Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Locally Grown Produce

There's a lot of buzz about locally grown produce and sustainability.

I'm all for it, afterall, I am a farmer's daughter.

My dad has been growing vegetables for almost 40 years at Hurst Ranch in West Covina, California. My mom grows produce in the backyard. I think just about everyone of their generation does. I grew up eating locally grown produce and everyone sharing their bounty with one another.

It's just fun to grow things and have them available right out your door when you want them. That way, you can pick just a few springs of parsley and don't have to have the rest of the bunch go bad in the refrigerator.

Fruit trees?

There's nothing like the taste of backyard fruit.

It is the sweetest!

And home grown tomatoes?

Nothing like them in the stores.

That's another great reason to look forward to summer.

Little by little, I've been planting things in my yard that are edible, often times digging up the landscaping to plant a fruit tree or tomatoes.

Today I'm taking you on a little tour of what's growing around the yard.

This is rosemary.

I bought a very small pot at Home Depot and planted it in a wooden box.

It gets big.

Now it's huge.

Search rosemary on and you'll find lots of good information as well as recipes.

This is oregano.

I cut it back in the fall, it was about three feet high, now it's starting to grow again.

Oregano leaves up close.

I've got some flat-leafed parsley growing under my pine tree in the front yard that I planted from seed. I just sprinkled the seed in a spot that the sprinklers water well, and used a claw tool to work the seed into the soil. That's it!

The curly leafed parsley isn't growing as well, but there's a small cluster next to the flat-leafed.

A couple of weeks ago I spread some cilantro seeds under the pine tree too. 

They're just starting to sprout. Cilantro needs a lot of water, so hopefully it will do well here, also watered by the sprinklers.

Next to the walkway to the front door, I sprinkled some radish, beet, romaine and butter lettuce seeds I got for Christmas from my brother-in-law Bill, who drew my name. What a great gift! Thanks, Bill!

Can you see them? They're starting to sprout!

They look very similar to kaiware--daikon sprouts--that you buy at the market!

You can plant them in containers, too.

There's rosemary and oregano in a clay pot next to the driveway.

In the backyard, there's two plum trees. One is a Santa Rosa and the other one is a Satsuma.

A really good book is Bruce and Sharon Asakawa's California Gardener's Guide. It's got everything you need to know about gardening in Southern California.

You can get a copy on Amazon for $.07. Might as well get a used one, it's going to get beat up anyway, you'll be looking at it so much.

We also have a Babcock peach tree.

It's kind of a delicate white peach. Super juicy and sweet!

This one needs at least 350 to 400 chill hours in the winter, we must have had that this year, so hopefully there will be a lot of peaches come July!

Our neighborhood used to be an avocado orchard at one time, so there are a lot of avocado trees. We have five.

In the front yard, there's a big 'Goldmine' nectarine tree that's just beginning to flower. The fruit gets ripe in August.

This is a Goldmine nectarine. I think I bought the tree at Costco one year. The nectarines have a pretty blush and white, really juicy flesh.

When I worked at the Whittier Farmer's Market, the growers next to us sold Oroblanco grapefruit. I picked this one up at San Gabriel Nursery.

Next to the grapefruit is a Eureka lemon tree.

I wish I would have gotten a Meyer lemon. I like them a little better.

The newest one is a Bearss Lime. You need a lime tree when you have a lot of avocados. 

Look, it still has the tag on it from last year!

Right next to the front gate is a Satsuma dwarf mandarin orange tree. 

When we lived in Rowland Heights, the tree was planted in a barrel at the top of our steep driveway. Right when the tangerines would get ripe, almost to the day, someone would sneak over and pick them.

When we moved from that house, we planted it in the ground.

This year I'm going to try and grow some Japanese vegetables.

I bought some tomato plants today, but I heard my dad's voice in my ear telling me that it was a little bit too soon to plant them, there might still be cold weather ahead yet.

If they do well, you just might have to help eat some locally grown produce!

Don't forget to enter the pot-holders giveaway, today's the last day!

I can't tell you how much I am enjoying reading all the comments, thanks for participating!


  1. this one time, rick, bobby, and i had this entrepreneurial idea to pick a bunch of avocados from your trees and sell them around the neighborhood out of a wagon. i think we packed like 20 avocados per grocery bag and tried to sell each bag for like $3 as door-to-door salesmen. we maybe sold 2 bags. but if someone offered me 20 avocados for $3 today, i'd buy their entire stock and make an industrial-sized vat of my guacamole and freeze it in small pouches.

  2. I'm so, so, sooooo jealous! I live in an appartment in San José (the small costarican capital), and have no backyard =(, but I'm from a small town in the most agricultural province of Costa Rica, and my dad's an agronomist? (ingeniero agrónomo) so I grew up with a big backyard full of plants and trees... I miss it so much... I do have some things in my laundry room, some peppermint, orégano, but I've killed to basil plants, and the rest are mostly flowers that my brother grows for decoration and christmas presents.

    We never had those many trees (you have everything!), but there was a manga tree (wich are basically bigger and firmer mangoes, but I don't know if there's a name in english), avocado, orange, tangerine, couple of lemon trees, papaya and plantains (tropical stuff obviously), and then some chayotes, different colored hot peppers, culantro de coyote that my brother and I used to sell on the neighboorhood (but ended up exchanging for lollipops in the pulpería), and aloe vera... I loved it, we always had fresh lemonade to drink after school...

  3. You would be so proud of me - Jared and I just put together our first raised bed garden!! We are going to plant our seeds this weekend and I'm so excited. We already have a cherry tomato plant that has been producing teeny tiny tomatoes and we have a little bit of cilantro too. And flat leaf parsley which is looking a little sad these days.

    Just last night I was talking about the delicious bags of avocados you used to give us. mm. mm. mmm!

    Miss you Auntie Karolyn!!!

  4. I love the blog,... How about cover the topic of cooking technique? Theres gotta be a lot of little things you do to get your food so perfect.
    The next contest should be to show/make your favorite Foodjioto recipe. We gotta find some companies to sponsor you some products..