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Cal Poly Pomona Farm Store for Fresh Produce, Plants

It's time to smell the roses.

When a deadline looms, industrious folk step up to the plate to see the job is done, and pronto. Not me. Whether for self-preservation or self-destruction, I have an informal relationship with time frames. They're just like city busses; another one will be along in 13 minutes. I am relaxed enough to go out of my way to avoid the clock, to mull things over a bit longer than agreed-upon. Others may find this characteristic irritating, but in the time taken to smell the coffee, or the caramel macchiato latte, or the roses, I have doubtless discovered something new. Lucky for me, I haven’t discovered that I’ve been fired. Yet.

This week: same old same old. I was scheduled to amend soil and plant Dietes bicolor at on Tuesday. Instead, the day slipped by as I researched invasive weeds. Thursday, when I amended soil at The Shabby Dog, I cultivated out scores of emerging spurge weeds before adding organic fertilizer, which would have fed the interlopers as well as the new Fortnight Lily. Not the end of the world, and did I mention how low my blood pressure is?

Still, due dates multiply like mold in the cheese bin. Today presented two commitments, one at 10 a.m., one at 5 p.m. The seemingly endless Internet router battle, featuring bewitched computers playing musical IP addresses for no discernable reason, other than there really are witches in our world, sucked me into the black hole of telephone tech support. The 10 o’clock deadline, and many hours of my precious life, slid away as I waited to speak to a supervisor. Order eventually restored at the home office, I drove away from the evil laptop as fast as I could without breaking the law. I drove through Arcadia, Temple City, an area that resembled parts of Phoenix, and found my way onto the 10 East, toward the farm. The Farm Store at Cal Poly Pomona, to be exact.

Those who meet deadlines head on, and those who insert 97 switchbacks before crossing the finish line converge at the Farm Store for power foods and locally grown produce. Situated at the old W.K. Kellogg Ranch, of Kellogg cereal and Arabian horse breeding fame, Cal Poly Pomona converts technical arts and sciences into ornamental and edible plants for you and me.

The westerly view from the Farm Store parking lot is of cultivated hills and fields. Corn, grapes and Dragonfruit grow in long columns in the distance. Near the store entrance a compact grove of persimmons hedges a strip of lawn, beyond which are nursery yards readying plants for future sales. Inside, I ask about the pumpkins. The pretty clerk tells me the pumpkins and gourds are still in the Cal Poly Pomona growing fields in Chino, but arrive the first weekend of October. The Pumpkin Festival is October 15 and 16, 2011, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Because the University grown cantaloupes, Ghost peppers, and jumbo Reed avocados easily distract me I quickly forget my pumpkin quest. Crates of fresh farm corn are three ears for 99 cents. Jujube fruits are only $1.59 per pound, a fair price even though I have no idea what that is. What, ho! A placard informs, and we are here to learn, this being a University and all. Jujube fruit, or Chinese dates, have “potent health benefits.”  With antioxidant properties, loads of Vitamin A and C, jujubes treat constipation, insomnia and anxiety.  Bring it on! Since missing my five o’clock deadline, I have all those conditions!

Before I get back on the freeway, I take a quick stroll through the rear nursery section and find my muse waiting for me. Hooray! Season extenders abound, such as mints, hip-tall variegated basils, purple basil, Holy Green Basil, which sounds like an exclamation Robin makes to Batman.  I snag 4 inch pots of creeping thymes for the back walkway, a one gallon Pakistan mulberry for the front yard and three one gallon “Wonderful” pomegranates, which will grow to 10 feet tall in a few short years, to replace the senescing privet behind the basketball net in the driveway.

I drive home, happy to have supported my good neighbor, CSU Pomona. As I take freeway time to smell the herbaceous coffee-substitute, I power forward to tomorrow’s deadline, in the garden.

The Farm Store at Cal Poly Pomona is located at 4102 S. University Drive 
Pomona, CA 91768. They're open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., open 7 days a week and camn be reached by phone at (909) 869-4906

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