Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, examined produce at a farmers market and mingled with locals at an organic farm near San Francisco on Saturday as their U.S. tour moved to California.
It was a shift from the power centers of New York and Washington to more rural areas, and issues close to the prince's heart _ organic agriculture and sustainable food production.
"As a society, we have become completely disconnected from where our food comes from," said Helge Hellberg, executive director of the farming association Marin Organic. "Prince Charles acknowledges and understands and embraces sustainable agriculture."
Marin County, a hub of organic farming, had been buzzing with talk of cabbages and kings for the days leading up to the visit.
Hellberg's group is working to make sure all produce grown in the county is certified organic, which would make it the first of its kind in the nation. Sales of Marin's organic vegetables already amount to about $5 million (-4.19 million) annually, Hellberg said.
Statewide, there about 2,000 registered organic farms, according to Jake Lewin, marketing director of California Certified Organic Farmers, where he said membership has been growing.
Following a stop at the farmer's market in the Marin County town of Point Reyes, the royal couple visited Bolinas, a small coastal community about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of San Francisco, where they ate lunch at Star Route Farms, run by organic pioneer Warren Weber.
The prince is a firm supporter of environmental causes and runs an organic farm on his Highgrove estate in England. He also has a multimillion-dollar line of organic foods, Duchy Originals, whose profits go to charity. Lewin's group certifies Duchy Originals products imported to the United States as organic.
In a recent interview, the prince urged support for small-scale farmers, saying he feared agribusiness would end up "completely industrializing the landscape."
Charles and Camilla flew to San Francisco late Friday after a brief stop in New Orleans, where they saw a neighborhood obliterated by Hurricane Katrina.
Standing atop a patched 20-foot (6-meter) levee in the impoverished Lower Ninth Ward, they shook their heads in disbelief at the destruction: splintered homes, chunks of concrete, overturned cars. The couple also met residents and rescue workers. , AP reported. V.A.