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

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

Message to our Members

Due to the combination of events of 2020, including the shut down of businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the recent and sudden passing of our President Lauren Hanley, The Board of Directors under the leadership of current President Mark Croda voted unanimously to suspend elections of board officers and directors for 2021, and all agreed to stay on the board in their current position with the following changes:

  •  Mark Croda assumed the position of President
  • Tom Lang was asked and agreed to assume the position of Vice-President
  • There remains one vacant seat on the board, and will be filled by appointment by President Mark Croda following the board’s by-laws.

The Original Red Onion

The Original Red Onion
4783 Appian Way
El Sobrante, CA 94803
(510) 964-427

The Original Red Onion, located at 4783 Appian Way, has a long history within El Sobrante.  Current owner Ming first purchased the business in 1980.

Born in Malaysia, Ming followed a long road to get into the restaurant business. At 9 years old his family sent him to Hong Kong to school.  Then after a few years in Hong Kong, he moved to Chinatown in San Francisco in December of 1970. San Francisco is where Ming began to learn about the restaurant business.  As he gained experience, he was was offered a job managing El Toro Loco, a taqueria on Fisherman’s Wharf.  After two years the owner’s lease was up and the business closed.  Ming still visited with the owner who lived in El Cerrito.

Then Ming learned of a Fosters Freeze in San Pablo that was for sale.  He bought that business in 1977.  And then in 1979 he bought another Fosters Freeze in Pinole.  He bought the Original Red Onion in 1980 and a miniature golf course the same year.

Ming is very happy to be in El Sobrante.  He likes the people and he has future plans to make the Red Onion more “family friendly.”  Now, when you sit at the counter, you may be sitting next to someone but are not able to see them. He will be upgrading the seating. He wants people to be able to eat and talk comfortably to each other.

We are happy to have the Original Red Onion Hamburger shop as February’s Business of the Month.

Grand Opening with Chamber Board Members

Photos by Bob Sharp

Four Corners Pizza

Four Corners Pizza, Pasta and Bar is our business of the month for October. You may have noticed the new paint on the building. We noticed. But what many have not noticed is the new ownership. Dev and Veena have been running the restaurant for the past year.

Both originally from Nepal, Dev and Veena have been in the hospitality industry for many years. And their “hands on” experience has taken them around the world to 8 countries. From Abu Dhabi at the Kempinski Emirates Palace to San Francisco’s Ritz Carlton, making people feel pampered and comfortable by providing the finest personal service you’d experience in a luxurious hotel is their goal.

Much of the food on the menu is familiar but the menu has been simplified so making meal decisions is easier. When asked what has changed since the he took over, Dev said in one word, “ambiance.” The tables now have table cloths, and the atmosphere is more a dining experience than a pizza place. And there is live entertainment once a week. The bar is well stocked with premium spirits. Dev brings his experience in bartending to the table by offering specialty craft cocktails that complement Italian cuisine. A “manhattan” for instance is made with Antica Formula and Michters straight rye. Add to that Transatlantic bitters all aged in an oak barrel and you have a masterpiece. Even the cherries are infused with burbon. They also have a good selection of beer from local and international breweries.

Their phone number has stayed the same (510) 222-9925. Their hours of operation are:
Monday 5PM – 9:30PM
Tuesday CLOSED
Wednesday through Saturday 11:30AM – 9:30PM
Sunday 3:30PM – 9:30PM
Congratulations to Four Corners Pizza, Pasta and Bar!

One Plant

One Plant
3823 San Pablo Dam Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803

Our Business of the Month for September 2019 is One Plant.  Located at 3823 San Pablo Dam Road, in El Sobrante, One Plant is the only medical cannabis dispensary in town and is in full compliance with the State Bureau of Cannabis Control.  They cater to patients who, upon their doctors recommendation, have found relief in using medical cannabis.  “It’s all about helping the customer find out what will work for them” says Danielle, one of the managers there.

They have knowledgeable staff available to assist you with whatever you need.  From flowers and edibles to cartridges, concentrates and pills. They also have  drinks, patches, and topical ointments.  Evan, another manager says “Because we don’t service recreational users we can focus our efforts on each individual’s medical needs.”  We also can help people who don’t already have a medical recommendation through the process of getting one.

