A Tale of Ten Acres Continues – UNFI’s Agrarian Path to Local Organic Food

It’s springtime in Racine, Wisconsin and the ten acres adjacent to our distribution facility lay ready for cultivation. The cover crop planted last fall had worked its subterranean magic, suppressing thistles and weeds, building topsoil, micronutrients and loam. The prolific rains had rendered the land moist and open, ready for planting. Steve Spinner’s vision for creating a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program near a UNFI facility was as close as placing a seed in the soil. The only hitch in this idyllic giddy-up was finding a suitable farmer willing to undertake the organic dream. Continue reading

If Eating Organic Was a Color – It Would Be Shades of Grey

shutterstock_262694438For a colorful world of grocery – from bright red raspberries to deep blue corn chips –  it is remarkable how the organic food industry has various shades of grey. While this blog post is no “50 Shades of Grey” novel, it is a hot topic with no perfect answers!

Some of the big “grey dilemmas” I personally struggle with include: Continue reading

Summertime and the Living is Easy…. It’s Gazpacho Time!

Heirloom tomatoesSummertime…the cucumbers are growing and the tomatoes are high. Your kitchen’s hot and your Cuisinart is hungry, so hush ‘what’s for dinner?’  Gazpacho―it’s your summer ally!

Continue reading

Summertime and the Living is Easy…. It’s Gazpacho Time!

Organic Gazpacho1Summertime…the cucumbers are growing and ripe tomatoes are high.

Your kitchen’s hot and your Cuisinart is hungry,

so hush ‘what’s for dinner?’.

Gazpacho―it’s your summer ally!

I am lucky to live just around the corner from an amazing organic farm in the Soquel Hills that cultivates an auspicious variety of summer fruits and vegetables. The farm is nestled in the rich, loamy valley of the Soquel Creek protected by water on one side and redwoods on another. I visit Everett Family Farm almost every other day and choose from the plethora of garden-fresh organic produce, eggs and flowers (it’s still pay on the honor system). I feel assured that everything that I buy there is truly organic because the farm is certified by CCOF. I drive by many a farm stand that claim to be organic but don’t bother to be certified by a USDA third party certifier. They hope to skip the cost of certification even though the 2014 Farm Bill allows for certification cost share. Well, I simply skip right by those farm-stands and choose the local farmer who is certified organic! Continue reading

Let’s Celebrate October as National Farm to School Month!

Farm To SchoolAs the Executive Director of the UNFI Foundation, I see allot of requests for support of farm to school initiatives. What better way to fight obesity and chronic health issues than by educating our youth on healthy and nutritious eating.

I am constantly amazed at the number of young people who don’t know what broccoli looks like when it is growing- “what are those giant green leaves?”  That beet-root actually comes from beneath the soil and not out of a can! Honoring October as the National Farm to School Month is an admirable way to highlight this deficiency of food knowledge and its relationship to nutrition. Continue reading