Those struggling to eat their recommended daily allotment of vegetables should start thinking inside the box, an Ananda Valley Farm box, to be exact.
Nestled among the lush hills at the end of Frenchmans Creek Road, the California certified organic farm offers up some of the freshest, most flavorful vegetables of the season. The secret seems to lie with a formula of restorative, low-till agriculture, biologically alive soil and carefully chosen seeds.
“There was a study that I read that was really quite alarming that in America they show that four out of 10 nursing mothers have Roundup in their breast milk,” said Ananda Valley Farm manager Eric Munro. “So, having organic food is great because it doesn’t have the pesticides in it.”
As concern grows over the quality and nutrititional value of our food, many are turning to Community Supported Agriculture in which produce is purchased directly from the farms.
In many cases, individuals subscribe to a weekly delivery of produce guaranteeing organically grown veggies for the duration of the season.
“We’re a single farm CSA,” said Munro. “Everything we put in our box, we grow right here.”
Almost all of the vegetables in the box were picked within 24 hours. The abbreviated length of time it takes to travel from farm to fork results in the best tasting produce available.
“When you look at most of the vegetables that people find in the supermarket, most of them are quite tasteless,” said Munro. “They have been bred for fast-growing productivity and good looks.”
Looks can be deceiving. Sometimes the best tasting vegetables are not always the prettiest ones.
“We spent the last two years growing a variety of vegetables to find out which ones taste best,” said Munro. “It’s really interesting, because the ones that actually taste best are the ones that grow slower, don’t look as good and aren’t as uniform.”
Take the humble cauliflower, for example. A common commercial strain takes 50 days to grow. An Ananda Valley Farm cauliflower, in comparison, is in the ground an average of 80 days before being harvested.
“A lot of our subscribers have told us that they really didn’t like broccoli or cauliflower, but they really love ours,” said Munro. “This cauliflower grows big heads that may need to be sliced and quartered before they go into the box and they taste much better.”
Another secret lies in the soil. Ananda Valley Farm works hard to ensure the worms live long and prosper.
“We’re trying to grow in the most biologically alive soil possible, or soil that has worms yearround,” said Munro. “Most big farm soil, compared to the live soil, is pretty dead.”
“Another thing we’re doing, probably that I don’t think anyone else is doing, is we’re adding wood chips to the compost,” he continued. “Worms really love wood chips.”
Ananda Valley Farm is currently taking subscriptions for the 2016 CSA season. It is offering 30 weeks of produce from May to November. Two sizes are available. A classic box will feed one to two people per week at $26 a box. A family box will nourish three to five people each week for $34 a box. The boxes can be picked up at locations in Half Moon Bay, Montara, and Pacifica. Order online at anandavalleyfarm.com or call (650) 246-9453.