Hidden Villa will be closed to the public from June 3 through August 3 for the safety of our camp community.

Monthly Newsletters

May 2024: Summer Camp


Summer Camp articles by Ben (he/him), Camp Director

FEATURE: Rose, Thorn, & Bud

Spending a summer at Hidden Villa Summer Camp is like watching a beautiful rosebush come to life. Each flower is unique and beautiful, each stem becomes strong and resilient as it grows, and every bud is full of potential. Similarly, campers at Hidden Villa have a safe environment to be their unique selves, try new things, gain confidence in their efforts, and connect with people across cultures to make meaning of a world full of empathy and wonder. We know these experiences are transformative. The outcome is young people will see themselves as valuable, compassionate, resilient, contributors to their community capable of creating positive change in the world.  

Throughout a camper’s experience, reflection is an integral part of their learning. They make meaning of their connections and actions to inspire their lives moving forward. Debriefing our days and activities is a regular part of Hidden Villa Summer Camp life. 

A fan-favorite debrief is called “Rose, Thorn, Bud.” The group will go around in a circle and share their personal rose, thorn, and bud. The rose is a highlight, a fun experience, or an accomplishment. Examples are making a new friend, swimming in the pool on a hot day, or finding a cool creature under a log! The thorn is something that was a challenge and perhaps didn’t go exactly as planned. It’s important to note that this isn’t negative by nature but rather something that causes us to push ourselves. Good examples could be a hike that was longer than expected, feeling a bit scared on the high ropes course, or coming up with an original song for float night. Lastly, there is the bud. The bud can be new ideas that have blossomed, or something you are looking forward to learning or experiencing.

When reflecting on last summer and looking forward to the summer of 2024, the camp team thought it would be fun to share our rose, thorn, and bud for Hidden Villa Summer Camp! 

ROSE:

In the summer of 2023, we successfully ran 6 weeks of summer camp and served about 500 campers. We hosted tried and true programs like Day Camp, Community Camp, Farm & Wilderness, and Bay to Sea Backpacking. We watched cohorts in our Leaders in Training and Counselors in Training programs step into leadership roles within camp. It was an honor to witness the return of summer camp fill our valley with the songs, laughter, and blossoming friendships. 

THORN

I arrived in late January. We had about five months to assemble summer staff, register campers, build relationships with our partner organizations, iron out programming, purchase supplies, and more! This was a big task and I am proud to say that our camp team rose to the challenge because our commitment to serving campers and providing impactful experiences to children was unwavering. Now, with a full year to reflect, adjust, recruit, and plan I am excited to share summer camp’s bud!

BUD:

Hidden Villa Summer Camp 2024 is going to be an amazing experience! I am so excited to welcome back returning staff and campers, as well as welcome new staff and campers to the Hidden Villa community. We are fully staffed for the summer and currently have about 700 campers signed up for the summer- a growth of nearly 200 campers from last year! We have engaged with several other community-based partners to ensure we are creating a multicultural community that is accessible to all families. We are looking forward to the launch of a new backpacking program called Watershed Wanderers. We are ensuring our staff and campers are equipped with meaningful mental health support and training to ensure campers have the tools to try new things and grow while in our care.  We are investing in new sleeping platforms and shade sails for our outdoor sleeping areas.

I could go on and on about the other details of our program that I am looking forward to this summer, but I will conclude with a reflection. It has been 79 years since Josephine Duveneck hosted the first overnight multicultural summer camp at Hidden Villa. In her book Life on Two Levels, she writes about the lessons learned each summer and how she and her staff celebrated and responded to the successes and challenges that arose in those first foundational summers. Of my 26 years of attending and working at summer camp programs, I have ALWAYS learned something new each year. I look forward to all the roses, thorns, and buds of Hidden Villa Summer Camp 2024.


Watershed Wanderers

In the summer of 2024, we are excited to offer a new program called Watershed Wanderers. Campers in 8th-12th grade who participate in the Watershed Wanderers camp will gain introductory backpacking skills and hands-on learning about the home of Hidden Villa Summer Camp – the Adobe Creek Watershed. Campers will spend five days trekking through the hills on our expansive hiking trails and learn to read landscapes and the intersection of topography and water flow. Water brings about life. When campers are given the opportunity to go creek stomping, discover springs, and see firsthand how we are all connected through water, appreciation, stewardship, and conservation can be gained.

