Category Archives: Sustainable Food Pioneers

Interview With Deep Roots Farm’s Kimberly Bolster

Q&A Part 1 With Local Albany, Oregon Sustainable Farmer
Deep Roots Farm, Albany, OR
Planet Matters Blog Question (1): How are decisions made as to where crops are planted? Besides the obvious, like starters beginning in green houses, or working with the sunlight, how does the family organize things over the many acres of land?

Deep Roots Farm Answer: “Next season’s plan is always in the back of our minds as we are planting crops for our current season. Crop location is mainly determined by what was previously growing in a given location, as we try to always rotate into a different type of crop (e.g.  this year’s tomato field may be planted to spring peas, and then to strawberries in mid-summer).” Continue reading

Draper Valley Farms Profile: Chicken Specialists

Draper Valley Farms Chicken Logo

Is it just me, or is there actually something to the theory that chicken which has been raised in a more humane, sustainable fashion, just plain tastes better. Is that true? Because in my mouth, it does, even if it’s just my brain tapping my morality or whatever, and turning that into flavor, which of course, is possible. Brains are strong muscles capable of strange things, as we can all concede. But the truth is, the chicken might just taste better in a kind of independent way.

These days, with all the hullabaloo about locally raised produce, antibiotic- and hormone-free poultry, and everything else, I don’t think I’m alone when it comes to more people taking a more time in the stores when they choose the meat, chicken and fish that they take home for dinner. We want to know where these products are coming from, what methods were taken in raising the animals, what additives were a part of their lives, and what shortcuts were taken in order to get the products to market.

Maybe shows like Portlandia have blow this out of proportion, portraying skits where people at restaurants take a slightly elevated level of concern and curiosity, and blow that up to ridiculousness where they expect to know the name and biography of the animal they’re about to eat. In the Pacific Northwest, though, we do have some amazing purveyors of meat and poultry, and one of the true standouts among them is Draper Valley Farms, currently in Mount Vernon, Washington, which has been going strong since 1935. Yesterday was National Poultry Day, so we’re going to take a look at this farm, and pass along some of the pertinent info on what they’re doing to produce better chicken. Continue reading

Sustainability Practices in a Restaurant Kitchen

sustainable restaurantSure, the first point of reference when it comes to running a sustainable restaurant comes with the partners that a restaurant chooses to work with. Are they using sustainable agricultural practices? After that, one has to look very carefully at the types of materials that are chosen as part of the inner-workings of the establishment. Cups, silverware, plastic bags — if you’re running a successful operation, then chances are your place is going to be using up a lot of “stuff,” much of which might generally be cheaper if it’s less eco-friendly and ultimately, less sustainable.

So just how can a restaurant operate in a more sustainable manner? What types of things can be dealt with sustainably? Here is a brief run-down of just a few things that restaurants can consider when trying to adopt a more robust policy of sustainability: Continue reading

Local Food Movement Booming: Appalachian Hillfolk Pony Up the Cash for Local Food

Good news for local farmers and locavores–even Appalachian hillfolk are willing to pay for fresh, local food.

Sustainable Agriculture

Appalachia: The Cradle of Sustainable Agriculture?

According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, the “Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project has released estimates that Western North Carolina consumers bought $62 million worth of local food in 2010. That’s a four-fold increase since ASAP started its “Appalachian Grown” certification and branding program in 2007.”

While this exceeds the typical trend towards local foods in most areas, it is likely indicative of the general direction that our national food consumption is taking. Both organic and local food sales have seen increases nationwide; in fact, local food is predicted to reach $7 billion in sales this year. So what does this say about the future of the food industry? Continue reading

Green Company Profile: Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers

Sustainable Coffee Company Provides Fair Wages to Coffee Growers

Sustainable Harvest: Making a Difference in the Coffee Industry

Sustainable Harvest: Making a Difference in the Coffee Industry

Sustainable Harvest is a company that imports coffee with a focus on building sustainable relationships with growers. One of the key tenets of sustainable agriculture is social responsibility–paying fair, living wages to workers that not only benefit the families they go to, but also their communities.

Sustainable Harvest seeks to do just that, having worked with over 200,000 coffee growers and paying more than $200 million to growers in Latin America and East Africa since 1997. As the Sustainable Harvest website states, the company also invests over “60 percent of operating expenses into farmer training, technology, and infrastructure that our supply chain partners — especially smallholder farmers — need to be successful.” Continue reading