Monday, June 29, 2009

Tune in. ABC7 Television Friday, July 3 during the 6pm newscast

Emmy Award winning ABC7 Reporter Laura Anthony interviews The Lemon Lady harvesting fruit around Concord...then on to The Salvation Army Food Pantry on Clayton Road at West Street.

CLICK HERE to view the ABC7 Television Newscast "Lemon Lady Comes Through in Tough Times"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Annie Appleseed, a pleasure to visit your garden...

Wanted to share something wonderful with you today.
I was invited to pick apricots from Annie Appleseed's backyard tree and enjoyed touring the lovely oasis of gorgeous flowers and interesting seed pods. Annie is a super sweet, generous and caring gardener, school teacher, and seed saver too! She offers an extensive selection of locally harvested flower seeds for purchase. I never knew this little venture existed in our very own backyard in Pleasant Hill, Calfiornia. Take a look at her lovely website:, sooooooo many beautiful seeds. If you love flowers, you're sure to find something that tickles your fancy and delights your senses.

To Annie Appleseed from The Lemon Lady,
Thank you for the delicious apricots. SHARE Food Pantry on Willow Pass Road in Concord was the lucky recipient of the day. The apricots met the tasting panel judges at our house - The Lemon Lady Junior approved as "yummy"! :)

Happy Sunday from my garden...

"The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway."
-Michael Pollan

“The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. But the bee . . . gathers its materials from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.”
-Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, June 27, 2009

FOOD, INC., the film!

From the CCCFM Lettuce Leaf email newsletter:

Food, Inc. Join Representatives of Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets at the Dome and pack the house in Pleasant Hill this weekend - see FOOD, INC. the film! The release of Food, Inc., the film is screening at the Pleasant Hill CineArts 5. We'd like to pack the theater this weekend (the better it does now, the longer it sticks around and the more impact it has). The film's website, and links to actions:

A list of all the theaters where it is playing and the showtimes. Know where your food comes from. Shop at your local Farmers' Market.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Super Susan of The Salvation Army...

Susan Van Brocklin of The Salvation Army in Concord helped me gather produce from the Walnut Creek and Martinez Farmers' Markets on Father's Day Sunday.

By now you know I have spent many a Sunday afternoon collecting produce from the generous and humble farmers at the downtown Walnut Creek and Martinez Farmers' Markets. Usually I go alone. Lucky for me...rather lucky for the food pantry clients of The Salvation Army, Susan accompanied me on last Sunday's adventures.

Susan + The Lemon Lady = TWICE the fresh produce collected.

Susan is a sweet, caring, hard-working, dedicated servant on a mission to feed the hungry. Without Susan sacrificing her own relaxing Sunday off from work, I would never have collected so much produce! I really needed the help. I'm tired too.

We had fun that day, yet worked very hard to gather, box, transport, sort and distribute hundreds of pounds of fresh, nutritious farmers' market produce. We met in Walnut Creek around 1pm, travelled to Martinez, then on to the Salvation Army Food Pantry until after 7pm. Another staff member, Ruth Vint came in on her day off to help unload and organize the awesome donation. A beautiful day worth living. Very good indeed.

“One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that."-Joseph Campbell (American prolific Author, Editor, Philosopher and Teacher, 1904-1987)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Who's Hungry In America...

Who's Hungry in America
An examination by Feeding America of the problem in hunger in the U.S.

Video taken from the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano YouTube Channel, foodbankccs on YouTube. However, the video seems to have been removed. Try this link instead:

KTVU Channel 2 News - filmed at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, then at The Salvation Army in Concord

Click the logo above to start the video.

Here's a recent newscast filmed in Concord, California on location at the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, then at the Salvation Army on Clayton Road (at West Street.)

Please watch the short clip and hopefully be inspired to donate food or produce to a nearby food pantry. Walk-in food donations are accepted at local pantries throughout our city.

Hey, I recognize the Farmers' Market Produce in those plastic bins. I delivered it to the food pantry myself! :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ava Gardener's Playground in June...

Pole French Filet Beans climbing corn stalks.

Just a corner of Corn, Sunflowers, Scarlett Runner Beans, Blue Lake Beans, Pole Filet Beans, Soybeans, Nasturtiums, Ronde de Nice, Green Zucchini, Yellow Crookneck Squash, Lemon Cucumber, Purple Peppers, White Patty Pan Squash, Eight Ball Squash, Sweet Basil, Cilantro, Coriander, Stevia, Italian Parsley...

Corn is growing lovely.

