Every October, three acres of the McClellands’ cow-haunted pastures pop to life with plump pumpkins in orange, white, and green. Along with the briskly changing foliage, this autumnal bounty heralds a transformation at the dairy. The farm begins to host tours every weekend, granting guests a chance to pet the nursery’s stumbling calves and milk a cow by hand. The family also sets up a winding Hay Maze to confound any bull-man hybrids that wander by. Other activities at the pumpkin patch include a sand box full of the seeds that are used to grow cow feed, a haunted hay trail, and hay rides. After the flurry of fall activity, kids can clamber into a bouncy-house as their parents share some gossip and politely refuse a chew of cud with “the girls,” as Jana McClelland calls her bovine family members.
Canvas Ranch distributes sustainably farmed veggies plucked from fields that span 28 acres in the Two Rock Valley. Enliven a bland plate with weekly installments of farm-fresh fun from the family farm’s selection of summer crops. Summer harvest typically includes dry-farmed heirloom tomatoes, sweet peppers, stowaway morning dew, and summer squash.
The produce curators at Planet Organics look to the green thumbs of small local farms to shuttle organic fruits and veggies from fields onto area tables in less than 48 hours. An armful of earth's bounty appears eagerly at doorsteps or tree-house ladders, and patrons choose from a case of all fruits, all vegetables, or a half-and-half mix of fruits and vegetables. The organic outfitter ensures freshness by maintaining strict delivery logistics and only recruiting fruits grown for flavor and hereditary dimples rather than longevity. Patrons can keep jonagold apples on necklaces at all times of day to ward off visits from hungry doctors, or add Watsonville strawberries to cool spring salads to delight dinner guests.
In China, acupuncture developed as a communal practice. Friends and family would lie down in the same room, basking in silence together. At Santa Rosa Community Acupuncture, eighth-generation acupuncturist Viola Huang-Beck believes that "this kind of collective stillness is a rare and precious thing" in modern society. She and two fellow healers have brought communal medicine to Santa Rosa, setting up a spacious treatment room ringed by recliners. Traditional pulse diagnosis takes the place of lengthy patient intakes, and a "collective stillness" pervades instead of the auctioneering that attends most Western acupuncture. Part of a communal approach, the clinic's sliding payment scale makes it easier for patients to come in as often as necessary.
Marisa and Chad North both know the struggles of controlling gluten intolerance. Marisa began showing the symptoms of the condition at 18 months of age. Her mother, also diagnosed as gluten intolerant, knew how to modify her diet, but it often left Marisa feeling alienated from her friends. Chad wasn't aware of his gluten intolerance until he was 14, when a collapse from exhaustion turned out to validate the diagnosis that eight doctors had once ignored. Their shared histories and efforts in healthy eating inspired the two to create Sans GlutenFree Grocery, a store that that stocks only gluten-free edibles that are tasty, nutritious, and safe, removing would-be imposters with a series of trapdoors.