For some, finding dirt caked on the side of a bell pepper or nestled in between the leaves of a head of lettuce might be an indication that it's time to consider switching grocers. But for foodies on the hunt for fresh ingredients, it can be a sign that the greens come from local family farmers more concerned with growing things the old fashioned way than procuring pristine (and perhaps pesticide-laden) produce.
If you ascribe to the latter interpretation, it will be refreshing to discover that the heirloom tomatoes and red onions on sale at Las Hermanas' produce stand may a bit dusty and not as uniformly shaped as one might find at a Safeway.
Las Hermanas — a Hollister family farm — along with a small group of other local growers, food producers, restauranteurs and artisans — gathered together on Oct. 5 in a section of the Grant Road parking lot of El Camino Hospital for the first in a series of farmers' markets scheduled to be held each Friday through the end of the fall season.
The market was organized by the Bay Area Farmers' Markets Association in conjunction with El Camino Hospital. According to hospital spokeswoman Chris Ernst, El Camino is sponsoring the event in an effort to improve the eating habits of both its employees and the community it serves.