Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Day at Tutti Frutti Farms

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of peeling fresh peas from the garden, pulling warm carrots from the soil, and plucking plump, juicing tomatoes straight from the vine.

My love of real food has only grown stronger since those childhood days.

So when I was invited to the Vons Fresh and Local Produce Tour at Tutti Frutti Farms in Santa Barbara county, I was so excited to have the opportunity to explore a local Californian farm that supplies fresh produce to its neighborhood markets. The farm is beyond beautiful – stretching over nearly 300 acres of sunny California landscape – placed half-way between San Luis Obispo (my old stomping ground) and quaint Santa Barbara.

It was truly a pleasure to meet Chris Caldwell, farmer and owner of Tutti Frutti Farms – a farm given its name by Chris’ wife, Cornelia meaning “all fruits.” Certified organic crops including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and my personal favorite, pumpkins, are nourished to growth at Tutti Frutti Farms and later shipped to local Vons supermarkets where consumers are able to reap the benefits from Chris’ labor of love.
Lisa and I have touched on the topic of sustainable food practices a few times, including our preference for choosing grass-fed animal protein and also cooking affordable organic meals . Yet, my most comprehensive take on the organic food movement is featured here. 
Not only has organic food production gained tremendous momentum within recent years, the local food movement is also gaining ground. A press release from Vons states “Nearly 67 percent of Northern California shoppers believe fresh produce is synonymous with being locally farmed, according to a recent survey by Safeway.”
I’ve touched on the benefits of purchasing locally grown food before too, but here is a brief recap:
Since locally grown produce is often within a day’s drive of its final destination, it can be picked at the peak of growing season. The result? Fruits and vegetables that are nutritionally dense and also packed full of flavor.
Have you ever had the pleasure of pulling a carrot straight from the soil, or biting into a green pepper pulled from the vine moments earlier? The taste and smell is deliciously incomparable.
Not only that, but food tastes simply better when it has a story; and connecting with the hard working farmers that grow our food is the very best way to appreciate the meals that nourish us.
The day at Tutti Fruitti Farms also involved a delicious organic heirloom tomato tasting, in which I came to one simple conclusion. Don’t walk, but run, to your nearest Vons and pick up a Pink Brandywine – a tomato so sweet you think you’re eating tropical fruit.
The tour wrapped up with a farm-to-table lunch my taste buds are still fantasizing about...
 A dish we enjoyed at lunch -- an heirloom tomato salad.
If you would like to receive more information on Tutti Frutti Farms, you can visit their website here.
Photos courtesy of Vons.


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