Monday, December 5, 2011

Behind the Scenes

One of the programs we run at CAFF is Harvest of the Month. This is a great program that introduces kiddos to new fruits and vegetables once a month in the classroom. Each month participating teachers get a box of one local produce item to sample with kids. Usually there are two varieties of the item. November featured apples and December is featuring beets! What lucky kids. Just over 1 year ago about 120 classrooms were receiving the boxes, this month there are 485! That is alot of produce being distributed to classrooms.
Last month I went to Watsonville which is just south of Salinas to help pack the apples for the tasting kits. This involved folding the boxes, bagging the apples, putting the apples into the boxes along with a packet of information about the apples, closing the boxes and then stacking them.... over 400 times with 3 people.

My supervisor folding boxes
(Yes, she wears her hair like an 80's rockstar)

Putting the different varieties of apples in the bags

Apples and information in the box

Staking the boxes of apples
(Thats alot of apples!)

Even though it took a while it was fun and I got to see more of the production side of the produce world. Kind of like seeing how produce gets in the boxes one buys at Costco, someone puts them in there. Its repetitive and sometimes tedious and I couldn't do it for a living but it made me appreciate just how inexpensive produce is for the amount of work it takes to go from seed to store.

Workin for the Weekend

Actually I was working on the weekend, but that is okay because working was actually hanging out with new friends and learning how to can and pickle. With so many fellow Americorp memebers working on farms and gardens there is often an end of season abundance of vegetables. This time it was tomatoes. Tons and tons of tomatoes. There are also items that aren't "sellable" garlic, turnips, beets, vegetables that don't look good to consumers so they go to the poor Americorp member. This means that we made tons of tomato sauce and apple sauce as well as canned turnips and pickled beets, carrots, cauliflower, and other delicious farm fresh veggies.
Preparing veggies to go into their jars
One of my four friends (Cara) pouring brine into the jars
Brendan looking thrilled as usual when dragged to another event

The pickled items came out very pickley. I think because there were spices in the brine and in the jar it made it a little more flavorful than what I am used to. But they did look beautiful and are still very delicious. I am waiting for Carrie to come visit so we can eat the pickled beets together because I now B won't go near them. Well, another tough day on the job.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Love Affair

Meet my new friend Natalie:
She is pretty rad. She is from Austin and an Americorp member. We had a great day together in San Francisco. A lady date if you will. If man dates are coming back, I am starting lady dates back. Here are a few reasons Natalie and I are friends:

1. Natalie is this excited about the pie we are about to eat2. Natalie loves local beer (at Magnolia Brewery)
3. Natalie is in an ice cream trance
4. Natalie did all this with me in one afternoon while thrift shopping. She doesn't mind eating pie, then french fries, then ice cream and to top it off tacos. Yeah, not many people will eat that many different foods in an afternoon.

Delicious pear and raspberry pie we ate at Mission pie!

I love ice cream, big time.
One scoop salted caramel, one scoop brown sugar ice cream with ginger swirl.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Daily Work

Last week I had a pretty good week at work. I got to go to Davenport, which is just north of Santa Cruz. My boss and I went to talk to a farmer about possibly supplying produce for a school district. Before our meeting we stopped and had lunch at this great bakery called Whale City.

It was a great place and they put leeks on hamburgers. So I love them.

The views were horrible.

What was even better was the farm we visited, Swanton Berry Farms. They are like the farmers I imagine I would be, if I was a farmer. They have a little store where you can buy pies, jams, and fruit. It's all based on the honor system so there is just an open till and you put in money for what you bought and take your change. The farmers were also super nice and told us everything we should do to get more produce into schools. Their advice was to find "one of the young kids who wants to farm" and rent 2 acres out to them to grow produce to just the school. I thought this sounded like a pretty sweet life. Living in Santa Cruz, farming 2 acres, selling to schools. Too bad my boss poo-pooed it as soon as we got in the car. I will keep on dreaming though. Two acres is such a manageable size and I could still have a llama and a goat and Cricket to herd them/eat grass with them. Here are some pictures from their store.
So Cute! Notice the guy laying down on the bench right there? He just biked really far and then ate some pie.
Kids Corner. The whole meeting I just wanted to play with those dinosaurs.
Take your pick!

They also have pick your own kiwi in December. Do you know how a kiwi grows? Tree? Bush?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Crickets Cushy Life

Cricket has the hardest life; 1,000 pets a day, hanging out on a farm all day, two doting parents. And now she gets biked to work in her personal doggie trailer. Yup, she's livin the hard life.

She is still a little nervous in it.
And she is really fat and heavy, at least my legs will look good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

San Francisco

Still looking hip as ever with my mullet.

This weekend B and I went to San Francisco. We had two tagalongs, Artur and Frank, B's coworkers that were in town for the week. We all headed up to San Fran on Sunday to do some sight seeing. Being the tour leader/planner that I am I had an extensive list of things to do and places to eat. We only made it to three of them. First we went to Coit Tower which sits on top of Telegraph Hill and is a pretty cool lookout area in the North Bay area.

