Until a little more than a century ago just about the only choice was to eat from what was available within walking/carrying distance of home base.
In 2013 eating locally is regaining traction not only because fresh food provides better nutrition, tastes more flavorful, boosts the local economy, gets you in touch with your community, and saves enormous amounts of fossil fuel, but also because tasty local food has again become more readily available. If you do not produce your own you can easily buy local summer and winter vegetables, meats, chicken, eggs, seafood, dairy products, olive oil, juice, vinegar, bread, grains, seeds for planting, flour, fruits, nuts, and berries right here in Anderson Valley.
Anderson Valley hosts farmers’ markets all year long—the Boonville Farmers’ Market from May through October and the Winter Market from November through April. Produce stands like Blue Meadow and Brock Farms are open while the season lasts, including winter squash, onions, and potatoes. Several farms offer CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) with weekly boxes of fresh food for participants. Many restaurants like Lauren’s, Boonville General Store, Boonville Hotel, and Aquarelle feature local food all year ‘round. Lemons’ Market, Boon’t Berry, and AV Market sell local seasonal produce. There are Foodshed events like the Not So Simple Living Fair in July that feature local food and how to grow, prepare, and preserve the bounty. The Foodshed just this year initiated a booth in the Ag Building at the Fair with 2-hour workshop blocks with demonstrations of cheese, kefir, sauerkraut making, etc. The Chestnut Gathering at the Zeni Ranch is an example of a local food potluck (usually the first Saturday in November) with the added benefit of gathering enough chestnuts for your winter use. The Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop & Seed and Scion Exchange (usually the first Saturday in February) is an opportunity to create your own fruit and nut trees for the cost of a rootstock (about $2 each), learn about seed saving, and exchange seeds that have grown locally. The AV Solar Grange now has monthly 2nd Sunday pancake breakfasts with local ingredients. AV Foodshed’s Mendocino County Food Guide is a great resource and now is online at www.mendocinolocalfood.org where you can find all the AV producers, what they grow, and what is currently available.
The Connecting With Local Food Series, designed to be every other week in the AVA, is introducing the inside story on local food producers and purveyors one by one—so far AV Community Farm, Petit Teton, the Boonville Farmers’ Market, the Boonville General Store, Blue Meadow Farm, Lemons’ Market, and Brock Farms have been featured. There was a delay in the Lauren’s interview and it will appear next week. It looks like it will take AV Foodshed at least a year to complete the series!
And now the intriguing 8th annual challenge from AV Foodshed—how local can you go in the month of October and beyond? With the fall harvest at hand, can you eat primarily (or all) local food grown within a hundred-mile radius in the month of October? AV Foodshed would love to hear your stories on carrying out this challenge. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. There will soon be a calendar of local food events available at the usual spots in town as well as on www.mendocinolocalfood.org. It will include many special community events to be held throughout the month of October. If you have a local food event of your own you would like to add, email Barbara at email@example.com by September 23rd.