Spread the wealth

Support local farmers and businesses that do the same

Every year, while brainstorming our annual Farm to Table issue, we at the CN&R are reminded of the amazing variety of agriculture we have here in the North State. Of course, we’re surrounded by it on a daily basis, through farmers’ markets and groceries that stock their shelves with local products, but we rarely get the chance to get out on the farm and see the process first-hand.

This issue is a perfect excuse to do just that, and we encourage everyone to do the same. Getting to know the people who grow our food—to see the work involved in tending an orchard or caring for animals that provide our milk or eggs or even meat—puts things into perspective. It may even make that salad more delicious, or that omelet more flavorful. Agritourism is a growing industry, particularly in this rich region, and many local farms offer tours and tasting opportunities. See Discover Butte County, which the CN&R produces twice a year, for listings.

We also hope you’ll support local farmers with your dollars. When you spend your money locally, it goes further—this is a proven fact, as that money is used to pay local laborers, who then take their paychecks and spend them at local stores, etc.

Shopping directly from producers at farmers’ markets is one way to do that; but there are many local stores, from Made in Chico to New Earth Market, that spread the wealth and may be more convenient. Choosing a local olive oil from the shelf over one made elsewhere can make a bigger difference than you might think.

In this week’s Farm to Table cover package, we interview Sarah Jester, sous chef at Grana, about that restaurant’s commitment to supporting local agriculture. Of course, Grana isn’t the only restaurant in town that has those values. Many eateries fill their plates with food grown and manufactured right here in the North State. And most advertise as much on their menus or websites (or both).

Patronizing businesses that support other local ventures is a great way to ensure we continue to have access to a breadth and wealth of quality agricultural products. As we learned by getting out on a couple of dairy farms last week, it’s hard work to tend a farm—but the rewards are many. If we support our local farmers, they’ll continue to fill our bellies.