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...where you can see the food growing in the ground, see us harvest it, and you know that it's fresh and truly local.  A farmer's market right at the farm!
 
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 Please check back for updates
 Thank You!
 
P.S.~ Think Summer (-:
 
 
 looky here- it's an update!
 
 
Hello from the Retirette and Retiree!  (aka the Parents of the Farmer).  After Lee Allen's excellent article in the March issue of the Desert Leaf which quoted both Rebecca and Jesse, my son says 'we' should do an update.  (He said "I should..." and I said "I will."  That makes it 'we'.)  Every year the celebration of spring includes media articles of farmers' markets, and each time we have been included we would get an increase in new visitors when we were between crops (no tomatoes?!).  Thankfully this time around we are actually closed for the season, as it is so painful to see dream bubbles of tomatoes and peaches pop when the eyes register "only" a shelf of greens.  As Rebecca said, it's seasonal eating. 
 
Part of that green would include asparagus, and I am finding a few spears out there, but the old asparagus beds had been petering out in recent years (interested in origins of word usage? http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/peter-out.html).  No worries though- there are younger beds on the way.  And there are summer crops on the way too!  Jesse has seeded the transplants for peppers and tomatoes, and soon the tiny greenhouse will be crammed full of greenery.  I know he is anxious to return to his regular farm work.  He enjoys carpentry and painting about as much as I enjoy income tax paperwork, but both have been necessary evils this year as we get our ducks in order. 
 
Who is the mama duck?  Why, Rebecca of course!  Like Wayne, she feels the vision of how life can be, while Jesse and I follow along, enjoying, fussing about, becoming overwhelmed about what the moment is and how it fits with our own vision.  I think a successful life requires both the long strong reach toward goals and enjoying the more immediate maintenance as we inch toward them.  And when we duckies start a-quackin' and a-flappin- along the way we just need to center and breathe and cheerfully carry on. (Jesse may not care for this paragraph but this is how I see things, and I'm the one doing the writing (: )
 
And write on I will, as those who know me know I will.  The new border photo of apple blossoms represents another circling of the garden.  When we started out we had a few rows of espaliered apples, east of the pecans.  Turns out the apples liked neither the espalier pruning nor the texas root rot- just too many challenges!  So we took them out and expanded the annual vegetable garden instead.  Now Wayne has decided to try apples amongst the pistachios, eventually replacing the nut trees that had problems, with apple trees, but still keeping some pistachios also.  Fruit and nuts in one basket, companion planting.  So far we have 2 rows in apples and nuts, each apple tree a different variety or root stock or both.  Once we see who of the apples likes the arrangement best we'll continue throughout the orchard, and eventually have apples for sale.  Not this year though.  Thus ends the update of Our Garden.  But of course I will write on. 
 
Many thanks to Lee Allen for his emphasis on the words small and 'Family' as they relate to farm.  My cousin  inherited the 18th century version of family farm back in Connecticut, probably what most people today think of as a family farm- simple acreage (not huge sections) involving woodland, crops, and a small amount of livestock.  My great grandfather was born in that farmhouse.  His father bought that farm in the mid 1800's, and in 1964 my grandfather described his grandfather's operation as market gardening.  Today we would probably call it truck farming.  My cousin focussed more on dairy farming which requires a lot of acreage, especially in a state where there are no grazing allotments, so no doubt the cultivated area was a bit bigger than his market gardening ancestor's.  He used to come visit our little plot before Jesse took over, and I am sure we fit his category of "gentlemen farmer".  Farming was not our major means of income.  We'd have starved if it were, as the farm could not have paid the cost of irrigation!  But little by little the income increased.  Of course so did the expenses, but at least we have hovered around the break even point.  Our pride lets us boast that we have not received any grants or outside income.  We're building it up the old fashioned way.  To an agressive capitalist businessman it may not make sense, but to us it feels right.  It especially feels right not to incur debt.  And as Jesse said, we're in the right place at the right time, a small family farm.  Employees?  Heaven forbid! 
 
So please keep checking for updates, especially as June approaches, but I'll try to write each month until that time.  Oh, and for those of you who know Wayne and I, the place in NM is soon to have insulation and dry wall... at last!!!
 
 
 
 
 Now back to the regular web site.
 
 

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beginning of orchard re-vision
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one of the new babies

Wanted: Seasonal Eaters!

We are growers of "our~ganic" (not officially certified organic - see below) fruits and vegetables in Catalina, AZ, slightly north of Tucson.  Our aim is to be a source of freshly harvested local produce for the Catalina area, including Oro Valley and NW Tucson. 

Puh-leeze ! (note the emphasis (-:  )
drive slowly.
  You may be sharing the long driveway with bicycles, pedestrians, chickens, cats and dogs, not to mention on-coming traffic. Serious thank yous to all you respectfully slow drivers.


Try to remember to BYOB (bring your own bag), but we have a few for those who forget.  I forget sometimes too! 

We have a new email address!
Now you can reach Jesse and Rebecca directly at
ourgarden@live.com
Directions to Our Garden are on the "Location" page (see links above). 
 
 Hours:
(not now, we're closed for the season)
Wednesdays and Saturdays
9am til noon
 

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sneak preview of things to come

 
 
 
 
 example of the last harvest in December:
Harvest:
 
 
 
 
Pecans,
Cilantro
Radishes,
 
Kohlrabi,

 Lettuce,
 Garlic, 
kale,
Swiss Chard,
 
and whatever else I don't know about that he hasn't added to the list (: 
 

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Thank you so much to all of our friends who have supported us!  We have been fortunate to have such a great community of people who love fresh produce.  I will be taking a break from growing this winter, but I do love to garden and will get back to it before long.  Thanks again, Jesse.

