The Urban Farmers July Newsletter

The work that we do together, provides local, fresh, healthy fruit to people that need it.

We are proud to receive the Silver Spoon Award from Diablo Valley District of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Silver Spoon Award
Learn about the benefits of Plums from Malu Trehan, a member of Diablo Valley District of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Malu Trehan

Plums are not only sweet and delicious, they offer many health benefits too. Naturally high in vitamins A and C, plums are a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants, especially when consumed through foods, can help prevent premature aging and some kinds of cancers. A study published in 2010. showed that plum extracts were able to kill aggressive breast cancer cells without harming the surrounding healthy cells.

Dried plums keep our digestive tract moving. The insoluble fiber and the soluble fiber of the plum work in unison to help relieve constipation. The insoluble fiber found in the skin doesn’t dissolve and scrubs the digestive lining. Soluble fiber in the pulp makes a gluey mass that traps fats, sugars, bacteria, and toxins and moves them out of the body. In fact, research has shown that dried plums are more effective than psyllium. Psyllium is commonly found in fiber supplements like Metamucil.

Good news for diabetics! While plums are sweet tasting, they don’t raise blood sugar drastically. Remember all that soluble fiber we mentioned? When we eat a plum, thanks to the soluble fiber, it enters and exits the bloodstream more slowly, stabilizing our blood sugars. Avoiding spikes in blood sugars is key for managing diabetes.

Here’s another reason to increase your intake of this sweet and juicy stone fruit. Plums are good for our bones. The polyphenols and potassium in plums enhance bone density and can protect us from bone loss.

Besides being amazing for our health, plums are versatile. They can be grilled, baked, broiled, or stewed. They come in a variety of colors from green to yellow to deep purple to red, with a gorgeous yellow or red flesh inside. They are healthy for our bodies, aesthetically pleasing, and delicious. What more could we ask for in a fruit?

Malu Trehan, RDN, MPH, is a member of registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who runs her own nutrition consulting practice, Wellness Within, in San Ramon. She is also SRV Council of PTA's Health and Wellness Committee Chair and writes a monthly health and wellness column to all parents in SRVUSD. She is a mother of two and deeply committed to family health.


Want to use your plums? Use this recipe by professional Vegucator, Chef Lisa Books-Williams, who developed the culinary portion of the Plant-Based Diet Program for Kaiser Permanente.
Chef Lisa Books-Williams

Easy Plum Jam

  • 3-4 c or 17 oz pitted plums, chopped
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • dash of Himalayan salt
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t cardamom or cinnamon
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Step 1- In a medium pot, stir together the plums, maple syrup and salt until combined. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 5-7 min., until the plums have softened (they will release a lot of liquid).

Step 2- Reduce the heat to medium and carefully mash the plums with a potato masher until mostly smooth. NOTE: The jam will still look watery at this point but this is normal.

Step 3- Add the chia seeds and stir until combined. Simmer over low-medium heat, stirring frequently (reducing heat if necessary to avoid sticking) for 8-15 minutes more, until a lot of the liquid has been cooked off and the mixture has thickened slightly.

Step 4- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon (or cardamom) and lemon juice (if desired). Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate uncovered till cool.

Visit: Chef Lisa

Steering Committee

The Urban Farmers now sports a steering committee! A cadre of hard core, long time harvest leaders, co-chaired by Steve Harvey and Vicki Wingo Grant, will be guiding the behind the scenes efforts at The Urban Farmers as the non-profit continues to mature and evolve. You may recognize some of the harvest leader names but we’d like to make a formal introduction of each of our steering committee members.

Meet Vicki Wingo Grant

Co-Chair of The Urban Farmers Steering Committee

Vicki Wingo Grant

My two new knees made me do it. I remembered reading a newspaper article about The Urban Farmers harvesting backyard fruit and thought, “Wow, if I ever get a chance, that’s what I want to do next”. After 17 years of directing an elementary school garden, it was time to move on as I could no longer squat with the first graders.

The Urban Farmers nonprofit hits all the high notes for me:

  • hunger relief
  • community based
  • environmentally friendly

plus it runs on a purposefully low cost, “virtual non-profit” model. In short, it provides a huge variety of ways for people to come together and do good.

I live in Pleasanton with my retired physicist husband and two sons (25 & 21). Assorted life shaping chapters include my formative years growing up in Colorado, New Zealand, and Alaska, working as a career firefighter (Boulder, CO Fire Department, and San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District) and comprehending assorted vulnerabilities along the way.

Plum season is my anniversary—I’m coming up on four years of harvesting and embracing a model of community connections, of gratitude and positive actions.

Meet Steve Harvey

Co-Chair of The Urban Farmers Steering Committee

Steve Harvey

I was born in San Francisco and raised in San Mateo,

Living right across from the current San Mateo - Hayward bridge while it was built in the early 60’s got me interested in construction and engineering. I studied Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Notre Dame and at Cal.

After working at an engineering firm for 5 years I found I enjoyed working hands-

on at our 1907 Oakland home. Soon I started my own small residential construction firm and collaborated with my Architect wife of 45 years. We worked together on new homes and remodeling jobs in the East Bay for 35 years.

When we built our current home in Alhambra Valley 10 years ago we planted a 45 tree olive grove as well as many fruit trees. I realized we would need help harvesting the multitude of olives and put word out to many of our friends. Well about 20 of us had such a good time that people immediately said they wanted to do it again and wanted to bring friends, neighbors and relatives with them as well. We made olive oil with the bulk of the olives and distributed it to our picker-friends a few months later.

Our trees and harvest have grown over the last 5 years and we are up to 40 harvesters. Realizing that harvesting and sharing resonated with me and so many others led me to The Urban Farmers . After speaking with Siamack my first TUF harvest was the big citrus harvest in 2016. I loved the energy of all these people filling my truck with more than a 1000 pounds of oranges grapefruit and tangerines. Preventing waste has always been a core value of mine and of course TUF fits that as well.

I look forward to working with our steering committee to help keep TUF evolving and thriving into the future.

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