Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Farm to Table, Garden to Plate

members picnic?The ‘Farm to Table’ movement, style, trend is quite popular. Though folks have been eating farm food for quite a while (pardon me corner store with kettle chips from Oregon), the opportunity to brand and model it seems to be happening everywhere you look, shop and cook. First and foremost, there is a Farm to Table dinner and fundraiser at Holly Hill Farm this Saturday the 12th.  Like other dinners we have hosted in the past, it will feature as much seasonal, available farm fresh produce as possible in the meals.  Since tomatoes are falling off the vine, the chefs will incorporate tomato dishes into the courses.  As there are eggplants, we will serve dishes which celebrate the organic eggplant.  The pattern continues with peppers, carrots, arugula and crops which are bursting from the fields. It is harvest season and we are not alone in providing chance to see the works of the farmer, while supporting the Farm. In this example, the dinner supports our educational programs and outreach teaching in the community. (If this is too short notice, please consider the next Farm to Table Dinner and Auction in our greenhouse on November 7th).

Holly Hill is no stranger in efforts to introduce the customer to the fruits of his and her labors.  In Seattle, Washington, one local coffee shop shows a Farm to Cup series of photographs and thoughtful descriptions of the farmers who grow the beans that are shipped to that lovely port town for constant consumption, which is a treat for those enduring cool weather and rain. Lots of hip restaurants are offering Farm to Fork cooking classes so kids can learn to make kale chips, chard stalk hummus and red velvet beet cake. Good ways to encourage children trying, gaining skill and even eating different, healthy food. How about a Farm to Spoon class when potatoes, leeks and garlic are in the farm stand ready to be made and pureed into a warm soup for a soon to be cool, autumn day? Vineyard to Glass for local grapes that have been stomped on and bottled? Field to Pint for those growing hops and barley? Garden to Side Plate for cucumbers, carrots and celery? There are many fancy phrases that can allure any eater to a farm or a restaurant to enjoy what has been grown.  Sometimes though, the farmer, the grower or the sommelier can even charge a bit more money for the chance to taste, be served and enjoy. Organic produce takes a little more effort to grow, with no governmental subsidies or reduced costs, so the price can indeed be higher. An organic grower who delivers the vegetable or fruit right to the doorstep may charge more for freshness and assurance of quality.  The whole Farm to Anywhere trend can be looked down upon as too expensive or even unnecessary to many who now grow their own vegetables, pick their own berries and set out pots for their own catch of crabs.  So we and many others are stating the obvious when we promote Farm to Table this and that. Certainly food grew somewhere and yes it is available on a plate, in a cup or on a train or in a boat. But will you eat it? Will you seek out the beet that grew at the nearby farm or sip the coffee from a known farmer with a fairly told story?  Many of us have choices in what and where we eat. Many do not have choices and are considerably forced to eat what is put in front of them in a soup line, at a food pantry or available in aisle seven of a large grocery store carrying many packaged and highly processed goods.

So keep an open mind as to what farmer is growing what food and how? Find out from where your food comes and if it makes sense to pay a little more or a little less, as buying in bulk can yield deals and seconds tomatoes make for great winter sauce.  Speaking of trends, paying lots of money each month and popularity, find me someone who does not have a hand-held phone with some known or unknown provider or carrier. I need to research where that technology grew, which plant manufactured those pretty covers and cases and all the details of the makers who put each one together. Farm to Phone? No reception.

© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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