Every other Wednesday, it’s like Christmas at my house. We step outside to start our day, ready or not, and my three-year-old squeals every time, “Mommy! We got a vegetable box!!!!”
Regardless of schedule, the box must be carried inside and opened up immediately. She drags a chair over to the island, and we ooooh and awww over every beet, cabbage, and strawberry. We marvel at the colors, and weigh each piece of fruit in our hands.
We’ve been getting a CSA (community supported agriculture) box through Farm Fresh To You for almost two years now. This past Saturday, we were finally able to put a face with the name, that is, a field with the beautiful fruits and vegetables that grace our doorstep and table. We traveled about an hour northwest of Sacramento to Capay Organic, the farm and heart of Farm Fresh To You (FFTY), for their 35th Annual Farm Tour.
We began with a tractor tour of the farm. On the ride back we stopped to pick a few tomatoes. Afterwards, we ate our picnic lunch under a tree. If we had brought a knife, these tomatoes probably wouldn’t have made it home.
As we were leaving my husband asked our oldest daughter to pick him one more fig. She stepped in some nice clean organic mud that suctioned off both of her shoes. I fetched them and of course muddied my own shoes in the process. On our way to wash up, we ran into Freeman Barsotti, one of the farm’s owners. He was very friendly, listening to me ramble on about growing up on a farm and being in love with summer fruit. It was a beautiful day, organic mud and all.
On our drive back, my husband asks, “Is this local, driving an hour away to where our food is grown?”
It’s an interesting question. How do you define local? The distance you would drive to go grocery shopping? An hour drive? In today’s global economy, I’m happy if my produce is California grown. But what if you live a state not known for its agriculture? Maybe then grown in the USA would suffice? I’m sure everyone answers a little differently.
There is a plethora of good reasons to eat local. If we didn’t insist on having every fruit and vegetable available 365 days a year, there would be no need to import them from all over the world. Shelf stable wouldn’t be the selling factor. Our food would be in season, fresher, and healthier. Most importantly, it would taste better! People used to eat locally out of necessity. Now it takes conscientious effort.If you are interested, here are a few resources to get you started:
eatlocalchallenge.com They have a great rule of thumb for prioritizing food choices:
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.
If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.
If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.
If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.
localharvest.org locates local organic food – everything from farmer’s markets to farms and CSAs.
pickyourown.org locates farms where you can pick your own produce
eatwild.com locates local grass fed meat, dairy, and eggs
Also, check out your local natural foods co-op if you have one. In addition to carrying tons of local wares, Sacramento’s Natural Foods Co-op is also a great resource for finding local farms and CSAs.
Besides having Christmas delivered to our doorstep year round, one of my favorite things about our CSA box is the community connection. Farm Fresh goes out of their way to not only bring good food to the table, but also to encourage its members to share with each other. Whether its recipes, tips, or the simple pleasure of eating, good food always tastes better in good company. Eating local is not the easiest road, but it’s worth it. Thank you Farm Fresh for making it that much simpler.