Looking for local food in Mendocino County? Here you can find out which farms grow what foods, and how to buy them.

You can also learn about local food efforts like community gardens, food banks, and farmers markets; see upcoming events on our calendar; and check out helpful gardening guides for growing your own food.

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Zeni Chestnut Festival

Mendocino Permaculture's 33rd Annual Chestnut Gathering and George Zeni Memorial Potluck will be held at the Zeni Ranch from 10 am to 4 pm, rain or shine. Our event has now grown into the Zeni Chestnut Festival.

The Zeni's 100 year-old dry-farmed seedling trees are a testament to the sustainability of tree crops.

Pick your own fresh chestnuts off the ground for $3.50/lb. De-burring the chestnuts on the ground is easier with good boots and gloves. Zeni sells the de-burred clean chestnuts for $4.50/lb.

Schedule of Events

10:30 am to 4 pm: Chestnut gathering and roasting over the open fire
11 am: Tour of the ranch by the Zenis
12:30 pm: Potluck and music, show and tell of local self-sufficiency
1 pm: Discussion on what this year has taught us; best fruit and nuts
2 to 4 pm: Chestnuts, music, taste the harvest

Please bring: Potluck dish (oven available), made from local ingredients if possible, and your cup, plate, napkins and utensils.

Bring your wine, fruit, nut, or vegetable harvests to show us what works for you. Demonstration tables will be available.

Bring cuttings of fruit plants to share: this is the season to start cuttings of some easy-to-root hardwood plants. Starting early means no inputs except the rain. Bring labeled, de-leafed cuttings (leave the leaf stem on) of these plants: olive, grape, fig, pomegranate, quince, mulberry, kiwi, goji, currant, gooseberry, cherry plum, roses.

Directions: The Zeni Ranch is at mile marker 15.6 on Fish Rock Road (County Highway 122). From Coast Highway 1, junction of Fish Rock (5 miles north of Gualala), go 15.5 miles east. From Highway 128 and Fish Rock Road the junction is at marker 36.56, about 7.7 miles east of the Highway 256/128 junction, or 4.7 miles west of Yorkville, then go 13 miles on Fish Rock Road to marker 15.6. Using odometer and mile markers, it's an easy and enjoyable slow drive through a most beautiful and very remote part of the county.

For information call Mark Albert 462-7843, Barbara & Rob Goodell 895-3897, or Jane Zeni 895-2309.

For more information about the Zeni Ranch, see their website:

Our 2015 Winter Abundance Workshop - Scion and Seed Exchange will be held Saturday, Jan 31, 2015 at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville.



This is the twenty-third in our series "Connecting With Local Food."

In the Right Place

By Tom Melcher

Late in the afternoon on May 7th, 1971, Bernie found himself on the corner of Route 128 and Cloverdale’s main street, which at the time was Highway 101—you know, where the road comes over the hill and heads toward the sawmill. He had a backpack, $200 and intentions of reaching the coastal town of Mendocino by nightfall. He couldn’t see beyond that. Behind him was a troubled love relationship in Berkeley that needed thinking space, four years at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a comfortable childhood outside of Chicago.

Had things gone differently—even by a minute—had someone else picked him up, or had that fellow named Sandy had trouble finding the part to fix the track on the Caterpillar tractor, the world now would be poorer by the count of one apple orchard in Yorkville. But Sandy did stop and, as he drove Bernie north, he started talking about the collective farm he and eight friends had just purchased in the steep hills they were approaching. As Bernie (Bob Bernstein) tells it, Sandy’s narrative was compelling enough for him to accept the invitation to stay over. Forty-three years later, Bernie is still here, now the soul and inspiration of Pomo Tierra Orchard, the source of fresh apples in season and Pomo Tierra’s famous Gravenstein apple juice.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 October 2014 13:07.

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Rural Living Skills Presentations

Please join Anderson Valley Foodshed at the Mendocino County Fair and Apple Show September 12-14 in Boonville.  We will have ongoing Rural Living Skills Presentations in our booth adjacent to Apple Tasting in the Ag Building.

12-1 Simply Sauerkraut (and Pickles)
1-3 Composting With Worms
2-3 Easy Yogurt and Kefir
3-4 Food Preservation Techniques
4-5 Herb and Vegetable Gardening Tips
5-6 Using Undervalued Food Crops
6-7 Grape Tasting

10-11 Backyard Honeybees
11-12 Groundwater Table Recharge
12-1 Restoring Your Watershed 
1-2 Seed Saving
2-3 Homemade Condiments
3-4 Foraging and Food Forestry
4-5 Living With Lyme
5-6 Composting With Worms
6-7 Grape Tasting

10-11 Basket Making
11-12 Basket Making continued
12-1 Closed for Parade
1-2 Seed Saving and Processing
2-3 Meet your Meat
3-4 Seasonal Farm-to-Table Menus


Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 06:06.


AV High School Agriculture

This is the twenty-first in our series "Connecting With Local Food." 

AVHS Student Leadership and Agriculture

By Valerie Kim

On a sunny spring day I make my way into Beth Swehla’s dome-shaped classroom at Anderson Valley High School. Class is just about wrapping up, kids are headed for lunch, and Beth greets me warmly while simultaneously introducing me to a three-legged goat kid. He jumps around the classroom deftly, seemingly unaware of his handicap, and Beth herself jumps right into it. She explains that one of his legs is fused, and how she has been bottle-feeding him for the last week. He seems perfectly happy and healthy, and she seems totally unfazed about this extra duty on top of her already heaping plate.  

Beth has been working in the Agriculture Department at AVHS since the summer of 1989. She explains, “The agriculture program was already started at that point, started in the ‘50s or ‘60s, was closed down and then brought back to life sometime in 1983. I went to high school in Ft. Bragg and studied agriculture there and at Fresno State. I worked at Hendy Woods in the early 80’s and I saw the farm manager position open. At the beginning I was just managing the farm forty hours a week and then gradually I started teaching classes. There were a couple of agriculture teachers here. The farm manager’s job was to prep things for lab and to fix things. Now I am the agriculture teacher, the farm manager, and the FFA advisor. They synchronize well, but it’s more than one person can do.”

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Anderson Valley Homesteading

This is the twentieth in our series "Connecting With Local Food."

Forty Years of Homesteading

By Bill Seekins ​

In 1973 I bought forty acres of steep, forested land at the end of a dead end road on the Nash Ranch. It was five miles from the paved road and was totally off-grid. My nearest neighbor was over two miles away. There was a one-room summer cabin with a propane cook stove and a fireplace made out of an oil drum. The cabin was right beside a seasonal stream in a steep canyon and it didn't get any sun in the winter. I had kerosene lamps and candles for light. I installed a hand pump on the kitchen sink for water. ​

I moved in during the very wet winter of 1973-74 and I had no firewood, but I did have a bow saw. It snowed the first night I spent in the cabin. The road was washed out a quarter of a mile from my cabin and it took two weeks of shoveling to fill the gulley, which was some thirty feet long and six feet deep. I had a 1962 VW bug and a 1931 Ford Model A coupe which I had converted into a pick-up truck. I couldn't afford a new battery for the Model A, so I had to start it with the hand crank. ​

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Chew On This

Deciding what to eat, indeed deciding what qualifies as food, is not easy ... When Froot Loops can earn a Smart Choices check mark, a new industrywide label that indicates a product’s supposed healthfulness, we know we can’t rely on the marketers, with their dubious health claims, or for that matter on the academic nutritionists who collaborate on such labeling schemes.

Rules to Eat By by Michael Pollan
The New York Times Magazine
October 11, 2009

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