This fun-filled week of experiential environmental education is another great addition to our catalog of offerings for campers to participate in as they progress through our program summer after summer.

Learn about our other incredible summer programs. Whether it is exploring the great outdoors, experiencing life on a farm, getting creative in the arts, or learning valuable leadership skills, there’s something for every camper at Hidden Villa Summer Camp. Click below to discover our remaining available programs and secure your spot today!


The Well-Being of Our Community

 

Hidden Villa believes in nurturing the whole person. This means we want to support the development of young people’s minds, bodies, and souls. This is accomplished through many different programs such as regenerative agriculture and food systems education, environmental stewardship, and holding space for youth to be advocates for the world they want to see and be a part of. 

It is no secret that the youth we serve at camp have faced an incredible amount of adversity in recent years. Hidden Villa strives to create a space where everyone who participates in our camp feels they are supported, belong, and are valued. This past year, our camp team invested in training, partnerships, and expert services to prepare ourselves for the different needs that we may encounter.

For our staff, the ones who are charged with the responsibility to meet the needs of our campers and provide them with unforgettable experiences, we have enlisted the services of ‘Dear Scout’. Dear Scout is a company that has brought together a team of licensed mental health professionals who have experience working in the summer camp industry. These clinicians will be on call for us when a staff member is in need of talking about their mental health. We join many summer camps across the nation in utilizing their services to meet this important and present need. 

Through our partnership with ‘Yes! Nature to Neighborhoods’ based out of Richmond, California, we will enthusiastically welcome their leadership team to present to our summer staff their approach and practices in working with youth in the BIPOC community. We are honored to join their incredible efforts to provide access and bring more diverse representation into rural and nature scapes.

San Mateo County Pride Center will facilitate a training session on how our staff can create an inclusive environment for ALL campers. Through their SOGI 101 (sexual orientation and gender identification) course we will have foundational knowledge across our staff. Combining this with training on age-appropriate discussions and reflections, Hidden Villa campers will feel affirmed to be themselves without judgment or fear.

Hidden Villa’s commitment to caring for all community members of our camp is unwavering. We work tirelessly to meet our youth where they are and provide them with the space to make monumental steps in their development. Fostering a sense of belonging in this beautiful place is the work that our founders put in motion decades ago and we are proud to continue that effort today.


Temporarily Closing For Camp

This summer, Hidden Villa will be closed to the public from June 3rd to August 3rd, to prioritize the safety and well-being of our campers and staff. Access to the farm and trails will be temporarily closed. There will be no open weekends during this time. We appreciate your understanding and support as we work to create a safe environment for our campers and staff.


With Gratitude

Dear Supporters,

We’re gearing up for another season of adventure, growth, and community at Hidden Villa Summer Camp. Through backpacking explorations, farm-to-fork programs, animal husbandry activities, and moments of simple, unhurried discovery, we offer a sanctuary where children can truly be themselves. Please consider joining us in giving the gift of Summer Camp. Your contribution today plays a crucial role in making this vision a reality. Here’s how you can make a difference:

Camperships:

Your support ensures that 138 campers, regardless of financial constraints, can experience the magic of Hidden Villa Summer Camp.

Cost: $240,000

Staff Training:

Provide counselors with tools & training to guide our campers effectively, promoting youth empowerment, and mental health awareness.

Cost: $45,000

Shade Structure:

Your contribution ensures an inclusive, engaging, and safe camp experience by providing a new shade structure for those hot summer days.

Cost: $7,000

Recreational Supplies Fund:

Help us empower camp adventures with essential supplies like art materials, life jackets, and backpacking gear.

Cost: $8,000

Our goal is to raise $300,000 to support our camp program and nurture hundreds of children this June. Thanks to the generosity of a $150,000 matching gift from Ralph Eschenbach and Dr. Carol Provan, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, doubling your impact.

