Suzie’s Farm and The Blog Is Back!


“Hi and howdy!” says Farmer Gil. “Welcome back to the blog!”

Well, more like… welcome back, blog, and thanks to any and all of you who are still reading!

I fully expected that after two weeks of living in San Diego, I’d be back to blogging now and then. I miss this space and sharing life with you all! But we’ve been slammed with some family sickness (broken collarbone for Gil, rash for Lena, fevers for both of them) and have had visitors since we arrived. I think we’re turning the corner into a more settled routine. At last!

To start us off, here are photos from this past Saturday when we visited a local farm. We haven’t been to any kind of organic, family-friendly farm event in years — or maybe ever? — but I know they are pretty common in the States. Anyway, pretty much everything surpassed our expectations.


Suzie’s Farm, you had me at your artfully-designed flyer.


Watermelon gherkins! (aka teeny tiny cucumbers)


Hottest, hotter, hot, sweet, sweeter, sweetest.


Choosing peppers for salsa and cucumbers for pickling.


I’ve always wanted to make my own pickles, but the art of fermentation totally intimidates me. After Saturday, though, I have my own jar of pickles fermenting in the cupboard. What’s next… kombucha? (Sort of kidding since I’ve never even tasted it. #welcometoamerica)


If you want to learn to pickle, Southern California’s farmers are about the chillest and coolest folks to teach you. “Girl, you’re doing great, just peel some garlic here and toss that in too….”


While I was chopping cucumbers, Elliott was roasting our peppers. After they had roasted, we combined them with tomatoes, cilantro, and onions in a Vitamix…


… and Lena and Elliott pedaled to power the blender to turn them into salsa! Totally cool. Also the salsa is amazing and we’ve basically inhaled it. Fire-roasted 100% organic pepper-and-tomato salsa? Get in my mouth.


We ordered lunch from this fantabulous food truck on the premises, but they told us our meal would take 20 minutes to prepare, so we wandered off around the farm to pick some herbs and flowers and meet some…


No caption required.


And then… our lunch! That’s eggplant tacos, sweet potato fries, and beet dip (so pink!). Also it was all Elliott ordered for our whole family (“Man, I thought there would be a lot more food”). We all kind of looked at each other hungrily when we were done.


We ended the day by filling our take-away box to the brim with tomatoes and peppers.


Be choosy, Gil.


The tomatoes or Gala apples? Love the variegation.


Silly smile from another little helper.


And finally home, where we put the kids down for naps and then I rapidly bagged herbs and refrigerated peppers and cucumbers. An amazing haul of organic produce for just $20!

It cheers my heart (and warms my blood….) to see this because just yesterday I almost teared up at the grocery store while shopping for fruit. I’m not a die-hard organic or farm-fresh person — I eat commercially-grown veggies and fruits without fuss, like most people — but when I saw a huge bin of apricots under the florescent grocery store lights, my heart sank.

“Apricots” in Sicily are golden balls of sweetness, warm from the sun in the back of the farmer’s truck, kissed rosy pink on one cheek, dripping with juice and bursting with flavor. Memories rushed back: simple chit-chat in Italian with farmers while buying kilo after kilo of apricots under the Sicilian sun. Lena and Gil eating apricots in the stroller as we walked home. Apricots on the counter, apricots with our dinner, apricots for every snack, apricots turned into jam.

These apricots in the grocery store yesterday, though, were out of season and a sickly green, over-sized, a poor imitation of the thing I’d come to love. I picked one up and felt it sadly; it was cold and hard.

So maybe we won’t buy fresh apricots from farmers’ trucks in California. We’ve said goodbye to many things. But this — this glorious summer afternoon, this cache of memories, this jar of to-be-pickles, this quart of fresh salsa, this box of herbs and peppers, this bouquet of glowing sunflowers…

… we’ve said hello to all of this. And it’s so good.

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31 Responses to Suzie’s Farm and The Blog Is Back!

