2016 classes open for discovery!

Learn how to carve your own wooden spoon, or create a plan for building your own nutritious food forest. Become well versed in the art of basic garment construction, natural dyes, or weaving a traditional foraging basket. Paint, prepare and eat a Cuban meal. Plus gain the knowledge and skills to preserve seasonal foods in the new Larder & Pantry Sessions. These are just a few of the class topics in the Nana Cardoon 2016 educational series.

Kiko helping a student with his spoon

Kiko helping a student with his spoon

Taught by working practitioners and experts in their subject, the classes offer community members, farmers, gardeners, and teachers an in-depth experience in a wide variety of traditional food and craft subjects.

Each class offers a wealth of information through hands-on projects, presentations, and discussion. A wood-fired oven shares the classroom space and bicycles build to grind grain wait for the willing rider nearby. The ever-changing orchards, rich garden beds and sown fields surround you. All classes include a farm fresh meal and rich conversation at the long community table.

Marcella making salsa

Marcella and student making Salsa

Don’t wait long to sign up, space is limited to ensure the best experience for all.

eating lunch

Sharing a meal at the community tab

 

 

 

 

To register for a class, or for more information, contact Charlene at 503-357-4992 or at charlene@nanacardoon.com and save your place in the classroom and at the table!

The Essential Larder & Pantry

“Over here is one of our larders,” Charlene mentions as she leads the small group of university students to the north facing porch of the farm house she and Richard call home. The students quickly realize its not your average front porch. They gaze over the cornucopia of milk carton cases bursting with multicolored apples, gallon glass jars jam-packed with

Jar of pickles

Jars of pickles fill the larder shelves.

olives, earthenware pots spilling over with potatoes and onions, and light gray formation crocks bubbling with sauerkraut, kosher dills, and assorted citrus.

“These foods are alive,” Charlene continues. “The larder is where we keep foods that need to be in a naturally cool and shaded environment.” The care and respect she has for good food comes through as she talks with the students about “live” food, the fermentation process, and the importance of a larder in a well stocked kitchen. Each student takes an olive to taste.

Corn kernels in hand

Corn kernels will be stored in the pantry.

Charlene moves on to the subject of the pantry. “Our pantry designated areas are stores of canned tomato sauces, preserves, dried pasta, beans and grains, jars of anchovies, dried fruits and vegetables. These are all things that are kept in a ‘still’ room, which is also an old term referring to a kitchen or workroom where foods are preserved or made ‘still’.”

Nana Cardoon Urban Farm hosts many students of all ages and Charlene doesn’t miss a chance to help them learn the many components to a good table. “Pantry comes from the French ‘pain’. Larder comes from the French ‘lard’. These terms come from the way homes used to be organized. I like to keep things separated in the same way, honoring the traditional ways of storing and handling nutrition, and depending on non-electric storage methods.”

Squash on the vine

This farm grown squash is now in one of the larders.

The students continue on their farm tour as they make their way past mounds of herbs, twisting grape vines, and fruit hanging heavy on the persimmon tree. If they just happen to come back in the near future they would find that most of what they see now in one of the pantries or larders they just learned about. Because as she mentioned Charlene processes and stores almost all foods utilizing traditional and natural storage in various the larders and pantries around their home.

Harvesting produce, beans and grains from the farm; procuring and curing meats from neighboring farms; creating cheeses, kefir, and fermented breads – each batch, jar, basket, or crate makes it way into the appropriate pantry or larder. There it becomes part of the ever-changing procession of good foods headed toward a nutritious convivial meal around the farmhouse table.

Nana Cardoon larder areas:

  • Charcuterie
  • Cheese
  • Vinegars
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Lacto Fermentation Crocks
Canned tuna in glass jars

Canned Oregon albacore stocks the pantry.

Nana Cardoon pantry areas:

  • Kitchen area pantry – ‘still’ items used on a daily basis
  • Shed pantry – canned goods for the year

And the wine is in our “cellar”!

Sala Painting, Creating & Eating

A day of creativity awaits 12 students as artist and teacher Marcella Kriebel guides the class through painting vegetables and making salsa. Turning farm-raised corn into tortillas is Charlene’s focus, and with Richard at the grill brunch is in good hands!

Marcella provides guidance for beginners and advanced painters alike — everyone is creative!

Charlene shares a peek at the farm-grown corn to be made into tortillas. The molino does the trick and soon tortillas are ready for the grill.

Marcella and class are busy making salsa – with fresh picked peppers and other ingredients from the farm.

Brunch tastes fantastic, right down to the last slurp – south of the border style!

This is too much fun!

