California Heartland Episode 919 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…

Planting a place for peace-

I know that he's looking down and he's seeing that when the guys come out here they find peace in this garden. 

The heart warming story of how tragedy inspired a San Francisco designer to celebrate the cycle of life in a healing garden..

Plus—

I am a little scared of what lies ahead, I would love to keep farming and love for my kids to be involved and carry on what my ancestors did…

Meet one of California’s oldest farming families—fighting to keep their heritage growing—in this midst of a water shortage.

And –

First you have to prepare your fruit-

Everything old is new again—we lift the lid on how to make your own old fashioned preserves!

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.

Topher Delaney: Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence liberates others.  And that’s what a garden is about, a garden is fearless. 

Rob Stewart: Landscape artist Topher Delaney makes healing gardens and uses planting and bushes – as her paints and brushes, each one – planting seeds of change.

Topher Delaney: What a garden does – is it’s progressive; it’s cyclic, so it’s moving and growing.  So the gardens I do are about things growing and changing and decaying.  There is an aspect here that is very important. 
Its life-

Rob Stewart: It’s life! 

Rob Stewart: A life uprooted when Topher was diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago and found herself in the hospital – searching for a calming garden, a place to heal.

Topher Delaney: And I thought, okay if I get out of this alive I’m going to make healing gardens.

Rob Stewart: Three days after surgery, Topher was designing her first healing garden and she never stopped!  Topher has made more than 400 of these, for hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and special memorials.  Each a sanctuary designed at her San Francisco studio named Seam.

Rob Stewart: Topher this is an amazing space! 

Topher Delaney: Yes it is!

Rob Stewart: And you get to work here. 

Topher Delaney: And I get to make it here!  It’s an active space that is constantly shifting and it’s just like a garden.

Rob Stewart: Topher tailors each garden – to each healing need.

Topher Delaney: The name of the plant here-

Topher Delaney: Others are memorials celebrating personal growth and new life.  But each garden is about a personal journey found in the meaning of Topher’s name, short for Christopher.

Topher Delaney: But what the Saint Christopher does - is that he, or the spirit, takes travelers from one side of the river to the other.

Rob Stewart: That river was filled with tears at the grieving Bayview Police Department when one of their prized officers, Issac Espinoza was gunned down in 2004.

Rob Stewart: On the first anniversary of Isaac’s death Topher unveiled this – the “blue garden,” a space of healing planted right in the middle of the police department parking lot.

Rob Stewart: Topher’s back today – replanting the garden, where healing grows …

Topher Delaney: Hi! 

Renata Espinoza: How are you?

Topher Delaney: Good, thank you for coming.

Rob Stewart: Isaac’s wife, fellow officers and Topher’s assistant are getting their hands dirty sprucing up the “blue garden,” pulling out old shrubs and planting new flowers.

Renata Espinoza: It makes me a little sad, at times, you know - but I love the fact that I'm planting plants , it just makes me sad because it reminds me of when he was here, but when I plant the plants I know they are going to grow.  And I know that his presence here makes them grow.

Sgt. Chris Martinez: It sort of gives the station a semblance of peace and gives them the idea that - hey, you know what?  Isaac would want you guys to keep on going.  And it's just some place that they can come and be and remember him and I like taking care of it, I like being a part of it.

Rob Stewart: Ironically Sergeant Mike Adraychac was planting the idea of a small garden here on this patch of weeds in honor of his buddy Isaac.

Sgt: Mike Adraychac: That's the sketch that I drew up.  Just kind of showing how it might look with some different fencing, lattice capped, kind of dress it up a little bit. 

Topher Delaney: I think we’ll new flowers in here, what do you think?

Rob Stewart: But that’s when Topher stepped in … with 60,000 dollars of her own cash and healing mission for this department filled with hidden messages.

Topher Delaney: And blue is the traditional color of protection, it comes from the color woad and woad was a plant in England in which when you went to fight, you put blue all over your face. 

