A Table on a Farm

imagejpeg_0(3)One of my clearest truths is my dedication to good, local food. I’m obsessed, and with so much to learn, grow, eat, and drink, I don’t see my obsession waning any time soon.

This week I had the high privilege to prepare a meal of local farm products and serve the farmers themselves. I work for Future Harvest CASA, a sustainable farmer support non-profit, and we came together at Zigbone Farm Retreat for a staff retreat and shared meal. Each staff member contributed fantastic products – farm-raised pork loin, homemade feta, paneer, and chevre; mizuna and kale; garlic chives, herbs, and scallions; homemade bread, local yogurt, and more for dinner!

My colleague Michelle (of Hangry District) and I were so lucky to create a beautiful meal from our colleagues’ stunning offerings, including pork tonkatsu with Roberts Roost Farm’s greens, miso soup with scallions and my homemade miso and tofu, saag with greens and farm-kitchen paneer, and a strawberry preserves tart topped with fresh strawberries and thyme. Plus, we enjoyed my homebrewed cider, Maryland wine, local ice cream and cheese, and preserves to round out the feast.

 

It was truly a privilege to cook such delicious farm produce, meats, and dairy, and even more humbling to serve and eat with the farmers themselves.

A question on my mind lately has been: how to get others interested in food? And not just food, but delicious, pungent spring onions and bitter greens; luscious sun-ripened tomato salads; rich, creamy fall corn, squash, and roots; earthy winter sunchokes and briny, cold fish; dinner that came from a small family farm to my table; food that is nourishing and delightful.

And especially after my meal at Zigbone…I don’t see what’s not to be interested in! Recently I’ve been busy, working people for their take. Why not put a little more time into cooking? Buy more locally-perhaps a CSA partial share or a monthly visit to a farmers market? There haven’t been many clear answers, and for some, the luxury of choosing certain food isn’t an option. But it seems mainly that a lot of folks just aren’t that interested in reaching beyond the adequacy of fast, cheap food.

‘Farm to table’ as a phrase is almost losing its meaning. All food comes from some farm, somewhere. But on that night at Zigbone with such personal, seasonal, delicious food, my dedication was renewed. To watch a farmer’s season unfold, then create a meal from their gifts—it really is special, and I want everyone to experience that singular beauty and nourishment. It’s a moment of real clarity to complete a cycle of land well worked with something delicious, and I aim to uphold that circle.

So how to get more folks interested in food? I’m not really sure—but I’ll be eating in the meantime, watching the farms grow. And I hope you can be as lucky as I sometimes am, to share a meal like this! If you can make the time to connect with your local farmers, your heart and belly will be all the happier for it!


In case you’re curious, here are some of my Baltimore local favorite places to buy from farmers:

 

Thanks to Michelle of Hangry District for the Zigbone meal pictures!

 

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