It is one of the truly great usages of Parkway land and, as this article from the Sacramento Bee reports, it is booming.
“This is the payoff. Harvest time is when all that work literally comes to fruition.
“Eating summer’s fresh bounty offers immediate satisfaction. But you can’t eat it all now. Save some for later.
“For some cooks, this is a new experience, a corollary to rediscovered interest in locally sourced produce or growing our own food.
“For others, preserving fresh fruit and vegetables is a labor of love with skills passed down through generations.
“We need an identification as a region – and food is it,” said Shawn Harrison, founder and co-director of Soil Born Farms. “We’re a food and agriculture region – and that’s a good thing. We need to embrace that idea and revel in our ability to grow food. I’d like to see us celebrate that more.”
“Soil Born Farms is among the local enterprises at the heart of Sacramento’s farm-to-table movement.
“Its 40-acre American River Ranch in Rancho Cordova ranks among the oldest in the area. While still bringing more plots into organic production, the farm grew more than 200,000 pounds of food in 2011.
“More than 2,200 people recently participated in Soil Born’s “Day at the Farm.” Hundreds more attend the farm’s weekend classes or watch demonstrations on gardening, cooking and preservation.
“It’s so exciting to see people get excited about growing their own food,” Harrison said. “We’re trying to create a more edible city.”
“To keep up with demand, Soil Born – through its partnership with the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op – expanded its workshop schedule, completing that circle of food production, preparation and preservation.
“Besides providing fresh produce to the co-op, local restaurants and other clients, Soil Born also is “growing” future farmers. Its apprentice program annually receives more than 100 applications.
“We’re not just a farm, but also a place of learning,” Harrison said.
“Sacramento County’s master food preservers, part of the UC Cooperative Extension, also have seen a surge in interest.
“We just graduated 22 new master food preservers,” said Sacramento’s Cheree Schiele, who staffed the group’s information table at the California State Fair. “It’s the biggest class we’ve ever had. It’s growing.”