Cloverfield Organic Farm U-Pick December 2023

Cloverfield Organic Farm U-Pick December 2023

We are so fortunate to have a growing season that extends year-round. Even in December the garden beds are bursting with green growth and abundant harvests. We welcome you to come u-pick every Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, during our open u-pick hours of 11-4.

Things that we expect to have available for u-picking in December include komatsuna (Japanese spinach), radishes, beets, limes, arugula, kale, collards, Swiss chard, mustard, horseradish roots, marshmallow roots, lettuce, pea tendrils, bay leaves, parsley, and beautiful bouquets of edible mixed flowers.

In the farm shed we have several dried herbs, such as St. John’s wort, epazote, rosemary, lemon balm, strawberry mint, catnip, apple mint, and more. We should have some packages of quinoa and amaranth grain too. Our jars of our raw unfiltered Cloverfield honey and bottles of organic extra-virgin Black Point olive oil make wonderful holiday gifts.

If the soil is not too wet, December can be a good time for planting. We have a selection of potted organic edibles for sale in our nursery – Asian orange daylilies, aloe vera, elderberries, Burbank spineless cactus, several different varieties of grapes, fig trees, pomegranates, gazania, strawberries, perennial herbs, and more.

No reservation is needed to come u-pick during our regular u-pick hours. For reserved tours and events, we have alternate times on our website that you can reserve at least four days in advance. Another reserved service that we offer is a guided horse interaction with Magic Ben, hosted by Karen Rose Mathews. We have free parking at 501 La Paloma Rd. Cash, Venmo, credit/debit cards, PayPal, and EBT are all accepted.  We hope you can come enjoy the seasonal abundance and beauty at our farm!

Red chard

Green Team Dec 2023 Article

Green Team 94803 Takes on Downtown Planters.

We are working with Dorcas Moulton and the Chamber to beautify downtown ES and revive the SPDR planters. After a review, we found that several businesses take beautiful care of their plants, while others are left untended. The Chamber provides pots and soil, and we have the plants. The problem is water. Not all businesses have spigots we can access. Each pot takes several gallons times 30 pots equals a lot of running back and forth with heavy buckets.  If your downtown business can help with water access, or adopting a few planters to water, please call or text Chris at 510-685-8163. More info on our website,, or the Chamber’s blog page.

Green Team 94803 works in coalition with other groups and collaborates with our County Supervisor, agencies and interested community members. The El Sobrante library hosts our Third Saturday Cleanup at 10am each month and SOS Richmond liaisons with our unhoused neighbors. Our website,, is updated regularly with a calendar of upcoming events, information about how to dispose of old items (often for free), and other useful information and organizing tools.

Our NextDoor social media posts keep reminding the community about those resources and our cleanup activities. That is how we organized the campaign to get the gigantic illegal dump near the San Pablo reservoir cleaned up. Thanks to Supervisor Gioia and Richmond Council Member Bana for making sure this was handled quickly. Now we hope to help track down the culprits and would love to see them prosecuted and fined to cover the costs of their illegal dumping crimes.

We are a regular presence at the ES MAC meetings and work closely with the ES MAC Cleanup and Beautification Subcommittee to advance our goals. Since we are a private group of volunteers, we can be faster and more flexible in handling issues that arise. One reason for that is our very active WhatsApp network, with a Green Team 94803 community and a number of task-oriented threads, like El Sobrante Heroes Adopt-A-Road, downtown planters and special events like Earth Day and Coastal Cleanup Day.

In short, we have a lot going on and are always seeking help and advice from volunteers, local businesses and community partners.

Most importantly at the moment, our effort is to restore the downtown planters and to get businesses to provide public trash cans and ash trays. The big trash cans have all been removed from SP Dam Rd. due to vandalism and damage. While we figure that problem out, we are asking for businesses to put a small trash can and a bucket with sand at their door so that patrons and passers-by can dispose of trash and cigarette butts without littering. No single business wants to spring for big trash cans or to cover the cost of disposal, but if multiple businesses put out a small can they can dispose of with their regular trash, that would be a big help.

El Sobrante is a small town wrapped-up in beautiful environs. The more our local businesses engage with Green Team 94803, the more effective we can be in keeping El Sobrante clean and beautiful.

