Saturday, October 2, 2010

On my mind

Tierra Vegetables is a family operated, organic, sustainably-farmed farm.  I first met them when they sold pumpkins and the most remarkable winter squash I'd seen since moving back to California from Oregon.  They sold their produce at the Healdsburg Farmers Market, and that meeting was about 20 years ago.

It rained today!  The frost isn't on the pumpkins yet, thank goodness.  But the wetness brought the smells of Fall close.  The farm stand was open, though not too many people were there yet, just me and one other customer.

Autumn really is one of my favorite times of the year (along with Winter, Spring and Summer).  How lucky we are to live and breathe this sweet suggestion of a rainstorm today.

Fall brings us many variations of the cabbage family.  This is a cauliflower brushed with purple.  I purchased a beautiful cabbage, a pile of strawberries, marrow fat beans, new-crop dry beans, broccoli, and  because I said, "Hay!" I earned a free tomato!  See what fun it is to shop local?

These melt in your mouth.  And before they get there, they just amaze with their mmm-mm scent, and ruby red smartness.

Oh, and these are mine, too.  Just how they hang out on the scales is classy.  Makes it easy to be a photographer.  Did you know that Eggplants, tomatoes and potatoes are all related?  They are in the "Nightshade" family, which you may remember, can be quite deadly.

Now.  What is on my mind, is that this past week a new Whole Foods has opened in N. Santa Rosa.  There is another one on the southeast side, and there is one just west of Santa Rosa in Sebastopol (about 10 miles away, give or take a mile).  The new Whole Foods is stupefyingly enormous.  It is now the centerpiece of an established, and suffering, mall.  It is the big-box of "natural" foods.  Evie had visited there yesterday, and was floored.  Overwhelmed.  Crazed.

She said it was FULL of shoppers.  She said they have signs all over touting "Green!" shopping, green living.

What is the carbon footprint of an eggplant grown in S.Carolina, shipped to Texas and "distributed" to Montana, Michigan, Washington and California?

To add to this line;  it is now "trendy" for various corporate wineries to host their own "Farmers Markets" and offer wine and chocolate,etc., to further entice clientele.  Frances Ford Coppola and Kendall Jackson are two of the worst.  It isn't enough that the whole area has become a monoculture of grape vines, that a county which had one of the most diverse agricultural cultures now has very small pockets of food-growing soil in production.  The "must have all of the customers" mentality has gone crazy.

Now.  Let me speak to the customer:  Be loyal.  Your farmer needs you.  Whole Foods is not that good for you.  "Convenience" is a myth. Do not purchase produce that is grown out-of-state.  Really.

Tierra Vegetables garden.  Year 'round crops are available, which is the most healthy way to eat.  It is the most healthy for your body, for the land, and for our dear friends and neighbors, the farmers.

So:  find the farmers nearest you and visit them.  Purchase their produce.  Talk with them, encourage them, send your friends.

Oh, one last thing:  Whole Foods labels their produce, and they say this or that peach is "local."  Ask them where the peach is from and you may be surprised to find that their idea of "local" is very different than yours, or the dictionary's definition.  Most if not all local peaches are gone, now.

It's late.  I have heard the woooo-wooooooo-wooooo! of Coyote.  I am going to the Giants ballgame tomorrow, and that is another story that needs to be told, but first I must go to bed.

Love you!


Lee James said...

Hi Laura,

This is so right on!! Thanks.

Merry ME said...

I am sorely disappointed with what passes for a farmer's market where I live. I'm pretty sure most of the produce is shipped in from somewhere other than local farms. And there is narry a flower to behold.

Do you read the Bedlam Farm Journal? Katz has been photographing the plight of local (NY) dairy farmers. It's really quite sad that our food sources have become such mega farms but lack the "homegrown" aspect all together. After my rather dismal attempt at gardening this summer, my hat is off to the farmer who can actually grow groceries right out of the ground.

Those strawberries look yummy!

Ms. Moon said...

I just wish I could grow ALL my damn vegetables. But of course I can't. You're very lucky to have such a wonderful place to buy year-round produce and you are right to promote it.

N2 said...

Thanks for this shout out for Tierra, LC. They are indeed a great Sonoma County resource. I miss their squash and pumpkin wagon at the Burg farmer's market and being able to buy their produce in town.

Here in France, the Revel market has most of the truly local people grouped under the 14th century market hall and I make the bulk of my purchases from them.

There is something very satisfying about putting the money in the weathered hands of the people that grow the food you are going to be eating, non?


Bethany said...

Great photos and great advice.
Love you back!

LindyLouMac said...

Wow, do you have strawberries in season at the same time as pumpkins!

Bimbimbie said...

Gorgeous mouth watering colours and I bet they all taste just as good as they look - so much better than plastic wrapped under supermarket lighting*!*

camilyn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Annie said...

Amen to supporting local farmers, Laura. I love shopping my farmers' market and will miss them when winter arrives. All the markets and stands close around here come winter. Probably in your area too???

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