Thursday, December 3, 2009

T. Delaney Seam Studio Grows Beta vulgaris var. cicla: Chard  ‘Ruby Chard’  at  UCSF Botanical & Medicinal Garden

Family: Chenopodiaceae
Origin: Sicily, Mediterranean area


Chard, a leafy vegetable, a.k.a. Swiss Chard, Silverbeet, Perpetual Spinach, Spinach Beet, Crab Beet, Seakale Beet and Mangold, is a Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima. The word Swiss was used to distinguish chard from French spinach varieties by 19th century seed catalog publishers. Usually grown as an annual, it is a true biennial. Unlike its cousin the beet, chard is not grown for its fleshy roots but for its large crumpled leaves with fleshy edible stems growing throughout the year.

USDA Hardiness Zone: 6-10 This is an easy vegetable to grow. It prefers full sun and fertile slightly alkaline garden soil. It is quite heat tolerant but flourishes in cooler seasons.

Culinary Use:

Leaves and stem: can be eaten in salads, soups or simply steamed or sautéed. Other kinds of chard have the same properties and flavor as red chard but not the same pretty color stalks/stems as red chard.

Medicinal Use:

Chard is a cruciferous vegetable, meaning that it is high in anti-oxidants and thus proclaimed to possess cancer fighting properties. Other vegetables in this group include broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and turnips. Chard has beta-carotene (an antioxidant) and is a good source of calcium.

Low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol. High in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, C, E, K, B6, Riboflavin, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Thiamin, Folate and Zinc. Also high in Sodium.

Ornamental Use:

Chard also has ornamental value and can be incorporated into container plantings and mixed borders.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Saturday mornings at the Alemany Farmer’s Market in San Francisco is an experience not to be missed.... The farmers are from a broad range of backgrounds: Houmong, Italian, Armenian, Russian, Hispanic, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Laotian, Vietnamese, German, and of course the Anglos. The fruits + vegetables reflect the diversity of the growers + the prices are reasonable. As the fall approaches certain fruits are offered at their peak of perfection … which means they are harvested at their exquisite ripe moment ... delivered in vans + trucks to farmer’s markets throughout the United States. Transportation is the key word here.... Relatively short distances from the farm to market create an opportunity to taste the essence of REALLY FRESH PRODUCE!!

Speaking of transportation ... The public transportation there is abysmal, so be prepared to troll for parking + arrive early by 9 a.m.

My particular interest other than the habanera peppers + okra was the purchase of Vaccinium corymbosum or, in plain English, Blueberries…a wonderful “multitasker” and contrary to most of us who multitask + seem to spill the coffee on our lap, dial the wrong number + oh oops hit the car in front of us all at the same time…the blueberry is fabulous at 1. Being a beautiful ornamental shrub with diminutive leaves which can amplify the form + texture of a garden space... + 2. YES offers wonderful fruit which can simply be eaten standing right there in the garden ... or if you have a number of bushes then the culinary imagination is in play. A balance of ornamental + edible.

"California's Blueberry Boom"
For all of us who are enthusiasts of the edible garden: This is a terrific article written by David Karp for the LA Times, May 27, 2009, which discusses the history of growing blueberries in California

What to select
Dr. Chlorophyll of Berkeley Horticultural Nursery recommends this website as a spectacular resource for the selection of blueberries. If you have read, as I have read Dr. Chlorophyll for all these years, you know that his prescriptions never fail, and that is unusual!

How to store
This article defies our intuition of how to preserve. Basically, heat it up to cool it down.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Preserving Beauty

Our good friend Lisa Boquiren, the uber matchmaker, did just that!!!! matching us up with information from her good friend Rachel B. Dougherty, apparently a bridge player extraordinaire + of course a hydrangea lover....offering us this (albeit somewhat challenging) method of preservation ...for our floral extravaganzas of" mopheads"... This does have a bit of air of the Dr. Danger aspect to floral arranging..

Have a pan of boiling water on stove. Cut the hydrangea and plunge tip of cut stem in water for 30 seconds then put the flower in a deep vase of ice water. (Instead of ice water, very cold water can suffice.) When all hydrangeas are cut, cover blossoms with paper towels and mist with water. Then let them stand in cool place for several hours. That makes them last for several days -- otherwise they wilt very soon.

Let us know how you (hopefully) succeeded in maintaining full vases of perky heads of hydrangeas....

Two good sources of information regarding hydrangeas are + of course Wikipedia..which is succinct + note that aluminum sulphate issue.....

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Now at Dunkirk Showroom in San Francisco

Here we are at the Architectural Digest Show at Pier 94 in New York City from March 26 – 29. To great acclaim and lots of oohs and aahs, we showcased, with the help of Kurt Smith, metal extraordinaire (visit, three pieces from our edition of "Suspended Braille," "Table Saws," "Tree Book of Life," and, of course, the "Rope Rolling Balls." Please email for prices.

Let the Circle Be Unbroken

Let the Circle Be Unbroken

“Fragments,” Raymond Carver’s Final Poem

“Fragments,” Raymond Carver’s Final Poem

“Fragments,” Raymond Carver’s Final Poem

Release a Penetration

Release a Penetration

Tree Book of Life

Tree Book of Life

Tree Book of Life on Table Saw, Series 2

Table Saws, Series 1

Table Saws, Series 2

Rope Rolling Balls

Rope Rolling Balls

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


We were first introduced to Yuzu, the Japanese citron Citrus ichangensis x Citrus reticulata var. austera while having a celebratory lunch at Boulette’s Larder. Ameryl and Laurie the genius team who create before our very eyes delicious gastronomic delicacies, offer a larder stocked with a rare and unique spices and stock. Yuzu is there bottled ready to go.

Our team seated around a larger communal wooden table (read if you are 10 or less you have the opportunity to break bread with some pretty interesting folks). That is how we met William Kitteridge the South African artist. We ordered the soup of the day and beside this steaming sweet smelling bowl of soup were 2″ x 6″x 1/4″ rectangular sheets of bamboo which we were instructed to gently peel back and who knew! Yuzu! A viscous thin film of gelatinous Yuzu was revealed. Following Ameryl and Laurie’s instructions we slid the sheet of Yuzu into our soup for a delicious and tart contrast to the creamy hot soup. The reverence, delicacy and ingenuity of this offering left us speechless; frankly hard to do!

Ameryl, chef extraordinaire contemplating ingredients for a gastronomic chet d’oeuvre

What is of great interest in our California climate is that Yuzu is a citrus hardy to 4 degrees. We were able to locate beautiful 7 gallon standard Yuzus at the family owned citrus nursery in Fremont California - Four Winds Growers: 510.656.2591. The foliage, a canopy of medium sized dark green leaves-with small yellow fruit-ultimate size.