Field Trip to Angeles Crest Creamery November 12th

This is something totally new for us! It has nothing to do with fruit but it does have to do with climate change which is already affecting us (chill-hours anyone?) and will continue to do so more and more until we wise up.

 Angeles Crest Creamery is a goat ranch in the San Gabriel Mountains, that was dedicated to developing a low-input and climate-change-resilient model for meat & dairy in Southern California, and providing educational opportunities for Angelinos interested in learning more about how food can be produced regeneratively in our local mountains. The property is a private inholding in the Angeles National Forest. Prior to the establishment of the Forest, the property was deeded under the Homestead Act. Cattle ranching was common in the area at the time and some of the original 19th century structures are still on the property.  There are also adorable ducklings!

Tragically the Bobcat Fire of September 2020 destroyed nearly 80% of the ranch and owner Gloria Putnam is now in the process of paring down her goat herd and trying to determine what her land needs from her going forward.

Obviously this is a longer distance field trip than is the norm for us but one that seems well worth the gas and effort.   If you are interested in going, either alone or in a car pool (totally vaccinated for that, please) let us know ASAP.   Dependent on reception up there, we will also be Zooming.


Photo by Ray Aucott on Unsplash


Zoom Meeting 10/8/22 @ 10 am Margaret Smither-Kopperl on Cover Crops!

Thanks to an excellent talk by Deni Freis a few years ago, we all know about rain barrels and  storm water collection.  A far easier way of putting that scarce (nonexistent?)  rain water to use —  while simultaneously improving the fertility and tilth of your soil and the happiness of the good bugs — is with cover crops.  If you already use them, you will be eager to hear Margert Smither-Kopperl’s newest information on them.  If you are still in the dark, this Saturday’s meeting will be a real eye opener and a treat.

Specifics for fruit growers will include:  Overview of what to consider when planning a cover crop in an orchard. What are your goals and what are the resource concerns that you plan to address? For example, are there problems with soil erosion, weedy species, insect pests, nematodes? Do you need pollinator species? Do you wish to add nitrogen through use of a cover crop? Consider the equipment that you have available and options for managing the cover crop. After this you can decide the most suitable species for your orchard.

Margaret is Manager of the 106-acre USDA-NRCS Lockeford Plant Materials Center (CAPMC), in California’s Central Valley since 2010. The CAPMC supports NRCS in California by testing plant species including cover crops and pollinator species, and is a site to demonstrate soil health. Her agricultural experience started in England with fruit and vegetable production, her  in botany from the University of London, and her Ph.D. is in Plant Pathology from Michigan State University.

Beyond all these professional and academic accomplishments, she is a captivating speaker and we are so very lucky to get a chance to hear her.  (Fellow bee keepers will also  be thrilled to know that she has been at the forefront of encouraging farmers to create wildflower hedgerows for the endangered pollinators. )

Chapter members will receive Zoom links in this week’s newsletter.   If you are not a member but want to be included, just let us know at



Photo by Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

Saturday 8-13 @ 10 a.m. meeting with Ernesto Sandoval back to Zoom only

Sorry, folks.  Ernesto’s travel plans changed and he will be back in Davis next week.  So we will be back to meeting on our jammies (on Zoom!) as we have for most of the past two years.

Note that despite the fact that LaVerne Nursery has been sold, Dan Nelson is still there and our tour with him in September is still on . If you haven’t done the LaVerne tour before, don’t miss it.  It is fabulous.  I’m going for the third time.



Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Argentinian ants

This year seems to have featured, along with other disasters, an even heavier-than-usual invasion of Argentinian ants.   If you are trying to keep them out of your figs (who knew?!) or your bee hives, this is an extraordinary paper on why those traps you bought at Home Depot just aren’t working and what to do instead.

Great talk on irrigation!

I don’t think we have ever had so many people glued to their Zoom screens for so long as we did when Allister Cooney of Netafim shared his decades of irrigation experience with us on the 16th.  Learning that drip irrigation is even more efficient than rainfall was an eye-opener and I ‘m sure will be changing many of our watering habits. Ditto  that flush valves are absolutely necessary, even for tree rings   Allister provided illustrations of best practice drip layouts, including the sizing of headers and the appropriate spacing of drippers in different situations.  The online irrigation calculator he mentioned is available here.  The catalog of Netafim products is here.  He also mentioned that if you know exactly what you want, local business like Smith Pipe & Supply or Aqua-Flo will order them for you.

If you happened to miss the talk, or want to refresh your memory, the video is available to chapter members.  Just ask.



Photo by NITIN SHAH on Unsplash

Chocolate – Cacao – Brewed Cocoa! Eric Durtschi tells all on Saturday, March 13th @ 10 am

The son of a candy maker, Dr. Eric Durtschi of Durci had an intense passion for all things chocolate from an early age and started developing dessert recipes with chocolate at 8 years old. He decided to pursue a profession in health and wellness, and as a chiropractor, he was frequently asked to offer diet and healthy living advice. During his research, he learned that cocoa (or cacao) was an amazing superfood in its unadulterated state. He began development of the world’s first brewed cocoa in 2007. His mission is simply to help chocolate lovers rediscover how wonderful chocolate can be.

Eric will be giving a brief introduction to chocolate, going over the history and origins of chocolate up through the current artisan chocolate world.

Members  will receive all Zoom links shortly.



Photo by Ly Le Minh on Unsplash

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