  1. Di August 25, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    Welcome back…you’ve been missed. That farm looks amazing! I love fresh produce but mostly have to do with store bought here in Scotland – except the berries in summer, the berries are amazing….strawberries, raspberries and blueberries….

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

      We are gobbling up all the berries here, Di, after living without them for three years (except strawberries and wild blackberries for a brief season each summer). So delicious!

  2. Sarah Boschung August 26, 2014 at 12:26 am #

    I have missed my Garber updates! Suzie’s Farm sounds like my kind of place!! There is nothing better than freshly-picked produce. So glad to hear that you are finally getting settled- what a beautiful city to now call home!

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      Can’t wait for you to visit!!! ;)

  3. Alica August 26, 2014 at 1:05 am #

    It’s good to hear from you again. Glad to see that you’re settling in to your new lives in San Diego. Hopefully Gil is recovering well. I can’t imagine keeping a busy toddler from climbing and jumping, etc!

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      We just had a follow-up ortho appt today and he’s doing really well. Hopefully it should heal soon, and right now we’re just trying to keep him extra-safe within his comfort zone. Thank you for your good wishes!

  4. Sarah Stuntz August 26, 2014 at 1:57 am #

    Have you ever read When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmerelda Santiago? She has this lovely and bittersweet passage about buying guavas in America, and how it showed her that her childhood was over. It’s literary genius, and your reflection on the apricots reminded me of it — which I think makes you literary genius, right? Anyways, celebrating and mourning with you, and read the book sometime if you get a chance :)

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      Hah, I DREAM of literary brilliance! I haven’t read the book but will keep and eye out for it now. It might even be at our amazing new library that I completely head-over-heels in love with.

  5. Kathy August 26, 2014 at 2:58 am #

    Loved this post and that farm looked amazing. Please explore the many farmers markets in San Diego. There’s one just about every day in one of the communities. Also, Sprouts Farmers Market is a grocery store with a huge selection of organic produce and dry goods. We went to one in Point Loma and I know there are others in town. Don’t give in to the apricots!

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      Thank you for the advice and encouragement! Actually, this reminds me that there’s a weekly farmers’ market on Tuesdays (today!) in Coronado, and I still haven’t been able to go yet. Hopefully the kids and I can swing by later today.

  6. Alise G August 26, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    Glad to start reading about your adventures in California! I’ve been checking back regularly and have been looking forward to an update. That farm looks amazing. I was thinking about how in California we pride ourselves in the freshness of our produce. But sometimes it still pales in comparison to other places like Sicily, where maybe the pace of life and expectations of convenience is different. Anyway, I hope your babies feel better soon. :)

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

      I’d love to know more about how the food gets from the farms to the stores here; I’m sure it’s a much shorter route than most other parts of the country. And really… out of season is out of season anywhere, and I should have known that and not been so bummed out! I’ll wait till next June and see what it brings by way of apricots.

  7. Abi August 26, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    I fell in love with apricots when I studied abroad in France. I remember making an apricot tart that impressed even my bourgeois host parents ;) I decided to make the same recipe for my family when I got home. Somehow I found fresh apricots in Chatham (!) and baked a beautiful tart. We dug in greedily and I will never forget their faces- it was so- TART!- that we couldn’t eat it (no, I hadn’t actually tasted the apricots before baking them…) lesson learned. I have yet to savor a decent apricot and know that I won’t until one day when I’m back in Europe. Ergo, I feel your pain, sista! But I love this post and am so glad you had fun at the farm. And Gil looks adorable in his overalls!! Hugs!

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

      Look at you, new mama of two, sweet enough to leave a comment! Thank you, dear Abi. Praying and thinking of you and Jorge and Lucie and Gus every day here.

