Author Archives: Garden Decor

CSA-Fresh-Delivered-Vegetables

Bay Area CSA Farms

In this feature by Avant Garden Decor, we would like to recognize eight CSAs from around the Bay Area of California for their hard work in helping to provide their neighboring communities with healthy, self-sustaining, local foods and service.

1) Sage Mountain Farm

Located within the San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, Sage Mountain Farm was a sure pick for us when it came to great Californian CSA. Because cross contamination from conventional farms is a concern for organic food producers, Sage Mountain has located itself away from other farms to maintain their excellent, consistent food quality. All of their produce is family grown using clean, natural well water, and the same organic guidelines apply to their steers, chickens, and pigs that they raise for food

.Sage Mountain Organic Farm CSA

Sage Mountain Farm presently owns multiple properties, including Sage Mountain Beef, which provides green-fed pork and beef. They currently supply Whole Foods Market with fruit, vegetables, beef, pork, and chicken, as well as several local hotels and restaurants.
What can you expect from this CSA?

“Your box will include the freshest, seasonal produce we have. While vegetables are the bulk of what you will receive, we do have some fruits that will be included as well. During the winter you will see more greens, root vegetables such as potatoes, beets and carrots, and onions. During the summer you will see more squash, strawberries, citrus, avocados, tomatoes, etc. As we are at the mercy of Mother Nature, your box will vary from week to week. We have many different membership options to suit every family. First you choose the size of box you would like to receive, small or large. The small box feeds a family of 2-3 and the large box feeds a family of 4-5. Then you choose the frequency you would like to receive your box, weekly or every-other-week (bi-weekly). Lastly, you choose your pick-up or delivery location. We can delivery directly to your home or office if you are located in Temecula or Hemet areas, or you can choose from one of our many pick-up areas around Riverside and San Diego Counties” (http://www.sagemountainfarm.com)

2) Capay Valley Farm Shop

Collaboration plays a significant role when it comes to providing excellent CSA, and the Capay Valley Farm Shop knows this well. They provide the opportunity for institutions and families to buy seasonal, 100% local food directly from 40 small farms within California, and the list of available food is far too large to list. Here are the pick-up locations around the Bay Area for Capay Valley:

Pacific Ace Hardware in Esparto, Bay Grape Wine Shop in Oakland, Calafia Café in Palo Alto, Insight Coffee in Sacramento, and lastly Avedano’s Holly Park Market & Meat Wagon, Cheese Plus, Drewes Bros. Meats, Fatted Calf, and Say Cheese in San Francisco.

Farm To Table ProgramsWhat are the Farmshare Choices for you?

There are currently three share sizes: The Bite, The Peck, and The Bushel.
The Bite is ideal for 1-2 people who cook at home a few times a week, and it includes a mix of five different seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a paper bag.
The Peck is similar to The Bite (good for 1-2 people cooking a few times weekly), but it includes a mix of 7 different fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a reusable box.
The Bushel is suited more for a household of 2-4 people who cook regularly, and it includes a mix of 11 different seasonal fruits and vegetables. This is delivered in a reusable box.
In addition to Farmshares, there are also the following shares: Meatshares which encompass a monthly mix of local, pasture-raised beef, lamb, chicken, pork, and goat; Pantryshares which encompasses local jams, honey, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, nuts and herbs, and eggs.

3) Laguna Farm

Laguna Farm is located in Sebastopol, California, and it is a community shared agriculture program wherein members receive weekly or bi-weekly boxes of produce, as well as access to the Laguna Farm store and vegetable stand. They are worker-owned and operated, and Laguna prides itself on local food sustainability and serving the community. Laguna Farm also refrains from using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and implements solar power, crop rotation, cover cropping, seed saving, composting, and habitat restoration. They do not use GMO seeds, and are recognized for donating top quality produce to local food banks, schools, non-profits, and families in need.

