Along with the organics movement and the sustainable living shift in American thinking, another trend vastly becoming more popular every year is farm to table. What is farm to table? Is this a trend that is here to stay in this environmentally friendly age or is it another flash in the pan like molecular gastronomy or Japanese- Peruvian fusion cuisine was? I want to write about this food trend today and explore the topic of eating locally and seasonally.
Farm to table simply means foods that are served commercially were grown and/or butchered locally, with little or no middleman (food suppliers and larger, chain grocery stores). The products are organic and tend to be seasonal because of the local environment they were grown in. The famed food writer Alice Waters is a huge supporter and pioneer in this movement. She talks about keeping traditional and ancient food-production/preparation methods alive; eating whole, natural (genetically UNmodified foods!) foods in their natural season and environment; and linking education to farming, local farms and farming communities.
Farm to table is by far not a new concept (but as of late, the general public is starting to catch on and gave it its name), and anyone who has read any of Alice Waters books or eaten at French Laundry in Northern California, knows that they have been talking about this concept for years. I recently went to NYC to be with my mother-in-law for the birth of my newest nephew. My brother-in-law told me that farm to table is a big trend lately, which surprised me and didn’t surprise me at the same time. It surprised me in that I just did not think of farm to table in a metropolis like NYC and did not ever think about where local farms are in the area. But it didn’t surprise me at the same time because, well, it is NYC after all and you can find anything in NYC if you really want to. It got me thinking about how many other cities have caught on. I honestly thought farm to table was more of a Midwest thing. It’s where I grew up and had my first experience with farm to table dining while on a visit a few years ago. It just seems natural in the Midwest where there are so many farms, ranches and farmer’s markets. If you want to eat farm to table, I recommend visiting your local farmer’s market and looking up any local ranches or animal farms and see if they sell to individuals. But besides eating locally and seasonally, try to eat organic when possible. Hope this blog was informative today and gets you thinking local and seasonal when cooking!