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.
From farmers markets to festivals to work parties and more, keep an eye on our event calendar to find a local food event near you.
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Gowan's Oak Tree
Gowan’s Oak Tree and Orchards
By Alice Bonner
Grace Espinoza was one of the first people I met in Anderson Valley. We sang together in the community chorus, but I didn’t have a chance to talk with her until we sat next to one another at my first Grange Holiday Dinner in 2010.
“How long have you lived here, Grace?”
In her quiet, unassuming way she answered, “Oh, about all my life.”
Not too many Valley residents can say they are a fifth generation local farmer. Grace manages Gowan’s Oak Tree, a popular stop for visitors and residents alike. Open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, the welcoming stand offers produce from the family’s 250 acres of orchards and 25 acres of vegetables. I recently sat down with Grace and her mother, Josephine ‘Jo’ Gowan, to learn more about their farm and its history.
Chestnut Ridge Ranch
Tom Brewer and Pam Armstrong’s Chestnut Ridge Ranch
By Pam Armstrong
In 1976 we started our long search for the perfect place to live in the country. Tom had spent a very wonderful year on his grandfather’s peach farm in the Ozarks when he was 9 years old. From that time on, he knew he would someday find his own place to live and be a farmer in a beautiful place. Being an Air Force brat and having moved many times while growing up, I, too, had dreamed of someday having a permanent home in a peaceful spot in the country, so I was happy to support Tom’s dream.
Goodness Grows Nursery
Goodness Grows with Sarah Larkin
By Terry Ryder
Sarah Larkin is the brand new owner (two months so far) of a small local nursery called “Goodness Grows” at 11201 Anderson Valley Way in Boonville that was previously owned by Greg and Wendy Ludwig and called “Tin Man Landscaping and Gardening”. Walking through this sweet garden oasis with the butterflies, bees and birds all around has a tranquilizing effect. Grasses sway and flowers perfume the air while a bamboo fountain tinkles gently. Whenever I have come to this spot I have tended to forget what I was there for and found myself circling the in a kind of hypnotic daze. I recommend that you visit letting the place reveal it’s many charms to you. While you are there Sarah will no doubt approach you in her helpful way to share the garden if you prefer to have a guide.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 12:14.
Zeni RanchThis is the tenth in our series "Connecting With Local Food."
By Robert Zeni with influence from Jane Zeni
When asked to do this story, I was hesitant as to where to start. So let us start at the beginning. The year was 1894, when Eduino Zeni was granted 120 acres on Fishrock Road, by the U.S. government for homesteading. After clearing the land he built an outhouse and two-room cabin, then planted a vineyard and a small orchard containing figs, apples, and cherries. He then sent a letter home to Austria telling his mother, “I have accumulated a few dollars, bring me a bride.”
Germination of a Dream
By Andy Balestracci
A long lost envelope of tomato seeds received from relatives in Italy haunts me to this day. My memory of it was of two varieties of saved local tomato varieties neatly folded and labeled from the home garden of my grandfather’s cousin in northern Italy. They sat in a file drawer in my father’s office for many years, long after their viability to germinate had waned and before my seed saving addiction had become my opiate of choice. But the ghost of those lost varieties--their sun ripened flavor, fresh from the summer gardens in the town of Barbarasco--and that those farmers valued them enough to grow and save for perhaps generations are lost now. Unfortunately similar stories are being repeated now at an alarming rate. This ten thousand year human experiment of agriculture and its subsequent proliferation of genetic food plant diversity have, in the last hundred years of industrialization, seen a rapid decline. There are a multitude of factors. One of the primary causes is due to narrow global commercial interests feeding the growing urban centers being populated by more of the human family moving off rural lands. The saving of seed varieties is a tenuous thread that can be lost within a decade--the outside viability of most food seeds.
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