Napa’s Operative for School Food Health

What is Nosh?

Napa’s Operative for School Food Health (NOSH) is the first self-operating food service program at Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) in over 32 years. Transitioning from an outside food service vendor just about a year ago, the program takes a “cooking from scratch” approach to preparing food and introduces new, fresh recipes to students. The program dedicates itself to serving healthy options for breakfast and lunch, so that all NVUSD students have access to fresh, sustainable, whole food.

Currently, the program operates on a limited menu, serving two items per day, including a vegetarian option. It also hosts a daily salad bar, 97% of which is locally grown or sourced within California. To reinforce eating healthy food, the program does not serve foods containing high fructose corn syrup, or large amounts of sugar. NOSH also sources locally processed, hormone and antibiotic free, proteins and has removed single packaged items from the menu to reduce waste and be more sustainable. As NOSH continues to grow and expand its menu, the program will open its Central Kitchen later this year, a place where the quality food will be stored, prepared, and additional food services will be provided.

Getting Students and Parents Involved

For NOSH to be successful, students need to eat the food being served, which is not always the food that kids want to eat. NOSH aims to bridge this gap with the Harvest Month Program, which hosts tastings of fruits and vegetables each month for students to try. Additionally, it hosts “Rainbow Days” and encourages students to try foods of different colors, receiving fun prizes for doing so.

Parents are also encouraged to be involved with NOSH. The district has a School Food Parent Advisory Committee that meets regularly and has Spanish translators for non-English speaking parents. This committee updates parents on the program’s plans and they in turn provide feedback. Additionally, schools in the district host barbeques and invite parents to eat the food their children eat. This not only helps parents stay more involved, but also helps them set an example for their children and builds a sense of community.

Access for all students

NOSH aims to provide the healthiest, freshest food possible to all students in the district, especially those that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. NVUSD has a 52% free and reduced school lunch population which continues to grow. There are also four Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) areas in the district that qualify for free breakfast and lunch options to enrolled students due to low-income status without collecting household applications.

Get Involved

NOSH is working to ensure that all NVUSD students have access to nutritious, fresh food. The program is expanding its menu, process, and space, but it needs the continued support of students and parents to keep going! If your child goes to a school in NVUSD, learn more about NOSH and explore yummy daily menu items that your kids will enjoy!

Pack A Healthy Lunch Your Kids Will Love!

Preparing Healthy, Quick and Easy Lunches

The school year is quickly approaching for students, teachers, and parents and packing daily lunches are now on the agenda. With a busy family, traditional bag lunches can be an afterthought, being poorly balanced, boring and not eaten during school lunchtime. Fear no more – there are many ways to plan and prepare healthy, quick, affordable, and easy lunches to get everyone ready for back to school!

Fresh Bento Lunch Box

Mix It Up with Bento Boxes
Bento box lunches are quickly gaining popularity with kids and parents. This fresh take on the brown bag not only makes lunch look good, but can also help lunch taste good, too! Bento boxes are a great way to add variety and keep lunches balanced with healthy and yummy options for kids and adults. Compartmentalizing the food may also appeal to those picky eaters as well. Not only that, bento boxes are very economical, easily accessible and cut down on lunch waste like plastic sandwich bags.

Lunches Kids Can Pack
Packing school lunches doesn’t have to be stressful. Involving kids in the process can teach them independence, responsibility, and about choosing healthy food. With a little preparation, it can be a super fun activity! The key to involving kids in the lunch packing process is teaching them to prepare meals ahead of time and choosing easy recipes to try out on their own.

Meal Prep to Save Time and Money
A great way to make lunch packing a breeze is to meal prep during those Sundays afternoons. Making certain foods in larger quantities that can be eaten throughout the week not only saves money, but will make it easier to plan and pack, and it’s something your little ones can even do on their own! Check out your local farmers market for in-season produce and other local foods packed with vitamins and nutrients. Some ideas include: pasta salads, hard boiled eggs, savory muffins, roasted seasonal vegetables, and overnight oats (hey, sometimes breakfast is on-the-go, too!).

Nutritious School Snacks

Best School Lunch Ideas:

Here are some nutritious school lunch ideas that are kid-friendly, parent approved.

#1 Good ole’ sandwiches: These are always easy for kids to make, but the process can be fun by using cookie cutters and making cute shapes out of them. Whole wheat turkey or peanut butter and jelly sandwich halves, carrot strips, fruit, edamame, and fig cookies. Looking for a fresh fruit preserve? Purchase your favorite in-season flavor at your local farmers market.