Rob Stewart: To honor Isaac?  Rosemary, the plant of remembrance, dotted with blue flowers to match the blue garden.  There are white and red roses for purity.  And for the officers, lavender, a plant the calms – something needed for such a stressful job.

Topher Delaney: They have no place to sort of decompress.

Renata Espinoza: I know that he's looking down and he's seeing that when the guys come out here - they find peace in this garden.  I think that makes him smile. 

Topher Delaney: That's what a garden - it's about the age of time on this planet and acknowledging that the veining of the body and the garden.  It's so important to understand that things will shift and that we're only here for a little bit of time.

Rob Stewart: It’s the cycle of life and the cycle of a garden … from the seed to growing and back to the soil.

Topher Delaney: Maintain it, grow it, keep tending it, tending, tending, tending. And things will be okay!

Viola Taylor: My name is Viola Taylor, and I work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  And I am chair for the American River Salmon Festival School’s Day Committee and that’s what we’re doing out here today.  We’re going to have about 200 students come out here today, and they’re going to be rotated through 7 different stations, and they’re going to learn all about the lifecycle of the salmon. 

Kids: We’re pretending to be salmon!  Going up the stream and trying to stay away from the fishermen! 

Viola Taylor: Just to see the excitement on the kids, that they actually get an opportunity to get out here and learn about salmon and actually be a salmon themselves. 

Kids: We’re learning about salmon today. 

Kids: I learned that king salmon have a really tough life.

Kids: And keep our water clean so our fish can stay healthy.

Viola Taylor: The kids are taking it home to their parents, there taking the information home that they’re learning here and taking it home to their parents and they’re sharing it with them. 

Kids: We played a game that we were salmon. 

Kids: There’s different ways to learn about salmon.

Kids: We are having fun learning about salmon! (laughs)

Chris Burrous: California corn—it’s sweet, fresh and delicious!  And – California ranks number 2 when it comes to producing the crop.  In fact, 18 percent of the nation’s corn is grown right here in California!  Food and lifestyle expert Laura McIntosh is bringing it home from the crops to your kitchen.

Laura McIntosh: Well thanks everyone for joining me, I am here with the grower Alan- what’s your season like- what’s corn season is?

Farmer: Well we start planting corn in February and finish the corn in November. 

Laura McIntosh: You know, it’s expensive to hand pick corn.  Why do you do that? 

Farmer: Because the workers pick the best ears of the plant, and then also there’s no damage from the machines. 

Laura McIntosh: Alan grows it here, it’s all good and it’s all here through November.  Thanks Alan!

Laura McIntosh: Well thanks everyone for joining me, I’d like to introduce you to Janine, hi Janine!

Janine Falvo: Hi Laura!

Laura McIntosh: Thanks for being on the show.

Janine Falvo: Thanks for having me.

Laura McIntosh: Alright, what are you going to cook with us today?  We’ve got some fresh corn going on; we’ve got a lot of things.

Janine Falvo: It’s a white corn pudding, and it can be with an entrée or as a dessert.

Laura McIntosh: Alright, you are set!  We have done a few steps though before we started, we have done a little roux. 

Janine Falvo: We have, we have a blonde roux.  We did that with a little butter and flour and that’s it.  And then we’re reducing our cream.  So what we’ll do is start by sautéing the corn.  This is great recipe, if we could get corn to Thanksgiving; this is a great Thanksgiving recipe.

Laura McIntosh: There she goes, what’s here favorite ingredient?  Shallots!  That’s right!

Janine Falvo: When in doubt, cut shallots.  Okay, next thing we’re going to do, and you can help me with this; I’m going to combine and put the cream in the bowl.  As soon as I add this, you can add this- the mascarpone. 

Laura McIntosh: Ah a little mascarpone cheese, everyone likes that!  The whole thing, Janine?

Janine Falvo: Yeah.

