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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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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Growing Into Local Food

This is the nineteenth in our series "Connecting With 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.

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Acorn Ranch

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

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.

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Arborist Patrick Schafer

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

Embracing Failure

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.

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Local Tree Foods

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

Selecting Naturally Local Tree Foods in Anderson Valley

By Rob Goodell

The location of my experiment with tree crops and the forces of nature are right here on a raw, steep 20-acre homestead. The land is on the margin of foothills and valley, the margin of coniferous forest, oak woodland, and grassland. For the last 36 years we have attempted the good life in the sylvan burbs of Boonville. Our houses and buildings were resurrected from slash piles of the recent logging that contained older growth quality trees that did not meet the mid-seventies milling criteria. Over the years we supplemented the slash pile freebies with second growth logging for sunlit space and lumber milled by local portable millers. The sun, the biggest honcho in the sky, has been good enough to run passive solar houses, photovoltaic solar collectors, solar hot water collectors, and all other life forms here at Rancho Kai Pomo as well as elsewhere on the planet. In the winter we cook and heat with wood and use the leftover slash for compost and biochar. Yes we are beholden to the energy from native tree crops. Also we are almost entirely dependent on our gravity feed water that has the dysfunction of not flowing when it does not rain. Trees are even a solution for this, the worst cumulative drought year in recorded history. This year we lost our ‘free’ gravity feed water in early July and played drought water games until, miraculously, in late November with essentially no rain our gravity feed water came back. Why? Shorter days, less tree transpiration, and a great big coniferous north-slope sponge, that has become our reservoir of hope.

Last Updated on Friday, 10 January 2014 15:04.

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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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