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July 23, 2010

FRONT PORCH FARM STAND

Posted by Anais Dervaes

Growing food closer to home

"In the US, the food on our table has traveled an average of1500 miles and consumed 9 calories of energy for each food calorie on our plate.  90% of the food in the U.S. comes from 10% of the producers."

We had some shocking news this month, we'll can't really say it was shocking (more sad) because stuff like this always been in the backs of our minds.  Long time customer, Elements Restaurant in Pasadena is NO longer buying our produce. Unfortunately, another troubling sign of the economic times.   The small, local food growers are the first to go in cost cutting moves.

The good news is that now we do have surplus produce available! Sign up for our weekly email list at www.DervaesGardens.com

For over 15 years we have been supplying restaurants and have know that such type of clientele can come and go.  Actually have gained and lost a fair share over the years so not really anything new but this time we were prepared!

We are happy that these last two years we have really focus on our front porch farm stand selling to individuals and families. So at least now we have even more surplus and folks are coming by to get it and really getting to know their food and farmer!  The amount of positive feedback is tremendous.   Folks are tasting REAL food, sometimes for the FIRST time. For us, that's just wonderful to be able to share our homegrown blessings with others in the community.   And every week we see the same faces and talk about, guess what?  FOOD!   I'll ask or they'll tell me what they made with the funky looking heirloom squash or if they are trying a veggie for the first time I'll give them tips on recipes and how to use it.  Not only are we farmers growing food but community too.

Like they say, when one door closes another one opens and we feel that the front porch farm stand is setting a new paradigm.

The front porch is a great place to sit and watch the world go by but right now we are molding a new world.

Especially in light of news stories like this one (which we already knew for years)

Farmer's Market Fiasco

Don't Be Fooled By a Farmers' Market Without Any Farmers

As the food movement continues to gain momentum, demand for local, seasonal fare increases exponentially. But just as all this sustainable food crops up, another entity rears its ugly head: We're seeing more and more attempts by unscrupulous companies to cash in on the movement's popularity by "greenwashing" (or "foodwashing" perhaps) their unsustainable products.

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13 Comments: "FRONT PORCH FARM STAND" »

  1. Our local Saturday farmer's market is about 50/50 commercial and local grower. The bigger growers will have tomatoes, avocados, lemons, etc that are never available locally grown in May or June. They say it's for convenience of the buyer, but I think it's just to take advantage of the consumer who isn't savvy about growing seasons and local varieties.
    Where there's a popular trend, there will be those taking advantage of the naive buyer. Too bad. At least those who shop your front porch can know exactly where the goodies came from!

    • @Melina, In our area we are fortunate to have a true Growers Market. We have a half dozen farmers markets but they sell out of state/country stuff etc. The Growers Market requires that only the growers may sell their own fruit and veg and it must be grown in this state. Many people who shop there don't realize that other markets do not have that guaranteed local and fresh product. We do get some heatloving foods from the hotter part of the state but that is as far away as it gets. I grow most of my own food for a large part of the year but I love knowing where to get what I can't grow.

  2. I've recently been thinking about the farm stand idea. Do you have any tips in regards to local laws and ordinances? I too am in California. Thanks!

    • @Dog Island Farm: LA takes steps towards a HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION! http://laist.com/2010/04/16/fo.....oved_t.php

      “This makes sure that people can eat healthier and save money during these tough times, while at the same time setting clear rules to avoid any confusion with neighbors or the city. We hope this is a big step forward for urban farming here in Los Angeles, and across the nation
      .” — Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti

      • That's great! So far I'm one of the very very few in my city doing any type of urban homesteading. They do have a farmstand ordinance, but it's rather ambiguous. I guess I was just wonder if there were any USDA-type regulations on selling produce to the public.

  3. A few years ago I found out that the larger farm stands in our area were actually selling produce that was grown out of the country. I found out through a friend who took a job at a produce wholesaler who supplies them.

    Next year I will be opening my front porch farm stand. I have been urban farming for a few years. I have finally reached a point where I am able to produce enough food for our family for a year as well as a large surplus.

    It is amazing to me how many people, when they find out about my food, ask if they can buy some!

    Thank you for all of the education and inspiration!

    • @Lorie: Yeah, unfortunately this is commonplace. Folks can't just let their guard down when the shop at farmers markets - you gotta snoop around and weed out the big guys. Good for you. Happy growing!

  4. I was lucky to find a near by farmers stand with a great guy that let's me trade my ecess produce for his produce that I want. It is a great win/win.
    Have a Great Day!!
    Frank

  5. Where do you get seed in bulk for your baby lettuce? I've checked out a few resources, but it's always good to comparison shop.

  6. Im so imspired and delighted by your photo. Such a simple lovely photo. I really needed it after spending the day at a friends while the man trimmed their 20ft (!!) trees..on the edge of a precipice... Anyway we got back at night and I had to buy junk at the supermarket because nothing was planned and I had to watch all the other people buying heaps (more than me!1) junk in the queue ahead. And I hadnt seen my chooks since this morning ..So Ive logged in here to feel better about life and REMEBER how I want our land to work out. A redeeming grace was that I also bouight eight strawberry plants to go out the back and come tomorrow after I finish my job at the school I work at at lunch I will be back reclaiming myself in my urban backyard!!
    Thanks for the inspiration!!
    Cherry

    • @Cherry: Thank you for the compliment. I love taking photos so am happy to hear it when folks enjoy them. We all get behind sometimes -- even us! There are some days we feel like we are loosing ground but it's the beauty that surrounds us that pulls us thru to the next day. I was telling someone the other day that "sure this work is hard." But in life you got to work at something and at least this one has the best rewards! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and am so glad that that simple photo inspired you. Many blessings and all the best on your journey!

  7. I just want to say I love reading your posts! I'm part of a group that was trying to start a Farmers' Market in our area and there are just too many for the local farmers to support them all. We regrouped and decided on a different approach this year. We had our first Produce Exchange at our church (that's where the market would have been) with home growers bringing in their excess and going home with others. We worked out a system that allows those not growing to exchange money for their produce with the money going into a fund that will be used to make the exchange bigger and hopefully get a farmers' market going next year or this winter. Our first Sunday exchange was very successful and the leftover produce is being taken to a local food bank.
    This is our answer to the market supply problem!

    • @Mari: Thanks for sharing about your produce exchange, it's certianly a great way to bring good food and grow community. How many of our readers have similar programs in their area? There's lots of stuff in the works but I can say one of them. Jordanne is hoping that the upgrade patch for our free social network http://www.FreedomGardens.org in which she hopes to have a section where folks can post their own local Produce Exchange. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing, hopefully it will inspire others to do the same

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