As Rare as Finding a Piano on Top of a Hill in Topanga

If you didn’t hear the story about a random piano abandoned on the top of the hill in Topanga, the mystery was quickly solved, that it was put up there for a music video shoot. Some locals had mixed feelings, some wanted to rally together and make some music, some felt that leaving an out of tune piano on the top of the hill was irresponsible and the crew should be fined for littering. Nonetheless, I’m always up for a hike, and we took a little family adventure with our rare sub-tropical fruits, out to see a rare siting of a piano atop the hill. FullSizeRender (32)                           FullSizeRender (40) FullSizeRender (31)                           FullSizeRender (35) Yes, it was out of tune, and 6 keys were broken, it’s possible some day it’s destined to fall down the hill and create a big mess, which sounds pretty awful, but a piano on a hill is beautiful. I had never seen so much graffiti in Topanga. This is an area I haven’t explored in the 6 years of living in the canyon. The hike going up there had graffiti on the rocks leading up to the watch tower. FullSizeRender (39)                 IMG_1769 Topanga Graffiti, “Love Yourself!” At least, there were some good messages. People were already carving initials and messages, and putting their stickers on the piano. It was a very touristy type of scene. Somehow I imagined, we would just encounter a few locals, playing music together, the way we like to gather in Topanga. FullSizeRender (29) Someone referenced me once as the connoisseur of fruits and veggies, when I said I must come off as a food snob. I just really love knowing the people who are so passionate about the food they grow and share with us. It moves me. I’ve come upon the very best fruits I didn’t know existed, like babaco papaya, surinam cherries, jaboticaba berries, pink guavas, and ice cream beans. I light up and experience foodie bliss! When I take a bite, I think about all the people who would fall in love with it too. I feel lucky to know a few exceptional farmers, growing rare sub-tropicals with so much love and passion.  I’ve listened to their struggles with all types of issues from the drought, to the weather, to paper work. They keep going, in spite of the struggles, and it warms their heart to be appreciated. FullSizeRender (36)  photo (83) IMG_3769 If you order a paradise box, just know that the fruit has a mind of it’s own, the weather will decide if we have passion fruit one week, and none the next, but through the year we’ve been providing sub-tropical fruits, there were only a few weeks in the winter that we had to hold the paradise orders, due to to low volume of fruit. To order a paradise box with seasonal, local, sub-tropical fruits go to our website.


Our Video at Etheridge Farm, the Drought, and Rain Barrels….

JR Organics has yellow squash for us, for this Sundays farm box. It’s unexpected this early, exciting for our bellies, and at the same time, a call to our attention about the sunny winter we just had.

During last years beautiful and sunny winter in January 2014, we visited Etheridge Farms to learn more about the effects the drought was having on his farm, and get his insights. It was sprinkling when we got there, which was nice, but he lightly joked, saying, “it’s kind of like going to a bar and getting flirted with, no big deal. It’s not going to do that much good, it really isn’t. It’s a good start, yes. It hasn’t rained since December 7th, that’s 54 days by the way. This is not really rain, this is more or less a trinkle.”

It didn’t do much to help with their water situation. Gene and his family have been working on building a deeper well since that winter, which has slowed their plans to start their organic vegetable farm, as well as causing a few challenges with some of the fruit.

Gene Etheridge has been growing organic fruit for over 30 years, his wisdom, passion, and excellent fruit has compelled us to stand by him for years, supporting his farm every week.


Before the drought, I had collaborated with Gene about some of the exciting heirloom vegetables we would like them to grow for our farm boxes. Those plans have really slowed, due to the drought. On the lighter side, it seems that more people are growing gardens at home and in their communities, like the Kiss the Ground project in Venice.

Click here to see our video with Gene.  

Which brings us to rain barrels. It’s the first day of Spring, and we’ve spent most of the day planting veggies in our garden, from the heirloom seeds we started. It’s not too late, or too early to get prepared and get our rain barrels from Aquatopanga, for next winters rain. We’ll need them.

As Gene said, “I don’t think it’s a water problem, I think it’s how we use the water, so we need to find a way to be very efficient.”

barrel in situ

Aquatopanga is a new supplier of rain barrels, which was set up in frustration when faced with the difficulty of finding quality rain barrels locally.

They have a stock of recycled rain barrels that qualify for rebates and will help you claim up to 100% of the cost. Mention SavRaw when you contact them for a $10 discount on each barrel.

Also, if you share this post and refer your friends, you’ll get a $10 credit on your SavRaw account for each barrel your friend buys. Have them mention your name when they contact Aquatopanga.

or call 805-231-7420

Drought has become a fact of life here in SoCal, which makes gardening all the more of a challenge. Just last week, LA county announced that it is going to enforce watering restrictions and fine people who water more then twice a week. However, there is hope at the end of the dry tunnel – rebates are now available to help gardeners conserve water in rain barrels for next to nothing. Nearly all water companies and most cities offer rebates to enable you to install up to 4 rain barrels per household – these barrels attach directly to your downspout so your whole roof becomes a rain zone collection zone, resulting in gallons of water from the slightest drizzle.

Here’s another short clip with Gene, about growing our own food. 

Making use of Beet Greens

Beet greens aren’t the most exciting veggie, but they’re healthy.

If I were to make an all beet green salad, I’d lose interest after two bites. Instead, I made use of them by adding just a few leaves, chopped up, and loved the little addition to this tasty salad.

Beet Greens, fennel, a little arugula, snap peas, olive oil, salt flakes, black pepper, meyer lemon juice, and a chopped blood orange. A light, fresh, delicious, side salad.

FullSizeRender (21)

Health Benefits of Beet Greens

“Besides supplying good amounts of protein, phosphorus, and zinc, beet greens are also a great source of fiber. Packed with antioxidants, they’re high in vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese……”