Sunday, July 3, 2011

Month 2 Sunset Magazine's One Block Party contest with Team Found Fruit

Month Two:

Kitty, our bunny whisperer has been busy raising rabbits for the feast. On a 4000 square foot lot in Oakland she manages an efficient microfarm with rabbits, goats, ducks, chickens, quail, and bees. She raises the animals with love and produces nearly all of her own meat and most of her own vegetables. Her goats are trained therapy animals and she enjoys taking them for walks around the neighborhood and to visit children in hospitals. Go team livestock!

Photo by Lori Eanes

Nola, Jamie, and I took a stroll over to Kitty's the other day and had a blast playing with the kids.

The kids loved us as well!

With milk from her goats Kitty produces cheeses, yogurt, ice cream and more. She recently made a quick pressed cheese with honey raspberry flavored walnuts added. She's an expert at cheddar, gouda, queso blanco, swiss, havarti, feta, mozzarella, and several we've never even heard of!

Photos by Lori Eanes

Jonah, age two, is getting an early education in urban farming. He's becoming an expert at planting seeds in the garden, and also likes to water and to play with the baby chicks that Todd and Kate are raising. Starting with a dozen Rock Island fertile eggs from the supermarket and a heat lamp,Todd and Kate hatched one chick- Harry Potter (the chicken who lived). Harry, along with a few buff orpington chicks from the local feed store, is now housed in a beautiful coop built by Todd, with a living roof covered in greens. Although it looks like Harry Potter won't be laying eggs anytime soon because it is becoming more and more apparent that he is indeed a rooster. Their garden is thriving- lettuces, arugula, chard, strawberries are abundant. Yay team chicken and garden!

Photos by Lori Eanes

At our house the garden has grown enormously and we are enjoying harvests of chard, beets, carrots, edible flowers, herbs, berries, and salad greens. The peppers are plentiful and the cukes and tomato plants are the biggest ever thanks to Nola’s magical compost!

Photo by Lori Eanes

Our front yard is an edible oasis of peas, beans, artichoke, blueberries, tomatillos, young melon plants, and more. It doesn't look like we'll get a great crop from the nectarine tree this year but the pear tree is loaded with fruit. Across the street, Nola has a lot of fruit on the trees but we aren't saving much because we all eat it as fast as we can pick it!

Go team garden and team fruit!

Photos by Lori Eanes

Kim and I, the fisherwomen that we are, have been out catching Dungeness crab, poke poling for monkey-faced eel, and netting surf smelt. It’s a bit dangerous at times but totally exhilarating! For the crab we use our fishing poles with crab traps fitted with lassos that snag the crabs legs. Let’s just say we’ve been eating well! After taking Kirk Lombard’s fishing workshop in San Francisco we decided to try our hand at poke poling. When Kim caught that first one it was an outrageous scene. We were screaming and running around on the jetty while the eel slithered around on the line. And when I got to her with our bucket, already filled with hungry crabs, we realized that putting the eel in with them might not be the best idea afterall…we managed to get it home separately, and it was delicious filleted and batter-fried.

Earlier in the month we went out night smelting with an A frame net. This involves standing in the waves and dipping the net into a crashing wave. You can see the smelt glistening in the light of the moon! For day smelting we have been learning how to cast a Hawaiian throw net. Go team ocean!

Tis the season for morels and Kitty has been foraging up a storm. Kim and I also go hunting regularly throughout the winter collecting chantrelles and black trumpet mushrooms. Through our friends at Far West Fungi in Moss Landing we decided to try our hand at growing mushrooms. We had a fun road trip down there and returned with garbage bags full of logs inoculated with oyster, king, and shitake mushrooms. We built mushroom towers, similar to our potato towers but with wood shavings and straw packed in with the logs. The mycelium spreads to the new growing medium and before you know it you’ve got mushrooms! After growing out of the small holes in the tower the oyster mushrooms even corrected themselves and have grown huge. They’re fresh and taste amazing! Go team mushroom!

Kim started making wine vinegar, using her two-year old homemade ginger wine. We also have plans to make a foraged blackberry and elderberry wine, which we've had luck with in the past. The foraged limoncello and arancello are done and delicious! We were recently gifted a 35year old sourdough starter from the Arizmendi bakery collective in Oakland.

Photo by Lori Eanes

That plus the kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchee we’ve been making has been great for our fermentation fun. Go team ferment!

We even tried making a fruit kimchee, but it is definitely an acquired I haven't acquired yet.

Earlier this season, we foraged olives from the trees on the Mills College campus up the road. They've been brining for some weeks now and they are delicious! Go team brine!

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