I recently started writing for Your Health Connection Magazine (YHC). They offered me a Compassionate Eating Column which has given me the opportunity to write reviews about restaruants in Ventura and LA County that offer healthy food choices. The first place that immediately came to mind was a little cafe in Meiners Oaks called Farmer and the Cook. Here’s what I wrote…
I cant get a way with a small day trip to Ojai without stopping at Farmer and the Cook in Meiners Oaks. Being an advocate for sustainable agriculture for many years, I can say that F & C is an A+ example of what good food really is. Steve Sprinkel (the farmer) has an organic farm just a few miles from the restaurant that supplies most of the fresh produce that is featured in his wife Olivia (the cook’s) culinary creations.
I often visit Ojai to connect with nature and just to take a stroll through the fields of Ranch Del Pueblo. There is something deeply soothing and grounding by being fully present with Earth and to witness its beautiful life giving miracles in action.
The Farmer and the Cook cafe offers a variety of tasty menu options and an award winning salad bar. I personally believe they have the best veggie burger in Ventura County. They are hand made with delicious home grown veggies and organic grains (and a secret ingredient I recently discoverd—coconut!) topped with banana chutney. You can also get it with their home made spelt bread that is baked fresh daily. On the weekends they serve up seasonal farm specials and hearty pizzas which you can order with cashew nut cheese or gluten free crusts. Wednesdays is nut loaf day which I have yet to try. I hear it is delicious and comes with mashed potatoes and shiitake mushroom gravy. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
Farmer and the Cook is a vegetarian restaurant and offers many vegan options. During the week they have an order at the counter system and on the weekend, the cafe is open and provides a more formal sit down dining experience with wait staff. You can sit on their patio or eat inside amongst art from local artists. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting and is sometimes accompanied by local musicians who play on the little outdoor stage. They also have a little grocery store so you can take home some local organic goodness to play with in your own kitchen, and don’t forget to stop by the dessert case on your way out.
There is something timeless and comforting about Farmer and the Cook and I enjoy the break from the hectic pace of modern life. Thankfully there are some things that have always stayed the same, like the simple pleasure of enjoying good food and sharing it with friends and family.
Farmer and the Cook along with Rancho Del Pueblo will be featured in my new book Compassionate Eating: Organic Ventura. The book will include short stories about local farms, hand painted illustrations and plant-based recipes using locally grown veggies.
Click here to learn more about the new book.