Both Evan and Danielle like El Sobrante and its people.  The location was a perfect match as El Sobrante was in need of a dispensary and already was licensed for it.  They also took over the candy shop next door and enlarged their floor plan.  We noticed the upgrade of the store front, the new paint, and the removal of the juniper bushes.  But you have to go inside to see the real transformation.

Danielle and Evan both happily welcome new patients to stop by and visit One Plant.

One Plant is open 7 days a week from 10AM to 8PM.  They can also be reached by calling (510) 758-3269

Central Foods

Central Foods has been a part of El Sobrante for years and years. Located on the corner of Santa Rita Road and Appian Way, it has been the only grocery store within the boundaries of El Sobrante for years. And now, as new owners, Naif Nudish and his partners want Central Foods to be the primary shopping experience for the entire community.

Naif Nudish has been in the grocery store business for over 20 years. Originally from Yemen, Naif moved to the area in 1997. He likes El Sobrante and hopes to develop better communication with area residents.

Naif showcases his meat department. There, you can order any kind of meat and have it cut to your specifications. But Naif thinks people don’t understand the possibilities available. He has spoken with customers who say the meat department doesn’t have what they’re looking for. Naif points out, you simply ask the butcher for the meat and cut you want.

The same holds true for the produce. Naif purchases fresh produce and has deliveries daily. Many things he stocks right now are things the previous owner carried. There’s no reason why people can’t shop here for all their groceries rather than going out of town to shop.

If you haven’t seen Central Foods lately, you should drop by for a visit. Then you can tell Naif what you would like to see in Central Foods. That way he will be able to order to satisfy the needs of the El Sobrante valley.

Central Foods is our Business of the Month for August 2019.

Congratulations, Naif!

Mark’s Barber Shop

Today it’s more important than ever to take care of oneself. Through with our lives filled with work, sitting in traffic, and family responsibilities, it’s difficult to find the time to do so.  People need a place to relax, discuss topics of concern, or watch the game, someplace away from the pressures of everyday life.

There’s a new business in town that offers this place to relax.  It’s Mark’s Barber Shop, located at 435 Valley View Road, in El Sobrante.

This is a barber shop, but the first thing you see when you enter the establishment is a grand, antique pool table.  The second thing you notice is the relaxed atmosphere.  It’s like entering another era.  Owner, Mark Robinson, says he was 15 years old when he remembers his father cutting hair in a similar place.  Mark and his brother, Mario, are carrying on the family business.  It’s like a gentleman’s club but without the smoke room.  Mark insists on promoting a healthy environment for children.  He does “rock star” haircuts or anything your mind can think up.

Setting up shop in El Sobrante was a fortunate move for Mark.  El Sobrante, is a beautiful place, and the people are nice.  Mark would like more foot traffic around town.  He encourages drop-in visits.

The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10AM until 8PM and on Sundays from 11AM until 6PM.  Mark’s Barber Shop is our Business of the Month for the month of July.

US Financial Mortgage Lending

Driving down Appian Way, you can’t miss the building with the big American flag on it.  Owner Nicole Donn has had the parking lot resurfaced and has put in a little flower garden.  An El Sobrante Chamber of Commerce Board member, and a member of the Marketing Education Committee of the Contra Costa Association of Realtors, Nicole says it’s the least she can do to help beautify the community.

This is also where Nicole does business as branch manager for US Financial Mortgage Lending. She’s very enthusiastic about her business.  She loves helping people with their finances.  From the age of 10 when she walked into the bank with her mother she knew she wanted to become a bank teller.  She liked the idea of talking with people and counting money. And so after graduating from high school Nicole became a bank teller.

Nicole used her evenings to continue her education and was soon promoted to Note Department Teller.  Getting her real estate license was next.  And with that she got into lending.  Nicole tried the real estate business but found her true liking was in finance.

What benefits the customer is always what Nicole looks at and not what benefits herself.  She likes to find solutions to people’s problems when other lending agencies are unable to help.  Perhaps a client may not “on paper” meet the requirements for a loan. Bu Nicole puts her creative “out of the box” thinking to work and finds a solution.  This is where Nicole’s experience proves most advantageous to her customers. PLUS she can help you in English or Spanish!

The El Sobrante Chamber of Commerce proudly votes US Financial Mortgage Lending Business of the Month for the month of June 2019.