To insure you know where exactly your food comes from. Following up the high profile raid in 2010 of raw food buying club Rawsome in Venice, earlier this month, both Rawsome and this time Healthy Family Farms in Santa Paula were again raided and its owners/operators arrested. At first I was a little disgusted with what I thought was an overreaction by government agencies. To shop at Rawsome, you have to become a member and acknowledge the risks of food that may not meet all government standards for processing (ie its raw and hasn’t been pasteurized or sprayed with chemicals, etc). You can view the Rawsome Club agreement here. Healthy Family Farms (HFF) is at many local farmer’s markets, including the Hollywood Farmer’s Market (where Alicia and I shop). They have a CSA that provides for a discount on all items, as well as makes available additional items for pre-order for pick up at the market of your choice. To join the CSA, you also have to sign an agreement similar to the Rawsome agreement, you can view it here. After visiting the farm during one of their open houses, I decided to join the HFF CSA.
Now that the dust (and shock) of the initial raid/arrests have begun to settle, things have started to leak out that all may not be what it appears to be in regards to Rawsome & HFF. As Erik at Root Simple writes, we may be getting “A Raw Deal.” There seems to be evidence emerging that indicates that HFF is purchasing conventionally raised eggs and meat and then repackaging them for sale as coming from the farm in Santa Paula. When I first heard this rumor, I dismissed it as a misunderstanding, as HFF had mentioned “rescuing” animals from other farms either going out of business or getting in trouble for mistreating animals. But now I’m not so sure. (More info about HFF and its owner can be found here.)
These two examples aren’t the only local examples of this breach of trust. In Sept 2010, the local NBC affiliate did an investigative report on farmer’s market vendors not being completely honest on where the goods they sold came from (as well claims of being pesticide-free).
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
As Erik at Root Simple says:
This type of fraud, repackaging cheap wholesale food products and passing them off as organic/raw etc. is, I believe, widespread.
That list of reasons to grow your own food, if you can, keeps getting longer . . .
I’m not sure how all this will play out in the end, this is still just one side of the story, and we do live in a innocent until proven guilty world in the US. I definitely will be thinking twice this Sunday when I get eggs at the market this week. Will I look at some of the other vendors as better options? Is HFF’s note in this weeks email of more limited egg availability and reduction of farmer’s market locations an indication that some of these allegations are true? Right now, we really only have rumors and pieces of evidence that have not been judged.
We also don’t have HFF’s side of the story. Only the email copied below, asking for patience while the case works its way through the system and to take any potential motive in mind for anything negative you may hear: