Category Archives: pop-up farmstand

Sunday Gala: Details

First: tumbler guy: gschalin at comcast dot net

The forecast calls for sun this Sunday, February 27. Good news for my little fundraiser/pop up farm stand/party in the garden. There will be rabbit pot pies for sale, made by Becky Fresh.  There will be bundles of chard and kale and braising mix for sale. There will be chai made from Bebe milk and Ghosttown Honey. There will be nettle tea for those of us who are trying to be healthy, from nettles grown in the garden. There will be Ghosttown T-shirts made from organic American Apparel shirts, printed by Oakland’s own People’s Choice (they come in black with a red logo for girls, and army and yellow for the dudes). There will be (hopefully) goats in the garden so I don’t have to drag everyone into my backyard. And if all goes well tomorrow, a brand spanking new Hen House built by Just Fine Design out of recycled materials (think beautiful pallets). There will be copies of Farm City. We will celebrate near spring and the gifts that nature has given us. Hope you can make it!!

When: Feb 27, 11-2pm

Where: Lot next to 665 28th Street, Oakland

What: A party in the garden

What else: If you drive, park on MLK, not 28th, as it gets crowded.

Food Roadtrip

Ok, I didn’t take my camera on my roadtrip. What can I say? I’m a slacker blogger. I just didn’t want to have to chronicle everything and think, “that would be a good blog post.” I wanted to relax and let shit happen. Which it did. I’m writing a new book and all the juicy details will spill around, um, 2014.

Luckily, Bill bought a camera in Chicago and so he got some photos of Chicago, which we went to mainly to eat. We went to the Ukrainian Village and enjoyed a bunch of crazy stuff (for us), including meat balls in a dill cream sauce, pickled fish, a pickled apple which bobbed around with friends in a vat of sugary vinegar (gotta try making those at home), beet and horseradish spread, and the most amazing sauerkraut that was pickling in a big vat. Somehow we didn’t get a shot of the vat of pickled herring from Iceland, which smelled to high heaven, so this has to suffice.

We also ate pizza, sliced in the square-cut style that I really love.

Up to that point, we had been stopping at the numerous roadside produce stands that we encountered in most of the small towns along small roads. I was so excited to see people growing their own food. Some people didn’t even man the stands, they just had a stand with an umbrella and a money jar. Genius. The produce was amazing, as you might expect in the middle of August. Sweet corn, cantalopes, cucs, tomatoes. Because we were driving, I’d sliced up cucs and tomatoes and onions,  throw them in a tupperware with vinegar and olive oil and they would marinate. Then I would fork bits into Bill and my mouth while we hurtled down the highway.

Detroit. I have a lot to say about Detroit, because I’ve always imagined it as a mythical city filled with urban farms. And it does have a bunch of them. We could only stay for two days, so we barely scratched the surface. I loved the vegetable garden at Earthworks Urban Farm, where they pump out produce and honey for the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and train people how to grow their own food. They even had a bike repair shop. Note drying garlic.

Then we went to the alternative high school featured in Grown in Detroit, called the Catherine Ferguson Academy, where, my heart swelled, they have goats!

The deal is they have a curriculum for pregnant teens and young mothers that involves raising chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, bees, a horse, and fruit trees in the name of science and self-empowerment. I hadn’t heard of the movie, but the leader of the school, a fellow named Paul, sounds incredible. Like they feed the goats by growing alfalfa on six blocks of abandoned land, which Paul cuts himself. Whoa!

They also had a “musuem” of ways to keep bees. It included a stump, a skep, top bar, Lang, and a strange octogonal shaped hive. Here’s the skep:

After Detroit (see Patrick Couch’s excellent blog for more about the Detroit scene), we headed to West Virginia for Bill’s family reunion. There I consumed about 20 pounds of the best-tasting tomatoes I have ever had. West Virginny definitely has something over California in that regard. We also ate amazing home-made canned green beans, pickled sweet beets, canned venison, and cousin Barb’s zucchini lasagna.

The trip was pretty much over for me, I flew home, and you know–I was mighty proud (and I’ll admit it, surprised) that there is good food all across our great land. Bill continued on, hitting some amazing joints along Highway 61. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I might even do another road trip.

Of course, now that I’m back, after neglecting my poor garden, it looks like hell. Still, I harvested some apples and have some greens and honey, so come on by Tuesday Sept 7, 5-7pm to pick up some supplies and say howdy. I have a new goat, too, who might want to meet you.

