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Local Farmer Speaks On The Push For Locally-Grown Food

Audio

Aired 4/1/10

A San Diego farmer is featured in a national cookbook for people who love local food. It's all about making better use of local produce you may not have cooked with before. Joining us on Morning Edition is Donna Buono of Morning Song Farm.

— A San Diego farmer is featured in a national cookbook for people who love local food. It's all about making better use of local produce you may not have cooked with before. Joining us on Morning Edition is Donna Buono of Morning Song Farm.

Kumquats that were grown at Morning Song Farm in Rainbow, an unincorporated town in northern San Diego County.
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Above: Kumquats that were grown at Morning Song Farm in Rainbow, an unincorporated town in northern San Diego County.

Dwane Brown (host): A San Diego farmer is featured in a national cook book for people who love local food; it's all about making better use of local produce, you may not have cooked with before.

Pamela Davis (host): Joining us on Morning Edition is Donna Buono of Morning Song Farms. Donna, you own a farm in San Diego's North County, why is there such big push for locally grown food now?

Donna Buono (Farmer of Morning Song Farms): It tastes better, it's fresher, it supports the concept of having agriculture here amidst us. If we don't have local farmers growing locally and selling to local buyers, then, there is no need for agriculture in San Diego anymore; and San Diego has something really special, in that, it offers 365 days of growing ground.

Brown: Now, you've been farming for quite a while. You also describe yourself as a "carpool mom in cowboy boots".

Buono: That's true, I have to juggle both being a mom and being a farmer. Not always easy. Over the years, I've had my kids help me out at the farmer's markets, and weeding and shoveling manure; right now, I would say that my thirteen-year-old daughter could do without the farming aspect of her mother's job, she's so not into shoveling manure.

Davis: What does it take to run a farm? What time do you wake up?

Buono: Well, I used to sell wholesale and I had to get up at 4 a.m. because that's when the markets, in LA, you'd talk to your buyers early in the morning. Now, I'm getting up at 5:30 or 6 a.m., which is just my natural body flow. You could probably manage a farm and get up later if you wanted to; I like to use the daylight.

Brown: You also provide rare fruit to consumers through the community-supported agriculture program, tell us how that works.

Buono: The community-supported agriculture program is great for a mom because I don't have to work weekends. So I harvest on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and get my baskets of fruit, rare fruit and produce to 150 families in Southern California, in two days. And then the rest of the day, and it is definitely not a 40-hour work week, I can work around my kid's needs. I can get them get them to football practice, I can get my daughter to her gymnastic class and still get all the farming, stuff that needs to be done, as well. Whereas, Farmer's Markets, you have to be there at a certain time.

Brown: What kinds of fruits and vegetables do you grow in your farm?

Buono: When I first bought my farm, I wanted to grow two things: passion fruit, filho guavas. I discovered that you can't do a farmers market with two kinds of fruit and expect to be successful, so I added other things. I have lots of macadamia trees, and I'm experimenting with dragon fruit, pakistani mulberries, sapote; there's a lemon that is called the pakistani lemon that's just amazing, it's sort of like a scented geranium.

Davis: You're part of a national cook book, how did that come about?

Buono: I'm excited because I hear that it will assist consumers in cooking with foods that are less typical in the grocery store.

Brown: Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Buono: You know, I guess, maybe the one thing that maybe I'm concerned about and everyone that wants local farms to exist, is that we have a water crisis. That is the biggest issue that is looming for all farmers in Southern California; it has to be addressed and can't be at the local "little farm girl" level. It has to be a community concern. We have a water crisis that is shutting down my Farm friends. I've lost thirty percent of my water rights and so has everybody else in San Diego, that's huge, and has to be addressed.

Davis: And that's Donna Buono of Morning Song Farm in San Diego's North County.

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