Fresh Off The Farm

A new breed of planters and eaters are joining forces to nurture the local-foods movement

Nestled in the oak-dappled hills along California's central coast, the Skinner family's Huasna Valley Farm has weathered its share of calamities. There was the time that deer got into the sweet corn and nibbled through three-quarters of the fruit trees. And the year that early frost killed off much of the lettuce. And the 22 nights in one month that farmer Ron Skinner was up tending sprinklers. Last May, when the weeds got out of hand, the Skinners e-mailed their customers that "heat, lack of sleep and exhaustion" had made them wonder, "How do we sustain ourselves and our love for...

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