The Hollywood Orchard & Green Wish

LOVELY LEMON VERBENA LOQUAT JAM

Shane and I hosted a mini jam-making session in our backyard yesterday! Delightful Chef Minh Phan, of Porridge & Puffs, was our fearless leader!

Photos by Katie Fritchel, Minh Phan & Ruth Gamble

ABOUT HOLLYWOOD ORCHARD

Since 2011, we’ve been part of the Hollywood Orchard, a beautiful community who collects fruit from neighborhood trees, preserves it in pop-up kitchens with the help of loving chefs, and then donates the remaining harvest to local food banks. In one afternoon, about 50 people can pick up to 2000 lbs of free fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste! The Orchard was founded by caring community leaders, and lovers of fruit, Bill & Tamara Pullman.

Photos by Bridie Macdonald, Kyle Soehngen & Ruth Gamble

OTHER ORCHARD ACTIVITIES

Orchard Supply Hardware sponsors us and we got to be at the ribbon cutting for their new store on La Brea!

We also have musical shows where Orchardistas play and sing and share their talents. And sometimes artists come and draw the shows.

LOQUAT PICK

Back in April, the Orchard picked and froze 7 gallons of loquats, a fruit that I see on trees in town all the time, but I never knew was edible!

Photos by Bridie Macdonald

JAM

Yesterday this little team used that harvest to make 60 jars of delicious Lovely Lemonverbena Loquat jam! It was a peaceful and laughter-filled day.

Thank you to Orchardistas Tamara Pullman, who helped set it up, Allison Brooker for designing lovely & educational labels, and Angela Gygi, Katie Frichtel, and newest addition, my old friend Jenna C. Johnson for all their hard work and for jamming out with us in our yard!

Photos by Katie Fritchel & Ruth Gamble

WHERE WILL THE JAM GO?

Who gets to eat this lovely, lip-smackety creation? Guests at a fundraiser dinner, Friendsgiving, hosted by Green Wish and Union Restaurant in Pasadena!

WHAT IS GREEN WISH?

Green Wish is a local green non-profit who sponsors other local green non-profits. It’s packed full of environmentally-passionate people like Raphael Sbarge, Scott Harris, Ed Begley Jr., Rachelle Carson-Begley, Fayna Sanchez, Libby Ewing, and Sharon Lawrence. We are honored to be included in the group of charities they are supporting along with the great  HoneyLoveMuir Ranch, and Food Forward. Friendsgiving dinner will raise money for all of us!

Here is a little story of how Hollywood Orchard came to be friends with Green Wish…

THE L.A. RIVER

My fiancé grew up in a small town in Ohio. His littlest sister was (and still is) best friends with Chelsea Peters as a kid. Chelsea now lives in LA. She introduced me to her amazing friend Fayna. Fayna said she was helping throw an event. It was the screening of the documentary A Concrete River, about the LA River. I didn’t even know we had a river in LA! So I figured I should go watch it and learn.

It was a beautiful documentary, directed by Raphael Sbarge, who is also on Once Upon A Time and Murder in the First! I learned that the large divot in the ground filled with cement and a sliver of water that I see whilst atop bridges is our river! The river rises with the rainy season and when the Native Americans lived along the edges of it, they would have to move their huts if it rose into a flood. In the 1938, when non-Native Americans lived along the edges of it, a severe flood happened and they couldn’t move their infrastructure. Over five-thousand buildings were destroyed, 15oo buildings were damaged and many roads were washed away or buried in debris. One-hundred and fifteen people passed away.

So the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers channelized the river by digging deeper along the riverbed and putting in miles of cement. It has helped with the floods since then, but even the floods of 1964 and 2005 were too big for our man-made fix. But there are downfalls to channelization. It kills wetlands and their wildlife, which also have a natural cycle that keep surface water clean. It also straightens the path of the river which makes the water flow faster and can therefore cause more soil erosion and flooding in the sections downstream from the channelization. And it reduces fish population.