Missed this event? Don’t wait to sign up for Margarita Shake Up: An Evening of Painting & Dining on the Farm! — October 2nd. Marcella will be back with another creative class — check it out and save your seat at the table.

Hands-On Learning on the Farm

Charlene and Richard began developing Nana Cardoon Urban Farm and Learning Center long before the 3rd grade through high school students that came to visit last month were even born. Yet having the 76 girls from the Chicas Youth Development Program explore, discover, and learn from this land was just what they had in mind over thirty years ago. Back in the 80’s they began to build organic soil, plant a diverse orchard, develop an infrastructure to support an urban farm, and focus on how they could help neighbors and community members of all ages learn about sustainable and healthy food and farming.

Join the 3rd through 5th grade members of the Chicas Youth Development Program, a Adelante Mujeres program, as they spend the day on the farm.

(clockwise from left) Kathy Alvares explores the taste of freshly ground flour; Abigail Grande inspects a water feature; Andrea Tellez seasons the garden salsa she helped make.

(clockwise from left) The table is set and ready for the Chicas lunch; signs throughout the garden stand ready to guide students in learning; Charlene talks with volunteers about the various work stations for the day; onions lay in wait, ready to harvest for salsa-making.

Plenty of preparation takes place before the Chicas visit. Charlene and Richard, the co-farmers at Nana Cardoon, worked with Eden Acres, an environmental literacy organization, to design an activity-packed day filled with hands-on learning. Over 10 volunteers also participate during the program — from setting up the learning stations to manning the grill, from leading projects to washing dishes.

(clockwise from left) Cytlalli Najera grinds wheat on the bicycle  grinder; Richard talks about how wheat is harvested and the process to prepare it for use with (l to r) Leticia Guiterrez, Yuliana Garfias and Andrea Tellez; Kathy Alvarez (l) and Natalia Martinez (r) sift the freshly ground wheat.

A focus on the cycle of soil to seeds, planting, tending, and harvest is always present at Nana Cardoon. Also, how the harvest comes to table plays an important role, and was highlighted for the young students as they ground freshly harvested wheat using the bicycle-powered grinder.

(clockwise from top left) Janette Santiago grinds corn as Charlene looks on; the molino; Charlene helps Natalia Martinez  grind corn; a handful of the organic corn to be ground and used for tortillas.

Grinding the organic corn that was made into tortillas, cooked on the outdoor grill, and then tasted by the girls, opened up a discussion about various ways our food is produced and processed. The hands-on activity helped make the concept of good, clean and healthy ingredients and foods more understandable.

(clockwise from top left) all salsa ingredients, except lime, were harvested at Nana Cardoon; Amalia Guzman uses a stone mortar and pestle; (l to r) Itzel Ortiz, Yuliana Garfias, Leticia Guiterrez work together to make salsa; Moncerrat Villanueva crushes the vegetables for the salsa. 

“Going to Nana Cardoon offered the participants the experience to link cultural traditions with food in a fun and interactive way. Physically making their own salsa and picking their fresh salad ingredients made them feel special and important to be part of old and new traditions.” Andrea Chunga-Celis, Chicas Program Site Facilitator

(clockwise from top left) (l to r) Hatziri Mandujano, Kathy Alvarez, Yamil Gaona and Natalia Martinez help Richard harvest potatoes; volunteer Elena Rasmussen at the grill; potato harvest

One of the morning projects got the girls out in the garden digging potatoes that were then later served at lunch.

“Knowing where their food comes from really gives kids something to think about. They start to make the connections and it’s like a light goes off. That’s a joy to see!” Richard

(clockwise from top) Lunch of garden greens, potatoes; fresh salsa, beans, and tortillas; the Chicas enjoy the meal they just helped to make; a plate of the freshly made tortillas; Charlene and Leticia Aguilar, Chicas Program Coordinator, serve up the plates.

“An important part of food and culture is the lost art of sitting together at table and enjoying food and conversation. The long table, the relaxed outdoor setting, and inviting the girls to sit and be served, offers the Chicas time to focus on their food and each other during their lunch.” Charlene

(clockwise from top left) (l to r) Daniela Garcia, Brianna Garcia and Emma Aguilar spread mulch on the bush beans; Janette Santiago with Richard working in the field: discussion time for one of the groups; exploring soil and worms!

After lunch the Chicas helped mulch some of the crops as they learned about water conservation. Then they got a look, and feel, of composted soil complete with the worms. Nana Cardoon gets all the senses involved in the learning process.

(clockwise from top left) Charlene and Elena Rasmussen after a happy day with the Chicas; a thank you signed by all; 3rd-5th graders from the Chicas Program with Charlene, Richard, Adelante Mujeres program staff, and volunteers.

