1972-73: The Story of “Farmers’ Feed,” the Coastside’s Food Co-Op by Michaele Benedict


The Story of “Farmers’ Feed: by Michaele Benedict***

In 1972 and 1973 dwellers “in the boonies near and about Half Moon Bay, Californiaâ€? formed a food club which they called Farmers’ Feed. Members published a slender volume, the Farmers’ Feed Book, whose contents included recipes and articles on beekeeping, homemade animal feeds, companionate planting, goat-keeping, sprouts, chicken raising, and even a chicken vocabulary.

The introduction to the book said “Farmers’ Feed is a cooperative food purchasing and distributing group whose members live in the country south of Half Moon Bay, California. Almost our only common denominator is our countryness. Some of us are strict organic vegetarians and some secretly indulge in supermarket prepared foods in darkened attics. What unifies us is that we are all ex-urbanites come to roost in the same peaceful rookery. We make our living writing, breeding horses, teaching, drawing, building, filming, planning. This cookbook reflects our diversity. We hope you and your beasts enjoy our country table.â€?

(Image: Land tithe, courtesy Mikie Benedict.)

The book urged a land tithe: Put back a tenth of what you take from the earth.

Contributors to the book were Suzanne White, Gene Fleet, Bryant Wollman, Valerie Hawes, Toni De Bari, Patrick Kitchen, Laurel Jernigan, Stanley Scholl, Barbara Freeman and Michaele Benedict.

(Image: Bryant Wollman was a member of the Farmers’ Co-op. For many years he lived at rural Tunitas Creek and worked at the post office in Half Moon Bay. He is posing in front of the world-famous magician Channing Pollock’s home in Moss Beach, circa 1979. )

Advertisers and well-wishers were The Abalone Shop, Palace Ranch, Tunitas Glen Gardens, the Great White Whale Company, Hawes Place, Garret Gallery,
Hansel-Freeman Apple Works, the Water Works, Take 313, Ford Sunshine Company, and Ed Johnson, the Agricultural Extension Agent.

Farmers’ Feed members took turns shopping for bulk food items, mostly in Santa Cruz. In fall of 1972, they put on a theatrical production, “The Ballad of Spanishtown Sueâ€?, first at the Hawes Ranch and later at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society.


***Author Michaele Benedict lives in Montara. To read Mikie’s “Searching for Anna” website click here

Day dreaming through Moss Beach

This morning, early, I drove to Moss Beach, to the west side near the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. I wanted to see if Charlie Nye’s “Reefs II” was still there, at Nevada & Beach Streets; I heard that the historic building was gone.

Even though you’d think it would be easy to keep in touch with the communities of Montara, Moss Beach, Princeton, El Granada and Miramar, it isn’t–you can go decades without seeing someone who used to be your best friend or your former next door neighbor.

You can also go for years without knowing if your favorite old building is still standing.

I think Coastsiders get lost in their neighborhoods. I do, in mine, in El Granada, living on an avenue created by the designer of the Ocean Shore Railroad’s “showplace.” I can stay here for days without seeing anybody and feeling very happy about it!

People who do not live on the Coastside have no idea how good life is here.

Just recently a lady who works for Bank of the West in Burlingame told me how amazed she was to find that there were such beautiful, intimate communities off Hwy 1.

Here’s the point of this post: I drove up to Moss Beach to see if Nye’s Reefs was still there and I ended up at Nevada & I forget what the cross-street was. I didn’t see Nyes where it used to be.

This is embarrassing: Maybe I didn’t end up on the right street–now I’m not sure. Guess I’ll have to go back up there and check it out again. But the Moss Beach I saw this morning was very different from the one I remember just a few years ago when there were still many 1920s-style bungalows around.

Today I saw much larger, affluent landscaped homes reminding me of how long it had been since I visited the west side of Moss Beach.

Pasero-Patterson Duo Classical Guitar Recital: A Night To Remember At Miramar Beach

Friday night Burt and I were invited to hear a duo classical guitar recital at the Miramar Beach home of artist Linda Montalto-Patterson and her musicial-genius husband Richard Patterson. Richard was joined by acclaimed guitarist Stevan Pasero.

The fantastic sounds of the guitars took the rapt listeners on a musical adventure to South America; Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela–to Cuba–and back to the USA with the standard jazz classic, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” and the melancholy folk song, “O Shenandoah.”

(Photo: Stevan Pasero, seated at left, Richard Patterson, at right.)

One of the final pieces Richard and Stevan performed to perfection came as a surprise, and as a nod to the generation of the guitarists’ guests–Led Zeppelin’s famous “Staircase to Heaven.”

At times, the exquisite technical skills of the musicians stunned the audience.

Being there reminded me of how tight-knit the Miramar Beach community is. It always has been. Many of the guests lived on the “strip”, Mirada Road, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Some were old friends I hadn’t seen in many years–which was a delight as well.

A perfect evening at Miramar Beach.

(Image of the Patterson’s cat)

For more info about Richard Patterson’s music click here

The “Three Richards” Redux

A while ago I posted a story called “The Three Richards;” to read it, click here

The story begins: “Three Richards but I have a photo of only one.” At the time the only photo I had and posted was of Richard “the Englishman” Henry. I didn’t have a photo of “Rotten Richard” or of Richard English, not to be confused with Richard “the Englishman.”

Now, I am thrilled to report, I have three photos of “classic” Richard English, a very tall, red-headed charmer who passed away too young, too young (in his 50’s a couple of years ago.)

In the 1970s and early 1980s Richard was always leaving town, which meant there had to be a big, loud and warm going-away party in Princeton-by-the-Sea or Miramar Beach. When he soon came back there was no party but hugs all around.

Richard was ready to make you laugh hard most of the time–but he could also make you cry just as easily and just as hard.

Thank you Joni Keim for the photos. Joni lived in the “Quinta Marta” house in Montara in 1972. Click here for Joni’s website.

(Photo: Classic Richard English, photo courtesy Joni Keim)

(Photo: Richard English with Joni Keim.)

Do You Recognize This Gorgeous Man?

Guess who? Guess again.

I’ll give you a clue. Everybody knows him. He’s an accomplished musician and he writes for Half Moon Bay Memories & The El Granada Observer.

Give Up? Look closely– deeply into his eyes.

It’s Fayden Holmboe of Half Moon Bay, circa 1970s.
Do you want to read Fayden’s work? Click here

**** Photo courtesy Joni Keim, a Petaluma resident who lived in the lovely “Quinta Marta” house overlooking the sea in Montara in 1972. To learn more about Joni’s consulting business, click here

Moss Beach Distillery, circa 1980

(photo courtesy Jerry Koontz, jerrysphotos.com)
The Distillery was built about 1927 when Prohibition was in full swing. Frank Torres, a native of Peru [I believe] was the owner and his residence stood steps away. I may have told you before but I did meet with Frank at his home once. He was a friendly man, full of mischief–but what struck me was the painting on the wall–of Frank Torres, wearing suit and tie, with Devil’s Slide behind him. I often wonder where that painting is….the image certainly reflected where the power lay at least on that part of the Coastside.

By 1980 the restaurant’s name had changed from Frank’s to the Galway Bay Inn to the Distillery and one of the owners was David Andrews.