665 28th street (at 28th street and MLK)

This Tuesday, Sept 7, 5pm-7pm

Party on the 28th

Just when things were getting good around here, I “have” to go on vacation. Billy and I are pulling up stakes in early August and taking a crazy cross-country road trip. Of course this causes much consternation on the farm, so I have to find a place to board the goats, set up the ducks, and chickens. The bees, well, they don’t care if I’m around or not.

The garden is another thing to worry about. Last time I left for that long, many plants died. So I’ve decided to just harvest everything, pull up all the rows and beds and plant a cover crop just before I go. So there’s going to be a big mid-summer harvest party at my place July 28, 5-8pm. I figure I should make it a fundraiser for my trip, too. We’ll be going to Detroit to check out the urban farm scene (dream of mine) but as you know, biodiesel is expensive. Accordingly, I’ll be selling some items to pay for “gas” money: t-shirts, preserved lemons, greens, radishes, pickles, and books. My new friend Becky of Local 123 coffee shop will be on hand making salads using produce from the garden, iced tisanes (mint/verbena/elderflower) and we might even serve some hot stuff out of the cob oven. Please feel free to stop by:

July 28, 5pm-8pm

665 28th street, oaklandia (ride bikes or park on MLK, please)

If you can’t wait–I’ll be at Samin’s Pop-up General store this Wednesday, July 21 at 47th and MLK.

And finally, I’ll be at the North Berkeley Library (1170 Alameda at Hopkins)  reading and discussing Farm City on July 22 at 6:30. Come on by!

Open Farm Tour: July 5

Howdy y’all. Just wanted to make it more official: there will be an open farm day July 5, 10am-1pm. The address is 665 28th street, at MLK. If you can, please ride your bike or BART/walk. If you can’t, park on Martin Luther King, not 28th Street (it’s a short street). Note that this won’t be a full-on tour. That is, I won’t be leading tours into the backyard where the animals are, but I will bring the goats out on the hour (10am, 11 am, 12 pm, 1pm). I’ll set up a duck pen in the garden so people can see them, likewise with the rabbits. The bees will be buzzing and I plan to have signage so people can do a self-guided tour around the garden. There will not be a bathroom, so plan accordingly. It’s important to note that this is my home, so I’m trying to set up some boundaries–please don’t just drop by my house/farm except on tour days like this one.

I’ll be selling books, greens, and the t-shirts/western shirts with the new design. Yay!

Also: today, Wednesday, I’ll be at the Pop-up General Store selling GT salad greens, arugula, and preserved lemons. It’s in that big red building–Grace Street Catering, 49th and MLK, 5pm-7pm.

Next Farmstand: May 29

Guess what? The paperback version of Farm City is out in stores starting today! The softcover version features an air-brushed photo of me on the backcover. Bill said it looked like I had a face-lift. But so what? The paperback is very affordable at $16, so I’m pretty excited and hope to sell a bunch of copies.

With that in mind, I’ll be popping up at 665 28th street to sell some farm produce like leeks, baby greens, salad mix, and fava beans AND copies of Farm City, both hard and softcover. Feel free to stop by from 10am-2pm on saturday may 29. There won’t be tours, but I might be convinced to bring out a very special guest we have at the farm (ssshhhh….)–his name is Mr. Lincoln. “At your stud service, m’am.” Because Bebe and Gingey still aren’t knocked up, even after a month of vacation in Vacaville. I’m getting desperate.

In other news, there’s a very cool City Slicker Fundraiser that you must attend. I’ll be there, snarfing up all the food! Willow and I might do a little soft shoe for our presentation. I’m pretty sure it’s tax-deductible, too.


Join us Friday June 4th, from 6-10pm
for a night of culture and entertainment.

There will be music, art, a four course fermented feast
with locally crafted fermented drinks and guest speakers Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City, and Willow Rosenthal, founder of City Slicker Farms, plus a CSF Backyard Gardener to speak about their program.

It’s sure to be a great night, so spread the word, tell your friends and come on out!

Tickets are $75 and available HERE. Kids accompanied by parents get in free.

Ferment Change is an annual celebration
of fermented foods and urban agriculture benefiting the work of City Slicker Farms.

Location: St. Paul’s Episcopal School – Parish Hall, 116 Montecito Ave., Oakland

An outdoor reception,
hors d’oeuvres, music and a silent art auction.

A four course dinner of…

· Sprouted Pea Bisque w/ a simple red cabbage kraut and pea shoot garnish. Served with rustic sourdough rolls and Straus butter.

· A Salad of Little City Garden Greens w/ spiced walnuts and chevre; tossed w/ a Fuyu persimmon vinaigrette.

· A main course of Dijon-braised tempeh triangles with peach chutney, slow roasted root vegetables in an herbed Champagne vinaigrette w/a side of steamed greens and pickled sea vegetables.

