Below is a Q&A about what is important to the FTF team, about the state of food, the world in a pinch and their implications and relation to us all. Producers with a Passion: Co-op Reporter
From the Fields:
Q: Your company name says a lot about what you are passionate about as a business. What made you want to start a company with farm friendly & environmentally friendly practices in mind? How did it all begin?
A: It began when I was a young teenager. I transitioned my diet to vegan and sourced my entire food intake to be organic. Back in those days we all bought organic food from farmers in our community. I am now in my 50’s and have engaged in a lifelong journey to eat well in order to be well. Starting a food business was an act of love, of committing my personal values to share with the greater community of the world.
Q: I was very happy to learn that you work with so many local farmers, producers in CA, like Good Humus Farms in Capay! What are some benefits to working with local farmers? Who else do you work with and why?
A: We work with a lot of local and not so local growers. The key is to directly work with the farmer(s) when possible. As I source our foods I have learned that Vanilla is indigenous to Mexico, sesame to Guatemala, Cashews to Brazil. We have a global pallet. So I go to the source and do my best to stay within this hemisphere. Why? Relationships make for healthier communities, even business oriented ones. We become humanized rather than commoditized. We find opportunities to walk our talk. We support purchasing honey from Brazil because there is a humanitarian need for jobs and restoring a deforested ecosystem. The honey has no pesticide contamination because the area is so isolated there is no other large scale commercial farming within hundreds of miles. We support the peoples of these small coops with great pride. I have a story for most every food that we make and sell. All have a unique and wonderful place in our food centric community.
Q: You make organic granola, muesli, oatmeal and more…what is your current favorite variety and how do you eat it? Lot’s of people are cleansing at the beginning of the year, how can they incorporate your products?
A: I eat oatmeal when the weather turns cool. I soak the grains with nuts and fruits overnight and slow cook them in the morning with a bit of maple syrup. No dairy for me but my daughter loves a spoonful of yoghurt or sour cream in hers. Always-seasonal fresh fruit on top. Oats are amazing food. I recommend that your readership read up on how incredibly fabulous they are for our well being as a breakfast or evening food. Oats are a sedative. Filled with nuts seeds and fruits, protein and mineral carriers.
Q: We recently started carrying your Organic Nutritional Yeast, which is very exciting! Please talk a bit about Nutritional Yeast, why it is good to buy it organic, and what its benefits are for the modern eater.
A: There are many. Mostly the yeast is a natural source for protein, minerals and naturally occurring vitamins. It tastes great too. It is sadly more expensive but beats non-organic yeast products that are filled with artificial flavorings, colorings and other additives
Q: Talk about your production and small batch approach.
A: We bake to order every day so that our foods are fresh. We package in non-plastic packaging so what you are eating is fresh and has no exposure of off gassing from plastic.
Q: We carry many of your sku’s in bulk but also have some pre-packaged items. I heard that your packaging is entirely compostable, talk about this.
A: Yes, I believe in the “cradle to cradle” approach to manufacturing and packaging, which includes composting. I recommend reading the book with the same title.
Q: Any rumination’s on GMO’s?
A: Sadly a truth in our agricultural mainstream global food culture. I think that the idea of GMO’s ruminates an ethically bankrupt, greed based affirmation of how far we are willing to go as humans to make a profit off the very thing that sustains us. Mostly by creating unsustainable agro- business practices that rely on the use of harmful chemicals, and that continue to destroy cultural norms of agrarian societies worldwide. Poison is treason. I could go on and on. We are poisoning the planet
Q: New things you are excited about on the horizon? Any gluten-free products in your future?
A: We just launched 5 new GF products. Our best selling Original granola, along with both the muesli and oatmeal that we have been offering have been converted. We are partnering with a farm in Oregon that grows a special hulless oat that is cold rolled raw. No heat, no filtering the grain so it loses the bran and germ and outer layer, which is essential for complete digestion of the grain. We hope to convert all of our foods that contain oats to using this grain as soon as possible. We also sell the raw GF oat in bulk and soon in packaged for grocery. This by the way will redefine the way we have all been eating “rolled” oats for the last 50 plus years in America. The whole grain is much more flavorful, truly, than you can imagine.
Q: Any other thoughts you would like to pass along to our customers going into the New Year? What is From the Fields New Year’s Resolution?
A: Eat Well Be Well. Read, stay informed. Be mindful and be the change you want to see in the world.