Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge   February Dense in texture but mild in flavor, cauliflower offers endless possibilities in salads, pastas, soups, snacks, sauces, hummus, and even mac and cheese. We find it in a myriad of colors these…

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It all started with a shiitake mushroom fascination. At the time, Morgan Proctor and Greg Olson both had administrative positions in urban offices and were living in a small space in Oakland with no outdoor area for plants. Given their shared interests in nature, nutrition, and gardening, and after being wait-listed at a community garden,…

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An Edible Hedgerow in the City By Joshua Burman Thayer “Thrush in a Fig Tree” illustration by Rigel Stuhmiller In our densely packed urban areas, space is at a premium. Courtyards, corridors, driveways, and narrow strips along property lines can seem lost for gardening use, but there are strategies for filling those zones with plants…

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Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness.   By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge   AUGUST It’s pear season! One of the earliest European-variety pears to arrive at market is the Bartlett, easily recognized by its bell shape, semi-soft flesh, and yellow-to-red skin color. The green-skinned d’Anjou;…

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As the days shorten and the stress of the sun lessens, we’re in a prime window for planting perennial evergreen species that can provide your household with edible abundance. That window stays open from early October until the third or fourth day of our first big storm, when the soil will start to be too…

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Meet a Local Wild Cherry: Prunus ilicifolia On a recent stroll along the north bank of the Carquinez Strait in Benicia, I came upon a California native plant loaded up with edible cherry-like fruits. Prunus ilicifolia, aka hollyleaf cherry, evergreen cherry, or simply California wild cherry, was called islay by California’s Salinan tribespeople. The Salinans…

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Autumn in the Kitazawa Test Garden Story by Helen Krayenhoff | Photos by Scott Peterson Meet Maya Shiroyama, current owner of Kitazawa Seed Company. Established in Oakland in 1917, Kitazawa specializes in seeds for traditional Asian vegetables and also introduces newly bred varieties for home gardeners and commercial growers. Seed producers spend years trialing and…

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While fall may be the best season to savor local fruits and vegetables, it’s also a great time to plant them. Thanks to a mild Mediterranean climate, East Bay gardeners can grow and harvest fresh produce all winter long. When planting your winter garden, make it thrive by feeding your soil with compost. Compost boosts…

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A New Take on Giving Away the Farm By Rachel Trachten Charlie Costello wants to give you free tomato plants and teach you to save seeds. Last year, Costello gave 400 tomato plants to East Bay gardeners for their schools, urban farms, and homes. This year, he’s on track to share just as many, or…

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Avocado Adventure in Zone 16 Living the green dream at Hayward’s Chetwyn Farm BY CHERYL ANGELINA KOEHLER | PHOTOS BY EMMA NAJARIAN The tumbledown 1890s-era farm tucked into a barely accessible fold in the hills above Hayward was one of those properties real estate agents feel reluctant to show. In spite of its proximity to…

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