Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sub-tropical Fruits and Coyotes on Bear Creek Ranch

October 17, 2010
Bear Creek Ranch, Los Osos, CA
Greetings dear family of friends,
This husband and wife traveling team has found refuge and friendship amongst the fruit orchards and oak trees at Bear Creek Ranch. Nestled deep in a coastal canyon south of Morro Bay, Bear Creek Ranch is a sub-tropical exotic fruit farm and grass-fed longhorn cattle ranch. The land is homesteaded by a cast of great people and dear friends including Tom, Sonya, JJ, Goat, Ottie the Coyote Chaser, The Cattle Crew and Chiansaw the Cat.
We stretch above the coastline at Ragged Point, La Luna Crescente stunning in the purple hued sky. Waiving goodbye to the Big Sur for now, our travels will soon take us to hidden canyons in lands to the south.
The bike route beyond Ragged Point is leisurely, with only rolling hills and gentle breezes to contend with as our TT operates smoothly on open road. We pass by elephant seals on the ocean side, and the Zebras of William Randolph Hearst graze in the mountains. We pedal through Morro Bay and into agricultural lands of San Luis Obispo's fertile fields. Peas and garbonzo beans, broccoli and lettuce mix, the land is a patchwork of greens, elegant in the soft light of a foggy morning.
We arrive in mid-day sun at the Ranch, greeted first by Ottie the farmdog, Kati's long-lost friend. Tom is waiting at the cattle gaurd, all smiles and a welcoming presence. Tom is a coyote-hunting, permaculturalist; a seed-saving, experimental biologist; a true ecologically farming, visionary head-dress Artists.

The tour begins by climbing onto the Kubota FarmCart and zooming around on gravel roads in search of coyotes caught in snares.Then we inspect the maturation of Pineapple Guavas (aka Feijoas) and head to the packing shed where we get our first opportunity to view a rare melon some call the Jelly Melon. The famed Swift Sub-tropicals freshly harvested "Horned Melon". This rare fruit has its origins with farmers of the Kalahari desert in Africa. The melon is harvested delicately and placed into specialty packaging after an intricate quality assesment. They are sent out to exotic fruit distributors who will wheel and deal these thirst-quenching treats to customers throughout California.
Samples anyone? This is a Pepino Dulce Melon, freshly harvested from the fields. Farmer Tom has coined the term "Heart of Gold" Melon for this gorgeous fruit. Native to the sub-tropical regions of the Andean foothills, Pepinos were cultivated by the Incas and are grown today througout South America.
Farmer Tom and Farmer Pete discuss the subtlies of the fruit's flavors, as well as unique ideas for increasing customer demand and appreciation of this "Lost Crop of the Incas."
As our farm tour continues, we notice some of the pollinators who make all this flavor possible. Give thanks to the winged magicians.

Passion Fruit is the third exotic sub-tropical fruit of the season. We walk along hundreds of feet of vining, trellissed plants, their star shaped flowers so perfect, with deep purple inner-petals and frizzy tendrils to lure in pollinators. Ripe fruits hang like jewels, ready to be picked and sorted, and sent to lands both near and far...
Farmer Jim shows us how to separate the fruits for quality. Passion fruit is in high demand in Japan. So the best fruits are loaded onto pallets bound for markets across the mighty Pacific. The Dogs of Bear Creek Ranch carry big sticks.
Next our welcome tour of Bear Creek Ranch takes us to the Sky House, perched above this mystic fog wave as seen during sunset on October 13. Colorful vistas extend in all directions, and the summits of the Seven Sisters - volcanic, granite peaks leading from inland valleys to beneath the waves of Morro Bay - seem to glow golden in the setting sun.
From Left to Right: Goat, Pete and Tom breath deep and take in the sights as another day turns to night and the mountains glow in peaceful calm.

October 15th is Garlic Planting Day at BCR. A misty mountain morning cleared to brilliant sun by the time we were ready to plant. Row 1 was planted in Covelo Mystery Softneck from Ali in Covelo, CA. Row two was planted in ten pounds of Siberian Marbled Purple Stripe and the final row received forty pounds of Inchelium Red from Sandhill Farms in Eden, UT.
This joyous Garlic Planting celebration marked Pete and Kati's very first clove planting as a married couple. The ceremony also fulfilled part of a lifelong dream of Pete to spread the Blessed Bulb's seeds from mountains to the Sea. The 1,200 row feet of garlic planted now rests in a bed of fertile soil. It is a mystery when the first signs of green sprouting life will emerge into the maritime air currents. It is a mystery how the roots will grow and how the bulbs will form, but the seeds are planted deeply and with loving care. Boardered by a row of Pineapple Guava, the Garlic will grow and be close to the Waves
Today the Mighty Sky rumbles and cracks, thundering high above the Passion friut vines and Cherimoya trees of the Ranch. A tropical storm swirling off the coast of Baja has spun northward up the Californian shore, unleashing moisture and thunder on this lazy, beauiful mid October day. Three years ago today these lovebird honeymooners were recovering in the ICU after a roll-over car accident in the west desert. Today we live our life with such thankfuless, enjoying each moment to its fullest, surrounding ourselves with family, dear friends and all the plants and people we love.                                                                                   Alissa, Yaliya, Goat and the Honeymooners peel garlic left over from Friday's planting celebration. The Oak trees drip with mist, and the lone Redwood towers towards this rare Pacific Thunderstorm. The eco-Lagoon adult Pool near the barn bubbles as it circulates water through the gravel and plant filtration system.
We rest in pure comfort after a successful end-of the week harvest and market. Our beautiful Turquoise Tandem is packed and ready to ride, as we wait out the weather, drink honey tea and eat hearty food, including the many Fruits from Bear Creek Ranch.


  1. what a lovely surprise--to wake up and share your experiences! now i can get on with the day.
    it is hard to believe it's been three years since the dread. what you two have done since then is a miracle and a joy to watch.
    be safe. love love love

  2. Congrats Pete and Kati! Thanks for the link to your awesome blog. Looks like you're having tons of fun in California. My husband and I can't wait to get back home to L.A.! Seeing the lovely coast has got us excited to head back home at the end of the month. It's wonderful news to hear that you've planted your awesome garlic in Cali. Do they ship south to L.A.? =) That's something we'd both love to get our hands on next year. Until then we'll reluctantly settle for what we find around L.A. Hope you two are well and in great spirits. Congrats again!
    -Ria & Matt Wilson (formerly of LHF fame) ;)