#2 Yummy leftovers: Make good use of last night’s dinner by adding it to a school lunch bento box! Maybe it’s leftover chicken cut into strips, sliced tomatoes, multigrain crackers, fruit, and some chocolate covered raisins for their little sweet teeth!

#3 Hearty salads: Salads are easy to throw together and you can add almost anything to make it enticing for kids. Try a taco salad with shredded chicken or a hardboiled egg for protein, beans, three-cheese blend, and corn. Add some fresh berries and granola or nuts to round out the meal.

#4 Pizza wraps: Use whole wheat tortillas and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce, then layer with pepperoni slices, chopped veggies, and mozzarella cheese. Roll up, fold the edges and voila!

Kid Friendly Lunches

#5 Quesadilla roll ups: Use whole wheat tortillas, spread a three-cheese blend and a light layer of shredded butter lettuce. Warm up in the microwave for 30 seconds at home and roll up, putting it in an insulated container (some schools also have microwaves children can heat them up in). Add guacamole and a cucumber salsa for added flavor and fresh strawberries for a sweet dessert.

Find ingredients at your local farmers market now.

Explore Now

#6 Do-it-yourself lunchables: Hard boil two eggs and assemble baby carrots (or slice regular carrots), ranch or greek yogurt dip, pretzels, and applesauce for a fun take on the favorite – Lunchables! Hint: substitute carrots or dessert snacks for in-season, local produce. Check out ways to find local produce.

Balanced Lunch Recipes

#7. Pasta salad: Easy to make in bulk and loved by even those picky eaters, pasta salad is a great way to include vegetables and healthy fats for a nutritious meal. Try a BBQ chicken salad which includes bowtie pasta, rotisserie chicken, green onions, black beans, corn, cheddar cheese chunks, and a yummy ranch BBQ sauce mix. Make sure to use hardy pasta that is not overcooked, or it may be unappetizing for your kiddos. With endless possibilities, you can’t go wrong!

#8. Carrot and walnut muffins: A great way to sneak in extra veggies can come in the form of muffins! Check out the step-by-step muffin recipe, which use carrots, apples, cinnamon, and walnuts. It’s a yummy and sweet addition to any lunch!

Kid approved snack lunches

#9. Homemade trail mix: Another recipe that can be made in a variety of ways is trail mix. Adding nuts, dried fruits and other sweets is an easy and nutritious snack for kids. As an idea, gather mixed nuts – walnuts, almonds, and cashews, banana chips, raisins, small chocolate kisses, dried papaya, and coconut strips for a flavor infused pick-me-up your kids (and even you!) will enjoy.

#10. Lunch drinks: Choosing the best drink to go with your child’s lunch will round out a healthy lunch. Water is possibly the best choice for kids since it is full of minerals and does not have any sugars or artificial sweeteners. To get that calcium in, milk and yogurt drinks are also an option, as well as fortified non-dairy drinks such as almond milk, soy milk, or oat milk. Bringing these drinks in a thermos or reusable bottle is also a great way to reduce waste.    

A few more tips to consider:

  1. Stick yogurt cups in the freezer over the weekend and drop them in school lunch boxes each morning. They will keep the lunch cool and thaw by lunch time.
  2. Make sure to spritz lemon on freshly cut fruit and avocado to avoid browning and becoming unappetizing for kids.
  3. Nuts are a great source of protein. If allowed at your school, add them into the mix (see trail mix recipe above) to ensure your child is getting all the nutrients!

With endless possibilities, all you need is a little school meal planning and a little help (from your kiddos) to make real food into fast, fun, and nutritious lunches. Hopefully these kid-approved lunch ideas will inspire you and your family this school year!

 


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Gardening Season 2018 Tips

It’s gardening season! Gardening offers a variety of benefits such as moderate exercise, added exposure to Vitamin D, and elevates overall mental and physical health. In addition, gardeners are more likely to consume the fruits and vegetables they produce, adopting sustainable food practices and contributing to their local food system. Learn the ins and outs about growing different types of vegetables, California native plants, and fruits through these great resources provided below. From beginner to pro, these gardening tips will ensure a bountiful 2018 for all.