At Hidden Villa Summer Camp, we’re not just running a program; we’re shaping the world we want to see. By fostering values of kindness, diversity, and peace, we create a safe space for self-expression, essential for addressing the challenges our youth face. Thank you for joining us on this journey and investing in the future leaders who will shape a more peaceful and just society.

With gratitude,

-Ben (he/him), Camp Director

Donate Now


ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

DOWNTOWN LOS ALTOS FARMERS’ MARKET
STATE STREET IN LOS ALTOS (Our stall is at the corner of 2nd and State)
THURSDAYS 4 – 8 PM
MAY – OCTOBER

 

Farm Update

Things are blooming and ripening in the farm fields. This time of year is among our favorites. Right now everything is green and lush from our ample winter rains and the succulent greens of spring are about ready to harvest. We are excited to announce that we are returning to the Los Altos Farmers’ Market on State Street this season. We hope you’ll stop by and say hi! The CSA is also starting back up, with our first shares being picked up the week of May 12th. The first basket is an important landmark in the farm season and we’re looking forward to sharing that experience with this year’s farm crew. You can read a little bit about our team for 2024, and get to know other HV staff on our website. Other exciting happenings in the farm fields include planting our first round of tomatoes and summer squash, seeing emerging sprouts in our dahlia patch, and harvesting the first few of our ‘Albion’ strawberries – so sweet and only getting better!

-Lanette (she/her), CSA Manager

Farmers’ Market 

We’re officially LIVE at the Downtown Los Altos Farmers’ Market every Thursday evening. We’ll have VEGGIES. We’ll have MEATS. FLOWERS, FRUITS, FLYERS. We’ll have… LAMB SOCKS! Come by and pick up the season’s best produce from the most Local-est farm at the market (We are literally the closest farm to the market, you can’t get any more local). How awesome is that?

The Local-est Meats are Now So Easy to Get

What’s even better than buying the most local-est meat (our meat and produce travels a mere 2.9 miles to get to the market if you’re counting) at the farmers’ market, you ask?…  You can now PRE-ORDER pork, lamb, and chicken from our website to pick up at the market. Please CHOOSE THE LOS ALTOS FARMERS MARKET UNDER ‘DELIVERY DETAILS’ AT CHECKOUT (It’s super easy, I promise). Otherwise, just order like normal from our online store by any Wednesday night to pick up at the market on Thursday. We will bring you your super special, super local, pasture-raised meats and you will pick them up from us. You get to feel super awesome about your food. Done. Congrats on feeling so good.

-Austen (he/him), CSA Manager

Order Organic Today


Lamb Socks

We’re commemorating our annual sheep shearing event with a limited edition of Hidden Villa lamb socks! Featuring the darling face of one of our very own lambs, you can keep your feet warm and dry with the Merino wool blend. We have 3 sizes available – Kids: For ages 5 to 10 years; Small: women’s shoes 5.5-9, men’s shoes 4-7.5; Large: women’s shoes 9.5+, men’s shoes 8-14. We collaborated with Hippy Feet where 50% of their profits go towards supporting youth experiencing homelessness. 100% of Hidden Villa’s profits go towards supporting our mission. Order a pair of lambsocks on our online store and pick them up at our farm stand or at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

Order Now


 

Farm Animal Update

Our meat chickens have been busy this spring. They’ve been devouring the cover crops in the vegetable fields and laying down some incredible fertility in their wake. This is a good example of regenerative farming in practice, and we’re the only farm I know of that is doing this. The chickens require a pretty significant input in the form of the grain that we feed them. It’s organic and comes from a local meal but it still has a significant carbon footprint and represents a lot of nutrients that have come from the soil where it was grown. Therefore, it’s a huge win to reduce the amount of feed that we need when the chickens can get part of their diet from eating our lush cover crops. The chickens only use a small percentage (about 3%) of those nutrients to grow their little bodies and the rest is deposited as manure. In a conventional chicken operation, that’s just waste that becomes toxic in high concentrations. 

But in our system, we’re able to put that manure directly onto the fields where crops will be grown so they’ll be able to directly use those nutrients from the soil. Thus the chickens REGENERATE the soil. All healthy ecosystems include both plants and animals, and our farm ecosystem is no different. In this system, there is no waste, and the animals are a valuable part of an ecosystem that produces both meat and crops for humans while the ecosystem also becomes healthier – more fertile, more carbon in the soil, etc.



