Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Co-Operating on Food

Last year our clementine tree was so prolific I gave clementines as Christmas gifts. I shared clementines with neighbors up and down the block. I enlisted friends to help pick them and sent them home with bags full of fruit.

This year, nada. Like eleven clementines or something. I guess that's just the way it goes. The tree doesn't bear fruit every year.

I miss those clementines. The ones from the grocery store don't even come close because they're genetically altered not to have seeds. In that alteration all flavor is lost. They're not even called clementines. They have the nerve to call them "cuties." Yeah, well, looks aren't everything.

There's a growing movement in the Dena called the Arroyo Food Co-op. The goal is to create a grocery store owned by the people, where the food is healthy, where you know the people who grow it and where the growers are kept to sustainable farming methods.

I haven't joined the Co-op yet. Should I? Should you? Shouldn't everyone? Take a look at their website. They've got events coming up this week on the 16th and 17th where you can meet people and ask questions.

I may have to go without clementines this year. It goes without saying that no cuties will pass my lips.

Did you find the surprise in the photo?

Update: I just read this article about Smithfield and animal torture, which lit a fire under me to join the Co-op.

28 comments:

Bellis said...

What an amazing photo - it's right out of Alice in Wonderland. The Co-op is a great idea - wish I had something I could share.

TheChieftess said...

I know what you mean Petrea!!! I hate to buy lemons at the store...the skins are so thick you can hardly peel them, and there's little to no flavor...I decided we should have a lemon tree and went looking...all the trees that were for sale at the local nursery were also the genetically altered lemons...the nursery guy said the natural lemon trees aren't available anymore... (probably at that nursery, but where do you find them???)
I think if I were still in Glendale, I'd look into the co-op!
There are a couple of websites that frequently discuss the genetic alteration of food... www.mercola.com and www.NaturalNews.com

Petrea said...

Bellis, it's not the same as the Urban Farmers' Market, where neighbors share what they've grown or made. (That may be a possibility, but) it's an actual grocery store where the joint owners of the store (you and I) have a say in where the food comes from. So you don't have to share. You don't even have to join, but those who become members get perks.

Chieftess, what about the old-fashioned way--seeds? I'm sure you can get a real lemon tree. They're everywhere. We've got one growing over our driveway. I'll send you some seeds.

Thanks for those websites.

J+P said...

Boy, is she really up there? At first glance I thought it was fake.

Trish said...

a little closer and she can hook into the telephone wire!

I think most fruit trees, one year they mega produce, the next year they take it easy. I don't blame them!

I stopped buying "cuties" a few years ago when it occurred to me that they were 99% tasteless. I'd pick, peel and eat...bleh, toss. Pick, peel, eat...bleh, toss. Then realized it wasn't me, it was the product.

join the co-op. everyone I know who is part of one enjoys it.

Speedway said...

And who is the outsize "Clementine" laughing at us from so far up the tree?

Bellis said...

I don't know if those lemon tree seeds will work. A long time ago in London, I had to do a project for my biology degree that involved growing orange seedlings. I eventually found some oranges with pips in Portobello Road Market, but not a single one germinated. The barrow boys in the market had a good laugh when I told them. They knew the seeds were sterile and new orange trees are made by splicing and grafting. Duh!

Petrea said...

She's really up there, J. Don't worry, I made a liability agreement with her before she climbed.

Trish, we most definitely will join. I have the application on my desk. And you're so right about those cuties.

Speedway, she's Stephanie, a very nice friend of a very nice friend. And an amazing tree climber. By the way, stay warm.

I think it should be our quest to find Chieftess a lemon tree. But will it grow in the climate at Mammoth Lakes?

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I like the co-op. Mr V and I go to the one in Santa Monica when were doing the west side galleries. Cheaper then whole Foods.

Does this mean you'll be able to sell your fruit to them Petrea?...and whose the cat up a tree?

altadenahiker said...

You can't believe how sorry I am to hear about the clementines...