What can you expect from Laguna CSA? Laguna Farms CSA Delivery

They have just about everything Calafornia can offer! They not only have a large, seasonal selection of fruits and vegetables, but additionally, they provide fresh juice, dairy, dried goods, delicious baked goods, and bulk produce for canning. Prices vary depending on pick-up or delivery options. Here are some seasonal examples from their website detailing what can be found in their CSA boxes:
Winter: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Broccoli, Parsnips, Butternut Squash, Yellow Onions, Satsuma Tangerines, Kale.
Spring: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, Spring Onions, Shiitake mushrooms, Spinach, Parsley.
Summer: 1/2 Pound Salad Mix, Radish, Heirloom Tomatoes, Zucchini or Cucumber, Corn, Basil.
Fall: 1/2-Pound Salad Mix, Beets, Sugar Pie Pumpkin, Peppers, Apples, Green Beans, Chard.

4) Katz Farm

Katz Farm is located in the Napa and Suisun Valley region, and specializes in producing a wide variety of locally grown honey, preserves, olive oil, and artisan vinegars. Albert Katz’s enthusiasm for olive oil actually led him to be one of the founding members of the California Olive Oil Council back in 1993, and today, the mature Katz tree groves are CCOF certified organic. In 2011, he received the “Best of the Best” Gold Medal at the Yolo County Fair where there were over 140 other skilled competitors. All Katz products can be purchased directly from their website.

5) Blue House Farm

This 40-acre slice of paradise is located an hour south of San Francisco. Each week they harvest 8-10 items for the CSA, working hard to avoid repetition and keep things interesting. The full season is 30 weeks, from May-December, and everything from in the box is Certified Organic. You can add on treats like organic bouquets, local honey and pastured eggs. The weekly CSA newsletter is full of storage tips, recipes, and beautiful photography from the farm, and their online account management tool makes ordering and scheduling a breeze.

6) Full Belly Farm

Full Belly Farm is home to 350-acres of certified organic farmland located in Capay Valley just north of Sacramento and the Bay area. They have implemented and used organic growing practices since 1985, and presently offer a huge diversity of seasonal year-round, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. They additionally sell organic wool yarn and sheepskins.

Fully Belly Farm boxes vary with the seasons, but Organic CSA In The Bay Areaas an example, their spring box could contain 1 bunch of carrots, 1 bunch of broccoli, 1 bunch of red kale, 1/2 pound of salad mix, 1 green cabbage, a pound of potatoes, 1 bunch of beets, and 1 bunch of fresh garlic. Members located in the following areas can have their boxes delivered to them: East Bay, North Bay, San Francisco, South Bay, Sacramento, Davis, Woodland, and Esparto. One Full Belly box can feed a family consisting of 2 to 3 people.

7) Eatwell Farm

Eatwell Farm is 105 acre certified organic farm in Dixon. Nigel & Lorraine Walker and their dedicated crew, work year round to produce boxes of fresh vegetables and fruit that we deliver to members weekly/bi-weekly. To keep our boxes affordable, efficient and ecological, we deliver to dropsites around the greater S.F. Bay Area, and up the I-80 corridor to Sacrametnto. Home delivery is now available in SF. What you will find in an Eatwell Farm Share is freshly picked, nutritious, produce grown on our farm, like deep red, juicy, mouth-watering tomatoes, fresh-picked, unforgettable strawberries, or crispy greens. When we need to supplement, we only work with farmers with whom we have a close and personal relationship. Pastured eggs, freshly milled heirloom flours, herb salts, sugars and naturally fermented soft drinks, produced here on the farm, are also available with your share.Eatwell Farm CSA Program

Who are our members and what does membership give you? Members are people who enjoy locally grown food because it is fresh, tasty and healthy. They like knowing where their food comes from and having a relationship with their farmer. Eatwell is more than just a box of great produce, our members truly have an opportunity to be a part of the farm through events, parties and workdays. Eatwell is their farm to enjoy, to meet and make new friends, to learn how their food is grown and to teach their children. Eatwell is about Community, and anyone can become a member.

