Recent Articles About Local Eats

When it comes to buying a local loaf of bread, most food conscious consumers find that supporting a small neighborhood bakery fits the criteria just fine.

But for longtime restaurateur Bob Klein, the owner of Oliveto in Oakland, California, that wasn’t enough. Klein, whose restaurant draws from Northern California’s bounty of vegetables, fish, and meat for its Italian-inspired meals, was troubled that he couldn’t find a local source of whole grain flour to make pasta. Read more

Northfield, Minnesota may have to add “CSAs” to their town motto “cows, colleges, and contentment.” Forty minutes south of Minneapolis, this small town is becoming a Midwest hot spot for sustainable agriculture. In the past seven years, 14 young, small-scale, and sustainably minded farmers have started farms within 12 miles of Northfield. They include six diverse vegetable CSAs, three orchards, two livestock operations, one flower farm, a cider mill, and a homesteading artistic community. Read more

Over the last few years, the agriculture industry has gotten pretty tech savvy. Farmers use mobile technology to manage inventory and billing, check the weather, see exactly where their livestock is grazing, and even predict crop yields—not to mention staying connected to customers through social media.

On the sales front, a number of of startups—including Farmigo, Full Circle, Barn2Door, and Good Eggs—have been working to connect customers to local and organic food that comes direct from producers. Their approaches differ slightly, but they all essentially give farmers and other food producers an online marketplace to sell their wares. Several even go the last mile and arrange for the product’s delivery, while a few leave distribution in the hands of the producer.

Online sales of local food is a hot and crowded—saturated, some say—segment of the larger tech boom. Investors have poured $1.65 billion into more than 100 farm e-commerce companies serving mainly small to midsized producers, according to AgFunder.

But are these e-commerce and food delivery startups actually making it any easier for small and sustainably-minded producers to make a living? Read more

The hardest part of working on a book highlighting California coastal farmers? Whittling the list of potential subjects down to a dozen growers who shine on the edge of the Golden State.

In Farmsteads of the California Coast (Yellow Pear Press, April 18), photographer Erin Scott and writer Sarah Henry teamed up to do just that. The book introduces readers to greens growers, oystermen, berry farmers, coffee producers, and even water buffalo whisperers. Read more

Jonathan Gold has long been known in culinary circles as the only food writer to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Now, the Los Angeles Times restaurant critic is the focus of a new documentary, City of Gold.

Filmmaker Laura Gabbert spent nearly five years accompanying Gold on his pickup truck ramblings throughout Los Angeles, visiting dozens of small, family-owned restaurants serving the panoply of world cuisines that Gold is famous for highlighting. The film is a beautiful meditation on Los Angeles, the role of the critic, and the importance of a vibrant food scene in a vast, diverse city. Read more

Scale is of the utmost importance in the tech world. If your idea is good enough, the theory goes, it should be something just about everyone can use. You can charge each person pennies, but eventually those pennies add up to real dollars.

Kimbal Musk, brother of billionaire and business magnate Elon Musk, is applying that principle to the food world. With his sustainable, locally sourced restaurant chain, the Kitchen, and his nonprofit, the Kitchen Community, Musk is making inroads into both local food systems and food education which he hopes can easily be replicated throughout the country and creates a new generation of farmers in the process.

Read more

What does San Francisco taste like? The Mission District’s light, floral, almost citrusy sweetness comes from the many blooms that flourish in the city’s balmy banana belt, while the Presidio’s rich caramel and coffee notes take after the native manzanitas and wild sages that trails down to the coast.

That’s just a sample of the neighborhood honeys you might taste at City Bees. “People are blown away that each honey is so unique,” says San Francisco beekeeper Robert MacKimmie. “They immediately equate it to wine tasting.” Read more