Farm to Chef to You

Why Cruz Food?

Too often I’ve found myself with my family in a taqueria or diner eating whatever sounded good or whatever the kids “would” eat. Then later wondering what it was that we ate. I’d try to do a mental total of the food groups, plus a quick nod to the fat, salt, and sugar that is omnipresent in eating out. Too often I would arrive at the conclusion that though we spent around $10 per person (two of which didn’t really eat much at all, other than bread or crackers), there was really very little food in our meal.
I’ve worked in the food industry long enough to know that restaurants and delis are cooking for taste and profit, not health. But cooking at home and cooking truly nutritious and nourishing meals takes a lot of time, prep and procuring. I can’t get pastured eggs at the grocery store. I can’t get pasture raised chicken or pork there either. I have to get it at the Farmer’s Market, and then only on certain days at certain locations. Finding local grains was impossible, even California based was difficult to find. Sourcing the freshest vegetables and fruits requires quick usage of them. Produce loses nutrients quickly, beginning as soon as they are picked or harvested. Freezing preserves most of the nutrients, but who has time to go shopping, get home, unpack and clean, peel, chop, and process the produce. I know I didn’t, even though I know this information and am a chef. I realized that my kids, (who needed the nutrition the most, now, as their bodies and brains are forming) my husband, and I (with daily stress and poor lifestyle choices in our past) were doing ourselves more harm than good in eating out, or on the run, or even just with quick family dinners. We deserved and needed meals to be better.

What makes Cruz Food different than take out?

I spend the time and energy to find the freshest produce, the organic pasture raised chickens and eggs, the pasture raised pork and grass fed beef, the organic and locally produced dairy , the most local olive oil, honey, herbs, and grains. I use my knowledge, experience, and love of foods to combine the best flavors and nutrient balance of these ingredients in a meal that the whole family can enjoy or a busy person can access in a simple and delicious form. By stocking the freezer, Cruz Food is available any time of day, when you need it most. I never use salt and sugar to sell my food. I use farm fresh foods and let your tummy be my spokesperson!

What does eating local/ with the seasons mean and why should I care?

In doing research for my family it became apparent that eating seasonally and locally not only reduces our carbon footprint in terms of shipping distance or “food miles”, but also may help our bodies be better prepared for seasonal and location variations . Monterey Bay is a very diverse area with completely different weather and temperature variations within very small distances. Sometimes a few blocks can yield a temperature change of 20 degrees as well as a difference of thick fog to sunny and blue skies. Eating foods that have grown in this climate may help our bodies to flourish in it as well. Certain research has shown a decrease in seasonal allergy symptoms in those that eat a variety of locally grown foods, especially honey that may carry the pollen of a particular seasonal allergen.

Why spend the extra money for “organic” and “sustainable”?

Eating organically and sustainably raised foods reduces the amount of toxins from pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers that are on our food, in our soil, water, and air. I believe that food grown with natural fertilizers, compost, worm casing, and crop rotation creates a healthier more nutrient rich product. Sustainability applies to the future of our planet, not corporate quarterly profits. My feeling is I may spend more per item now, but I’ll spend less in health care later.

What is “pasture Raised” and how does it make a difference in my food?

Pasture Raised means that animals are not only given a doorway to the outside as in “Free Range”, but are actual spending the day outside, on grass. Animals that are raised in fresh air with clean environments and allowed to eat what they are meant to eat will not only be healthier and better nourished themselves, reducing the risk of animal borne diseases, but they in turn produce a healthy and nourishing product as well. There is much discussion about the need for meat in a healthy diet. I’ve considered meat extensively. My conclusion is that some meat in the diet is important, but it must be clean, pasture raised, and safely processed in small batches.
My promise to you… Cruz Food will be food. Nourishing, clean, good for you, help you and your family grow up healthy food. It will be food, mostly plants, and it won’t be too much.