Sonoma Garden Park via CropMobster

by Cynthe on August 29, 2013

sonoma garden farm market staff & senior shopper

Bill & I enjoyed meeting Joti Levi’s wonderful team who help with Sonoma Garden’s Saturday Farm Market.

Saturday, Bill and I went on a food adventure! Sonoma Garden Park had a CropMobster listing for picking ripe peaches & heirloom apples off their trees, buying strawberries for preserves, along with tomatoes and veggies for fresh eating…all at awesome ‘Steal of a Deal’ CropMobster prices:

  • Apples $1-lb 50% Off
  • Peaches $1-lb 75% Off
  • Strawberries $1.50-basket 50% Off
  • Cucumbers & Tomatoes $1-lb 50% Off

Just the sort of outing Bri would have loved!

Came home with 3 buckets (at least 30 lbs) of fruit: a mix of apples, yellow peaches, strawberries, and a  yummy apricot-nectarine hybrid.

In late July via Facebook, I learned about CropMobster. It’s an innovative program that matches locally grown, surplus produce with individual food buyers (like us) and charitable organizations that feed the hungry. The CropMobster’s founders’ triple win concept is to:cropmobster logo

1) NOT WASTE seasonal veggies and fruits by having the late summer abundance rot unpicked
2) To FEED THE HUNGRY by individual farms donating their abundance to organizations who prepare that food
3) To SUPPORT LOCAL SMALL FARMERS by reaching new customers and expanding their market base via CropMobster’s email ‘instant alerts.” This helps growers sell produce that in prior seasons was wasted and dumped into compost piles. Making additional sales to new customers helps cover the costs of growing excellent, local, sustainable food.

ripe yellow peach clusters on tree branch

Clusters of ripe yellow peaches await harvest.

Ripe fruit is literally falling off trees all over Sonoma county or damaging heavily laden tree branches bent to breaking with bounty. Since it’s the height of home canning season, CropMobster is the PERFECT resource linking producers and appreciative buyers. Folks who share a common interest in excellent produce and wish to participate in a viable local economy.

smiling senior woman picking peaches on a ladder

Picking sun warmed peaches from Sonoma Garden Park

While Bill picked bright orange apricot-nectarine fruit, I climbed up the harvesting ladder to fill one of our buckets. The aroma of ripe, sun warmed peaches infused the air with their luscious aroma. As a gusty breeze kicked up, peaches thudded to the ground. I added the fresh windfall to our bucket, since I was going to be cooking them anyway.

apricot nectarine hybrid fruit at sonoma garden park

Apricot nectarine hybrid fruit at Sonoma Garden Park.

two buckets filled with apricots and peaches

Our Sonoma Garden Park gleanings: 6 lbs of golden apricot-nectarine crosses and 10 lbs. of ripe yellow peaches.

With two buckets filled, sent Bill down the garden path to gather early season apples for fresh eating and a 2013 batch of Amaretto Applesauce and Rose Geranium Apple Jelly. I wandered around the ‘crop circle’ to photograph flowers, apples, tasting a tempting grape or two dangling off overhead arbors within easy reach.

sunny yellow flowers

Tall sunny yellow flowers dipped over the path to greet passers-by.

early ripening apples on tree

Pretty early season apples ready for harvest.

golden apples against a blue sky

Golden apples ripe and ready under a blue sky.

green and purple grapes ripe for picking

Green and purple ‘Concord’ grapes ripe for picking.

Returning with the apples, Bill and I lugged our fruit loot to the straw bale barn. Added some farm market veggies and paid for everything.

shoppers visiting at small farm market in barn

Joti (left front) chatting with one of her regular farm market customers. Other Sonoma Garden crew members getting their end of shift gleanings.

We had arrived just past 1pm, so were still enjoying the gardens after the official 2pm closing time. Joti Levi and her cooperative, slightly shy staff posed for a few photos. She also took a bit of time to share the ‘Fig Forest’ with us…a peaceful sheltered area under a circle of 5, perhaps more, mature fig trees.

assorted gourds in straw bale barn window

Assorted gourds in the straw bale barn window.

sunflower seed heads and orange pumpkin

Sunflower seed heads and orange pumpkin in the straw bale barn window.

Finished our visit with a few interior shots of the straw bale barn windows.

400 year old oak sonoma ca usa with woman for scale

400-year-old Grandmother Oak greets visitors at the edge of the parking lot on the northwest side of Sonoma Garden Park’s 6 acre property.

And some ‘tourist’ photos with 400-year-old majestic Grandmother Oak!

Am going to be busy this week, getting all that fruit washed, prepped, and transformed into yummy preserves.

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