Laura McIntosh: Okay- oh and it’s melting right in this warm cream.  Very nice!

Janine Falvo: And the next thing you’re going to want to do is add the egg yolks pretty slowly. 

Laura McIntosh: Real slowly?  Because the cream is warm, we don’t want to curdle them.  So we want to go nice and slow. 

Janine Falvo: Okay and then we’re going to add our roux.  And now I think it’s a good time to use the whisk.  So, we’ll add our corn.  That’s what makes the pudding- pudding.

Laura McIntosh: Oh yeah!

Janine Falvo: Okay we’re going to add a little tarragon and chives.  And what I’m going to start to do is whip the egg yolks to peaks. 

Laura McIntosh: How we lookin’ Janine?

Janine Falvo: I think we’re at our peak performance. 

Laura McIntosh: It only takes about 3 minutes you guys.

Janine Falvo: So at this time let’s add our toasted brioche. 

Laura McIntosh: To this mixture?  Okay, all of it. 

Janine Falvo: All of it.  Ok the next thing we want to fold in the egg whites.

Laura McIntosh: Okay, you do the honors. 

Janine Falvo: And the egg whites are still going to remain visible; I’m not folding them in all the way.  I want it to be nice, white and fluffy. 

Laura McIntosh: Now, these will go in the oven for about 15 minutes.  She has them, as you can see, in a water bath.  And she has these great ramekins, they’re greased, they’re ready to go in the oven sitting in a water bath. 

Janine Falvo: Ok we can start scooping them into our ramekins. 

Laura McIntosh: Wait until you see these things come out.  You’re going to be so excited as I am, Janine they turned out perfect! We’re ready- let’s do this thing!  Look at that, isn’t that beautiful!

Janine Falvo: So we’ll just take them out of the water bath.  You can do a compote if you want, fig would be great.  Peaches are great.

Laura McIntosh: Oh look that dropped I’m going to have to taste it.  Oh you guys this was an easy fun recipe that, by the way, tastes fantastic.  Thank you Janine!

Janine Falvo: Thank you!

Laura McIntosh: These are just perfect out here.

Frank Alonso: My name is Frank Alonso, and this is My California Heartland.
My job is farming on 1400 acres and I’ve farmed this property for the last 30 years.  The hardest part about my job is keeping everything busy.  It’s my job to make sure everything is running smoothly.  The bottom line is, if it’s not running properly, I’m not running properly.  I get out to the field about 6:30, a quarter to 7.  Make sure my crew has everything they need.  Winter crops are hard to grow because you can’t control Mother Nature.  I enjoy what I’m doing; it’s like any job you have to enjoy it to do it because it gets very hectic out there. But I feel what I do is important, not only to myself, but my family and my friends and the state of California- somebody has to do this work.  And I certainly enjoy doing it- thanks for coming to see my California heartland. 

Chris Burrous: Every Saturday morning at 7am you’re likely to find 15-year-old Teresita Cueto doing what many kids her age in Los Angeles aren’t used to doing... That’s working on a farm and harvesting crops like these organic tomatoes.

Teresita Cueto: It was a totally new experience I really enjoy coming here and that's why I’m still here.

Farmer: You chop this up and throw it in with some fish that you’re cooking.

Chris Burrous: Teresita and the rest of these teenagers from South El Monte High School are working part time for earthworks community farm…a non-profit job training program.  This job has not only helped Terestia discover an appreciation of farming and organic food, but has given her insight into a new career.

Teresita Cueto: Working here on the farm has influenced what I want to do in the future which is going to study homeopathic medicine.

Chris Burrous: It’s the kind of revelation and impact on this child’s future that’s at the core of why earthworks –works.

Chris Burrous: Earthworks Community Farm was founded 4 years ago by reverend Connie Yost.

Irene Lopez: She literally started this with nothing.  I mean, we had no area to plant.  Just basically went knocking on different elective officials’ doors and she was getting folks from the community involved. 

