summer & fall

November 10th, 2015 by caitlyn

We’re still in the thick of the season over here, filling weekly orders of vegetables, herbs and cut flowers for restaurants and wholesale accounts. The flower season has lasted much longer than I anticipated, which is satisfying and helpful. Usually our predictions are more ambitious than actual yields, not the other way around!

We’re saving seeds, tending to our young fall crops, planning for winter, getting ready for Fall CSA orders, and getting beds turned and cover crop sown.

Please stay tuned for more info about ordering salad mix for Thanksgiving, our second annual Winter Faire at the farm (Sat December 12th, mark your calendars, it’s going to be a good one!!), Little City herbal products, and reflections on our sixth season. (And, in the meantime, head over to instagram!).

poetry at the farm

October 1st, 2015 by caitlyn

Please join us at the farm for an outdoor poetry reading at dusk. The dahlias will still be blooming their last blooms, the air will smell like fennel, and the fireplace will be ablaze.

readings by:
Jackson Meazle
Rod Roland
Micah Ballard

Saturday October 10th – 6pm

Bring a blanket to sit on and a mug to drink out of.

See you there!

flower internship

June 21st, 2015 by caitlyn

Little City Gardens is looking for a summer flower intern!

For the past two seasons, we’ve been increasing our flower production here at the farm, especially in the summer months. Cut flowers contribute to the farm’s financial stability and feel like an important addition to the conversation about how urban farming can fit into a local marketplace. Plus, after years of growing primarily greens, herbs, and cool season veggies (which we still grow), we take total delight in watching the farm explode in colors and textures! The dahlia’s fiery colors warm up San Francisco’s foggy gray days.

This 2015 season, our flower production is increasing significantly. We’ve spent the spring seeding, transplanting and tending to thousands of young plants, and as we watch them grow closer to bloom time, we are gearing up for a very busy summer of flower harvesting and bouquet making.

We’d love some help in this experiment, and we’d love to share with you some of what we’ve learned so far! Do you have some free time this summer? Do you want to learn more about small-scale farming, flower growing, and bouquet making? Want to spend time on one of the most beautiful acres in the city?

What we can offer:

  • In-depth explanation of our methods of flower production as we’ve developed them, from soil care, to plant spacing, to crop maintenance
  • Harvest practices and tips
  • Bouquet making basics
  • Continual conversation about the ins and outs of running a small urban farm business, observations about sales outlets, customer relationships and pricing
  • Weekly flowers & veggies to take home
  • Chocolate at lunch, pretty much always

Ideal interns will be:

  • Organized and thorough
  • Excited to learn about flower growing
  • Have a good eye for color and texture
  • Invigorated by hard work and willing to get dirty
  • Able to get up early and spend mornings outside
  • Available one consistent day per week (TBD, likely Weds) mid July – Sept (approx 8 weeks)

Internship tasks:

  • Harvest, trim and sort flowers
  • Help with bouquet making and wrapping
  • Help with cleanup (bucket washing, pruner care)
  • Occasional crop maintenance (weeding, deadheading, fertilizing, etc)

TO APPLY:

Please send an email to littlecitygardens at gmail (subject FLOWER INTERNSHIP) responding briefly to the following questions. Deadline for applications is Monday June 29th. Applicants will ideally be available for 2-3 hours on Weds July 1st or Weds July 8th for a working introduction / interview on the farm.

  • Describe your interest (and/or experience — though none is required) in farming or working with flowers.
  • What skills do you bring?
  • What’s most compelling to you about farming in the city? Why is it important?
  • Are you available on Wednesday mornings July – Sept? If not, what days are you most available? (Please also mention any out of town plans).
  • How long have you lived in SF? What other kinds of things do you like to do?
  • We can’t wait to hear from you!

salad & flowers this week!

April 2nd, 2015 by caitlyn

Hello everyone — we have a few shares of salad & flowers left for pickup this Friday! Please see below for a description of this week’s box (and how to order), and further below for a description of our weekly CSA plans for the spring season.

GET YOUR SALAD & VEGGIES FOR THIS WEEKEND!

Do you need flowers to dress up your brunch table this weekend? Or want to treat yourself to the tastiest salad mix around? Or feel compelled to support one of your favorite urban farms? Get your orders in! We look forward to feeding you!

This week’s box ($20):
salad mix (1/2 pound bag)*
beautiful wild spring flower bouquet

Additional items available:
extra salad mix ($10/bag)
mixed herb bundles ($4/bunch)
bunching onions ($3/bunch)
spearmint ($2/bunch)

Pickup this week will be FRIDAY 4/3 from 4-5:30 at the farm (203 Cotter St).

To order, just send a quick email to littlecitygardens@gmail.com (subject: SALAD & FLOWERS) specifying how many boxes you’d like (and how many extras). We’ll send an email back to confirm your order.