  8. Amanda E. August 26, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    Welcome back!! Love this update – and as a Minnesotan, sooooo jealous that you have Cali produce at your disposal, though I imagine it can’t hold a candle to Sicilian goodness. ;-) I want to put my 1.5 year old in overalls right now after seeing Gil, ha! :D

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      You should! They came in a bag of hand-me-downs and my heart totally melted when I saw them. I knew he’d be wearing them ALL THE TIME, and I was right. They’re so fun and sturdy for little boys on the move, especially when you can just hoist them or scoop them out of trouble just by grabbing the straps on the bacl!

  9. Lizzie August 26, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    I am so happy to hear from you again! Your farm trip sounds like a blast, and I hope you are settling in to your new home.
    Sorry to hear about the broken collarbone and sickness! Perhaps it served the purpose of keeping you too busy to feel too Sicily sick though.
    I look forward to hearing more about your California cooking, and I am somewhat envious of your growing season :P
    Here in Southern Ontario we are enjoying our summer bounty while it lasts!

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      Ontario… oh, but I bet it’s so beautiful right now! A part of me knows that I’ll miss four distinct seasons here, but the other part of me says “enjoy it, because you’ll probably never get weather this amazing again!”

  10. Tiffany August 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

    Glad you’re back and you guys are settling in OK (minus sickness and broken collarbone)!

    Changes are hard–even good ones.

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      So true, and you know about that. Thanks for reading so faithfully, Tiffany!

  11. Carly August 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Becca, have you heard of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? I subscribe to one here in Ventura County. For $25 every two weeks, I pick up a box of organic straight from the farm produce. You never know what it’s gonna be! And that’s exciting for me because I get to experiment with all sorts of fruits and veggies and they’re all farm fresh (and still all dirty and wonderfully organic). Last week’s organic strawberries were pure heaven. I’m sure there has got to be a CSA program in San Diego.

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

      Yes, I’ve heard of it but never been a part of a CSA. Maybe now’s our chance! I actually got talked into signing up for one while at the park the other day, but we’re doing our research before we commit. They will deliver to our door, though, AND we can customize our box, so how can we really say no…? ;)

  12. Carrie August 26, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

    Oh I felt like you voiced what I know is coming for us too – we are preparing to move back to the States from Guatemala. I am eating fruits and avocados like crazy because I know I will just about cry at the grocery store when I see avocados are like $1 each! :(

    I hope the transition is going well!

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

      They are $1 each. :( But avocados were only in “season” or available for about one week a year in Sicily (and then they were SO cheap), so even U.S. prices are better than the dearth I’m used to. There are tons of trees dripping with avocados in our neighborhood, though, so I’m hoping we can make some friends and share their harvest. That’s the way to go!

  13. Joy August 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

    That looks so wonderful!! Your lunch looks like it was amazing! I’m inspired to try to re-create it here! I love California produce so much — glad that you can enjoy it!

    • Becca August 26, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

      Yes, you know about CA produce, Joy, and I’m sure you could make a killer eggplant tortilla!

  14. Poppy August 27, 2014 at 2:27 am #

    Been missing those email updates over here in India. The veggies seem much better than in the store and the growing ones are learning great discernment. Love to all from Poppy in Chennai.

  15. Sylvia August 27, 2014 at 9:11 am #

    Ciao Becca, so glad you have found organic farms in San Diego. I also like Wild Willow Farms, they are further south I believe…..they host monthly vegetarian potlucks. I miss my San Diego home so much.

    Glad you are adjusting so well.


  16. Sylvia August 27, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    Also, San Diego City College has a wonderful farm and market. All the Farmer’s Markets like the ones in OB, La Jolla, etc. sell farm fresh produce as well. You don’t need those green apricots!

  17. Emily August 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    I’ve been a long time lurker, I’m afraid, and never one who comments, but I am trying to change my ways! I stumbled across your blog at some point on Facebook and have had fun following you the past year or two (and much of the military life resonates with me since I am also married to an officer). I love seeing friends and acquaintances from UVA make their way in the world (quite literally, all over the world!).

  18. Jamison September 14, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    Finally i quit my day job, now i earn decent money online you should try
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