California Heartland Episode 917 Transcript

California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at www.californiacountry.org .  And, by the Almond Board of California; California Almonds, loved around the world, grown in California’s Heartland. 

Coming up on California heartland…

This fire pretty much destroyed everything

They lost it all, their farm, their home but not their spirit! See how this San Diego farming family’s passion turned disaster into determination. 

Plus…

 I never would have thought of eating a rose petal.

You’ve seen them on wedding cakes but have you ever tasted one? Visit the folks who’ve patented their secrets for creating sugary, sweet edible flowers!

And…

Are your flowers making Fido sick? Master Gardner, Kristine Hanson has safe plant suggestions for a pet-friendly garden.

Next on California Heartland…

Chris Burrous: From your backyard, to the back country, in a field, or on your family table, it’s all about what keeps California moving and growing, this is California Heartland.

Dan Lammers: This is our paradise.  When we bought this property there wasn't a twig broken.  It was difficult to fathom how a fire could be so destructive, just sticks kind of here and there sticking out of the ground.  It took weeks to just comprehend the severity of this fire.

Jennifer Quinonez: Paradise looks much different to Dan and Enedina Lammers these days.  That’s because normally, they would be taking part in harvesting their favorite exotic fruit from their ranch to sell at local San Diego farmer’s markets. 

Dan Lammers: This was one of the fuyou persimmon’s here.  Obviously the fire came through here really quite bad.  You can see how the bark has been basically charred off, there were altogether in this field we lost 12-14 persimmon trees.

Jennifer Quinonez: Now all they can do is wait…wait for hundreds of their trees to grow back and replenish after being destroyed by fire. 

Dan Lammers: We had roughly 550 trees, quite a variety of exotic fruits.  We lost about 135 trees, the rest of the trees were damaged do a point where when we pruned we had to prune them back severely.

Jennifer Quinonez: Their whole world was shattered in an instant when the witch creek fire tore through their Ramona community.

Dan Lammers: We saw this huge red dome it was dark on the horizon and then reality set in and we realized hey, you know, we're right in the path of this fire.

Enedina Lammers: The first thing I did was look for my family that lived here on the ranch and I start calling them and telling them that we have 25 minutes to leave.

Jennifer Quinonez: Dan says nothing could have prepared them for the severity of the fire, or the shock of seeing their homestead the first time after it was all over.

Dan Lammers: This fire pretty much destroyed everything on the ranch.

Jennifer Quinonez: Dan and Enedina say they didn’t think twice about immediately starting the rebuilding of their home and ranch.

Dan Lammers: We may be discouraged, but we will not be defeated. And so we came back here because we had 350-400 trees that needed our help, they're like our children, and you just don't walk away from your children.

Dan Lammers: You going to serve the ice cream? Yeah, Tata loves ice cream.

Dan Lammers: Our first granddaughter was born in San Diego.  Little Arianna was really the light that shined in our lives through all the darkness that we had been through.  So it was so gratifying to see this baby and to really distract us from the terrible tragedy that we had encountered.

Jennifer Quinonez: For Dan and Enedina, staying focused on the good things in their life, has helped them look forward to the future instead of dwelling on their misfortune.

Jennifer Quinonez: And seeing how resilient their trees turned out to be has been an unexpected surprise to the farmers who say they’re not giving up on their crops just yet.

Jennifer Quinonez: Right now these would be fruit bearing with tons and tons of pineapple guavas. 

Dan Lammers: Yeah, at least 700 pounds and this year now you see... We can't find any maybe high up.

Jennifer Quinonez: Are you surprised at how well it's come back?

Dan Lammers: Yeah, that's the amazing thing, it's an incredible experiment that we never done before or seen before.  I thought for sure most of these loosing them, but look at how green and vigorous the growth is and it's come back remarkably well, and another year or two get back into that usual productive rhythm. 

Enedina Lammers: We really going to need another seat over there for the couch.

Jennifer Quinonez: Beyond repairing the grove, they’ve also taken on the daunting task of rebuilding their home from the ground up.

Enedina Lammers: It's been hard living in this trailer and here you have limitations, but it's a beautiful trailer I enjoy being like in a vacation but the vacation is taking too long.

Jennifer Quinonez: But by staying on their homestead, and finding the courage to start over, it’s clear that Dan and Enedina’s paradise will be restored once again.  After all, they’re farmers and no one understands the cycle of life more than they do.

Enedina Lammers: It was important for us to come back and start all over again, because in here it has always been in our dreams.

Dan Lammers: This is an experience that a lot of people just will never experience and I want to experience that until the day I die.

