Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Farm to Fork: Enjoying nature’s bounty

MADERA, CA -- Fresh. Local. Organic. That’s the motto of T & D Willey Farms. I’m sitting in the passenger’s seat of Tom Willey’s electric cart as we drive the 75 acres of his and wife Denesse’s Madera farm. There are rows of French Breakfast radishes, Rosa Bianca eggplants, Russian kale and more than 50 varieties of crops—all organic, a Garden of Eden. At this farm, there is no mechanized harvest. In fact, the yellow crookneck squash are picked with white cotton gloves to protect their sensitive skins. Talk about a labor of love.

Every part of this productive farm radiates health and vitality. In large part because of the Willey’s commitment to old-fashioned farming, “We do not use any toxic pesticides,” said Tom pointing to a stand of sunflowers—a habitat strip that attracts beneficial insects for pest control, “we focus on plant nutrient and soil quality. That’s the best possible protection.”

The Willey’s send me home with a box of fruits and vegetables similar to what their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) customers receive. “I can’t just show you this produce, you have to taste it” said Tom, loading the box into my trunk. I pop a firm red grape into my mouth and marvel at the flavor, complex yet simple. Divine. The rest of the grapes sit on my lap for the journey back to Sacramento. Farm to Fork? Uh-ah…these babies are farm to mouth—thanks Tom!

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhhh my mouth is watering! A grape sounds great right now. Sounds like you had fun day dripper! :)