One of the most pleasant surprises I have encountered after four weeks on the road for my Food Forward project is how welcoming and helpful people have been to my family and me.

Part of me thinks, well, maybe they’re just being nice because they want media exposure, but I don’t think that’s true. My experience has been people working on or around the sustainable-food movement are just genuinely good people. Yes, they want to get the word out about what they’re doing, but more than that most people I’ve met just want to help. Case in point: David Hill.

I had never met David and his wife, Kay, before. They own the Chef’s Table in Rocklin, an oasis of creative and delicious farm-to-table food in a sea of chain-restaurant homogeneity. My sister-in-law is friends with them and told them what we were up to with Food Forward. David then not only invited us to his restaurant, he also came up with a list of purveyors and interesting folks he thought we might like to connect with.

Placer County has a thriving local food scene and David is tapped into it. David went out of his way to schedule visits for us during our short stay there. He even offered to let us park at his house. We ended up at an RV lot for one night (had to dump sewage—nice) and spent the next night on the farm of one of his vendors—Bryan Kaminsky of the Natural Trading Co.

David met us at the great little farmers market in downtown Auburn and then took us to the excellent Dono dal Cielo winery, makers of some refreshingly nimble zinfandel. He even brought sandwiches!

During our great meal at his restaurant, I met Jerome Beauchamp, a friend of Bryan Kaminsky’s. Jerome and his son, Pierre, offered to connect with us at the RV park and escort us to the farmer’s market and then Bryan’s farm. Along the way, we stopped at his house and checked out Pierre’s very cool hydroponic operation. And then there’s Bryan.

Not only did we get to spend a night perched on a little hill atop his 40-acre farm with rows of vegetables all around, he and his girlfriend, Tes, cooked us a great dinner from just-picked vegetables while my children, Everett and Ava, played with a litter of kittens in the garage. That was after they played with sheepdog puppies and baby goats. The morning before we left, Bryan helped me attach a gas line that had detached from the underbelly of the Airstream. And then he handed us a dozen fresh jumbo eggs as we drove off.

The good-food movement isn’t just about good food. It’s about good people, and I’ve been privileged to meet some of them.

Food editor Stett Holbrook is on the road, traveling in a 1965, 26-foot Airstream trailer with his family to research and promote Food Forward (, a documentary series for public television about the people changing our food system—and to promote Boulevards New Media.