Organic or Else

Full-time landscaper Tom Stebbins began volunteering as a farmer at a 13-acre farm owned by the Farmer and The Cook restaurant in Ojai, California, about three years ago.  The Farmer and The Cook is a popular organic eatery that specializes in farm to table cuisine.  Stebbins has not only been farming, but learning so  much about organic produce and just how important eating healthy is. “you are what you eat,” Stebbins said.

Stebbins explained that many grocery stores insert chemicals into the produce in order to make the ideal shape of fruits and vegetables. For example, in organic farms, strawberries are supposed to be small berries and when strawberries are large, the likely hood of the producer injecting chemicals into the berry for a larger look is very high. “If the fruits and vegetables are perfectly shaped alike, you should be worried.” of non-organic produce at most grocery stores.”

In 2007, Stebbins suffered with a tragic aneurysm and stroke and realized he needed to make a change with his eating habits. He was hospitalized, changed his diet completely and lowered his cholesterol by 100 points in a single month by eating organic. “I was scared and became extremely strict with my diet,” Stebbins said.

A few years later Stebbins met Tom met the farmer, Steve Sprinkel and the cook, Olivia Chase from Farmer and The Cook while visiting the Ojai farmer’s market.  They stayed in touch and eventually Stebbins began to volunteer on Sprinkel’s farm.  Now he farms every Thursday and on special occasions such as Thanksgiving.  One of the fringe benefits of volunteering at the farm is that Stebbins is allowed to pick as much produce from the farm for himself to pursue his healthy lifestyle.

“I love being on this farm.” Stebbins said smiling. “I sometimes just grab my camping chair and  come to this farm to watch the milky way and stars.”