Shrinking The Globe: Guillermo and Amber Payet's localharvest.org is making the world a local place.
Buying local is easy with localharvest.org—even from afar.
By Amber Turpin
An Eco-Savvy Holiday
LOCAL HARVEST It's holiday crunch time, and if you're stumped on what to send your cousin in Iowa or your brother in Schenectady without putting thousands of gift-miles on the item in question, have no fear. LocalHarvest links consumers to small farms and producers in their own communities as well as offering a wealth of information through forums, articles and a blog.
Guillermo Payet founded the organization in 1998 after leaving his native Peru and the devastation of civil war. Armed with a vision to come to the web "epicenter" and use the Internet as a positive tool for activism and non-profits, he came to the Central Coast and started LocalHarvest. Today, he tells me, it's "the No. 1 website for local food and organic farming, with 15,000 daily visits, and we're right here in Santa Cruz!" A visit to www.localharvest.org will reveal a map of the United States peppered with farms, restaurants, farmer's markets, grocery stores and other fun places as well as a search engine to narrow down your location of choice. Pick out the perfect gift, local to that long-distance cousin or brother, from the colorful catalog showcasing a myriad of foods, flowers and fibers galore. There's even a "Christmas Specials" link with gift baskets, sweets and festive seasonal ingredients already organized to make the gift-giving and sustainable spending even easier.
GREENERY A rare invitation is being offered to us by Cole Canyon Farm in Aromas. Owners Pamela Mason and Steve Rehn—for whom a shared love of gardening and the acquisition of a five-acre farm culminated in a business of quality-driven garden goods and knowledge—can usually be found selling a large variety of edible seedlings, small plants and vegetable starts at various local farmers markets year-round, including the downtown Santa Cruz and Cabrillo markets. On Dec. 15 they will open their greenhouse to the public for a holiday plant sale from 1 to 5pm. Gift boxes, lettuce bowls and other nurtured greenery will be available at discounted prices. And like any proper open house, "refreshments will be served, rain or shine"; www.colecanyonfarm.com.
BALI HIGH At this time of year, the idea of a tropical vacation sounds just right. Throw in some incredible food-related opportunities and behind-the-scenes discoveries, and I'm about to sign up right now for Cabrillo's Cooking in Bali: A Culinary Excursion in Paradise (July 10—Aug. 8, 2008). Chef Joseph Schultz (our very own Anthony Bourdain, an adventure-seeker minus the cocky attitude) will lead this three-week tour in collaboration with organizer Made Surya of Danu Enterprises. The outstanding list of activities includes culinary classes, coffee and clove plantation tours, visits to local restaurants, a soy sauce factory tour and at least four different markets. The itinerary also provides an intimate look at Indonesian culture with seminars on customs, language, farming systems, history, politics and Hinduism. Local temples, live theater performances, hiking, palaces, family homes, artists—it goes on and on. For more information on the full schedule, visit www.danutours.com or call 831.476.0543. This summer trip filled up last year, so register early through Cabrillo's Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program at www.cabrillo.edu.
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