Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 11:56 am | Fair 54º


Sarah Ettman-Sterner: Experience ‘The Big O’

You just can't beat the fresh taste of organic produce

C’mon, you know you want it. You hunger for it. It makes you feel good. In fact, you shouldn’t live without it. You may even ask, “Why did it take me so long to discover it?!”

Sarah Ettman-Sterner
Sarah Ettman-Sterner (Nick Sterner photo)

Here in Santa Barbara, and coast to coast, it’s all about experiencing The Big “O.” Now before you get any lewd ideas, let’s get one thing clear: We’re talking about ripe, fresh, organic produce!

Everyone is familiar with the saying “You are what you eat.” Across the country and here at home, people are beginning to embrace a healthier diet. It’s encouraging to see that local school kids are discovering how to grow “slow food” and, fun, delicious ways to prepare it. Students are learning that food comes from land and water, not out of a box (!) A major force behind change in Santa Barbara’s healthy school lunch programs is the s’Cool Food Program, an Orfalea Fund initiative.

For those young and old alike who need to get off the junk-food train, but need a swift kick in the pants toward eating a more balanced diet with veggies and fruit, minus chemicals and preservatives and the bad kind of fat, be sure to see Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me. It’s guaranteed to entertain and enlighten you; you’ll never look at burgers and fries the same way!

Get Your “Big O” On In the Great Outdoors: Farmers Markets

s'Cool Food’s Junior Chef Day introduces students to the hands-on experience of creating meals from fresh ingredients.
s’Cool Food’s Junior Chef Day introduces students to the hands-on experience of creating meals from fresh ingredients. (s’Cool Food Program photo)

We are fortunate that wholesome and affordable locally grown organic produce is readily available all year round through the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association. Our area offers seven easy access open-air markets almost every day of the week:

» Tuesday: 500 and 600 blocks of State Street, 4-7:30 p.m.

» Wednesday: the newest farmers market at Harding School, 1625 Robbins St., 3-6:30 p.m.

» Wednesday: Solvang Village, Copenhagen Drive and First Street, 2:30-6:30 p.m.

» Thursday: Calle Real Center, 5700 Calle Real, 3-6 p.m.

» Thursday: 800 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, 3-6:30 p.m.

» Friday: Coast Village Road, 8-11:15 a.m. (be patient while navigating the newly installed roundabout at the intersection of Coast Village and Hot Springs roads and Old Coast Highway on Montecito’s western end)

» Saturday: Cota and Santa Barbara streets, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

» Sunday: Camino Real Marketplace, 7004 Marketplace Drive, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

A farmers market is not only a great food-shopping experience, it’s also a great place to listen to talented street musicians play a variety of music (tips are greatly appreciated!). You can meet up with friends and socialize (the vendors are some of the friendliest people in town) as you stroll among the stands of techni-colored flowers and food. And, whether you live here or are visiting, farmers markets are where chefs, locals in shorts/tank tops/flip-flops (our unofficial uniform), and movie stars all hang out together — a fine mellow place to relax and find good food for the fridge. A word to the paparazzi: better leav your cameras at home. Instead, pick up a reusable shopping bag and join us!

And click here to vote Santa Barbara’s farmers markets as the best in the country! Enter Santa Barbara in the City Search Engine.

Where To Find the Indoor Action

Santa Barbara also offers these great places to shop for organics with longer hours of operation and plenty of free parking:

» Fairview Gardens Farms, 598 N. Fairview Ave. (local rocker Jack Johnson’s a fan)

» Gelson’s Market, 3305 State St.

» Isla Vista Food Co-op, 6575 Seville Road

» Lassen’s Health Foods, 5154 Hollister Ave. (the staff provides excellent customer service and advice on nutrition)

» Lazy Acres Market, 302 Meigs Road

» Trader Joe’s, 5767 Calle Real, 3025 De la Vina St. or 29 S. Milpas St.

» Tri-County Produce Co., 335 S. Milpas St.

Major chains like Ralphs and Vons also carry organics.

Happy Harry's Produce, 7020 Calle Real, offers fresh produce and all-natural foods at great prices.
Happy Harry’s Produce, 7020 Calle Real, offers fresh produce and all-natural foods at great prices. (Happy Harry’s Produce photo)

There are new places cropping up, too, including Happy Harry’s Produce Market, 7020 Calle Real, near Dos Pueblos High School (Hey, DP Chargers, forget 7-Eleven, power drinks and empty-calorie “snacky snacks” like chips. This is a great place for a real after-school snack!) And curiosity abounds for the soon-to-open Whole Foods Market, 3761 State St., at the former Circuit City location.

The “Big O” In the Privacy of Your Own Home

If time is short, as well as your patience for food shopping, Plow to Porch Organics (805.705.4786) offers the convenience of organic produce, sustainable seafood from Cardena’s, pies and other food products delivered directly to your home doorstep. Don’t miss the next Green Hawk issue featuring an interview with Pam Plesons, PtoP president. She’ll share her expertise and simple steps to improve your produce-shopping prowess.

With all these great places to shop for fresh sustainably grown produce, why pay for artificial ingredients, chemicals and “fake” food, when you can spend less, taste more, have fun and nourish yourself? The big “O” is out there for everyone, so go and get some now!

Green Hawk interactive producer Sarah Ettman-Sterner focuses on current environmental trends and marine-related topics. A member of the Society for Environmental Journalists, she provided the “voice” for Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society for more than a decade. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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