Monday, August 19, 2013

Another successful How About We date at Alemany Farm

Our date yielded this harvest. For free.
Yesterday, Matt and I went to Alemany Farm, a volunteer-run garden (and official San Francisco park) in south San Francisco (near the Glen Park BART station).

We found the park through How About We, a dating concierge service that we use. (Read more about how I love it here.) We booked it as our free date for the month, and in return, How About We did all the volunteer sign-up preparation on our behalf and made a donation to the farm in our name.

We took our motorcycle over (fodder for another post -- I feel like we are superheroes when we motorcycle together!) and showed up around noon at the farm.

A view of Alemany Farm from the top of the hill. We worked in the depression almost dead center. In the background is the freeway!
Since we showed up on time, we were early by their volunteer standards, so our volunteer guide Vicki gave us the relatively simple task of picking strawberries while we waited for others to show up. I've never seen strawberries on the vine before, much less picked them -- I even saw strawberry blossoms for the first time!

Once we had enough other people to work, Matt and I got tasked to dig up, weed and mulch a plot that had been used for potatoes and was soon going to be re-planted with something else. The plots were about as long as you see in the picture below, and between 3 people, it took several hours to completely turn it over. Even though the plot had already been picked for potatoes, there were a lot still hiding -- we ended up finding 25 more pounds' worth of fingerling-sized Kennebecs.

It was an unseasonably HOT day in San Francisco, and I was glad for my sunscreen, hat and water bottle! I also ripped up my knees some by kneeling all day on my good-for-motorcycling, bad-for-gardening Kevlar jeans.

After potato farming, we did some relatively less difficult weeding of other areas of the farm, and then around 4pm ... the harvesting.

Now, as true blue city girl (born and raised in Los Angeles), I'm just gonna put it out there: I haven't seen many of the things I eat in their "natural" habitat. I ended up picking padron peppers, cherry tomatoes, green beans, beets, two kinds of cucumbers and three kinds of squash, all right off their vines/bushes/whatevers! It was super exciting, especially the squash plants with their awesome blossoms.

After a period of harvesting, all the volunteers brought their harvests together to mix and match and TAKE HOME! (If the blinky HTML tag still worked, there is where I would have used it.)

That's right, this volunteering yielded a major bounty. It was like being part of a CSA where you pay for your box with sweat instead of cash. Here was our final tally, all washed and in our kitchen by 6pm:
Head-sized squash.
  • 4 heads of garlic
  • 2 apples
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 3 squash, including one the size of my head
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 5-6 radishes
  • 4-5 golden beets
  • couple pounds of fingerling potatoes
  • a liter of cherry tomatoes (we carried them home in our water bottle!)
  • 10-15 padron peppers
  • a mess of green beans
In conclusion, this date rocked. We met some cool other volunteers, brought home a ton of food, and got some healthy outside time in, together!

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