Wednesday, July 10, 2013

#BuenaLomaGardens - 1 year #anniversary - #Support your #localfarms

The purpose of this blog post is to showcase my recent visit to Buena Loma Gardens in Temecula, CA. I have hosted one article from a guest blogger and written two articles (my visit and cooking class) about this fantastic place. I believe after viewing the images, you'll want to make a trip if you're ever in the area. 

In this visit, I invited two moms with their children to meet my son and I at one of the best organic farms in the SW Riverside County region. 

You can find Buena Loma Gardens at 45485 Buena Loma Rd, Temecula CA 92590. They are open 7 days a week, 9a-5p. Call ahead to make sure: 951-694-5328. Ask for Elvie or Charlie. Please let them know you heard about them through Conveying Awareness with Jessica David.

Their location is about 15 miles or a 20 minute drive outside of the city. It is a beautiful, scenic and peaceful ride, too. If you have any worries, they'll be gone!

If you're going for the first time, give them a call and let them know how many in your family they should be expecting. Elvie may just prepare you a few samples to try. This day she shared with us raw kale salad in addition to slices of plum and white nectarine and blood orange and apple wedges. 

One of my friends' children is a vegetable lover. Here he is pictured enjoying the raw kale salad (below, left). This cutie patootie is eating the rest of the blood oranges. 

In the picture to the right, Elvie is giving us a quick demonstration on the 'dressing' she made for the raw kale salad. Ingredients: white distilled vinegar (about 2 cups), 1 tablespoon of powdered stevia extract and 1/2 tablespoon of fine sea salt. Mix well. Pour over fresh salad ingredients. 

On the cutting board is perslane, a succulent found in many people's yards commonly known as 'weeds.' Of the 13 people that visited this day, I believe there were 3 who added the perslane to their raw kale salad. I was one of the few. I knew it was safe to eat because they don't use any chemicals on and around their gardens plus Charlie chopped some up and ate them. I added them to my salad and found they were pretty bitter. I'm a savory and salty girl and I couldn't handle the taste so I tossed it into their compost bucket. But, it was worth a try! 

After sampling the produce, we were given an extensive tour of their gardens. In this image, a shiny red and silver twisted foil was strung from one end to the other to keep the birds away from the berries. Charlie said the birds stay away because they think it's fire. I've never seen something like that before and thought it was a pretty cool idea.  

Elvie said flowers should be planted in between and around the garden to aid in pollination. She planted zinnias. In between the flowers is a different plant (see the difference in the leaves?) - can you guess what it is? She said it is her first time planting it and wasn't sure what to expect as it grew. I will share the answer of what type of plant it is somewhere towards the end of the article.  

This tree is an almond tree (right). The 3 of us moms that came to visit never realized that almonds grew on large trees. Personally, I thought they grew from small bushes like you find blueberries on. She opened up one of the almonds to see if they were ripe. We learned that they need another month or two before they'll be ready. It was an experience. She used her teeth to cut through the outer skin and then was able to peel back the center to reveal the almond in the middle.  

The following are several images from the walk around the gardens. I caught the kids talking about wanting to explore some areas that were off limits to small children due to pots and thorns. 

I think these two images are pretty with all the various flowers. Though the yard was somewhat hilly (side note: don't wear open toed shoes unless you want dirty feet upon leaving), the gardens offered a nice reprieve from the hot summer temps. 

To your left is an image of the children asking for seconds for dehydrated apple slices with cinnamon. I'd love for Charlie to build me a miniature version of their 'natural' dehydrator or green house so that I could use it in the triple digits where I reside now. 

To the right are super duper cactus. Salsa con nopales anyone?

Pictured here is Elvie speaking to two of the moms about various produce being beneficial to diabetics. She said she has diabetes but has been able to control her health through eating more fruits and vegetables and walking daily. Then there's the satisfaction of growing your own and reaping the rewards of a good harvest, too, that will benefit anyone regardless of health concern. 

After the tour, we shopped for produce. Most everyone spent about $30 though one spent less than $10 for her huge haul of veggies!! Even thirty dollars is an excellent cost for the amount of locally grown, harvested organic produce. We learned about the benefits of jujubes while we were there and everyone took home some to bring to their husbands ($8 a pound). Elvie also made two kinds of fruit leather ($2.50 per sheet) and asian mulberries ($8 a pound). Other produce was about $2 a pound. Kale is always picked fresh upon ordering. The plant pictured next to the zinnias was chia! 

Pictured here is two happy shoppers. The mom picked up 5 sheets of the fruit leather along with some other produce. 

The kids are enjoying their fruit leather and sitting nicely next to one another on the hammock.  

Pictured is me and a great friend. It was wonderful to see and spend time with her over this mini-vacation to Southern California. 

The image to the right is my son chatting with Elvie about something very important - the lessons in life - learning - by asking questions. Keep seeking the answers. There is growth in learning. 

Not pictured - the other mom (wearing her baby in an image above) I haven't seen in person since her family transferred to TN 3 years ago. They just got back and my visit to Southern California was right on time. After the tour of the gardens, my son and I had dinner with her family. She made a rendition of Elvie's raw kale salad. It was delicious!

I hope you get a chance to tour these gardens and best of all, meet two lovely people who have a passion for eating your way to wellness. Did you see that I shared the answer to the question about what plant is beside the zinnias in one of the paragraphs above? Go back and check. It's there! 

Recipe for the raw kale salad, ingredients: kale, daikon radish, red onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Chop all ingredients to the size of your taste. Add the vinaigrette (white distilled vinegar, sea salt, and stevia) to the salad. Refrigerate. Eat! Add perslane if you dare! Oh, but do make sure it's been grown without chemicals. 

When you drop by, be sure to mention that Jessica David of Conveying Awareness sent you. Elvie and Charlie will take care of you. When you leave, your heart will be swelled from their love and generosity. When you return, you'll feel like family and will want to stay and hang out. Bring a book and some conversation. Best of all - Relax! 

Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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Update 7/13: After reading this blog post, my friend's family decided to take a trip out to the gardens in which they drove about 45 miles from their home. She messaged me with an image from their shopping trip spending $45 which included 3 of the fruit leathers and all this that you see below!  She has a family of 4. She said they spent two hours with Elvie and Charlie and were able to tour their property too! (If you'd like the opportunity to tour their property, be sure to mention my blog when you visit.)

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

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