Sustainable. Organic. Local. "Farm-to-Table."
There is a lot of talk these days about food and farming practices in the country, but what does this all mean really? How might increased awareness affect the way we eat or how we enjoy our meals? In a country where nearly 25% of all groceries are purchased at Walmart (true statistic), presumably driven by convenience and cost, what are the consequences and responsibilities connected to how we eat? What choices are available to us, and how does what we choose affect our enjoyment? health? impact on the world?
It's an idea that intrigues us. In a country where one can literally find nearly anything to eat that can be imagined (and some questionable choices), including an embarrassing quantity of mass-produced industrial food products, how should we best experience food beyond the simple act of eating for sustenance?
At River Myst Haven, we work to explore the diversity and distinctions of how we can appreciate food and wine by drawing on the abundant local bounty that is available in Sonoma County. We are endeavor to connect with food through how it is grown and produced as an essential part of the experience of River Myst Haven. We make a point of knowing the food, farming and wine cultures of the area so that we may bring the best and most unique of it to our guests. Also, we grow organic vegetables, fruit and herbs for use here in our cooking classes, winemaker dinners, special events, gardening classes, as well as small-scale distribution and donations to non-profit organizations.
Over the last few years we have been slowly expanding the areas we plant with vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers and medicinal plants. It's more than gardening but we're still growing to embrace the concept of farming. We're committed to responsible, organic stewardship of the natural environment, in harmony with native flora and fauna.
People are becoming increasingly interested about where their food comes from and how it was grown (to borrow from Slow Food USA), and specifically what was done to it that might alter it and our experience of it.
An idea, a way of living and a way of eating… that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.
Basically, we have the opportunity to relearn an approach and philosophy to food that used to be the only option—food was grown organically, on a small scale, and eaten locally.
Margaret Mead famously once said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." We are perhaps trying to demonstrate a corollary: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people with a small garden can change the world…" or at the very least how we understand our connection to food.