Lyndsie Fulton: My name is Lyndsie Fulton and welcome to my California Heartland.  These are my birds.  We have seven finches, three regular doves, two diamond doves, one cockatiel and four parakeets.  Just listening to them, they wake me up in the morning, they sing a lot.  The little ones pick on the big ones sometimes and the funniest thing is they chase each other around a lot.  They’re really messy, they on the bottom of the cage they take the food and they fling it everywhere.  The finch is an escape artist, I can’t have the door open farther than about this wide, or they will get out immediately.  They’re kind of like babies; they need a lot of attention.  They need a lot of attention, but they’re really a joy.  Thank you for coming to my California Heartland, bye! 

Chris Burrous: California lamb, the perfect California meal!

Chris Burrous: It’s a great source of protein and is low in calories.  It’s also loaded with vitamins and iron. California is the second largest lamb producing state in the nation!  So—why not roast, broil or grill it up!?

Chris Burrous: Here with a great lamb recipe is food and lifestyle expert Laura McIntosh, bringing it home from the crops to your kitchen.

Laura McIntosh: The man to deliver great recipes is right here with us, Tony Baker from Montrio Bistro in Monterey. 

Tony Baker: Yes.

Laura McIntosh: The restaurant!  Let’s hear about it.

Tony Baker: Montrio Bistro, we’re downtown Monterey which is only 20 minutes south from where we are right now. 

Laura McIntosh: Alright!

Tony Baker: Well, we’re going to get our dish started and all it is putting ingredients in the pan in the right order.

Laura McIntosh: Okay.

Tony Baker: So, we have garlic.  I going to put even more olive oil, you want a lot of oil for this recipe.

Laura McIntosh: Alright, am I getting the garlic to a brown consistency? 

Tony Baker: Not right now, it will with the eggplant.  You’re going to be cooking that down for a little bit.

Laura McIntosh: So I’m putting it in there.

Tony Baker: This is an artichoke ratatouille, all that means really is I’m going to put diced artichoke hearts in towards the end.  We’re going to add onions, bell peppers and at the very last minute we’re going to add our zucchini yellow squash, artichokes and these are oven dried tomatoes. 

Laura McIntosh: Oh good!

Tony Baker: We’re going to get straight to the heart of the matter here, excuse the pun.  And I’m going to take a serrated knife, this is just a regular bread knife and I’m going to chop the top off.  And whip the bottom off.  Notice I’m not cutting all the way back, cause that’s all the heart in there; you want to protect the heart.  So, I’m going to cut around the outside and it’ll take you all the way down to the heart.  I’m getting there now.

Laura McIntosh: So, you just keep going around and around.

Tony Baker: You want to try and shape the knife around. 

Laura McIntosh: Ok, oh you want to get the heart. 

Tony Baker: So there we go, we got that all cleaned up.  Now, we got to take that green part off the bottom. 

Laura McIntosh: Oh, this bottom.  Ok.

Tony Baker: So, I’m going to cut this all the way around.  Now there’s our heart it’s beautiful. 

Laura McIntosh: That is gorgeous. 

Tony Baker: So I’m going to clean that up with some citrus there.  Keep it nice and white. 

Laura McIntosh: I’m adding onion.

Tony Baker: Oh, you go girl. 

Laura McIntosh: Ok.

Tony Baker: Ok, pop that in.  We’re going to pop that into the cooking liquid, it had oregano, red vine vinegar and we’re going to pop those in there for about 20-25 minutes.  For about 20 minutes of course you’re going to end up with cooked meat, which is what this is right here which is going to be the ingredients for our ratatouille. 

 

Laura McIntosh: Ratatouille!

Tony Baker: Next up, beautiful spring lamb I’ve wrapped it in pancetta which is an Italian cured bacon.  I’m going to season these up a little bit, now there’s already a little salt in the pancetta. 

 

Laura McIntosh: So, you have to be careful.

Tony Baker: Yeah, be careful don’t over season it.

 

Laura McIntosh: Okay!

Tony Baker: But I’m going to throw some extra black pepper on there, I love my pepper.

Laura McIntosh: I do too, I’m adding by the way, the zucchini.

Tony Baker: Oh, you go girl.

Laura McIntosh: (laughs)

Tony Baker: Alright, so I’m going to sear those in the pan.  So we put it into a really hot pan.  Little bit of olive oil, get it seared all the way around and then we’re going to pop that into our oven and finish it off.  Alright, we’re going to do marjoram.  Marjoram is an herb that you don’t hear much of, it’s beautiful, it’s fragrant.  We’re going to add this wonderful chopped marjoram to our ratatouille. 

