Fennel in February –Tracing farm to table

Organic fennel from the Imperial Valley

Fennel from Lakeside Organic Gardens’ Imperial Valley farm

Finding where your produce is from

Justin, produce manager at Placerville Natural Foods Co-op pointing to High5Picks!

Justin, produce manager at Placerville Natural Foods Co-op pointing to High5Picks!

You won’t find fennel in the typical Foothill garden this time of year–it’s too cold.  This month Justin Barbus, produce manager at our local Placerville Natural Foods Co-op is bringing this crunchy, slightly sweet organic vegetable/herb in from two California distributors:  Produce Express and Veritable Vegetable.

Jim “Pops” Boyce and wife Barbara “Mom” Boyce  started Produce Express in 1984 with one truck. Today the company has 27 trucks with over sixty employees serving the Foothills and the greater part of the Sacramento area. Their web site features a great seasonal chart, which lists what’s local. Produce Express informed me that our fennel was grown by Lakeside Organic Gardens. Lakeside is a family owned, California operated business with organic farms in Watsonville and the Imperial Valley. According to sales representative, Kyle Vilhauer, February’s fennel is from their 800+ acre farm located in the Imperial Valley.

Veritable Vegetable, originally The People’s Food System, began in the 1970’s in the San Francisco Bay Area as part of a movement seeking to bring low-cost, nutritious food to neighborhood co-ops and community storefronts by providing alternatives to the existing corporate food system. It’s actually quite large today with over 100 employees, many of whom are artists, musicians, photographers, writers, chefs, dancers, poets, parents and social activists who believe through their work they can make a better world. Currently they have trucking routes throughout California, to parts of New Mexico, Southern Colorado, Arizona and Nevada. They also ship to New York and Hawaii. Fennel delivered to Placerville Natural Foods Co-op from Veritable Vegetable was grown at the Frazier Lake Farm in Hollister. 

For an extensive list of resources covering Agriculture and Education, Alliance Building, Ecology and Conservation, Eater/Activist, Growing Foods, GMOs, Farm Tools, Seed Starts, Organic and Sustainable Certification, Community Supported Agriculture and more check out their impressive resource links.

Frazier Lake Farm

Quoting from JoAnn Bartwic at Veritable Vegetable website:

There’s little risk in becoming overly proud of one’s garden, because gardening by its very nature is humbling. It has a way of keeping you on your knees.

I had to laugh because it’s so true!

Consider growing your own but plant after the last frost  . . .

If you have a garden, consider growing fennel but plant after the last frost and expect to harvest 100 days later. For more information visit Peaceful Valley or Heirloom Organic’s How to Grow Fennel.



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