Environmental Education Programs

Field trip registration for the 2024-2025 school year will open May 31, 2024, for schools with a UPC of 50% or higher. Registration opens for all schools on July 12, 2024.

The Unduplicated Pupil Count (UPC) is a metric used by the State of California that describes the percentage of students from a school that meets at least one of the following categories: English learner, foster or tribal foster youth, migrant, experiencing homelessness, participates in California’s food stamp/ CalWORKs programs, or meets the family size and gross income requirements for free/reduced-price meals. This data is widely available and you can find your school’s UPC on Ed-Data.org.


Anamontangi Polynesian Voices Summer Camp at Hidden Villa

Anamatangi Polynesian Voices is a grassroots non-profit organization in East Palo Alto dedicated to advocating for the Pacific Islander Community, celebrating cultural heritage and meeting community needs through thoughtful and innovative programming. Recently the team has been partnering with Cesar Chavez Middle School to provide students a multi-week-long Mindfulness Program to support mental wellness and cultivate healthy habits for pre-teens. Through their responsiveness, they are able to provide meaningful opportunities for an intergenerational community supporting youth, adults and families, and elders. At Hidden Villa, we are very honored to be a part of their community as they plan for a multi-day summer camp program in collaboration with Hidden Villa staff. This opportunity will allow youth to connect with their elders and culture, experience mindfulness and connection in nature, and have opportunities to grow and learn with their peers.


Skullcap: A Cute Little Wildflower with an Ominous Name

One of the many wildflowers currently blooming at Hidden Villa is the Blue Skullcap, Scutellaria tuberosa. It is quite small and unassuming, often hugging the ground at just 6 inches tall in shaded understory environments. A good place to see them right now is along the Bypass Trail at the base of the Short Bunny Loop.

Any reference to skulls can hint at death and decay, so it is important to note that the name refers to the hat-shaped upper lobe of the flower, and nothing more sinister.

Skullcaps are well known to herbalists across the globe, but only two of over 300 species found worldwide are generally recognized as having useful medicinal properties, one of which is most commonly found in China, and the other one in eastern North America. The two are used to treat many different conditions. Different parts of each plant are collected and used for different things, so they are not at all interchangeable. Their medicinal effects can also be quite strong, so professional supervision is critical for safe use.

Our particular version is not among those in wide use by humans, but it is quite beautiful, with a deep purple, speckled, tubular flower that most often appears in side-by-side pairs. The flowers resemble miniature Snapdragons to my eye.

Learn more about the Blue Skullcap and other wildflowers on Saturday, May 18. Join Senior Naturalist Garth Harwood for an exploration of the wide variety of plant communities here at Hidden Villa. Follow the button below to register today to learn about all the Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series courses.

Register Now

Weekend Opportunities

Get out with your friends and family this spring and join one of our amazing weekend opportunities! The weather is fine, the greenery is verdant, and the spring is calling you out for some fun!


Photo Credits: Zain, Lucy, Virginia


April 2024

FEATURE: Harvesting Possibilities:
Uniting to Expand Our Table of Learning

Eight months ago, my colleague Sofia and I shared a meal with Mama D Uhlia, Papa Senita Uhlia, Co-Founders, and Tiffany Hantau, Executive Director, of Anamantangi Polynesian Voices. We sat down to a family-style lunch outside the Dana Center looking out at the golden pasture. As I looked across the table, the story of Hidden Villa’s fields reached my nose. The rainbow of peak-season tomatoes, kale, and sausage – all from the land upon which we were eating was the icebreaker. Taking breaks between bites to comment on the deliciousness of the food, each of us found it easy to dream about how our youth programs could work together. As we shared this place-based meal, we recognized the natural synergies between our work.

When I asked, “What can Hidden Villa do to support the youth and families you work with?” Papa Senita looked out at the pasture where the valley meets the horizon and recalled the way that Hidden Villa reminds him of Samoa. He shared that youth in their community love water and when they get into a body of water, their bodies know what to do. The whole group started dreaming of how their families could gather at Hidden Villa and incorporate the natural elements into their cultural programs.

