Healthy Seasonal Snacks Available Now!

While for many of us the onset of fall can mean the return of a more regular schedule it also often means the beginning of a hectic rush to get everything done. On days that you can't seem to quite live up to your perfect, organized self we invite you to head on over to Painters Hall Cafe for one of our new small plates. We're starting the season off with a new twist on the ever popular apple and peanut butter. We are offering a house-made almond butter made from organic almonds blended together with cinnamon and a touch of local blackberry honey and served with slices of local, organic apples. The modified version has less sugar, no salt, and drastically fewer calories than super market peanut butter but has the same satisfying mixture of smooth and crunchy that everyone can get on board with. Come in today and try it out!


Introducing the Pringle Creek Harvest Stand!

Meet our newest feature to Pringle Creek, the Pringle Creek Harvest Stand. The garden, greenhouses and orchards have been producing enough fruit and vegetables for use in the Painter's Hall cafe menu with great success. A lot of success actually, so much so we have more to share! Our Harvest Stand can be found on the Painter's Hall patio, 9am to 2pm, Monday through Friday.

Enjoy fresh produce throughout the growing season! Currently we have two types of summer squash, Yellow Crookneck and Giambo, along with Sun Gold cherry tomatoes. Soon to arrive to the stand will be our last hot peppers, swiss chard, kale mix, and orchard pears, plums, apples, and peaches.


Zumba with Tammie

We are excited to announce our recent partnership with Train with Tammie. Tammie is a certified personal trainer who is using the Painters Hall facility at 6:30pm every Monday evening to offer Zumba! classes. If you are looking for a fun, easy to follow work out that burns a ton of calories stop by Monday evenings at 6:30, a 75 min workout will only cost you $7!

Menu Update

Our tomatoes are starting to come in at full force, adding new dimension to our sandwiches, salads, and this week packing a fresh punch in our tomato basil soup. We are also introducing an option to add chicken to any of our salads as well as a sides/snacks menu that will add additional options for light eaters and some of our young (or young at heart) patrons. Come in and check out our updates and enjoy some of our wonderful tomatoes while they last!
Small Plates
Grecian Pasta Salad $2.00
Seasonal Fruit $2.00
Nut Butter & Jelly Sandwich $4.00 half $5.00 whole
Apple & Nut Butter $3.00
Deviled Egg $1.00 for 2 halves
Chocolate Chip Cookies Baked to Order $1.50


Pringle Creek Garden: Workhorse and the Heartbreaker

One of the most exciting requirements of a gardener and urban farmer is seed and crop selection. Earlier this week I ordered my fall and winter seeds and was told I looked like a kid on Christmas morning. This excitement continues as your plans for the year become sprouted seedlings in the greenhouse, starts needing to be transplanted to larger pots and eventually crops placed in the garden to grow, mature and harvest. When the process works better then expected, you delight in your green thumb, when misfortunes never expected occur you shed tears and curse the evildoer. Here are two examples:

The Workhorse

Crop: Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris, Cicla group), Territorial Seed Company, Bright Lights variety

Story: In October 2011, I started work at Pringle Creek Community as their Urban Farmer. We had plans to restore the smaller greenhouse raised bed system, which would mean I would have indoor space to start winter vegetables. The beds were completed right before Thanksgiving, soil added, and by mid December I was ready to plant.

What do you plant in mid December? The weather is cold and wet the days are gray. I had never tried to start seeds this late in the season and never in a greenhouse. I found an old seed packet in a box of seeds left over from spring and found, Swiss Chard. I decided to give it and another green a try and see what happens. It took about 3 weeks for the seeds to germinate and another month before the sprouts became start sized. I began to plant them in the raised beds in small groups and by early February 2012 to today, we had Pringle Creek grown Swiss Chard appearing in soups, sandwiches and salads at our Painter’s Hall Café. Through a cold late start, a long spring and 120 degree summer greenhouse temperatures, my first December Swiss Chard is still growing and thriving, earning the top spot on my list of successful crops in the Pringle Creek Garden.

