This group of backyard farmers is one of ten finalists in our One-Block Party contest. The winner will be announced on September 20, 2011.


San Francisco Peninsula, CA

Oriental poppies (planted with clarkia) in the Weltons' yard yield millions of poppy seeds for seasoning.And the flowers could be the reason this family's honey has a spicy kick.

Maryanne Welton and her group of neighbors, friends and family from Los Altos, Palo Alto, Pescadero, Menlo Park, and Redwood City are sprinting right from the start line. Since learning that her team was a finalist last Friday, she says, “my husband and I hived three bee packages, built a new chicken coop, and weeded our wheat "field".” Maryanne describes why she and her group wanted to enter this contest. “We were inspired by [Sunset’s] one-block feast article two years ago to connect through our gardens and kitchens over communal meals. ... Between us we have bees, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, and a cow (named Lucy). We raise a variety of herbs, berries, fruit, veggies and grains. We make cheese and bread; put up jam, salsa, chutney, olives and tomatoes; dry beans and fruits; ferment kraut, ale and mayonnaise; and save and exchange our seeds. ...We’ve taught each other how to make cheese and can tomatoes, we’ve shared beekeeping tips and recipes, and because of your blog we now know how to harvest salt from the ocean. Besides typical home garden produce, we explore the unusual such as walking kale, chervil, and odd-looking winter squash.” And, judging from their entry, at least 3 kinds of beans.

Team Dances with Legumes are considering all sorts of other food projects, too, like making oil from sunflower seeds and wine from elderflowers. Their tentative menu reads like a tour of their gardens, with plants from all over the globe—everything from kaffir lime leaves to quinoa. It shows what's possible when you have a hospitable climate and a creative, dedicated band of home growers.

You May Like