Monday, March 31, 2008

Epilogue: 1st CRFG Coffee Klatch

The first CRFG Coffee Klatch was a success, judging by feedback from attendees. Attending and mingling were Keitha Mara and her son Ethan, new member Ellen Chang and her mother Sherry, Louise Ostrom and her friend Jim, Shonduel, Dave McIntyre, and yours truly. We had quite a feast - more than we could finish. Keitha and Ethan brought bananas they'd grown themselves and dried. They were quite good!

We began the proceedings by watching a bit of the Orange County chapter's grafting DVD. It's a heckuva a bargain for $12! Then we moved on to the main event - watching "Eat at Bill's - Life at the Monterey Market". For those not in the know, Monterey Market is located across the street from Berkeley Horticultural Nursery and is renowned for the quality of its produce. The film was made by sometime CRFG member, Churchill Orchard co-owner and Peachpit Press author Lisa Brenneis. She and her husband Jim Churchill, with the help of Monterey Market owner Bill Fujimoto, brought the 'Pixie' cultivar of mandarin to the notice of foodies everywhere. She felt there was a story in Bill's enthusiasm for quality produce and the way he helps to support small farmers so she made a documentary film. The film has been shown in the Berkeley area and the DVD is available for purchase at Monterey Market and also online.

Shonduel said, "This film makes me so happy!" And it does do that. It's great to see farmers, chefs, shoppers, market owners and employees so happy and fulfilled in their work. These are people who love fruit and care about how it's grown and brought to the public.

After the film, we took a quick tour 'round my yard, looking wistfully at the vacant business lot next door and wishing we could plant it full of fruit. We talked a bit about guerilla gardening and guerilla grafting. I mentioned the International Guerilla Sunflower Day coming up on May 1. Ellen, a Master Composter, heard my pleas for more Eisenia foetida and opened her purse to produce a handful of red wriggler worms for my worm composter! A member said "It's like Aladdin's lamp - you just wished for worms and they appeared!"

I think we all had a good time. I encourage folks to host coffee klatches in their own neighborhoods so they can get to know their fellow CRFG members in a setting more conducive to mingling than the meetings might be.

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