Chris Burrous: And that’s when the L.A. county parks and recreation stepped in dedicating these four acres to the earthworks program—now part of the Los Angeles conservation corp.

Chris Burrous: Learning business and leadership skills by working on the farm, and running this produce stand have changed the way these kids interact at school.

Ruby Solorzano: The kids that have been involved in the program, what we see at school is that their attitude is very different.  At first, they're a little hesitant because they think we're going to be out there in the sun, and they can be a little negative at first, but then they've been leaders here, so they go out and they're acting as leaders.  They know that it's important to do well in school, because that's what they talk about here.

Ruby Solorzano: These are things that kids like to do.  They’re learning, but they’re having fun too.  I think that’s great.

Chris Burrous: Victor Ledsma helped get this program off and running and says pairing the teens with the farm was the best way to make a dramatic impact not only on their future, but on the future of the community.

Victor Ledsma: I think that this kind of program helps youth to go in to a different direction.  To help youth to have a little more responsibility and to have youth understand what nature is all about.

Araceli Gallardo: My dad said that I learn and that it's a tradition when he was young and he wants us to do it too. 

Irene Lopez: We're really serving these kids holistically by teaching them and helping them where they can have some pride, have some money in their pocket or even if they don't, a lot of these kids turn around and give the money to their families to help them buy food.

Chris Burrous: But while the benefits of having this kind of program for the kids and the community is clear, what’s not clear is the future of the farm.

Victor Ledsma: To run this farm, it takes about 200,000 dollars; we really really need the community support, public support and it’s such a beautiful vision and such a beautiful thing that we’re doing.  But again it takes money and we’re hoping we can find a couple of angels out there that will help continue this kind of a vision that we started.

Chris Burrous: A vision that turned into a reality and a new way of life for these young adults.  By turning teenagers into leaders, responsible citizens, community activists and possibly potential farmers.  The Earthworks Community Farm is empowering future generations for hopefully years to come.

Teresita Cueto: Knowing it's us who are like growing the fruits and vegetables they're consuming and knowing that we're not putting out anything that will harm them that makes me feel good.

Jane Alexander: My name is Jane Alexander, I’m a Master Food Preserver.  Today we made marmalades, conserves and butters. 

Chris Burrous: Here at the Agricultural Center in El Dorado County and these volunteer Master Food Preservers come together for their monthly canning course, helping to preserve a lost art. 

Jane Alexander: I train for the University of California Cooperative Extension right here in El Dorado County.  Marmalades are a form of jam or jelly, but they always contain citrus.  Conserves is fruit that is cooked down and butters are fruits that are cooked so that they are soft and will spread.  First you have to prepare your fruit, wash your fruit and then peel it and then chop up the rinds and segment out the fruit.  And when you’ve done that then you cook it up like you would any other jam. 

Chris Burrous: Along with making marmalades, the Master Food Preservers teach the benefits of canning at home.

Jane Alexander: People are more aware of what they’re eating I think, they’re looking on the back of cans and seeing how much salt and additives and preservative they’re eating and I think they want to eat better more wholesome foods. 

Chris Burrous: But this aint your grandma’s canning anymore, the class covers safe practices for pressure canning. 

Jane Alexander: So, if it’s not properly processed you can get botulism, salmonella and all those things that make you very sick.  So canning it properly is very essential.  Oh we have fun and we get to make some wonderful different kind of preserves and we do jerky, we do olives, we dry things, we freeze things- we cover the whole way that you can store food at home. 

Chris Burrous: Simply stated, this class is old fashioned health food and laughter in a jar. 

Class attendant: I tasted apple butter, which was delicious.  It was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Class attendant: To die for! (laughs)

Jane Alexander: I just have fun! (laughs)

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

Burnet Wohlford: I'm Burnet Wohlford, a 4th generation citrus avocado farmer, in San Diego County.

