Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet, sustainable serindipity

Ever since I read Joan Gussow Dye's This Organic Life a number of years ago I have been inspired to find a way to eat food that has not been carted halfway around the world by fossil fuel sucking airplanes.  While we do enjoy a mango or a pineapple from time to time, I think it's foolish for our long term survival on this planet to fully base our diet on things that are grown in far away places.  Michael Pollan, another of my heroes, had this to say about Joan, regarded as the mother of the sustainable food movement:  “Once in a while, I think I’ve had an original thought, then I look and read around and realize Joan said it first.”

The documentary Food Inc. encouraged me to move away from the usual handful of meat suppliers and seek grass-fed or free-range organic beef and chicken.  This led me to Whole Foods  Wallet (expensive), and Trader Joe's (too much packaging, no local food) in search of alternatives for produce.  I was incensed the day I started looking at the labels on Trader Joe's produce, and virtually everything they had came from Mexico.  How are we supposed to lead the world if we can't manage to produce anything in this country, not even our own food? I'll probably keep going back there for those addictive chocolate peanut butter cups, but my basket will not contain any produce.  I love going to Farmers' Markets, but have not managed to find one that I can make it to regularly.  I searched for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) groups that had pickups in my area to no avail.

And now, by sweet chance, I have found a local CSA and signed up for their weekly produce box.  I'm watering plants for a neighbor the next couple of weeks, and he offered that I could pick up his box while he was gone.  I'm so glad I did!   Abounding Harvest Mountain Farm, in partnership with Old House Farm, have started Neighbor Farms CSADaniel and Nancy are friends and neighbors with some of our own friends who live near them, and have turned an unusual and incredible piece of property into a food producing machine.  I can even walk to the weekly pick up location, and their selection of organic fruits and vegetables complements the few that we are able to grow in our increasingly shady yard.

This week the box contained some beautiful beets, zucchini, kale, heirloom tomatoes, basil, salad greens, cucumbers and more.  I'll get a picture of next week's box.  Their mountain property has a great Southwestern exposure that's hospitable to all kinds of fruit trees as well, and I can't wait until the pomegranates come in the fall.


I can't tell you how amazing this discovery makes me feel, the fact that friends are growing our food, that little fossil fuels were required to grow it and bring it to my house, and that we're using our food money to help a local, responsible business operate.  And with the eggs we're now starting to get from our hens, we're on our way to independence.

If you live in the Felton, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, or the surrounding mountains like I do, check them out and sign up.

3 comments:

Barbara Lewis said...

I used to participate in a CSA program in our area. The grower also supplied some of the best restaurants in D.C. Boy were we lucky with a lot of the things he provided. I'm not in one place long enough to continue to participate now, but at the time it was a great treat.

SummersStudio said...

Good for you! We also try very hard and are mostly sucessful in eating locally for the same reasons as you. We are very fortunate that we live in an area where there is a lot of local produce with a state sponsored farmers market nearby. It feels good and right to go and pick out my vegies and fruit on Saturday morning. The very best thing about this is that we are eating really good field ripened produce. Much tastier than anything from the supermarket.

kate mckinnon said...

Good for you! This is such a great business and food model. I wish I were ever in one place long enough to do it myself.

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