“Farm to table” is something that we hear a lot of today but what does it really mean? Simply put, it’s the idea that food that is the best for us and the earth comes to us directly from the farm where it’s produced. This seems like a simple concept but in our modern day life with all of the demands on our time and options it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, we have laid out four simple rules that will help you adopt a farm to table lifestyle into your daily routine.
Go to the Source
Most of the food that you find in your neighborhood grocery store is probably not local. It was grown in different faraway places, picked, handled, processed, and transported many miles to get to your store. This also means it has been handled by many individuals in the process of getting it to you. However, local farmers grow food close to you and that means it was picked more recently, retaining more of its nutrients and is handled by way fewer people. Because local food is harvested closer to it’s optimal ripeness and not artificially ripened while it’s transported, it is infinitately more delicious. So how does one connect with farmers and local producers? It’s easy!
- Shop at your local farmers market. This gives you an opportunity to connect directly with your local farmers and their products. What better way to connect with your food than to get personally acquainted with your local farmers!
- Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and visit the farms. A CSA program is a way to purchase a share of a farm or a cooperative of farms and share in the seasonal bounty that the farms produce. This option is great if making regular trips to your farmers market isn’t convenient or if you have access to a great CSA option. There are often opportunities to volunteer on the farms and visit them to see first hand where and how your food is grown.
Don’t forget to thank your farmer for all of the incredibly hard work they do every single day to bring delicious and nutritious food to market to nourish you and the people you love.
Only Eat Meat You Know (And Only Eat it Occasionally)
- Look for local farmers who are raising livestock in your community – Local is always best. If you know hunters who hunt for meat, see if you can buy some from them. Doesn’t get more free range than that.
- Understand and know what practices they use to raise and process the animals. Make sure the farmers are good stewards of the land and also take good care of the animals you are about to eat. You want to eat clean meat that is free of antibiotics or hormones, right? Make sure your farmer delivers just that.
- Visit the farm if you can, see the animals that will become your food. Thank them!
Always Ask Questions
- At restaurants, ask where the food comes from and how it is sourced. Does the restaurant have a relationship with the people who grow the food they are serving you? Find out!
- At the farmer’s market ask your farmer lots of questions. Where is their farm located? How long have they been farming? What things are they growing? What are they preparing for the upcoming seasons? This gives you and idea of what they grow so you can plan your trips to the market. Also ask how they farm. Do they use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides? Do they till the land? Rotate crops? Do they use animals on their farms to manage the land? How they farm is as important as what they farm.
- Ask the produce manager in your local grocery where the produce is grown and when deliveries come in. The produce manager can often be a fountain of information and if they know you are interested in something specific they might start stocking it for you.
Cook At Home
- Cook from scratch and use local ingredients – local is always preferable and whole, fresh ingredients are always better than processed. If you are following the other rules outlined above you will know exactly how to do this!
- Meal prep and make large batches of food for the week (your future self will thank you!) this will keep the temptation to eat processed foods at bay.
- Take a cooking class! Sharpen your skills, learn about new ingredients and have fun at the same time. Confidence in the kitchen is the biggest driver of home cooking. The more comfortable you are with cooking, the more likely you are to do it.
Farm to Table Classes!
You can learn to do the things listed above in one of our farm to table classes! Spend the day on a farm with the farmer asking questions and learning what it takes to make the food we eat. Then you will be led through a fun hands on cooking class right there on the farm!