Other Products Available: Vegetables | Fruits
Mountain Ranch Organically Grown
Norman and Amy Gunsell have been our farmer friends for more than a decade. We are proud to offer their chickens and not bashful to claim that they are the best chicken we've ever tasted! More recently they have been growing a breed called the Long Kong, originally developed for the Chinese market. Norman tells me that they are more of a free range bird than the standard Cornish breed (which they also grow), preferring to bypass the grain hopper for green pastures beyond. They never sit down to eat (unlike the Cornish), always standing and keeping the utmost cleanliness to their feathers and feet. They are smaller (weighing two to three pounds) with more thigh and leg than the heavy breasted Cornish counterpart. Exclusively fed organic feed (non-GMO certified) and allowed to roam the pastures, these birds are truly free range and happy.
Fiscalini Cheese Company,
We are excited to offer you this incredible opportunity to purchase award-winning cheeses at really great prices. The Fiscalini’s are third generation dairy farmers and more recently cheese makers. Their state of the art dairy and cheese making facility are located in Modesto. They have won numerous awards for their cheeses nationally and internationally since their inception in 2000. They describe their practices as “beyond organic” and use manures as the only fertilizers on their fields.
All cheeses are made with only natural products, using raw unpasturized milk. No colors, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients are added. The cheeses are made in an open vat, in small quantities, handcrafted the old-fashioned way. The cheddars are made the way cheddar was originally made, cutting and stacking the matted cheese in the vat, and using a mill for secondary cutting. A time consuming, expensive and labor-intensive process, but it enhances the taste and texture of the cheese to extraordinary heights.
DRAGON GOURMET MUSHROOMS, SACRAMENTO
We had the good fortune to meet Roxana Walker a couple of years ago and overheard her telling another about her mushroom business … our ears pricked up and we began to work out how we could get her product and distribute it through our CSA. Later we were fortunate to visit her operation down in Sacramento and see first hand how amazing oyster and shitake mushroom cultivation is.
Roxana is a chemist by trade and discovered a passion for growing mushrooms. She has been avidly creating this very successful small-scale business single handedly. She is currently selling at numerous Farmers Markets and has a cluster of upscale restaurants that buy directly from her. This small operation takes place in her garage and backyard of a suburban home. Firstly the organic rice straw (a byproduct of rice growing comes conveniently chopped into small pieces) is sterilized by steam and then inoculated with oyster mushroom spore, of which she has several varieties. The inoculated straw is packed into 2-gallon plastic bags and then hung in a darkened enclosure with high levels of CO2. The CO2 stimulates the fungus to grow. Ten days or so consuming CO2, the growing bags are ready to be transported to a new environment. In the backyard she has modified a greenhouse, which is fully insulated against temperature swings, ventilated and equipped with blue lights. The heat and moisture is controlled to allow maximum opportunity for fruiting. The fungus begins to identify the light and fruit through slits in the bag. The fruit is harvested, boxed, refrigerated and sold with the spent bags allowed to fruit another time.
We are very excited to offer her product and know that you will enjoy the gourmet quality of these mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms are high in protein. They lend themselves to any mushroom dish. Sautéed in butter and scrambled with eggs for breakfast. Breaded and fried individually. Combined with other vegetables in a stir-fry. Shitake mushrooms are highly medicinal. Our favorite to add to soups and stir-fry. They keep exceptionally well, longer than most mushrooms in the refrigerator.
PACKMAN FISHERIES SOCKEYE SALMON,
BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA & SONORA
We are very fortunate to have developed a connection with Denny Thompson who owns Packman Fisheries and has been a fisherman for 27 years. Mr Thompson, in his eighties continues to fish for Wild Sockeye Salmon every year. The fish is taken to Bristol Bay fisheries where it is machined fillet, vacuum packed and flash frozen. Denny tells me that they are permitted to label the fish "organic" according to Alaskan state law. They sell their fish through the Sonora Farmers Market during the summer months.
LAGIER RANCHES, Escalon
John Lagier's maternal great grandfather migrated to Escalon from Missouri in 1874 and purchased the ranch that is Lagier Ranch today. John's farming career started in 1979 when he purchased a vineyard three miles from the current ranch center. During this period John leased additional land to farm from other family members. In 1990 John became interested in diversification and planted 18 acres of cherries. Subsequently he and his partner/sister, Lois Lagier, created a mission statement which, "recognizes [their] responsibility as a steward of the Earth." In light of this value John has planted new crops of berries, citrus, and cherries that are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and the remainder of his crops are transitioning to that end. Visit their website at www.lagierranches.com
Lagier Ranches sells at Farmers Markets in the Bay Area, at the Ferry Plaza in San Francisco as well as the Marin Farmers Market.