8) Tara Firma Farms CSA

Tara Firma Farms offers both a share in organic, hormone-free meat, as well as fresh, seasonal vegetables. They value and practice the natural life cycles of agriculture, clear down from the microbial life in their soil to the grasses they feed to their animals. As a result, their livestock are strong and healthy, and their crops are chemical free. In brief, they offer pasture raised pork, grass-fed beef, and pasture raised chickens, hens, and turkeys. The vegetable shares include local, organic, seasonal produce such as onions, kale, chard, collards, spinach, romaine, arugula, tomatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli, celery, potatoes, squash, and more.

Tara Firma Farm - Locad & Organic

Fireside Fun - Cooking S'mores

Fireside Activities For Halloween Night Fun

3 Lists of Fireside Activities For Halloween Night Fun

It’s hard to beat spending time with friends and family by a warming fire on a fall night! So after the trick-or-treating has died down this Halloween, why not extend the frightful fun and gather round a crackling fire?

We’ve collected a few of our favorite sources for “around the fire pit” activities. You’ll find a variety of spooky fire-light stories, laughter inducing games, and delicious campfire treats that you can enjoy right in your backyard. Enjoy!

STORIES
Fireside Chat: How to Tell a Good Ghost Story
Scary Campfire Stories
13 Creepy Stories to Tell After Dark

GAMES
Campfire Games
10 Campfire Games You Have to Play
Fun Campfire Games for Kids

EATS
27 Delicious Recipes To Try On Your Next Camping Trip
Step Up the S’more: 7 Ideas for Campfire Treats
Kids Favorite Campfire Recipes
• And Don’t forget the classic s’more!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Please Use Caution Around Fire!
Every time you light a fire, remember that basic safety precautions can prevent a tragedy. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your fire pit safely and with peace-of-mind.
Fire Pits Safety

In Need Of A Fire Pit?
Fire Pits are great for bringing the campfire to your backyard! These fire pits are perfect for any style patio and they’re built to last, offering many years of fun Halloween and Fall nights by the fire!
Fire Pits On Sale!
OR Learn more about the different types of fire pits.

Happy Halloween

Caterpillar climbing on lettuce

All About Leafy Greens: Common Leafy Green Insect Issues

The delicate, edible leaves of leafy green vegetables, as one might imagine, are particularly susceptible to damage from insects. Keep an eye out for these common pests. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Common Leafy Green Diseases

Disease is a particularly important consideration when growing leafy greens because – as their name indicates – the delicate leaves are the part of the vegetable you’ll most likely want to eat.

Keep an eye out for any of these common diseases affecting your leafy green crop. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Kale Types and How To Grow Them

If there can be a “hipster” vegetable of the moment, kale is certainly it these days. It’s hard to look over a menu in any upscale restaurant these days without seeing kale appearing as a side dish or “bed” for a couple of entrees. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Planting, Harvesting and Storing Leafy Greens

Planting leafy greens is exceptionally easy and for many variety results in both an ongoing harvest, as well as the opportunity for a second planting. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Types of Leafy Greens for Your Garden

“Leafy greens” is in fact a pretty generic term for a wide variety of vegetables. Depending on how you’re planning to grow, store and cook them, here are a number of factors about each to consider. Continue reading

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How To: Time Out Your Leafy Green Harvest

Planting leafy greens is exceptionally easy and for many variety results in both an ongoing harvest, as well as the opportunity for a second harvest in the same season. Some of the hardier varieties can be effectively overwintered, as well. Continue reading

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All About Leafy Greens: Growing Leafy Greens in Your Hardiness Zone

Though leafy greens might seem too fragile for cooler temperatures, fall is in fact the best time to plant them in most United States hardiness zones as many varieties prefer cooler weather. Continue reading

Coral Honeysuckle

Plant These Flowers Now to Bring Birds, Bees, Butterflies (and Bats!)

This post was written and provided by Michelle Z. Donahue from the Plough & Furrow blog.