Step 1
Spring Cleaning and Organizing
First things first, start by cleaning and organizing your gardening space. Clearing up last season’s weeds, raking dead leaves, and removing diseased plants will freshen up your garden and make it ready to grow new life.
Step 2
Your Tools
Before delving into planting, take stock of your current tools and identify new tools you will need. Sharpen your cutting shears, tune up your lawn mower, and dust off your gloves. Next, head to your nearest nursery to purchase new tools and plants for this season. Napa County residents can check out the local Orchard Supply Hardware, Mid City Nursery, Van Windens Garden Center, and Central Valley Garden Center and to stock up!
Step 3
How to Plan for your Space
Take some time to map your garden space to ensure a successful growing season. Draw it out at first if it’s helpful. Learn about which plants to plant together or how to divide perennials. Remove undesired plants or shrubs and arrange for the safe removal of trees as needed. Journal about your garden to keep track of it throughout the season.
Step 4
Ins and Outs of Composting
Know what to compost and what to throw away in the trash. Plant debris, dried leaves, and grass clippings can be composted and used to fertilize next season’s soil. Support earthworms, pill bugs, and other decomposers by providing the best conditions for them to thrive and do their job. And definitely throw away diseased and rotted plants and weeds. Learn more about composting here.
Step 5
Be Water Wise
When planning your garden, it’s important to conserve water when possible. Choose native plants that can thrive in their natural environment. Make sure your soil is healthy and moist. Know when to water your plants and the right amount for each type. Finally, learn about the best techniques and tools for watering your plants.
Step 6
Healthy Soil and Fertilizing
Healthy soil is the cornerstone for a thriving garden. To maintain it, test your soil to identify the nutrients it needs. Then, apply mulch and fertilizer to balance pH levels, mitigate diseases, and retain moisture. Add organic materials such as compost or manure before you begin planting. Learn more here.
Step 7
How to Start Seedlings
Can’t wait for frosty nights to end so you can get gardening? You don’t have to! Get ahead for the growing season by starting your seedlings indoors about six weeks before the last frost. Check out the Farmer’s Almanac for more tips for starting seeds indoors.
Step 8
Natural/Organic Remedies for Dealing with Pests
Even the healthiest of gardens have pesky pests and fungus growth. Check out these natural remedies that you can make at home and are environmentally safe to use in your garden.
Step 9
Best Plants for Napa County
Napa County gardeners should definitely consider these crops and plants in their garden this season: artichokes, arugula, asparagus, cabbage, beets, herbs, kale, and more!
Step 10
Garden Calendar
For more ideas on what to plant in your garden, check out this month-by-month guide to success in the garden.

 

Hungry for more great gardening and local food system tips? Sign Up for our eNewsletter and check out the links below!


Resources

6 Unexpected Health Benefits of Gardening
10 Essential Spring Gardening Tips
12 Homemade Natural Remedies for The Vegetable Garden
14 Simple Gardening Tips and Tricks
20 Essential Spring Gardening Tips
A month-by-month guide to success in the garden
Garden Calendar
Month-by Month Guide from Sunset Magazine for Norcal
CUESA Cultivating A Healthy Food System: Seasonality Chart

Benefits of Community Service in Napa County

It’s 2018 – time to put those well-intentioned new year’s resolutions to the test! If you’ve thought about giving or volunteering, those actions offer many benefits for those who get involved to donate their time, resources, or skills. Volunteers and donors experience increased happiness, pride, satisfaction, and accomplishment by doing for others. Additionally, those who volunteer throughout their lives tend to be healthier because they engage in activities that keep them physically active and socially connected. By leading healthier, happier lives, these community members tend to make giving a way of life, benefiting themselves and their communities. The great thing is that you can choose how to give back, based on your beliefs, morals, and principles. There’s no wrong way to give back, no better time to get started than now, and no better way than being a part of Napa County’s thriving local food system!

Napa food partnerships, nonprofits and community organizations help reduce food insecurity by providing greater access to fresh, seasonal meals to those that can’t otherwise access it. Supporting these organizations is a great way to support the local food system and our local community. The following organizations, shelters, and community gardens offer ways to get involved, either by volunteering time or donating funds to close the food security gap. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to be a part of something greater and reap the benefits. Improve your well-being and that of others by participating in Napa County service organizations. Keep Napa Strong!

Napa County’s Food System Service Organizations:

Community Action Napa

Community Action Napa Valley (CANV) dedicates itself to providing resources, shelter, food, and/or care for disadvantaged families and seniors to increase their self-sufficiency in Napa County. There are a variety of programs that CANV offers including Meals on Wheels for Seniors, a food bank network that offers produce, canned and dry food, dairy, and meat products, and Friday Free Markets held at various locations that offer fresh, seasonal produce to the Napa community on a regular basis. Additionally, CANV offers Congregate Meal Sites for seniors to gather around a warm meal and socialize with one another.

In addition to these great programs, CANV also offers child development support through CANV kids, anti-tobacco programs, and culinary training opportunities for skills-development.

There are a variety of ways to support CANV. You can volunteer your time by transporting meals to people’s homes, help someone shop at the food pantry, or share talents or professional services. If you are able, you can also donate money or a vehicle. Contact CANV to get involved in Napa’s local community!

