March 2013: Farm to Table & the Hula Hoe!

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Karen’s Corner: Notes from our founder

I just received the new edition of Edible San Diego Magazine and have been reading with delight about the diversity of organizations here in San Diego who are making a difference in our local food movement.

New restaurants are serving up Farm to Table fare, local meats, eggs, and honey are available, and there’s a Farmer’s Market in every neighborhood selling fresh, local, organic produce.  Many of us have been eating organically for years and the new wave of interest is making it easier and easier to find wholesome organic food close to home. This is a direct result of “voting with our forks”, a phrase most recently used by (if not coined by) Michael Pollan, American author, journalist, activist, and “liberal foodie”.

Sometimes it seems that we, citizens of one of the world’s most powerful civilizations, can’t make a difference regarding the choices available to us.  But we can, we have, and we will continue to do so. It’s a slow process, but it happens.  If you want something to happen, ask for it.  Write a letter, make a phone call, send an email, put some effort out there, plant a seed.  Our universe works in mysterious ways!

Good growing to you, ~ KC

March in the Garden

This month finds us cultivating our gardens to rid them of spring weeds and interrupt the life cycles of some pesky insects.  We were lucky to get some good rain this year, about 2” lower than “average” but enough to get those weeds growing.  Remember, cultivating and weeding now will prevent years of weeds down the road, or as the Old Oxford Proverb goes: “One year’s seeding makes seven years’ weeding. Flea beetles and Bagrada Bug winter in the soil and spend part of their larval stage on the ground. Cultivating regularly can help with both of these pests.  

If you are not planning an early spring garden, now is the time to solarize  your soil in preparation for your summer garden.  Soil solarization will help prevent pests and weeds.

Helpful Tips:

Ever use a Hula Hoe? This tools work wonders between rows and will get up close and personal to a plant without the “chopping” method of a standard hoe.  Just push the hoe forward and pull it back.  The blade slides easily under the weed roots, cutting them off lower than a standard hoe can.

What’s Fresh?

Root crops are harvested in abundance this month. Fresh beets, turnips and radishes of all sizes and colors. This year we planted Daikon radishes at two of our farms, much to the delight of our chefs! You can grow these lovely giants all year long in San Diego and the flavor will literally change with the weather. When eaten in the spring they are mild but they can heat up during the summer. Daikon radishes make a wonderful slaw and go great with sashimi. Learn more about   how to prepare daikon radish.

We love golden and chioggia beets, but our favorite is still the standard red “Bull’s Blood” beet.  They’re tender with an earthy flavor and the greens are great for salads and braising. Beets are highly nutritious and are said to protect against coronary disease and stroke and high cholesterol.  They are also rich source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6) and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

What’s Sprouting at UP

This month we’re finishing up a design for the Urban Kitchen Group – owners of Cucina Urbana, Kensington Grill and other SD restaurants.  If you haven’t tried, Cucina Urbana, you are missing out!  We’ll be planting and caring for their roof top culinary garden.  Watch for photos on our Facebook page.

Some sad new for all of us at UP, our trusty colleague Brianna Bain is leaving us to work with a non-profit group called TERI, Inc.  Brianna has been with us over two years, starting as a volunteer and working her way up to VP.  We’ll miss her smiling face and helping hands and wish her all the best in her new role.  Good luck Brianna!
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