Though the flower shows are mostly done for the year, fall is a great time to get some planting done to bring your favorite fauna to the yard next year.

You’vbee on sedume probably read up on the different flowers that bring butterflies flocking, or the best types of plants to build a hummingbird garden.

But knowing why your winged visitors are drawn to these plants is important, and can help you bring even more activity to your garden.

 

The Science

Over millions of years, flowering plants and their pollinators changed shape and features together for their mutual benefit, a term biologists call co-evolution. (Kind of like what happens when people are married for a long time!)Agastache

To get their friends to come and take a closer look—and ensure its reproductive success—plants had to get creative with their flowers.

It’s one reason why hummingbird plants tend to have long, pipe-like flowers. The design is just as much to bring the bird in for a nectar snack as it is to enlist her in pollination efforts. A hummingbird’s head is the perfect shape to collect pollen, which she’ll take to the next flower in line—completing the pollination cycle.

A flower’s shape and color, as well as whether or not it has a nice aroma, are tip-offs to what kind of pollinator tends to seek out that plant. Pick your pollinator by choosing the right kind of plant!

Penstemon 'dark towers' For The Birds

Our feathered friends can see really well, but have awful sniffers, so plants attractive to birds are often bright red or orange. Anything with a tube-shaped flower almost guarantees a visit from a hummer.

Recommended Plants for Birds:

agastache, native columbine, coral honeysuckle, hibiscus, lobelia, penstemon, tall phlox, salvia.

 

Bees See in UV

Beesperceive flowers in a completely different spectrum: ultraviolet (UV) light. To them, blue, purple and yellow blooms pop like a neon sign. Many bee-friendly flowers also have soft, delicate scents.

Bee-friendly flowers also often feature “landing strips,” or platforms wPenstemon Attracts Beeshere bees can alight, along with patterns of lines that act to guide their visitors in for a landing.

Recommended Plants for Bees:

blanket flower, borage, bee balm, butterfly bush,  coneflower, fall asters, goldenrod, hosta, native passionflower, sedum.

 

 Butterflies Love Nectar

Monarch butterfly on BuddleiaLike hummingbirds, butterflies often target flowers in red, orange and purple, but color is really less of a factor than the flower’s overall shape—butterflies probe deep wells for nectar. This keeps other insects out, and the butterfly’s foraging also passes on pollen to neighboring plants.

Recommended Plants for Butterflies: aster, blazing star (Liatris), coneflower, goldenrod, milkweed, joe-pye weed, garden phlox, sedum. 

Feed the Night-Flying Moths

Indulge in a moon garden by planting white-flowered, night-blooming plants to feed moths, which are mainly active at night. Lucky gardeners who visit their bloomers by the light of a full moon will be rewarded with a garden full of strong, sweet smells, and perhaps a chance encounter with the huge, ethereal luna moth.

Datura at Brookside GardensBonus! Most moth plants also attract butterflies.

Recommended Plants for Moths:

angels’ trumpet, hosta, lavender, lily, nicotania, thyme, valerian, yucca.

 

 

Send Out the Bat-Signal

Bats are known for eating tons of bugs during their nighttime outings, but in warm, tropical areasGarden Plox they’re important pollinators. If you like tequila, you’ll be especially interested to know that agave, the plant source of the tipple, is almost wholly pollinated by bats.

In temperate areas, bats follow their food to night-scented flowers, so moon gardens also encourage bats to visit.

Recommended Plants for Bats:

Agave, banana, cocoa, guava, nicotania, phlox.

Bowls for Beetles

Though bees have been in the spotlight lately as an uber-important pollinator, beetles actually do a majority of the pollinating work in the plant kingdom. They’re thought to pollinate 88 percent of all flowering plants—there are over 30,000 species in North America alone!

Beetles love wide, bowl-shaped flowers or large, tightly clustered flowerheads, which tend to be deeply aromatic and pale yellow or white.

 

CalycanthusRecommended Plants for Beetles:

goldenrod, magnolia, poppies, sweet shrub, pond lily.