Mama D Uhlia and Papa Senita Uhlia founded Anamantangi Polynesian Voices (APV) in the early ’90s as a grassroots organization to foster community, cultural enrichment, and distribution of resources in East Palo Alto. Since its inception in 1997, APV has been more than just a gathering place; it has been a lifeline for residents facing economic and climate crises at disproportionate rates. Unhoused, uninsured, and undocumented, many of APV’s clients endure unimaginable hardship, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic years. 

Yet amidst the struggle, a collective desire for healing and wellness emerged. They’ve worked tirelessly to meet families where they are and pull together resources and services to help them achieve wellness, stability, and meet all their goals. Driven by community survey feedback, APV embarked on a journey to bridge indigenous healing practices with the abundance of nature surrounding East Palo Alto.

The result? An innovative outdoor wellness initiative rooted in Restorative Justice Practice (RJP) and grown out of  Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cultural traditions. This Fall, they chose Hidden Villa to be the location where the bi-annual wellness retreat would be held. Laughter and cheers erupted from the Dana Center lawn, as they led their Wellness Retreat, a sanctuary for community members to immerse themselves in outdoor wellness activities. From organizational wellness workshops to youth-specific sessions addressing the unique challenges faced by young participants, the retreat offered a space for healing, growth, and transformation. Youth participants cheered each other on and pushed their limits on the high ropes course all while surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. 

“In the midst of vast landscapes and towering trees, we found a sense of community that transcended our differences. ” – APV Retreat Participant 

But the vision doesn’t stop there. This August, APV will lead their ‘Take the Mic’ three-day summer enrichment program, where youth, cultural practitioners, and partner organizations participate in activities to explore, embrace, and learn about nature using core Pacific Islander cultural competencies. Youth and APV staff will stay overnight in the Hidden Villa hostel and they’ll lead programs that include a blend of indigenous Pacific Islander rites and traditions, as well as knowledge-building around the local environment, natural resources, and mental wellness. 


In collaboration with Hidden Villa, APV aims to build and improve access to the farm and wilderness spaces and outdoor activities, providing APV youth with continuous connections to nature and fostering a sense of belonging. Through the co-creation of programming, the organizations aspire to provide year-round programming, implementing at least nine new youth and family programs at Hidden Villa by 2027.

The energy that APV has brought to Hidden Villa’s partnership work harkens to the work of the Duveneck legacy and what the Hidden Villa mission was founded on. When we are striving to create a just, healthy, and sustainable future for all, we look across the table and ask what else is possible when we work in partnership to bring balance into our local communities. 

By fostering shared learnings and expertise through gatherings, both organizations enrich their programs with insights from implementation, research, best practices, success stories, challenges, and lessons. Engaging program staff and youth representatives ensure diverse perspectives contribute to the collective journey towards wellness and climate resilience. The partnership between Anamantangi Polynesian Voices and Hidden Villa goes beyond creating programs; it fosters a community where tradition, nature, and innovation intersect, paving the way for a brighter, connected future in Silicon Valley.

– Gianna FazioLiu (she/they), Annual Fund and Development Manager 


Trailblazing Stewardship

 

Shlomo Waser’s passion for the wilderness has been a constant theme in his adult life. For the past 46 years, he has been exploring the trails of Hidden Villa and the surrounding open space. During his career as an executive in the semiconductor industry, he was active in a local trail running group, and they frequently made the trip from what is now Rancho San Antonio Preserve to Hidden Villa. After his retirement 20 years ago, he was able to devote more time to hiking and become more involved with the Sierra Club, for whom he now leads domestic and international trips. He believes that getting people out on the trails will help them become advocates for the environment. One of his favorite hikes is to go from Hidden Villa to the top of Black Mountain, which is good a ten-mile (round trip) climb with a 2,400-foot elevation gain.

Periodically, he leads this hike for the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club. For a shorter hike, he brings family and friends to enjoy the 2-mile Long Bunny Loop Trail, which has small but beautiful waterfalls during the winter and spring.

