I really took it to heart when learning about the whole "farm to table" philosophy, which promotes buying produce that's been grown within 100 miles of home. Let me tell you something...it's tough. But I try. And failing that, I tell myself, "It must at least have been grown in California." When that doesn't work...at the very least, it should be grown in the U.S. How hard could that be?
Well, sometimes really, really hard. Why? Because labeling is so misleading and even with produce you to read the fine print. Haas California avocados are a great example. You see them everywhere. But many times, those buttery fruits are grown in Chile.
Credit Barbara L. Steinberg
When the California avocado crops were damaged by the fires, the Chilean avocados were in the markets for many more months. Much as I love my guacamole and avocado salads, I resisted the urge and did not purchase a single avocado until I was certain it came from California soil.
Similarly, I found a bag of Gilroy garlic at a local store – proudly labeled as California grown. Happy stinking roses! At home, preparing dinner, there in very tiny, tiny print on the bottom of the bag it said, “Product of Argentina.” Those beautiful bulbs went back in the bag and back to the store. As strange as it sounds, now I even ask at the farmers markets, “Was this grown in California?”
Then I took the whole “act locally” to the next level. Our local merchants need us desperately! Yes, I do shop at Costco sometimes. And occasionally succumb to the wilds of Home Depot. However, I am trying (what we must do) to support small, local businesses; especially during these most difficult economic times.
With the rising cost of gas, it really isn’t cheaper to make that drive to the big “Box Store” to save a few bucks. Plus, I am walking more! That's a bonus!
Support our California farms! During the rich harvest season of autumn there are so many road trips, beautiful fall foliage, and the bounty of California. There are great farm, wine, and harvest trails throughout the state. Check out the harvest at one of these California Farm Trails.
49er Fruit Trails & Christmas Tree Lane
Apple Hill Growers Association
Clarksburg Wine Growers & Vintners
California Ag-Tourism Database
Capay Valley Grown
Central Coast AgriTourism Council
El Dorado County Farm Trails
El Dorado County Christmas Tree Growers
El Dorado Winery Association
Farms of Amador County
Fresno County Fruit Trail
Happy Valley Farm Trail
Harvest Time in Brentwood
Lake County Farm Trails
Lake County Farmers Finest
Lodi Wine Trails
Napa Yolano Harvest Trails
Oak Glen Farm Trails
Pick Your Own
Sierra Oro Farm Trail
Sonoma County Farm Trails
Silverado Trail Wineries Association
Suisun Valley Grape Growers Association
Tuolumne County Tree Farms
Ventura County Wine Trail