The many smiles express the delight of all!

“Can I come back to Nana Cardoon?” Chicas comment after farm visit.

Thank you to our partners: Adelante Mujeres Chicas Youth Development Program and EdenAcres

Rhubarb – A First Sign of Spring

One of the first signs of Spring’s awakening at Nana Cardoon is rhubarb. An herbaceous perennial vegetable native to Siberia it makes its appearance in the early months of the year, typically March.

Rhubarb covered with clay pot

Rhubarb covered with clay pot

We “force” our rhubarb, that is we place an earthen pot called a cloche (reminiscent of the closely fitting woman’s hat) over the barely emerging plant. Our cloches are from England where there is a long standing culture, even celebration of forced rhubarb. The Rhubarb Triangle including the towns of Wakefield, Leeds and Morley are home to several events. wikipedia.org/wiki/rhubarb-triangle has a fun and fascinating posting titled, “History, Cultivation and Culture”.

The function of the cloche can be improvised with a large terra cotta pot and a stone or piece of broken pot to cover the hole. Not as pretty but does the job!

Even in the closed environment of the cloche, the soil is warmed, the plant

grows tall and tender as it reaches for the light. Once the leaves reach the top of the cloche the pot is removed to reveal the most amazing array of colors depending upon the variety, combinations of “hot” lime green, rosy red and pink. Richard prefers to use a mixture of red and green stalk varieties. The red stalk varieties are flavorful, yet mild, while the green stalk varieties have a more complex flavor for the pie.

Spring rhubarb in clay pot

Spring rhubarb in clay pot

It’s become an annual event here: friends gather for the unveiling. We herald with a hearty “Da! Da! Da! Dat! Da!”, followed by exclamations of joy as the colors are revealed.

Each fall our plants are given a one-inch dose of compost and mulched with several inches of decaying leaves. A caution is in order. The leaves are high in oxalic acid, therefore somewhat toxic and not to be eaten.

Richard's rhubarb pie

Richard’s rhubarb pie

We always make something special from these beautiful stalks (petioles). Recipes, both sweet and savory abound. Above is a picture of one of Richard’s famous pies. There is always a secret ingredient, an intriguing accent: crystalized ginger in rhubarb, almond extract in cherry, freshly cracked pepper in strawberry, aged balsamic in apple. We cannot tell you any of the others, or we’d be revealing all his secrets!

We follow British chef and food activist Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, www.rivercottage.net and use his recipes quite often. Here’s a recipe from The Guardian, ” Pretty in Pink: Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall New Season Forced Rhubarb Recipes”. The recipes range from savory to sweet. We chose the rhubarb and rosewater to illustrate the beauty of simplicity, just enough sugar to lift the rhubarb and enough drops of rosewater to enhance the floral notes. It only needs a shortbread cookie to accompany.

Delicate, delightful ode to Spring!

500 grams (1 lb approx.) rhubarb, cut into pieces

50   grams (4 Tablespoons or to taste) caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon to 2 teaspoons rose water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice rhubarb into pieces and place in a baking dish with just the water that clings to it after washing, and toss with sugar. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Cool completely then gently stir in the rosewater, starting with just 1/2 teaspoon, adding a little more at a time until you have the depth of flavor that suits you. Serve with your favorite shortbread cookie.

Rosewater brings out the slightly floral quality of new season forced rhubarb, but if that isn’t your think, use orange flower water or a few drops of best-quality vanilla extract.

Seedy Saturday – Seeds & Stories

What does Seedy Saturday at Nana Cardoon look and sound like? A dynamic group of folks happily exchanging seed stories, history, culture, culinary usage, and growing tips. Beautiful brown seeds so tiny they could blow away, shiny black seeds large enough to reflect the sun, brittle dried pods and leaves suspended from vines filling a large bag, small neat packets displaying names like Frye’s Golden Goose and Black Star Lima … all these and more just waiting for a new garden or farm to grow in!

People looking at seeds, Getting ready for Seedy Saturday.

Getting ready for Seedy Saturday.

The inspiration for Seedy Saturday came from several trips to Sooke Harbour House to celebrate our anniversary. Owner Sinclair Phillip is very active in Slow Food Canada, and extends a special discount to Slow Food members. The cuisine at Sooke Harbour House is overseen by Sinclair and his wife Frederique, and is dedicated to local, organic, seasonal and wild foods. All items on the menus are from the Southwestern Coast of Vancouver Island.

While staying in Sooke, we attended Sooke Seedy Saturday. According to the Sooke Region Food CHI Society the event is “a family friendly day . . . featuring a seed exchange and trading table, a diverse range of seed and plant vendors, local wild harvesters and food artisans, information from local non-profits working to enhance food security and tons of educational displays featuring information on everything from composting to bees to the history of farming in the region . . .”

