Califonia Bountiful

Bon appétit!

Learn how folks in the Bay Area are getting farm-fresh, sustainable food from one of the largest catering companies in the world.

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Talk to folks who call the tiny Central Valley town of Springville home and they'll swear there must be citrus running through the veins of Wes Maas. His family farming operation has been going strong for more than a century now and doesn't look to slow down anytime soon, thanks to the ingenuity of his late father.

To stay profitable, Wes and his stepfather have diversified a bit with other crops in recent years, but whether it's geography or good old-fashioned farming know-how, their citrus is what the Pleasant Valley Ranch is known for. The self-professed "world's most delicious fruit," their citrus won the 1908 World Expo Prize for being the best in the land.

But as any successful farmer will tell you, having great-tasting produce is only half of the equation. The other half is getting your product to the people to enjoy—which is why Wes and other growers are happy to have found a home in the heart of the city. Today it's at the University of San Francisco, of all places. The university is one of about 500 catering locations across the country run by the Bon Appétit Food Management Company.

Founded in 1987, Bon Appétit strives to provide the best food possible, all from local farmers and prepared by world-class chefs. And at events like USF's recent "Meet the Farmer Day," students have the rare opportunity to meet the people responsible for turning their ordinary college cafeteria into a restaurant-style experience. It's just one of the many ways Bon Appétit is truly bridging the gap between farm to fork—or in this case, between tree to tray.

Buying local isn't just a catch phrase here. Using the freshest, best ingredients and sourcing from local farmers like Wes Maas is the only choice for these Bon Appétit chefs. Finding produce within a 150-mile radius, reducing their carbon footprint and souring only from farms that practice good animal husbandry are just a few of the beliefs the company was founded on and that they continue to tout. One of the first to pioneer the farm to fork concept, the company believes the choice is about investing in the future of the food supply and in the health of their local communities, which includes local farmers.

Sustainable. Fresh. Local and healthy. Together these partners in produce are hoping the food choices we make now will impact our farmers in the future.

For more information about Bon Appétit Food Management Company, visit

For more information about Pleasant Valley Ranch, visit

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