I went to one of my favorite places in San Jose today, Emma Prusch Park. This place is only here because Emma Prusch left it to the city of San Jose. Emma and her husband ran a farm on this property. She gave it to the city on the condition that it would remain agricultural/rural and not be developed.
If you have kids this is a great place to take them. There is a petting zoo, animal barn, playground and big grassy fields (complete with roaming chickens & peacocks!). Of course adults like it too. I remember once in the summer seeing a guy who was off work lying dead center in the middle of the large field, he was catching sun in his shirt and tie. People like the fields for Frisbee/soccer too.
What I really like the park for is it’s diversity of edible plants. There is a fig orchard, a pomme/stonefruit orchard, a high density orchard, a citrus orchard, and a rare fruit orchard! You are not allowed to harvest fruit from the trees (loading a bag for example) but you are allowed to take fruit off the tree to eat.
Here are the figs, dormant (sleepy sleepy)
Here are three trees in one hole! (high density orchard)
Here are some guava trees holding up well in the cold (rare fruit orchard)
That’s not all, the park has two community gardens. It’s great for the local residents who don’t have land of their own to grow on. The residents are mostly of Mexican heritage, and you can see here the Nopales (prickly pear cactus) in the gardens. The pads taste like tart green beans, and you can harvest fruit from them too. The plots are pretty empty now but I see lots of corn in them in the summer, which is Mexico’s most important crop.
Then there is Veggielution. This non-profit now has 6 acres in production. They produce fruits and vegetables for the local residents, and provide fresh produce to low income residents. They also do workshops, have a farmers market stand, all kinds of stuff.
Anyway, every year the CRFG have a scion exchange. You sort through all these plastic bags with little sticks in them (see picture below). A scion is piece of a branch from a tree. You can then attach this scion (usually pencil-ish size) onto a compatible tree. For example, I have a Santa Rosa plum in my back yard. I took scion woods from various Japanese type plums (which are compatible) to try and attach/graft onto my tree. There are so many varieties of fruits, and you’ll never get to see them in markets for various reasons. You’ll just have to grow your own And go visit Emma Prusch Park!