California Heartland Episode 911 Transcript

California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at

Coming up on California Heartland…

Protecting California’s wildlife one acre at a time.

A lot of these endangered species would become extinct unless we take some actions.

Traditional cattle ranchers turned conservationists and conservationists turned cowboys.
Meet the two groups who are teaming up to preserve California’s open spaces.


Come on bud come on give me a little room here.

A former marine enlists for a second tour of duty!

Horseshoeing!  See why he went from one kind of medal—to another!


Don’t water your lawn everyday!

Water works with Master Gardener Fred Hoffman!  Learn new techniques to see exactly how much water your lawn and plants need!

Chris Burrous: That’s all next, on California Heartland.

Chris Burrous: From your backyard, to the back country, in a field, or on your family table, it’s all about what keeps California moving and growing, this is California Heartland.

Chris Burrous: With its rusty star on the fence you'd think this was your typical old-fashioned farm.  But within the fenced confines of this 840-acre property in Clements, you'll find the Wilbers are a whole new breed of cowboy.

Tim Wilber: In order for us to survive in the cattle industry, we have to be progressive, and this is another avenue to take to be progressive.

Chris Burrous: Sure, they're ranchers...pulling hay bales...checking on cattle, even tending their horses...

Chris Burrous: But the Wilbers are "conservation cowboys,” traditional farmers and ranchers trying to save the environment, their land and their livelihood.  And it's all because of what's in their fields...

Chris Burrous: When you come out here, it doesn't look like there's anything living. It looks dead. But you say there's a lot happening here.

Ken Sanchez: Well in the spring this will come alive with wild flowers and fairy shrimp and what you see now, coyote thistle it’s one of the special plants that live in vernal pools around here.


Chris Burrous: Thistle?  Ferry shrimp?  Wildflowers? These are all plants and animals found in vernal pools—an important natural resource in California. That makes the Wilber’s chunk of land perfect for “conservation banking.”

Chris Burrous: Conservation banking is a way for developers and builders to make up for environmental damage by permanently preserving habitat for endangered species elsewhere.

Marden Wilber: Course I’ve always said that cattlemen have been true environmentalist all their lives.

Chris Burrous: And now they get to benefit from it. Ranchers can get paid up to x for putting their property in a bank.

Chris Burrous: But these conservation cowboys don't just benefit from the payment they receive.

Chris Burrous: They can still use this land for grazing cattle!

Chris Burrous: In fact, fish & wildlife officials say that's actually better for endangered species, because of what the cattle do with their hooves.

Chris Burrous: I notice there's hoof marks all through this, you think it's something you're trying to protect you wouldn't want something to walk on it.

Ken Sanchez: Well its part of what makes it good. You know you chisel it up and disturb the ground and the little plants grow up and it gives them an opportunity to grow and reproduce.

Chris Burrous: The fish & wildlife service oversee dozens of conservation banks throughout California.

Chris Burrous: Here at Jenny Farms in Davis it's not fairy shrimp, but a much bigger animal that's reaping the benefit, the majestic and migrating Swainson's Hawk.

Chris Burrous: So we come out here, it’s like counting inventory.  Show us what you do.

Kristie Ehrhardt:  I will come out here and scan with my binoculars and look and whatever raptor I see I’ll take a note of it.  It’s Northern Harrier; some times it’s a Red Tail Hawk.

Chris Burrous: Kristie Ehrhardt is one of many biologists who work for "Wildlands Incorporated,” a major player in the conservation banking industry.

Chris Burrous: Wildlands is an environmental planning and land management company which forms partnerships between developers and farmers.

Dan Kominek: Without some help, a lot of these endangered species would become extinct unless we take some actions to give them some place where they can thrive and I think that's what this does for the people in general.

Chris Burrous: If you're curious if the idea of just setting aside some land just for the birds, actually works.  All I can tell you is that we've traveled past several miles of sod farm, past sunflower fields, but didn't see anything...until we got right here to the edge of their preserve and we looked up.

Chris Burrous: To see the impressive wingspan of these large raptors, streaking across the blue sky with so much power, you wouldn't think they'd need much help from humans until you see the power lines...and realize just how closely we co-exist.

Chris Burrous: But with conservation banking unlikely allies like farmers and corporations are giving endangered species like these a little lift.

Ken Sanchez: You know, martin has grazed his livestock for a long time so the land has adapted to having cows and having endangered species together and so it works out real well.

