|Rites of Spring
When I was a little girl, my uncle would always have Easter egg hunts for me at his Hollywood Hills home. Warmed by those memories, when my daughter was young, I did the same here in Ojai for 10 years. Much as we thought we were doing it for the kids, it was really just a great excuse to get the yard prepared for Spring by cleaning up the winter's refuse, trimming back dead stuff, turning the soil, planting lots of colorful flowers and inviting close friends over for a terrific brunch to celebrate the cycle of life, year by year.
Now that I am a dedicated food grower, I've eaten up all the grassy areas with permaculture beds -- so there isn't as much room for a party. But I still get excited to clean up the winter's refuse, trim back the dead stuff, turn the soil and plant lots of promising vegetable starts and companion flowers. The big question is always.... when do you start planting tomatoes?
Ojai Valley Bee Club
How cool is this.... a growing group of beekeepers is forming in the valley.... a hive of bee activity (sorry, couldn't resist the pun).
They meet the second Thursday of the month, 6:00pm, at Farmer & the Cook. Usually there's a topic. The leader of the effort is Glen Perry (272-8014). Check them out on Facebook: Ojai Valley Bee Club.
The more of us that grow organic food and provide habitat for bees and other pollinators, the better for the bees and us.
TIP: Bees need water. Put out large drip dishes or shallow pans with water, and place a few small rocks (like little islands) in it for the bees to stand on to drink. The Bee Lounge.
Culinary Club Tasties
(World of Citrus was amazing!! I'm drying tangerines & grapefruit like crazy for snacks)
Thanks to all of you who have made our food classes so successful. We've had full houses every time. And our instructors have received rave reviews. Thanks also to our hosts Laura Whitney, Thunderbird Farm and Casa del la Luna. Special thanks to Bonnie Bartling for her excellent production skills! More classes are on their way. We'll try to repeat our past courses annually, if possible.
If you are wondering when we are going to have another Recipe Swap & Tasting Social, so are We! Who wants to offer up their home for either our Spring or Summer get-together?
More great food can be found at the next quarterly gathering of The Ojai Valley Green Coalition. Our last two had over 75 people. Meetings open with a potluck and are followed by a Council presentation. Keep an eye out for our next date in the newsletter.
Nopalito Native Plant Nursery
4107 East Main, Ventura (next to Lassen's)
We always support our local Ojai nurseries for first choice in plant buying. However, one of our members (thanks Laurie Slade) wanted us to give a special mention for Nopalito's because they supply the largest selection of California-native and drought-tolerant plants in Ventura County. In terms of water conservation and supporting native pollinators, this is extremely important. They support (mostly) organic vegetable starts grown by Healing Grounds (S.B.), Sprouting up Organically (Ojai) and Do Right's Plant Growers (Santa Paula). So mosey over next time you go that way.
|Europe Leads the Way - Just Say NO to GMO |
Patty Pagaling brought these two articles to my attention. Atta girl!
A GMO strain of corn has been temporarily banned in France "to protect the environment. Monsanto tried to save face by saying it won't sell in France yet because the market is "not ready."
In Germany, massive resistance to GE foods, both among politicans and the general public, has caused chemical giant BASF to CLOSE ITS GERMAN BIOTECH DIVISION!!! Where are they moving to? Raleigh, North Carolina.
If they can boot them out of Europe, why can't we do the same????
Thanks for your continuing interest in making the Ojai Valley a more delicious place to live. Our food system is a vital part of our resilience and strength.
Growing food, growing community!
Dulanie Ellis, Food Council
Ojai Valley Green Coalition
Beneficial Insects With Ron Whitehurst from Rincon-Vitova Flora Gardens Nursery
Eco-Tourism in Ojai
An interactive forum on the New Economy in Ojai - will include ag-tourism.
The world's largest (and most fun) heirloom tomato seedling sale, showcasing 100 tomato varieties that are bound to be winners this summer.
The annual day of all things green, held at Oak Grove School with family-friendly fun, music, food, exhibits & activities.
www.ojaiearthplay.org Oak Grove School
The Environmental Working Group has a bunch of really cool shopping guides to make conscious eating and buying easier.
EWG's Guide to Pestcides in Produce help with what's okay to eat non-organic, and when it really counts.
The Label Decoder in their Meat Eater's Guide helps you read labels knowledgably.
Parents will want to read their report on sugar in children's cereal.
Same as last month, I don't have time to look for one, and nobody sends any in
|Blueberry Walnut Rice Salad
3/4 C.walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 c. blueberries
1/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt/pepper
1 tsp fresh tarragon
1-1/2 c wild rice, cooked & cooled
1/3 c frozen peas
1 c. orange juice
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs parsley, flat-leaf, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 Tbs walnut oil
1 head butter lettuce
1 orange, peeled & segmented
Place walnuts on a baking sheet & bake 5-7 min at 350F until lightly toasted, set aside & cool. Wash & drain blueberries. Add sugar, salt, pepper & tarragon. Toss to coat. Let stand about 15 mn. Add rice, peas & walnuts.
In a small bowl, make dressing by combining orange juice, vinegar, parsley, thyme & walnut oil. Pour over blueberry mixture and mix well. Place lettuce & orange segments on 4 plates. Top each with salad mixture. Serve at room temp.