I'm a fan of food magazines and websites because I'm always looking for new sources of culinary inspiration to help get me out of my latest food rut. Lately, I've been enjoying the weekly newsletter from Sebastopol's FEED Sonoma. FEED stands for "Farmers Exchange of Earthly Delights." And earthly delights are what the newsletter/produce list is filled with.
FEED Sonoma is a produce wholesaler and distributor that draws from small West County farms, many of which are too small to get picked up by other distributors. The company supplies a who's who of restaurants from Sonoma County to San Francisco. The newsletter is written for produce buyers in restaurants and markets, and reads like an intelligence report on what's popping up in local fields and what's soon to turn up on your plate.
This week's newsletter carries proof of our early spring in the form of edible flowers from farmer Paul Wirtz—fava bean flowers and calendula blossoms. Also on this week's list are fresh bay leaves (the clove-scented "Saratoga" cultivar to be exact), garlic chives and thyme.
This being the start of a new growing season, the newsletter announces the birth of a new crop of baby vegetables—baby fennel, baby radish and baby daikon. But winter vegetables are still in the mix. FEED is offering winter squash from Shone Farm with varieties like New England pie, Long Island cheese and sweet kabocha.
Each newsletters begin with a few words of inspiration written by co-owner Tim Page about what's in season and how we go about building a thriving local food system that can be passed on to future generations.
"We are going to grow our food right next to the source," he writes. "We are going to bring the water in, and we will let the water join the river once again, as it makes its way to the ocean. . . . The cycle is nurtured and honored. . . . People are fed."
Here's to spring and hopefully more rain.
Visit Feedsonoma.com for more information.