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Letter: Looking to define 'local produce'

Original post made on Jul 8, 2013

I am seeking some clarification of the purpose of the Farmers' Market that I visited June 20 in Portola Valley.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (15)

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Posted by CR
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Jul 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm

I'm so upset, I didn't see the scarves, jewelry or candy at the Farmer's Markets in Portola Valley when I visited! I bought boysenberries, apricots and peaches from Webb Ranch; purple beans, onions, squashes and garlic from a delightfully polite young man who had picked everything fresh that morning; homemade jams and nut butters which quite simply tasted so good I didn't check to see where they were from; and cauliflower, carrots, zucchinis and green onions from another vendor. I'm delighted to be able to support 'local' producers in PV, whether they're based 10 minutes or an hour from here. I also appreciate that other local groups are joining in with the fun (PV library with the Summer Reading sign-ups, Cultural Arts with the art walk and music, and the Town center with information on sustainability). It's turning into a lovely community event with healthy benefits and I hope it continues.

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Posted by RC
a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Jul 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm

I agree that it really has turned into a lovely community event! Did you not see the groups of children playing in the creek, the families there with picnic dinners and the PV residents greeting friends and strangers over beautiful produce? I can not tell you the number of times I picked up a new recipe idea or a tip for berry jam from people I just met. It is getting us together to talk about food and enjoy what our area has to offer. I wish there were more farms growing food right here in town. Maybe we should start one across the street from the town center.

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Posted by Danna
a resident of Portola Valley: Brookside Park
on Jul 8, 2013 at 10:01 pm

The farmers market is the best. . I also bought the black beans for Salad Nicoise and then I made an apricot tart from the epicurious website( theone with the lattice top) from Jelich apricots, twice this week roasted purple cauliflower. This is an astounding asset for the town AND I get to go and see my friends and neighbors .we are so lucky to have both Roberts and Bianchinis,but this takes it to a new level and....if you haven't participated in the garden share,.yet another level..

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Posted by AMRW
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

From Wikipedia
"In 2008 Congress passed H.R.2419, which amended the "Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act". In the amendment "locally" and "regionally" are grouped together and are defined as

‘‘(I) the locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product; or ‘‘(II) the State in which the product is produced."

If you look closely in most grocery chains, produce often comes from Mexico, Latin America, and South America. Salinas is far more local than Chile. Besides the overused "it's for the children" statement, I'm not quite sure what your concern is about. Is Salinas not close enough?

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Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Is there something wrong with making money on a socially responsible business? As AMRW said, these are much more local than what's often available in a supermarket. There are garden exchanges that Lynn can support, if she really wants to support "locally grown". However, the amount of space available for commercial farming in the immediate vicinity on the Peninsula is not sufficient for meeting the food needs of the Bay Area. They have to grow it where it's economically viable. Now, that doesn't have to mean shipping everything from Mexico. But try buying up a hundred acres in Portola Valley to grow radishes; see what your return on investment is.

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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jul 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Sorry, my backyard veggie patch doesn't produce enough that I'm going to sell it in PV.

Most of us consider "locally produced" to include the greater Bay area counties. Farm to market in a day or less is great. I like buying Half Moon & Salinas veggies here instead of driving (non-ecologically PC) to get them.

BTW, plenty of adults benefit from this too, not just children. I buy organic whenever possible.

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Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jul 9, 2013 at 6:01 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I guess the writer doesn't have a clue where her food comes from, or is a complainer or looks to see the worst in everything!!

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Posted by Anne
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Jul 9, 2013 at 7:51 pm

I love the Farmer's market: My boys and I ride our bikes and we shop for dinner together. It's fun, delicious, and healthy. We are so lucky to live here.

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Posted by Laura
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Jul 10, 2013 at 8:24 am

Thank you to the farmers and purveyors of the PV Farmers Market! Their freshly picked produce, freshly made goods, and Thursday presence are a terrific addition to our community.

It's ironic in such a wealthy town to hear a complaint about someone making a modest living by offering a valued community service. All I can ascertain is the writers motivation is for personal gain, encroaching upon, rather than enriching the quality of life in our town.

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Posted by Maggie Anne
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Hills
on Jul 10, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I love the PV Market! Also, in response to Alan's question here's mine: Is there something wrong with making money on ANY legal business? I for one wouldn't be able to afford to live in this wonderful area, if I didn't make money. I'm guessing that many others are in the same boat ;-)

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Posted by Billy Brentwood
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Jul 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

If ya don't count Brentwood Corn as local, I give up.

Was driving thru the Valley last week; a farm stand past Escalon was adverting BRENTWOOD CORN on their roadside sign (right next to their own corn fields!)

Good stuff. I expect better in a few more weeks, but worth it.

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Posted by Brook
a resident of Portola Valley: Woodside Highlands
on Jul 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm

I am absolutely loving our PV farmers' market. Not only do I get to pick up fresh veggies and locally roasted coffee, I get to catch up with friends and neighbors over picnic dinners while my children play in the creek or visit the library. I LOVE THIS TOWN and it just keeps getting better!

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Posted by Donald
a resident of another community
on Jul 10, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Locally-grown produce can help the local economy, but there seems to be some confusion regarding the environmental consequences. The "myth of the locavore" is that transportation costs are more important than any other costs. These days the energy and CO2 cost of transportation are much smaller than the costs of fertilizer and farm machinery. It may well be that the environmental cost of buying produce from a far-away site that uses less fertilizer and less fuel for farm machinery is less than the comparable costs of buying locally. There is really no way for a consumer to tell whether a local farmer is really more environmentally responsible than one farther away.

If you want to support "local" farmers that is fine, but don't assume that this is environmentally beneficial.

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Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jul 11, 2013 at 10:07 am

Donald, there is truth to what you say ... I've read of the case of flowers grown in England in greenhouses versus those grown in Africa in the open - it's much more energy efficient to ship the flowers from Africa than to run the greenhouses in England. But all things being equal - local shipping reduces one component of greenhouse gases. Also, since things at a farmer's market are sold by the farmers themselves - people can ask what they do (and they're generally organic farmers, last I checked). Philosophically - for reasons of food security - it's best for localities to have the capacity to feed themselves (not a huge problem for California, but still...) People should also try to each food in season - which growing local encourages.

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Posted by maggie
a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline
on Jul 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm

There actually is a way to tell whether the farmers are environmentally responsible. The ORGANIC certifications that most of the farmers at PV Farmers Market have are very difficult to obtain. In many cases, those signs that say certified organic or CCOF certified organic represent years of documented visits and paperwork with the Ag Dept and the certifying agency. It takes a huge commitment to become certified organic. Any farm can get "certified", but "certified organic" is an entirely different matter.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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