Mary Lieser: Hi I am Mary Lieser

Greg Lieser: And I’m Greg Lieser and this is Greg Liser Farms.

Mary Lieser: Here at the festival we have gourds, gourds and more gourds, every kind of a gourd that you could imagine.

Greg Lieser: Gourds are used for; in our case we sell a lot to artist. The Hawaiians make a traditional epoo heke type drum that they use in their dances.


Mary Lieser: I organize the festival, I get everyone lined out. I do all the adverting; get everybody situated when they come in. Organize the gourd classes. So we try to make it not just our event but a community event.

Mary Lieser: This year and last year the kids were involved….

Kid: I made a firework night of 4th of July.  It gets me to do art and I think gourds are interesting.

Kid: Well I really love painting, I love drawing. I really want to be an artist when I get older.  The most part I like about it is the shape, you can think of so many different things to make it into.

Greg Lieser: You can use it just like any wood working tool.  Anything you can do with wood you can do with a gourd.

Chris Burrous: Californians love asparagus.  75 percent of the entire United States supply of fresh, green asparagus—is grown right here.  Food and lifestyle expert Laura McIntosh is bringing it home—from the crops to your kitchen.

Laura McIntosh: Well hi everyone and welcome, right out here on the field- we’re on an island!  I’m here with Jim Jerkovich, Jim is the manager of the island, explain the island.

Jim Jerkovich: It’s Victoria Island in the middle of the Delta. 

Laura McIntosh: The soil here is very rich, fertile Delta soil.

Jim Jerkovich: Yes, peat soil is very light and airy- it’s an organic soil which lends itself well to asparagus production because the spears can pop through very easily.

Laura McIntosh: It’s a very labor intense vegetable, isn’t it?

Jim Jerkovich: That’s right.  Yes, it’s all harvested by hand; sometimes every acre on the island of asparagus when we’re in peak production is walked everyday.

Laura McIntosh: Ten inches a day, they say you can actually watch asparagus grow.  So, if you have nothing better to do come on out and enjoy it. 

Jim Jerkovich: Watch asparagus grow.

Laura McIntosh: (laughs) Thanks Jim.

Laura McIntosh: We are ready to cook it up and I’m ready to introduce to you our guest chef Tony Baker.  You have seen him once before and he is back to do some really fun recipes, Tony thanks for joining us again. 

Tony Baker: No worries, this is awesome.

Laura McIntosh: Now this is a salad- easy, simple and you’re going to show us.

Tony Baker: So I’m going to show you the simplest possible vinaigrette, you could possible ever make.  It’s really simple- I’ve got some shallot, you can use onion.  And I’m going to run a knife through it again, I didn’t do a good job earlier, I want these fairly fine.  Because they’re- oh I’m shaking all over, they’re pungent.  Alright, so I’m going to pop those into my bowl.

Laura McIntosh: Okay.

Tony Baker: Thank you very much.

Laura McIntosh: Uh-huh.

Tony Baker: Alright…

Laura McIntosh: Easy enough.

Tony Baker: Right, I’m going to add just a point of garlic, not much.  Raw garlic like this can give it sort of a burning to it.  So, I’m just going to put just a tad.

Laura McIntosh: And that’s a point!

Tony Baker: A point, a point!  And rule of thumb, it depends on how much acid you like in your vinaigrette.  But, you can go as much as 50/50, half olive oil, and half vinegar.  Or you can go two parts olive oil, one part vinegar that’ll make a richer dressing.

Laura McIntosh: So there’s no real rule of thumb, it’s what you like. 

Tony Baker: It’s what you like, and you’ll learn as you’re making it.  So I’ve got just regular champagne vinegar.  Now what else I’ve got- this is blood orange olive oil.  It’s potent yeah, it’s really delicious and it’s a California product which is really wonderful. 

Laura McIntosh: Oh, I love that.

Tony Baker: And, I’m going to add some fresh ground pepper. 

Laura McIntosh: Tony and his pepper.

Tony Baker: Yeah, and a little Kosher salt and give it a good whisk.  And this is an un emulsified, here we go, I like the creamy, and that’s not that difficult either.

Laura McIntosh: Right, and to make this creamy you would add…

Tony Baker: You would add an egg yolk or a tad of mustard beforehand and pop it in your blender or food processor and off you go.  And that, in essence is vinaigrette.  Ok, cheese…good cheese is important. 

