Any doubt that organics are red-hot right now?
Just consider: A new nationwide survey of organic farmers showed that
44 percent say their markets continue to expand, while only 6 percent say
their markets have shrunk. On average, organic farms encompass 277 acres
each, up from 233 acres five years ago, according to the survey by the Organic
Farming Research Foundation in Santa Cruz.
California remains the leader. The amount of California land farmed organically
has risen nearly 60 percent in the past five years, according to the California
Farm Bureau Federation. About 163,000 acres of this state's farmland is certified
organic, producing mostly fruits and vegetables, according to the U.S. Agriculture
Want to learn more about organics? Tune in Wednesday mornings, 10-11 a.m. on the Web at www.beyondorganic.com /radio.
The weekly radio program features information on buying, growing, eating
and cooking organically. The program, broadcast from a San Francisco studio,
is a project by Straus Communications, which was started by Michael Straus,
whose family owns the organic Straus Family Creamery in Marshall. This morning's
show is all about organic wines and features Dave Koball, vineyard manager
of Bonterra, the organic division of Fetzer Vineyards of Ukiah.
Speaking of Straus Family Creamery, the dairy was honored last
month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Straus creamery, the first
organic dairy and processor in the country, sells its milk in recycled and
reusable glass bottles. By doing that, Straus creamery estimates that more
than 6.1 million pounds of waste have been prevented from going to landfills.
Petaluma Poultry, which sells antibiotic-free and organic chicken,
also was honored with an EPA Achievement award. Although the company has
increased its production 20 percent over the past year, it has decreased
its use of natural gas by 4 percent. It has also reduced gas-fueled mowing
by 60 percent.
And if you're looking for a gift for an organically conscious loved one, see www .farmtohomeonline.com. Based in Houston, the husband-and-wife company offers five organic baskets. They are $55 each plus $8.50 for shipping.
Among the selections is a ``Stock the Pantry'' basket with organic tea,
organic sunflower oil, organic whole-grain lemon mustard, organic pasta and
an herb keeper to keep herbs fresher longer. The ``Baby Bliss'' basket comes
with a sampler of organic baby foods, an organic cotton bib and toy, an eye
pillow and a copy of Mothering magazine. You can also order at (800) 323-6637.
COPIA CHEF'S TABLE: For an especially
up-close-and-personal dining experience, reserve the new chef's table in
Julia's Kitchen restaurant at Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and
the Arts, in Napa. Designed to seat up to eight, the chef's table offers
an intimate dining experience. Guests sample special tasting menus and get
to converse with chef Victor Scargle. The semi-circular table is in the dining
room, right against the open cooking line. Known as the Soldinger/Cosentino
Table One for the families that donated $150,000 to Copia, the table comes
with a perk: Each group dining at that table receives a complimentary bottle
of wine from Cosentino Winery in the Napa Valley. To reserve the table, call
LEISURELY SUNDAY: Berkeley's Claremont
Resort & Spa, 44 Tunnel Road, has started a program of ``Slow Food Sundays''
at its Paragon Bar & Cafe. Modeled after the worldwide Slow Food gastronomic
organization, the Sunday dinners, 5:30-10 p.m., are designed to be savored,
not gulped. The food is intended to evoke family memories and to bring people
together. The three-course, $29.50-per-person dinner can include such dishes
as fresh cranberry bean minestrone, slow braised lamb shanks with rosemary,
and lemon angel food cake with strawberry sorbet and ginger-orange coulis.
For more information, call (800) 551-7266 or go to www.claremontresort.com.
THE OTHER WHITE MEAT: If you've been
left uninspired and unimpressed with most supermarket pork, try Du Breton
Farms brand. This pork, from pigs raised by 45 small family farms in Quebec
and the Maritime Provinces of Canada, is so juicy and flavorful that it doesn't
need sauce or seasonings. The Breton family started the company in 1974,
and it has become the largest natural pork producer in North America. The
pigs eat only vegetable feed and are raised without antibiotics. In 2001,
the company became the first North American pork producer to qualify for
the American Humane Association's ``Free Farmed'' label. Various cuts are
available at Whole Foods markets.
For more information, go to www.dubreton.com.