They grow and produce almonds, almond butters, jams and spreads, as well as pawpaws, citrus and fresh berries.
DIESTEL TURKEY RANCH, SONORA
We are so fortunate to have a great local source of poultry right on our doorstep so to speak. The Diestel Family is a multi-generation family business producing organic and natural turkeys and turkey products to stores around the country. What I really love about the Diestel family is their strive to do the very best, where quality is not just a word, but integral to their whole operation. And the other really great thing we love about Diestel is that they produce the highest quality compost for us local farmers. Since 2009 we exclusively use compost and cover crops to manage our fertility as do hundreds of local gardens in the area. We offer a wide variety of their products at our store and also can be ordered through our distribution network.
Far West Fungi
Located on less than a mile from the ocean in the Monterey Bay is Far West Fungi. Originally a white button (Agaricus) mushroom farm with multiple buildings housing different stages of mushroom activity.
Arriving a little on the late side I was warmly welcomed by the owner, John Garrone who immediately showed me around the farm.
All of the mushrooms are spawned onto wood mulch (a by-product of the cabinet making industry). Growing mushrooms, depending on the variety can take up to 8 weeks. First the mulch is sterilized, then packed into plastic bags, innoculated with mushroom spawn and placed onto multiple shelving racks that are moved by fork lift from one room to another. While John was busy with a service man I spoke with his son who recently graduated from Davis and is now helping out on the farm. He took me into the "experimental room"which he uses for experimenting with other varieties of mushrooms not yet in cultivation. Trying to mimic a wild environment is tricky and comes with practice, trial and error. He was experimenting with the Bluet mushroom, typically found only in the wild and not currently under cultivation. And it appeared to me that he was having some success.
Back to the tour..the white mycelium begins to run throughout the grow bags and "eat" and decompose the wood chips. The bags are then moved into fruiting rooms, slit open and misted by overhead irrigation. The smell is quite delicious, musky and woody and varies from room to room. Three pickers roam through the different fruiting rooms, each mushroom variety has their own particular condition and are kept separated. On a daily basis they harvest 700 pounds, supplying Whole Foods and distributors, as well as their store in the Ferry Plaza Building, San Francisco and many farmers markets around the Bay Area.
Lastly, the cool storage room where boxes of mushrooms await sale. Besides the shittake and oysters, they grow the Matsutake and Hericium varieties.
This family business is committed and passionate about mushrooms and bringing all varieties to our tables.
Dennis Serpa of Paradise Ranch in Oakdale
Dennis breeds the Dorper variety of sheep that is renown for their supreme meat quality rather than their fiber. When I first met Dennis and his flock last year, I was quite surprised to see that they resembled goats and a far cry from the familiar "Bo-peep" white sheep predominantly seen in New Zealand and grown for their fiber. Dennis is well versed in the technicalities of raising animals on grass and in our first conversation he immediately referenced Joel Salatin, the famous spokesperson for the grassfed movement that is beginning to take a foothold in the diets of many a conscious meat eater.
We are currently carrying his lamb in a variety of cuts: racks, shanks, ground, loin and shoulder chops and a few legs.
In addition to sheep, Dennis grows numerous varieties of almonds. He rattled off the more common Carmel and Nonpareil varieties and some not so common, newer varieties: Butte, Padre, Monterey, Sonora and Wood Colony. Interestingly, many of the newer cultivars were bred right here in the Modesto area, the only almond growing area in the United States and one of a handful of locations throughout the world. Almonds thrive in a climate with a cold winter and a frost free spring. Each variety blooms at a different time, starting with the Nonpareil and Carmel varieties and then continuing with the Butte and Padre. The varieties are paired to maximize pollination and ensure a bountiful crop. Consequently the first of the harvest is the Nonpareil (sounds better if you say it with a French accent). Dennis belongs to a cooperative with 25 other organic almond growers, Big Tree Organic Farms, which process the nuts and package them for wholesale and retail. All of the almonds are certified organic and pasteurized by steam to a temperature of 185 degrees; a practice that maintains flavor and complies with health regulations.
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