Local, seasonal eating: Your answer to health in the new year?
By Lindsey Hickman
Buzzwords such as all natural, local, farm fresh, superfood, and probiotic have flooded supermarkets and product labels, but are they anything more than marketing eye catchers? All too often the answer is no. We all want to lead healthier lives, and the new year always seems like the perfect time for a reset. But how do you do that without falling for the promises that keep you spending money and yet still needing a new reset the next new year?
Truly local, seasonal eating has been the answer for many people all over the world, most often by subscribing to a CSA near their home. CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and benefits both the farmer and the community that surrounds them. Although there are many different kinds of CSAs, the most common type is a seasonal produce subscription. A CSA is a partnership between the farmer and consumer, where the consumer can depend on fresh picked produce for them every week, and the farmer knows they have committed buyers who will enjoy what they grow. It reduces waste, invests directly into your local community, as also improves diversity in your diet, leading to overall improved health.
Frequently asked questions:
How does it work? You pick the amount of produce you need for your family, pay monthly, and pick up your CSA box each week at your designated location.
Can I pick what I get from week to week? No, unlike at the grocery store where produce is imported from other countries and grown in hothouses, everything is grown on one farm (or sometimes partnering nearby farms) so it varies by the season and sometimes week to week. Although this means tomatoes and strawberries don’t grow in the winter, it also means you’ll be eating what grows to support your immune system where you live year-round.
What if I don’t know what to do with sometime in my box? Your CSA box always comes with a newsletter that explains what is in the box, the best way to store it, and recipes. There are also many social media groups sharing ideas.
In the Solano County area, Eatwell Farm is a year round certified organic CSA with drop off locations in Vacaville, Dixon, Fairfield, Davis, as well as, several in the Bay Area as well. As advocates for truly local eating, The Barn and Pantry in Dixon works closely with Eatwell Farm as a pick up location, helping members create meal plans with their box from their selection of local sustainably farmed meats, pastured dairy, snacks and groceries. By partnering with Eatwell Farm and The Barn and Pantry you can easily attain a clean sustainable diet without the gimmicks by equipping yourself with a weekly fresh picked CSA box, local grass-fed meat, raw and grass-fed dairy, and learning to make your own sourdough bread and fermented foods.
Check out these farms we love and carry in our Pantry.
Eatwell Farm: This weekly CSA in Dixon will help you feed your family all organic, locally grown seasonal produce all year long. If you’re new to Eatwell, make sure to use the promo code HICKMAN15 because our members get 15% off their first order! Check out my blog posts for ways to use your whole box to feed a family of 4 for dinner all week long with only the addition of high quality meat.
Organic Pastures: Is a family owned and operated 100% grass fed grade A raw milk dairy. Enjoy the most pure, clean raw milk available on the market- it is as close as you can get to owning your own cow. The Duivenvoordens consider their livestock part of the family, every cow has a name!
Terra Firma Farm is located in beautiful Winters, California, one of the oldest fruit and vegetable growing regions in Northern California. Terra Firma has over 15 years experience producing high quality organic fruit and vegetables for its Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA). At most times of year, we are harvesting and packing a wide variety of seasonably available items from our fields
Lockewood Acres: Alongside their seasonal CSA in Vacaville, Lockewood Acres offers hands on family fun with gatherings for pomegranate, pumpkin and olive harvesting! You can enjoy their abundance of produce available spring, summer and fall.
The Cloverleaf Farm is a five acre orchard and farm outside of Davis, California, bursting with peaches, nectarines, apricots and figs. Emma Torbert and Katie Fyhrie lease the orchard from The Collins Farm and co-manage the Collins Community Farmstand. The community farmstand, directly off of I-80 West at the Kidwell Exit.
Petaluma Creamery/Spring Hill Cheese Company is certified organic dairy and their cows are on pasture year-around. Their hardy Jersey cows are smaller and their lower milk volumes are higher in protein and butterfat than their Holstein cousins. Their grazing is managed, rotated for longer growing seasons. During the winter months, they are supplemented with farm-grown silage: a mixture of red & white oats, bell beans, rye grass and fava beans. On their organic farm they employ sustainable practices and the kind respectful treatment of animals. Their cows are never fed any GMO feeds, antibiotics, or bovine growth hormones.
“If you don’t have farmers, you don’t have food. It’s not about making money with the creamery. It’s about keeping agriculture alive.” Owner — Larry Peter
Mast Coffee Mid 2012, co-founders Michael Sanchez & Stephen Mentze began Mast Coffee Co. The dream was to offer an extraordinary customer experience alongside phenomenal coffees, while developing true relationships with purveyors and customers alike. Today, through hard work and innumerable blessing, Mast has grown into an award winning coffee provider that reaches a global customer base. Four ideas have stayed true and constant through their growth and allowed them to succeed in this growing and competitive industry: Curiosity, Innovation, Collaboration, and Experience.
Nut N’ Other
Struas Family Creamery
AzureStandard.com: This is a phenomenal online grocery store with monthly drop off deliveries to central locations all around the area. They carry fantastic deals on organic and non-GMO grains, pantry goods, and cheese (Grazers Raw and Organic Valley are my go to blocks).
Tennessee Farm Favorites
Emery Jade Produce : microgreens
Maid in Meadows: raw cheese
Smoking Goose Meatery
Southern Olive Oil
Keystone Creamery Cheese
Simplee Frosted macarons
Once Upon a Willow Tree honey
Infinite Acres Farm herbs and other things
Lopous Gluten Free Waffles