Almanac

News - June 12, 2013

Exchanging homegrown goods in Portola Valley

by Dave Boyce

The second Garden Share event under the redwoods at Portola Valley Town Center on May 25 drew a gathering of about 25 people and a picnic table of fresh goods. Participants were encouraged to take home items from gardens and kitchens other than their own.

The herbs included chives, mint, rosemary, marjoram and tarragon. Grapefruit and lemons smiled up from inside their boxes. There were flowers, lettuce, samples of nut butters, and eggs.

"It was simply precious. I can't wait to grow more so I have more to provide and share," said resident Danna 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. There are hopes for more vegetables, seeds, pickles, chicken manure and earthworms.

This event is meant to 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 a few steps over in the parking lot of the Historic Schoolhouse. The market is vigorously opposed by the residents of Family Farm/Hidden Valley, a Woodside neighborhood across Portola Road and 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 hand-held 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.

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