This report in the San Diego Union-Tribune examines the differences between the foods grown at small, local, organic farms and conventional food shipped in from another city or another country. The local food has stronger colors and aromas, and tastes better as well.
There are more than 5,000 local farms in San Diego County, which generated $1.4 billion in business in 2004. Most (92 percent) of the farms are family-owned, and 63 percent are smaller than 10 acres in size.
More than 300 of the farms are organic. A farmer interviewed for the article emphasized the importance of starting with good soil; he uses a mixture of "compost tea" that includes water, compost and molasses poured onto his crops to feed them nutrients.
The customers of small local farms include restaurants, farmers' market patrons, and dedicated customers who purchase the food through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, in which the food is bought directly from the farm.