Small Shifts Can Stop Climate Change

A new academic paper  (Read it here…) points to the fact that we are all writing the climate change story. For example; if we drive less, and seek out climate friendly cars, we provide less financial support for oil and gas companies and conventional car manufacturers. Our choices will portend a new future, leading key players to hesitate before investing in conventional  fuels and cars.

If we choose organic, (chemical and gmo free) foods, we incentivize capital to flow toward organic food and away from processed and artificially engendered foods. “Real food”, sourced nearby and prepared in kitchens instead of factories, can put the stopper back in the bottle of climate change.

A “sensitive intervention point” currently exists around local food systems. Building  and actively supporting local, clean, non industrialized food systems may be the one crucial thing we all can do to bring our situation back from the brink.

Locally sourced unprocessed ancestral or “real” food has a tiny carbon footprint compared to industrialized food. Food transportation’s climate change impacts now include (for example) the climate cost of shipping a salmon caught in Alaska to China for processing there, before returning that same salmon back to the US for sale. This may seem like an egregious example, and it is, but where and when and how we buy salmon will either fund or defund the madness.

The same principle applies to everything you eat. Support for  small organic farms in our immediate surrounding area gives farmers the ability to continue growing food in a manner that allows the soil to sequester carbon. Farms that pasture grazing animals, as well as those growing produce, deserve support. Grazing animals greatly enhance carbon sequestration. More farmers will be inspired to undertake small organic farms and animal pasturing operations when they can provide a living wage for a family.

And if we do it here in Davis, others will see that it works and that it tastes good and can be made affordable and feasible for everyone. It will happen elsewhere and each community will become stronger as it meets its own challenges and finds its own rewards.

Groceries are not just groceries and food is not just food. And you are not just a consumer. Everyone here today writes the story of tomorrow. How we put the pieces together today, with the storm clouds on the horizon, shapes the future of humanity.

We shape our economic forces. We decide who wins and who loses. Basically, if we don’t feed money to destructive forces, they can’t survive. Everybody eats and food is Big. We can, collectively, either take back our climate balance, or destroy it. The  “sensitive intervention point” is here right now.

An FYI on Your Local Food System

Our local food system gets stressed right now, even in a normal year. Farmers fight the weather to plant spring crops, and summer food favorites seem far away. But unusual cold and rain this year have created more daunting delays.

We get spoiled in June/July through late fall. The food that disappears through nature’s revolving door during those wondrously prolific months passes another delightful surprise on its way out.. No more apricots? That’s ok! How about some peaches? Asparagus disappears, but then there are tomatoes! A riot of abundance lulls us into believing the magic won’t ever leave.

In California the magic never really goes away. We have fresh salads and fruit even in the dead of winter ( notice that phrase!). But those tough, resilient farmers out there trying to plant in the mud puddles with one eye on the sky need our support now more than ever. We can’t possibly eat well without their risk and their work.

Even Mexico and Arizona have been hit with severe weather this winter, providing more reason for us to support our local growers. In fact, enlightened self interest demands that we savor the sweetness of the fresh carrots and oranges that are here now, and the healing powers of the beets and nettles and kale. And so much more. Baby romaine, lemons, delicate broccoli, pea shoots, healing mushrooms, parsley, parsnips, and swiss chard. Food of the fortunate, for sure.

Eat Local… Save the World

Appalachia’s children in 1964. They lived in the mountains far from TV dinners and supermarkets. These young people were deemed some of America’s poorest when this video was made. But they clearly enjoyed resplendent health and energy. This is a glimpse into the world of pre-industrialized food. We have lost so much.

The newest initiative at Farmer’s Kitchen attempts to offer you a path to better health and restored climate stability. These are two inextricably entangled issues that came to us on the wings of a historic cultural and technological “disruption” in the mid 1900’s.

Our ancient food culture was turned upside down about 70 years ago. These changes morphed and compounded themselves and now may threaten our civilization itself.

As recently as the 1940’s all food was local and organic. Natural soil amendments, along with skill, wisdom and luck, allowed people to eat and preserve food in cadence with the rhythms of nature.

Then we became enamored of the idea that technology could solve all of our problems. (Beware..this is still going on. If the past is prologue, we should be cautious about the siren song of factory made meats).