The Heartbreaker

Crop: Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Territorial Seed Company, Green Globe variety & Abundant Life Seeds, Imperial Star variety

Story: Last fall we had deer arrive early and destroy most of the last crops. They munched on leaves and salad greens, gnawed on the last summer melons, and trampled entire plants. A goal of this springs garden plans was to design it with deer resistant or discouraging plants to better protect the more fragile crops. Artichokes and squash both have thorny foliage that makes it uncomfortable for deer to walk through so they would make up my garden perimeter. I was extra excited about trying artichokes as I had never tried growing these before. I enjoying eating them but not paying high prices for them at the grocery store. I dreamed of grilled artichoke dishes at Painter’s Hall Café.

The seeds, sprouts and starts did AMAZING! Better then I ever expected. I lost a few starts due to germination and early growth problems but far less then the 20% that was suggested on the seed packet. They germinated pretty quickly and up-potted without problems. It took longer then expected to prepare the garden space for planting due to our long wet spring but the transplants showed no signs of stress. Finally when the soil was warming and workable, the fall/winter cover crop tilled in and the irrigation systems installed, it was garden planting season. The artichokes were one of the first to go in and they were soon showing new signs of growth. The rest of the garden was being planted with other crops for the café and individual plots reserved for Pringle Creek Community neighbors and Urban Farmer Certification participants were filling as well.

In late May I noticed a hole in my artichoke deer defense wall. I was pretty sure there had been a strong healthy plant there the day before, the weather had been perfect and all of its neighbor artichokes were looking well. Upon inspection I found the upper third of a limp silver tipped plant right where I had planted it. I grabbed the leaves, picked them up and there I found…

A hole, a gopher sized hole with a tunnel leading away from the spot my now dead artichoke roots and stem had been. Within the following week, three other artichoke plants met the same end, one disappearing completely with no evidence of the plant that had been there the day before, just a hole and a tunnel. I arrive to the garden each day knowing that another artichoke plant may be missing.

 Since planting my artichokes in May, I have five plants remaining. I have been able to harvest a few small globes though not enough to add them to the café menu. Over the season the gophers have nibbled and eaten other crops in the garden. They seem to know when the zucchinis are ready and the green peppers are ripe. The Swiss Chard continues to grow as beautifully as ever, living through late spring aphid infestations and refusing to bolt during our month (or two?) of summer temperatures. The joy and surprises an Urban Farmer feels during times of success and the shouts of frustration and sadness that accompanies ultimately makes us BETTER. 

There is always next year, another chance, and another opportunity to learn and grow!

A Gathering under the Oak Tree

On Thursday, August 30th Painters Hall Cafe & Pringle Creek Community will introduce the first of many monthly community wide events. This month, in honor of the olympics, we are focusing on the importance of fitness and health in our community. The event will include a circuit designed to get people moving, the opportunity to purchase a few healthy snacks, and a short Zumba! demonstration. If you're looking for an opportunity to get a little exercise in, enjoy the outdoors, or even tire your kids out a little then walk, run, bike or otherwise make your way out to Painters Hall Cafe Thursday, August 30th at 5:00pm. We look forward to seeing you under the Oak Tree!


It's back!

After a long wait our much anticipated espresso machine is set up and ready to go! Our Cuadra espresso machine not only makes excellent espresso but has greatly reduced the amount of energy we consume in search of that much needed morning caffeine boost or that afternoon refresher. Come in today and try one of our many drink offerings, also available iced for the lovely summer afternoons we've been having. 


Planning the First Fall Garden at Pringle Creek

It seems too soon to begin dreaming of a fall and winter garden wonderland but alas, it's planning time. Margaret, the Painter's Hall Cafe chef, and myself met to discuss what we would like to see make its way to the cafe menu. This year will be our first fall season using the garden space for more Pringle Creek grown produce. Here are some highlights of our planning session:

Fall Crops Ideas
- Root vegetables (Beets, Turnips, Parsnips)
- Cool season greens (Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach)
- Cooking standards (Carrots, Onions, Celery)

Thinking Ahead For Spring
- Fall planted garlic
- Spring potatoes
- Herbs for the future

We invite you to enjoy watching the upcoming end of summer and the beginning of fall at Pringle Creek Community and the fresh seasonal food that will make its appearance at Painter's Hall Cafe a few months from now.