Eating locally means supporting local families and your local economy

There was a time when everyone grew their own food. Everyone had a garden, a flock of chickens, dairy cows and goats, and maybe a few hogs. You only ate what you grew or raised yourself.

Then came the grocery store. People became used to the convenience of running to the store to grab what they needed for dinner that night. Soon, many of us lost the art of garden and husbandry.

But there are those out there who keep the tradition of growing their food alive. They grow for themselves, and they grow for you, the consumer.

Throughout North County and the Central Coast, we are privileged to eat fresh and local food every day. Locally grown means the product was grown and harvested within 100 miles of your city. Local farmers provide various produce, fruits, olive oils, meat, honey, and almost anything you can think of. 

Bobbi Connor, owner of The Natural Alternative Nutrition Center in Paso Robles and Certified Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbalist, always suggests local honey for those struggling with allergies.

Connor also suggests eating locally grown food because you know where it is coming from, and you know it is fresh because it hasn’t been shipped from all over. 

One of the best places to purchase from local farmers is by shopping at farmers’ markets. There are four farmers’ markets each week in North County. 

The North County Farmers’ Market Association (NCFMA) brings the community four local markets every week, year-round, even throughout the pandemic, since 1985. 

“I believe that one of the best places to support locals is your little farmers’ markets in each little town,” says Robyn Gable, manager of the North County Farmers Market Association, “You can get fresh produce, it lasts longer, and it’s fresher. The people, a lot of times, pick it fresh that morning to sell.” 

Most importantly, eating locally means supporting local families and your local economy.

“You’re also going to be supporting so many families. Not only the farmer’s families but sometimes they hire people to sell for them, so at this market today, you’re supporting maybe 13 families, maybe more. All you have to do is buy eggs over here and get some bread over there and some fresh produce here and there,” Gable said. 

Shopping at farmers’ markets ensures you will be eating seasonally. Seasonal produce has been harvested at prime ripeness, creating nutrient-dense produce. 

When shopping at farmers’ markets, consumers can build a relationship with the farmer. Meet them face to face and ask about their practices, their history, why they love farming their crop.

“Throughout the pandemic and before, we continue to have loyal farmers and shoppers — we follow state guidelines as outlined by the San Luis County Health Officer,” Gable said, “we will adjust and mold to whatever comes next to keep the markets going.” 

Many restaurants take advantage and use local ingredients for specials on their menu. The majority of the food vendors at farmers’ markets use produce from the market as well.

Alicia Denchasy, an owner of A-Town Humble Pies, says, “90 percent of all our products are all through what we can get through the farmers market.”

When asked why Denchasy chooses to source her ingredients locally, the answer was simple, “It just seems like the right thing to do. I mean, that’s what they are here for. For us, it was great just because we want to support each other. This is our community—we’ve met all these people and learned about what they have, learned how we can use it in our product, and then we’re also educating our other consumers about the different kinds of fruits and vegetables that are out there.”

Eating locally in North County is easy to do, and the benefits are twofold, it helps your health and community at the same time. 

Visit northcountyfarmersmarkets.com for more information on North County Farmers Markets. See below for market locations and hours.

North County Farmers Markets

  • Paso Robles | Tuesday & Saturday 9 – 1 p.m.
  • Templeton | Saturday 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Atascadero | Wednesday 3 – 5 p.m. 
  • Baywood | Monday 2 – 4:30 p.m. 

Local Farms:

Atascadero

  • Rocky Canyon Farms
  • Farmer Frank’s Mushrooms 
  • Foss Farm

Templeton

  • Magnolia Produce and Flowers
  • Homestead Olive Ranch
  • Templeton Valley Farms
  • Outlaw Valley Ranch
  • Templeton Hills Beef

Paso Robles (and surrounding)

  • Matthew’s Honey
  • Hernandez Larsen Family Farm
  • Mt. Olive Organic Farm
  • Fair Hills Apple Farm
  • Beewench Farms
  • The Groves on 41
  • Loo Loo Farms
  • J&R Meats
  • Twisselman Ranch Beef

South County

  • Bear Creek Ranch 
  • Los Osos Organic Farm
  • De La Cruz Farm
  • Mauro Perez
  • California Bee Company
  • Farmermaid Flowers
  • Cirone Farms
  • Dragon Spring Farm

Farmers Market Food Vendors and Restaurants using Local Ingredients:

Paso Robles:

  • Ben’s Custom Meat Cutting
  • Negranti Creamery
  • Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ
  • TASTE!
  • Alchemist Garden
  • Thomas Hill Organics
  • McPhee’s Canteen
  • Red Scooter Deli 
  • Odyssey World Cafe 
  • Firestone Walker 

Templeton:

  • BellaVia
  • Pier 46 Seafood Market
  • Charter Oak Style Meats
  • JC’s Kitchen
  • Jacks Bar and Grill
  • Kitchenette

Atascadero:

  • A-Town Humble Pies
  • Garcia’s Tamales
  • LaDonna’s 
  • Colony Market & Deli
  • Nautical Cowboy 
  • Nogi Sushi Restaurant 
  • Street Side Ale House
  • Guest House Grill 

South County & other:

  • Vintage Cheese Company
  • Breaking Bread Bakery
  • Good Tides Organic Bistro
  • Old Port Fish
  • Stepladder Creamery
  • Farmers Market Inspired Soup

Just to name a few. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero