Joanne Neft has been eating local since before it was hip. As founder of the Placer County farmers market, it was just what she did. Nearly every Saturday in Auburn, rain or shine, hot or cold, for 20 years Neft has been there, filling bags with fruits and vegetables and plenty of meat to grace her table for the week to come. Now the rest of the world is catching up with Neft, and she welcomes the company.
After years of being urged to “eat fresh, eat local,” residents of the Sacramento region are responding. From neighborhood dinner tables to big institutional kitchens, locally grown foods are in high demand. But every spring, locally grown produce is rotting in the fields of the small family-run farms around the region. Between that abundant supply and the strong demand, the market has broken down. There is no good way to get those crops from the farms to the people who want them at a price consumers are willing to pay.