Laura McIntosh: Okay.

Tony Baker: Delicate herbs like cilantro and marjoram you want to pop in towards the end.  I’m going to pop these straight into the oven. 

Laura McIntosh: He’s quick, did you see that? 

Tony Baker: I got this in a hot oven, I like to cook things…it depends, about 400 degrees.   And it’s only going to take, gosh, maybe 10 minutes because it’s in a hot pan, we’ve already seared it all the way off.

Laura McIntosh: That was easy.  Yeah, very easy, ok we’ve wrapped the lamb with pancetta, we’re making the ratatouille- pretty basic.  What is this now?

Tony Baker: We’ve got sauce here and I cheated, I made this at the restaurant.  It’s made from lamb stock as a base.  And I have in there some sherry vinegar, some red wine, some herbs, some vegetables, carrots, leeks, celery- a big staple.  And that’s got just a tad of cream at the end. 

Laura McIntosh: See that’s easy.

Tony Baker: I’m going to pop that out of the oven.  Oh yeah, look at that- lovely. 

Laura McIntosh: That looks beautiful- good!

Tony Baker: Alright Laura, would you mind poppin’ that marjoram into that ratatouille for me?

Laura McIntosh: No, perfect, all of it?

Tony Baker: Thank you so much, sure why not?

Laura McIntosh: Now that is what it’s supposed to look like everybody, that’s great. 

Tony Baker: Ok, I’m going to just cut the ends off, just trim the ends off.  And I’m going to cut 3 one inch pieces for one serving.  And, let’s see- oh look at that. 

Laura McIntosh: Oh, that looks great.  Gorgeous!  I love lamb in the spring time, you can do this for Easter.  I know a lot of people do ham and asparagus, but I’m thinking…

Tony Baker: I’m going to steal that from you there.

Laura McIntosh: Does it look good?  Are we good? 

Tony Baker: You did well, you did well.

Laura McIntosh: Awesome! 

Tony Baker: Ok, I’m going to pop this dead in the center of the plate.  You know it’d be a nice touch to use a ring, a pastry ring, but you know let’s face it I wouldn’t do that at home.

Laura McIntosh: At home, yea I wouldn’t do it at home.  I might do it at home if I was a weekend warrior. 

Tony Baker: Yeah…

Laura McIntosh: You, know doing this for the weekend. 

Tony Baker: Ok, we’re going to pop this dead in the center.  Uh, delicious I’m going to drizzle this along the outside like that. 

Laura McIntosh: Look at that!

Tony Baker: Tasty!

Laura McIntosh: Oh, that’s easy!  And, you said you’d make this easy enough for us to do at home and I think Tony you have.

Tony Baker: Wonderful!

Stephanie O’Neill: On this arid hillside, 20 miles east of downtown San Diego, John Clemmons grows and sells flowers.  Here you’ll find bright orange marigolds, rows of strawberry parfait dianthus and colorful stock.  Yet despite their beauty, none are destined for bouquets…instead, the blossoms here feed a different market.     

Stephanie O’Neill: I never would have thought of eating a rose petal.  Mmm, I think this is my favorite.

John Clemmons: It’s good.

Stephanie O’Neill: Everything Clemmons grows is organic and edible. 

Stephanie O’Neill: A former computer programmer, Clemmons started growing herbs here with his brother in the early 80s as a way to earn cash.  Soon he became one of the first U.S. farmers to grow edible flowers sold mostly to high end restaurants.  Today, Sunset Farms remains among the nation’s largest edible flower producers. 

John Clemmons: We’ll average about 50-thousand flowers a day production, Monday through Friday and then the crops will recover over the weekends and its amazing 11:30:37…

Stephanie O’Neill: When you started this and you were out peddling edible flowers did people think you were crazy?

John Clemmons: You know that was a tough one cause I’d say, hey I’m growing these are you interested. They’d go, Nah. We like the parsley and mint as a garnish. I don’t see that in our restaurant - so a lot of closed doors.

Stephanie O’Neill: Today, with help from his fiancée Diane Richards and her daughter Shanna Johnson, Clemmons has parlayed the success of sunset farms into a second venture called, “Sweetfields.”  The product? Crystallized or candied edible flowers which are winning national awards – including a gold medal at the fancy food show in New York.

Shanna Johnson: John came up with the marvelous idea of lets take it another step forward, let’s crystallize candy these flowersand we actually have a patent pending on our processes.

John Clemmons: The guys will harvest flowers in morning, you saw them picking earlier. And then they’ll put them in the tubs. Then put them in the cooler, cooler is at 40 degrees…to remove all the field heat so they’re nice and cold and crispy.