Laura McIntosh: Parmesan…

Tony Baker: It’s a little spendy but it’s worth the luxury.  So I’m taking an old European style potato peeler.

Laura McIntosh: I like that potato peeler!

Tony Baker: And you just shave it.  Big bowl! 

Laura McIntosh: Oh nice greens- oh that cheese is good.

Tony Baker: So just plop some in there.  Ok another twist on this salad, Parma prosciutto.  And Parma prosciutto is just a dried cured ham.  So let’s add some of our dressing, let’s just give it a little mix up make sure I don’t splash ya.

Laura McIntosh: (laughs) It’s alright.

Tony Baker: Ok and I’m going to use my ladle here, and my imaginary ladle.  And I’m going to use my fingers. 

Laura McIntosh: Oh see, a lot of us do that at home. 

Tony Baker: Ok at this point I’m going to toss in some beautiful asparagus tips. 

Laura McIntosh: Now some people just like to eat the tips, but I eat the whole spear of the asparagus.  So, if you do just like the tips you can buy them that way or when you cut them off make sure you don’t lose the end of the spear.  Make a stock out of them, throw them in a stock.  They’re awesome.

Tony Baker: Oh, totally.  Ok, plop that in the middle of the plate, now you can add a little bit of tuna fish, a little bit of chicken, make this into a full on dinner salad if that’s what you choose do so, very simple. 

Laura McIntosh: Yes!

Tony Baker: Ok, Parma prosciutto, nice and salty- again it’s kind of fancy but kind of not, really simple ingredients.

Laura McIntosh: Yeah! Rustic refined! 

Tony Baker: Exactly, I mean great before a dinner party. 

Melanie Kim: John Foldberg is an in-demand farrier in San Luis Obispo County.

John Foldberg: By doing this (tap tap with hammer and chisel) I'm just unclenching em and then I pull the shoe off.  Just start back at the heal and just rotate up towards the toe and the shoe comes off.

Melanie Kim: But horseshoeing is John’s second line of work.  He was a lieutenant colonel for the United States Marine Corps.

Melanie Kim: For years this highly decorated marine lived by the Credo Semper Fi - always faithful to serving his country.

Melanie Kim: After leaving a 21 year long career marked by this kind of medal...John Foldberg took on a career forging this kind of metal to put his family first.

John Foldberg: It’s been a wonderful challenge, and we’ve been very blessed through it all.

Melanie Kim: He even named his business Double F Shoeing after his daughters, the Foldberg Fillies. 

Melanie Kim: After taking trimming and farrier courses at a friend’s school in Kentucky, John’s tools of the trade went from guns and knives…

John Foldberg: That one I picked up in Lebanon when I was a military observer for the United Nations.

Melanie Kim: …To an anvil, horseshoes and a blacksmith-shop-on-wheels.

Melanie Kim: John spent much of his military career working outdoors in Kuwait during desert storm, serving as a military observer for the United Nations in Lebanon and in South America.

John Foldberg: So the most important, the senior medal is the ring core medal- I got that from disarming a sniper down in Columbia, who was holding some hostages. 

Melanie Kim: The response he typically gets from other soldiers about his career change?

John Foldberg: Oh man they just looked at me cross eyed.  What in the world are you doing? Why do you want to do that?

Melanie Kim: Earning this medal with horses isn’t easy… even for a tough marine.

John Foldberg: It includes getting bit, kicked, struck, pooped on, you name it- but it's all in the job description.

Melanie Kim: John says he’d much rather battle a horse…

John Foldberg: Slide over Denali, come on bud give me a little room here.

Melanie Kim: …than the enemy.

John Foldberg: Dealing with horses you get jerked around. Dealing with the enemy someone's shooting at you- trying to hurt you.

Melanie Kim: Now with his trusty companion “yellow” at this side, John works ranches like Cheryl Miller’s in Templeton.

Cheryl Miller: I asked him, why would you want to be a shoer?  And he said that he had gone with a friend and he just liked being outside and in the countryside. 

John Foldberg: Yeah I’m done at 3 o’clock and oh by the way, I’ve been to all my girls’ basketball games and it’s hard to beat that.

Melanie Kim: Now, just as he did back then, John carries his family in his heart. 

John Foldberg: It’s helped me become a better husband and father, and the reason I say that is because it allows me to do the things I wasn’t able to do as a marine.  And now I can spend more time with my family which is what it’s all about.

Chris Burrous: Pack your bags and grab your boots.  It’s time to hit the road with the Ag Traveler.