Elizabeth Wohlford: My name is Elizabeth Wohlford and I’m a 4th generation Calfornian, my family had grown avocados and citrus in Escondido for over 100 years.

Burnet “Tigger” Wohlford: My name is Burnet Wohlford, I’m 3rd generations of the Wohlford's my grandfather A.W. Wohlford came to Escondido in the 1890's.

Jennifer Quinonez: The Wohlford family is a close knit bunch, still keeping the tradition of farming citrus and avocados alive here in Escondido after more than 100 years.

Burnet Wohlford: Pretty good, can't complain about that!

Jennifer Quinonez: In 1890, A.W. Wohlford made his way to San Diego – not to find his way in farming but in hopes of discovering gold!

Burnet “Tigger” Wohlford: He heard there was gold in Escondido and they drilled a few shafts and were unsuccessful.   

Jennifer Quinonez: So A.W. moved on and started buying citrus groves. But being a farmer wasn’t good enough for sally, his future bride.

Burnet “Tigger” Wohlford: He'd met my grandmother Sally but she told him that she'd have to marry a man of substance that she wasn't interested in a farmer or gold miner, and so he managed to acquire the one man bank in Escondido and he was the banker in Escondido until he sold the bank to Bank of America.

Jennifer Quinonez: A.W. didn’t just stop at farming and banking.  His entrepreneurial spirit led him to starting the first regulated water company in Escondido.   

Jennifer Quinonez: This water company was big, had a big substantial history in your family.

Burnet “Tigger” Wohlford: I’d say we were certainly tied into it; we had one of the largest ranches so we used more water than anyone.

Jennifer Quinonez: So it was good he got into the water business.

Burnet “Tigger” Wohlford: Good he did, and assured water for the grove.

Jennifer Quinonez: But this family’s farm history could have gone on a completely different path in the 1920’s when A.W.’s only son B.C. had his sights set on moving to New York.

Burnet “Tigger” Wohlford: My dad actually trained to be an attorney.  And had gone to Stanford and Harvard law, and graduated from Stanford and was all set to go to work for a New York law firm.  And on the way before he went back to work, he happened to stop at the oculus, and this gentleman told him that if he practiced law and did all the studying and book work required to him, he'd loose his eyesight.

Jennifer Quinonez: So B.C., came back to the farm, and took over the same farming, banking and water duties started by A.W.

Elizabeth Wohlford: I can't even imagine where the family would have gone if he had continued with his law profession, he was a huge influence for all of us.

Jennifer Quinonez: The family says B.C.’s strong commitment to the farm and his family is still present to this day.

Elizabeth Wohlford: We grew lemons and oranges; we either had to drink lemonade or orange juice or water.

Elizabeth Wohlford: Lemonade that we made, not store bought we had to squeeze it.

Burnet Wohlford: And asparagus was the only thing you could use your hands with, pick up that was it.

Jennifer Quinonez: A lot of rules (all laugh) are you still passing them down? The rules?

Elizabeth Wohlford: Oh yes! (all laugh)

Jennifer Quinonez: As the years have gone by, this family is now struggling to keep up with change, especially now that they’ve had to chop down 30% of their avocado trees to meet the recent mandatory water cut backs in San Diego County.

Jennifer Quinonez: Your father planted these trees the year you were born, and now you have to cut them down, that must be tough.

Burnet Wohlford: It’s tough, it's really hard, I mean these are over 40 year old trees.
Jennifer Quinonez: But they’re not giving up and no matter what lies ahead for the Wohlfords, their deep roots in farming will always live in their hearts.
Burnet Wohlford: I would love to keep farming and I would love for my kids to be involved and carry on what my ancestors have done.
Elizabeth Wohlford: It’s not an easy life you don’t know if you’ll have rain or frost.  It’s a gamble, but the payoff is definitely worth it. 
Burnet “Tigger” Wohlford: I can only say its been a challenging experience and it’s been rewarding- it’s been a good life.

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.