and here it is, our latest article from the undercurrent. if you haven't already, pick up a copy around fresno.
Ed: I admitted in a recent column that since Fresh & Easy opened in Fresno, I’d been doing most of my shopping there. That’s still true, although I miss shopping in the gigantic warehouse that is Foodmaxx. But before you think I’ll get all nostalgic and head back, I’ve actually been thinking a lot lately about buying food from other sources, particularly fruits and vegetables. We live in an agricultural horn of plenty, and there are tons of market options available to your average Fresnan. First, there are little (and big) farmer’s markets. I’m not the biggest fan of these. Generally, a lot of them seem like stuff that I either don’t use, don’t use that much of (who needs 1 lb. of jalepenos?) or stuff that isn’t the highest quality. That last claim isn’t true of all the farmers market for sure, and the organic market on the Fulton Mall has some awesome stuff. What’s really peaked my interest is some of the local farming groups that are around. Many people have heard of T.D. Willey farms out of Madera, who delivers fresh, organic vegetables to a couple of points around Fresno. But there are other, similar operations that people may not have heard about. RipeNow (ripenowonline.com) is a recent addition to the scene, delivering local fruit at it’s freshest to your home. When I saw an ad for this service on tastefresno.com it really got my brain spinning. I also learned of another service on a friend’s blog. Farmer and the Dale delivers both fruit and vegetables to Fresno and Visalia, with the majority of the produce coming from Reedley. I don’t know, it doesn’t get much better than fresh, quality fruit delivered to your house. And I really like the idea of supporting local growers.
Adam: It’s interesting to see local producers’ delivery options becoming more and more common. It’s a great way to address the market when it comes to fresh produce because big box stores have really spoiled most consumers with the ability to be a one stop shopping locale. Most people don’t care if their vegetables are in season or come from another state, or even some place like Chile. We talk about how much it must suck for people that don’t live here and how they have to make due with boxed peaches that were picked when they weren’t ripe or asparagus that shipped across the country and is floppy and wilted. Yet, we don’t care or notice that the nectarine we just picked up at Savemart came from the southern hemisphere, was picked early, and “ripened” in the box on the way here. To be honest, we’re lazy. We’re spoiled and we take it all for granted. What these small farms who deliver are doing is catering to our desire for fresh, delicious, in season produce while at the same time, making it incredibly easy to acquire. And it’s really interesting how this movement has the potential to draw a community together. I know several people that get boxes from T.D. Willey that share the contents with their friends and family. What a great way to come together.
Ed: That coming together and sharing food is a great way to enjoy what the local market produces in community. I also appreciate that these local distributors are completely local. That means our neighbors in the valley growing this food. Jobs are being created and sustained by participating in these farming endeavors. This also means that the cost of transporting the food has been lessened. And, hopefully, the environmental impact of the purchase has also been reduced. Finally, in a way it’s resetting the culture of convenience. Sure, it’s convenient to have the fruit and veggies delivered to me, but it’s also a bit of retraining my diet. I admit I’m guilty of eating things out of season just because I want it. This way, if it’s not in season, it’s not on our plates. And so my family is embarking on this experiment of fresh delivered fruits and vegetables. We’re starting out small, with a one time purchase that we hope will blossom into a weekly or biweekly purchase. Whatever happens, we’re glad to take part in the local market.