Gary Gelfand: Just east of Sacramento lies the rich lands of El Dorado County, with a long tradition of agriculture that dates back to the gold rush.  But while the area has grown up around the growing –the focus is still on food.

Kid: I like chocolate!

Gary Gelfand: Especially for the 500,000 visitors year—who take a one or two day trip down the farm trail.

Gary Gelfand: The El Dorado farm trail is lined with over one hundred ag attractions you and your family can enjoy! Small farms and ranches all ready and waiting for you to drive up and drive in!

Jean Reinders: Hi, I am Jean and this is my daughter Seana. We are the owners of Fudge Factory Farm. Come on inside and see what we do.

Gary Gelfand: 20 years ago Jean Reinders took her own craving for chocolate and turned it into a family farm.

Jean Reinders: We make over 75 different flavors of fudge.

Gary Gelfand: Here, you’ll find more than just a chocolate creation.  Jean grows a variety of fruits like apples, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and even walnuts.  She considers these her home-grown special ingredients to spice up her fudge and favorite goodies.

Kid: I so want Rocky Road!

Jean Reinders: Yes we make everything right here.

Jean Reinders: Yeah these are caramel apples and one is white chocolate- what we call our apple pie apple, which is dipped in white chocolate.

Gary Gelfand: Oh, here we go the apple table. Seana how are you doing? Alright this looks fantastic. Ok Jean What can I do, I want to make my apple.

Jean Reinders: Alright first of all you got to get the stick in the apple.

Gary Gelfand: Ok.

Jean Reinders: First go ahead pick up a stick point side up. Good! You are getting good. Ok blossom side down.  Hand over the top.

Gary Gelfand: It is not going to go thru my hand is it?

Jean Reinders: No it will not I guarantee it.  And walla!

Gary Gelfand: Look at that.

Jean Reinders: Go ahead and dip it in the caramel now. Now you are just going to drag one side thru and the other side through.

Gary Gelfand: Like this?

Jean Reinders: Yes very good. Just drag it thru. Good!

Gary Gelfand: And then this way?

Jean Reinders: Perfect.

Gary Gelfand: It’s a step by step process that gives the fudge factory farm that special blend.

Jean Reinders; Well I think because we are a farm and that we grow a lot of things that we put into our candy.  I think that is our biggest difference. And that we do make everything from scratch.

Jean Reinders: You can see an actual farm in progress. You can see what happens, how the product comes in. No matter when you come here there is always someone making candy… making jams.

Gary Gelfand: Hey Seana can I get a quick picture? 

Seana Reinders: Sure.

Gary Gelfand: Ok great, thanks!

Gary Gelfand: Something you have to do is hang out with the bear right here at the Fudge Factory Farm. You see that, Chocolate makes life bearable, just one of the many stops on the El Dorado County Farm Trails. And just about ten minutes up the road another great place, Patrick’s Berry Farm.

Gary Gelfand: You must be Suzanne.

Suzanne Hassenplug: Gary.

Suzanne Hassenplug: Very nice to meet you.

Gary Gelfand: So I see you’ve got berries here.

Suzanne Hassenplug: We’ve got berries let me show you.

Suzanne Hassenplug: We’ve got 35 rows of berries. Pick your own berries. We start off at about June.

Suzanne Hassenplug: There is nothing like picking a berry off the vine that’s warmed from the sun.

Gary Gelfand: Patrick Berry Farm produces 18 acres of fruits and vegetables each year. 

Gary Gelfand: So how often do you come here to pick berries?

Boone Mora: Oh as often as I can. They have them scattered throughout the whole year.

Gary Gelfand: Is there a secret to picking these off the vine?

Boone Mora: Well yes, you want to get a feel for which ones are ripe. And sometimes you can do that by tasting them. So they charge you by the quart and the color of the tongue.

Suzanne Hassenplug: When you see kids even adults actually identify and understand the plant that the fruit came from and that it is even local. Oh my gosh, they can’t wait to come back next year they can’t wait to tell their friends. And they are just absolutely amazed by the freshness and just the satisfaction of knowing that this is something that you picked off the vine.

Gary Gelfand: Speaking of vines, continue east on the trails to make your way to Boeger Winery.

Tom Westerhof: It just adds to the whole setting of the winery, the tasting- it just makes the experience that much more enjoyable. 

Gary Gelfand: The scenic views alone will set the tone for a wine and dine experience.

