Orin Martin can talk about peppers for two hours straight. Orin Martin is quite blonde. Orin Martin knows his way around chicken manure. Orin Martin—master gardener and maestro of UCSC’s Alan Chadwick Garden—has always been an event unto himself. Anyone who’s taken a workshop with the celebrated orchardist and horticulturist knows the vastness of his knowledge. This weekend, at the Chadwick Garden, Orin Martin will help launch this summer’s festivities in honor of the UCSC Farm & Garden’s 50th Anniversary.
Captivated by Chadwick and his intensive gardening methods, Martin was there during the earliest days, as a student of Chadwick’s, then as an apprentice with the UCSC Farm. Hired in 1977 to manage the farm and garden, Martin has spent more than 30 years digging garden beds, planting fruit trees, and becoming expert on anything that springs from the Earth. A one-man compendium of cultivation lore, Martin will lead a special class called “Garden Bed Prep, Chadwick Style” at the Chadwick Garden on March 25. Joined by his daughter, organic farmer Caroline Martin, the master gardener will walk participants through the steps of creating raised garden beds, working in compost, and reviewing the use of cover crops and intensive cultivation practices.
“Beyond pure function, it is truly an ‘artisan’ approach to gardening, fostering biodiversity in the soil ecosystem,” says Martin of the raised bed method.
This rare opportunity to watch Martin demo best practices for creating an authentic organic garden will be a treat for those who attend. The workshop, held at the Alan Chadwick Garden at UCSC, runs from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Cost is $30 for general public (pre-reg) or $40 at the door, $20 for Friends of the Farm & Garden members (pre-reg) or $30 at door. $5 for UCSC students. Pre-register at: gardenbeds.bpt.me. For more info, call 459-3240 or email ca***@uc**.edu.
The Westside Farmers Market returns to its original Mission Street Extension stomping grounds next month on April 8. After a season at the Delaware Avenue setting, it’s time to head back to the corner of Western Drive. The Saturday morning market is a ritual for folks from all over the Westside and downtown Santa Cruz. In addition to my personal favorites—the outstanding Lulu Carpenter’s coffee, a slab of tea cake from Companion, and those infant arugula and mizuna greens from Happy Boy—the 2017 market welcomes new vendors, including: Santa Cruz Pottery Collective with its mugs, bowls and plates; beautiful little California-native plants from Aptos’ Native Revival; and intriguing tinctures, salves and bitters form Corralitos-based Blossom’s Farm. And yes, the mouth-watering aromas of Garcia’s Oaxacan Kitchen will tempt us once more to breakfast burritos and chile rellenos, and Gordo Gustavo to pulled-pork and egg tacos. OMG. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday.
Scotts Valley Farmers’ Market opens its season on April 1. From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Saturday, the Scotts Valley Community Center parking lot will blossom with organic veggies, fruits, herbs, and flowers.
Speaking of open-air temptation, start planning for the summer series of Farmers Market Pop-up Breakfasts, starting June 3 on the Westside with a spread finessed by Erin Lampel of Companion Bakeshop. Fresh bread with mashed avocado, garlic and spices. Early summer salad, Companion quiche with sausage, roasted beets, warm biscuits with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Coffee by Lulu Carpenter’s. Tix $38, available at all farmers markets. Act fast—these splendid al fresco breakfasts will sell out! July 8 features Chef Brad Briske of Home at the Scotts Valley Market; Aug. 5, Katherine Stern of La Posta at Westside; and Aug. 26, Kendra Baker of Penny Ice Creamery and Assembly at the Westside. santacruzfarmersmarket.org/campaigns/pop-up-breakfast.