Saturday, November 5, 2011

Steamin’ Organic!

Several months ago, my friend & Sunday market manager Raquel asked me if I would style a lunch for 150 San Diego area Certified Organic Farmers. What was I to say~ Sure!

The event was held today, sponsored by CCOF, the leading trade organization which certifies organic farmers in the State of California.  See the CCOF link HERE.  We had a long list of speakers, covering relevant issues.  There are so many hurdles to being an organic farmer… is incredible…

I was given a modest budget, which bought inexpensive baskets and $4 worth of kale; to this I added grapes and apples donated by Paul Smit of Smit Orchards~ IMG_9107

I have spent the last week at the laundromat, washing 40 yards of burlap for the table runners for 18 tables; UGH; but they looked perfect on the tables today, very class, with a smattering of leaves from the garden~


The centerpieces were quickly sold for $10 each and so were a “for profit” item; in addition to the Smit Orchards fruit, they contained hydroponic lettuces from San Diego’s fantastic organic B Street Growers, and were finished with burlap bows & moss~


I thought everyone had seen the “votive in the apple” trick, but apparently not.  Everyone commented on the pair on each table; Kerry pronounced me spacially gifted as I can carve an opening in an apple x 40 with precision and speed.  These were so cute on the tables! Try this if you can for fall; maybe I should do a tutorial….IMG_9179

Our venue was the Gas & Steam Engine Museum, see link HERE.  On about 50 acres in Vista, California, this was an amazing find for me, a mechanical paradise~


There are dozens of vintage tractors on the acreage~


Under the covered warehouses, you will find fantastic collections of rare farm equipment, including 19thC steam tractors~


As well as a few exotics, including a 1954 Sno-Cat~


Each building held a different collection of vehicles, all grouped by age or fuel type~


The highlight for me was the blacksmith shop~ IMG_9131

They have a series of blacksmith classes!


For dudes only; they said “we’ve never had a girl in pearls come here!”


Can you think of a better way for the guys to spend Saturday mornings? 


Despite the testosterone, Raquel and I said we are signing up; doesn’t this look like FUN?~


This is sooo fascinating to me~ sign me up!


Three months is $40; here they are turning the crank, which stokes the fire through an air vent below; today’s project is a fireplace poker with a heart-shaped handle (beginners’ class)~


Here they are making a mallet head~


I can think of a few manly-men who would love this place~


Smoky, dusky, there are fans to pull the air out the vents, but it is completely atmospheric~


Outside, the view is very picturesque; I’m going to suggest to Dave that they hold photography classes here~


I got so many good photos today; too many to fit in one blog post~


The lunch was a great success and a collaboration among many people;  my thanks to all involved in the event and to all the California Certified Organic Farmers  who attended…..


Special thanks to John The Medicine Man…you made my day~~


  1. That looks like it was such a fun event!! Your pictures are awesome!

  2. Andrea,
    Your tablescapes turned out beautiful! What a perfect venue. Such a statement of our agricultural past.

    My husband and myself are big supporters of the local farmer's markets. Most are closed for the winter now.

    You had a busy day! it was such a pleasant surprise to see it already chronicled on your blog!

  3. You are so full of ideas, and on such a wide range of topics. Multi gifted, that's what it is.

  4. Well done and thank you for sharing! I must admit the votive in the apple is new to me as well, love it, and shall remember to try myself. Lovely interesting venue full of history and great work. Have a lovely week Colx -Afrique du Sud

  5. You do the most interesting things. My husband would flip for that class. I probably should be left to do anything around open flames but would love to walk around taking photos. That light was indeed gorgeous.

  6. Whooping and hollering accompanied by a standing ovation is happening in Phoenix. Well done my friend.
    The centerpieces are perfection! Too pretty to eat. :)

  7. Jeanette, I'm thinking this would be a cool Christmas gift....class once a month for 4 months...for $40~ we are talking about a farm to table cooking class at the same time pour les femmes....

  8. Andrea, I had to stop by and see what you have been up to to! I knew of this event however did not know how fun and interesting it would be. The Blacksmithing Classes!! Wow!

    I love your last couple of posts so much, and the evening time is my time to get my creative juices flowing as well.

    I must get some burlap soon. How much are the antique curtain ring/napkin holders?

    Very little email or internet access in the Rehabilitation Center. Doing good except for an fever and infection a couple of days. I am minding the therapists !!My new hip is adjusting well.

    xoxo for you kind words and special friendship.

    Art by Karena

  9. Andrea this is wonderful!! you did such great centerpieces for such a low budget, and for such a great cause... I've been there, doing the centerpieces for our local organic farming enterprise fundraiser each year... using lots of pumpkins, etc :) I love your candle idea, so charming, perfect for autumn tables...

    Kudos to a very talented French Basketeer!



  10. Great post, and some wonderful ideas here. Also, there are hurdles to being any type of farmer. My husband was a farm boy; his dad had a farm in upstate New York.

  11. Hi Andrea, wonderful post and about the photography class is that beaming light through that window just so soulful :) all the photo's are just amazing and the table center pieces inspire a beautiful taste of organic.

    See you and all your beauty soon, off to make candles :) :)
    Let your days inspire the best.

  12. Hi Andrea,
    Lots of good stuff on your blog. I love the apple votives.
    And I became a follower of your blog. I hope to win your basket giveaway.
    Betty at My Cozy Corner

  13. I love your creative centre pieces. What an interesting day! It is great to meet people who have a passion! Warm regards.

  14. Hi lovely lady.
    I love all your Beautiful photos so much work for the guys.. I need to go see more of your blog.
    I m your newest follower on you blog now.
    I hope you come see me also.
    XXOO Diane

  15. I live in Missouri and there is an annual Steam Engine festival every September - your pictures just reminded me of it. They advertise it as "Parades Daily." Hundreds of steam engines. I just signed up as one of your followers (heard of you from Stone Gable blog); I can tell I will really enjoy your blog.

  16. Oh ! what a beautiful photo...u have placed.
    It is really attracting scene u have given...
    Farm Equipment