Dear RFRS Community,
We're excited to share that our #EatSmallFruit campaign got some love and was featured in San Francisco Chronicle this past Sunday! Digital version here. We also want to take a moment to reflect on our experience with you.
As part of our Inspired Action program to rescue the Masumoto Family Farm’s Gold Dust peaches that are deemed "too small" and fragile by the market, members of our community stepped up to find a home for over 1000lbs of this misfit fruit. For the first time in six years, this beautiful heirloom peach variety did not end up in the compost.
// While food waste alternative companies are part of a very quickly growing sector in the food industry, many of which are located in the Bay Area, still, up to 40% of our food goes to waste. This is a serious social, environmental, and economic problem. //
When I bit into a Gold Dust for the first time, with the flesh bursting out of its thin skin and juice sliding down my forearm, my head was dizzy with the nostalgia of a distant taste memory I’d only dreamt about. I wanted everyone I knew to experience this peach’s glory. How could it be that this monumental flavor is left to rot on the tree every year? This is the kind of peach that chefs pay for, that Bay Area foodies would go nuts for, that children will ask for, and that we could easily figure out a way to share it, right?
// Food distribution is a multi-billion dollar industry that selects for us consumers what food we have access to, often based on shelf-stability, size, and other market preferences. Michael Pollan and Dan Barber have written extensively on how most Americans are eating relatively flavorless and nutrition-less food based on this current system. //
Organizing this experimental campaign was a crash course on what it takes to really support sustainable agriculture: to directly interact with the people who cultivate the food that feeds our bodies and souls. The Masumoto Family is part of a small group of farms that are doing something different: growing heirloom varieties that don't have a ready market and harvesting the fruit only if food purchasers can pay to support fair wages for the farmworkers.
We were frustrated to see just how broken is the dominating system, and initially, it was challenging to find food institutions who are willing to pay $2.75-$3/lb for a small fruit that they've never tasted. We are grateful for Airbnb, Google SF, Kitchentown, Stanford University, State Bird Provision to take a leap of faith on us.
We were frustrated to see how we’re slowly losing these taste memories from our past. And yet at the same time, we were incredibly uplifted to find volunteer ambassadors who wanted to connect deeper with their food, their farmers, and their local food purveyors. We were reminded this is what we are working for: for the day when real food is celebrated for its flavor over size, when farmers are supported to experiment and grow for excellence and nourishment, and when eaters can participate at the center of the food chain.
We hope you will continue to participate in this cultural shift with us.
In the wake of Amazon buying WholeFoods, a lot of questions have come up around the future of how Americans will purchase their food and where it may come from. Next Monday, our timely live storytelling gathering features two owners of SF-based Veritable Vegetable, the nation’s oldest distributor of organic produce. (Gathering information here) We are thrilled to hear the story behind a company that started providing access to organic produce before people even knew what “organic” meant. We look forward to examining this and many other issues around how we come to eat the food that’s available to us.