“Living better through chemistry, ” a slogan emblazoned on the screens of our brand new 1950’s television sets, promised a wonderful life for all. “The Future,” predicted to be a time of leisure and ease, was expected to arrive before the turn of the century.

Supermarkets and TV dinners popped up suddenly, gleaming with the new idea. The premise that food could be made in factories and shipped pretty much anywhere became a basic tenant of “modern” human existence.

But today we know those big food trucks may not be on the road forever. Large supermarket chains face financial challenges in large part because of “distribution costs,” which are 20 to 30 times higher than they were in 1949. Our oceans and climate are clearly morphing into strangely tortured versions of their former selves, creating a feedback loop that threatens the very sources of our food itself. Supermarket food, now known to carry the risk of chemical contamination and a lack of vital nutrients, may not be worth all this trouble.

We’re looking down the barrel of an obesity epidemic, an autism epidemic, myriad disabilities that keep people from working, historic rates of depression and something weird that makes some people want to shoot everyone they see.

But that promised “Leisure Future” never showed up. We’re all “at a loss for time.” So some version of those TV dinners ( um..that meal kit that comes in the mail from Colorado?) still frequently shows up on our tables.

Farmers Kitchen would like to offer everyone a fresh start with a local organic bouquet of anemones, and some delicious quickly assembled real food meals, and artisanal meal components for your own quick takes on eating real. Come taste the sauerkraut, the marmalade, the corned beef, leek fritters, cilantro sauce, etc! And we’ve found lots of superb just picked, “never saw the inside of a warehouse” produce and other foodstuffs from local farms for you.

New Offerings from the Farmer’s Kitchen Cafe

Help us make this work for everyone! We will reward you with deals and discounts and culinary delights!

Blood Pressure Remedy

Another blood pressure drug is being recalled this week. It contains a chemical deemed to be a human carcinogen.

We prefer remedies we’ve come to think of as “plant based medicines.” Our Central American Street Tonic juice, simply deemed “jugo” in its home countries, could be worth trying if you want to lower your blood pressure.

It contains, among other things, freshly squeezed organic beet juice,  shown to dramatically lower blood pressure. Beets contain nitrates, converting to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide relaxes and dilates blood vessels, and thus lowers blood pressure. One study found that 1 cup of fresh beet juice will lower blood pressure by 10 points in a 24 hour period.

Jugo also contains fresh pineapple, supporting kidney function, and exerting an anti-inflammatory and anti pain effect. The fresh celery in this juice is touted online right now as a profoundly beneficial  “cure all.” We add fresh, in season, local organic oranges, lemons, and carrots…all renowned for wellness benefits.

Jugo is offered in 1 quart jars on our groceries site. Check out all the new meal kit items while you while you are there.


Big Food Truck Hits the Skids?

For the most part we  don’t pay a lot of attention to the fortunes  of Heinz, ConAgra and Kraft Foods,

When I think of Heinz I mostly see ketchup and John Kerry’s wife in my rear view mirror. And sometimes I remember the ConAgra guy, who came into our store  in about 2006. He actually spent a lot of time trying to get me to tell him how to make a gluten free burrito wrap.

Kraft stirs up images of that “food in a box” moment when everyone thought they could dump something dehydrated into a pan, add water and call it dinner.

The world keeps moving on, however., Last week these companies, along with

some other big name processed food players, were forced to write off many billions in market value. This hit Jello, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and hot dogs as well as Kool Aid. Even Warren Buffet got singed by the unexpected drop.

Big Food has been experiencing increased overhead costs related to distribution, as well as a customer drift toward healthier, fresher, more unprocessed foods. Belt tightening isn’t working, and the cost of driving those big trucks around the country has gone up since the late 1940’s, when the whole idea of factory food  came into existence. Gas was about 10 cents a gallon then.

Now we’re realizing  that driving around the country all day in huge trucks with jello and hot dogs and fake cheese and sugary ketchup may not be the best idea we’ve ever had. But now it’s “Our Food System.”

So, how do we get from here back to 1940? It’s a long way, but every one of us can help. We don’t have to wait for politicians. We actually vote, powerfully, every day, with our forks.

We have to relearn how to eat without depending on this outdated, silly idea. Food shouldn’t be made in factories. It should come from nearby, be eaten fresh and presided over by people who care about it a lot.

