Organic food continues to grow in popularity, while the number of places to buy organic food remain scarce in Sacramento. Basic economics would suggest that increasing demand combined with scarcity would set light bulbs off in the minds of entrepreneurs. Instead, Sacramento remains a huge metropolis with high unemployment, a sluggish economy and a place where junk food is omnipresent. You will find all kinds of “office space available” signs at the average strip mall alongside multiple places to buy junk food full of dangerous chemicals such as carcinogens, sodium, hi fructose corn syrup, aspartame, acrylamide and other toxic trash that eventually leads to low energy levels, illness, high blood pressure, obesity and expensive medication.
Historically, Sacramento has been joked about as a “farm town” even though you won’t really find that many real farms, at least not organic farms in the area. In fact, after doing some research I counted less than ten organic farms that sell produce commercially in the area. That does not count the dozen or so farmers’ markets that sell food from various Northern California farms. I use the term “organic” based on the FDA’s definition, which involves their certification. Their definition is not completely pesticide-free, but it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 95 percent pesticide-free, which is probably safer than eating genetically modified food generated by Agent Orange manufacturer Monsanto, whose chemicals are found in a high percentage of mainstream food in the United States.
One of the organic farms I found is Del Rio Botanical, located in West Sacramento. Suzanne Ashworth is the current owner of this 100 percent organic farm that’s been owned by her family for 150 years. The farm supplies food to Community Supported Agriculture members, who buy food in bulk upfront for a few months supply. They sometimes supply food to the Sacramento Co-Op at 1900 Alhambra. The farm offers a wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables, some of which cannot be found in regular supermarkets. Some of their unique crops include lemon basil, banana peppers, purple sweet potatoes and a variety of indigo tomatoes.
Other organic farms in the Sacramento area include Soil Born Farms, Good Humus Produce, Full Belly Farm, Eatwell Farm, Otow Orchard and Plainfield Produce in Davis. The Sacramento Food Co-Op on Alhambra is probably the most famous local store that sells organic food. The term “natural” is not defined by the FDA and can mean whatever manufacturers and marketers want it to mean, including food that’s as fake as the petroleum products found in Twinkies, hot dogs and frozen dinners preserved with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Natural foods can also be as fake as the foods artificially colored with red dye 40, another petroleum product.
So if you feel that you deserve a break today from all the popular junk food restaurants that are now required to issue cancer warnings in nutrition brochures if their food contains acrylamide (found in french fries), then organic is certainly a healthy alternative. Organic blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidants, which help protect the immune system, a major key to a healthy lifestyle. I’m not a nutritionist, but I do trust the nutritionists who say that organic food is healthier than petroleum-based junk food laced with a long list of hard to pronounce chemicals that didn’t exist a century ago. More information about the organic revolution can be found at SacTV.com.