Started in 1990 in Vancouver, British Columbia, there are now over 100 Seedy Saturdays throughout Canada and they are spreading throughout the world. The event began as a response to the difficulty, at that time, to find heritage varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers and grains.

What really impressed us about the Sooke event was that each of the seed companies there were represented by owners and representatives who knew the history of all the seeds they were offering. It has always been important to us to know the back-story of any seed source we might consider for the gardens and fields at Nana Cardoon, and this event provided a rich source of information in that area.

This popular Canadian event prompted us to begin an annual Seedy Saturday at Nana Cardoon, with the exchange to be held on the 3rd or 4th Saturday of February. For our event we planned to invite and share special seeds and stories from seed savers in our community and region.

Our goals are to share seeds that have a definite known history of where they have been planted, how they have been harvested, and the care that was taken with cross pollination issues. With the focus on seed history, this is how Seedy Saturday differs from a simple seed exchange.

Our second annual Seedy Saturday, held on February 21, 2015 coincided with a Slow Food Ark of Taste Oregon Committee meeting held here. The committee members enjoyed the fire pit setting for their meeting and a tasty luncheon at the outdoor table. Then the committee members were eager to meet other seed savers from the community after lunch and begin the afternoon Seedy Saturday event.

Discussing the merits of the Oregon Homestead Sweet Meat Squash

Discussing the merits of the Oregon Homestead Sweet Meat Squash

Under a cloudless bright blue sky stories were told and seeds exchanged. Interest was high and intense as one after another the history of the seeds unfolded. Locations of plantings, textures of vegetables, and where the seed originated spilled out along with the seeds. There were surprises, too. One member of the Ark Committee brought very special pepper seeds–much to the surprise of another member, who operates a well-known Seed Company, and who believed she had lost the seed source of the pepper!

Here are but a few of the seeds that were traded:

  • Lupini Bean.   These seeds sprouted can reach 40% protein.
  • Tom Thumb Popcorn. Popular with children, the small cobs can be popped quickly in the microwave.
  • Otto File Polenta Corn. This corn has been naturalized for our growing season for 12 years. You haven’t eaten polenta in you haven’t grown & ground your own.
  • Black Star Pole Lima Bean.   This, beautiful, smallish pole lima bean doesn’t loose its dark color when cooked.
  • Tennessee Squash. A fabulous, sweet large squash propagated locally for over 30 years.
  • Oregon Homestead Sweet Meat Squash. This seed heritage in nurtured by Dr. Carole Deppe.
  • Yellow Cabbage Collards. During the sub freezing weather locally, these collards kept on going.
  • Frye’s Golden Goose Pole Bean.   This is a local (Gales Creek) heirloom bean seed purportedly from a goose’s crop.
  • Makah Ozette Potato. Large fingerling shaped potatoes from the Makah Indian tribe near Ozette, Washington. This potato is on the Ark of Taste.
  • Ravanello Candela di Fuoco. Fire red, candle shaped radish from Italy. This particular radish goes to seed vey quickly locally, and is a prolific producer of very tasty, crunchy, slightly spicy pods.
  • Zolfini Beans. Naturalized locally for over 20 years. Bean seed originally from the Consorium Fagioli Zolfini del Prato Magno. Prolific bush variety.

Nana Cardoon Heirloom Tomato Varieties:

  • Pomodorini al Piennolo
  • Rio Grande
  • San Marzano Piccolo
  • Cuore de Toro
  • Gold and Red Current
  • Schimmeig Stuffing
  • Principe Borghese
  • Chadwick Cherry
  • Sunbow Teardrop Tomato

It was a very grand Seedy Saturday!

Future Seedy Saturdays

Discussing seeds.

Seeds equal happiness!

One of the goals of future Seedy Saturdays at Nana Cardoon is to gather seed savers and their stories, and share and swap seeds with the intent of participants specializing in a crop or crops. In October, the same group would gather to barter and trade surplus and abundance. This specialization in growing would place heirloom squash in one person’s care, keeper onions in another’s, potato varieties in another’s. This annual event might be called Winter Larder Exchange.

Ideas for seed exchanges, and the sharing of growing seeds and information are endless! At Nana Cardoon we work for seed sovereignty, for supporting open pollination and heritage seeds, and for putting good seeds into the hands of farmers and gardeners to grow, eat and share long into the future.

Written by Charlene and Richard.

Our Story

Welcome to Nana Cardoon, an urban farm and learning center offering opportunities to explore and learn about food production, from the soil to seeds, from the field to the table.