Volunteer of the Month: Edna Flores-Lagunte

August 2, 2013

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here. Join us at our next orientation on Wednesday, September 11.

A Bay Area resident since 1999, Edna Flores-Lagunte has been cooking tasty meals and baking seasonal fruit pies with Ferry Plaza Farmers Market ingredients since the market was on Green Street. A volunteer since fall 2012, she now supports CUESA’s special events and office work, giving back to the place that has offered her community and access to Northern California’s agricultural bounty.

“Edna has been indispensable, pitching in at the last minute for the early shift to flyer the market, sell raffle tickets, and do important office work for Summer Celebration 2013.  I love her passion for the market and life, especially her latest project of jams and jellies,” says Administrative, Events, and Volunteer Coordinator Cindy Mendoza.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?
Edna: My family. Both my Ma and Pop came from farming families in the Philippines and brought their skills to the U.S. when they immigrated here in the late 1960s. Pop always tended a garden full of tomatoes, different varieties of eggplant, Chinese long beans, winter and summer squash, and bittermelon. He also had fruit trees full of peaches, apricots, oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. When I was younger, Pop also herded some goats to sell for meat and was an avid fisherman who brought home lots of tilapia from his outings with his best friend and fishing buddy. So I was surrounded by a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. In fact, my grandmother grew Asian vegetables and sold them to other Filipino families in San Bernardino since there wasn’t an Asian market established there in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?
Edna: I am taking a break from my job as a paralegal. When I am not in the CUESA office, I am usually swimming laps in the pool at the Embarcadero YMCA, running, and riding my bike in the East Bay and Marin. I have been participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a multi-day cycling event benefiting the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, for 12 years.

CUESA: What is your favorite part about volunteering with CUESA?
Edna: Being surrounded by great people who are as passionate about farm fresh produce, meats and other products as I am.

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or a favorite produce item at the market right now?
Edna: Talk to vendors! They love sharing their knowledge about fruit and veggies and are willing to share ways you can prepare them. I’ve made some friends with some of the vendors, and they’ve given me tips on which variety of fruit would be great for pie or making jam.