I’ve written before about Cliff and Marisa Kane, who grow avocados and citrus on an acre in La Habra Heights, where they live in an 84-year-old California Hacienda-style home purchased from its original owner. In addition to being family farmers, the Kanes are teachers—Marisa’s degree is in art history, and Cliff’s a graduate of UC Irvine’s respected writing program with an M.F.A. in poetry.
They sell their fine wares at Saturday’s Old Towne Orange Farmers & Artisans Market, where they met Chapman University film student Molly Gard, from Corvallis, Oregon. Gard, who lives a convenient five blocks from the market when school’s in session, thought the Kanes would be a good fit for her short “Eat Better, Live Better” documentary. “They seemed so enthusiastic, genuine, and wholesome that I was immediately drawn to them. When I told them what I was looking for, both Cliff and Marisa said without hesitation that they would be interested in participating,” she said.
In “Eat Better,” beautifully shot scenes of the Kane’s micro-farm, paired with their thoughtful family-farm philosophy, provide a window into the other side of a farmers market vendor’s life, the one we don’t see much of from our vantage point as customers. Not to say we’re unaware of the hands-on commitment that allows us to benefit from the literal fruits of a farmer’s labor, of course—but it bears remembering that there are way less risky ways to make a living. You’ll see in the documentary that the risks are touched on—but the rewards are apparent, too.
Click here to watch “Eat Better, Live Better.”
An extra treat in the film is bluegrass banjo player Travis Bartosh, a familiar sight and sound for O.C. farmers market-goers. He’s nothing short of stupendous—the first time I happened upon him playing, one Tuesday morning at the Irvine Ranch Historic Park market, I was absolutely stopped in my tracks. For most of the soundtrack, Cliff Kane, who’s also a multi-instrumentalist, supplies haunting Hawaiian guitar.
Click here for our updated, searchable guide to Orange County farmers markets, and look for a mention of the Kane’s sublime Hass avocados in Orange Coast’s July Best of issue.