Photography by Jen Britton
Omelette, Sunshine and Hazel— the names of chickens who reside at the home of Brandon, Marlene and their young daughter, Hudson. I met these three chickens (and three humans) after an email came through from their neighbor, Emi. With great insistence, she asked that I come over to check out the gardens in her neighborhood. Because Emi herself is quite the authority, as a Master Gardener with countless hours of volunteer work under her belt and her own astonishing garden to contend with, I agreed.
Not quite knowing what I was getting myself into, I arrived in their quiet neighborhood in Venice, east of Lincoln Boulevard (reassured by Emi’s statement that if I were not satisfied with the gardens, she would commit to six months of free work for the magazine!). I was hardly dissatisfied. Not even close.
There were mulberries (that they regrettably planted over their deck), blueberries and, throughout the various times of year, pump- kins, squash, tomatoes, herbs, corn, strawberries, carrots, cucumbers and passion fruit.
Dentists by day, this couple has created (quite literally, as almost everything was built by hand) a beautiful environment for growth. Warm and clearly dedicated, Brandon, a surfer, and Marlene, a horse-back rider, have raised their daughter (also a horse-back rider and proud new owner, with her mother, of a Quarter Horse named Oscar) in an environment where she can experience the process of how food is grown. And if you don’t think that lifestyle can have a large effect on your decisions later in life, just ask little Hudson if she eats chicken anymore!
We’ll be exploring more of this neighborhood in future issues of Edible Westside, and, although it would have been great to have Emi as an employee, I wouldn’t take back my day of garden touring for anything.