How to Create a Farm-to-Table Meal cover

How to Create a Farm-to-Table Meal

By


By now, the term “farm to table” is probably a familiar one, with connotations of locally grown produce taking a starring a role in your meal.
But lets dig deeper, asking the questions of how, and more importantly, why?
Gustavo Esteva states it simply as “customs and rituals surrounding the growing, preparation and serving food are at the heart of community and communion”. Coming together for meals is a celebratory way to share ideas, and find inspiration from one another.





NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.




Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!

Save to App


How to Create a Farm-to-Table Meal

Digging Deeper

By now, the term “farm to table” is probably a familiar one, with connotations of locally grown produce taking a starring a role in your meal.

But lets dig deeper, asking the questions of how, and more importantly, why?

Gustavo Esteva states it simply as “customs and rituals surrounding the growing, preparation and serving food are at the heart of community and communion”. Coming together for meals is a celebratory way to share ideas, and find inspiration from one another.

Coming Together

Coming Together

Start A Conversation

When you stop to think about how many people can be touched by a single meal, it's a great way to start the conversation.

Who tilled the land, and made the soil rich? Where was the lettuce grown, and with what practices? Who fed and cared for the hens, and what sort of life did they live? When we begin to understand the power our choices have, we can take thoughtful action to create and support a positive local food economy.

Local Sourcing

Challenge yourself to source ingredients that are within 250 miles of you.

You'll instantly be eating within the growing seasons, cutting down on importing and all of the negative ecological affects of global transporting. In Southern California, we're blessed with an abundance of passionate farmers, ranchers and fisherman, so you can find a diverse bounty at any given time.

The Local Harvest website is a great resource for discovering purveyors by zip code or ingredient. There, you can also find a listing of your local farmers' markets.

Local Sourcing (Cont.)

When planning a menu, I like to stroll through a farmers' market for inspiration.

It's not only an amazing place to source, buying directly from the farmer, and helping to support the local economy. Of course, it's also a great opportunity and fun way to see what's in season. Let the seasons set a tone and theme for your menu. If it's November, the menu should show it; boasting apples, pears, butternut squash and brussel sprouts.

Ecologically Grown Vegetables

Ecologically Grown Vegetables

Joining a CSA, or community supported agriculture, is another great way to experience the seasons through produce, while supporting a local farm at the same time. When you participate in CSA programs, it helps to ensure next season's sales, and subsidize the farmers, their land, labor, equipment and families.

Image by Elina Mark

(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Setting the Scene

The entire tablescape is an opportunity for thoughtful and conscious sourcing.

Many local college fine art departments have seasonal ceramic sales where you can pick up vases and dishware made by the students. Monthly artwalks are another resource for picking up artisan good directly from the maker.

What about the flowers? California requires all flowers sold at farmers' markets are from a grower, not reseller. And for the candles? Many local beekeepers use their honeycomb to make candles, which are both gorgeous and responsible.

Cleaning Up

Cleaning Up

Composting at home is easy and has a huge positive impact on not only your garden and soil health, but the greater community. It helps to reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfills, and therefore minimizing the amount of pollution from methane and leachate.

Image by Mathias Baert

(CC BY 2.0)

Soaps & Cleaners

Don't forget about the soaps, cleaners and detergents that you are using.

There are a lot of simple recipes for natural, chemical free cleaners. By making your own, you can cut back on packaging waste and you can control exactly what they contain, avoiding harmful synthetic chemicals and toxins. There are a lot of great companies with vegetable based soaps, like Castile, that are biodegradable and will not contaminate ground water.

One Bite At A Time

Remember to share your efforts, ideas and resource with your guests.

Telling the story of the local family farm and the neighborhood baker can paint a picture, and shed light on the interconnectedness. A simple farm to table meal can inspire and impact many, and living an everyday farm to table lifestyle can do even more.

We all have the opportunity to create and support the community and help protect the planet, one bite at a time.