· Chocolate cake drizzled with a local honey-oat yogurt glaze and TripleSec roasted Swanton strawberries.

Plus a sample of locally fermented krauts and plenty of homebrew, ginger beer, and Kombucha!

8:30-9:30pm: Guest Speakers

Tickets are $75 and available from Brown Paper Tickets HERE.

Hello Again

Whoa, I think I went through a time warp and lost a couple of weeks. Springtime is a crazy season for any farmer, and I’ve been doing a lot of book-related travel, which has compounded the problem. Ghosttown Farm has gone pretty quiet, too, while I’ve been traveling to New York, and spending a week at primitive skills camp (which was mind-blowing, more on that later…). The rabbits are now at LaBrie Farm in San Lorenzo, which will most likely be a permanent change. The goats are still up north getting stud service, as no one has gone into heat yet. Here are some of Bebe and Ginger’s suitors.

In other farm news, the Muscovy ducklings arrived, and here they are in their duck car.

Problem with the duck car: the windows have to be cracked so it doesn’t get too hot in there, and one night we think a rat got in and killed three of the little guys. So tragic. The rats in the garden have gotten really aggressive ever since I stopped doing food waste composting out there, which was basically their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So I’m guessing they smelled the ducks (and the duck food) and went into the car. I’m pretty bummed about the whole thing. So now the ducklings are over at Abeni’s house until they get big enough to bring back to my place. In the meantime, I’ve taken to setting rat traps and feel a bit Charbonneau when I go out to check my traps.

Besides that, the mad schedule continues! In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following places:

May 11, 12:30

Ecotopia revisited: A conversation with Ernest Callenbach and Novella Carpenter

Join us for an on-stage conversation with Ernest Callenbach, author of the cult-classic, Ecotopia, and Novella Carpenter, an urban farmer and author of Farm City. With its vision of white bicycles, a creek running down Market Street and a female president, Ecotopia (dubbed “the novel that predicted Portland” by New York Times writer Scott Timberg) has gained renewed attention in recent years as urbanists and naturalists alike consider a dizzying array of strategies for living in a resource-constrained world. Where are we now, relative to Callenbach’s vision of the future?
654 Mission Street,
San Francisco, CA 94105-4015

May 12, 6:30pm

CommonWealth Club, The Commonwealth Club is at 595 Market St. in SF, Second Floor

Panel Discussion with:

Jason Mark, Co-manager, Alemany Farm; Editor-in-Chief, Earth Island Journal
Novella Carpenter, Author, Farm City
Christopher Burley, Founder, Hayes Valley Farm
David Gavrich (aka The Goat Whisperer), Founder, City Grazing

Sarah Rich, Writer; Editor; Co-founder, The Foodprint Project; Co-author, Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century – Moderato

May 14, 5:30 PM Olympia Public Library, 313 8th Avenue SE, Oly, WA

May 15, Keynote Speaker, Write in the Woods, Shelton, WA 12:00; Reading and Paperback Release party at Sage Books, Shelton, WA

May 17th, 8 p.m, Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa Street, San Francisco

Porchlight Reading Series: The Last Taboo, Stories about Money

We wish for it, complain about it, lose it, watch it get burned up, and constantly agree it can’t buy us happiness or love. Oh, money! Tonight we will count the ways you taunt us!

Featuring stories from:

Journalist/Farmer Novella Carpenter

Columnist/Blogger Ramona Emerson

Public Health Entrepeneur David Grosof

Comedian/Actor David Moss

S.F. Bay Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond

Broadcast Producer/Professional Dilettante Jenn Suttlemyr

General admission tickets: $12. Buy tickets in advance here. Tickets may also be available at the door.

Ages 21 and up.

May 19, Pop-Up General Store, 5-7pm

Grace Street Catering, 4629 MLK at 47th Street

I will be selling salad mix, braising greens, leeks, and fava beans! Hope to see you

May 20, 6:30-8pm at Revival Bar at 2120 Shattuck, Berkeley

“Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat,” is a new book by author and sustainable food activist, Temra Costa. Join Costa and inspirational, local women in celebration of the book’s release.

May 22, SF’s Free Farm fundraiser @ 999 Eddy Street, San Francisco

3:30 Talk by Novella Carpenter, Author of Farm City

Music Provided by: Lia Rose

Food Donated by: farm:table, Mama’s on Washington Square, Greens, Maggie Mudd, and Bi Rite Market.

A family friendly afternoon at the Free Farm. Join us for food, wine and coffee tasting, Carla’s kid’s corner and more