TheChieftess said...

Unfortunately, the frost up here is just a bit too heavy for the citrus trees!!! Actually, I believe you can even root them from a leafy twig, but I'm not sure...we've got lots of time to find out!!! In the meantime, I'll have to be satisfied with the fruit from the cool farm in Bishop!!!

Cafe Observer said...

Oh Clementine!%!$#*-
Well, the economy has been really tough. Next year, or administration, should bring a better harvest, Farmer Petrea.

Keep hope alive.

Latino Heritage said...

It would be a cool coincidence if the woman in the tree was named Clementine.

Jean Spitzer said...

Needed the chuckle. That's quite a tree ornament.

Sorry about this year's sparse crop.

pasadenapio said...

That tree was teeming with fruit and kids from top to bottom!

I share an apricot tree with my neighbor Joe the firefighter. Some years the abundance of fruit is phenomenal and other years there's not a single stone fruit to be found.

We always try to get to the ripe fruit before the squirrels do!

Petrea said...

I went to a co-op in Washington state that was a lot like Whole Foods. I understand the plan for this one is a little less, um, big. Even so, I don't know that I'd sell my clementines. I'd rather give them away (and eat them). But I'll have to wait for another bumper crop to decide.

Trish said...

@Chieftess---I once knew someone in your neck of the woods who had their tree portable. Had it inside when icy, rolled it out for natural light when she could (and when the snow on the deck wasn't 20 ft deep!). Need to make sure it is watered (but doesn't leak on the indoors floor!) and gets light and isn't too close to a direct heat source. They like warm, but but not heaters or fireplaces on them directly.

and I'm with PIO--the fruit trees we used to have we "donated" 1/2 to the rodents in the hood, 1/4 to us & friends and 1/4 to the local food bank. Never heard me swear SO much as to pick a tangerine and find it scooped out by a rat...grr!

BaysideLife said...

That tree is amazing in its abundance of fruit (and pickers!). This is my first year with my Myer Lemon tree and my harvest was not spectacular but respectable. Because of our cool winters, citrus is tricky in NW Florida. But we can grow Satsumas--sort of a small tangerine and very sweet. Your coop sounds great. Good luck with that.

TheChieftess said...

I don't think I'm dedicated enough to do the roll out citrus tree thing!!! I'll just go to Vons...they do have a great produce dept...I think it has to do with the fact that our Vons is the highest producing Vons in the country, so there's quick turnover in the produce!!! And when the weather's good..the farmer's market and the farm in Bishop!!!

Petrea said...

There you go, Chieftess, good choices.

Bayside, I had a delicious home-grown satsuma the other day. They grow around here, too. Now that I think of it, my neighbor's tangerine tree is doing well this year and whole branches of it hang over my yard. They're mine now.

Susan Campisi said...

I'm glad to see a post about the Arroyo Food Co-op. I've been meaning to join and this is a good reminder.

That surprise in the photo cracks me up. Reminds me of Highlights magazine. I used to love finding the hidden objects in the illustration.

Petrea said...

I remember those! I loved those.

Dina said...

So the Alice in Wonderland figure above is real? Wow

That's a big tree!
But you wouldn't catch me climbing a tree barefoot.

Petrea said...

She's in there, Dina. But the adult in the photo has shoes on, I think.

Skrip said...

Same here... this year I have very little compared to last year's outburst of cuties. I attribute it to the major pruning I gave it last winter. They tend to skip a year once pruned before giving out a heavy flush.

The good part is I can say I got more than 11. But this year I won't be giving away the bagfulls from last year to everyone. :(

Petrea said...

Shoot. I was thinking of having it pruned in January. But I can't take two dormant years in a row!

Mr. Paparazzo said...

What a tree! I've never seen like this!
Is it's fruit eatable?
Merry Christmas!

Petrea said...

Hi, Mr. Paparazzo! Yes, you can eat the fruit, it's delicious. Sweeter than a tangerine, very tasty.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clementine