The Table

The Table is a Napa community service organization that partners with other local groups and eateries to provide a warm, nutritious meal in a safe space to those in need. The organization is dedicated to combating food insecurity as many groups in need find it difficult to make ends meet with rising prices in Napa County.

The Table takes both volunteers to help prepare and/or serve food as well as donations. With over 600 volunteers giving back annually, the fight to reduce food insecurity in Napa County and provide better access to a warm meal is made possible. Fill out their contact form to begin the volunteer process!

South Napa Shelter

Sunday Supper at South Napa Shelter offers a warm meal every Sunday to people who are at risk or already homeless. With volunteers consisting of students, parents, and others, local eateries prepare and donate food from their restaurants to the shelter.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of activities including searching for Napa eateries willing to donate food as well as preparing and serving meals. Participants can register with the County to volunteer for Sunday Supper. To learn more, contact Joy Hilton at Joy.Hilton@countyofnapa.org.

Volunteering in Napa community gardens is another great way to give back and help combat food insecurity. There are many gardens that donate their produce to local shelters and community organizations.

Napa County’s Community Gardens:

Napa Valley Can Do

Napa Valley Can Do is a grassroots community service organization that not only hosts a “done-in-a-day” and other family-friendly volunteer events, but also has a CanDo CanGrow program. This program joins community volunteers and Napa County Master Gardeners in growing fruits and vegetables that are donated to the Food Pantry and Napa Food Bank.

In 2018, the CanDo CanGrow garden will move to a larger plot of land behind the Covenant Presbyterian Church. In partnership with Latinos Unidos, it will create a new beautiful garden and is seeking support for many activities such as moving garden equipment, preparing soil, installing a garden shed and raised beds, and much more. If you’d like to donate your time or money, please contact Karen Garcia at (707) 224-5847 or karrenkg@gmail.com or email CanDoCanGrow@gmail.com.

St Johns Lutheran Mission Farm

St John’s Lutheran Mission Farm was launched in 2009 and dedicated to providing nutritious and locally grown produce to the Napa County Food Bank, and other charitable organizations. This year alone, the farm produced 14,861.5 pounds of produced and is the largest contributor to the Napa County Food Bank. In order to produce the abundance of crops that it does, volunteers are needed to work the farm from tilling, planting, weeding, and harvesting. Workers are at the farm every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday from 8:30am to 12:00pm. To get involved, contact missionfarm@stjohnslutheran.net.

The Covenant Garden is another garden that donates its produce to local organizations dedicated to feeding those in need. It thrives off of volunteers willing to work the garden and do other activities. To volunteer here, please contact Barbara Pahre at (707) 224-7129. More than ever, the Napa community needs people that want to make a difference and give back to others. By either getting involved in Napa County food nonprofits, community gardens, or any organization you can help make it happen and enjoy the benefits of living a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. Make a difference by getting involved today!


Sources

How Does Community Service Benefit the Community?
What Is Community Service?
Napa school families bring supper, and service, to homeless shelter

Napa County’s Neighborhood Eateries

Experience Our Local, Sustainable, and Fresh Bounty

Farm-to-Table Curious? The Farm-to-table movement supports growing and/or sourcing local ingredients and serving them in restaurants, eateries, public markets, and school cafeterias. This social movement is gaining traction as more people want to preserve small-family farms growing fruits and vegetables and value protecting the environment through sustainable agriculture. Farm-to-table also creates transparency around where food comes from and helps the general public contribute to the local food system while also enjoying dining out.

Napa County is home to some of the best farm-to-table restaurants, eateries, and markets for all types of cuisine and at all price levels. The places highlighted below are farm-to-table pioneers, local favorites, community advocates, as well as must-try destinations for visitors. There are many more farm-to-table eateries in Napa County beyond those listed here and we hope this sampling will whet your appetite to experience them all!

Oxbow Public Market

Oxbow Public Market is Napa County’s premier market and a favorite gathering place for locals and visitors alike. It is dedicated to providing a communal space to socialize and enjoy sustainably made products sold by local merchants, crafters, and food producers. Located in the Oxbow District in Napa, it encompasses over 40,000 square feet with gorgeous outdoor seating overlooking the Napa River.

You can spend the better half of a day at the market, browsing book shops, tasting wine and artisanal cheeses, and even taking a cooking class! Make sure to check out some of the market’s great vendors: Hog Island Oyster Co., Kara’s Cupcakes, Napastӓk, Ritual Coffee, and The Olive Press.