Brandywine and Amana Orange tomatoes.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Lemon Lady Junior Fostering Two Sweet Kittens...

Two sweet purr-babies looking for a forever relationship! These all black brother and sister “panther” kitties were rescued from a loading dock in a North Concord business park. Tuffy and Sweet Pea would love to find a permanent home. Tuffy and Sweet Pea can be adopted to separate families. That's ok.
For adoption information, contact Kathy at: 925-676-5656.

Food Fighters! - High School Students Sign Up Now...

While collecting an abundance of produce donations from the farmers at the CCCFM, I learned of an educational and exciting program called FOOD FIGHTERS. Sophie Turrell, Assistant to the Executive Director at CCCFM is organizing this event through the non-profit organization, N.E.A.R. Sophie is a familiar face at the Pleasant Hill, Martinez and downtown Walnut Creek Farmers' Markets. Please read about her program. If you are a high school student - consider joining for the summer.

You can link to more information about Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Market and N.E.A.R. - Nutrition Education and Agriculture Responsibility by CLICKING HERE.

Sophie has written about the very first meeting, which was yesterday. She has included a list of upcoming field trips.

Congratulations Sophie! I'm so glad to see such a great non-profit event being organized by such a brilliant and exceptional young lady. Keep up the excellent work to inspire the next generation of food fighters.

Your friend,
The Lemon Lady

Strawberry Granita!

A FOOD FIGHTERS Introduction Hello FOOD FIGHTERS and fans!

Update: Wednesday June 10 was our first meeting and it was a wonderful success. We watched The Meatrix, ate organic strawberry granita (a fancy word for Italian ice), and talked about the group and the upcoming events of the summer. To see The Meatrix, visit They have a series of 3 short animated films about the evils of factory farming – watch out, the last two are a little graphic!

June 2009 Events

Tuesday June 23, 11am
April’s Garden
We’ll tour through the garden where John Miller composts and grows plants for sale, and may even help him with transplants.

Thursday June 25, 6pm
Movie night and snacks
Super Size Me or another movie from the NEAR library; snacks could include making comparative gourmet PBJs or kettle corn.

Tuesday June 30, 11am
To be determined!
Could include a restaurant tour, bread making, food bank volunteering, or skit and costume brainstorming.

Thursday July 2, 10am
Whole Foods eat local, eat healthy tour
Guided grocery store tour with Denise Jardine, health educator.

When we get closer to the events on the calendar, RSVP at to let me know if you can make it. Lastly, I've included two pictures from our first meeting (Lauren managed to jump in at the last minute!). The Italian ice is melting in front of us.

Rock 'n' radish,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An exciting day with ABC News Reporters!

Concord Resident, Bonnie Wright with Laura Anthony, ABC
News Reporter and Randy Davis, ABC Photojournalist/Editor.

Bonnie originally met Anna, The Lemon Lady through an
article by Andre' Gensburger in The Concordian Newspaper.

The community was first introduced to Anna, The Lemon Lady
through Contra Costa County's best blog for breaking news:

Other talented reporters such as Walnut Creek's Soccer Mom
over at crazyinsuburbia, and The Clayton Pioneer Newspaper
continue to report inspiring local news stories.

While filming The Lemon Lady fruit harvesting at a
Concord loquat tree, we met an excited fan of ABC News.

Laura Anthony was so gracious to pose for photos with
an admiring fan!

Please watch for an upcoming Interview on Channel 7
ABC Television News. Thank you ABC news reporters
for covering this worthy hunger cause and how The
Lemon Lady brings fresh fruit and vegetable donations
to local food pantries in Concord.

The Lemon Lady has recently visited The Salvation Army,
Monument Crisis Center, and SHARE Food Pantry.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meet Effie Eliahu, Martinez Farmers' Market Manager

Produce Donations today:
J & M Ibarra Farms, Mee Vang Farms, Swank Farms, Diaz Farms, and Paradez Farms.

Effie is a delightful asset to the thriving community of humble farmers who gather at this festive little Martinez Market every Sunday from 10am - 2pm.

Thank you Effie and Jessie Neu, Executive Director of the Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets for your support and understanding of my one-woman fruit harvesting campaign against hunger. Families and children who receive these fresh produce donations are very grateful.

Afterall, it would be easier for farmers to toss excess produce into the compost pile. Rather, facing a three hour commute home to their own children, farmers give more time and effort boxing fresh produce donations to feed the children of Contra Costa County's food pantries. Sunday's collection was split between The Salvation Army on Clayton Road and SHARE Food Pantry located at the First Christian Church, 3039 Willow Pass Road in Concord, (925) 827-4273. SHARE Director, Ronald J. Hannan at:

This is true kindness and love.