This past year, Shlomo came out to join a walk with the California Native Plant Society where he met Hidden Villa Executive Director, Elliot Wright. He had been thinking about what he could do to support Hidden Villa, and this meeting inspired him to name the non-profit in his estate plan. When asked what outcome he hopes to see from this generous gift he says, “This place has been here for 100 years. How do we make sure it is here for another 1,000?” (If you would like to know more about including Hidden Villa in your estate plan, follow the button link or email [email protected].)

Jill Kilty Newburn (she/her), Major Gifts Officer

Legacy Giving


Heartfelt Gratitude

“Hidden Villa, I love Hidden Villa!” That’s the response I most often receive when I tell someone where I work.

 I hear those same exclamations all around the farm. I hear it from students hiking on the Creek Trail while participating in a Farm and Wilderness Exploration program; from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members after picking up their weekly basket of produce harvested that very morning; from families who sit by the creek during spring break and watch their kiddos play in nature; and from our campers who lovingly take over the entire 1,600 acres every summer. These special moments are the foundation of Hidden Villa’s mission to create a more just and sustainable future for all.

People of all ages come here, set down their devices, unplug, and connect with the natural world. Just last night, I saw a hiker stop to appreciate the group of ‘tom’ turkeys showing off their spring feathers. There are very few places in the world that have all the magic ingredients that exist at Hidden Villa. 

A huge part of what makes that magic possible is the incredibly generous community of donors and volunteers who support Hidden Villa. When I reflect on the tremendous love that this group has expressed for Hidden Villa, my heart swells. Thank you for being a part of Hidden Villa. Thank you for supporting this special place and ensuring it remains accessible now and in the future. We need you and appreciate you.

-Jessica Du Val (she/her), Director of Development & Communications


Thank You So Much to the Foundations that Support Hidden Villa!

We’re so grateful for your investment. Your support powers our farm and people, makes Hidden Villa accessible, and contributes towards a vision of a sustainable, healthy, and just future for all. Thank you.

Acton Family Giving

Applied Materials Foundation

David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Elkind Family Foundation

Epispace Foundation

Fremont Group

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Hufty Foundation

Kalele Foundation

Kiwanis Club of Los Altos

Kiwanis Club of Mountain View

Los Altos Mountain View Community Foundation

Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation

Noble and Lorraine Hancock Family Foundation

Olander Family Foundation

Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

Pony Barnes Foundation

Rotary Club of Palo Alto

San Jose Mercury News Wish Book Fund, Inc.

Skyline Foundation

The George and Judy Marcus Family Foundation

The Joseph and Vera Long Foundation


Events:

Sheep Shearing & Fiber Arts Festival

Saturday, April 27 from 10 am – 3 pm

Watch skilled shearers as they help our sheep welcome spring with a fresh “haircut”. Follow the “Plant-to-Pant” pipeline with hands-on crafts and activities along the way. Marvel at a sheepdog’s herding expertise! Meet local makers who infuse their creations with beauty and sustainability. Our Sheep and Fiber Arts Festival is farm fun for everyone! Register your family today. Follow the button below to learn more.

Register Today

Camp Open House

Saturday, April 13 from 10 am –  3 pm

Bring your family down to the farm for a day of Hidden Villa Summer Camp! Come and play with other camp families and camp alumni. We will be celebrating how the past, present, and future of Summer Camp can change a life! Families will have an opportunity to play games, sing songs, explore sleeping and eating areas, and ask camp staff your burning questions. Follow the button below to learn more.

Learn More


Hidden Villa Summer Camp

Summers here at the farm are full of growth and excitement. Every day is an opportunity for adventure! Our summer programs are designed to grow with youth and adjust to meet their needs. Our programs introduce young people to wilderness and farm activities, foster leadership skills and responsibility, and emphasize respect for the environment and for others – all while having fun and making lasting memories!

Day Camp 
Grades K – 4

Each day, campers have a variety of activities to choose from. Daily choice activities may include cooking, hiking, swimming, arts & crafts, games, nature exploration, or time with our farm animals. They’ll cultivate new skills, forge lasting friendships, and deepen their connection to the world around them. Each age cohort builds on the next so our day camp experience grows with your camper! We offer options for extended care before and after camp hours.

