Community Alliance with Family Farmers - November 2015                  

As Thanksgiving approaches, we give thanks for our family farmers who put food on our tables.  Give back to your local farmer by buying farmer direct or support businesses that source from local farmers.  See our suggestions for planning your local food Turkey Day menu below.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! 

Remember to like us on both the CAFF: Santa Clara Valley and the CAFF: Central Coast Facebook pages to stay updated about CAFF news and events!
Buy Fresh Buy Local for Thanksgiving!
What better way to support local farmers and the businesses that purchase from them than to plan your Thanksgiving menus around local food! Read some ideas below for how you can invest your food dollars in local family farmers this holiday season.  
  • The first step is to make sure your Turkey Day menu is based on what's in season locally, here's a link to a seasonality chart on pg. 11 of our latest Buy Fresh, Buy Local guide.  
  • Once you've developed your menu and are ready to do your grocery shopping, consider shopping at longtime CAFF member New Leaf Community Markets (Santa Cruz County) or New Seasons in San Jose, both stores actively use CAFF's Buy Fresh Buy Local signage to identify local farmers in their produce departments.  
  • If you'd rather go directly to the source, a number of farmers markets are open Thanksgiving week.  If you live in Santa Cruz, the Downtown Farmers Market is on Wednesday from 1:30-6:30pm.  For a list of Santa Clara Valley farmers markets, see pg. 9 of our local food guide. 
  • If you're in the Watsonville area, stop by High Ground Organics' farm stand in the Annie Glass parking lot, which is open from 10-5pm on Wednesday. 
  • When it comes to local turkey, local CAFF member farmers Sol Seeker Farm in Tres Pinos have turkeys for sale at their farm and at a few local farmers markets.  We hope these resources help you source local and support our local family farmers for your Thanksgiving meal.  


Harvest of the Month in the Classroom
By FoodCorp Service Member Lidia Tropeano

Harvest of the Month at Amesti Elementary in Watsonville has sparked an exciting conversation about local farmers and seasonal produce. Each month when I walk into the classroom with a tasting kit, students try to guess what the produce item is. This month as I pulled out the beautiful, bright green apples from Robin's Nest Farm, I was proud to say that I know the farmer!

We talked about the importance of sustainable farming for our community and ecosystem. Students shared that they want to have farms that grow native plants for the local birds and animals too. As we took a bite I encouraged everyone to be brave tasters, because while they may have tried a Granny Smith before, this was their first time trying it from this particular local farmer. Students grinned and said the apples taste better than candy! Before I leave the classroom someone asked me what next month's produce item will be and who the farmer is. I look forward to trying more fruits and veggies with them throughout the year!

Featured CAFF Member: Gizdich Ranch

The Gizdich family has been farming since the early 1930's.  When Vince Gizdich's grandfather bought the original 10-acre farm, he focused on growing apples knowing that they grew well in the area.  Since 1965, thousands of people have come to Gizdich Ranch to come and pick their own baskets of berries and apples. In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Gizdich pie shop has been baking holiday pies around the clock.  You can buy a pie (or three) at their farm on Peckham Rd. in Watsonville, their farm store is open from 9-5pm seven days a week. 
A word about Gizdich's farm to school success: CAFF has been working with Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) for several years on their farm to school efforts, and PVUSD was looking to expand their farmer direct relationships to bring more local food into their school cafeterias.  Specifically, PVUSD was looking for a local source of small apples (perfect for small hands). At the same time, over at Gizdich Ranch, as apple trees age, the fruit often becomes smaller, making it less suited for retail markets like grocery stores. Still, the fruit is perfectly good, prompting Vince Gizdich to search out a market for the ranch's smaller apples. This set the stage for a great relationship between Gizdich and local schools. In the 2013-2014 school year alone, Gizdich sold nearly $53,000 worth of apples to PVUSD. 

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