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Smart food for smart people

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
August 1, 2001


"The history of the world my sweet, is who gets eaten and who gets to eat." — Stephan Sondheim

Because the Chicken Little part of my character forces me to document the falling sky, it is not very often that I am moved to write about something positive. Here in Coastal North County there is not much reason for hope. Traffic is hell, Supervisor Bill Horn is still on a megalomaniacal rampage, and Oceanside is still planning to pave one of it's beaches. So much to bitch, about and so little time.

Not long ago San Diego was confronted with the reality of genetic engineering. And true to form, San Diegans gave a collective shrug and returned to the important business of tanning and acquiring the perfect latte. The police, behaving like the armed thugs they were, were disappointed because nothing of note happened.

Completely swayed by propaganda being put out by those playing farmer God and content to do their part in keeping scientific salads on the American menu, local media functioned as corporate cheerleaders. Touting the economic benefits of tweaking nature, the dark side of genetic engineering was never addressed except to deny one existed. All seemed lost.

Challenging myself to find some happy news to report, I found it in Cardiff on a two acre organic farm. Considering that most agricultural land is being replaced by urban sprawl, I was skeptical when my friend Don informed me he had an organic farm in his backyard. In the land of shrinking space I could buy a big garden. But a farm? Please.

So I was wrong. And if I had to be wrong, this was a very delicious way to be so. When I first saw the farm the corn was far from as high as an elephant's eye. That was soon to change. Recently I stopped by to harvest dinner, and boy was that corn sweet. So too were the green beans, summer squash, the leafy salad mix. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I was in herbivore heaven.

The best thing about Don's farm is that it is completely organic. The second best thing about the farm is the amazing yield that can be produced on two acres. One of the reasons Don keeps me around is to serve as mediator between him and the small mammals seeking to share his bountiful harvest. Speaking for the rabbits, I assure Don there is plenty to go around. Taking no chances he has stocked up on predator urine. I still don't know how they get coyotes to pee in a cup.

During the Biotic engineering conference the spin doctors were wringing their hands about how traditional farming methods were not capable of feeding the hungry of the world, something that farmer Don disproves everyday. Besides feeding himself and friends, he supplies local restaurants, such as the Sbicca American Bistro in Del Mar and Leucadia's Calypso Cafe, with the fruits of his labor.

Lending credence to the claim that organic methods produce yields equal to those of Frankeinfarmers, Don also donates ample amounts of fresh produce to the Encinitas Community Resource Center. Feeding the hungry of all socioeconomic classes is good thing, feeding them healthy food that won't result in the genetic mutation of their grandchildren is the work of the saints. It's nice to know some people of the soil are willing to think outside the corporate box.

Speaking of saints and moving beyond the corporate mentality of genetically engineered fast food, a new eating establishment has opened it's doors in Encinitas, and in doing so has returned Leucadian cuisine to Leucadia. Open less than a month, Melodia is already packing them in because when given a choice the people of Leucadia will always opt for healthy natural food over test tube tubers and laboratory lettuce.

Driving down Highway 101 I saw a sign that said vegetarian kitchen. Thinking I was having a '70s flash back, I knew it was just a matter of time before I sampled the vegetarian fair Melodia had to offer. Figuring 11 am to be the perfect time for lunch, I dropped in for a sandwich to go. Boy was that an inspired idea. Not only was this place vegetarian, it offered enough vegan options to make the most fanatical treehugger drool.

Not your average coastal fast-food joint, this place has class to spare, a mellow atmosphere, and a smoothie made from a Brazilian fruit that gave me quite the enjoyable buzz. Now if only I can hook them up with Farmer Don the circle will be complete. Bon Apetite.

[It's in the spinach; BITCH]

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