View from Coit Tower.

Being a grown-up on top of Telegraph Hill.

Then we took all eight-hundred stairs down to the bay and walked up to Pier 39. Which of course was full of 8 million tourists and I thought I was going to have a panic attack from how slow and unaware of their space people are. But I made it though to get some clam chowder in a bread bowl. News Flash....I still really like clam chowder. I like the idea of it, but I don't like it. I don't like clams. It's like eating soup with lougies in it. Anyways, after our chowder and beer we took a ride on one of the historic trolleys.

Look how excited I am about the trolley.
Those two guys taking pictures are our weekend tagalongs.

I could probably walk faster than it but the boys indulged me and rode the trolley for 30 minutes to Haight-Ashbury where we got some coffee and took a break from the sun. Then we took a stroll in Golden Gate Park, where we stumbled upon a drum circle complete with a dijarido and clarinet.

I looked for Carrie but she wasn't there.

After being offered "edibles" after every five hundred feet we took the hottest cable car ride of my life back to downtown San Fran and walked (mainly uphill of course) back to the car. No one congratulated me on my restraint of not going into any of the stores. I thought I deserved a trophy for not going into any of the vintage stores or the entire downtown of "every store I ever want to go to in one place" shopping area. I should probably reward myself with a new sweater right?
I bet you are wondering what I have been doing since my last post. Well, being a 40 hour working woman in the suburbs, not a whole lot. I have been slowly refinishing my dress that I have had since I was literally 9. I also went to the Computer Science History Museum. It was riveting... Actually it was ok, they didn't really ever explain how a computer works or just computer basics so I was really confused most of the time. But we did get a sweet demonstration by a volunteer named Herb on a Babbage Difference Engine.

My new BFF, Herb

It took him twice as long to give the demonstration because as he kept having "senior moments" (his words) and forgetting to tell us things. He is demonstrating this crazy machines designed to do math so ships stop sailing into rocks, but it was never actually built when it was designed because it took too long to build. Then some crazies decided to replicate it and now it is in Mountain View on loan from a guy who paid to have it replicated so he could have it in his house. Except, he has to reinforce his floor before putting it in his house because it weighes 5 tons. Yeah literally 5 tons. I'm putting one on my x-mas wish list.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dinner with the best

People I wish I could have dinner with:

Of Course, the Obama's.

Will Arnett and Amy Poehler
In my mind we would be having dinner as long time friends so it wouldn't be awkward, just really really funny.

Alice Waters.
If you don't know who she is, you can read about her here

Who would you want to have dinner with?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fake Fall

While the rest of the country is heading into fall, California has decided to stay in summer. Yesterday it was 90 and today it was 85. So hot. Regardless, my wardrobe wants to transition into fall and I can't wait to wear cozy sweaters and leggings. Here are some of my topic pics for new fall pieces.

I really like these crochet tops from Old Navy. I'm sure my Mom would make fun of me and say I am living in the 70's.

I really like these four sweaters (from JCrew Factory, Old Navy, and Urban Outfitters). I like that looser fitting sweaters are coming back in style.

I really adore these two skirts and dress from JCrew and JCrew factory outlet.

Maybe I will hit it large with the CA lottery, until then these babies will remain in the blog and never reach my closet. Good thing I have a ton of old sweaters to tie me over ;)

Monday, October 10, 2011

News Flash

Did you know that when it rains in California, instead of (or maybe in addition to) worms snails come out? It's a true story. This evening B and I were taking a walk and I kept stepping on these tropical pinecones that are everywhere. Oh wait, they were snails. It was like a snail crossing or something.

See, they are suicidal.

They are hard to see in this light, but there are three in both the center and right picture. I literally stepped on four of them before I realized what they were. I still get the willies thinking about it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Flea Markets

So this weekend I staffed the CAFF booth at a Health Fair. The fair was taking place at the San Jose Open Air Flea Market. I have never really been to a real flea market so this was a new experience for me. It was amazing. Oh the things you could buy from cars and sofas to bras and nail polish. I just want to share some of the highlights I saw while walking through.

Maybe you need some tools (or have recently had some stolen?)
How about a baptism dress?
Maybe a new pair of "geans"
Stock up on some socks
And get some fresh coconut to hydrate while you shop

So many amazing things are sold at the flea market. Rugs, electronics, clothes, purses, sunglasses. Anything you want can be found at the flea market. Truly an amazing place with an even more amazing clientele. Two things got me through the 14 hours I spent there. First there was this woman that sang and played this instrument along to some "top hits".
I don't know what kind of instrument that is but I like that it is pink and plastic.
The second thing that got me through was the sugar and caffeine rush from eating these cinnamon rolls B and I got at the farmers market.
Sugar, butter and caffeine can get me through anything.

Since I had to work all weekend this is about all I did. Coming up this week I am leading my first farm field trip! I have two with a total of 92 kids, all in 3rd grade. I hope it runs well and I am sure there will be some memorable phrases.