Desktop Version

calendarsph

newslettersph

seasonpassnew

donatesph4

The Impact of a Second Year Internship at Hidden Villa

The Impact of a Second Year Internship at Hidden Villa

My name is Elena and I am the animal husbandry intern, just starting my second year internship here. Hidden Villa is a special place to learn and discover and I am excited to spend another year here farming and talking with the public who visits us. All these skills and experiences I am gaining here will help prepare me for when I have my own farm. I am learning how a farm is more than a place to cultivate food, but also has the potential to cultivate community.

I work on weekends, which means I am a very visible person to the public and am learning the value of having a strong relationship and dialogue available for the people who visit the farm. Families come up to me and talk to me about the different things they are seeing with the animals and our crop fields. They ask me questions and we are able to have a discussion. Sometimes they are quick questions, such as names or breeds of our animals. Other times those introductory questions lengthen and they start digging deeper into issues of food production and all the things needed and steps taken to make a food system sustainable and available for a broad range of people. I enjoy when this happens because those are the moments I get to see the effect Hidden Villa has on the community.

I appreciate that Hidden Villa does so much; it is not just a farm or an educational center or a summer camp or a nature preserve, but a mixture of all of these.  People usually come for just one of these things, but end up staying for all of them.  If Hidden Villa were just a farm, I would not have gained all the skills I have now and am continuing to work on.  I would not have had such strong mentors who have clear tasks to complete, but who also understand and actively want to teach and pass on what they know. They are able to take the extra time to teach and make sure that the interns get to see the whole process of a project, and explain all the details, even if it is something new that we have never done before, such as building a chicken wagon to house seventy chickens on the back of a trailer bed.  

I am excited and so grateful to stay on a second year. I now understand better how things work and the goals of the organization as a whole. I can see the impact Hidden Villa has on the community and thus I am better able to serve the visitors and interact with them when they come. I look forward to experiencing another year of full seasons and comparing how things differ from the year before. I am more able to think critically about projects and tasks, with one year under my belt. I appreciate living and learning in a safe environment where we are encouraged to try new things and stretch ourselves physically, emotionally, and socially, but where we are supported by each other.

 

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
4699 Hits
0 Comments

Dulce's Story

My name is Dulce Anahi Andrade Estrada and I was born to serve. Dulce-

I am the Youth Development Intern here at Hidden Villa. This means I serve middle-school- and high-school-aged youth through a wide range of programs, including farm and wilderness, team-building, and service learning. I will be sharing my personal experiences from our wonderful programming throughout the next weeks and in doing so, introduce you to the youth we love working with.

I am very fortunate to work in an organization like Hidden Villa after graduating from college. I am here because I value education and service. I am here because I wish to serve youth. As a Mexican immigrant from a low-income status and a first generation college graduate, I understand the value of being served. I understand the value of being given the opportunity to fulfill my dreams, to fulfill my dream of a college education. I understand the value of investing in youth and their hopes, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Without mentors and foundations, many dreams would be deferred, dreams including mine. I know what it feels like to be underprivileged but I also know what it feels like to be inspired by others’ commitment to make this world a better place, to make this world more just. Because of this, I am inspired to give back. I am inspired to serve youth as I have been served, with unconditional support and love.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
18463 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Newsletter: Week of October 29, 2012

As members of our farm share at Hidden Villa, you are actively choosing to support a small farm and have a direct connection to where your food is coming from. And we thank you for that! That decision, whether it is for the freshness and quality of your produce, the opportunity to foster understanding within your family of where food comes from, or the practice of eating with the changing of the seasons, fosters a personal connection to, and understanding of, sustainable food practices. The framework for the CSA program that we offer here at Hidden Villa has become popular not only in California, but throughout the United States as more people are beginning to value the importance of sustainable agricultural production and find the most transparent ways to support food production they believe in. Yet not all of our food choices can be so easily traced to its source. As consumers, we have become tasked with educating ourselves on where food found at the supermarket is coming from, and how it was grown.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
18703 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Newsletter: Week of August 13, 2012

This week I am house sitting at a home that has a special perk: wireless Internet in the house! I have been saturating myself online, including some non productive catching up on friends’ latest photos, and some more productive perusing of websites of other small-scale farms. Last night I discovered a small farm in Vermont that offers a year round CSA, something I had not considered until then, especially for a farm in such a cold weather climate. Upon further investigation, I found that the farm employs people specifically to preserve the year’s harvest through canning and freezing. In this way they ensure that CSA members have access to farm raised food, year round. I was equally impressed and inspired, and started thinking more about successful marketing styles utilized by small farms.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
19867 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Recipe: Refrigerator Dilly Beans

