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Kitchen Table Talks: “Heirloom” Fruit: What’s In a Name?

Whether you are a home gardener preserving tradition, an ecologist maintaining bio diversity, an activist protesting industrial ag, or a foodie in search of distinctive flavor, there are plenty of reasons to save, support, and savor “heirloom” varietals. 
Controversy surrounds the meaning of the word “heirloom” itself; some contend that it refers to a cultivar that has been propagated for a certain length of time, while others cite a requirement that the varietals must have been passed down through generations within a family.

Like the fruit itself, any blemishes on the surface of these “heirloom” varietals pale in comparison to the unquestionable benefits that we can easily agree on: these edible treasures bear a connection to our shared history, preserve genetic diversity, and reveal incomparable flavor. Sadly, relentless development and economic and industrial ag pressure have greatly reduced the old stone fruit orchards of the Santa Clara Valley and the Gravenstein apple orchards of Sonoma County. With that has come a dramatic loss for countless families, communities, and the varietals themselves.

Join us for the next Kitchen Table Talks in San Francisco on Tuesday, August 31, where we will meet a some of the stalwart growers, producers, and nursery folk who dedicate themselves, against the odds, to preserving what remains. We will also be tasting the unique fruit of their labors, including apples, peaches, plums and the “poor man’s banana.” Read more

Fallen Fruit: Public Fruit Jam this Sunday

What do you get when you mix L.A. sunshine, a collection of artists and an obscure state law? The Fallen Fruit project.

A few years ago, artist/activist and CalArts professor Matias Viegener stumbled across a California law stating that any fruit that grows on or over public land is community property, even if the trunk is rooted in a private yard. In LA, that means both bounty and variety of fruit. Read more