Mustard’s Grill

photo of an entree at Mustard's GrillAnother culinary can’t-miss is Yountville’s very own Mustard’s Grill, named after the mustard flowers that flourish every spring in Napa Valley. For over 30 years, Mustard’s Grill has specialized in New American cuisine for Napa County locals and curious visitors interested in delicious, eco-conscious fare. The restaurant boasts a large onsite garden which inspires chefs to create tasteful and seasonal dishes.

Offering favorite dishes such as fresh fish, herb marinated rabbit, smoked duck, and chalkboard pasta in addition to a great selection of Napa’s finest wines to wash them down with, this restaurant will taste good and make you feel good eating there, too!

Eight Noodle Shop

photo of a dish at Eight Noodle ShopIn the mood for homemade noodles and ramen, and fresh ingredients? Enjoy a wonderful ambiance of indoor or outdoor seating at Eight Noodle Shop! With great service, reasonable prices and more importantly, delicious cuisine such as: tuna tartar, crispy squid, chilled rice noodles, and over six ramen options, it’s quickly become a local favorite.

Grace’s Table

photo of food from Grace's TableStep into France, Italy, or the Americas right here in Napa. This globally inspired restaurant specializes in home-style comfort food from around the world. Offering a robust menu spanning from breakfast to dessert (and let’s not forget the wine!), Chef Mauro Pando uses seasonal, local ingredients in his dishes to make them tasty. Recognized as a “Michelin Bib Gourmand” restaurant, Chef Mauro aspires to make Grace’s Table a fun, family-friendly restaurant for both Napa residents and visitors to enjoy.

Foodshed Pizza and Pasta

photo of pizza from Food Shed Pizza and PastaFoodshed Pizza and Pasta was born out of a commitment to promote Napa Valley’s natural foodshed by boosting the people, products, and resources that contribute to the local food system. Offering a wide selection of pizza, pasta, salads, and desserts, as well as beer, wine, and cocktails, Foodshed provides the opportunity for dining locally and sustainably at affordable prices. Additionally, Foodshed aims to help at-risk youth and young chefs through their culinary internship program which prepares them for real-world opportunities. If eating here doesn’t feel good, we don’t know what does!

Food Truck Market

photo of sliders from Marks the Spot Food TruckMarks the Spot Food Truck
Offering catering, wedding, and event planning services, Marks the Spot also runs a food truck for casual events and dining. Using fresh, local ingredients from the farm, vineyard, and sea, Marks the Spot has a wide array of elegantly presented delights such as fried chicken sliders, mac and cheese, classic caesar salad, and french fries.

CrossRoad Chicken Food Truck
Open “almost every Thursday from 11am to 1pm on Airpark Road,” CrossRoad Chicken sources their food locally whenever possible. In fact, their their weekly menu of yummy fare changes due to the seasonality of their ingredients.

photo of tacos from Taco Addiction Food TruckTaco Addiction Food Truck
If you are looking for another yummy food truck to feed your friends and family, check out Taco Addiction at the Century Center Food Corral. Offering hand made tortilla tacos, quesadillas, rice, beans, flautas, and tostadas, this local favorite is guaranteed to make you come back for more!

Your farm-to-table adventure begins now!

Now that you’ve read about some great places to dine, go try one! Feel good knowing that you are contributing to community merchants and businesses and Napa’s local food system all while enjoying savory eats! If you’re inspired to find more locally grown food, check out our recommended list!

Cooking Socially and Sustainably

What’s Sustainable Cooking All About?

Sustainable cooking is the practice of sourcing produce, meats, and dairy products that were grown in an ecological and ethical manner and using them as ingredients in your meals. Growing food this way is called sustainable agriculture and it’s one of the first steps to cooking sustainably.

Healthy livestock that are pasture-raised roam freely in their natural environment, eat grasses, and appropriately digest their food. Pasture-raised livestock are less likely to be given antibiotics and their meat, eggs, and dairy products are more nutritious compared to their large-scale industrial counterparts.

In-season and Sustainable Foods Taste Better

Purchasing seasonal, sustainably grown crops will also boost flavors. Food that is in season is fresher, tastes better, and does not need to be transported long distances to get to your table. In Napa County, many of these products can be purchased locally at farmers markets, farm stands, and even on the farms and ranches right where they were grown.

In Napa County, it’s easy to find local, fresh food

There are a variety of markets and grocery stores that have stands dedicated to local products. From the American Canyon Farmers’ Market and Calistoga Farmers’ Market, to the Brown Valley Market, Napa Whole Foods, Napa Raley’s, and various farm stands, there are many options to choose from! Find out where your local market is and when it’s open.

