I tend to get a little obsessed with my hobbies. It’s how I ended up here!”—Jennifer Cho
This article was originally published in December 2018 and updated in January, 2022.
When she is not playing the violin, Concertmaster Jennifer Cho is busy cultivating the food forest on her 1/10th acre home in Petaluma with bassist husband Mark Wallace, their son, two cats, and 14 chickens.
“It is a designed system that minimizes inputs (labor, money) and maximizes yield (fruit, vegetables, flowers, eggs). So far we have over a dozen fruit trees, half a dozen berry varieties, an infinite amount of kale, and of course chickens. My son named the chickens. That’s why they have names like Buffy, Buggy and Boo Boo.”
“It is so therapeutic as a musician to work on something tangible. We work all the time, but you can’t really hold a concerto in your hands and give it to someone to look at. I love being able to share all the food and flowers we grow.”
“There are also so many lessons to learn in the garden. It teaches us about the seasonality of things, that everything has its time in the spotlight and also its rest. Yet it also highlights how hard work and patience can be rewarded exponentially. We always overestimate what we can achieve in the short term and underestimate what can be done in the long term.”
Jennifer’s Year in Pictures
Want to learn more? Read Soloist Jennifer Cho on Music, Farming and Vocal Geese and follow @jennygrowsfood on Instagram for more gorgeous pictures of Jenny’s garden.
Jennifer Cho performs Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with the California Symphony in TAKE FLIGHT at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7:30pm and Sunday, Jan. 30 at 4pm. Music Director Donato Cabrera leads a free, 30-minute pre-concert talk for ticket holders, starting an hour before each show. You can also visit with Lindsay Wildlife Experience animal ambassador Houston the Barred Owl in the lobby before concerts.
Main floor tickets start at $44 and $20 for students 25 and under with valid Student ID.