Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Moyra Barsotti

Capay Organic / Farm Fresh to You
Capay, California

My intention was not to create a blog focused on the challenges of being a working mother but that is clearly a dominant theme in my life and the lives of my peers. If asked, any of us would obviously answer, “yes, it is all worth it” but the day to day trials and tribulations can be overwhelming. That is why I have always looked up to Moyra Barsotti.

Moyra is an understated person. Half French, she has a coolness that a high-strung person like myself could not attempt to emulate. She always looks beautiful and keeps one of the busiest schedules of anyone I know. She and her husband, Thaddeus, are part of the family team that run the farm and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm Fresh to You/ Capay Organic. The two companies provide fresh fruit and vegetable boxes to thousands of weekly subscribers, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, and farmers markets throughout California. She also has a history making cheese. Moyra and I met through Slow Food and became close friends for our love of good food, ladies' outings, and slightly off-color jokes.

Moyra is kind, quick, and hardworking. She is a huge influence on the way that I raise my child and approach life as a working mother in the food industry. She lives on a beautiful stretch of land in Capay Valley overlooking the fields where they grow many of their vegetables. On an unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon she grilled asparagus from the farm for her kids while I snapped photos. It would be  untruthful not include that she was clearly over-worked and tired the day I imposed on her family, but she was graceful and welcoming none the less. 


What do you do for Capay Organic/ Farm Fresh to You?
Project management for our growing programs. By region and season, we plan out what to grow for our wholesale brand and our CSA. Also, we procure products from other growers pre-season for our CSA (for example, working with Gravenstein apple growers now for product ready in August). 



Where does your cooking inspiration come from?
The vegetables that we grow. We subscribe to our own CSA (ha!) and get a delivery weekly. It's pretty fun, even for us, to look at the veggies and figure out what to make accordingly. Thad also planted a kale field next to our house this year so that we could pick it for cooking - we eat a lot of kale.

What do you wish the average consumer knew about farming?
That it needs to be financially viable, just like any other business. There seems to be too much of a romantic notion with farming and not enough focus on the economics. Innovative growers who use alternative sales strategies or who launch agritourism initiatives should be looked up to as smart business people. It sometimes seems like people are heralding the small, struggling farmers who can't make ends meet....why? We wouldn't do the same for a failing executive in any other industry.






You have two kids, a full time job, do CrossFit a few times a week, and always look great! What advice do you have for working moms on staying stylish and balanced?
This is a work in progress! It is really important for your piece of my mind, for your kids, for your partner, for your friends, for your coworkers to take time to do things for yourself. My biggest advice would be to figure out what your priorities are and to lower your expectations on everything else. Also, if you have the ability to work a flexible schedule, this is huge for work/life balance. The ability to be able to go for a run at lunch or finish work after the kids go to bed is a big bonus. Don't let your partner off the hook. We all come into parenting with different expectations and having had different role models. However, we can all agree that there is defineable list of things that need to get done when raising kids. If both partners are working outside of the home, then home life duties should be shared equitably.


Describe your personal style?
Eek, "functional and ok to get snot on"? I'd say my style is classic, maybe with a little French, sporty and country thrown in. I like to get dressed up for weddings :)

What are your favorite shoes?
I have some not very functional espadrilles. I got them at a market in the south of france in 2004. I probably like them because whenever I wear them it means I'm on vacation.


What was your last most memorable meal?
Shared meal with Ladies of the Ladle at Bull Valley Roadhouse ;) magical







Tell me about your history making cheese?
I love cheese. After my freshman year of college on the east coast, I took a year off and worked the grape harvest in Alsace, France. There I met two Quebecois folks who were traveling around goat dairies. I tagged along and work about six weeks on a goat dairy near Strasbourg - milking goats, herding goats and making cheese. I fell in love with the cheeses and the goats. The goats were so personable and playful. The cheese was fun, applied science. I went on to work for Slow Food France, where I primarily worked on a school garden iniative - however, I also fell in love with cheeses of that area. While working for Slow Food, I drove from Bra, Italy to Provence with Alice Waters as my co-passenger. She suggested I contact Peggy and Sue of Cowgirl Creamery - she told me about a new shop that they had opened in this new market hall in SF called "The Ferry Building". I worked retail for Cowgirl the summer I returned from France, and later after milking goats at the UC Davis goat barn and graduating from UCD, worked at Cowgirl's creamery in Point Reyes Station for a brief stint. That was a lot of fun. The cheese-makers there are really passionate.

What is your favorite spot in your house?
My bathtub or being outside on the bench swing.

And there you have it. 
-N







5 comments:

  1. really enjoy reading your writing! telling story behind all the hard-works. keep it up and ti segiuamo!

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  2. Love this!!! Esp. the vacation shoes :D

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  3. Moyra is an inspiration! Great photos and post.

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  4. Beautiful photos and inspiring stories. Brava!

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  5. Moyra follows her bliss, no doubt! She is an inspiration! thanks for the story!

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