A green day by the bay for royals / Couple see organic garden in Berkeley; attend events in S.F.
Julian Guthrie, Karola Saekel, Jesse Hamlin, Chronicle Staff Writers Published 4:00 am, Tuesday, November 8, 2005
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England’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, may have left verdant Inverness to come to San Francisco, but on Monday the royal couple found promising pockets of green on a cool gray day.Charles and Camilla, who arrived in San Francisco late Sunday afternoon after a weekend visiting with organic farmers in Marin County, spent Monday as they’d spent Saturday and Sunday.They talked agriculture, food and the environment.The day began at the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, where the prince and his wife of seven months, the Duchess of Cornwall, toured the 1-acre teaching garden founded in 1994 by renowned chef Alice Waters, who runs Chez Panisse restaurant. The garden and adjacent kitchen at Martin Luther King Middle School are an integral part of the school’s academic curriculum. And, the schoolyard is the model for Waters’ ambitious plan to bring organic food and farming to all schoolchildren in Berkeley.Charles and Camilla, on their first trip to the United States as a married couple, were met at the Edible Schoolyard by an array of notables, including California’s first lady, Maria Shriver; Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates; Berkeley school Superintendent Michele Lawrence; Berkeley school board President Nancy Riddle; and San Francisco and California Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz.Across the street, a crowd of about 500 spectators mostly cheered the arrival of the royal motorcade.The couple started their hourlong visit with a stop at the garden’s outdoor wood-burning oven, where students offered up a freshly baked pizza of cheese, potato, onion and rosemary. All of the produce toppings had been planted and harvested by students.While November may not be the ideal time to visit a garden, the prince, who has been farming organically at his Highgrove estate since 1985, appeared moved by what he saw. The garden was still green with herbs, vegetables and flowers. A small bouquet was cut and handed to a smiling Camilla.The royals also sampled soup made on the premises. The soup was made from squash, chard, carrots and garlic. The garlic, taken from braids hanging on a wall, had been picked over the summer, braided and dried for a winter’s worth of soups and stews. The decorative braids were labeled by variety: Nootka Rose, Spanish Raja, and Breath Buster, to name a few.“There is a really good scent in here,” the duchess said as she entered the kitchen.Charles and Camilla chatted easily with the 40 or so students and asked questions that reflected a familiarity with organic farming. Charles took an interest in the school’s compost pile, and listened attentively as students pointed out the various breeds of chickens that produce a dozen or so eggs a day.Waters, who led the royals on the tour, said students at the school are ethnically diverse and represent a dizzying array of languages.When one student complimented Charles on his accent, the prince shot back, “I like yours too.”Waters, who met Charles at a sustainable food conference in Italy in 2004, said the prince brings unparalleled legitimacy to the movement.“They totally get it,” Waters said of the couple.After leaving the school, the prince and duchess boarded a Coast Guard ship and headed to San Francisco’s Ferry Building, where hundreds of people cheered their arrival. They were greeted by Mayor Gavin Newsom and the rousing lyrics of “California, Here We Come.”After leaving the school, the prince and duchess boarded a Coast Guard ship and headed to San Francisco’s Ferry Building, where hundreds of people cheered their arrival. They were greeted by Mayor Gavin Newsom and the rousing lyrics of “California, Here We Come.”Charles and Camilla were dressed in outfits that were a similar shade of blue. A press secretary described the hue as “Air Force blue.” Charles wore a tie given to him on his last visit to the Bay Area nearly 30 years ago. It was a blue and gold UC Berkeley tie. His suit was by his Saville Row tailor, Turnbull & Asser, and his shoes by John Lobb. Camilla’s wool crepe dressing coat was by British designer Roy Allen.Charles spoke to a group of some 300 business and civic leaders who share an interest in safeguarding the environment.The occasion marked the West Coast launch of Charles’ Business & Environment Programme, established in Britain in 1994. It was the only major speech Charles gave while on the final leg of his U.S. visit, which began on Tuesday in New York and traveled to Washington, D.C., and New Orleans.Charles began the talk by saying he and his wife were happy to be in San Francisco. He referred to Camilla as, “My darling wife.”Charles spoke fluidly and at times ventured away from the prepared text of the speech.“I’m so glad you still have the wonderfully evocative sounds of the trams,” Charles said, referring to the streetcars. He lamented the fact that England did away with its trams some time ago.He said he set up his Business and Environment Programme specifically to challenge business leaders around the globe to understand and engage in environmental and social issues.After citing statistics and anecdotes highlighting global warming and climate change, Charles said, “We simply can’t go on as we are. Somehow we have to find the courage to reassert the once commonplace belief that human beings have a duty to act as the stewards of creation.”Charles received enthusiastic applause at many points throughout his 15-minute speech.He said that it is time to stop debating the reality of global warming and globalization and start thinking about what to do to improve conditions.“We have to accept that globalization comes at an alarming price for the future,” he said. “That price may be paid in terms of displaced rural communities … and the destruction of social and cultural systems built up over many centuries.”In closing he said, “The environmental crisis we face is another situation in which I believe the United States could use its power and influence to help create … a sense of purpose around environmental stewardship.”Long after the prince and duchess had left the Ferry Building, local vendors were taking stock of the royal visit.Steven McCarthy, manager of Prather Ranch Meat Company, showed off photos of Charles and Camilla surveying the goods.“We talked about British pigs,” McCarthy said, readjusting his cowboy hat as he leaned against the counter. “Prince Charles told me that it’s very good to see people do organic farming, especially with meat.“It was clear he knew what he was talking about. It was like one farmer talking to another.”The royal couple planned on having a few hours to themselves before heading to a black-tie dinner at the new M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, where they dined on a fancy organic meal whipped up by Waters and her Chez Panisse crew in the company of about 25 local corporate big shots — among them discount brokerage king Charles Schwab and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang.The royal couple swept into the museum in the pouring rain, holding brollies over their heads. The British press, penned under a white tent separated from their American colleagues, shouted, “Sir, sir, sir!” and “Ma’am, ma’am, please!”Once safely inside the museum courtyard, the royals turned around and obliged the press with smiles.They were quickly followed in short order by Newsom and his estranged wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom.“I think the prince will be very impressed” with the new museum, the mayor said.Some of the British scribes were apparently impressed by Guilfoyle Newsom, resplendent in a hot black sleeveless gown. “Really good,” said one of them.