In addition to shopping for your favorite, fresh ingredients, consider growing them as well. Backyard gardens are a great way to know where your food is coming from, and really enjoy the fruits of your labor! Additionally, community gardens offer similar benefits all while working side-by side with your neighbor and other members of the community. Check out ways to participate.

Cook Sustainably for a happier, healthier life

Cooking sustainably can lead to a healthier, environmentally and socially conscious lifestyle. Sustainably grown food can be fresher, tastier, more nutritious and less processed (if at all). These products generally come from local food sources that prioritize reduction of negative environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, pasture-based systems let their animals feed on natural grasses and let their manure act as fertilizer, reducing their carbon footprint. Learning how you can make an impact with food choices and inviting your family and friends to the kitchen or joining a cooking class makes cooking a fun, social activity.

These days, purposeful actions are key. Cooking sustainably is purposeful, at every step of the way. From shopping at your neighborhood market and chatting with your local farmer, to choosing fresh, seasonal ingredients, to cooking at home with loved ones, these all contribute to an intentional activity centered around health and sustainability.

Let’s Get Cooking!

Napa County offers a variety of cooking classes. This is a great way to kick-start your sustainable cooking adventure while meeting like-minded folks along the way. Try new and healthy recipes using local ingredients and take them home to family and friends. Check out the Silverado Cooking School, CIA at Copia, Gourmet Retreats, or the Oxbow Market Tour and Cooking Class with Julie to find your next experience!

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Community Benefits of Local Markets

Local markets offer many advantages to the communities they serve, especially in the agricultural hub of Napa County. Shoppers will find a variety of seasonal food that is usually more affordable and sustainable. These markets not only support the community by providing greater access to locally grown foods, they boost the local economy by supporting local farmers, ranchers, and businesses. So what are you waiting for? Find your nearest local market!

Need a few more reasons to shop local? Read on!

The food is higher-quality

One benefit of shopping at local markets is that you have access to fresher, tastier, nutritious whole foods! Because local markets source their products from farms close to the communities they serve, they provide them with locally cultivated fruits and vegetables as well as products like organic honey and beeswax, nuts, and baked goods. Local fruits and vegetables, particularly, are picked at the height of their ripeness, usually more vivid and colorful, and tend to taste better than their supermarket counterparts, some of which may have had to travel great distances.

Local farms favor cultivating a range of crops offering consumers a greater variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from. In contrast, large, industrial farms only grow specific crops sold at grocery stores. Having a variety of seasonal produce available at local markets is beneficial to the community because they then consume the freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious whole foods.

It’s affordable and sustainable

Since they sell directly to the consumer, local markets usually price their food products, especially fruits and vegetables, at lower prices than grocery stores. This makes shopping at local markets more affordable and accessible for every budget. The Napa County Eat, Move, Read Program by Women, Infants, and Children Food and Nutrition Service (WIC) provides eligible participants with healthy eating education sessions and vouchers to local farmers markets. Also, through CalFresh, eligible participants can buy food at farmer’s markets using their debit card and some markets even double CalFresh dollars, allowing consumers to stretch their budget. Programs like this help support families at varying income levels by providing equal access to affordable, local, and healthy food.

Purchasing foods at local markets guarantees that you are getting involved in Napa’s sustainable food system by making socially and environmentally responsible purchases. It also means you are participating in sustainable practices and supporting others that do as well, such as farmers, ranchers, and local businesses. Choosing local is also good for the planet and can help reduce your carbon footprint. Because farms and ranches are often located in close proximity to local markets and their communities, there is less travel involved in transporting their food products – which means less fossil fuel emissions and better air quality.

Build a stronger local economy & community

Supporting local agriculture, farmers, ranchers, and businesses means local markets are investing in local success. They foster the opportunity for local buyers to connect with local growers and create a more connected, tight-knit community. It’s a great feeling to know where your food is coming from and who is growing it. If local growers and businesses are supported by their community, they will thrive. It’s a win – win for everyone!

In the spirit of community connection and supporting your local economy, participate in National Small Business Week, taking place April 30 – May 6, 2017! With spring finally here, it’s the perfect time to visit your favorite local market, purchase delicious and nutritious food, and support your local farms and businesses.

Connect with your local market!

Are you wondering where to find your local farmer’s market, public market, farm or stand that sells locally grown food? Check out our Find Food page for a comprehensive list of all the local markets in Napa County, their locations and hours of operation.

It’s time to pack your reusable bags and baskets and shop local!

Want more info and tips like this?

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Time to Indulge Your Inner Foodie – Restaurant Week 2016

The Napa Valley offers a wealth of farm-to-table restaurants for indulging your inner foodie with sustainable deliciousness and Restaurant Week (January 24th – 31st) is a great time to try something new! There are so many great restaurants here that we can’t begin to list them all, so we’ve given you a few options to consider, no matter where and when you find yourself in need of a Napa Valley nosh!

