Mariquita Farm

Core Farm: Taylor's Happy Oaks

Gladys Core helping a customer at the farmers market before the hurricane. The Core's farm after the hurricane and it's tornadoes and winds hit. more photos below

Benefit Dinner at Desiree Cafe in the Presidio on 10/28/05: Friday

Anne Gingrass will cook one of Andy's young goats and all the vegetables she can fit in the kitchen. Join us!

Update 10/13/05

I talked with Jim Core of Taylor's Happy Oaks this morning: He sounded optimistic and was very grateful for the help, finacial and spiritual, that his farm has received from us Californians. He said, in his Louisiana drawl, "On a scale of 1-10 we were at 0 right after the hurricane and now we're at about a 5.5" One of his main chefs was going to be visiting his farm this week to see what his forst menus might look like when he's able to open up. Jim hasn't gotten any word yet on the New Orleans farmers markets: a main source of their income, but he's hopeful they will start up sooner rather than later.

Yesterday they got electricity after 38 days without it. He said if another major+ storm showed up at least he wouldn't lose any trees, as they lost them all in Katrina, he still sounds sad about this. Thanks for all your good thoughts and support! -Julia\


Hurricane Katrina: we've all been hearing about it in the news, hearing stories from people who know people who know people that were there, hearing about ways all kinds of groups in our own communities are trying to help. I know of a few chefs that are participating in and or hosting benefit dinners to help raise money for the red cross and other efforts. I applaud them and below are links to the things I know of today. I'll add more links and information next week as I learn of them.

Our friend and pick up site host Gabriela Forte in Pacific Grove is a Slow Food convivium leader and she decided to 'adopt' a shrimp boat: it's a long time shrimping family that sustainably fishes the shrimp on the open sea, and this family has 5 children, and their boat, along with their only livelihood, was smashed to bits during the Katrina storm. (Gaby's link is below too.) The Red Cross is receiving lots of $$ to help folks in this and other disasters: it's terribly needed. And their mission is to help the immediate needs to keep people safe during and just after a disaster. Gaby wanted to help a fishing family get back on their feet. Her idea inspired me to directly contact a farm that might be suffering. After emails and phone calls to Poppy, the New Orleans Slow Food leader (who's got plenty of problems of her own!), Andy and I were linked with Taylor's Happy Oaks: a small family farm 1.5 hours northeast of New Orleans.

Jim and Gladys Core have about 40 acres, 16 or so that are in production. The rest is laid fallow or in woodlands. Their farm has been in their family for over 100 years, continuously in production. They use both draft horses and a tractor. When I asked Mr. Core about the horses, he said his grandfather and father used mules since 'the beginning' (aka before tractors) but it's now hard to find mules, so he uses draft horses for tilling and bed shaping.

They market their produce in New Orleans, selling at three farmers markets and to restaurants. All of those sales are on semi-permanent hold since Hurricane Katrina. They have no cash flow, but they are eager to replant and have winter crops available for when people start filtering back into New Orleans and the surrounding areas: folks will have to eat!

They grow what Jim calls the "Moms and Pops": collards, turnips, mustards… and several years ago started the 'specialties' at the request of chefs they were already working with: radicchio, spring mix, kohlrabi, pak choi, leeks, gold and chioggia beets, heirloom tomatoes.

Their immediate needs are to re-purchase seed, mulch & fertilizer, repair a small green house for starting plants, reroof the barn, and replace fencing for their draft horses that they use to till the fields. The hurricane came through with those mighty winds and 2 tornadoes as well. All the mulch put down for the 10,000 strawberry plants went off with the tornadoes, all the tomato plants in the ground were torn up by the roots and blown away…They have no electricity 5 weeks after the storm, diesel for their generators for irrigation and tractor work is at $5/gallon…Andy and I wanted to help someone with tangible things that will get them self sufficient again. We are donating the money to buy the seed they need and we're helping Anne Gingrass put on a little dinner fundraiser at Desiree in the Presidio in San Francisco on Thursday, Oct. 6th. (more details below) We're asking those of you that are able to donate a little or more than a little: we will forward 100% of all funds received directly to the Cores so they can get back on their feet. Who knows, when our 'big one' hits, Andy and I may need to appeal to their customers!

All Donations can be made out directly to Jim Core and sent directly to them in Louisiana:

Jim and Gladys Core
10129 Harold Core Rd.
Folsom, LA 70437

Thanks very much, Julia and Andy

Jim Core with one of his working draft horses B. H. (before hurricane)

Click here for information on a great Friday night dinner at Desiree in the Presidio (9/30, THIS Friday). A portion of the proceeds will go to the Cores.

We're also planning a special benefit dinner for a Thursday in Oct. Stay tuned for details...

One of the 100+ year old oaks that was snapped in the storm
Draft horses. Jim told me for several hours before the hurricane began the horses wouldn't eat: they knew something was coming....


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