On a lovely spring day, we hosted an event focused on seed season and gardening. One of our most popular items at Umami Mart are the Asian vegetable and fruit seeds by the Kitazawa Seed Company -- so we knew that many people in our community would be interested in a gardening event. The talk was led by Kristyn Leach, a friend of mine who manages Namu Farm in Sunol, CA, a farm dedicated to providing produce exclusively for the popular Namu Gaji restaurant in San Francisco. Read about her and her work in this great feature in SF Gate.
The event was awesome! So many people came out from the East Bay and San Francisco to hear Kristyn talk about gardening, and listened intently on her tips, suggestions and recommendations to kick off seed season.
It was indeed a lovely day for people to come out and talk about gardens. As attendees started to pile into the back of the shop, we knew this would be a pleasant, intimate talk.
Kristyn is incredible. She is wicked smart and so knowledgable about ecosystems, planting cycles, harvesting and timing -- basically anything that has to do with tending your own garden to successfully grow your own food. Her career started in NYC, working in community gardens, and then continued onto Olympia, WA. She settled here in the East Bay in 2009, cooking at Camino (where we met) and then working at Bob Cannard's farm as well as Fred Hempel's farm Baia Nicchia. She was asked to oversee the Namu Farm in the end of 2011, for its first season.
Kristyn covered so many topics about gardening during her talk: soil science, raised beds, soil testing, LARD (Light Air Rocks Dirt), fertilization, and DIY compost tea. She brought many tools that she personally uses to talk about her methods too!
She also brought along her well-worn books that had inspired her to start growing food -- books like How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons and Farmers of 40 Centuries by F.H. King, a book about farming in China, Korea and Japan at the turn of the century.
Perhaps my favorite part of the talk was when Kristyn started talking about every day basic, essential gardening tools that won't break the bank. She drew them out for us, how sweet is this?!?!?!
Kristyn graciously answered any and all questions that came up, turning the talk into more of a discussion between herself and the audience. It was so great! Everyone enjoyed the event very much and I hope that we can organize a trip to her farm this summer. Wouldn't that be so fun?? Stay tuned!
*Photos by Yoko Kumano