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Farm Frolics

Events at local farms feature surprises like Zydeco dancing and the chance to help build a playground. 

Why all the buzz about bees? Come to a free workshop at Ploughshares Nursery for a pollination primer with urban homesteader Ruby Blume. Photo by Lindsay Dobbs. 
In this newsletter:

Revel in Cajun music and cuisine at Ardenwood Historic Farm - Aug 15
Help build a playground at City Slicker Farms - Aug 18–20
● Explore native plants and busy bees at Ploughshares Nursery - August 22 & 27
● Enjoy produce straight from the farm at Star Grocery 

Cajun Celebration
Step lively at Ardenwood Historic Farm during a fun-filled day of live music, dance lessons, Cajun and Creole cuisine, and specialty vendors. Performers include Andrew Carriere and the Cajun/Zydeco Allstars, Corey Ledet and his Zydeco Band, Andre Thierry, and the Pine Leaf Boys. Bring a blanket and lawn chair and settle in for the day. Cost: adults $24; youth $7. Info and tickets: here

19th Annual Cajun/ Zydeco Music Festival
Saturday August 15, 10am–7pm
Ardenwood Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd, Fremont

An inviting new playground will be one highlight of City Slicker's innovative Farm Park in West Oakland.

Roll Up Your Sleeves

City Slicker Farms is teaming up with nonprofit play advocate KaBOOM! to build a terrific new West Oakland playspace. The playground is part of the organization's 1.4-acre Farm Park currently in the works, which will be home to a market farm, community garden, orchard, greenhouse, chicken coop, and beehives. A food forest surrounding the playground will connect children to the natural world and teach them about how fruits and vegetables grow. Volunteers are needed for two prep days and the main playground build day. Breakfast, lunch, water, gloves, and other safety materials provided. Please wear closed-toe shoes. Read the article about City Slicker’s new Farm Park in our Fall issue here and out in print soon. Info and volunteer signup: here

KaBOOM! Playground Build 
Tuesday August 18–Thursday August 20, starting at 8am each day
City Slicker Farms 
2847 Peralta St, Oakland 

Double Header at Ploughshares Nursery

#1 - The News on Native Plants 
Join Ploughshares Nursery manager Jeff Bridge to explore five native plants: hummingbird sage, white sage, buckeye, basket grass, and yerba buena. Learn about their role as habitat plants, how to care for them, and how they were used by native peoples. Ploughshares Nursery is a social enterprise of the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), which provides permanent housing and social services for formerly homeless adults and children. Read about an innovative job-training program on APC’s farm in our new Fall issue here and out in print soon. No charge for workshop. Info: here

A Tale of Five Natives
Saturday August 22, noon–2pm
Ploughshares Nursery 
2701 Main St, Alameda

#2 - A Pollination Primer

Join Ruby Blume, founder of the Institute of Urban Homesteading and co-author of Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living, for an introduction to pollination ecology and the wild world of bees. Learn about the lifecycles and biology of honeybees and native bees, the differences between the two, and how to encourage bees and insects in your garden. Discussion includes colony collapse disorder, natural beekeeping, and practices that support the health of honeybees. Free.
Info: here
Pollination to the People
Thursday August 27, 7–8pm
Ploughshares Nursery
2701 Main St, Alameda
When Rachel Kaplan and Ruby Blume co-authored this
guide to ecologically minded city living, Edible East Bay
covered it in the back-issue article found here.


Partner Profile: Star Grocery

Star Grocery owner Nick Pappas offers produce direct from local farms.

Edible East Bay is pleased to highlight places and products advertised in our magazine. 

A Farmers’ Market Every Day at Star Grocery

By Cheryl Angelina Koehler

I recently stopped in at Berkeley's Star Grocery, which is located a stone’s throw from the new behemoth Safeway at Claremont and College in Oakland’s Rockridge District.
One of my favorite indie food markets, Star Grocery is run by Nick Pappas, son of Jim Pappas, who founded the store in 1922 with his brother (also named Nick), and it’s not all that different from what it was in Jim’s day: There’s still a small, curated stock of high-quality, locally made products, with personal service by longtime devoted staff on the floor and at the classy butcher shop/deli in the back. Perhaps the nicest thing is that the produce is all from local organic farms. 

“It’s the same exact stuff you can buy at the farmers’ market, but we have it all week long,” Pappas explains as I ogle mounds of heirloom tomatoes, squash, and melons, sprays of vibrant leafy greens, and some fresh garbanzo beans offered with a recipe on how to cook them. As I peruse jars of jam from locals June Taylor and Frog Hollow Farm, I learn about some of the close relationships Pappas and his staff have formed with local producers.

On a previous visit at a time when the Safeway was still under construction, I asked Pappas if he was nervous that his customers might be lured away by the shiny new bigness down the street. “Not right now,” he replied then. “They’re all coming here while that store is closed.” With the other place opened now to much aplomb, I ask again, “How’s business?” To my delight, I learn that there’s been no letup since the earlier boom Pappas described. It’s great to know that lots of people still appreciate small, locally owned businesses and recognize the unique shopping experience they offer.

Star Market and Star Meats are open Monday to Saturday 9am–6pm, Sunday: 10am–5pm at 3068 Claremont Avenue, Berkeley.

For a great set of photos depicting the store, along with a charming monologue that's an unabashed paean to the shop, click here.


Look for our new Fall issue, which will be
popping up at East Bay location soon.

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