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”
-St. Basil

“The first farmer was the first man. All historic nobility rests on the possession and use of land."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Please visit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano for more information how to help alleviate hunger in your own community.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Diablo Magazine Threads of Hope Awards...Nominate by July 1, 2009!

My fruit harvesting campaign against hunger has introduced me to many amazing, generous and aspiring volunteers in our community. I intend to nominate an individual or two I've met along the way. Perhaps you know a shining star in your community whose cause could benefit from a little public recognition. Please take time to read last year's Diablo Magazine Threads of Hope Award Nominees. These honorable volunteers deserve our praise and attention. Don't let their cause be lost between the pages of a magazine. Let us go out and save the person at a time. Have fun and be inspired!

Wow! I'm impressed. I just noticed Diablo Magazine's website includes short video presentations profiling these incredible volunteers. Anyone looking for inspiration should spend a few minutes learning more about these kind-hearted community members. Excellent website Diablo writers and publishers! :)

Please submit your nomination form no later than July 1, 2009.

Click HERE for the nomination form.

Mary Lou, this is for you...please nominate the friend you speak of who serves on the Monument Community Gardens Action Team Committee. Recognition will bring public awareness to this deserving and inspiring cause located within the Monument Corridor.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mira...Fruit Harvesting in Alamo, Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon

In my fruit harvesting and gardening adventures, I have met so many generous neighbors, even friends miles away. While browsing the seed display and chatting about gardening, at Whole Foods Market in Walnut Creek, I met Mira Goetsch.

Mira was searching for Organic Broccoli and Radicchio seeds, while I began to rattle on about growing gardens for the hungry. Half an hour later, Mira, with a generous spirit and glowing kindness, was inspired to also help those less fortunate. A few miles between us, she living in Alamo, and I in Clayton, didn't hinder our ability to share ideas and coordinate to help the greater hunger cause. Rather, it is wonderful that Mira lives a few towns away! She is willing to pick up produce from her neighbors and outreach in Southern Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon. Hunger doesn't end with the season, nor is there some invisible border where it doesn't exist. No matter how large or how small a community, there is a need to share with others!

Mira has created a beautiful flyer and sent to many of her own personal contacts. Mira has also delivered dozens of seedlings for donation to the Children's Community Garden of Concord, and other gardens nearby. A giant hug to Mira and a great appreciation for her enthusiasm in spreading the word that Summer's Harvest is welcome at local food pantries.

If you live in Mira's area, please contact her with fresh produce donations. She will be glad to deliver to local food pantries in Contra Costa County.

You can contact Mira by telephone: (925) 216-1145,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

''The poor we shall always have with us. But why the hungry?''

This is an obituary of John van Hengel. A compassionate man who should never be forgotten and a name to know and respect. John van Hengel is my hero. Give it five minutes of your time. I'm sure you'll love the story. As published in the New York Times on October 8, 2005.

October 8, 2005
John van Hengel, 83, Dies; Set Up First Food Bank in U.S.

John van Hengel, who set up the nation's first food bank, in Phoenix, to distribute unmarketable food to the hungry and then a national organization, Second Harvest, to spread the concept, died Wednesday at a hospice in Phoenix. He was 83.

Cynde Cerf, spokeswoman for St. Mary's Food Bank, Mr. van Hengel's initial enterprise, said Mr. van Hengel had had several strokes and Parkinson's disease. Second Harvest grew into one of the nation's largest and most respected nonprofit organizations, and last year distributed nearly two billion pounds of food to more than 50,000 local charitable agencies. These, in turn, operate 94,000 programs, including soup kitchens, pantries and after-school programs that provide emergency food assistance to 23 million Americans each year.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that 10 percent of Americans rely on this nonprofit distribution chain for their nutritional needs. The idea is simple: much edible food that is wasted can be collected and redirected to feed the hungry.

A central depository, or food bank, makes the task doable. One measurement of Second Harvest's effectiveness is Forbes magazine's calculation that 98 percent of all product and financial donations go to hungry people, not administration or fund-raising.

In Phoenix in the 1960's after a divorce and other personal problems, Mr. van Hengel was struggling to rebuild his life. One day in 1967, he found himself conversing with a woman who had 10 children and a husband on death row. For all her hardships, she said food was no problem.