These may not seem like such a bad thing, but they make so much of a negative environmental impact that the government has mostly stopped channelizing rivers. If they do it, they must create wetlands somewhere else to offset the damage. And in many cases where channelization was put in years ago, the government is going back and removing the concrete they laid in the first place! I find it amazing that they are able to be objective, humble and honest about their well-intentioned yet harmful behavior.

And that’s exactly what happens in A Concrete River. Ironically, the very same U.S. Army Corp of Engineers that put the cement in is ready to take 11 miles of the cement out! The film shows how people who have been fighting for the river’s wildlife for 25 years and the government are working together to get the project approved. They are 2/3 of the way there.

If you ever want to spend time with the river, there are bike paths along it and you can even kayak! The same people who are in talks with the Army Corp help L.A. locals learn about and experience the river. They are a non-profit called the Friends of the Los Angeles River, led by river-lover Lewis MacAdams. He is a warm soul and extended an open invitation to The Frog Spot.

In their words, “Located along the breathtaking Elysian Valley bike path, the Frog Spot is Friends of the Los Angeles River’s summer gateway to the LA River. At the Frog Spot, visitors to the river can take a break for a poetry reading, take a yoga class, learn about the about the river’s history and ecology, enjoy a cup of coffee, or see live music every Saturday night.”

MEETING GREEN WISH

It was wonderful to learn about our precious local resource. And wonderful to meet so many kind souls who have been caring about it and for it for so long! During the talk-back, we learned that Green Wish sponsored the film and that they help green non-profits raise money, market themselves and find volunteers.

I ran into Hollywood Orchardista Jodi Long at the event and we both thought Green Wish would be great for the Orchard. But Jodi luckily said, “Well, let’s go talk to them!” They said they were interested in us and said that we could apply! I went and thanked Fayna and told her about the Orchard and that maybe Green Wish will give us a grant. She replied that she’s on the board of Green Wish! I had no idea! At the very end of the event, I was starting to understand where I was, ha!

So, long story long, I was excited to be a teeny cog in a series of wheel people who helped the Orchard apply for a grant. With the intense efforts of Emilee Moeller, Becky Waer, Angela Gygi, and Larry Markes, the Orchard recently received a grant from Green Wish! Thank you to Fayna Sanchez, Jodi Long, Libby Ewing and Victoria Bogner, for bringing Green Wish into our lives!

MEETING UNION RESTAURANT

Green Wish and Union Restaurant Pasadena are hosting the Friendsgiving dinner fundraiser for all of the charities. It will be the first of many Green Wish fundraiser dinners there. The jam we made in the yard will be a treat for the guests in their gift bags. We’re also donating Hollywood Orchard’s hand-squeezed tangerine juice to be used by Union’s chef, Bruce Kalman, who is incorporating food from each charity in each course of the meal. (Fun fact: Chef Kalman has been on Beat Bobby Flay and did indeed do that!)

Our first meeting for the dinner was at Union Restaurant. Even being there in the day when it’s closed, I could feel the passion and love they have for food! That meeting was also when Green Wish presented us with our first check. Such an honor! And Muir Ranch owner, Mud Baron, brings the most beautiful homegrown flowers with him everywhere and takes photos of people with flowers on their heads! Sounds silly, but it’s an instant joy-causer! It made the meeting even more special. Enjoy more flowerjoy on his Instagram! #flowersonyourhead

#GREENWISHUNION FRIENDSGIVING DINNER

Here are some Greenwishers at the Pasadena Farmers Market prepping for Friendsgiving: Chef Bruce Kalman, Ed Begley Jr., Sharon Lawrence, Scott Harris, & Raphael Sbarge

Photos by Jules Exum

Friendsgiving dinner is Sunday, November 15th. It’s going to be a magical, and tasty, night.

#GreenWishUnion, To join us: http://bit.ly/1MoY4Ky

Thank you to Katie Frichtel, Minh Phan, Bridie Macdonald, Jules Exum, & Kyle Soehngen for your gorgeous and sincere photos!

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