Heinz Kraft et al seems destined to go down in the big maelstrom that is climate change and fossil fuel dependency. No more jello. More next week.

Eating in Winter

The food on your plate this week could bring us all  closer to a better, safer world, or it could be a harbinger of a nightmare. You, and your fork are deciders.

You  can choose a new world order that offers food from the Southern Hemisphere in the dark days of our winter. Or you can choose cucumbers that sat for three weeks in customs at the Mexican border, because they are out of season here.

This week the choice is stark. Local farmers, whose well went dry in midsummer’s drought a couple of years ago, today find themselves looking out at a vast pond where that produce you ate last week came from. What do we eat now?

It is tempting to take a deep breath and brush past this conversation. Our grocery stores are still overflowing with fresh produce. But, our food system is increasingly fragile. It depends on finite fossil fuel and an increasingly unstable climate. And it is a major contributor to climate change.

So this week we have broccoli soup again and a lovely French celery root salad. And, because we live in California, land of lemons, we have lemon meringue pie and lemon bars. And we have the prospect of some cabbage to make Japanese okonomiyaki. And much more.

And every bite we eat puts us in touch with the totally food centric cultures of all of human history. The practice of eating from, and supporting, local food systems is strengthened, renewed and enhanced as we rediscover and reinvent this older, wiser, safer path. Enjoy!

The Gluten/Casein Free Diet

One of the deep mysteries of our time is the question of why, with living standards higher than ever before in history, so many people in the “developed” world are disabled by inflammatory disorders such as diabetes, MS, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, ADD, autism, irritable bowl, psoriasis, hyperactivity, anxiety and related disorders. The numbers are startling, showing significant jumps, for example, in depression for each age cohort born after World War II.

Americans now in their nineties came of age during the Great Depression and World War II, with great attendant social and emotional trauma. But they had very few depressive illnesses. Baby boomers, born to great prosperity and opportunity, suffered so much affective disorder that their ill fated attempts to live better through chemistry launched a drug culture. And Gen-X’ers (as the boomers’ children call themselves) have taken depressive and affective disorders exponential.

Hyperactivity is a disorder not yet 50 years old, but already some 20% or more of school children are deemed to have it. “Chronic fatigue syndrome” came into being right alongside “yuppie”, (remember it used to be the yuppie flu?) in the 1980’s. And ADD is really a 90’s thing. It would be nice to think that Ciba Geigy created it in order to sell Ritalin, but unfortunately that’s hardly the case. A lot of kids and grownups are seriously afflicted with “brain fog.”

The most stunning deterioration in our nation’s mental health is affecting our children. In the 1980’s one in 2500 children was affected by autism. Today, just 30 years later, the autism rate is one in 100, with some authors finding it to be one in 38. This profound disorder was almost entirely unknown as recently as the 1950’s. Will it be one in 25 children in 20 more years?

An intriguing new theory on the cause of this epidemic of misery implicates evolutionary biology, modern medical miracles and industrialized food production. In its essence the theory proposes that, for very complex reasons, our basic foodstuffs may be slowly poisoning us.

Casein and gluten, proteins in milk and grain, have a strikingly similar molecular structure. Research underway at university medical centers worldwide indicates that certain individuals, particularly those from Ireland, and Scotland, and their descendants in places like Canada, may be so sensitive to these compounds that dietary overloads can damage the digestive tract and, eventually, the central nervous system

Dietary gluten is already recognized as the cause of celiac disease. But new research points to gluten intolerance as a possible causative agent of schizophrenia, autism, multiple sclerosis and depression. Dr. Kalle Reichelt of the Institute of Pediatric Research at the University of Oslo in Norway cited over 200 international scholarly sources in a 1996 paper advancing the theory that schizophrenia, autism and related affective disorders are caused by “food constituents (gluten and casein) (that) may have disease-promoting effects and cause behavioral changes.”

The theory originated in the 1960’s with an American, Dr. Curtis Dohan. He put schizophrenics on gluten-free, casein free diets under double blind conditions and got dramatic results. Many of his patients were able to return home from locked mental hospital wards.

Later studies provided conflicting information, but Dohan, who began his investigations because he knew of mental disturbance in celiac disease, argued that other researchers gave up too soon. Because damaged intestinal mucosa must be given time to heal, Dohan said, the diet should be maintained for at least six months before results are assessed.

