Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vegetable Garden Update: late April

I admit - I took these photos, and the peas have done gone and flowered, and the eggplants all got eaten by a pesky rabbit. So sad when the plants you have known since they were seeds get taken before their time - sigh. Here's to hoping you have better luck with your invaders...

Here is a photos of the perennial chives and the lost eggplants -

If, however, you are planting a spring or summer vegetable garden, here are some ideas of what can go in the ground now:

seed potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, and all herb plants.

Squash, cucumbers, melons, beans, radishes and corn can go in as seeds.

These lettuce and peas were started as seeds in February, and will be harvested soon -

Don't forget your lovely pollinator attractors- plant loads of flowers in your garden to insure visits by neighborhood bees and butterflies!

Monday, April 28, 2008

What to expect at the market now

Although each market has something different, at this time of year look for fresh spinach, spring onions, parsley, leaf lettuce, asparagus, eggs, goat cheese, fresh baked breads and desserts, and a wide variety of meats including breakfast, hot, and sweet Italian sausages. My husband likes the spicy chorizo sausage from Faith Farm.

You can check out my March 10 post on Manakintowne Farm for specifics on their upcoming May market offerings. Hint: baby beets and micro greens just to start.

If you go to the William Byrd Market, as a nice treat to yourself pick up a bag of mixed chocolate chip cookies from "Simply Delicious." This little bag of six all natural, homemade bits of heaven includes two of each white chocolate, chocolate chocolate, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

At this time the markets also have organically grown herb and veggie plants for you to grow your own throughout the season. I picked up some great looking oriental eggplant plants, as well as compact tomato plants perfect for containers, and even a giant tomato plant that promises to get well over 8ft. tall!

Market Mania!!!

This is it: the week we have all been waiting for!

Tomorrow night -- Tuesday April 29 -- the Renegade Market at the William Byrd House will continue on from 3:30-7:00pm. I LOVE this market. All of the vendors are great, the shoppers, the little kids, people with their pets, and of course the yummy yummy food. Bill's Produce is always there and they say that all but one item, the summer green beans, is grown organically.
Two days later is the 17th St. farmers' market from 8:30-2:00. Two days after that there will be markets galore!!!

This Saturday marks the opening of two new markets: The Forest hill park market from 8:00-12:00 and the Lakeside Ave. Market from 8:00-12:00.

The Lakeside Ave. market will also be open on Wednesdays starting May 7th for both a morning(8:00-12:00) and evening market (3:00-7:00)!

Hope to see you all there. Have fun and eat well!

Urban Gardening Video

Lately I feel like I've been hearing everywhere about urban gardening operations like the ones depicted in this video -- people farming in their own backyards and a few of their neighbors'. Apparently there are a few people who have started businesses doing this kind of farming, traveling around town stopping by locations in a network of gardens. I also heard something about it while listening to this podcast, an episode on peak oil from the Living Green: Effortless Ecology for Everyday People podcast. André Angelantoni, founder of an organization called Inspiring Green Leadership, claims that this kind of farming may become a necessity as our system of food production changes to reflect the energy crisis resulting from a gradual, inevitable extinction of fossil fuels. I think the U.S. could really benefit from initiatives to encourage members of suburban communities to participate in or at least support projects like this.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lewis Ginter Plant Sale

I feel like I dropped the ball a bit when I neglected to write a post about the 'Herbs Galore' sale yesterday -- though I imagine most people in Richmond already know about Maymont's day of herb sales and gardening events. Now I'd like to announce another sale you should visit -- Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens' spring volunteer plant sale! The sale will be held on May 1, 2 and 3 (see the website for hours on each day). Vendors from all over the area will be in attendance selling herbs and ornamentals, including A Thyme to Plant Herb Farm. I especially encourage you to buy from the Tricycle Gardens booth, where vegetable and herb seedlings will be available. Not only will you be able to buy some great plants that Erin and I continue to water and care for, you will be contributing to a great cause -- developing community gardens, educating children, and assisting in 'urban greening' throughout the city. Good luck with your gardens this year, and we'll see you there!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Documentary Showing -- Seeing Through the Fence

This Sunday at 7:30PM, Gallery 5 will hold a showing of the indie documentary Seeing Through the Fence, which promises to "explore the role of food in modern society and our connection, or lack of connection, with both the processes and animals from which our food originates." Watch the trailer below:

Admission will be $5 and includes snacks. Click here for Gallery 5's page about the event, and go to http://www.porchlifeproductions.com/ for more information about the film.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New CSAs!

For those who didn't make it into Amy's or the Victory Farms CSA for 2008, there are now two more options in the Richmond area.

The Sprout CSA group is sponsoring Salsa in Small Places, a startup farm on Robius Rd. in the southside. Keep an eye on the Sprout website for information on how to sign up. I have spent some time at this farm and I know there's plenty of spinach, radishes, potatoes, onions and carrots growing, with plenty more to come!

Growing Community, another group dedicated to organic farming (which I am surprised I haven't heard of before now), has signups ongoing for their own CSA, where all produce will be from heirloom seeds and soil amendments are mostly 'veganic' -- using no animal products like bone and bloodmeal. The Growing Community site has a list of the vegetables they plan to grow and more details on the group and the CSA.