In Napa, you can check out Grace’s Table, where Chef Mauro Pando shares his passion for the global kitchen, using locally sourced products to create delicious and nutritious dishes to please your palate. Offering everything from cornbread to fish tacos, Kobe beef to tamales, you’re sure to find something everyone will love at this popular spot on Second Street. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Heritage Eats is the place to go for unique combinations of global comfort fast food with an emphasis on heritage breeds and small farms. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite before shopping or a casual lunch on the patio, you’ll find it here. Located in the Bel Air Plaza and open daily from 11am to 8pm, you can choose from a healthy selection of salads, wraps and sandwiches or create your own combinations to eat in or take out.

Another Napa restaurant serving great food from local and sustainable sources is Kitchen Door, located just outside the Oxbow Public Market. Chef Todd Humphries works his culinary magic on a variety of simple but ingenious ingredients (think multi-ethnic comfort food) and you get to enjoy the enchanting results! Open daily for lunch and dinner, with a great weekend brunch.

La Taberna on Main Street in Napa offers a wide array of Latin-infused flavors. Inspired by classic Spanish taverns, they embrace the natural bounty of northern California in true tapas style and their chalkboard menu always starts with Jamon Iberico de Bellota, a delicious ham arranged on a cutting board with toasted bread. Enjoy a delicious Basque seafood stew, lamb chops with a Moroccan barbecue glaze or a braised oxtail empanada. They’re open daily for lunch and dinner.

If you’re looking for southern Italian recipes made with the freshest local ingredients, look no farther than Oenotri in downtown Napa. Serving dinner and desserts daily, with a weekend brunch, their self-described “seed to table” cuisine reflects a deep connection with the seasonal abundance of the Napa Valley. Using what they harvest from their own garden and as a founding member of the Napa Chefs Co-Op Garden, the restaurant is able to source up to 80% of the produce featured on their menu.

Zuzu in downtown Napa is a Main Street staple for small plates with exotic flavors to tempt your taste buds and wake up your palette. Enjoy your seasonal tapas alone or share amongst your group, they offer both hot and cold selections of unique dishes featuring seafood, beef and lamb. If you’ve still got room for dessert, you can try the Pastel de Tres Leches with Carmelized Bananas or an apple empanada.

Farmstead in St. Helena offers delightful and sustainable Napa Valley cuisine using the very best ingredients; organic produce, grass-fed beef and lamb, extra virgin olive oil, Cabernet Sauvignon red wine vinegar, grappa, honey, and more are proudly incorporated into the seasonal, ingredient-driven American farmhouse cooking of Executive Chef Stephen Barber. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with a delicious Sunday brunch. If you go Friday thru Sunday, you can check out the mini Farmers Market after your meal and take home some delicious fruits and veggies.

The Harvest Table in St. Helena is Chef Charlie Palmer’s Wine Country kitchen featuring the best locally sourced ingredients. With five culinary gardens growing hundreds of seasonally rotating crops, (not to mention the two bee colonies assisting with propagation that will eventually provide honey for the restaurant) they’re proud supporters of Napa Valley’s legendary agricultural heritage. They consider relationships with each artisanal producer to be part of their culinary identity and strive to create dishes that pay homage to all that is local. Open daily for lunch and dinner, with a hearty weekend brunch.

In Yountville, a visit to Bottega will surely make you a fan of Chef Michael Chiarello’s scrumptious artisanal and house made ingredients, as well as the local produce. Part of the historic Vintage Estates in one of the oldest wineries in the Napa Valley, they’re open for lunch, dinner, and after dinner. Enjoy your meal in one of the fine dining rooms or outside on the covered Terrazzo with two wood-burning stone fireplaces. There are five community tables and a well-stocked bar, so even if dining alone, you’re sure to be in good company!

When you’re in Yountville, a stop at Hurley’s Restaurant is always a good idea. Chef Bob Hurley is a Napa Valley legend, known as much for his fresh sustainable cooking style as his charming hospitality, he serves up the flavors of the Mediterranean, using regional and seasonal ingredients. Enjoy dining inside near the fireplace or outside on the covered patio (if weather permits), either way, there’s always a festive community vibe in the air. Open daily for lunch and dinner, they offer a special Gluten-Free menu, in addition to their fabulous food, cocktails and dessert.

