Tasty Places :: Spring Street Farm

Tasty Places :: Spring Street Farm

I really don’t want to post about this.

I don’t want to post about this but how can I help it – it’s fabulous!

But if I tell everyone about this then they will come. They will discover a true Long Beach gem – delectable, affordable, fresh, hearty – and it’s IN Long Beach. And they may run out of food on Farm Fresh Fridays. And I’ll have to eat one of the Lean Cuisines I keep in the shared refrigerator at work, the one that smells like moldy syrup and lingonberries.

Then again, really, who am I kidding? Only five or six of you read this blog, and probably only one of you lives within a two-hour drive of the Spring Street Farm.

Life on the farm
Life on the farm

So why not? Why not tell you about a great place to scoop up fresh vegetables, an unforgettable meal, and good conversation. And to leave puffed up with a little Long Beach pride?

Farm Fresh Friday’s Butterfly Lunch Club lets you do just that. I was invited, perchance, by two different friends of mine who are connected to the farm’s director, Kelli Johnson. Launched in 2009 as an effort between the Long Beach Community Action Partnership (CAP) and the City’s Youth Opportunity Center, this urban farm offers sustainably grown produce to Long Beachians while supporting youth development efforts and healthy communities.

Do you see the chicken?
Do you see the chicken?
Look for the sign
Look for the sign
Carrots and kale and beets, oh my
Carrots and kale and beets, oh my

The 1.5 acre urban, organic teaching farm was established thanks the generous use of vacant land by the Salvation Army, and continues to thrive thanks to the efforts of Long Beach CAP.

Makes me want to cook fresh and healthy
Makes me want to cook fresh and healthy
Open Tuesdays & Fridays
Open Tuesdays & Fridays
Fresh strawberry margarita, anyone?
Fresh strawberry margarita, anyone?

As awesome as this project is, you know I’m (mostly) about the food. The Butterfly Lunch Club gives those in the know a chance to pre-order from a menu of farm fresh selections. This week’s choices did not disappoint.

Order ahead to be in the club
Order ahead to be in the club
White bean and kale soup with chili oil & sourdough croutons
White bean and kale soup with chili oil & sourdough croutons

As a Lunch Club rookie, I went the glutton route, asking for more than one menu item, not realizing that one item would be more than enough to fill my (expanding) belly. So yes, I ordered two items all by my self. No worries, though. My turkey meatloaf sandwich was incredibly rewarding later in the evening as a leftover – I almost sang in my kitchen as I stuffed my face. [*Picky Eater Confession #1: Prior to this experience, while I’ve made meatloaf plenty of times, I’d never actually eaten meatloaf before. The whole idea of a loaf of meat is scary in my opinion. And the loaves I’ve made were only at the request of my husband – though it’s been years since he’s asked for one, I’ll admit, so maybe my loaves weren’t very appetizing; they certainly didn’t look very delectable. So to put it simply, I was deflowered this day – I lost my meatloaf virginity]

Open-face turkey meatloaf sandwich with bahn mi slaw and spicy mayo on sourdough
Open-face turkey meatloaf sandwich with bahn mi slaw and spicy mayo on sourdough

Yes, I will continue to rave about the meatloaf sandwich. It was so good, I wanted to give my husband a sample because, as someone who used to ask for turkey meatloaf, I knew he would appreciate it. But I thought better of this idea as the day passed, instead eating it alone in my dark kitchen as he watched television in the bedroom, the light from the refrigerator helping me slice my way through the sandwich so that with each bite I would enjoy the right balance of bread, loaf, slaw, and mayo. Oooohh, the MAYO! I could have slumbered in it. The MAYO is what made me sing.

Cold sesame soba noodles with sesame-citrus dressing (vegan)
Cold sesame soba noodles with sesame-citrus dressing (vegan)

The noodle salad was my lunch, made with the same vegetables that topped the meatloaf as a slaw. The salad was quit delicious as well, the dressing tangy and zesty, the citrus providing a nice balance. But now that I’m in the know, I’ll opt for a double order of the sandwich the next time it’s offered.

Chocolate croissaint bread pudding
Chocolate croissant bread pudding

Shawna was kind (and full?) enough to offer me some of her bread pudding. [Picky Eater Confession #2: Before the Butterfly Lunch Club on Friday, I’d never had bread pudding. Sorry, Mr. Cosby – I don’t like pudding. I (now) know that bread pudding is in no way connected to the processed lunch pail snack, but in itty bitty mind always imagined a slice of Wonder Bread dipped in tapioca flavored Jell-O. Just like I never tried cheesecake until my early 20s because I couldn’t imagine a cake made out of cheese (American, Swiss, Cheddar) could be enjoyable. It’s a whole word association thing.] Did I enjoy the bread pudding? You betcha. Especially after slathering my bite in the rich, vanilla-flecked whipped cream served alongside it. I’m hoping that all bread pudding is like this and that this isn’t some uniquely fabulous iteration only to be found at Farm Fridays.

But if it is, that’s just fine because my Fridays are set. I’m there. Rain or shine (unless I just got my hair done… then again, I can get my order to go). I’m not really sure if I’ve been officially invited to the Butterfly Lunch Club, but now I know. I’m in on the secret. And please, please, please, don’t you tell anyone either. You won’t want to see me if the next time they offer the turkey meatloaf sandwich, they sell out before I get a chance to put in my order – Halloween ain’t got nothing on my hungry horror.

Until I eat again…

LB CAP‘s Spring Street Farm
Farm Fresh Fridays Butterfly Garden Lunch Club
Spring Street between Long Beach Blvd. and Elm

Special shout out to Christy and Shawna for the invite, and to Kelli for the hospitality (and healthy vittles)!

Some follow-up pics from other lunches*

Carolina-style pulled chicken sandwich
Carolina-style pulled chicken sandwich // Roasted beet sandwich
Chicken, vegetable, and farro soup with basil pesto
Chicken, vegetable, and farro soup with basil pesto
Quinoa and black bean salad
Quinoa and black bean salad

3 thoughts on “Tasty Places :: Spring Street Farm

  1. Dear Dianderthal,
    That has a ring to it.
    I found you by accident, looking up The Butterfly Garden Club…..Kelli Johnson is a friend and a truly special woman; FUNNY and incredibly talented!!! I just learned about the farm about 6 months ago but haven’t been yet. My birthday is coming in April…want to lunch there. Thanks for the fabulous shout out about my talented friend and the Farm!!!
    Since you are blogging about LB, check out Julie Wooley’s Vintage Emporium in LB California Heights neighborhood….it is a fabulous store, as is the restaurant next door….You’re funny and entertaining; keep exploring and writing!!! Keep me on your email list.
    Susie

    1. Hi, Susie. Thanks so much for commenting, and your kind words.

      I’m always looking for new places to explore – I’m in Bixby Knolls so It would be great to feature something in Cal Heights.

      About he Butterfly Lunch Club, I believe things are suspended indefinitely (I should probably update my post to say that). I think Kelli (who is great, as you mentioned) has been working to revive it in some form. I think the chef does food on Thursdays at Willmore Wine Bar (I’m going next week to try it out). If I hear of something, I’ll let you know.

      Take care! And happy early birthday.

      1. Hi Dianderthal,

        This is very sad news…I’ll email Kelli for an update and advise what I am able.
        Thanks for the BD wish and happy adventuring!

        Susie

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