Learn More

Overnight & Backpacking Camps
Grades 5 – 12

Hidden Villa overnight programs are an unforgettable journey of self-discovery, community building, and environmental stewardship. Our overnight camp programs are designed to foster curiosity, critical thinking, and advocacy while providing a safe and inclusive space for exploration. Through hands-on activities, wilderness expeditions, and an engaging curriculum focused on social justice and environmental awareness, your camper will build lifelong friendships, develop leadership skills, and gain a deeper appreciation for the world around them. This year, we are offering 5 and 12-day programs to better work with your busy schedules.

Learn More


Announcements

Community Supported Agriculture

Hidden Villa’s CSA registration is open and filling fast! We only have a few spots left. If you’re interested in joining us for the 2024 farm season don’t delay. Members receive a weekly basket of fresh produce harvested the same day. The season runs from mid-May through the end of October. Enjoy delicious, nutritious, local produce for only $35/ week! Follow the button below to sign up. For questions reach out to [email protected].

Register

 


 

This Month’s Feature Meat Product- Ham Hocks

This is a recipe I adapted from a guy called the Farmstead Meatsmith who is an eccentric butcher and slaughterman who also understands that these roles are meaningless without a cook in the farmhouse kitchen. (Watch this clip for inspiration.) All of the animal products that we produce are done so with the end user in mind – the dedicated home cook. No cut embodies this better than the humble ham hock. It’s one of my favorite cuts to cook, but requires a little bit of patience (though very little actual work). It’s also a great example of the kind of nose-to-tail economy of which I am a huge proponent and that we strive for in our husbandry and production practices at Hidden Villa. It’s a tough cut that requires a long slow cook with liquid, either water-based or lipid-based. You won’t often find these in the grocery store, so I think it’s really special that we offer them, as they’re a butcher’s and farmer’s special secret cut. They’re full of gelatin that creates an unctuous and savory stock that sticks in your craw and is hugely satisfying to the appetite. I hope you’ll venture with me to cook this underappreciated cut because the reward is nothing short of the finest, and most nutritious peasant dish one can cook up. Once you know the basic technique it’s dead simple to cook one up anytime you’re in the mood. They also work great in a slow cooker. I’m so enamored with ham hocks and I really want everyone else to feel the way I do, so I’m going to give you a discount on them. Order them this month and you can have them for 15% off! Please try one, you can thank me later. Here’s a link to the recipe.

Your yeoman farmer-cook,

Austen Wagner (he/him), Assistant Farm Manager

Buy Now

P.S. Our first fresh chicken sale of the year is coming up on April 18th. Subscribe to our newsletter if you want to know when our fresh pasture-raised organic meats go on sale. Email [email protected] and we’ll put you on the list. Newsletters also include special recipes.


Volunteers

Hidden Villa partners with Youth Community Services and local high schools to provide opportunities to get outside, help care for the land, and connect with each other. On March 25th, a group of 30 Gunn High School students spent the day clearing invasive horehound, beautifying our Dana Center landscaping area in preparation for the Sheep Shearing and Fiber Arts Festival, and woodchipping the ropes course which is used for our Youth Development and Summer Camp programs. It’s amazing what a group of dedicated high school students can do in a matter of a day, which will serve our community and other youth for months to come!

-Sofía Pablo-Hoshin (she/her), Director of Volunteer Engagement

Volunteer


Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series- A Taste of the Wild

The Seasonal Cycles Natural History Series (SCNHS) taught by Hidden Villa’s Senior Naturalist, Garth Harwood, is stirring up a buzz! The Almanac recently attended “Make a Wild Salad!“, a foraging class from the SCNHS. Learn what The Almanac had to say by reading the full article (link below).

 

Did you know that foraging is only one of the many classes offered in the series? Saturdays from 10 am to 12 pm, Garth offers a variety of explorations including:

 

 


Dear HV Community:

As you can see, we are growing and nurturing a lot of great stuff at Hidden Villa. I would love to hear from you! Please feel welcome to reach out with ideas, questions, comments, or other notes. I’m always here for you.

Sincerely and respectfully,
Elliott Wright ([email protected])

(In photo: Exploring a stick bug)