Fairytale Farm Garden Tour – Saturday, September 24th


What:  Fairytale Farm Tour

Where: 728 and 232 Riverside Ave; a few houses from Broadway

When: 10 AM to 2 PM – Saturday, September 24th

On Saturday, September 24th  we are hosting a Fairytale Farm tour of our garden! Come visit our chickens and bees, see our 30 fruit trees and other vegetables growing. Learn what we’ve been sowing here at the farm, and come check out our interns’ work. We’ve been teaching UCSC interns how to farm for 2 years now, and they have tended to the garden, learned how to farm and process foods, and created a Fairytale Farm logo, planting calendar, recipe book with perennial herbs, t-shirts and prints. Everyone is invited, and this is a family friendly event. Stroll down to Riverside Gardens Park, and come see the community garden beds and Santa Cruz’ first public fruit orchard!

14242376_1087439977958971_1523098282473307377_oWe’re saving the Beach Flats Garden corn and have 10 foot tall beautiful corn waiting to dry into tortillas.14188349_1300543846623516_8519333576088364385_oWe have a new kitten on the farm, and our 6 chickens are happily eating Cafe DelMarette compost every week. Come join us!

Riverside Gardens Park Orchard Year 2


We had a training workshop today at the Riverside Gardens Park Public Fruit Tree Orchard with Andy Moskowitz of Seedculture.org and Steve Schnaar from the Fruit Tree Project.  The pear and apple trees are growing nicely.  Andy trained a few trees with string and stakes in the ground.  Others branches were propped wider with wood splints.  We want air flow, light, and enough space between limbs.


The grapes that we planted around the arbor are looking good.


And the community garden beds are blooming and growing vegetables! There are scarlett runner beans, corn, squash, basil, peas, flowers, tomatoes, peppers, and marigolds.  Beautiful!



The pollinators are happy.  The neighborhood bees (I wonder if they are from my hive?) are already enjoying this orange torch tithonia. Scarlett runner beans grow up corn.  I love how the gardeners are planting so many flowers with their vegetables, especially my favorite; sweet peas, marigolds and snapdragons!


The blueberries I planted several years ago are doing pretty good, considering they are not getting quite the water they need…I come by every few months and give them acid based fertilizer.


Here are two varieties of apples and pears we planted in the orchard.


We are breaking ground on the expansion of the orchard next to Mike Fox Skate Park this winter. Stay tuned!

To read more about Riverside Gardens Park and our Public Fruit Tree Orchard, here are a few articles about our first year.  Just imagine this orchard in a decade…there will be so much fruit for all!

Summer 2016


The poppies are blooming in the front yard.  Walk by and admire them while you are in the neighborhood!  Once the poppie heads are dry, I’ll save the seeds for next year.  Beautiful!

Santa Cruz has approved the first public Fruit Orchard!




On Sunday, February 15th, 2015 the public was invited to come plant the first public fruit orchard in Santa Cruz!  Located at Riverside Gardens Park (between San Lorenzo Blvd and Riverside Ave), the orchard was proposed by the Fruit Tree Project and is being organized with David Shaw from UCSC’s Common Ground Center with input from William Rubel and support from the neighborhood.  The three year plan includes year one: pears and apples on either side of the compost bins, kept small and flat against the fence so the walkway is intact.  We also planted 4 grapes along the arbor.  In late 2016, we will be planting a much larger public orchard next to Mike Fox Skate Park.  Stay tuned for several public soil improving sessions, starting after the first rains.

We worked with the city to install a drip watering line for the new orchard, and the trees will be maintained and pruned by the Fruit Tree Project and neighbors (like me!).  The fruit itself will be free to the public.  The blueberries in Riverside Gardens Park are the biggest and tastiest I have ever seen…

We are accepting donations for the trees themselves, and planted a historic pear that once stood in orchards on this land back in the days of the famous Riverside Hotel.

It’s a historic moment in Santa Cruz.  Hopefully it will be just the beginning, and fruit orchards will soon be popping up all over the place, like the rail-to-trail line, or the river walk.  Help plant a public orchard in your neighborhood!





Fairytale Farm is accepting UCSC interns every quarter to help out in the garden.  If you are interested in working with us, go to the UCSC Internship Office and ask for a form to fill out for us to sign.  You will also need to find a UCSC professor to sponsor you for the quarter.  You can either take a 2 unit internship which requires 6 hours a week, or a 5 unit internship which requires 12 hours a week.  We will work with you to come up with a project for the 5 hour internship which may involve independent hours researching and writing off of the farm.  We usually have 2-5 interns a quarter, and are looking for not only agroecology majors, but artists, students into blogging and social media, photography, herbalism, and food production.  We have students help design calendars, informational books, and lead garden tours for us.  You can just come and plant and harvest vegetables and flowers, but you can come do a lot of other fun things too!


Jim Denevan dinner for Micah Posner Friday June 29th

Fairytale Farm had the privilege of hosting world renowned chef and artist Jim Denevan  who cooked up an organic, locally-sourced, backyard fundraiser feast for the Micah Posner for City Council campaign. We were so successful, along with all of the volunteer helpers throughout the campaign, that Micah won!


The table was so long, we had to keep our gates open, so everyone could see the festivities from the street.


Jim and Micah’s friendship goes way back to when Jim was the founder of People Power, the Santa Cruz transportation advocacy group. Since then, Jim has created the internationally known Outstanding in the Field farm-to-table dinners, as well as his own acclaimed art. Here Jim and Micah speak about their relationship, and what inspired Micah to run for city council.

Jim and Micah

It was a delicious and beautiful dinner, and we were proud to provide the garden space for it.  Fairytale Farm is a part of Micah’s backyard, so we are pleased to have a city councilmember as one of our garden gnomes!


Solar Eclipse Dinner

When the rose bush is in full splendor…

You set up two tables in the garden.

When the guests arrive, serve salads with nasturtium blossoms.

Play with your shadows when it’s a full solar eclipse.

A simple dinner becomes divine.

Mustard, kale greens,and carmelized onions with nasturtium and borage blossoms

We ate the mustard greens that grew all around us.

Even the chickens had a good time.

As sweet peas and roses scented the air.

When all the plate are cleared away, there may still be leftovers for the lucky hens…



Spring has come to Fairytale Farm. The borage is  blooming.  The cherry tree is plump with  blossoms.  Flowers, everywhere.

Look how the strawberry spiral has changed from mid February to April :

The lupine is doing well. The giant red mustard and nasturtiums are doing better…


Last spring, we were blessed by a swarm of bees that moved into our empty hive. The sky was filled with bees, 1000’s of them covering the entire garden.  Over an hour, they slowly moved into the hive.  We all happened to be outside, the neighbors, the kids, in awe.

Meanwhile, the yellow and purple peas are ripe.  The purple ones are” Blauwschokker” soup peas, though I eat them when small and flat.

The yellow peas have a fruity, sweet flavor.  They are stunning when served together.   We eat the “flashy trout” lettuce everyday.

The blueberries are in blossom:

I cleared out a large part of the garden to install a pond in 2012.  Here it is before:

And after:



Sweet spring to all.  May your garden be filled with flowers too.