Farm to Fork

This concept is very similar to the previous ethos I have been writing about & promote for my preserves line. The connection between people & our food is known as Farm to Table. Before our country became so urban, people lived close to, & knew, the people who grew their food. They bought it directly from the farm...



3/22/20214 min read

This concept is very similar to the previous ethos I have been writing about and promote for my preserves line.  The connection between people and our food is known as Farm to Table.  Before our country became so urban, people lived close to, and knew, the people who grew their food.  They bought it directly from the farm or from local markets.  If a product was tasty and ripe, they knew who was responsible.  Being aware of where your food comes from can lead to a greater appreciation for your food.  It takes a lot of hard work to make your meal possible.  The Farm to Table movement focuses on producing food locally and then transferring that food to local restaurants and homes.  When we use only locally produced foods, we know where our food comes from.  We re-establish the link between farmers and other people.  

Farm to table, also known as farm to fork, can be defined as a social movement where restaurants source their ingredients from local farms, usually through direct acquisition from a farmer.  Most traditional restaurants get their produce from other parts of the country or around the world.  These ingredients need to be shipped long distances, and as a result, they are usually picked before they are ripe to lengthen their lifespan, or they are frozen to prevent spoiling.  All of this results in food that is bland and less nutritious.

On the other hand, farm to fork restaurants get their food from local farms, so the food is picked at peak freshness and is bursting with flavors and vitamins.  Because the produce is usually very flavorful, many farm to table operations don’t dress their food up with complex sauces and overpowering flavors, instead preferring to let the freshness and flavor of the food speak for itself.

Richard Traylor writes about the history of farm to table.  "The roots of the farm to fork trend stretch back to the 1960s and ’70s when Americans became increasingly dissatisfied with processed foods that they found bland.  Chef Alice Waters, wanted to use produce from local organic farms because it was more flavorful and fresh than produce used by other restaurants.“

Some of the things we’ve discussed before come up again as recurring themes.  A few pros of farm to table:

-Farm to fork helps to boost the local economy and support local farmers. Because the movement deals directly with the farmer, you can be sure that the money spent is going directly to helping farmers grow their businesses and fuel the local economy.  The local economy also benefits when consumers buy their food locally.  Because a large volume of produce is shipped upward of 1,500 miles before reaching the consumer, the local areas where the food was grown and raised don’t always benefit from the sale of the food.  On the other hand, buying food locally can improve the economic vitality of small, local farms.

-We get delicious and fresh produce, and the farmer gets recognition for their hard work as well as guaranteed business.  Additionally, we have a close relationship with one particular farm, so we can usually request certain foods.

-Serving farm-to-table food is an excellent way to make local and organic food more available to your community.

-It can help the environment. The produce doesn’t have to be shipped long distances, meaning less time on a truck and fewer greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere.  Local food is better for the earth.  Not only is local food better for your health, but it’s also better for the environment.  For instance, the average 18-wheeled semi-truck travels about 5 miles per gallon of gas.  That means about 500 gallons of diesel fuel is needed to haul produce an average distance of 1,500 miles.

-Farm-to-table eating offers diners a wide variety of choices when it comes to food.  Farm-to-table offerings include any type of whole food imaginable, just as long as it’s in season.  As the seasons change, different foods will be available on farms, and you’ll have to adapt to what produce is available and fresh.  If you feel like you’re stuck in a routine of eating the same foods, here’s a good way to introduce new foods and recipes.  A wide variety of fruits and vegetables to help you expand your taste buds and your nutritional intake.

-The concept of farm-to-table is not only being adopted by restaurants, but the idea is also being instilled in younger generations. Farm-to-school or farm-to-cafeteria movements are growing nationwide. This helps support small- to- mid-size local farms by giving them regular business, and in return, students get healthy locally grown food. Many schools also offer nutrition education that aims to teach kids where food comes from and to be healthy eaters.

-Local food is often more nutritious.  Because it’s not shipped long distances, locally grown food is often tasty and healthy.  Food that’s shipped is often resilient to travel, according to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
A study of 16 popular fruits and vegetables showed the average was transferred nearly 1,500 miles before being sold.  In addition, 39% of fruit and 12% of veggies were imported from outside the United States.  To keep food from going bad during travel, some fruits and veggies are picked before they are able to completely ripen and absorb nutrients.  While this allows produce to ripen en route so consumers have access to fresh foods year-round, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says this means foods often lack nutrients that would be there if allowed to ripen before being packed and shipped.  Non-local farms pick their produce when it’s still green or unripe.  A common practice is to gas green tomatoes so they turn red.  The result is a red tomato with the taste and texture of a green tomato.

-Farm-to-table food is healthier than processed and packaged foods. First of all, it’s all-natural and many of the ingredients and products are locally grown or raised.  Secondly, it probably contains fewer calories, fat, sugar, and carbohydrates than the pre-packaged food you find at the store

-Studies show that people who eat at home consume fewer calories.  They also eat less fat and sugar at each meal.  Preparing homemade food can help your entire family eat healthier.

-Family meals at home bring families closer together and can benefit children.  Studies have shown that family meals can lower the rates of teen pregnancy, drugs, obesity, eating disorders, and depression.  They also show that family dinners help boost self-esteem, grade-point averages, and vocabulary.