Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Apr 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Green Things

Renee’s garden keeps on growing

greenthingsRenee, Renee, how does your garden grow? With Asian greens and seedlings, and pretty flowers all in a row. OK, so that’s a spin-off of an old nursery rhyme, but somehow it seems fitting for a local woman who’s the master of her own garden—Renee Shepard.

Up in the colorful hills of Felton you can find Shepard wandering amongst fragrant flora and green veggies in her garden. She may be sampling the latest that has sprouted up in her dirt beds, picking out dinner, or analyzing what she’ll be packaging in an upcoming assortment of her famous seeds. Mostly, though, you’ll find a woman whom some are calling a pioneer in the gardening world, specifically in the case of Asian greens like baby bok choy or pat soi, a flat rosette of dark green leaves.

Recently Shepard, who owns the wholesale business Renee’s Garden, up in Felton, was featured in an article in the Sunset Western Garden Book. The topic: Her compelling knowledge about those Asian greens.

But that’s not all the gardening maven is good at. Since holding down her own business in 1997, this green thumb has been churning out cookbooks, and she has written scads of articles for well-known gardening magazines.

The long-time local has earned a steadfast reputation as the go-to girl for supplying both education and seeds to home gardeners. Some of her favorites to plant these days in the Asian greens niche include the aforementioned baby bok choy, pat soi and mizuna (a mild green that looks like serrated arugula but is much sweeter). All these veggies are prime choices to plant in Santa Cruz County-based gardens. “The nice thing about the Santa Cruz area is that you can plant them in the spring and plant another one in the fall,” Shepard says. “Plant the seeds and eat the young plants, and leave the remaining ones to grow bigger.”

Walk out to your garden and pluck any of these fast growing, low-maintenance Asian greens. Say you choose the baby bok choy. Now apply a Shepard recipe: Sautee the veggie with some garlic, ginger and hot chilis, and voila—you have a simple stirfry that’s flush with exquisite taste. Or maybe recreate a salad that this professional gardener recently dined on. While this recipe doesn’t use Asian greens, it’s still lean and green: Pluck some Italian escarole (salad greens) from your garden, throw in some tangerine sections and toasted nuts, and serve up a side dish. Just don’t forget to water those seeds outside.

For more information, visit reneesgarden.com.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management