Posted inWellness

Trip to Monterey California with Alliance for Food and Farming Recap — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC

After touring the fields, we went to the Taylor Farms processing facility to see romaine lettuce get processed before distribution to various food service companies and restaurants. Reminder that processing isn’t a bad word! In this case, it was being washed, chopped and bagged/boxed. It was fascinating to see the attention to food safety at the facility. When big outbreaks of food-borne illness make the news, I’ve seen where it makes people afraid of the food that was linked to the outbreak. When it comes to food production, certainly, there are some bad actors out there but other times bad things just happen, despite extreme caution. At Taylor Farms, there are multiple additional layers of food safety protocols added as the produce gets closer to packaging. Pro tip: if you’re buying pre-washed lettuce, don’t wash it again at home again, as you’re more likely to just contaminate it with something from your kitchen.

After lunch we had a really fun conversation with the team at Taylor Farms. One of the things I really appreciated was how transparent they were. Sometime when I do industry events there’s a lot of defensiveness, but I really appreciated that they were able to talk really openly about challenges and areas for growth. I loved learning about the work they are doing introducing with more sustainable packaging, especially since it’s a project the company my husband works for is a part of (my husband is a food packaging engineer). We also talked a lot about how climate change is impacting food production. One thing that really blew my mind was learning how because of climate change, many areas are not conducive to organic farming anymore. Some of their production is having to move to more stable, colder weather areas, like Minnesota. As someone who lived through the peak of the buy everything local and organic phase, I knew that was out of touch for consumers, but didn’t realize just how how of touch that was for farming too!

That night’s dinner at the Earthbound Farm Stand in Carmel was one of the highlights of the trip. The farm stand is where Earthbound Farm started back in 1992, and is now a market, cafe, event space, and home to the most beautiful 2 1/2 acre organic garden I’ve ever seen.

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