This installment is the Introduction of "Where Our Food Comes From"...this will mainly introduce the experiment I've been conducting trying to eat from our "foodshed" and organic, grass fed/finished, biodynamic, sustainable goods. I do have detailed information about how commercial beef, chicken, pork, etc are raised and slaughtered AND how commercial fruits and veggies are grown and processed. But I'd rather not gross everybody out. This is more about finding resources to provide you and your family with the highest quality food you can find for a good price and help your local economy!
What is a foodshed you ask? (and I don't mean the globalized one - I mean the local one!)
A foodshed is a local bio-region that grows food for a specific population.
Find out more here:
My favorite food spot:
Whenever possible I love to bring food from my garden to the table. It is AWESOME to see the kid's eyes widen when we go pick fresh produce and bring it inside to eat...sometimes, especially in the case of asparagus, beans and peas - we eat it right there. A pack of organic seeds is 1.29 - 10.00 and basically allows you to grow 10x that or more worth of produce? No yard? Containers, window boxes, indoor setups, etc are possible!
I'll post pictures of it in March - right now it is raining and it basically looks very brown and wet.
We typically grow:
Peaches, Apricots, Plums, Apples, Grapes, Cane Berries, Potato, Tomato, Eggplant, Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Artichoke, Olives, Corn, Lettuces, Spinach, Broccoli, Peas, Asparagus, Strawberries, Herbs, Blueberries, Beans, Pumpkins, Watermelons, Cucumber, Squash, Okra, and we've some additions for this year: Asian pears, Guava, Cherries, Almonds, Pomegranate, and Nectarines.
We also have 5 bantam Cochin hens for fresh eggs. Owning chickens isn't easy - they need food, shelter, protection, care, a place to safely peck around and they poop everywhere if allowed all over your yard. Which we give them pretty much free reign. They are the best insect control I've ever seen. They will also mow your grass and eat all of your seedlings - so they must be contained somewhat during the beginning of each growing season.
How do I get food if not from the garden?
So my "local" (within 5 miles) shopping choices here in my little military beach town are:
· The big guys: Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Stater Brothers (our WalMart now has food - but I don't shop there)
· The "natural" stores: Henry's, Boney's, Cream of the Crop
· The Mexican Marts: Rancho Marcado
· Farmers Markets: Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday
· Food Delivery (they also delivery all over): Diamond Organics
· CSAs available: (from LocalHarvest.org)
Seabreeze Organic Farm (San Diego, CA)
Seabreeze Organic Farm produces vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, flowers and fruit available to consumers through our CSA program or on-line ordering. Our farm is located in coastal San Diego, California between La Jolla and Del Mar in the Carmel Valley area. We offer a wide variety of products ranging from arugula to zinnias. Please visit our Web site, www.seabreezed.com for additional information.
California Farms (Valley Center,CA)
Gathered in a natural wicker basket is a collection of 10 to 12 different fruits and veggitables and flowers which are organic and transitional-organic.
Garden of Eden Organics (San Diego,CA)
Fresh, seasonal vegetables, greens and fruit. Drop sites throughout southern California.
Tierra Miguel Foundation CSA (Pauma Valley,CA)
We serve many sites in San Diego, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles Counties and are growing everyday. Staff will be in touch with you about the delivery day for pickup. If we do not currently have a delivery site near you please contact the office and one may be developing.
Morning Song Farm (Rainbow,CA)
Temecula, Fallbrook, Cardiff, Ocean Beach/Point Loma area of San Diego, Carlsbad Inland, Rancho Santa Fe, Rainbow, Escondido, San Clemente, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport, and Santa Ana families since 2005. If you're lucky enough to live near our farm, we have a pick up site on-farm, in Rainbow (between Fallbrook and Temecula) We offer CCOF Certified Organic Macadamia nuts, subtropical fruit (ripe limes and avocados almost year round; grapefruit, oranges, fioja guavas, mexican guavas, kumquats, blackberries, mandarins and freshly harvested apples.
J.R. Organics (Escondido,CA)
J.R. Organics is a real farm. The land was pioneered by the Rodriguez family in the early 1950's. It is an old fashion truck farm where at any given time of the year there are over 45 different vegetables being grown along with strawberries, melons and a wide variety of flowers. Our CSA box is plentiful and could provide fresh food for a family of two to four people weekly.
So where do I go?
· Ralphs - well I find myself here because, thanks to the US Government and Anthem Blue Cross - I have to get my prescriptions here. I shop organic produce, organic milk and Bob's Red Mill gluten free mixes. Sometimes they'll have some things like juice for the kids - but it is the same price as they "natural" stores
· Henry's and Boney's - I do much of my staple shopping here - but truth be told - once a month I drive 15 miles to Jimbo's! I like their produce selection and they have grass finished beef. Every 3 months I'm lucky enough to be near a Whole Foods which is 18 miles away - and I do a nice shop.
· Farmer's Market - it is less than a mile for me to walk to the Thursday morning market - if I'm missing something out of my garden I'll go down here to fill in the gaps. I like to pick up local honey as well. If I miss Thursday - I'll go to the next town over on Saturday.
· My CSA is SeaBreeze...we love them. The variety is great and it is just perfect for about a week and a half. Plus, it feels good to support local small scale agriculture.
· Diamond Organics - I do order from - but it is hit or miss...when I get on a huge raw kick in the summer - I can't get enough fruits and veggies and order them by the box. They also offer grass - finished beef and other "slow food" meats.
· Retail mail-order - currently ordering from Euphoria loves RAWvolution to taste their recipes - but this will stop in two weeks - they are in Santa Monica - that's within the 100 mile radius of my home - within the slow food limits.
My children love to shop with me. They come home sticky and red faced from sampling all of the fresh fare, especially from the Farmer's Market.
We are VERY LUCKY to live in California - but you too can find many local places to buy from your Food Shed on:
In my next installment - I'll go into further depth about each of the places I shop, my grocery list, how much the typical cost is of common items, and in the third installment I'll get into what I do with all of this stuff....
Further items to come: the garden, the plants, and whole food recipes.