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Fresh from the farm

By Anne Marie Fuller
The Oakland Tribune


Last week, I was watching a story on TV about the milkman of yesteryear and how this type of service is a thing of the past "... or is it? I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the Farm Fresh to You home delivery service offered by California farmers.

Starting this week, the group will now service Tracy and Manteca.

What started off as a simple fruit and vegetables delivery in 1992 with only a handful of customers has grown into a business with thousands of customers and deliveries throughout the Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Orange County. The farm originally opened in 1976 as a family business.

"Growing up, we were a struggling family farm," said Thaddeus Barsotti, whose family owns and operates Farm Fresh to You.

"It was a lot of work, and I remember helping out on the farm at an early age and making deliveries in the local community. The company started because of an idea my mom (Kathleen Barsotti) had; it was really her brainchild. When my mom passed away in 2000 from breast cancer, I knew we had to keep this going.

"My brothers and I all got together and started to expand the business and market it through the Internet. We inherited a company that had an amazing vision, and now it's blossomed into an industry that supports the local farmers."

Farm Fresh to You provides seasonal produce such as carrots, plums, grapes, broccoli, white corn, green beans, basil, lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelons, eggplants, sweet peppers and more. There are no additional fees to start or stop delivery service.

I was intrigued to learn that this service also offers a selection of eggs that you can add to your fruit-and-vegetable deliveries. The cage-free chickens are raised without hormones or antibiotics, which is something I always look for when buying eggs.

The produce boxes come in three different sizes and range in price from $25 for a small box of fruit and vegetables, enough to feed a couple for five days; $31.50 for a regular-size box that can feed a family of four for five days; and $55 for a monster box with enough for a large family for a week or more.

"This is the only produce home-delivery service in this region that runs its own farm," said Barbara Archer, the public relations manager for the group and also a loyal customer.

"We grow 80 varieties of fruits and vegetables. The produce is delivered to your home within 48 to 72 hours of it being picked. Our customers tell us that this is how produce is supposed to taste, and it's all organic," she said.

The produce boxes come with your choice of seasonal fruits and vegetables, a farm newsletter and recipes. Customers also have the option of ordering all fruit, all vegetables or a mix. The group also sells a snack pack box for businesses, offering fruit and nuts.

This month, the farm will celebrate its 35th anniversary and offer a free tour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 13. The farm is at 23800 Highway 16 in Capay.

For more information, call 1-800-796-6009 or visit the website at: www.farmfreshtoyou.com.