As Mr. van Hengel later recounted, the woman explained that she shopped in refuse bins at the rear of a nearby grocery store. Mr. van Hengel went to the bins and found frozen food that was still frozen and edible, loose carrots and stale bread.

''The woman had healthy kids who obviously didn't eat bad at all,'' he said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1992.

Mr. van Hengel then visited the store manager and in a back room found other things being thrown out. A case of ketchup with one broken bottle was tossed. So were cans with dents.

Mr. van Hengel, who had recently been moved by a documentary about hunger in Africa, asked if he could have the discarded items. The answer was yes, as it was with other stores.

A man searching for purpose had found one.

''It's amazing how many people are being fed because of this crazy little thing we started,'' Mr. van Hengel told The Times. (His ''we'' referred to a grandmother and two disabled volunteers, then his only helpers.)

''We're feeding millions, and it's not costing anyone anything,'' he continued. ''But it scares me to look back because I just had no idea it would grow into this.''

John van Hengel was born in Waupun, Wis., the son of a nurse and the town's pharmacist. After graduating from Lawrence College with a government degree, he moved to Southern California and became a self-described ''first-rate beach bum.''

He grew more focused, and studied broadcasting at the University of California, Los Angeles. His jobs included driving a beer truck in Beverly Hills, designing plastic rainwear, being a sales manager for an archery company and working as a magazine publicist.

He married a model, and when she divorced him in 1960, he felt crushed. He returned to Wisconsin, where he worked in a limestone quarry for $1.50 an hour. His legs were partly paralyzed in a barroom fight, and a doctor sent him to neurology hospital in Phoenix.

A lifelong Roman Catholic, he got a job at the Immaculate Heart Church in Phoenix driving the bus, coaching sports and helping out in the busy soup kitchen. On his own, he bought a broken-down milk truck to pick up surplus citrus fruit to give to charity missions.

The parish council of St. Mary's Church gave him an abandoned bakery to store his citrus, as well as $3,000. When he met the women who shopped in supermarket trash, he already had the beginnings of an infrastructure.

That woman came up with the name ''food bank.'' The first year, Mr. van Hengel, who outfitted himself at thrift shops, and his three helpers at St. Mary's collected and distributed 250,000 pounds of food. Soon, they had enlisted manufacturers and wholesalers and were handling things like 200 semitruckloads of surplus grapefruit juice.

In 1971, they started giving out Emergency Food Boxes, which contained balanced foods for nine meals for families who ran out of food between paychecks.

Five years later, Mr. van Hengel established Second Harvest with a federal grant. The name came from the biblical story of Ruth, who gleaned grain left by reapers.

In 1983, Mr. van Hengel left Second Harvest to spread food-banking to Canada and Europe. Three years later, he set up a food-bank consulting firm, devoting more and more of his time to initiatives in South America and Africa, where hunger had first alarmed him.

Mr. van Hengel is survived by two sons, Thomas, of Scottsdale, Ariz., and John, of Kansas City, Kan.

Drawing on Jesus' words about the poor, the motto of Mr. van Hengel's initial soup kitchen sums up his life's mission: ''The poor we shall always have with us. But why the hungry?''

Monday, June 1, 2009

Do Sit Thai Cuisine - New Restaurant in Palos Verdes Mall

Lunch Menu pictured above. Click for larger image.

A fantastic new Thai Restaurant just opened in the Lunardi's shopping center on Palos Verde Mall Road, on the side of Rite Aide. Construction is ongoing, yet the restaurant is open. Last night, I met the owner, Jack.

Do Sit Thai Cuisine
1520 Palos Verdes Mall
Walnut Creek, CA 94597
(925) 933-3889

Weary and hungry after my successful visit to the Martinez Farmer's Market, I was delighted to find a brand new Thai Restaurant open. The silver lining to the story is that Jack is a super nice guy. He is genuinely concerned about his customers' dining experience and enjoyment of the freshly prepared authentic Thai meal.

At the end of my dinner, having spent a few minutes sharing the recent issue of The Concordian newspaper with Jack and discussing my fruit harvesting and gardening adventures, Jack asked if I could deliver a box of oranges and cabbage from his restaurant to The Salvation Army Food Pantry. He brought the large box of fresh produce to the parking lot and loaded it into my vehicle. Wasn't that so thoughtful of him? Jack's generosity was the silver lining to my day of fruit gathering.

I am happy to have found a great new Thai restaurant, and a kind new friend!

Special Note to our friend Mayor of Claycord,
Vegetarian dishes items 22 - 27.