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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AV High School Agriculture
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.”
Anderson Valley Homesteading
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.
Growing Into Local Food
A Growing Relationship With Local Food
by Valerie Adair
My introduction to my culinary career was in the glitter-filled trenches through Southern California’s boon of the 1980’s. Creating catered events from Palos Verdes to Pacific Palisades we had the opportunity to use over 80% of imported ingredients from Europe, Asia and Mexico. It was a popular time for themed events and multiple culinary stations, each with buffets cascading artfully for the look of opulence and excess. This was a hedonistic time in our culinary history with untold waste of expensive imported ingredients. I was in my twenties, and catering clients were tipping us money and including boxes of meats, cheeses, and wine. No consciousness of carbon footprints or cancer, I danced under the moon thinking I’d arrived.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 05:01.
Italian Pig Tales: Cinta Senese in Yorkville
by David Ballantine
It may be a story of the “if you build it they will come,” variety and while it is magical, it is no accident that a group of highly articulate, bright, young, entrepreneurial farmers with diverse backgrounds have found themselves working together in the Anderson Valley foodshed. What was once the old Stanley Johnson ranch at the southern reaches of Yorkville has been transformed into Acorn Ranch, a 2000-plus acre pig farm.
Named for the forage provided by the oak habitat of rolling hills to the east of Highway 128 between Cloverdale and Boonville, Acorn Ranch is now home to Cinta Senese (CHIN-tah SEE-nay-zay) pigs, a rare and ancient Italian breed prized by salumi artisans for their tender and succulent meat and fat. They are as distinct from our local feral population as could be with a large white band around their otherwise black bodies. That they have made the arduous journey is remarkable in its own right but less so upon meeting the group of intrepid farmers.
Arborist Patrick Schafer
By Tom Melcher
Many of us tend to think of arborists as technicians who cut and prune ornamentals, but according to the OED, the definition is “one who cultivates or studies trees.” In short, an arborist is a lover of trees. If Patrick Schafer’s love is indicative of what drives an arborist, the passion is inborn. He traces his lifelong interest to a visit he made to Golden Gate Park when he was ten years old. One moment lingers from the day—coming upon a tree set out from the rest. He describes it as something Dr. Seuss might have drawn, a tree unlike anything near his boyhood home on the flank of Marin County’s Mt. Tamalpais. A light went off and no matter what else Patrick has done, growing trees has been a constant in his life.
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 January 2014 19:28.
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