Saturday, January 28, 2006

Farmers and Fresh

A quick trip to the Eco Farm Conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California to speak about getting people to eat fresh was an experience unlike any other. I knew that when I arrived at lunch time and discovered that there was a table of extras that included seaweed, hemp and nutritional yeast. Add the breathtaking views of sand dunes and the Pacific and Wow was the word.

I have been to a lot of conferences but never have I had the food that I like to eat so readily available. There were also boxes of my favorite crackers from Dr. Kracker.

But there was so much more beyond the food, the big thing being the people who are responsible for growing, handling and selling the food, most of which is produce (although there were talks about dairy, meat and more). Their work is inspiring.

Do you realize that most farmers get up really early in the morning to get the produce ready and packed for farmer's markets or to sell to stores? At the conference were the men and women responsible for the food on your plates. They are vital and so is the food. I heard an inspiring story of a 1400-acre family farm in upstate New York's Finger Lakes region that transitioned from conventional to organic growing practices in the early 1990s and the farm is thriving. The couple who presented introduced their 17-year old son who is farming his own 200 acres this year. I can't even imagine what that would be like but I have complete respect for every farmer who nurtures the land and us. Think about a farmer next time you eat something delicious.

I think that I wowed my audience with raw Tokyo turnips and kohlrabi just by cutting them up. I hope that you do the same. My message -- educate people so they can taste fresh and delicious -- enjoying fresh veggies every day.

1 comment:

Lou Preston said...

I too was wowed at the Eco Farm Conference by the incredible stories of creativity and determination leading to success. I think a lot of people viewing "organic" from the sidelines believe it is impractical, unaffordable, unrealistic, a utopian pipe dream. The stories show that organic methods work, are more healthy for farmers, consumers, and the environment, and that it is not rocket science. It is a way of life that we can all share from the dream to the garden to the store to the table.

Thanks for the turnips and kohlrabi!