Monday, November 30, 2009

The Field Report, California Style

In South Dakota, and any place where the seasons are sharply delineated, there is a Growing Season, and a Fallow Season. Here in SoCal, where it's warm year-round, there is a 12 month growing season. Crops are planted, harvested, and replanted almost immediately, with nearby fields staggered for earlier or later harvesting times. It's an amazing concept for someone who has lived with a five month growing season for the last few decades.

Around my son's housing complex are many fields (they're 40 miles from LA, but as rural as you can get this close to the ocean). I have seen artichokes ready to pick, cabbages in all stages of growth, ditto strawberries, herbs (I think Cilantro, but I didn't get out of the car to check), tomatoes, peppers, sod (yes, grass), and groves and groves of lemon trees. Other berries, either raspberries or blackberries) are protected  (from the sun, or the birds- I don't know) in temporary greenhouses made of tented plastic.

The strawberries are planted on long, flat plateaus with deep ridges in between the rows for watering. And everywhere, truckloads of workers are in the fields every day.

The Farmer's Market in Camarillo was small but amazing- locally grown beans, potatoes, kohlrabi, tomatoes, peppers, beets, squash, salad greens of all types, radishes, fruits (including the biggest, juciest Asian Pears I've ever eaten), and berries that you don't have to put sugar on (as opposed to any berries we can buy in SD). All fresh. In November.

Amazing, and beautiful.

We get one more candlelit supper (eating many fresh veggies) in the courtyard (we have not eaten one evening meal indoors this whole week), and then we head home tomorrow. We won't get in until very late and I will have to hit the ground running on the new book to make up for this missed week, but I'm coming back here as soon as I can.


Marlyn said...

And I hope to see you then!

The Slop Queen said...

You've made me long for home this past week. I'm from Ontario, California - about 60 miles east of L.A. Transplanted to Oklahoma 10 years ago and have never gotten over it. ;-) hoping an upcoming move to New Mexico will improve my outlook since they say you can't go home again. I believe that may be true in the case of CA just because of the cost. But, I digress...

What I really wanted to say was, Have a safe trip home!!!