Reichelt, in Norway, has recently used new methodology to validate Dohan’s theory. Reichelt achieved dramatic learning and behavior improvements in autistic children with a gluten-casein free diet.

According to Reichelt and others, individuals who lack the ability to completely digest gluten and casein end up with errant biologically active peptides in the intestine and the bloodstream. These peptides damage the intestinal wall, setting the stage for food allergies and malabsorption/ malnutrition syndromes. Stress and other factors play various roles, but some gluten and casein peptides get through the blood brain-barrier and disrupt normal brain function

Reichelt and others found incompletely digested gluten and casein in the urine of children with behavioral disorders. Apparently these “nasty proteins”, gluten and casein, are “opioids”, similar to morphine. They cause havoc in the brain by competing for endorphin (read “feel good”) receptors.

The body responds to these “foreign invaders” as if they were viral, with an inflammatory response, according to the theory. But there is no virus, so the body attacks itself. Inflammation has been blamed for eczema, migraines, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, diabetes and even cancer. Over time the central nervous system may experience damage, possibly setting the stage for degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis. How did this become a disease process of modern civilization?

Rice, millet, sorghum, tubers and corn, the foods of the third world, do not contain gluten. But industrialized societies, in the late 20th century, consume primarily wheat, a gluten-containing grain. The practice of cultivating gluten grains (wheat, barley, oats, and rye) began 10,000 years ago in the Middle East and slowly spread through Europe, finally reaching Ireland in 3000 BC. Even today, high rates of celiac disease and schizophrenia in western Ireland hint that many have not fully adapted to glutens.

And, over the past 200 years, humans have fiddled with genetic selection of wheat, greatly expanding its gluten content, especially in the United States. Today 50% of the protein in wheat is gluten, a characteristic that facilitates bread baking and adapts the grain well to cultivation and harvesting. Is this a cautionary tale about the unexpected consequences of  making even the simplest of modifications to our basic foods? Genetic engineering goes far beyond this in its potential for unpleasant surprises.

Reichelt feels that our diverse modern diet, which relies less on grain than it did even 100 years ago (remember porridge?) results in slow degenerative diseases in sensitive individuals. Chronic depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, ADD, hyperactivity, and other “affective disorders”, may be mixed or hybrid forms, “subsets” of the major neurological disturbances that researchers identify with gluten-casein sensitivity.

Maybe the infection-prone babies whose lives were saved by antibiotics since World War II became the depressed, fatigued and anxious adults of the 90’s. If gluten/casein sensitivity was the underlying cause of a child’s immune problems, one could theorize that it might underly later bouts of depression, ADD, hyperactivity, etc. Today’s senior citizens, on the other hand, survived a time when, typically, vulnerable babies didn’t make it to adulthood.

Perhaps 25 years from now people will say; “Can you imagine, they had no idea that wheat and milk could affect brain function? And all those people sleeping on their streets and filling up their prisons!” It seems foolish… but, then,… it wasn’t so long ago that germ theory and handwashing emerged to save the lives of millions of women who otherwise would have died in childbirth.



Cow’s milk in any form .no cheese, no milk, no yogurt, no ice cream, no conventional butter. What you are doing here is avoiding casein, the protein in cow’s milk lactose free products don’t address the problem of casein intolerance. The one exception to this rule  is ghee or clarified butter. Because the process involved in making ghee, which is called  clarified butter by Europeans, involves removing milk proteins,  this form of butter is acceptable. It is probably a healthier food than hydrogenated margarines, and certainly has better flavor


Gluten in any form this means anything made from the gluten grains, wheat rye, oats and barley. Also no kamut or spelt, as these are also gluten grains. This rules out most commercial breads, pastas and most commercial baked goods. Also Chinese noodles and anything that is breaded (like “fish n’ chips” ) before frying are gluten foods. But rice pasta is great…most Thai food is O.K. because their cuisine emphasizes rice noodles Hidden glutens occur in imitation crab (as in California roll sushi), in soy sauce (substitute wheat free tamari sauce), in packaged foods containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein and malt extracts (Sorry, this includes beer, but gluten free beers are emerging)


All fruits

All vegetables

All eggs

All meats

All fish

All beans







Coffee, tea, wine, brandy

Watch for our new seasonal cookbook series!