Pamo Valley Vineyards

Promoting Locally Grown Produce

Promoting Locally Grown Produce

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Promoting Locally Grown Produce

Patch.com – Savoring the BackCountry

By Vincent N. Rossi. September 15, 2011

Some Ramona vineyards enter into the ‘San Diego Grown 365’ program through the Farm Bureau.

Edwards Vineyards & Cellars and Pamo Valley Winery are participating in a San Diego Grown 365 campaign through the San Diego County Farm Bureau. Credit Julie Pendray

About a month ago, Edwards Vineyard & Cellars began adding a new visual to its ads in local papers: a deep-red, one might say  wine-colored burst bearing within it the yellow sunbeam-tinged phrase San Diego Grown 365.

Pamo Valley Winery owner Jennifer Jenkin has been displaying the same logo on the homepage of her winery’s website for three or four months, she said.

San Diego Grown 365 is a campaign initiated by the San Diego County Farm Bureau to alert consumers to products produced within San Diego county.

“By using that label you’re supporting local farms,” said Casey Anderson, farm bureau membership and marketing manager. The number 365 celebrates the county’s year-round growing season, Anderson said.

I first heard about the campaign back in January, in conjunction with Mountain Meadow Mushroom Farm in Escondido. Mountain Meadow President Gary Crouch, who sells only to stores within 50 miles of his farm, is committed to encouraging consumption of fresh, locally grown produce. I first saw the San Diego Grown 365 logo displayed at his farm and on packages of Mountain Meadows mushrooms on store shelves.

An article about the campaign in the farm bureau’s March 2011 newsletter caught the attention of Edwards Vineyard & Cellars co-owner Beth Edwards.

Edwards, who also works as a graphic artist, found the logo art particularly eye-catching. After getting more information from other participants, she signed on to the program.

Permission to display the logo requires that produce be 85 percent grown or harvested in San Diego county. This resonated with Edwards, who noted that the county’s Tiered Winery Ordinance requires local vintners to use at least 75 percent local grapes in their wine.

Edwards displays the farm bureau logo on her winery’s tasting patio. She and Pamo Valley’s Jennifer Jenkin are talking up the program among their fellow members at the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association.

“The more of us that come aboard, the more people will know,” said Edwards.

At this point Pamo and Edwards are the only Ramona agricultural operations signed on to the campaign, according to the farm bureau’s Anderson.

Other segments of the farming community are apparently pursuing similar efforts through other channels.

Tom and Mary Page own Page Organics, a certified organic farm on Pamo Road. They sell their produce directly to consumers through their farmstand. They also sell to stores,  such as Jimbo’s and Whole Foods.

When I contacted Tom Page, he said both Jimbo’s and Whole Foods have what he called “internal, locally grown programs.” The stores send out “foragers” to inspect local farms from which the stores buy produce. They post signage in their stores indicating the origins of the products.

Page is an active member of California Certified Organic Farmers, (CCOF). He’s also a member of Slow Food USA, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) and Chefs Collaborative.

“We have our own community and network of support,” he said.

I’ll have more to say on the locally-grown movement and its Ramona practitioners in future columns.

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