Please order by the end of the day Thursday 4/2. Orders will be filled first come first served.

* Our salad mix is a carefully crafted blend of over 25 different tender greens, herbs, and edible flowers, and the makeup of the mix changes with the season. Featured in the mix this spring: miner’s lettuce, edible chrysanthemum, spicy mustards, and tangy sorrel. It’s slightly different each week, but it’s always a crowd pleaser. Dress lightly with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.

Salad testimonials:

“Your salad was mind blowing! I’m still reveling in its complexity. Thanks for the advice to just add a little olive oil and salt!”

“The salad was the hit of our dinner, with everyone so curious about all the different shapes and colors.”

“Your salad mix is A-MAZE-ING.”

“Your salad mix is soooo addictive!!!!”

“My picky eight year old son can’t get enough of your salad mix — he asks for more.”

***********************

Spring CSA plans:

We’ve spent some time in the past few weeks weighing options (and chatting with some of you!) about how best to approach a CSA program this spring. Ultimately we’ve decided to continue on with the week-by-week program that’s already in place and is working well. While a committed membership for a set amount of time has its benefits (upfront payment in a lean time of year, consistency, familiarity, and streamlined communication), we are also excited to remain as accessible as possible to you, our community of customers. It’s important to us that you are able to join in and support the farm when you can, and to feel able to skip a week without hassle when you need to. It’s also helpful for us to be able to maintain flexibility in our availability, not needing to fret if we are offering the same box two weeks in a row.

So what does this mean? For the duration of the spring, sign up for our email list, and watch out for our weekly emails! We’ve timed and coordinated a steady stream of salad, veggies and flowers (in different combination) for the rest of the spring, and we’ll continue to take email orders, first come first served, as we’ve been doing. The pickup day/time may occasionally vary from week to week, allowing more of you to participate throughout the season.

We are excited to continue connecting with you all, and we look forward to nourishing you with farm fresh goods.

winter

January 19th, 2015 by caitlyn

One season bleeds into the next here in San Francisco, so while fellow cold climate farmers are hunkering down for the winter, planning, resting, and ordering seeds, we’re already digging over here in with no time to spare. Spring CSA announcements and 2014 reflections to come soon, but until then, here are a few winter photos. As always, there’s always plenty look at over on our Instagram, too.

Happy New Year everyone! We’re entering our sixth season.

housing in san francisco

December 21st, 2014 by caitlyn

I’m going to interrupt farm news and winter updates with a personal announcement here: after some severe leaks in this past storm that lead to partial ceiling collapse, my housing situation has recently and suddenly become unstable. In maybe the toughest housing climate San Francisco has ever seen, I am looking for a new place to live.

At first I debated posting this here, unsure of the relevance of this personal situation to the farm’s audience. But after some thought, and considering the original aims and questions of Little City Gardens, I realize that it couldn’t possibly be more relevant. Can farming be financially viable in San Francisco? Can anyone make a living, or contribute to a living, from this work in this city? Can a working farm be a permanent, dynamic fixture in the city? My personal situation here sheds light on the intensely precarious context within which these questions are asked — the ongoing housing crisis and incredibly high cost of living in San Francisco.

While I’m fortunate that my case doesn’t involve all-too-common eviction, or the often abused Ellis Act, I am nevertheless, like too many of my neighbors, finding myself suddenly thrust into the skyrocketing and inaccessible rental market, feeling scared, unequipped, and vulnerable. My work as a very modestly paid farmer, artist, and active community member suddenly has much less recognizable value when placed into the realm of the housing market. This reality, in the context of this urban farm project and ongoing dialogue, feels relevant and important to document here.

My partner (a public school teacher here in SF) and I are spreading the word far and wide in hopes of finding something that hasn’t appeared on the heartbreaking Craigslist scene. While we are aware of the tenants’ rights that are on our side in this situation, and have met with the invaluable SF Tenants Union, the landlord hostility we’ve been met with, along with the slow and unclear repair timeline, renders this situation shaky and unsafe. San Franciscans, if you know of an apartment, a cottage, or an in-law unit that needs two creative, quiet, hard working, modestly living people to warm it up, please do be in touch. We’re looking and staying hopeful.

Readers from afar, see more articles here and here for further reading about San Francisco’s housing climate, its far reaching implications, and some of the ongoing work surrounding it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATE: We’ve moved and feel fortunate to be able to hang on in the city a bit longer. Thank you all for the encouragement and suggestions.

last minute holiday sale!

December 19th, 2014 by caitlyn

We’ve put our herbal products (set of 3) and tote bags up in our online store for those of you still looking for last minute holiday gifts! The herbal products are discounted for a limited time — $36 for the set, this weekend only! Orders will be shipped out on Monday 12/22.*

We’ll also have both of these available for sale at the farm on Monday evening from 4-5:30pm (discount will apply).