Pounds and pounds of green beans are proliferating on their vines right now! A great way to enjoy the overload is to make pickles. Green beans make crisp, tangy, delicious "dilly beans," which use a brine of apple cider vinegar and fresh dill.These will last for at least a month in your fridge.
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
62382 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Newsletter: Week of August 6, 2012

Last week there was a mother picking up her share box who was carefully explaining to her son that we did not have strawberries this week and that we would probably not have them this year. It is probably the saddest thing for me to hear when a long time share member has the expectation of receiving something with which I know we are having difficult problems.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
8352 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Newsletter: Week of July 30, 2012

Wednesday of last week was homemade roasted tomatillo salsa and chicken enchiladas, fresh guacamole, Spanish style rice and homegrown pinto beans. Saturday afternoon was Czech style cabbage, slow roasted pork, Peruvian style onions, fresh slaw, double and triple cream brie, fluffy ciabatta, and homemade blueberry cheesecake ice cream. Monday of this week was homemade pizzas with sausage, broccoli, padron peppers, onions, tomato sauce and beets all from Hidden Villa, a beautiful handmade peach pie with homemade vanilla ice cream.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
17806 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Newsletter: Week of July 23, 2012

Well, Summer is definitely in full swing. These days our work typically revolves around weeding, harvesting, eating, preserving, and more weeding. Amidst the weeds I have been working on improving my new farming skills, learning entirely new ones, and reflecting on the lasting impact of first experiences.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
7254 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Newsletter: Week of July 16, 2012

Hello share members, my name is Lanette Anderson, I work here at Hidden Villa as the Horticulturist and flower farmer. Some of you, who’ve been CSA members for a few years, might remember me from my time here as a CSA intern and Journeyman farmer. I am happy to announce that I’m back on the ranch and back to pursuing my passion of growing and working with flowers, now as a more permanent member of the HV community. Your wonderful CSA crew has granted me a guest spot in this week’s newsletter to chat with you about our flowers on the farm; why we’re growing them, why you should care, and how you can get some for your very own.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
6670 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Newsletter: Week of July 9, 2012

So much of the motivation for farming the way that we do comes from a hope for a better future. Striving towards a means of producing food that is less resource intensive, more locally adapted, and respectful of ecology feels like an important route for agriculture to take. The most significant necessary ingredient in leading us to this kind of food future is a new population of willing and able farmers.  We offer our agriculture interns an insight and a working experience operating this kind of farm in a way that is well-aligned with our mission of "inspiring a just and sustainable future." More people practicing small-scale, locally rooted agriculture is laying the groundwork for self-sufficient, environmentally friendly, localized community.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
11489 Hits
0 Comments

Local Money, Local Food

It was a beautiful and rare sunny day on the coast at Pie Ranch. Sitting on a straw bale and listening to the blue grass band strum away, I took in the scene. In the open valley below the eucalyptus grove, people in the crowd chatted, shook hands, and exchanged information. Others waited in line for the potluck, to slip enchiladas and homemade pie onto their plates. Some casually stopped at tables to try samples and pick up information about the showcased entrepreneurs. Farm Fest, an event organized by Slow Money, brought together food entrepreneurs and local investors. As the program started, people took their seats, eager to hear about the new businesses taking their place in the local food economy.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
16715 Hits
0 Comments

Hidden Villa CSA Newsletter: Week of July 2, 2012

Hi CSA Members, Summer is finally here! I was looking forward to watching our summer crops come on, and long days of hiking and swimming. However, back in May I injured my knee. Being couch and crutch-ridden has forced me to slow down, and I’ve struggled to adjust to this change of pace. But there’s always a silver lining, right? As I heal, I’ve had time to work with other departments at Hidden Villa. (And I caught up on my reading. Seriously, ask me for suggestions.) As the sidelined Farm Crew member, I want to share what I’ve been working on in the past month or so.
Hi CSA Members, Summer is finally here! I was looking forward to watching our summer crops come on, and long days of hiking and swimming. However, back in May I injured my knee. Being couch and crutch-ridden has forced me to slow down, and I’ve struggled to adjust to this change of pace. But there’s always a silver lining, right? As I heal, I’ve had time to work with other departments at Hidden Villa. (And I caught up on my reading. Seriously, ask me for suggestions.) As the sidelined Farm Crew member, I want to share what I’ve been working on in the past month or so.
Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
32404 Hits
0 Comments

