For a lot of reasons, now seems like a very good time to see how much we can do with a barter economy. As the Fallen Fruit collective claims, "You have nothing to lose but your hunger!" All my fruits and vegetables have come from truly local sources these past couple of weeks, and none of them cost me a dime.
Not in money, that is. I did, in fact, pay for all them--by forking compost, setting up irrigation tubes, weeding, making garden signs, picking strawberries, cooking for 50 farm apprentices, harvesting chard, making rosemary bundles from the huge bush in my front yard, and more. There are a lot of sources of beautiful fruits and vegetables available, if you have the time to spare to earn them. Right now, I have more time than cash, so with a few hours spent, I've become rich in gorgeous produce, to eat and share.
A few sources:
Alemany Farm, at the base of Bernal Heights. This Sunday is their Harvest Fair, so come down and see what's going on around the farm. Best non-car way to get there, besides walking and biking: the 67-Bernal Heights bus to Ellsworth and Alemany. Get off right where the bus turns in the public housing development, then walk back out to Alemany, turn right and the farm's about a dozen yards down the street. Workdays are alternating Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5, also Monday afternoons. Volunteers work and then share in a communal harvest. Right now, the tomatoes and strawberries are finishing up, but there's still lots of chard, collards, lettuce, a few peppers, ground cherries, feijodas, and green (and purple) beans.
Garden for the Environment. 7th Ave and Lawton, in the Sunset. This is a half-acre teaching garden rather than a working farm, but volunteers often share a small harvest (I went home with a big bag of bok choy) at the end of the workday. Workdays are Wednesdays, 10-2pm, and Saturday afternoons. Workshops are taught every weekend on various gardening topics, like seed saving and worm composting. PQ may be teaching some preserving the harvest classes here this winter.
Free Farm Stand. Longtime community gardener and food-justice activist Tree started this stand inside the community garden at the park on 23rd and Treat in April, using the overflow from several community gardens in Potrero and the Mission. Now he also gets donations from Acme Bread (loads of day-old fancy bread, like their killer walnut levain) and several farmers at the Ferry Plaza farmers' market, plus city-park gleanings (including a bushel of apples harvested from a tree in Golden Gate Park) and backyard harvests from friends. Sundays from 1pm to 3pm. If you have any homegrown extras--herbs, fruit, flowers, vegetables, seedlings (I brought rosemary bundles from my yard), feel free to bring 'em along, otherwise, just come and help yourself, and talk to Tree about helping out in the various gardens in which he works.
Heartfelt. This cute little giftie and flower shop on Cortland in Bernal Heights has a little freebie table out front, where locals put out their garden extras. In the summer, it was lots of plums and lemons; right now, there are 2 big bowls of green and red apples. Seedlings, bulbs, herbs have also made their way there. Check in with the staff before you donate; help yourself if you're taking, being, of course, mindful of sharing.