August 2013

August 29th, 2013

"The milkman brings two-and-a-half gallons of South Mountain Creamery’s freshest to Cynthia Terrell’s Takoma Park home each Tuesday, carefully placing the glass bottles on her front porch before dawn and collecting the empty containers from last week’s delivery.

The scene is like a still life from some 1950s Pleasantville. But the Terrell family’s locally sourced lifestyle is made possible by something far more modern.

Middletown, Md.-based South Mountain Creamery delivers dairy, meat, eggs and bread to an average of 7,000 households a week, a figure that has climbed considerably since the owners ran their first delivery to 13 homes in the back of a Ford Explorer more than a decade ago.

The growth has been a logistical undertaking that requires more than just additional farmland, cattle, equipment, trucks and drivers. Underpinning the all-natural process is a gamut of man-made technologies, from robots that milk the cows to software that maps delivery routes."

Read more from The Washington Post

August 19th, 2013

By Mark Bittman

"I’VE long wondered how producing a decent ingredient, one that you can buy in any supermarket, really happens. Take canned tomatoes, of which I probably use 100 pounds a year. It costs $2 to $3 a pound to buy hard, tasteless, “fresh” plum tomatoes, but only half that for almost two pounds of canned tomatoes that taste much better. How is that possible?

The answer lies in a process that is almost unimaginable in scope without seeing it firsthand. So, fearing the worst — because we all “know” that organic farming is “good” and industrial farming is “bad” — I headed to the Sacramento Valley in California to see a big tomato operation.

I began by touring Bruce Rominger’s farm in Winters. With his brother Rick and as many as 40 employees, Rominger farms around 6,000 acres of tomatoes, wheat, sunflowers, safflower, onions, alfalfa, sheep, rice and more. Unlike many Midwestern farm operations, which grow corn and soy exclusively, here are diversity, crop rotation, cover crops and, for the most part, real food — not crops destined for junk food, animal feed or biofuel. That’s a good start."

Read more from New York Times