have flecks of gray paint in the garden, in the chicken/goat area. It’s just awful. They painted the rabbit area but didn’t spray it down or ask me to clean it up so there are literally white-painted rabbit turds. It’s kind of funny how bad it is.

Whenever I leave, though, it’s kind of like dying. I imagine what it will be like when one day I’m not here to feed the goats their favorite treat of jade plant. How the garden will get parched and sickly in the summer; overgrown and weedy in the winter. I find myself trying to control my absence by writing lists and notes, putting out individual buckets of foraged branches for the goats for every day I’m gone. I resent leaving, a little. This is prime gardening season and I still need to stake my tomatoes, monitor my cucs and green beans!

Last night I harvested all the beets from the garden. And ate lettuce I had planted more than a month ago. I picked all the sour cherries off the tiny little tree in the garden and made a clafoutis using eggs and milk from GT Farm. I left the pits in, just like my sister told me. Then I finished the last of the rabbit rillettes Chris Lee made. I had a beer with the downstairs neighbors and sliced some prosciutto for them. I feed the rabbits and then went out to the goat area and put them to bed.

When I came back inside, I set up our cat Kuzzin’s food and water station. I’m going to miss him so much. In our laundry room, the bones of the prosciutto are hanging by a bike hook. They look so rad, so rural. I’m reminded that good things take time: these hung for 18 months in Chris Lee’s restaurant. They require no refrigeration at this point. They smell of such delicious meat–the smell of hard work, captured and made immortal.

Since the bones are essentially ham bones, I’m planning on making some serious red beans and rice–when I get return to GT Farm. There’s comfort knowing that when I return, Kuzzin will be happy, the bees won’t notice, the rabbits will rejoice, the chickens will cluck and crouch, the goats will act like they didn’t care that I was gone, and I’ll get to eat once again from the farm.


My new baby…

Oh yeah: if you’d like to hear me read from the baby, check this calendar for tour info. thanks!-nc

This week, on Thursday, a new baby will be born on Ghosttown Farm: my book, Farm City!


I guess it has already been born: 25 copies arrived to my house  in all their hardcover splendor the other day. Since then, I’ve been playing with the book (undressing it from its dust jacket, admiring its red and green interior, the special mole the publisher embossed on it, before putting its dust jacket back on) and really getting to know it again (typo on page 42).


Of course, others have had sneak previews of my baby, and made their comments. See here for the Publisher’s Weekly review. The NYTimes book review even mentioned it in a summer reading round-up. Of course, some people are feeling negative, as we see here with the library journal who didn’t think I’m funny, no not one bit. Oh well–you can’t please everyone, right?

This week, the book bambino will start its tour and I’ll be showing off the babe, warts and all, at the following locations:

June 13, Biofuel Oasis, 1441 Ashby Ave,  7:30pm. This is our biofuel station slash bookstore slash feed store located on Ashby and Sacramento in South Berkeley. We’ve assembled a group of urban ag experts to be on hand and pass out information. Also: goat cheese, homemade olives, and beer! We’ll be showing a trailer of Edible City and I’ll be doing a slideshow about GT Farm and reading from Farm City.

June 15, Booksmith 1644 Haight Street in SF at 7:30pm. They even planted some herbs and lettuce in their window for a cool book display!

June 16, Eccolo restaurant on 4th Street in Berkeley, book release party! Featuring produce grown on Bay Area urban farms and a dramatic opening of the prosciutto I made with chef Chris Lee. Should be epic. Nima from Analog books will be there to sell Farm City.

June 18, Berkeley, in conversation with Michael Pollan as part of the Berkeley Arts and Lectures author series. First Congregational Church, 7:30, $10 at door.

Hope to see you at a few of these events–each one will be different and special. And I promise to sign the baby’s armpit for you.