Stephanie O’Neill: Then, Clemmons gently immerses the flowers in a bath of water and meringue powder…pulls them out and sets them in a lettuce spinner to drain…then onto a paper towel that absorbs excess moisture…

Stephanie O’Neill: From there, each is generously coated with sugar and set either under a heat lamp or on a tray to dry.  Among Clemmon’s edible inventions, these glazed and waterproofed flowers that float on hot and cold drinks… shimmering candied flowers dusted with 24-carat gold and the latest?  Chocolatedipped flowers – all of them made on the farm.

Diane Richards: Right here we have a tray of crystallized pansies.  You can try one if you’d like to.

Stephanie O’Neill: Oh, I’d love to.  I’ll try this one right here.

Diane Richards: Kind of feels like a potato chip.

Stephanie O’Neill: It’s exactly what I compare them to. 

Diane Richards: Mmm.

Stephanie O’Neill: They’re crunchy and yummy.

Stephanie O’Neill: And there are rose petals, delicate violas only a half-inch in diameter and chunky snap dragons- all of them infused with fruit flavors.

Stephanie O’Neill: At Hans and Harry Bakery in nearby Bonita, owners Hans Zendee and harry Eijserman have long adorned elegant wedding cakes with Sweetfield’s crystallized flowers.

Hans Zendee: You see how it is?

Stephanie O’Neill: It’s beautiful!

Hans Zendee: I think you can stick one more here.

Stephanie O’Neill: All right, we’ll do that.

Stephanie O’Neill: Fueled by an unending supply of flower power, Clemmons and Richards can’t seem to stop new business ideas from blossoming… so what’s next?

Diane Richards: So we have a whole line of jewelry now and the jewelry is actually called blooming jewels.  So we make necklaces earring, bracelets…just a lot of different things.

John Clemmons: Yeah. Sky’s the limit.

Chris Burrous: The roots of California’s farming families grow deep.  This is the heritage of our heartland.

Dick Bush: I’m Dick Bush and my wife and I started Madrona Vineyards back in 1973 here in the Apple Hill area of El Dorado County.

Leslie Bush: I’m Leslie Bush.  I’ve been married to Dick for 52 years.

Paul Bush: I’m Paul Bush. I’m owner and winemaker of Madrona Vineyards, carrying on the family wine-making traditions of El Dorado County.

John Alston: They call this part of the sierra foothills “Apple Hill.” But it’s not apples that keep three generations of the Bush family living here and working the land.  It’s the allure of another fruit- grapes and the fine wine they’ve been producing for more than 30 years.

John Alston: It is the first day of autumn and today workers in the vineyard clip the last of the season’s cabernet sauvignon grapes.  It’ll be another three years before these beauties are ready for drinking.  Like so many years before, Paul and his father are in the middle of the crush.

John Alston: It is a ritual the Bush family has mastered since the early 1970’s when Dick and Leslie plunked down about 50-thousand dollars for 52 acres.  Back then, it was just a brushy hillside with a gorgeous madrone tree towering above the land.

Dick Bush: Well it’s a tree that was very large and very old even when we bought the property.  It became our namesake for a variety of reasons.  For one, I just liked the sound of Madrona.

John Alston: Running a winery was not what Dick and Leslie expected when they got married 52 years ago.  They met in college, his roommate was her brother.

Leslie Bush: My brother brought down a friend and I got a friend and we went for a double date.  I was going to San Jose State and he was going to Stanford.

John Alston: But Dick’s education had nothing to do with winemaking. He worked as an engineer for Ford in Detroit, but in 1967 moved the family back to Leslie’s hometown of Placerville. In 1972, they found this patch of land they set out to preserve and make productive.  Local farm advisors gave them a choice; the soil could sustain Christmas trees…or wine grapes.

John Alston: And if you had made a different decision back in 1972, we’d be in the middle of Christmas trees? 

Dick Bush: Yes, but, we wouldn’t be having nearly enough fun.

John Alston: The fun included enlisting an army of family and friends to clear the brush and plant the vines.

Paul Bush: Back then it really didn’t hit us that we were just going to start a vineyard.  When it really hit is when we started planting the vineyards and we got paid for each vine we planted.

John Alston: Today, madrona covers about 70 acres, producing two dozen grape varieties.  There is a tasting room where most of the family wine is sold. Right now, the winemaking facility is capable of bottling about 12 thousand cases of wine, proudly marked by the madrone tree still standing strong.

Paul Bush: Ready, go.

Paul Bush: I’m glad you didn’t cut it out. 

