I returned very early this morning from a 5-day tour of California wine country. I did much more than just taste wine (although I did plenty of that.) I also visited farm-to-table restaurants and some of the farms that make sustainable farm-to-table experiences possible.

One of the farms I visited was Earthbound Farm’s roadside farm stand in Carmel Valley in Central California. You’re probably familiar with the Earthbound brand. They’re mostly known for selling pre-washed organic salad greens, but as I learned at the stand, they sell much more than that.

When Earthbound founders Drew and Myra Goodman began growing organic produce back in the mid-80s, they sold much of it from the driveway of their home. As their company grew and they started selling in stores, they didn’t want to desert the customers who helped them get started. They opened the farm stand so customers could still buy directly. There is now much more than just a store at the stand.

  • A large herb cutting garden allows people to come and snip fresh herbs and pay for them by the ounce.
  • A children’s garden has 26 boxes, each with a plant that starts with a letter of the alphabet. The plants are allowed to go to seed, like the onion plant on the right, so kids and adults alike can see the entire life cycle of them.
  • A chamomile aromatherapy walking labyrinth allows people to contemplate as they walk the labyrinth (in bare feet if they wish) over soft tufts of chamomile.
  • In addition to the farm stand, the Organic Kitchen is on site with a salad bar, fresh soups, prepared meals, bakery items and more.              
The farm stand store sells Earthbound Farm Organic produce, of course, but I found that the company also makes other products, too. They have a line of frozen vegetables and fruits, organic packaged cookies, dried organic fruits, granolas and more. Many of the non-perishable items are available on their website. The stand also sells organic products made that don’t come from Earthbound, but from other trusted producers.

I was sent home with packages of organic chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and ginger snaps for my boys to taste test. I put them in their lunches this morning for school, and they came home with praises for the snacks, especially the chocolate chips.

I was very impressed with this small roadside stand that honors the roots of this large organic company. As the demand for organic products grows, it’s sometimes difficult to know exactly where the organics you buy at a grocery store come from. Often, they’re grown in other parts of the world and shipped to the states, and its easy to be skeptical about how authentically organic the foods are. It’s good to know that Earthbound Organics are grown in the U.S., and that the same people who started the company over 25 years ago still are in charge and committed to organics and sustainability.

They have continually worked to create sustainable packaging and have settled on using 100 percent post-consumer recycled PET plastic packaging. That means that the packages are made completely rom recycled materials, and they can be recycled again.

A couple of other things you might want to know about Earthbound.

  • Co-founder Myra Goodman has written two organic cookbooks, “The Earthbound Cook,” and “Food to Live By.” I have a copy of the former, and I love that it not only has lots of healthy recipes, but it has plenty of sustainability tips. There is information being more water-wise in the kitchen, why you should use post-consumer recycled aluminum foil, and more.
  • The Organic Step Forward program is free for anyone to join and has offers coupons for products, recipe ideas, and information about organics.
The Earthbound Farm Organic Stand is located at 7250 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel, California. It’s open year round, Monday – Saturday 8 AM to 6:30 PM, Sunday 9 AM to 6 PM.

Related on MNN:

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Earthbound Farm's farm stand honors its roots
The organic produce company may sell nationally, but it still keeps a roadside stand in Central California where people can buy organic produce and much more.