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By Dave Boyce
Almanac Staff Writer
The second Garden Share event under the redwoods at Portola Valley Town Center drew a gathering of 20 or 25 people and a picnic table of fresh goods between 10 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 25. There was plenty of encouragement to take home what you did not bring.
On the picnic table were recently picked herbs and greens, grapefruit and lemons, flowers and nut butters with sampling sticks, eggs -- they went fast, said resident Danna Breen, who had brought them -- and one jar of strawberry-rhubarb jam, brought and made by a reporter and scooped into a tote bag by a passing dad.
"It was simply precious. I can't wait to grow more so I have more to provide and share," said Ms. Breen in an email. "I came home with lots of herbs, fresh baby lettuces and lots of grapefruit. Everyone there today was so delightful and happy. Sharing makes you happy. The simple act of mutual reciprocity is beautiful. I was uplifted."
Garden Share happens on the fourth Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. in the redwood grove near the schoolhouse. Future events could include offerings of vegetables, seeds, pickles, chicken manure and earthworms.
Such events cultivate community, share best practices, encourage appreciation of homegrown food, reduce waste and lower food-gathering carbon footprints, Brandi de Garmeaux told an appreciative Town Council when she presented the idea in March. Ms. de Garmeaux is the town's coordinator of initiatives on sustainable living.
The April Garden Share was "absolutely charming" and "quite wonderful," Councilwoman Maryann Moise Derwin said in an email. "I predict that the farmers' market will be similarly uplifting for the community."
The council approved a six-week trial for a farmers' market sometime this summer in the parking lot of the Historic Schoolhouse. The proposal met with fierce opposition by residents of Family Farm/Hidden Valley, a Woodside neighborhood within hearing distance of the Town Center. Concerns included interference with equestrian activities, the abundance of existing farmers' markets, and "noise," including the possibility of musicians.
Herb Moore, a musician from Redwood City, entertained at the Garden Share with his guitar, several flutes, and a handheld African thumb piano. What the sharing public heard, if they were paying close attention, could not have been detected by anyone outside the shade line of the trees.
Appropriately for a gardening event, Mr. Moore played a few verses his composition "Compost," from his album "Song of These." A sample of the lyrics:
"Of your garden, you will boast,
"If you will make the most
"Of Mother Nature's cycled sweet compost
"Your radish will be faddish,
"Your salad will be valid,
"If you will put some toil into your soil."
Go to melosync.com for more on Mr. Moore and his music.