Summer newsletter from the Fruitful Field

Summer Garden News

It’s summer at our sub-tropical garden!  Unlike places up north that doesn’t mean rows and rows of vegetables and mellow healthy sun.  Instead, we have really hot humid veggie-wilting, bug-generating weather tough to work in even when it’s not pouring down rain!

Never fear though, our fruit trees love these conditions!  Visitors and volunteers alike have been sampling Tamarind pods, Barbados cherries, Bananas, Pineapples, Mangos, Mulberries, Passionfruit and Figs. Watermelons and Starfruit are almost ready for harvest. In addition we have gorgeous Swiss chard soldiering on like its Switzerland, a delicious, if unexpected, summer treat.

In our last email update you heard the news about the garden tractor, a bright orange Kubota machine we’ve named “Ferdinand”, after the classic Disney cartoon.  Our Ferdinand likes to smell the flowers and sit in the shade of the fruit trees as well, but we are keeping him super busy, moving mulch and compost and prepping things for a big fall growing season.  He’s a strong addition to our mega-team of volunteers.

Outdoor Learning Kitchen

We have another very exciting announcement: Opening this fall is the Fruitful Kitchen, an outdoor flexible and accessible kitchen built right into the garden.

You guys run a garden, why a kitchen?

Managing 18 community plots and growing over an acre of vegetables and another acre of fruit trees (not to mention all the native trees and shrubs) is teaching us a lot about  growing, harvesting, and giving out fresh local food.  One of the big lessons we have learned is that getting fresh, great food to people is not enough–taste and smell need to be enlisted in the challenge to get all of us eating healthier!  Recipes and recommendations are great, tasting and participating in food preparation are much better!! And it’s great on many different levels, as Michael Pollan states in his book “Cooked”, cooking is “…the most important thing an ordinary person can do to help reform the American food system, to make it healthier and more sustainable.”

Enter an outdoor kitchen with teaching areas that invite participation by adults, children, and those with disabilities.  Such a kitchen brings tomatoes, greens, herbs, and broccoli harvested literally “minutes ago” into a sizzling front-stage spotlight for cooking and sampling.  It provides a space for getting confident with that ‘arroz-con-pollo-like-abuelita-always-made” or that Bean and Squash New Year stew you grew up with in Haiti.  It also brings in a friendly ally to the busy mom trying desperately to get kids interested in vegetables that aren’t deep fried.

In addition the shaded space will allow the Fruitful Field to cook workday volunteer lunches straight from the garden and Parkway Church to cook up tasty healthy meals for the working poor of the neighborhood in an environment that is pleasant and engaging.

Thanks to the Gardening for Good Fund of the Community Foundation of Broward, the start up construction expenses of this kitchen have been funded and we have begun prepping the site with anchor points for counter tops and additional education space. Sinks, cabinets, electrical connections, and cooking necessities will come next.

How you can help:

Time: Our budget covers supplies only and thus far much of our labor has been kindly provided by local guys who have benefited from the generosity of the church and the garden, and provide help between their day labor jobs.  But we could use more help, particularly by those with skills in cement, wood working and plumbing.  If you would like to be part of making this kitchen a reality, emailflavio@thefruitfulfield.org

Donate: Equipment or Funds:  When the kitchen is complete we will need to outfit it with things like heavy duty cookware, 2-3 portable induction burners, high-powered blenders for smoothies and soups and so forth.  If you have these items in excellent condition to donate, or would like to contribute to their purchase, please email Flavio.  Join us in bringing food, education, and community together in an outdoor kitchen!

See you in the garden!

Flavio for the Fruitful Field

 

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Building Decorative Bird Houses for the garden with kids of all ages

A great off Campus June happening for the Fruitful Field

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VBS at First United Methodist in Fort Lauderdale (12 photos)

Great time with over 140 kids at Vacation Bible School in Fort Lauderdale, sharing what we grow, tasting garden honey, and painting birdhouses for our upcoming Imagination Kitchen at the garden! Thanks for the invitation Pastor Monique!

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Volunteer Day this Saturday the 21st

Hey Fruitful Field volunteers, we have a volunteer day this Saturday June 21st.  We prepping and planting a field full of okra along with other great tasks.  Snacks, lemon grass tea and a light lunch.  9am to noon.  See you in the garden!

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Mango tree pruning class this Saturday (June 14th) at 9:30 AM

 

mango

Fruit tree pruning class at the Fruitful Field! Saturday June 14 at 9:30am! Free. We’ll show you how to prune mango trees so they stay productive and don’t get too big. Includes hands-on practice. Mango trees don’t have to be giants to produce great fruit!

Why are we pruning mango trees now? You normally prune right after you harvest the mangoes. But mango trees don’t always produce fruit every year. Now (during the rainy season) is the perfect time of year to prune trees that are taking the year off or that are already done producing.

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We have named the Tractor

We’ve picked a name! The new tractor is named Ferdinand! Congrats to @Meg McKenna, a faithful regular at our Saturday Volunteer Workdays, who suggested this great name. See this link  for a short old-fashioned movie about Ferdinand…

 

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Check out May pictures from the garden

Some snapshots for the month- stay tuned for further big announcements!

May 2014 Album

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