Foodsheds–Local Healthy Eating
By Michele Laverty
Food was once a local thing. Everyone either grew their own food or knew the dairy down the road where the milk bottles came from.
In the past century we have strayed from our roots —literally. As a society, we have become dependent on trucks and trains to move packaged food from the farms to grocery stores and the distance between our family and family farms has grown from a driveway to multiple state lines. Fortunately, living the great Central Valley and Stanislaus County we can turn back time and get to know the farmer down the road as both a friend and a reliable source for fresh, local food from our foodshed.
A foodshed is based on the concept of a watershed, or the ecological area connecting the water ﬂowing from rivers to lakes and reservoirs. Foodsheds are the geographic area in a certain radius around your home where food is grown and produced. Typically, a foodshed is within 100 mile radius of your kitchen which in Stanislaus County means ingredients from Almonds to Zucchini. In fact, there are a number of places right here in Modesto where healthy eating and local food go hand in hand.
Loretelli Farms is the one stop shop on Coffee and Claratina Roads to purchase many of the fresh fruits and vegetables in season. The Market should be a scheduled stop in May to pick up boysenberries, strawberries and apricots fresh from the vine and tree. These, in addition to local asparagus are great sources of ﬁber and vitamins to supplement any healthy diet.
According to Tara Crenshaw of Loretelli Farms, “Loretelli Farms boysenberries are one of the best things on the planet. Buy them when they are in season, and you’ve never tasted anything better! Buy them in bulk and freeze them for use all throughout the year.” Crenshaw also recommends buying zucchini and making noodles to top with fresh tomato sauce or pesto (which you can purchase at Loretelli Farms). Add some healthy olive oil and place the zucchini on the grill. There are so many options.
However, we all know that a balanced diet means including some items from all of the food groups in your menu planning, and for many, cheese is at the top of the list. We are fortunate to have one of the world’s top cheese makers right here in Modesto at Fiscalini Cheese. The Fiscalini family has been making artisan cheese on the family dairy since 2000. Their cheeses are all natural, minimally processed, and made by hand in the traditional style. Those who are lactose intolerant should look to aged cheeses, like cheddar, as the aging process reduces the presence of lactic acid which can cause digestive issues in some. Master cheese maker Mariano Gonzalez reminds us, “the milk used for our cheese production remains in its truest form, which incorporates just the right amount of calcium and protein in a healthy diet when consumed in moderation.”
A healthy meal of fruit and cheese wouldn’t be complete without adding our region’s number one crop, the almond. With over 165,000 acres harvested, there are enough nuts for everyone to enjoy. If you’re looking for a great snack, visit the Blue Diamond Growers Store on Sisk Road for a chance to sample the newest ﬂavor creations. The store features everything from the traditional roasted salted nut to spicy habanero BBQ, which could become a healthy snacking staple.
Getting healthy is not just about diet. Matching good nutrition with great exercise makes for the best results. Modesto’s newest ﬁtness outlet which pairs healthy eating and wellness is the Pure Fit Bootcamp. Pure Fit is teaming up with the Redwood Cafe to provide not only quality, fun ﬁtness in a boot camp setting but also easy, healthy meals ready to go. This partnership makes getting healthy simple and fun. If you think that you can’t get healthy because you don’t have time to cook, look to Pure Fit.
If all of this healthy food sounds great but you just can imagine how cooking every day ﬁts into your family’s’ busy schedule then plan a trip to Green’s Market or Green’s Table for grab and go or dine-in healthy options. The menus at Greens always feature fresh, seasonal options grown on local farms for you to enjoy.
“Greens was founded with a goal of celebrating and utilizing local products and produce whenever possible,” stated Greens founder, Ann Endsley. “Both Greens on Tenth and Greens Table change our menus seasonally using the harvest from our own organic farm. Our newest venture, Underground Kitchen, creates chef-crafted meals for pickup or delivery. Check out www.undergroundkitchen. net for delicious fresh, local meals. Eating clean just got much easier.”
Healthy, simple, and local from our foodshed is the way to eat and these nearby farms and businesses make eating local a go-to option!