Gary Gelfand: This is one of the few wineries in the area to survive prohibition.  Boeger Winery for decades has continued to set a high standard for quality wines.

Tom Westerhof: They have a lot of variety in the whites, and the reds, and the dessert wines and you’d find anything you want here at Boeger.  The people here at Boeger are more than welcome to help you learn more about wine, help figure out what you like and just help you have a wonderful time. 

Daniel Cordi: This is an easy dessert to make, using an Italian cake called a Columba.  By using the cake as the base, you simply cut the cake into 3 slices going across and then you spread each of the layers with a little liquor, whipped cream and sliced peaches- especially when peaches are in season.  A wine to serve with this would be a wine like our H.P.O. from Cordi Brothers which is made of a grape variety invented at UC Davis called Early Muscat.  And, the light black Muscat made by a winery in Madera.  Both of these wines need to be well chilled to be served with this fresh fruit dessert, enjoy!

Chris Burrous: Everyone’s a farmer when it comes to their own backyard; try these tips for doing it home grown.

Fred Hoffman: Healthy plants need just the right amount of water, so how do you know when your plants have the right amount of water?   Well, c’mon I’ll show you how and save you money to boot.

Fred Hoffman: The number one cause of plant failure is improper watering, either too much or too little.  Just don’t look at the soil surface surrounding a plant and if it’s dry add water, it’s what’s going down at the roots that really matters.  And the easiest way to measure the amount of water at root level, is to use one of these, a moisture meter.  Fred Hoffman: Moisture meters come in all price ranges.  This one happens to be less than ten dollars, and this one happens to be about eighty dollars.  If you buy the inexpensive ones though, make sure it works.  Stick it in a cup of water and make sure the needle moves over to wet, that’s very important.  So we have this nice cordyline here, and I can see that it may look like it needs water but does it really?  Let’s stick in the moisture meter and find out. 

Fred Hoffman: During the summer, containerized plants may need to be watered every day especially if they’re on hot concrete on a hot patio.  Make sure the container does have drainage holes, to allow the water some place to go.  And to make the plant even cooler during the summer, put a plant stand below that container- or you can use plant feet like this.

Fred Hoffman: Watering a containerized plant can be a little bit tricky.  If the water starts coming out immediately, it’s pulled away from the sides of the container- add more soil to fill it up.  If the water doesn’t come out at all, that means you’ve got clogged drainage holes and you’ll need to clear out those drainage holes.  You want to water a containerized plant until you see water coming out of the bottom; it should take a few seconds.  And if you use your moisture meter in combination with this, you’ll always have a healthy plant.

Fred Hoffman: If you don’t have a moisture meter then dig down about 8 inches and see what the moisture is like down at root level.  You can use a trowel or small shovel.  The important thing is to dig down about 8 inches, that’s where most of the roots for your shrubs will be found.  That’s where they’re taking up the water, so dig down and grab a handful of soil that’s at that level.  If mud runs off your hand, or if it’s dust, that’s too wet or too dry.  You want a moisture level where you can form a dirt clod, yet it breaks up easily with just a little bit of pressure.  That’s the right moisture level for your plants.

Fred Hoffman: The biggest water waster in California is the backyard lawn.  People tend to have their sprinklers on way too often and way too much.  During the heat of the summer, sprinklers only need maybe about an inch to two inches of water per week.  So how do you determine that?  Put out some even bottomed containers and turn on the sprinklers for about 15 minutes.  And then measure the amount of water in each of those containers. 

Fred Hoffman: After you’ve had the sprinklers on for 15 minutes, measure the amount of water in each container.  In our little test here, we have about a half inch of water which means if I watered for a half hour, I’d be putting on an inch of water a week.  In central California, you might want to put on an inch and a half to two inches of water per week.  The key though is deep and frequent watering.  You don’t need to water your lawn more than 2 to 3 times a week to achieve your goals.  You’re gonna’ save money and save water by really following one simple rule, don’t water your lawn everyday- twice a week is fine. 

Chris Burrous: That’s California Heartland, for more information on any of these stories go to I’m Chris Burrous see you next time.

To order a copy of this show, visit us online or call 1-888-814-3923 the cost is $14.95 plus shipping

California Heartland is made possible by The James G. Boswell Foundation, committed to sharing the stories and successes of California growers.  Bank of America, bank of opportunity.  Funding provided in part by, The California Farm Bureau Federation, proud publishers of “California Country” magazine.  More information is available at