December 2023 Mortgage Minute

The Mortgage Minute

New Developments in the Mortgage World of US Financial Mortgage Lending

  1. FHA now allows us to count some of the income from ADUs-75% of rent cannot be over 30% of overall income. Previously only Freddie Mac allowed it.
  2. Fannie Mae will now go to 95% loan to value on owner occupied 2-4 units. It was 85% on a duplex and 75% on 3-4 units.
  3. Below market financing for owner occupied properties in majority minority census tracts-rates ½ to ¾% below market.
  4. Freddie Mac is now allowing formerly self-employed people in the same field to be able to use fluctuating income from a job with under 12 months employment provided income is consistent with previous self-employment income.
  5. FNMA is now updating its policy to allow one year of personal and business tax returns, when all self-employed businesses have been in existence for five years and the borrower has a 25% or greater ownership interest for the last five consecutive years. DU will be updated and apply this guideline on all DU loan casefiles created on or after January 1, 2024. Currently FNMA requires two years of personal and business tax returns unless the DU AUS has the finding for just one year of taxes. FNMA is now updating this policy to allow one year of personal and business tax returns, when all self-employed businesses have been in existence for five years and the borrower has a 25% or greater ownership interest for the last five consecutive years. DU will be updated and apply this guideline on all DU loan casefiles created on or after January 1, 2024.
  6. On manufactured housing currently the guideline requires both the HUD Data Plate and the HUD Certification Label to be provided with photos on the appraisal. Effective immediately and mandatory effective January 1, 2024, based on application date, only one of the two will be required. This change does NOT apply to newly constructed manufactured homes, these items must be present on all new units.
  7. Soft pull credit pre-qualification must be done through our secure portal. This enables people to see what they qualify for without impacting their credit score.
  8. Update on CalHFA California Dream for All Program: Lottery system 90 days to get into contract. Must be first generation homebuyer earning under 120% of AMI. Coming early spring 2024.
  9. We can use excess seller contributions to lower cost of mortgage insurance on conventional loans.
  10. ]Fannie Mae will no longer count rental income other than to offset the monthly payment (no counting positive cash flow) unless the borrower has at least one year of experience managing rental property.

For more information please call 510-758-3035 or email

Community Resources

Disposal Resource List– old sofas? Illegal dumping? Moving? Remodeling? Here’s the resource list from Keep El Sobrante Clean and Beautiful. Help clean up El Sobrante every month. Details here.

Illegal Dumping reporting 1-800-NO-DUMPING and the Mobile Citizen App,

Donating items to charity: Consider selling the items and donating the proceeds to charity. You can sell items through Facebook marketplace and Craigs List. You can also offer/find items for free through Freecycle. Or there is the Salvation Army pick up 1-800-SA-TRUCK (1-800-728-7825

Contra Costa Sheriff for non-emergencies: Someone doing donuts outside your house? Disturbance at the top of Clark Rd?  925-646-2441

Where do I report inoperable or abandoned vehicles on public streets and/or private property?

Abandoned vehicles on public streets, highways and private roads should be reported to the Sheriffs Department. Abandoned vehicles on private property should be reported to Code Enforcement 925-655-2710 or Toll Free at 877-646-8314. In order for the vehicle to be removed from private property it must be determined inoperable. This means it must move under its own power and generally complete.File a Complaint Online

Noise Complaints

Contra Costa County does not have a noise ordinance. Noise complaints within the County are addressed as “noise complaints” and are handled through the peace disturbance sections of the County Police Code.

Who to call to report suspicious activity, Contra Costa County:

Tips on Crimes for sherrifs:

Filing an online police report:

Animal Control: dead deer? Escaped dog? Cattle wandering the street? 24 Hour Emergency Line: 925-646-2441. The pound, services, adopting pets etc. at Contra Costa Animal Services.

Local Concerns and Ideas: El Sobrante Municipal Advisory Council (El Sobrante MAC) – bring up local concerns and ideas. 2nd Tuesday of the month, 7pm (Zoom and in the ES library.) You can also contact our County Supervisor John Gioia or call 510-942-2220

Potholes, hazards, street lights out etc.? County Works Department services. 925-313-2000 and

Trouble with rent or paying your mortgage? Losing your housing? Call 211.  Look up rent assistance on Google. There are charities who will help you.

Schools: West Contra Costa School District. Problems? Contact your child’s teacher first. Then the principal. Then the superintendent (Dr.Chris Hurst)  and then the WCCSD school board. We are represented by Demetrio Gonzalez Hoy, Trustee Area 4 C: (510)-680-9987


Hospitals and Health Care: County hospital in Martinez. Richmond Kaiser is the nearest emergency room.

El Sobrante Library on the corner of Appian and San Pablo Dam Rd. is beautiful, well stocked, has computers to use and borrow and free internet. Homework help is on Tuesday and Thursdays 4.15-6 during WCCUSD term times. Storytime, workshops, classes and many more amazing programs for free are also available – see their ‘Events’ tab. A public meeting room is also available for free.

Volunteer for fun and community: The Spawners, Friends of the El Sobrante Library, Keep El Sobrante Clean and Beautiful, Volunteer Match and Yelp Volunteer Opportunities