*Packages will be shipped priority. Depending on your location, we can’t necessarily guarantee packages will arrive before Christmas. But who doesn’t like a surprise bonus treat after the holiday festivities have quieted?!

Thank you for supporting the farm this holiday season!

WINTER FAIRE

November 29th, 2014 by caitlyn

Mark your calendars everyone! And join us at the farm for our first ever Winter Faire & Holiday Market!

SATURDAY DECEMBER 13th
10am – 5pm
at the farm, 203 Cotter St in the Outer Mission**

The scene:
We’ll have a crackling fire in the chiminea, lights strung about, and hot tea and cocoa simmering all day. There will be scheduled farm tours and herb walks, kids’ activities, a puppet show, and music. The paths will be mowed and tidy, rows of garlic and onions will be poking out of the straw mulch, and young spring flower crops will be sprouted in the front field, ready to head into winter. You can peruse tables filled with top notch Bay Area goods, perfect for all your holiday gift giving, and then sit on blankets by the fire in the low December light, enjoying some music and hot refreshments. It’s been a long, focused season at the farm, and we are very excited to open up the gate, pour mugs of hot cocoa, and mark the end of this year with all of you.

The goods:
The faire will be a one stop shop for really incredible gifts! We’ve been working hard throughout the summer & fall to prepare Little City treats for you. Dried flower bouquets, herbal products made by our resident herbalists, tote bags, herb planter boxes, posters and more. We’ve also invited in a range of talented artist friends to share their handmade goods:

1849 Medicine Gardenlocal SF grown tinctures and herbal medicines
Ali Budnereast bay herbal remedies
Brooke Budnerfellow Little City co-founder bringing her farm-grown & foraged goods from Orcas Island, WA
Bob Shortwooden cutting boards and candle holders — made right next door to the farm!
Milk MaidSan Francisco-made cheeses and more
Richard Cheungdrawings from the farm
Zoe DeringSF made ceramics & dyed goods
Julie CloutierSF made ceramics
Nana Joes Granola featuring her special blend in collaboration with Little City Gardens!
Julia Boozeoakland-based jewelry
Tamar Bejamoon calendars & other prints from the east bay
Carville Annex Pressbooks, cards and more from the Outer Sunset
Golden Bridges Schoolcrafts and goods from this SF outdoor-based school
Pink Light Botanicalsherbal skin care from the east bay
and more!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Scheduled activities:

FARM TOUR – 11am & 2pm
Want to roam the farm and check out the crops? Curious about what we do, how things are going at the farm this year, and what we have in store for the coming season? Join Caitlyn for a brief 20 minute farm tour, with Q & A!

HERB WALK – 3pm
Bonnie Weaver, an herbalist and long time Little City Gardens volunteer, will lead a short walk through the farm, identifying common medicinals and highlighting their benefits and uses. This is a great chance to learn about the plants that have gone into our Little City Gardens herbal salve, hand cream, and herbal mist — available at the faire.

PUPPET SHOW – 11:30am & 12:30pm
Preschool and Kindergarden teachers from Golden Bridges School will present a hand puppet rendition of The Elves and the Shoemaker! Don’t miss it.

KIDS’ CRAFT ACTIVITY – all day
Come make colorful window stars out of kite paper with Golden Bridges School

RAFFLE! – all day
Enter for your chance to win a one month subscription to our flower & salad CSA coming this spring! Winning name will be drawn at the end of the day and announced on our website.

Please join us for a fantastic time on one of the most beautiful acres in the city! We’d love to see you!

**Please note: parking is limited in this residential area, so arrival by bicycle, MUNI (J-train to Santa Rosa Ave) or BART (Glen Park) is strongly encouraged when possible. Please respect our neighbors by not blocking driveways. See you there!

thanksgiving

November 18th, 2014 by caitlyn

UPDATE: salad mix has sold out! We will be making it available for the next couple weeks & for Christmas holiday feasts. Please sign up for our email list (link on the right) for weekly ordering info.

Great news, salad fans — our specialty salad mix is back! *

And it is now available for Thanksgiving preorder, alongside a beautiful selection of other veggies and herbs from the farm. We’ve been working hard these past few months to diligently plan out, seed, weed, cover, and tend to these crops in perfect time for your special feasts! We will be honored to feed you and your families this holiday season.

* If you’re new to the Little City Gardens salad mix, here’s what to expect: a diverse, wildcrafted blend including a dozen different varieties of tender greens, herbs, and edible flowers. It is a unique, lovingly crafted mix that is as flavorful as it is beautiful. Just dress it lightly with olive oil and salt and you have an impressive ready-made side dish to feed your family and friends. It’s long been our most popular item, and sells out quickly! We’re so excited to be crafting this mix again — we’ve missed it.