Dick Bush: There wasn’t much chance that we’d cut it out. (laughs)

John Alston: The business is still quite a family affair.  It’s been passed down to Paul who is the owner and winemaker.

Leslie Bush: We didn’t know for sure whether any of our children would want to carry on with it and you don’t want to force something on anyone.  So we were really pleased when Paul came back and then when Maggie has come into the family, too.

John Alston: Maggie runs the business end of the winery.  That includes everything from budgets to marketing.

John Alston: Paul and Maggie have two daughters…Tessa who’s five and Hanna who’s eight.

Hanna Bush: We get to crush and we sometimes get to help pick.

John Alston: What’s in your heart at the end of the day when you fill a glass of wine and think of all you’ve accomplished? 

Dick Bush: I’m amazed that we are where we are.

Paul Bush: You actually get to create something, you get to make something that everyone can really enjoy. 

Dick and Leslie Bush: To Paul and Maggie!

Paul and Maggie Bush: To Mom and Dad!

Chris Burrous: Everyone’s a farmer when it comes to their own backyard, try these tips for doin’ it Home Grown.

Kristine Hanson: So you love your pets and your yard?  Impossible combination, well it doesn’t have to be.  We’re going to show you how you can bring these two passions together in a harmonious and safe environment.

Kristine Hanson: These are all common landscape plants, euphorbia, boxwood, hibiscus, daphnis, azaleas- great plants in the landscape, but not so great for your pets.  Here to talk about the good, the not so good and the really bad plants in your landscaping is Dr. Jyl Rubin.  She’s a Sacramento veterinarian and I have raised livestock and they don’t chew on poisonous plants, why do our domestic dogs and cats love things that aren’t good for them?

Kristine Hanson: They want to chew on things because it tastes good, it smells good and sometimes they’re just a little bored. 

Kristine Hanson: So, what does this plant do once it gets inside our animal? 

Dr. Jyl Rubin: Well, each plant has a different toxic component to it.  So, some of them can cause kidney disease, some of them can cause liver disease, others can cause vomiting or gastric or intestinal issues.  So you need to make sure you’re aware of which plants in your garden are toxic to your plants.

Kristine Hanson: How do we deter animals from eating them?

Dr. Jyl Rubin: Well, there are several things.  You can actually purchase fencing or you can plant other plants around the toxic plants that don’t smell good to your pets.  And the third thing that I do is I just take a squirt bottle and fill it with water and add some dish soap to it and spray it right on top of the plants, it’s not toxic and it keeps other pests away, and your pets don’t like soapy water.

Kristine Hanson: Thank you Dr. Jyl and you know, if your pet wont stop chewing on a plant that’s poisonous, get rid of that plant and plant something that’s a little more pet friendly.

Kristine Hanson: So if you’re going to planting new shrubs or flowers in your yard, select ones that are good and not toxic for your pets.  This is a variety, we’ve got some snap dragons, these are great annuals in the fall and winter- the pets love them.  Crepe myrtles are universal throughout California, drought resistant, great color and this is a dwarf version and non-toxic as well.  Another pet friendly plant is our gardenia, which has those beautiful fragrant flowers and it’s evergreen, there’s another version, this dwarf version of that.  And then we’ve got date palm, so there are plenty of good plants to select that look great in the garden and are great for these guys too.

Kristine Hanson: Pesticides that control slugs, snails and earwigs can be very toxic to your pets so make sure you look for a product that can be used around pets and wildlife.  This particular product that has iron phosphate, not only controls slugs and snails but it will also fertilize your plants.

Kristine Hanson: Now, I even have an easier way of dealing with little pests that will destroy your plants overnight.  Look at this, it has been ravaged by slugs, snails and earwigs.  Simply take some paper, like I’ve done, you can use newspaper as well.  You’re going to roll it up tight, you’re going to put it under the plants, you can place these throughout the garden overnight.  Slugs, snails and earwigs love dark damp places, in the morning pick them up, put them over a bucket of soapy water, hit them all out, they die and you’ve controlled your pests in a pet friendly way.

Kristine Hanson: Now, I’m going to get busy and plant a few pet friendly plants and if I’m lucky I’ll get a little help from these guys.  Come poodles, come poodles, come help!  I don’t think so.  

Chris Burrous: That’s California Heartland, for more information on any of these stories go to Californiaheartland.org I’m Chris Burrous see you next time.

To order a copy of this show, visit us online or call 1-888-814-3923 the cost is $14.95 plus shipping

California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at www.californiacountry.org .  And, by the Almond Board of California; California Almonds, loved around the world, grown in California’s Heartland.