As one of my “last hoorahs” before starting grad school (next week!), I took a little trip down to southern California to visit one of my college pals, Mallory. Mal lives and works at Apricot Lane Farms, an amazing biodynamic, organic farm outside of LA. After years of promising to make a visit, I finally got to volunteer in the farm’s garden.
But, first things first. Mal, being the amazing friend that she is, took me straight from the airport to brunch at Farmshop, a super fun (and delicious) restaurant that sources some ingredients from the farm. Their pastries were INSANE. I’m still dreaming about that almond croissant. And the strawberries dipped in whipped crème fraîche. Swoon.
Mal (and the rest of her team) does videography for the farm (you may have seen their work on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday). In fact, they just won an EMMY (whoa) for their “Saving Emma” film. Amazing. Since I know nothing about film (or farming, really), I volunteered in the garden for a few days. But I got to meet all of the super fun animals on my grand tour of the farm. Don’t you want one of these guys?
I feel like every person should have to spend time working in a garden at some point in their lives. It’s incredibly hard work (my back was so tired of being hunched over, and my legs felt like they’d done full-day squats), but it’s also amazing to see progress happen so quickly! Thanks to the super kind staff at Apricot Lane, I got to help with so many different things, and learned so much for my (hopefully) future garden! But my real pride and joy of the week was putting in these (million?) wooden posts in the ground to help with tomato plants. It took a lot of teamwork, and this crazy heavy tool that should be incorporated into Crossfit workouts. What I’m saying is, go hug your farmer, friend. They work so hard.
After work, Mal and I went on a few late afternoon hikes. Happy Camp Canyon Regional Park proved to be a very southern California experience (lots of dirt!), but was quite lovely.
Much more amazing, though, was the hike up Sandstone Peak, the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. The views were pretty impressive. I remember being so surprised to see mountains the first time I flew into Los Angeles a few years ago. Seriously, who knew? I guess if there had been a high school reality show based in the mountains, rather than the beach, I would’ve been better informed.
Thanks so much for hosting me, Mal! You’re the best!