Rutherford Grill is a favorite destination among locals, known for the finest seasonal ingredients and dishes. Whether you dine indoors in casual elegance or outside on the patio by the fireplace, you’ll enjoy their take on modern American comfort food, classic burgers and delicious salads. Favorites include their house smoked salmon appetizer and Bangers and Mash made with locally made sausages. Open daily for lunch and dinner, they’re conveniently located at the intersection of Rutherford Crossroad and Highway 29.

In Calistoga, Solbar at the Solage Hotel & Spa offers seasonal, sustainable menus using farm-fresh ingredients to create a synergy between indulgence and wellness. Specializing in unique, flavorful and surprising dishes reflecting the best Napa Valley has to offer; you can enjoy the woodsy-chic vibe inside, or dine in relaxing comfort on the terrace, with drinks by the fire while taking in the stunning mountain views. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they also offer dessert and cocktail menus and a sumptuous Sunday brunch.

Evangeline on Washington Street in Calistoga serves up casual French food with a Creole flair. Offering fresh versions of old classics and bistro favorites, alongside daily specials featuring big, bold flavors, they’re open nightly for dinner and weekends for brunch. If you’re a seafood lover, take comfort in a spectacular seafood tower made of oysters, crab, shrimp and lobster or some local caviar, courtesy of the California white sturgeon. Enjoy a charcuterie or cheese Board or indulge in a sustainably delicious Niman-Ranch burger.

FARMERS MARKET GRANT AWARD – OCTOBER 2015

We are very happy to announce success on our grant request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to start a Farmers Market in American Canyon.  Final operating details are being considered now and more information will be posted as it becomes available.  Please email the City Manager’s Office with questions.

Based on survey results, a feasibility study and the grant application, here is what we know so far:

DURATION: May – October

LOCATION:  Parking lot in front of Philip West Aquatics Center

DAY/TIME: Sunday mornings, 10AM – 2PM

OTHER:

  • Total Grant Request – $78,074 funding market operation for 2 seasons
  • NO amplified music or amplification system will be utilized
  • EBT cards will be accepted
  • A Community Farmers Market Board will be established
  • These details/decisions can be changed but must be approved by USDA (assuming the grant is successful)
  • A Farmers Market Association will be hired for day to day operation of the market
  • City staff will be used for marketing and administration for the first 2 years with the recommendation going to City Council on 1/19/16 of approval
  • Complete COMMUNITY SURVEY
  • Complete BUSINESS SURVEY

 

‘Tis the Season for Giving!

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If you’ve got a little time to give, there are lots of ways to share it, right here in our own community. Napa Valley residents are a diverse, talented and very charitable bunch and whatever your talents or interests, there’s a volunteer opportunity just waiting for you.

The annual Season of Giving event supporting needy American Canyon families still needs volunteers. Volunteers are needed to pack and wrap food boxes this Saturday, Dec. 19 from 3–7 p.m. and organizers also need sponsors for the event. If interested in volunteering or supporting the Season of Giving event, contact Brian Farmer at 731-2148 or email him at bfarmer@farmersagent.com.

If you’re interested in helping out at the Napa Valley Food Bank, you can volunteer Mondays through Wednesdays, to help run the storehouse and stock the small store where low-income families come to access their monthly allotment of food. Earn some good karma points while helping folks who need a little help to make sure they have enough to eat, not just at the holidays, but all year long.

If you’d like to spend your time helping the environment, the Native Plant Society is always looking for volunteers who share their passion for native plant species. Even if you don’t know a lot about plants, they’re happy to share their knowledge with you, in exchange for your time and talents; whether on a monthly basis or just helping out with their bi-annual sales at Skyline Park.

Another way to benefit the environment by sharing your time is helping the Land Trust of Napa County restore habitat and remove invasive species. They have regular workdays on Saturdays, in addition to special trips to the Foote Botanical Preserve on Mount George and the Linda Falls Preserve. They’ll provide the tools, gloves, instruction and a snack. All you need to bring is water, clothes you don’t mind getting dirty, and close-toed sturdy shoes. Volunteers can even opt for a hike to the waterfall after each workday!

If you like helping animals, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities with the Napa Wildlife Rescue. Be on call to rescue injured and orphaned wildlife and transport them to care. Whether you’re interested in reuniting songbirds or re-nesting raptors, you’ll learn about Napa’s wildlife first-hand. You must be over 18 and have your own car. Training is provided.

If you love animals and you want to help kids, there’s a very special local program that’s helping kids with disabilities, called the Cornerstone Assisted Riding & Equitherapy (C.A.R.E.). Volunteers provide support and encouragement for the students and help take care of the horses. As a volunteer, you’ll attend ongoing trainings, beginning with orientations to the facility, session protocol, and safety procedures. Volunteers are also needed to help in the office with newsletters, fund raising and community outreach.