Sundays in spring and again in fall, sixtysomething-year-old Jimmy Pedersen sets up a card table in front of his house in Lower Rockridge, takes on The New York Times crossword puzzle, and — to supplement his social security check — sells $3 baskets of raspberries he picks in his backyard. A retired building contractor, Pedersen started with four bushes just a few years ago; last year he harvested approximately two hundred pounds of berries from the patch he calls Avonova Farms, sold mostly to shoppers headed to the Temescal farmers' market (he also sells to Yasai Produce Market on College Avenue, and to Celeste Cooper of Butterfat Bakery, who incorporates them into pastries for Remedy Coffee). Since they don't travel farther than a few blocks, Pedersen's pesticide-free fruit can be picked meltingly ripe, after the raspberries' characteristically musky sweetness has developed. Pedersen's no ordinary urban-ag hobbyist — he's buddies with local farming legend Al Courchesne of Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, who's dropped in a few times to offer advice and pruning tips.
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