June 26 – Regular Meeting with Alan Haghighi


What: Regular Meeting

When: Wednesday, June 26 doors open at 6:30 presentation begins about 7 p.m.

Where: Room 101, Casa del Prado, Balboa Park

Please join us Wednesday, June 26 in Room 101 of Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado where Alan Haghighi will speak about making a variety of drinks with your fruits. Alan is the Founder and CEO of FruitCraft Fermentery & Distillery. FruitCraft makes a variety of craft beverages including wine, cider, mead, hard kombucha, kombucha and eau de vie. These products are dispensed through their flagship tasting room and event center on University Avenue in Hillcrest. Alan is passionate about making FruitCraft an engine for social change and is pioneering the social value enterprise business model. This model seeks to share the ownership of business with employees and laborers in addition to dedicating all profits to helping launch or grow other social value enterprises. He invites consumers to “Raise a Glass to Good” and to make a difference with the money that they spend. Please remember to bring something for the opportunity table and show off what’s growing in your garden/orchard with something for the tasting table!

May 22 Regular Meeting – Growing Figs with Jon Verdick


We’re very pleased to announce that Jon Verdick will be speaking to us about figs! Make sure you join us May 22 in Room 101 of Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado. Doors will open around 6 – 630 p.m., the presentation will begin at 7 p.m. Jon is a recognized expert when it comes to figs so don’t miss your opportunity to hear what he has to say and come with your questions.

What: Regular Meeting, Growing Figs with special guest Jon Verdick

When: Wednesday May 22 – doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Room 101, Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado

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!


May 24 – Regular Meeting with Matt Powers

Join us May 24, at 7 p.m. in Room 101 of Balboa Park’s Casa del Prado for our regular monthly meeting. Matt Powers of “The Permaculture Student” will talk to us about Low Stress, High Yield Food Forestry.

About Matt
Matt Powers teaches permaculture and regenerative gardening and farming to families, youth, schools, and adults all over the world through his online courses, videos, and books, which are now being used on all continents (except for Antartica.) Translations of his books are already available in Spanish, Polish, and Arabic with French and Italian coming soon.

As an experienced educator with a masters degree in Education, Matt went from teaching high school students to teaching high school teachers and administrators to teaching districts and appearing at universities and conferences all over America and online, teaching permaculture and sustainable, regenerative skills and thinking.

Matt provides daily inspirational and regenerative content online and is one of the most-followed permaculture teachers online with over 30,000 Twitter followers and tens of thousands of followers in his many Facebook groups and pages ranging in topics from permaculture education to entrepreneurship to gardening to fungi & more. 

Oct. 26 Regular Meeting

October 26, 7 p.m. Casa Del Prado, Balboa Park – Driving Directions

Doctoral candidate and pomegranate grower John M. Chater will talk to us about some of the amazing work being done with the pomegranate.

John M. Chater is the grandson of California pomegranate breeder Sassin John Chater, who lived in Ventura County and was a member of the California Rare Fruit Growers for several years.  John graduated from UCSB in 2004 and worked for Suntory and Jackson and Perkins Roses at their research and breeding facility in Somis, CA.  After Suntory, John worked for a soils engineering firm in Ventura County before being persuaded by his colleagues to pursue graduate work.  He applied and was accepted to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2009 where he received a Master of Science in agriculture with a specialization in crop science.  It was there he began research on pomegranate under fruit scientist and pomologist Professor Lauren Garner in the Horticulture and Crop Science Department.  His research at Cal Poly involved applying foliar nutrient applications on trees to reduce split in ‘Wonderful’ pomegranates.  After Cal Poly, he was accepted into the plant biology Ph.D. program in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside.  At UCR, John has done work on pomegranate propagation, fruit and juice quality, and orchard establishment.  He works under Dr. Donald Merhaut, an environmental horticulture specialist.  Merhaut Lab currently has two pomegranate cultivar trials, one in Riverside, CA and one in Ventura County, CA, where they have planted 12 different pomegranate cultivars, 15 trees per cultivar, in experimental designs to evaluate their establishment, precocity (flowering and fruiting), usefulness to growers, and desirability to consumers.  He has advanced to candidacy for his doctorate degree and is currently writing manuscripts for his dissertation.  In 2015, he started a pomegranate breeding program to continue his grandfather’s work.