I’m pavement locked. I’m surrounded by a sprawling wasteland of pavement, condo’s, congestion, and trees that grow in a straight line. The vegetables at my local safeway/lucky/etc are horrible. I also have a strong history with food (and it shows in my waistline…). As soon as I could eat something other than breast milk, instead of buying baby food, my mom was pureeing vegetables from the garden. She was/is a dietitian (she now teaches at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo), and a firm believer in “good food”. That means good tasting food, with lots of seasonal variety. Our eggs came from the chickens in our barn. Every year a head of cattle would disappear, and a week or two later, the freezer in the garage was full of white packages. Apparently my parents once decided to butcher their own chicken. 26 years later their stories conflict, but someone didn’t have the heart to dispatch the chicken in traditional ways , so my dad shot it. With a 20 gauge. My mom picked buckshot from a chicken once, and from then on, the Peterson family chicken dinners came from the super market.

The result of these forming years of my life, is that I like good, fresh food. I am ALSO a firm believer in spending your money like you’re voting with it. So I do my best to buy locally. I’m not a zealot, or obsessive about this practice, but when its possible, I do my best. One way that I do this is by supporting my local farmer through their CSA (Community Support Agriculture) program.

Every week, I get a box full of organic seasonal fruits and vegetables . Strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, peas, carrots, onions, beets, squash, baby salads, big salads, spinach, potatoes, etc. Anything that grows in California between April and November. Its a great way to get fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet, which is obviously good for me. I send my check directly to the farmer, eliminating the middle man, which is good for the farmer. These types of programs are available all over the place. A good place to start your search is LocalHarvest.org

Periodically Mariquita farms (half of two small farms), will have a U pick tomato day. For 50 cents a pound, you can pick all the tomatoes you can carry out of there. Its fabulous. You’re not limited to tomatoes either. Peppers, pumpkins, tomatillos, or anything else you can get your hands on is fair game. 50 cents a pound is great. But I’m a really inquisitive person, so to ME the best part is that you get to pick the farmers brain , and ask him all the dumb questions you want. He’s HAPPY to answer them! Its an excellent experience.

Mariquita is having one of these U Pick days tomorrow, Sunday September, 23rd. If you get a chance, its worth the drive. Just make sure you wear a good pair of boots, its going to be wet out there :)

Here are some pictures of my bounty from the last U Pick day.

Update: Heres my bounty from the second U Pick day :) Can you tell I like salsa? I preserved most of it for the winter :)