So Sweet!

NOTE: does anyone know laura hulse? she left something at the farm.

You guys are the best.

I finally shambled off to bed at 10, totally exhausted; I told Bill to put out the campfire when the last of our guests were ready to go home. I woke up this morning to a totally cleaned up garden–and boxes of amazing goodies like a big jar of preserved lemons, pots of yummy jams and chutneys, the best salsa ever (who made that?), fresh Italian plums, Meyer lemons, some distiller’s grains (for the goats!), a cool zine, two (!) bags of coffee, duck prosciutto, bottles of wine, champagne, eggplants and peppers, and the following poem from my neighbor Demetrius:

“I would be remiss if I did not create a new poem for you on this wonderful date, the day you brought this community close by having us trade our ghosts for goats/

Like a beautiful song, natural, a capella, our wonderous farm lady lovely Novella”

Aw! He’s referring to the “Goat Town” t-shirts, which flew off the dirty tables like hotcakes (I have three left, all fairly big sizes).

I had no idea there would be so many people! Based on the number of questionaire cards filled out, there were probably about 500 people over the course of the day. By far, the most popular event was the chicken slaughter workshop. Samin and I were so lucky that someone brought two roosters to cull, so we were able to divide the class in half to allow more people could see. Sorry to those of you who missed it. There will be others.

One thing that made me really happy was that the neighbors came out in droves, despite the heat! Moses stopped by (wearing all black with a straw cowboy hat!); Grandma made peach cobbler (and we raised $100 for her daughter’s college fund); my neighbor D came over and helped serve hibiscus tea and cobbler: G told people where to park their bikes; and I met tons of people who live within a 10 block radius.

Sorry I was so swamped–I wasn’t able to talk to anyone in depth. I learned that next year (or spring), I should have a shade structure and perhaps have docents who can give people guided tours. This morning, I read the informational cards people filled out and was moved by everyone’s enthusiasm and desire to change the way we eat, and start growing our own food. Today I’m braising the chicken Samin butchered, peeking in at the Eat Real Fest, and opening up many of the jars of goodness you all brought–thank you for sharing!

If you filled out a card, I’ll add you to my email list and let you know about upcoming classes and events at Goat Town Farm–of course, I’ll post stuff here, too.

19 responses to “So Sweet!

  1. I’m so glad the event was well received, and that you were well received! Sorry I missed it: I was off at my kimchi making class–maybe I can come by and show you one of these days, what I learned. I still have to come by with my book for you to sign. 🙂

    My triamble squash is doing well–2 big squashes, several more in progress. I think of you everytime I see the squash!

  2. I live in SF and stopped by for a few hours and went away totally inspired! I am lucky enough to have a backyard in SF and this year I started my first garden and yesterday I felt like I was a kid in a candy store!!! And yesterday it was so great to meet other enthusiasts and exchange ideas and learn more…if only there were more hours in the day.

    Thanks for the inspiration and for bringing community together! Gardening and the sharing of knowledge is positively contagious 🙂

  3. Sounds like it was a great day, with many enthusiastic and generous visitors. I would have loved to taste Grandma’s peach cobbler pie.

    If that t-shirt offer still stands, let me know what to do.

  4. I was happy to help. Most of my parking job wasn’t telling people with bikes where to park (that went very quickly), but mostly telling people in cars that there was no point in heading down your block, and to just park on MLK or one of the other side streets. At least one of your neighbors seemed to appreciate the attempt at traffic control.

    I did manage to get to see a bit of the second chicken demo. Strangely like biology class, though none of the stuff I ever dissected ever had organs that easily recognizable 🙂 I’ll post some pictures on Our Oakland after I get a chance to go through them.

    And Grandma’s cobbler was great!

  5. Thank you so much for opening up your farm to us. It was a pleasure to finally meet you, you amazing woman!! Oh what a happy day it was.

    Can you publish the Hibiscus Tea recipe, it was soooo damn dee-lish!

  6. I loved the chicken class. I wish I could have stayed for the goat milking because I have a nigerian dwarf goat I want to breed this fall and milk in the spring. I’m hoping you will have another goat class before then. Also can you tell me where you get your goats bred?
    I bought a Goat Town shirt that I LOVE but what is the story behind them? Who drew the picture and how were they made? I hope to get more at your next gathering. I’m wearing mine today and already got 2 compliments.

  7. Oh, I’m so glad to see your happy report here.

    J.C. and I had just a crazy day yesterday, and in the middle of it, I stopped and thought, “I hope Novella’s event is going well.”

    It all sounds fabulous. You have touched so many people’s lives in such a positive way.

