Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Day at the Farm

Alemany farm
Say you live in a big city. You love eating fresh-from-the-farm produce. You frequent the farmers' market, maybe you even subscribe to a CSA. But every once in a while you long to feel the soil, dig a little, pluck some weeds, pick some fruit and vegetables and get back in touch with mother nature.

Here in San Francisco we are lucky to have a four and a half acre farm, and it's just a stone's throw from the Alemany farmers' market. Long neglected after the demise of the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, it is now coming back to life under the nurturing care of the Alemany farm managers. Best of all, it's completely open to the public.

This past weekend a whole bunch of Bay Area food bloggers helped out at the farm, including four Bay Area Bites bloggers. One of the farm managers, Jason, showed us around and put us to work and gave us a tour. We climbed up the hill to see the remains of an orchard, viewed the beds of chard, tomatoes, strawberries, swung by the herb garden and meandered over to the swampy pond surrounded by cattails. It was dirty and gritty and everyone worked up a sweat, but the farm is positively gorgeous and the experience (despite my allergies) was gratifying.

You may have read about the recent campaign to bring back victory gardens in San Francisco. But if you don't have the space, you can easily volunteer at the Alemany farm just check the calendar for available dates. As an added bonus you might get to take home some fruits of your labor as a thank you. The rest of the produce is sold to residents of Bayview Hunters Point to support larger food security efforts. You don't need to be an experienced gardener, and even children are welcome.

Over at Bay Area Bites is my review of a terrific new book The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook