Viewing entries in
Farm Events

Post-Memorial

IMG_9776.JPG

I have had nearly a week to reflect on Nigel’s Memorial, the past month or so, and my life in general.  May and June normally puts life into hyper drive, with back to back events on the farm.  Lavender Harvest alone is such a major happening it takes a couple of weeks of planning and organizing, but it  so important for the livelihood of the farm.   With the memorial just a weekend later it really felt like everything this year has been  so much bigger, and that much more overwhelming.  

After all the logistical and emotional struggles of planning it all came together. Seeing all your loving faces, and getting countless hugs filled with heart, helped this family in so many ways.  Firing up that pizza oven and cranking out pizzas once we got the hang of it (the process was a bit of learning curve) I could see it was the perfect tribute to Nigel. I literally saw people coming together around food on the farm, what better way to say “thank you Nigel”. I have to say a really big thank you to CSA member Kristen, from All Good Pizza, and Joe and Amy from Marla Bakery who made pizza doughs for us.  Making pizza dough for over 100 people I know would have been an overwhelming task for me, so my appreciation for their gift is great. 

Sunday morning everyone got up ready to work. We were joined by Carolyn who drove up early to join the setup team.   Amazing how fast the work gets done when you have extra hands. Tam, Cory’s partner came out to put together some simple farm bouquets that were just what Nigel would have loved. Thank you, all of you, not just for your helping hands but for brining your spirits to help keep ours lifted.

It isn’t easy putting together a memorial without the guidelines of organized religion. It has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, but with the help of my “framily” we got there. My friend Mark read from one of Nigel’s favorite books Opening Doors Within written by Eileen Caddy a co-founder of the Findhorn Community. He read the page that was open on Nigel’s phone, probably the last one he read.  Paige shared a piece by Kahlil Gibran. Lizzie, sweet Lizzie, made sure we got a timeline of Nigel’s life.  She put together a beautiful piece that covered Nigel’s whole life. She reminded us of his adventurous and fearless spirit, and through her words we all were also reminded of how much we have lost.  As my family stood together in front of everyone we found comfort in the words. But looking out at your faces I found affirmation for the work we are doing, it was all there right in front of us.

She reminded us of his adventurous and fearless spirit, and through her words we all were also reminded of how much we have lost.  As my family stood together in front of everyone we found comfort in the words. But looking out at your faces I found affirmation for the work we are doing, it was all there right in front of us.

We invited people to dip a wine cork into Nigel’s ashes and go “plant” them around the farm. I loved hearing the stories of where people put their corks and why. Many people had their special connections with Nigel and found their perfect spot for him on this farm. Having his community be a part of his final act on the farm seemed appropriate. His connection to the land and to all of you was what he lived for.  Thank you for taking part. 

I cannot finish this newsletter up without mentioning the Care Share program. I learned early on in Nigel’s battle with cancer just how important nourishing food was for him in that fight. When we came home from the hospital the first time, all those years ago, Nigel and I decided to offer up 10 boxes every week to people who are fighting serious illness, no strings attached.  When we wrote about this program several members offered to donate so that we could give out even more boxes.  Last year, in Nigel’s honor, thousands of dollars in donations came in. These donations have enabled us to help even more people. We bring 8 boxes every week, one for each kitchen, to The Family House in SF. The Family House serves as a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, who are receiving treatment at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.  We also deliver boxes each week to the Potrero Hill Neighborhood House for the seniors who have lunch there weekly. These are our regular weekly donations, but there are many individuals who sign up for a Care Share and enjoy boxes as long as they need them.mI have had some amazing correspondences with people who have told me how much it helps them to have a box of fresh veggies each week. Not only does this program provide people with fresh organic fruits and vegetables, we are able to take a little something off a long list of somethings that need to get done weekly. And that is almost as important as the food itself.  

Almost all of our Care Share referrals have come from CSA members. For those of you who don’t know about this program or how it works, it is really simple.  The only requirement is the ability for someone to pick up the box and get it to them.  Anyone can set it up on their behalf, relative or friend or even you. Send Noelle an email, at organic@eatwell.com, requesting a Care Share. She will walk you through the setup to create the account. A simple box of produce might not seem like much to you, but it can really make a difference in someone’s recovery.  

If you would like to donate to the Care Share fund, there are two ways to do that. You can easily make a donation by going to the webstore and look for the option that best suits you. Another very easy way to help support this program is to donate your box rather than putting it on hold. With your help we can reach even more people and that is what really matters. Thank you so much to the people who donate to the Care Share Fund on a regular basis, I know we are making a big difference in many people’s lives.

