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Being a Locavore

I’m loving the organic-seasonal-local trend that’s swept the Bay Area, but I must admit that it perplexes me. Why is this a trend at all? When did we get so far removed from our food and food sources that we now only get a gold star if most of what we eat comes within 100 miles of where we live?

I grew up in the D.C. suburbs, but more often than not, we bought a large portion of our produce and meat from the Farm Ladies Market. Mr. Watkins provided our sausage and turkey, the German couple from Thurmont had the crispiest apples and the corner stall was where the good flowers were found. So without thinking about it much, I’ve been somewhat of a locavore since birth (I’m by no means strict about it and confess to loving bananas, pineapple, Italian wine… you get the picture). At any rate, this is certainly a trend I can back.

The other day when I went to a press lunch at FARM at the Carneros Inn, I was pleasantly surprised at how this acclaimed luxury resort has taken eco-friendly principles and practices to heart. The inn uses state-of-the-art water recycling technology, geo-thermal heating and cooling systems in the guest rooms and much of the décor incorporates salvaged wood and supports local craftspeople. Beyond the materials, they’ve made a commitment to the community—huge in my book.



The lunch mirrored this green ethic, with organic wines from neighboring Adastra Vineyards (meaning “to the stars” in Latin) and a whole lot of locally sourced ingredients. While we enjoyed courses of roasted butternut squash soup, milk-poached sweetbreads, pan-seared duck breast and passion fruit mousse-filled cannoli, the FARM’s market salad stood out. I can’t recall biting into a crisper, more vibrant salad in a long time. This shouldn’t be a shocker, though, as most of the ingredients didn’t have far to travel from the farm to my plate—Belgian endive from down the road, watercress from Marin, quince from a nearby orchard and goat cheese from Sonoma.

Next time I go to the Carneros Inn, I’m splurging for the goat butter (from local goats) massage, or maybe the Orchard olives stone exfoliation (using native Carneros olive oil). Yup—local, organic, seasonal—this is definitely a trend I can support!