I hope to be more prolific in my writing these days, and to say I will be launching a new facebook and blog over a project at KCAA called Farmers Market Watch. On Mondays from 9:45 - 10 am on KCAA I will be talking about one of the many Farmers Markets in the Inland Empire. My reasons for doing this are numerous, not the least to bring attention to my program Real Food Empire, but also because I have been watching with great interest for several years the food scene here in the IE. What fascinates me most is that we have such an agricultural base out here, and yet most of our locally grown food is shipped out of the area, and we ship food in. The other striking thing is that in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, we have some of the largest percentages of obese children and adults in the State. How can this be? Especially since we grow so much incredible food here. I can tell you, I have lived over much of California, including the Bay Area, and I have never tasted such delicious produce, especially Citrus, as I do here. What we are finding is that the local people here often do not take advantage of the bounty that exists, and we have numerous food deserts throughout the county. A prime example is San Bernardino, which used to be a jewel of a city, based on farming, and now rivals Detroit in terms of urban blight, poverty and crime. So we are literally starving ourselves on fast food in the middle of an oasis of fresh produce and small artisan food producers. At a recent meeting of the Redlands Sustainability Network, the topic of food security was a focus for comittees. One of the conversations surrounded bringing Farmers Markets to North Redlands. A member of our group lives in North Redlands, and she said there is no interest in such things because "they are too expensive, the food is seen as dirty." we were told that so much education would be needed before we could even attempt to start up a Farmers Market that it might be a waste of time. Hmmm, having to educate people to eat fresh, delicious food. Shows how far removed we are from our food actually. I chuckled at a sticker on a fast food drive up window that warned people about fish being served there, and I thought, wow, you have enough chemicals and fat in your kitchens to start some sort of terrorist bomb and you are warning people about fish allergies?
In any case, what I will be doing is featuring a weekly update on one of the many delightful Farmers Markets here in the Inland Empire and featuring a recipe on a seasonal produce item I picked up at the market. One week I made a Meyer Lemon Shaker Pie, the next was a dino kale salad with blood orange slices and vinegaretre, the co-hosts on the morning program are hooked to say the least. So tune in and educate yourself on the bounty of what we have here in the IE, as well as what to do with the produce when you buy it. Monday mornings on KCAA 1050 AM or live stream at www.kcaaradio.com