“Ms. Velasquez was one of the first persons I met from the neighborhood.
She stopped her van one day as she was driving by when I was working outside the farm along the road. Like everyone else, she was curious what we were doing. After I gave her the run-down of the farm, we learned that my brothers had taught her son at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic School in the East End. The connection has grown more real since.
Little did I know then how much I’d be seeing Ms. Velasquez in the months and years to come. She’d stop in the middle of a random day looking for aloe vera or lettuce or moringa and always giving me a hard time for something. “This plant needs water! You need to weed around this tree! These aloe vera babies you can separate into pots and resell!”
I’d stop by after our farm stand on Saturdays and drop off a bag of produce and get a batch of tamales a couple weeks later. Our relationship has been one of those where we’ve each seen each other in the good times and the tough ones. Whether a bowl of pozole or a guero companion to help deal with an issue, the friendship is mutual and we feel lucky to have her and her family in our farm community. “
What is your relationship to Finca Tres Robles? What was your first time out to the farm?
We saw the farm when we would be on our way to church and in 2014, we decided to come see what it was and we started to come to get some veggies. We met Tommy and he was always very good to us. And then years later I found out that Tommy’s father was my doctor when I was giving birth to one of my children! It all comes around.
What are your favorite things to cook?
I love making posole, tamales, tortillas. My son said that now he can’t eat any other tortilla anywhere else, he can only eat mine because they are his favorite. And I love making chicken teriyaki with a lot of the veggies from here–bok choi, carrots, spinach. It’s one of my favorite things.
What else do you like making with our produce?
I love your tomatoes and your kale, too. I love putting your spinach, kale, and moringa in smoothies for me and my son. Our favorite smoothie is pineapple, kale, spinach, moringa, ginger and turmeric. We have it almost every morning, it’s so good for you.
What are your favorite things about living on the East End?
I have been here for 30 years, and I came here because it was a safe and peaceful neighborhood. Even though a lot of things are changing now, it will always be my neighborhood.
Anything else you would like to share, Ms. Velazquez?
I’ve been watching a lot on youtube about how to care for plants and did you know that if you take egg shells and roast them in the oven until they are completely dry, you can crush them into small pieces, then mix them with soil and put it around the base of your plants and it’ll help them grow, like a natural fertilizer?
You can also do it with blended banana peels!
Also, tell Tommy his Aloe Vera and Rosemary need more water! Look at them! They’re thirsty!