Cherries are finicky trees. They don’t like it when it gets too hot, when there’s not enough rain, and when it doesn’t stay cold enough during the winter. For the last few winters, California’s cherries have had all three of these environmental stresses and responded by producing fewer cherries.
Like the snowy owl and the snail darter, foods can be endangered too.
If farmers stop growing your favorite variety of tomato because it’s too hard to ship or too prone to pests, we come that much closer to a bland, unified way of eating and, in the case of the loss of fruit and vegetable varieties, a shrinking of biodiversity that can have a wide ranging impact on the environment and our food supply.
New Family Farm of Sebastopol, California, was one of six farms awarded grants in April 2013 from The FruitGuys Community Fund, a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives. An outgrowth of the company’s Farm Steward Program, the Community Fund gives resources to small farms for sustainable agriculture projects that contribute to environmental and economic health.
By Jeff Main for Good Humus Produce, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
by Chris Mittelstaedt, Founder & CEO, The FruitGuys
The FruitGuys supports California’s Prop 37, the “Right to Know” GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling initiative. This issue is important to Americans everywhere, not just in California.
YES ON 37—WHY?
We believe in transparency. Labeling GMO products and allowing consumers and companies to choose whether or not to use them is core to our belief in consumer choice. While The FruitGuys elects not to support GMO products, we still believe everyone (whether they agree with our perspective or not) has the right to information that helps them make purchasing decisions.
How about a U-Pick CSA?
There is such a thing as too much love. Lucy and Torrey Olson’s Gabriel Farm in Sebastopol, CA (Sonoma County) was one of the few U-Pick apple farms in the San Francisco Bay Area. People loved to come pick Fuji apples, persimmons, and blackberries at the Olson's lovely 14-acre organic family farm.
In 2011, The FruitGuys’ Farm Steward program financed a $3,000 no-interest loan to Baia Nicchia Farm and Nursery in Sunol, CA. Baia Nicchia is a family farm, run by Fred Hempel and Jill Shepard, that grows heirloom tomatoes, specialty squash, peppers, and herbs. FruitGuys volunteers also helped plant tomato seedlings last May.
Food labels can be a consumer conundrum for health-conscious shoppers trying to steer clear of sugar, saturated fat, and foods packed with preservatives. If you buy your groceries in California, you may soon have one more label to interpret.
Lee Walker has been farming with his family in their Graton, CA, apple orchard his whole life, except for a tour in the army and a few years playing pro baseball. Lee has kept growing Gravenstein apples through both the thick and the thin-skinned times of the apple business.
“We’ve been seeing for a long time that if we could just hang in there, the apple business would be[come] a good business,” said Lee. “And now Gravensteins are a specialty item!”
Courtesy of Coco of Coco Ranch, by Heidi Lewis