Imagining A Garden!

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2012 is starting fast.  Check out the latest ideas for the design of the Lafayette Community Garden & Outdoor Learning Center below.  And stay tuned for some exciting news about our new Garden manager!

Imagining the Lafayette Community Garden & Outdoor Learning Center

California Grown Heirloom Wheat?

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The SF Chronicle has a great article about Bob Klein’s effort to get pasta made from local whole grain wheat.

Five years ago, Oliveto restaurant in Oakland already had a menu full of local produce, meat and fish, but owner Bob Klein wanted the pasta to be local, too. He brought wheat seeds back from Italy and found nearby farmers to grow them.

He discovered, however, that the cost of cleaning and milling the grain on such a small scale was prohibitive. Local flour would be much more difficult to access than lettuce or eggs.

“As it turns out, grain is way more complicated than anything else,” said Klein. Still, he became so committed to locally grown wheat that he created Community Grains, a line of whole-grain dried pasta…..

Read more

Pasta from California-grown heirloom wheat and grains

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A Christmas Gift for Lafayette!

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Thanks to all the wonderful volunteers and donors who have made this gift to our community possible.  The Lafayette Community Garden and Outdoor Learning Center will begin construction in the new year and it would not have been possible without their help and support!  Click here if you would like to make a tax deductible donation and join this community-wide effort.  Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a wonderful 2012!

The Lafayette Community Garden and Outdoor Learning Center

Green Heron

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This Green Heron was photographed by Steve Hobbs at the Lafayette Reservoir.  Now is a great time to get a 2012 Calendar featuring the Lafayette Reservoir and benefiting the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce.  You can pick one up at Orchard Nursery.

Learn more about Green Herons here.

Green Heron

Coccinella septempunctata!

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From out friends over at The Community Gardens website:

Many people are fond of ladybugs because of their colorful, spotted appearance. But farmers love them for their appetite. Most ladybugs voraciously consume plant-eating insects, such as aphids, and in doing so they help to protect crops. Ladybugs lay hundreds of eggs in the colonies of aphids and other plant-eating pests. When they hatch, the ladybug larvae immediately begin to feed. By the end of its three-to-six-week life, a ladybug may eat some 5,000 aphids.

Read more.  Kids look here.

Ladybug

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Wild Foods

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And speaking of wild foods, here is Kim Curiel in LamorindaPatch:

My favorite thing to forage is a green that kept the 49ers alive and healthy — not the football team, but the pioneers; Miner’s Lettuce. It’s a succulent green that has easily identifiable leaves (they’re round with a small cream colored flower in the center) and has a delightful crunch. The leaves make a first rate salad.  This juicy plant grows in shady areas, usually near water and can be found in the cooler months of the year after it has rained a bit.

Around November my mouth starts watering as I contemplate the dishes I’ll make with our local gold: chanterelle mushrooms.  Sold in local stores and available at the finest restaurants, golden chanterelles grow in our shaded, live oak forests only after we’ve received four inches of rain.  This tender delicacy grows November to March. Sorry, I’m not going to give you specific spots where I’ve found them. That’s one secret I plan to keep.  But if you own a north sloped property with live oaks or know someone who does, go out and look under the duff to see if any orange/yellow mushrooms that have no gills, have emerged. Chanterelles have false gills and no defined cap.

Mushrooms need extra caution. Two mushrooms grow in our hills that are documented as the most toxic things on earth, the Death Cap and the Destroying Angel. These are both white or cream colored with gills and look nothing at all like a chantrelle.  They can both melt your liver in less than 24 hours. To survive you must get a liver transplant. Every year someone who recently migrated here from Southeast Asia dies because these mushrooms look identical to safe mushrooms that grow in their homeland.

Now where is that rain?  Check out Kim’s other posts here.

Chanterelle

Foraging in Lafayette

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Kevin Feinstein – aka ferelkevin – guided a class on edible wild plants at Sienna Ranch in Lafayette today.  See his new book here. (For some reason you need to open this post to see the links.)

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