Christwitz: Lake County homegrown

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Author Barbara Kingsolver writes in her new book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, “This is the story of a year in which we made every attempt to feed ourselves animals and vegetables whose provenance we really knew … and of how our family was changed by our first year of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where we worked, went to school, loved our neighbors, drank the water, and breathed the air.”


Perhaps Kingsolver’s book and/or our newest Lake County Supervisor Denise Rushing’s sustainability ideas are inspiring me. In particular, I am considering that Nature’s Own, Clearlake’s health food store is up for sale, and I say, "Opportunity knocks." I wonder, “Can a store make it if it sells only products produced within its immediate area? Will a health food store survive if its produce originates solely from Lake County? Can a store be like a year around farmers’ market only with a roof overhead?”


I think of our farmers, gardeners and Mother Nature herself who produce in Lake County water, walnuts, almonds, honey, pears, grapes, tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, raspberries, plums, apricots, peaches, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, brussel sprouts, pumpkins, chickens, wild turkey, deer, lamb, goats, ducks, geese, olives, Jerusalem artichokes, corn, eggplant, various herbs and a host of other delectable foods.


Is anyone and/or a group of community-minded people feeling called and challenged to create a health food store and/or cooperative store which sells locally- grown meats, fruits and vegetables? Will the Department of Health and agricultural education institutions support people as they haul out their canning jars, food dryers and freezers for the purpose of food preservation and selling food? Is anyone willing to pluck a scalded chicken? Granted, such a business place is a stretch to consider; however, I would enjoy at least engaging in conversation about producing, preserving, selling and eating foods produced closer to home.


Our great-great grandmothers did it. Can we? Would we want to work so hard?


Barbara Christwitz lives in Clearlake.


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