BY JILLIAN STEINBERGER Crisantos Lopez works at East Bay Wilds, a native plant nursery in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, and he lives nearby with his wife and two sons, and a daughter. His family owns a rancho in the town of Ario de Rosales in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. There they have six horses, 20…

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BASIC INFORMATION YOU SHOULD KNOW BY JILLIAN STEINBERGER There are three landraces of avocados. The Guatemalan types have the highest oil content and thick, pebbly skin. Their fruit may sit on the tree for up to a year and a half before maturation. The Mexican types are the most cold tolerant. They have thin skin,…

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Invisible no longer STORY AND PHOTOS BY JILLIAN STEINBERGER ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARY BROWN The East Bay produces a cornucopia of tree fruits that we love to eat, such as apples, figs, and plums. But what about our beloved avocado (Persea americana)? Hearing reports of avocado trees growing quietly among us, I followed clues in search of…

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BY JILLIAN STEINBERGER SYNERGY, AVOCADOS AND THREE LADY LANDSCAPERS When Heather Brady DeQuincy moved to San Leandro, she discovered two huge fruitful avocado trees growing around the corner at different houses. She took the writer of this article to see the trees. When they knocked at one of the doors to ask about the trees,…

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BY BARBARA KOBSAR ILLUSTRATION BY MARGO RIVERA-WEISS When you’re at the farmers’ market, it’s all about what’s in season. Choosing from items harvested at their peak is your sure bet for fabulous flavor and freshness. FEBRUARY/MARCH Spinach and Swiss chard continue to enjoy the cooler weather. When bunches of small garnet-red round beets arrive with…

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PERMANENT AGRICULTURE – PERMANENT CULTURE REVIEW BY HELEN KRAYENHOFF With the publication of The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture: Creating an Edible Ecosystem, the rest of the world will now have access to the gifts of one of our local gardening heroes, Christopher Shein. With the help of Julie Thompson, he has written an accessible…

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COOK. REAL FOOD. FROM SCRATCH. REVIEW BY KRISTINA SEPETYS Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation By Michael Pollan The Penguin Press, April 2013 Michael Pollan’s work has profoundly changed the way we think about our industrial food system, the behemoth that produces the foods found in conventional grocery stores and restaurants. But Pollan is not…

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      MAPPING MANNA A quest of its own making BY CHERYL ANGELINA KOEHLER Darin Jensen, a cartographer and professor of geography at UC Berkeley, understands the common perception that GIS (geographical information systems) have rendered his profession irrelevant. But all signs are proving to him that it could not be further from the…

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ABUNDANT AND BEAUTIFUL REVIEW BY CHERYL ANGELINA KOEHLER You took the “eat local” idea completely to heart, starting a food production garden in your own yard. But it didn’t quite work out as you envisioned. Instead of a lush bed of perky salad greens and grapes tumbling from a trellis, you’re now looking out on…

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BY MIKE MADISON ILLUSTRATIONS BY J. PANTER The Sacramento Valley is an important source of food for the East Bay, and if you travel through the valley, most of what you will see is conventional, industrial farming. Huge fields are planted to a single crop, which is managed with high inputs of fertilizers, pesticides, and…

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