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December 2011 • Edition 11.48

Kevin's Korner


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Harvest of local grower reaps national acclaim


At Chino Farm's Vegetable Stand, owner Tom Chino, at right, arranges kohlrabi. At left is employee Geoff Williams.| Photo Credit: CHARLIE NEUMAN/San Diego Union-Tribune/ZUMA Press
It’s only natural that Tom Chino is serving 15 vegetable dishes at his Thanksgiving table. He is among the most famous vegetable growers in the country, with a national reputation for his specialty produce.

The harvest from his 47-acre farm in Rancho Santa Fe is on the menus of celebrated chefs from Wolfgang Puck of Spago to Alice Waters of Chez Panisse.

Martha Stewart and the late Julia Child have visited his farm, and Child is among a slew of culinary celebrities who have autographed a wallboard in the kitchen near the farm’s vegetable shop. The Chino Farm has appeared on TV in Wolfgang Puck’s show on the Food Network.

But Chino remains down to earth and focuses on his harvest.

“We just want our vegetables to taste the way they should,” Chino said.

The work at Chino Farm is the result of a scientific process and a passion he shares with three of his nine siblings — Kay, Frank and Fred, who run the farm with him.

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Manager's Corner

Poinsettia Ad

National Poinsettia Day: December 12

December 12 is National Poinsettia Day, designated by Congress to honor the flower and Joel Robert Poinsett, botanist and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. Native to Mexico, the poinsettia, with over 50 million sold annually, is the number one flowering potted plant sold in the United States.

History of Poinsettias
The Aztecs called poinsettias "Cuetlaxochitl." During the 14th-16th century the sap was used to control fevers and the bracts ( modified leaves) were used to make a reddish dye.

Plum Pudding poinsettiaMontezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have poinsettias brought into what now is Mexico City by caravan because they could not be grown in the high altitude.


Centuries later, Joel Roberts Poinsett became the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, being appointed by President Andrew Jackson in the 1820's; because of his interest in botany he introduced the American elm into Mexico.
Red Point poinsettiaDuring his stay in Mexico, he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina.

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