This year will be the inaugural season for both CSAs. These farms will allow members to pay monthly, instead of requiring them to invest all their money at the beginning. If you were disappointed that you missed out on the other CSAs, now is your chance to show your support and recieve some great organic produce!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Field Trip! Eden Farms and Grayhaven Winery

Last weekend, Natalie and I went out to Gum Spring to visit our friends at Eden Farms. It was so fun to see a startup farm, with vegetable beds, fruit trees and animals. (Baby chickens? Like I wasn't plotting a way to take some of THOSE home. But, for a lack of preparedness, I did not. Sigh.) The operation, the brainchild of five brothers and sisters, sells everything from handmade soap and lip balm to gorgeous planters made out of granite leftover from kitchen remodels, to handmade rabbit and ferret toys as well as the aforementioned baby animals. Eden Farm is open Saturdays starting at 10am. For more information and directions, contact the Agnews at 556-3377.

Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Eden farms is the cheerful Grayhaven Winery. We spent quite a while at the tasting bar, sampling eight different varietals and some house sangria. Whoo- whee! All of the wines were fantastic, ready to drink with no residual sugar. We bought some Moonlight white and an amish made cheddar that was reported to have been made without the convienience of electricity! Regardless, it was so creamy and wonderful, we tore right into it and plum lost the label, so I can't tell you the brand. The winery offers many locally made products, including Eden farms soap and my favorite goat cheese from Goats 'R us. Visiting Grayhaven is a fun day trip anytime, but we are especially excited about their South African food and wine festival in mid July!

Have some fun exploring in your own backyard!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Heard it on NPR

Check out this story on the environmental impact of food choices- especially the ones that involve animals.

Food can change the world!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Edible Chesapeake comes to Richmond

Not long ago, Edible Chesapeake, the gorgeous quarterly of local food in the Chesapeake Bay area, asked me to write a piece on the local ice cream favorite, Bev's in Carytown. It seems that a Ben and Jerry's had moved in down the block from the local ice cream favorite, which makes for an interesting story. Turns out, Bev's has not batted an eyelash at the interlopers. With flavors like real Bananas Foster and Espresso Oreo, why should they worry?

So pick up your copy of Edible Chesapeake at Ellwood Thompson, and get your ice cream fix down the street at Bev's. You know you want it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

All will be served

Today I spotted the familiar 'Virginia Grown' logo on a sign announcing the much anticipated Lakeside Farmer's Market. As a resident of Northside, I am very excited by the idea of a farmers' market in my neighborhood. But, can Richmond support the four farmers' markets slated to arrive next month?

The 17th Street Market will continue this year, with a growers market on Thursday mornings, a 'mixed' market on Saturday, and a flea market on Sunday. 17th Street will open on April 17th, and will run from 8am- 2:30pm. Check out their schedule and vendor list here.

The Byrd House Market is now a program of the William Byrd Community House in Oregon Hill. This was a really fun market last year, family and worker friendly, open on Tuesdays from 3:30- 7pm. Their blog with info is here.

New this year are the afore mentioned Lakeside Market, open Wednesdays and Saturdays from May through November, and the South of the James Market open Saturdays from 8am-12pm in Forest Hill Park starting May 3. Look out for more information on these burgeoning markets as we find it.

Hopefully, there will be a market close to your neighborhood. It is wonderful to see Richmond taking part in supporting its agricultural resources, (go Hanover tomatoes!) so have fun doing your part in supporting these efforts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tricycle Gardens Plant Sale

Just thought I'd pass this along to y'all- Natalie and I have been helping to raise these babies since February, and we hope they will find good homes. For more information about the beauty of community gardening in Richmond, check out the Tricycle Gardens Website.

This info was passed on through a reliable source at Lewis Ginter:

Tricycle Gardens, a local non-profit community gardening group, will be holding a plant sale this Saturday, April 5th. TG has been raising plants to use in their youth gardening programs as well as to sell to raise funds. Plants are available for $3 per six pack of seedlings. Multiple cool season crops will be available, including several types of lettuce, kale, chinese cabbage, swiss chard and broccoli. Please come support TG by purchasing healthy seedlings for your vegetable garden, and tour our Church Hill garden!

Time: Saturday, April 5, 10am - 1pm
Location: 2300 block of Jefferson Ave., at Tricycle Gardens' Church Hill location

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

04/01 Market Update

I went down to the Byrd House Market after reading Erin's exciting notice about 'renegade' vendors and investigated the rumor that there would be produce for sale this week. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Victory Farms, Amy's, or any other other wonderful farms that provide us with fresh veggies, but the market certainly felt alive -- everyone seems to be in a good mood, gearing up for the market season.

There was a big table of seedlings for sale. From far away I thought these were spring greens, but upon a closer look realized they were potential vegetables. You can tell I'm sick of winter. Anyway, there was a good selection here, and prices were reasonable! There were also crafts vendors in attendance, as well as the regular winter crew (CCL Farms, Faith Farms and the 'bread guy'); two stands sold baked goods and preserves.

Behind the market, community garden plots thrive. We hope to find more vendors at the Byrd House Market every week -- see you there next time!