Accomplished Gardening Expert Speaking on March 8th – Slow Food Fundraiser

March 3rd, 2014 by Stacey Blaschke

Emmy Award winner Pat Welsh, will speak on how to “Grow Great Organic Vegetables Year-Round, on March 8, 2014 at 10:00 am in Laguna Beach. In her talk, Welsh will explain how to choose, plant, harvest, and grow popular vegetables, and to control pests and diseases without synthetic fertilizers or dangerous pesticides. She will provide you with tips, hints, garden timing, new techniques, and old-time secrets gathered from a lifetime of growing edible crops.

Welsh’s career highlights include being the first Garden Editor of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine, from 1979 to 1983; host of the twice-weekly gardening segment, “The Resident Gardener,” on the local evening news of KNSD-TV, from 1981 to 1987; host of videos for Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV, and infomercials since 1990. She is currently a public speaker and lecturer on gardening.

Welsh’s books include: Pat Welsh’s Southern California Gardening: A Month-By-Month; All My Edens: A Gardener’s Memoir ; The American Horticultural Society Southwest Smart Garden, Regional Guide ; and Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening. All these books can be found on

For a taste of her gardening advice you can view this video by Pat Welsh on Growing Tomatoes

Slow Food Orange County invites you to join us to hear Pat Welsh speak on Saturday, March 8th. For more information:

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Food + Farm Lab in the Great Park in Orange County Needs Your Support

February 20th, 2014 by Stacey Blaschke

Last summer we were treated to a tour of the Food + Farm Lab by Teena Spindler and now the Lab needs our support.

Food + Farm Lab

Food + Farm Lab in Great Park Orange County

Dear Farm + Food Lab garden supporters,
The Irvine City Council is about to make some very important decisions about the future of the Farm + Food Lab demonstration garden.  

Please let them know in a brief email of your support for the Farm + Food Lab.
I know your time is limited, but please send a few words about your involvement or experiences there or simply copy, paste and finish the phrase below with your personal thought.

The Farm + Food Lab is a great asset to the community because ………………….
Send emails to:  

Over the last few years you have visited, provided a donation, or been a partner in programs at the Farm + Food Lab demonstration garden at the Orange County Great Park.  I can’t thank you enough for your past interest and support of this fun and educational venue!

The Orange County Great Park is about to embark upon an exciting and extensive construction project in which developer FivePoint will develop 688 acres of the Park into a Sports Park, golf course, and agricultural area.  The City Council will be deciding on some of the features to include in this development.  The Farm + Food Lab’s location and funding is one of the items to be decided.  Your support will assure that this worthwhile venue will continue.

If by chance you would like to show your support in person, please attend the special Irvine City Council/Great Park Board Meeting March 18, 2014, time and details will be available on the City of Irvine’s website.

Thanks so much!

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Farm + Food Lab Tour Recap and Recipe

July 18th, 2013 by Stacey Blaschke

Year Round Gardening in Southern CaliforniaOn  the sunny morning of July 10th thirty one attendees, both kids and adults, enjoyed an informative tour around the  Irvine Great Park’s Farm + Food Lab.

Teena Spindler, the founding gardener of the Farm + Food Lab and a veteran home gardener, was our excellent guide through the lab. She shared the history of the gardens and answered all kinds of questions ranging from how to prune backyard fruit trees to the secrets of growing all the ingredients for a pizza. The Farm + Food Lab is divided into various garden beds and is a hands on exhibit. There are twelve themed gardens ranging from a Pizza Garden, to a Fruit Salad Garden, to a Sensory Garden where all the plants are meant to be touched and smelled.

Farm + Food Lab: Petting a henThere are also two composting demonstration areas, a chicken coop complete with hens and one rooster named “Rockstar”, a square foot garden and a hay bale garden. It is definitely a place to be experienced by both adults and children and the lab has an activities booklet available for kids to explore the gardens more thoroughly while completing a scavenger hunt.

At the end of the tour, I noticed there is a recipe for Tomato Salsa and by chance it is Teena’s winning salsa contest recipe. Here it is for you at home to recreate as a perfect summer dish especially if you have an abundance of home grown tomatoes.

Teena’s Colorful Tomato Salsa

4 red tomatoes
2 yellow, orange or purple tomatoes
Assorted colored peppers, roasted (choose hot or mild depending on your taste)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small purple onion, diced
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Roast peppers on backing sheet in 400 degree oven until skins begin to char. Cool, then chop. Grate 2 red tomatoes by cutting in half then grate using large holes box grater, discard peel. Dice remaining tomatoes. Combine all ingredients in serving bowl, salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 quart of salsa, depending on size of tomatoes.

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