Below is what we have available for Thanksgiving, by pre-order only. Availability is limited, and first come first serve, so please do get your orders in as soon as possible! We’ll confirm your order and provide additional pickup details by email.

THANKSGIVING FARM BOX (special price): $24
salad mix (1/2 lb bag)*
2 lbs sunchokes (incredibly delicious root crop, highly recommended!)
1 bu lacinato kale
1 bu mixed herbs (bundle of thyme, chives, rosemary, marjoram, sage etc)

Individual items (as add-ons to the farm box, or as separate orders):
salad mix (1/2 lb bag) — $10
sunchokes — $4.50/lb
lacinato kale — $2/bu
rainbow chard — $2/bu
mixed herb bundles — $5/bu

Please email orders in by Sunday 11/23 at 9pm — littlecitygardens@gmail.com, subject THANKSGIVING ORDER.

Pickup is Wednesday 11/26, 4-6pm — at the farm (203 Cotter St).

Thank you for your support and for putting our San Francisco grown veggies on your holiday tables!

summer flowers

October 28th, 2014 by caitlyn

How on earth do people run farms and still have time to write about it? It’s gotten infinitely harder these past few months. At the end of a long workday, I can barely fix myself a simple dinner, let alone sit down to write about all the conversations and thoughts and decisions I’ve processed throughout the week, all the problems that arise and observations we collect, all the new people that come to the farm and all the visions that evolve, no matter how much I wish to to share them and no matter how much I long for the sense of community and the occasional nudges of support you all send over. Farmers out there, I honor and respect you! I can’t imagine that I’m even working a fraction as hard as many of my scaled up counterparts, despite the back aches.

But never fear, dear supporters, the farm is still alive and well! The summer has been a colorful one, with the addition of cut flowers as a significant focus of production on the farm. They’ve been a successful experiment, I’d say. Yields were very satisfactory across the board, and the revenue that a bed of cut flowers can generate is helpful, in comparison to a similarly sized bed of vegetables (which we also still grow plenty of, despite the lack of photo evidence this summer. The flashy dahlias steal all the attention!)

We grew nigella, statice, cosmos, bachelor buttons, scabiosa, snapdragons, and craspedia, in addition to the dahlias, and put together colorful mixed bouquets that we sold wholesale to Bi-Rite Market throughout the summer. With this season’s experience under our belts, we should be able to predict yields and bloom times a bit more solidly next year, which will hopefully allow us to accommodate a 2015 Spring & Summer Flower CSA — a goal I originally had for this year. Selling wholesale was efficient (and Eleanor from Bi-Rite was a dream to work with), but selling direct will allow us to reap a little more much-needed revenue from each flower bouquet. Putting together a mixed bouquet is surprisingly labor intensive. Plus it will allow us the chance to reconnect with our neighborhood community of customers, a relationship I’ve greatly missed since selling mostly to restaurants these past two seasons.

Did you know that the southern part of San Francisco (the farm’s very neighborhood, perhaps) has a rich history of commercial flower growing? In the late 1800s and early 1900s, immigrants from China, Italy and Japan operated thriving farms and greenhouses full of cut flowers to be sold in the streets of downtown and at the San Francisco Flower Market which was founded at the time by local growers and is still alive and well today. Growing flowers in the city now feels like a humble homage to this piece of San Francisco’s agricultural heritage, even if our tucked in one acre patch is only a small symbolic slice of what once was. This history is an important reminder that we’re not inventing anything new here — by farming in the city, we’re only reclaiming fractions of lost landscapes that once were commonplace.

And in other news, aside from flowers: we recently bid farewell to one of the farm’s steadiest and most devoted supporters since Brooke left a couple years ago, Andi Emrich. She’s been my hard working right hand lady day in and day out, and she really helped keep this farm afloat through what was, in retrospect, an overwhelming amount of steady change. Goodbye dearest Andi! Norman, Oklahoma doesn’t even know what’s coming!

There is so much more to write (about our continually evolving land tenure prospects, about the exciting passage of AB 551 legislation and what that might mean for urban agriculture throughout the state, about the current livability of tech-money-fueled San Francisco and what its like to persist as a fixture in a sea of constant unsettledness, about my evolving thoughts on restaurant sales vs other marketing outlets, about our recent fish compost experiments…!), but for now please enjoy the photos and know that the farm is, though we are as tired as can be, very much alive and kicking. More soon.

AND THE WINNER IS…

May 26th, 2014 by caitlyn

KEVIN O’BRIEN!

THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who bought raffle tickets. Thanks to you, we raised enough funds to cover both the underground pipe installation and much of the initial aboveground irrigation infrastructure for the area we’re expanding into. This is a HUGE help, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support. Photos of the new irrigation system coming soon! In the meantime, we have an enchanting candlelit dinner to plan for…