April 24 – Regular Meeting and Annona Exchange


Join us April 24 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Room 101 of Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado as Yulia Tarasova Chimento speaks to use about her extensive knowledge and best practices for developing your own edible landscape. We’ll also host our Annona/mid-season scion exchange.

Yulia graduated from Cyamaca college Landscape design program and Southwestern college Landscape Architecture program.
She is also an Interior Designer, certified in California.
Currently working as a Senior Landscape Designer at Armstrong Garden Centers. Originally from Russia, moved to SD in 2000.

Yulia creates beautiful, sustainable,low maintenance gardens, using resources responsibly. But her main passion is to grow food! She believe that every garden should have edible plants growing! We are so blessed with our mild climate and can (and should) grow organic food all year around. And these garden do not have to look less beautiful! Her goal is to educate her clients on how to combine edible and ornamental plant while supporting pollinators and wild life.

Regular Meeting, Feb 27 – Ben Kotnik, Preserving Historically and Culturally Important Fruits Through Propagation


When: Wednesday, Feb 27. Doors open at 6:30, presentation begins at 7 pm.

Where: Room 101, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park

Come learn how to preserve the genetic diversity of exceptional tasting and culturally important fruits.  Join Ben Kotnik as he highlights several preservation projects he’s worked on to save one of a kind collections of apples, cherimoyas, white sapotes, and more.  Participants will learn actionable information to guide preservation and propagation efforts and enjoy a more diverse set of fruits to choose from for now and the future.

Ben Kotnik is the former Chairman of the California Rare Fruit Growers San Diego chapter and an independent ecology consultant.  Ben has worked with thousands of homeowners and several federal agencies to design spaces and conserve natural resources. Connect with Ben at http://suburbanfoodfarm.com/ and on Facebook.  

Jan 23 – Regular meeting/annual scion exchange


When: Wednesday, January 23rd – time details in description
Where: Room 101, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park

So I don’t know about you, but the annual scion exchange is one of my favorite meetings of the year!!!

In order to make this year’s scion exchange the best it can possibly be, I wanted to get the word out early about how things are going to run and what we can all expect.

We’ll open the doors at 5:30 to allow folks bringing scion wood a chance to set their wood out on the tables. We would ask that anyone bringing wood for the exchange to please have it there before 6:15 pm.

At 6:15 pm, we’ll shu everyone out the door so everyone can have the same opportunity to select scion wood. We’ll have two doors open – one for members and one for non-members. 

The doors for members will open at 6:30 and the scion exchange will begin. We’ll have a separate entrance for non-members opening at 7 pm. What does that mean? Best for you to ensure your membership is current before the scion exchange even begins! If the past is any indication, we’ll have our hands full signing up folks at the door and there is sure to be some delays getting in.

Make sure your registration is current by signing up/renewing here

As this is the Year of Propagation, I would encourage all of you to take a few extra pieces of scion wood this year and propagate something for the club. We know we’ll have our annual fall plant sale and we’re working very hard to have a spring plant sale around Earth Day – that means we’re going to need plant material from all of you.

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you and anticipate a wonderful scion exchange!


Nov. 28 – Regular Meeting Healing your Orchard with Native Bees and Free Water

Speaker: Candace Vanderhoff
When: Nov. 28, doors open at 6:30 PM, presentation starts at 7 PM
Where: Room 101, Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park

Candace Vanderhoff is the owner of RainThanks & Greywater and the founder of the SoloBee Native Bee shelter business. Candace will share the value of
inviting native bees into the garden and building water systems to capture free abundant water.

Oct. 24 – Regular Meeting

Speaker: Tony Gurnoe
When: Oct. 24, doors open at 6:30 PM, presentation starts at 7 PM
Where: Room 101, Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park

Tony Gurnoe, Director of Horticulture at the San Diego Botanic Garden will talk about how gardens like his, and groups like the CRFG, can partner to preserve fruit crop biodiversity, serve as genetic repositories for disease resistance and other “wild” traits often lost with improper breeding and monocultures, as well as offering potentially untapped commercial opportunities for small local growers.

Sept 26 – Regular Meeting

Speaker: Mark Miner
When: Sept 26, doors open at 6:30 PM, presentation starts at 7 PM
Where: Room 101, Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park

Mark will talk about growing grapes in Southern California and some of his more recent propagation success at UCSD’s Roger’s Community Garden as well the Bancroft Center for Sustainability.

June 27 – Regular Meeting

Jim Neitzel Remembrance
When: June 27, doors open at 6:30 PM, presentation starts at 7 PM
Where: Room 101, Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park

This months meeting is proving to be a somber and yet festive event. With the passing of Jim Neitzel, our first Chairman, we have a lot of sadness in our hearts. He was the heart of our special group and will not be forgotten. When trying to decide how we would honor his memory I started thinking about the most important aspect; what would Jim want.

For a while now we had been planning a couple of events that would get that gleam in his eye and that smile that we all know so well. We had discussed having an ice cream social with some special fruit ice creams similar to the ones made in Mexico and also having a contest. Now, this is where all of you come in. Jim wanted to have a fruit topping contest that hopefully were made from less ordinary fruits. It will be served on vanilla ice cream for planning purposes to make sure the topping is the star. If you use fruit that your grew yourself then you will be eligible for extra points The winner will get a prize (TBD) and be a judge at next years competition. That’s right, I think we will call it the Jim’s fruit challenge and hopefully hold it every year in his honor.

The next thing I want to talk about is how do we celebrate Jim? His family is very private and I would never infringe on them at this time so what as a club could we do? I want to have a celebration of life CRFG style. We are planning to show photos that you can all send in that we will show on the projector and even videos. This is not a morning or sad event, there will be tears but there should be smiles and laughter even more so. There will be an open mic for funny stories, memories or even if you want to sing a song. Its our time to celebrate Jim’s life the way he would have wanted, fun with dirt under our nails.

I am doing my very best to get this information out early enough so that you can plan on attending. I am buying a lot of ice cream and Kim is lactose intolerant so I don’t want to bring any home. Folks, this is a sad time for us all but we were so fortunate to have Jim in our lives as long as we did. I only knew Jim for about a year and a half but he left his mark on me as well.

To brighten the room up a bit, I have very happy news that Theo is recovering and will be moved to a rehab room in the afternoon. I will share the location and how to contact her as soon I find out. I look forward to seeing my friend up and about soon.

On a final note, I would really like to thank Ben Cossel, Jennifer Fitzpatrick and JerryTuler for thier help planning this event. It would not happen without them.

Best WIshes,

Steve Thomas,

CRFG SD Co Chair