If you find yourself on Hapa Joe’s website Hapajoesnursery.com you are presented with an introduction that is certainly better than anything we could come up with, viz:
Connecting you to the world’s rarest, most exotic fruit seeds.
“… I’m Hapa Joe, a passionate conservationist, scientist, fruit hunter and adventurer. I travel the world to collect and source exotic and rare fruit seeds to share with you.”
What Joe doesn’t mention is that he is a member of our chapter and has kindly granted us an extremely coveted invitation to visit his growing field… to learn about the collecting and growing of these very rare seeds and seedlings, and of course to hear of his adventures in the Amazon and beyond.
On his site, he goes on to say: “All seeds and seedlings have been “fair trade” sourced to create value within the local communities that inhabit these rapidly deforested areas.” This means that he has established close relationships within those local communities and we will get to hear about those as well. And of course about the current risks these communities are facing. This is truly a one-of-a-kind field trip.
Feel free to browse the site to get some idea of the vast numbers and varieties of seeds and seedlings he offers…. some of which he will have available for sale. When he spoke to the San Diego chapter recently, Joe sold out of what he calls his “cheap seedlings”, so bring dinero if you’re exotic fruit inclined.
Long time members know the rules about field trips: no touching, no picking, no stomping, no requests for scions or fruit, etc. but if you are a new member please keep in mind that we are very very lucky guests and should behave accordingly: keep those hands and feet in check. Despite his vast collection, Joe’s yard is actually very small, so – as is true of most field trips — no guests will be allowed.
July’s Passion Fruit Extravaganza turned out great. Thanks to Jorge Ochoa’s abundant generosity, it was just as fun, popular, delicious, informing and exciting as it sounded like it would be.
We began under a large shade tree with a bountiful selection of food and drinks including pastries, hot passion fruit tea
and five coconut cream pies. (Even Bruce got all he wanted!).
We toured the gardens, sampled fruit from some of the plants, and if you wanted a cutting of something, there were two designated scion-takers ready to help. Then we went inside and Jorge provided a presentation of passion fruits he has been impressed with. Then finally, as promised, we went to the propagation greenhouse. For everyone who was willing to get their fingers dirty, we tested our skill at transferring little seedlings in dirt popsicles over to take-home bags. The root systems were still fragile, so this was tricky! There were four varieties: (1) a purple one similar to Frederick but from Australia, (2) Passiflora Ligularis (“Sweet Granadilla” — sometimes found in Hispanic markets), (3) a yellow-gold variety Jorge found in Peru, and (4) a yellow variety Jorge found in Westminster (the location is a trade secret). According to Jorge, all four are very sweet, without any of the bitterness that some passion fruit have. If you got any seedlings from this event, please keep track of what happens with them. We want to give Jorge an update in a couple of years about everyone’s growing experience. How did your plants do? What made them happy? What killed them? By helping him with these details, you’ll be helping other growers in the future. And for those of you who got Ligularis seedlings, remember to keep their roots cool!
Thank you, Alan, for arranging this field trip and writing this summary.
We have a very special treat lined up for July 8th. A field trip to visit passiflora expert and explorer Jorge Ochoa. Jorge travels to tropical jungles and remote village fruit markets to discover new varieties of yummy and/or breathtakingly beautiful passion fruit. And he is going to share what he has learned with us.
If you have never heard him, Jorge is one of the most passionate, informed and funny speakers ever. It is no accident a photo of one of his lectures to us is featured on the crfg.org site to illustrate Meetings.
For insurance reasons, this is limited to WLA chapter members only. But of course joining is only a couple of clicks away.
Steve List and Stefan Strong couldn’t have been more welcoming or informative and the work they and their students have done couldn’t be more impressive. We were especially moved by Steve’s dedication to making horticulture and the gardens a safe place for those students who need one.
We lucked out with beautiful weather , enjoyed seeing many many thriving collections of plants (pollinator gardens, medicinal herb gardens, a whole slew of bearing orchards, a monster pitaya and chickens!) and went home with some lovely lavender plants. Thank you to Steve and Stefan and to those members who made the trek out there. It was definitely worth it.
Photo above by Margaret Frane, of Steve and Stefan with their amazing tomato plants. In containers and only watered twice (with rain water) this year.
Sylmar High School Agricultural Department head, Steve List has invited us for a tour of their amazing facility. The growing areas were built up from an empty lot by students over many years and are now a magnificent, multi-zoned field replete with ponds, farm animals, compost pits, and a worm farm. There are multiple fruit trees and vegetable beds, hot houses, chickens, desert plants, and more, all fortified by the school’s own blend of enriched potting soil.
There will be garden tours and information on fruit tree growing. Steve teaches urban agriculture, nutrition, and edible landscaping to hundreds of students daily. They learn to love gardening! Steve is a great and knowledgeable speaker. This is a remarkable garden. Hope to see you there!
Address, time and other details in newsletter you should have received. If you haven’t, please Contact Us,
Mark Abraham, our host at Will Rogers Learning Garden, says short of a downpour we are welcome to come visit. It is still vaguely drizzling but we are a hardy bunch. Who doesn’t remember our field trip to Paradise Nursery in Chatsworth in the midst of the fires that surrounded it? Sometimes the more difficult trips are the most memorable. See you there!
It looks pretty clear it will be raining by the time our field trip to Will Rogers Elementary was set to start today so we will be rescheduling over the next few months.. Please remember that the school welcomes fruit growing volunteers the third Sunday of every month between 10 & 2.
Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash
Per Mark Abraham, our host: “It’s predicted dry for a few days before Saturday, so if the morning is dry I am GAME ON and would think the site would be perfect for people to access – but if it rains we will have to cancel.”
If we do have to cancel, we will definitely reschedule this spring. Be aware that volunteer days at the orchard are every third Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and all you fruit-growers would be very welcome.
This is from member Mark Abraham who runs garden at The Will Rogers Learning Community:
“The Will Rogers Learning Community is an elementary school in the SMMUSD that today boasts a very large school garden. The nascent 2+ year garden is set up with 19 double reach rows for intensive crop production, composting bays, fruit trees, and more, to teach 500+ elementary school children who visit the garden each week the connection to good food, care for one another and care for the planet. Classroom time in the farm is interactive in nature and the students learn about regenerative agriculture, plant horticulture, propagation, insect identification, decomposers and fungal allies, and more. The garden is supported by a weekly crew of volunteers from the community who come to garden, share, learn and have fun every weekend to advance the mission of the school’s garden, to complement the work being done by the students each week and to help build out the infrastructure.
My intention among many others is to see to it that the site serves as a repository for important, endemic and/or rare germplasm – so that it can function as a lending library of sorts for the community when the time comes. I am grateful to the chapter for their interest in what we are doing; we have a lot of work ahead of us and it is my hope that as we grow the space we can learn from experienced horticulturalists like yourselves, and develop the connections and the necessary resources for our future fruit hunters. We are very excited to host you for the first event of the New Year – see you in 2023!
Garden is located at the corner of Maple and 16th Street in Santa Monica, 90405. Parking and water fountains on site. Bathrooms across the street at John Adams Middle School.”
Definitely a can’t-miss tour and certainly a focus for chapter volunteering.
Please be aware that we will be unable to Zoom this field trip because there is no cell reception up on the mountain. So far eight members are heading up. Why not join them?