Hidden Villa CSA Newsletter: Week of June 25, 2012

At my Nana's 88th birthday celebration, last weekend, she received two touched up photos of her eighteen year old self that were taken shortly after Pearl Harbor was bombed. One of the photos is a portrait of her sitting on an old, horse drawn, harvester and the other is a wider shot of her on what looks like a 1936 steel wheeled John Deer tractor, hitched to a trailer piled high with hay; included are two young farmhands, one standing in front of the trailer and another sitting on top of the hay. In both photos my Nana is fashionably clad in loafers.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
112724 Hits
0 Comments

Hidden Villa CSA Newsletter: Week of June 18, 2012

I think I speak for all of the farm crew when I say that some frustration has colored the last few days on the farm. The source of this disturbance to our normall ebullient field conversation comes from a strange influx of new pests. If you were to drive by our fields right now, you would probably see a large gathering of ravens. They might look like relatively happy, healthy ravens. They probably are. They should be, seeing as they are dining like kings and queens on the best seed sprouts and lettuce starts we can give them. In fact, they are probably eating ALL of the seeds and starts we plant. Next door to the feasting ravens is a massive invasion of leaf miners and flea beetles. Beyond that lies the usual but constant threat of cucumber beetles, slugs, rabbits, gophers, voles, and squirrels.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
10058 Hits
0 Comments

“You’re a… what?”

It’s hard to compete with the Bay Area in terms of its foodie passion and support of locavore eating. Nonetheless, I find that people I meet from San Francisco or the Silicon Valley are still surprised to hear that I’m a farmer. I see a look in their eye that says, “Whoa… that’s crazy.” But the longer I farm, the more I wonder how much is wrong with our food system if people have never met a farmer. How much trouble are we in if people my age (27) haven’t heard of anyone choosing it as a career? Next time I get that look, I want to say, “Don’t you eat? How do you not know a farmer?"

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
Recent Comments
Suzanne Allcroft
Thanks for your comment Rodica! I'm happy you agree.
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 10:32
11388 Hits
3 Comments

Hidden Villa CSA Newsletter: Week of June 4, 2012

Photo Credit: Laurie Aubuchon

On our field walk today we saw newly sprouted bush beans coming in healthily next to fifteen lines of hearty looking potato plants. At the same time our old strawberry patch is almost completely inundated with noxious bind weed and some of the tomatoes that we planted on Friday have already been eaten by voles. It also rained on us, which was both good and bad. Getting a little extra water helps our crops grow but it also made it so that we couldn’t get into the field to do some needed tractor work and planting. The rain will also increase the weed pressure on all our crops.

This is why I love small scale diversified organic farming. Everyday is a new and different challenge and I get to work outside with a small crew of good friends to grow some of the best food I have ever had in my life.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
10553 Hits
1 Comment

What to Plant?

The Hidden Villa Farm Crew picks what to plant not just from seed catalogues but also through trial and error and collective memory. What varieties of peppers have done well here? Which broccoli gave us the best heads and regrowth? I am learning that there are a lot of considerations when choosing seeds and plant varieties. Each seed we grow is a dedication of time and resources, so we make careful selections based on what has been successful in the past, what works for our climate, and what other local growers recommend.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
7901 Hits
0 Comments

CSA Recipe: The Farm Crew's Perfect Kale

Everyone on the farm has a favorite cooking method or prized tips for turning dark, leafy kale, into a bowl of tender, tasty (and incredibly healthy) greens. This recipe combines the Farm Crew's favorite tips on how to make the perfect greens. 

Don't forget that you can purchase fresh veggies, fruits, eggs, and meats from Hidden Villa's stall every week Los Altos Farmers' Market, held 4 to 8 pm every Thursday in downtown Los Altos.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
27350 Hits
0 Comments

Hidden Villa Interns visit Community Services Agency Mountain View

By Suzanne Allcroft, Agriculture Intern

Hidden Villa's Interns recently had our weekly enrichment class at Community Services Agency (CSA) Mountain View to learn about the organization and volunteer at its food bank. We donate a quarter of the produce we grow at Hidden Villa to the CSA Mountain View food bank during the farm season, so I was curious to see where our produce goes and how it's distributed.

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
14804 Hits
0 Comments

Hidden Villa CSA Newsletter: Week of May 28, 2012

Hi CSA members! I’m Suzanne Allcroft, and I’m grateful to be entering my second year as an intern at Hidden Villa. With one farming season under my belt, I’m looking forward to what I can learn from my second. Last year I think my eyes were so wide open from moving to the farm from San Francisco, I wonder if I farmed half of last season in shock (a good shock).

Continue reading
Rate this blog entry:
5627 Hits
0 Comments