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Fava beans and vetch make a great pair as cover crops.

 Hi All!  Jenny here.  Just wanting to let you know how peaceful the garden is during its long-deserved rest.  It is asleep with cover crops blanketing the sections.  I took a couple pictures to share, and also one of the pistachio orchard with it's cover crop of rye grass.

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As I've said in the past, we are similar to a CSA in that what is being harvested right here right now is what you get to choose from.  The difference is that you do have a choice within the current harvest. You don't receive a huge bag of turnips for this week's allotment (which I'm sure doesn't really happen all that often in CSA's!), and you don't pay ahead so if the current harvest does not appeal to your tastes you are not out any money.

But for many of us eating seasonally is an adventure we enjoy.  Often people who join CSA's or shop at Our Garden go on to start their own garden.  And often people who have had their own garden end up joining a CSA or come here to shop since gardening is so time-consuming, exhausting, frustrating, and expensive.  Oh, but did I mention rewarding, fulfilling, and spiritually enriching?

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sunflowers as seen from the peppers viewpoint

not always out but almost always available:
 
bay leaves, basil, rosemary, parsley, sage, 
and Flowers!

and anything else I forgot!

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Jesse on the tractor, getting ready for planting.

Slow down. Be green. Shop local. Smile.


Every time someone thanks us for doing this work, I am thanking them back for allowing us to do it.  People who are appreciating the value of having a variety of local, freshly grown organic produce... food right out of the ground.. actually still alive when you buy it!...  these people are contributing to the life of the community and the planet, as well as their own little bodies.  Thinking globally and acting locally isn't just for Earth First now, is it.

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Wayne with the old Troy Built, long before we had a tractor!

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You can click on this water color prickly pear to see some of Rebecca's art work.  If you are interested in purchasing any of her work, or contacting her for mural or other art-related work, just let us know.




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We have plants too!

We also have a few native and climate-adapted plants available, both ornamental and food producing, under the shade cloth in the garden.  This is an area we would like to expand once we get the food production under "control".  Jesse is the one to seek out for info on the nursery plants. 



HUSKING PISTACHIOS THE OLD FASHIONED WAY
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pistachio flowers
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"What are those trees?"  When we first started doing this we thought people would enjoy driving through the orchard.  I took this picture of the flowers in early April one year, so look for them in the spring.    To learn about the orchard's history and odds and ends about us, click on this picture. 

We had a pretty good harvest a few years ago, with much volunteer help.  Above is  a picture John de Coville had taken of many hands doing the husking.  The machinery to do it all ourselves was cost prohibitive unless we won the lottery, but then we found out about using a commercial potato peeler.  I've always said, farmers are a resourceful bunch.  This year (2010) Jesse purchased a used potato peeler and with a little advice from another resourceful pistachio farmer and the help of a few garden friends, he was able to harvest enough to sell.  The crops are generally heavy every other or every 3 years, with light ones in between.

If we are harvesting while you are here, please go over and check out the operation.  If you volunteer some time you can even leave with some fresh pistachios, not to mention an idea of the time involved in harvesting from just one tree.  Often this answers the question, "why don't you do anything with those nuts?" 



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We call it "Our-ganic"
Just a word or two (okay, I'm a wordy person) about the word "organic" here.  Finally we have a government definition for a term that's been tossed about loosely for years by gardeners.  Some gardeners probably still don't know the meaning of 'organic gardening', and some may dispute the definition adopted by our wise public servants.  My feeling on the subject is you are best informed by asking the grower how he gardens (which means buying it from the farmer).  This means you need to know what your own priorities are.  Our family has always considered organic to mean without the use of chemical pesticides (commonly known as 'spraying') and without the use of chemical fertilizers such as ammonium phosphate, sulphate, etc.  We feel that the main issue is the spraying of chemical pesticides, insecticides, which are very harmful to us and the environment.  However, chemical fertilizers are not exactly harmless and it is possible to do without them as well.  While we are not certified organic, we are honest about telling you that the food we sell is grown organically in the true sense of the word, thus "our-ganic".  However, there is a lot to be said for the nutrition in fresh truly local food however it's grown compared to that coming in by truck from who knows where.
I recently saw a sign on a contractor's truck that said "Unlicensed by Choice".  Right on ~~ me too.  A license or certification doesn't automatically mean a good job done, and a lack of one doesn't mean a lack of quality or honesty.
If you are really looking for organics, ask the grower not only if his crops are sprayed with pesticides, but also what he uses for fertilizers.  Don't count on our government to protect you.  Really it is up to each of us to take the responsibility to be as well-informed as we possibly can. 

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corny sunset


And, a tiny little word about pricing.  So many new callers ask about our prices, and I say it how it is- priced according to the local market (Whole Food and TJ's) for organics.  What we have over Whole Food and Trader Joe's (both of whom I really appreciate, don't get me wrong) is the freshness.  Where else can you get organic vegetables out of the garden the very same day unless you have your own garden?  And if you have had your own garden, you understand one of the major expenses.  It's the water bill, isn't it!  For us the water bill is electricity to run a big enough pump to irrigate, not to mention the occasional thousands of dollars on repairs.  Don't look for bargains here.  Look for quality.