 

“Framily”- Eatwell’s Friends and Family

ORG_DSC02203.jpg

I always title my newsletter doc by the Wednesday date of the current week.  This particular Wednesday, June 6th, is my Birthday.  To “celebrate” I hope to make a quick escape up to Sierra Hot Springs for some quiet alone time. I don’t get much time by myself, and I feel that a little solitude to be with my thoughts and my heart will be a very good way to spend this particular birthday.  Last year was the last time Nigel and I shared my birthday together, sadly with him in a bed fairly unaware and unable to comprehend the tea party my sweet friends and family had for me. As I navigate through this first year without him, there are many of these days and moments that I have had to be strong and get through. It is quite fitting for me to make my way up to Sierra to soak, and have a chance, now that I have a little more strength, to sit with my grief and my memories quietly alone.

Although I am far from alone in this world, I am very much missing the man who is my life partner. Life on the farm is constantly busy and always filled with wonderful people.  There is no shortage of socializing here even though most of my friends live in or around SF. The farm is place the draws people to it, and that is so healing and such a beautiful thing to participate in. I can not continue with this stream of thought without acknowledging the constant companionship, love and support I have flowing my way from Cameron and Lilly who have joined me here on the farm. They are my daily companions, we make and share meals together, have our evening rituals of watching shows like GOT, the little things to replace some of the many I have now lost.  

This past year has been a very busy one, filled with many opposites, tremendous sorrow and grief, great travels, lots of lovely times with my “framily” (friends who are family), loads and loads of good busy work, and a lot of learning. I do not have the freedom to simply check out and face all this grief head on, I have this farm to run, so toe dipping is about as much as I can handle. Nigel’s memorial has been one of the hardest things for me and the almost year’s worth of time hasn’t made it any easier to plan, which I had hoped. It is coming together finally as I get a clearer picture of how it will go and flow.

The Pizza Oven in many ways gave me a focal or jumping off point.  The project began this weekend and it was perfect. The weather was warm, but we were blessed with a nice breeze. Miguel came out Friday morning to get the base built. By Saturday morning, we were ready for the volunteer helpers.  It was amazing how quickly the oven took shape. We did a little blessing for Nigel who for years dreamed of a pizza oven. It is healing to make one of his dreams come true. But the real healing comes from all of you, those of you who so generously gave to support this project and of course those of you who came out this weekend to help with the build.

I don’t know much about farming, but I do know a lot about community and bringing people together. I understand the importance of these simple joyful experiences that connect us.  This weekend it was playing in the mud building this tribute to Nigel. Seeing Joe out there seemed so fitting for a pizza oven. Joe and Jenny are the infamous sauce folks who use a drill on their Squeezo, and make over 80 quarts of sauce in a day!

Ted, aka Manhattan Man, who made me my first Manhattan ever! at a Sauce Party years ago, was there and full of energy. A few years back I had one of the best conversations with his daughter Izzy about people coming together around a table and connecting. They are one of the many family’s I always look forward to seeing every summer. Kirsty, one of our Vacaville hosts was the first to show up.  Kirsty has always been a person I can call and know she will have a recommendation (she recommended we buy an InstantPot) or ask for special things like beef bone broth or really whatever I might need. She has taught me so much about nutritionally dense food, and why the way we eat makes such an important difference.  Kirsty is a true wealth of knowledge and a tireless promoter of Eatwell Farm.

ORG_DSC02288.JPG

In the afternoon Louise, our Albany host, and Kim brought up a group of girls who planned on helping out and camping out on the farm.  How great is it that these moms spent their weekend with this group of girls to get hot, and dirty working on the farm! Louise’s husband Paolo and their youngest daughter Julianna joined us for the afternoon. Miguel taught us a couple of African songs which we also sang while slapping Cobb all over the oven. The girls worked hard.  They got up the next morning, and after a good breakfast we went out to finish up the weekend’s work.  Thinking about it, we had a group of teenagers volunteering in the heat and never heard a complaint.  Just goes to show you, we can’t fall for the commonly held opinions of young people! I am so very grateful that Andrew and Eric were here on Sunday to give us the extra bit of “man power”.  Their height and muscles were greatly needed and appreciated.  And I think it was a little healing for them too, to work on a project that was one of their dad’s long time dreams.  

