Free Seed Saving Class at Yorba Linda Public Library – 5.14.14

seed saving flyerJoin OurLocaltopia’s Farmer and Biologist Jonathan Duffy Davis, this Wednesday (5.14.14) at 7pm for a class on seed saving! Held at the Yorba Linda Public Library, this free class will give you the tools needed to effectively gather, save, store and share seeds from your backyard garden or farm. Continue reading “Free Seed Saving Class at Yorba Linda Public Library – 5.14.14”

Late Winter Gardening for the Southern California “Homestead”

These beets are ready for harvest!

The Southern Californian winter garden is a delicious one. Cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale, carrots, beets, and radishes, onions and leeks, and an astounding array of lettuces can all be pulled from your garden’s soil. The winter is starting to come to a close but there remain plenty of options for the winter gardener. The time for tomatoes, peppers, squash and cucumber is just around the corner. A post on the summer vegetable garden is soon to come. But today’s late-winter gardener should focus on crops that grow quickly (to make room for soon-to-be-planted summer crops) and on planting fruit trees. Continue reading “Late Winter Gardening for the Southern California “Homestead””

Stick To The Recipe! A Primer on Canning Pickled Vegetables, Jams & Jellies

Jars in Rack

Autumn is a perfect time to learn how to can in Southern California. The bounty of summer is quickly fading but there is still time to pick up the end of the stone-fruit and warm-season vegetable harvest and preserve the last of that summer sunshine. Learning how to can now will also enable you to make all of the fantastic pickles that are possible with winter vegetables.

Continue reading “Stick To The Recipe! A Primer on Canning Pickled Vegetables, Jams & Jellies”

Late Summer Woes in The Kitchen Garden #1: Great Tomato Plants but No Tomato Fruit

The youthful blush of summer garden plants disappeared long ago. Tomatoes now look ragged, the basil won’t stop producing flowers, and some white, powdery stuff keeps ending up on your squash leaves. Fret not, some of these problems are easy to handle. The others will educate you in the art of acceptance (or toxic systemic pesticide use; your choice: zen or poison). You have gigantic plants that aren’t producing fruit – this has to be the most frustrating of summer garden issues. The big, beautiful plants attest to your garden mojo but the lack of fruit suggests otherwise… Continue reading “Late Summer Woes in The Kitchen Garden #1: Great Tomato Plants but No Tomato Fruit”

French Bistro Cooking, this Thursday at Fullerton Arboretum

French Bistro CookingGetting excited the upcoming Thursdays in the Kitchen: French Bistro Cooking class at the Fullerton Arboretum. Jonathan Dye will be demonstrating a mouthwatering menu of beloved French classics and Jonathan Davis will be talking to us about what local, seasonal ingredients we can… Continue reading “French Bistro Cooking, this Thursday at Fullerton Arboretum”

First Class: Southern California Cool Season Cuisine

Cooking Rhubarb

The stalks of Rhubarb snapped as I twisted them free from the base of the plant that I put in the ground over 18 months ago. Later in the evening this rhubarb would be folded into a cake batter to provide tart contrast to a sweet walnut streusel and crunchy crumb. Our guests were coming not only to eat, but to learn a bit about cooking by watching us prepare a seasonal meal.

I am passionate about growing fantastic food and I am lucky enough to do so for a living. My journey into small-scale agriculture began four years ago at Fullerton Arboretum, a botanical garden in north Orange County. Today, the eastern acres of Fullerton Arboretum include 16,000 square feet of vegetable beds, a new orchard filled with nearly 200 young fruit trees, and an apiary (bee hives). The intense and often mundane physical labor and the searing Southern Californian summers made a tentative farmer of me at first. I can no longer imagine a life that doesn’t involve growing food.

Our Localtopia is just getting started!

Purple Cauliflower
This vibrant purple cauliflower is growing in Fullerton, CA, on the Fullerton Arboretum’s two acre produce farm.

Our Localtopia hopes to explore the plentiful resources for locally grown or produced artisan and ecologically minded food in Southern California. Check back soon for information on what’s in season, where it is available and how to prepare it!