    I’m in the last third of your book–you and Bill are at the pig auction.

  8. ghosttownfarm

    christine: i know, i wish you could have seen it! i’d love to hear about kimchi making. maybe you can perfect and teach a class at the oasis?
    blings: congrats on the new garden!
    ant: i’ve got an extra large light blue one. email me your address and i’ll send it. they’re $20.
    gene: thank you! neighbor relations are key.
    robin: really, only one goat? glad you like the t-shirt–i bought used ts from various thrift stores, bill drew the illo/lettering and i had a local oakland print shop silk screen the image. i’ll probably make more, since they were so popular! want to take hedwig?
    wendy: so sweet! here’s the recipe:
    buy some hibiscus flowers from a mexi place.
    boil water and make tea from the flowers (a few flowers make a cup or two; i used about 10 cups (?) for that 5 gallon container.
    steep overnight (maybe not necessary)
    pour off the liquid, then add as much sugary stuff to taste. i used a combo of brown sugar, canela, and turbino.
    serve with ice. i should have picked some mint, but was too distracted.

  9. Novella,

    Thanks for your generosity. The chicken demo was great – I learned so much!

    I was so inspired by your lush little corner of Oakland that I stopped by again later in the evening and brought my family. My kids fell in love with your kids! And I’m definitely growing potatoes in a compost corral this year!

  10. Thanks for opening up your farm to all of us and showing us how to do something real. I learned more in a few hours at your place than I did in months of reading. Events like yours are the things that will really change the way we all eat.

  11. Sounds like this was a great event–I just picked up your book randomly at Books Inc. in Alameda on Park Street (they have it displayed in the front of the store) and I LOVE it! I’m nearly halfway through and I am a slow reader! Bummed that I missed what sounds like an awesome community event but am glad I found you online. Look forward to hearing more about your urban farming adventures.

  12. I posted a brief write-up about Saturday, and a bunch of pictures. You can see them on Our Oakland:

  13. Pingback: Book Giveaway: Farm City by Novella Carpenter « Lettuce Eat Kale

  14. Thank you for the recipe. Can’t wait to make it!

  15. Wow, 500 people last Saturday – you must be quite exhausted, but I think your book has made you very popular. I am reading your fascinating story of urban farming, but it was not until today that I found your blog – too late for the open house day. I live in Emeryville and am a member of the Golden Gate Community Garden on 62nd St. in North Oakland. Please let me know, when there will be another opportunity to have a tour of your farm some time soon.

  16. mindfulindividual

    I stopped by long enough to have a walk around, buy your book and get a signature. I would have stayed longer if it had not been for the heat! I just finished your book last night and felt very inspired. I just love how you threw yourself into everything and used what you had and what you found. I have a small garden space in San Francisco that I am still learning what to do with – but have hopes of one day living in a place with a decent back yard that I can convert to a real food-producing space.

    Thank you again for inviting all of us over!


  17. I am glad you were so well adorned with gifts! It is important to be valued for what you know and share-thanx.
    At my coffee roasting co. we do a lot of community- ed about the importance of farming the right way. Although our product comes from far away, it is a big deal that it is done correctly.
    I am impressed by your willingness to take the big risk to farm land that is not yours. Your ways are important.
    As far as the coffee goes from Sat., you are drinking Flores, a newby to the coffee industry from Indonesia-the Island of Flores that is. They are doing a beautiful job huh? The decaf is also processed correctly. I wasn’t sure what you preferred so I brought both. I too am an urban farmer-for many years no matter where I live. Thank you for being willing to share- Jaki Acme Coffee

  18. Novella and Bill,

    Farm city came alive to me in every way during your open house August 29. I can’t think of a better example of to seeing literature come alive in our own front of my very eyes. As my two human “kids” have been saying, ” Mom, you are totally geeking out”.

    Novella, these were some of my favorite “Farm City/Ghost Town Farm Moments”…

    Talking to a french woman near the bunny hutch during rooster slaughter #1 …making sure the silver/salt and pepper bunny didn’t get out again that day by keeping my tote wedged against his cage. I shared with her part of my “Farm City” book about Mamie, and how they prepare rabbits in France. This woman’s relatives did it the same way too..

    Meeting Moses from the liquor store and knowing who he was before even being introduced.

    Same with Bill. You describe people to a T.

    Bill it was most fun talking about favorite dishes, homemade cubano sandwiches and papusas, breadmaking, and washing glasses ..and dishes in thefarmhouse.

    I realized how small the world was again that day, and how many lives were touched as mine was.

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