One of the more enjoyable experiences I've had since I've been in the central coast region of CA is stopping by Earthbound Farm. I'm sure you've seen their packaged organic baby greens and lettuce in your local supermarket. But what you probably didn't know is that they are the largest grower of organic produce in the country! Getting to visit their farm market and walk around their herb garden was especially affirming because living in the Castroville area these past few weeks, I'm surrounded by industrial-style farms that are growing huge amounts of artichokes, avocados and other produce, but in a way that is hard on the earth and on the body. Everywhere, there are signs that read, "10 avocados for $1" which for someone who LOVES avocados seems too good to be true, and of course, it is because those avocados are loaded with pesticides and are probably connected with GMOs.
I'm a fanatic about eating organic, so after a couple of weeks of seeing these farms and the rows and rows of plants with plastic covering them baking in the sun, I was pleasantly surprised to come upon the Earthbound Farm Market after an afternoon of hiking. Reading one of their signs, which mentioned that they use a combination of beneficial insects, crop rotation and insecticides approved for organic crops, I was impressed with their commitment to keep us healthy. According to their website, sometimes the pests win and they lose whole crops to them, which drives up the costs of organic produce. For me, it was inspiring that after 25 years, they were still fighting the good fight and continuing to keep the option of organics open to us in spite of its challenges.
Before I left, I loaded up on delicious, fresh produce from the market. They also sell smoothies, fresh juice and healthy snacks to enjoy in their gorgeous outdoor cafe area. I hope to head back over there sometime soon. In the meantime, their website is chock full of awesome recipes, cookbooks and info about eating organically. Businesses like this restore my faith and hope in the possibility of creating a sustainable planet!