Johnny Gary and Heather Plaza, Organic Matters Ranch

I love a farmstand, a place where the farm and the people come together.  Growing up my family always stopped at farmstands, usually they sold corn and we would buy enough to absolutely gorge on it — we would just eat corn for dinner and I thought I was a real rogue getting away with not eating from all the food groups for that one evening meal.

Organic Matters not only has a farmstand, but they accept EBT cards — so people receiving CalFresh benefits have the option of eating great fresh local produce and meat.  They can use their benefits to join the CSA — and receive a box of produce each week — or just use their benefits to shop on a weekly basis.  Being flexible like that isn’t always easier — but Johnny and Heather are dedicated to making it work for their customers.

Listen here

Find out more about Organic Matters Ranch

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Donnelly Pickles, Sheila Donnelly

While interviewing Frank Onstine about his winery and obsession with abalone diving — he told us about Sheila Donnelly — ok, he did more than tell us, he brought a jar of her pickles.  Sour, crunchy, locally grown, loaded with garlic flavor (have I told you that in my former life I was known as The Garlic Queen? — another story for another day…) these pickles hit the spot.  They are quick pickles — so if you have been listening to the show you know the difference between a fermented pickle and a quick pickle (vinegar added) — both types of pickles need a little time for the flavors to meld and mellow.  Listen to the interview!

Email Sheila at bogagh1peat@yahoo.com

Ron Rudebock, HSU Housing and Dining Services

Institutions struggle with providing good, local food for their customers — and schools are no exception.  When I attended HSU I used many of my food points in the campus ice cream parlor — really, no kidding, it was a full on ice cream parlor with hot fudge, whipped cream and cherries!  I still have memories of going to a study-partner’s house for dinner and they had roasted chicken and potatoes — I must have looked like I was starving, the food had never tasted so good — mostly because I’d been starving myself of good food.  I’m not complaining here, it wasn’t entirely the institution’s fault for having that ice cream parlor — I was an adult — and I was making some bad choices about what to put into my body.

With pressure from many sides, institutions like the California State University system have had to look at things they can do to provide better food for the students.  In an interview with Ron Rudebock we talked about some of the challenges and benefits of working with local farmers and food producers.

Listen here for the interview with Ron

 

Cafe Phoenix, Conny Pena and Breon Hole

I know this is going to seem strange, but I rarely go out to eat.  Sure, I shop local, I grow a lot of food, I process local food for long-term storage so I can eat local all year long — but I just don’t go out to restaurants much.

Mostly the problem with eating out is expense – Living simply just doesn’t allow for a lot of expensive habits…and the other part of that is, I’ve found that we can cook great food at home for a much more affordable price.

So, now that I’ve said that — I have a group of former co-workers (from the Public Health Department at the County — we call ourselves Pubbies) and we meet for lunch once a month.  Hallelujah! someone recommended we eat at Cafe Phoenix and I had been wanting to try it out because, while I don’t normally interview restaurant owners, Conny Pena and Breon Hole have created a farm to table menu and are working hard to source local.

I can honestly say I have never seen such lovely works of food art as that which was delivered to our table. Check them out below!  To listen  Cafe Phoenix

To go to their Facebook Page

Cafe Phoenix (7) Cafe Phoenix (5) Cafe Phoenix (4) Cafe Phoenix (3)  Cafe Phoenix (1)

Erin Derden-Little, Community Alliance With Family Farmers

There are so many items that are heavily processed — items that loosely fit the description “food” since they are mostly by processing the real food right out of them — and the companies that make these foods spend more to market these items than what they spend for the ingredients that go into them.  Now let’s look at the lowly beet…delicious to many, unknown entirely to many more…who is speaking up for the beet, and for the beet farmer?  Well the Community Alliance With Family Farmers (CAFF)  is one of the organizations that is working on this very issue.  And — our very own Erin Derden-Little is at the forefront of this effort.  Erin leads the Know Your Farmer and Farm to Cafeteria Programs in the Humboldt Region. One of the things those big-time marketing agencies knows is that you must make it as easy as possible for people to purchase you product — and Erin has been working hard to make this a reality in Humboldt.  To find out more, check out the website for CAFF — and listen to the interview with Erin.

Potowat United Indian Health Services

I don’t really like to go to the doctor, I mean, who does?…but I have to say that United Indian Health Services Potowat is my idea of a dream health center.  Everything was so well thought out, the shape of the health center with a healing garden in the center, walking trails in a nature area so you can get your exercise in beautiful surroundings, the structure itself is based on local Indian design and the walls are made of concrete that were formed using old growth redwood timber — and you can go up and touch the sides and still not be sure that it isn’t made of the actual redwood.  It is perfect — and the things that pushes it over the edge to ultimate perfection for me is that there is a farm onsite.  Yes, I love a farm, I love to see things growing — I love to see farming and food production integrated into caring for health, what a brilliant concept!

To listen to the Head Farmers T Griffin and Ed Mata talk about Potowat, listen here.

Terry Kramer, Humboldt Botanical Garden Foundation

If you haven’t been to the Humboldt Botanical Garden lately, get yourself on up there!  Not only is it a stunning space with wonderful gardens sponsored by various local businesses, with a towering greenhouse that I would love to move into…but it is also a place that has commandeered some of the best volunteer folk in Humboldt County.  Everyone wants to work in a lovely garden with fabulous people like Terry Kramer — whose name you may recognize from her weekly column that she has been writing almost forever.

To listen to Terry talk about how to plant a little produce in a small container —click here!

Thimbleberry Farms, Bill and Willie Welton

You-pick farms have been around forever — I have pleasant memories of picking ripe apricots (that’s something you haven’t eaten lately I’ll bet) right off the tree in Brentwood CA — Brentwood is now covered with houses and the You Pick places are few and far between.  Well if you want to relive one of your favorite activities from your childhood, hopefully with children in tow — look no further than Thimbleberry Farms in Fortuna.  Bill and Willie Welton have welcomed several generations to their 6 acres of berries, apples, pears, cherries, figs and more.  Willie kindly gave me a bag of loganberries and my neighbor is now hooked on the jam…so you know the deal — he has to go pick next year and I’ll make him the jam.  Bill took Jessica Eden and I through the orchard and we munched crisp mouthwatering apples as he told us about the varieties, and Bill loaded me down with enough apples to make 2 years worth of apple butter and enough to share for holiday gifts.  Keep your eye on Craig’s List, that’s how Willie lets everyone know when this year’s bounty is ripe!

listen to the interview

 

Corn Crib, Ginger Sarvinski

The corn crib in Pepperwood is a great place to get organic corn, and other vegetables!  And you don’t have to drive down there, Ginger and family can be found at various Farmers Markets throughout the county.  She talked me into getting a case of tomatoes when I already had seven cases waiting for me at the CR Farmers Market — and I roasted them in a 300 degree oven for several hours, which is where you will find the crossroads of savory and sweet in a carmelized slow roasted early girl tomato.  YUM!

Listen to the interview here!

Siobhan and Geoff, Black Sheep Farm

Black Sheep Farm is on a small plot of land in Bayside, run by two people who do a lot of the work the old fashioned way…by hand.  Siobhan and Geoff are two escapees from the world beyond Humboldt where everyone strives to make more money than their neighbor and no one knows how much is enough — I say all this because I am very familiar with that world which is the reason I live here!  Check out their website — especially their recipe section (oh yes, the photo section is beautiful too)…they use the term “curate” to talk about how they prepare the food, and their simple food becomes beautiful works of art in their hands.

the interview

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