At one point Miguel pointed out that the base looked like elephant’s toes. I have a life long love relationship with elephants, and so the shape of it all was determined by that one little observation. As much as I am building this for Nigel, it seems even more fitting to have a part of me right there with him. Before Miguel left we started up the first fire.  Eric and Andrew tended the fire and kept it going for a few hours, which is all part of the drying/curing process.  Before we can complete this project, the Cobb has to be fully dried. Those young men have built many fires here for our overnight events so they have a “little” experience. A bittersweet moment watching them, seeing the men they are becoming and knowing how proud their dad would be right now.  

So to wrap up this long winded, unusual newsletter, I want to remind you all, everyone is invited to the memorial June 17th.  It looks like it will be a great year for garlic braiding as the weather has been kind to us this Spring. Lilly is learning/practicing how to make Lavender Wands which she would like to share with everyone. You do not have to stay for the memorial Sunday afternoon, you can camp out Saturday, enjoy a good breakfast here and head home if you like, or you can stay for the memorial.  Just come on out, it is one of the best times to come to the farm.

Sorry for this non-farming newsletter, and thank you all for allowing me this space to share.

 

Eatwell Comes To The Bayview Community Market

Image-1.jpg

This past Saturday was the first Bayview Community Food Market at All Good Pizza. Eatwell CSA member Earl Shaddix has been working tirelessly to bring fresh food to his neighborhood, wrangling with the City to get this little market started. A big thank you to Earl for achieving this amazing task and to Kristen from All Good Pizza for opening her beautiful space, making us all feel so welcomed and feeding us pizza!  

To be honest, ever since I agreed to doing this, I felt like I was out of my mind. Seriously, what was I thinking?  We have strawberry days on three of the Sundays in May.  Then we have full weekend events the first 3 weeks of June.  How could adding a full day, doing a tiny little market in the Bayview make any sense in my life? Here is how it makes sense - that is one heck of a community! Our CSA dropsite is literally 1/2 block up the street. The people, many families with kids and dogs, came out and really showed their support and enthusiasm. I am sure this is what it must have felt like doing some of the early farmers markets in SF 25 years ago. I had the chance to meet and re-meet many of our CSA members, including our hosts at the Jerold St. house. We spoke with many people from the neighborhood who love the idea of joining our CSA and becoming members of our community. Meeting the other vendors in our small group was also a great way to make new connections. The owner of All Good Pizza, Kristen, is an Eatwell member too!  So you see, community and building it, makes some extra effort very worthwhile. Thanks to all of yo who came out to see and support us this past Saturday. We will be back this coming week, and I hope to see even more of you!

 

Eatwell Night at Onsen Bath and Restaurant

Unknown-1.jpeg

A few weeks back Paige and I enjoyed the baths and an amazing dinner at Onsen, the Japanese Bath House and Restaurant in the Tenderloin.  Chef George Meza regularly shops our stand at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and is dedicated to preparing dishes featuring local fare. I thought it would be great fun to have an Eatwell Night for our members, bath and dinner, and Onsen is definitely up for it.  So I am putting this it out to you, if enough of you are interested we can book out the restaurant and two sessions in the baths, May 17th. The dinner would be heavily Eatwell-centric and I guarantee it will be delicious. We have the option of one seating for 22 people, or two seatings, each with 10 people. PLEASE let us know if you have any interest in such an event ASAP, so that we can move forward with booking. Email Noelle at organic@eatwell.com to let us know.

Nigel’s Memorial

Because many of you are every other week people, I want to make sure everyone gets to see this information. So forgive me for the repeat from last week:

When Nigel passed away I chose to postpone his memorial until this summer. I was so overwhelmed at the time, and truly felt I could not organize something that would do him justice.  Honestly, I couldn’t be very present.  I had hoped that given the space of many months, the process and ideas for his memorial would be easier.  I don’t think it has, but now I have the advantage of the time to plan something a bit more worthy of someone who gave so much.

Nigel’s memorial is scheduled for June 17th.  It is the weekend right around the time of our Solstice/Garlic Party. This year, rather than garlic harvest/braiding I would like us to take on a project and make something special for the Members’ Garden, a permanent memorial to Nigel. For years he dreamed of building a big pizza oven out there, so of course, that is my first thought. I think it could be an excellent community project to do together, but I will need your help.  

Here is an update on last week. I have been in touch with Miguel Elliott who builds incredible cobb and earth structures, including pizza ovens.  He will be taking on this project and I hope to have many of you join us.  It will span over two weekends, so there is plenty of opportunities for you to participate. Later this week I will send out an email explaining the project more clearly.   Regarding the memorial, we will send out an invitation via Brown Paper Tickets to make sure we can accommodate as many people as possible.

 

Search