In the past five years, farm-to-table has been a lively theme among local restaurants and farmers. Farm-to-table promotes clean eating and the “green movement” that guarantees fresh and healthy food within a community. Local organic farming, community support, seasonal eating and environment sustainability are the greatest benefits to this booming movement.
Farm-to-table is one of the easiest expressions to understand. “It’s the simplest concept out there. Just growing your own food and eating it,” said Jim Haurey, owner and cook at The Grange Restaurant in Warwick, NY, “Cooking anyway else just isn’t smart.”
Whether it’s growing cherry tomatoes on a vine for a nice summer salad, or growing a garden full of bok choy, the satisfaction of eating and having others eat what you grow is like no other.
Since farming, growing and serving produce has been around for centuries, why all of a sudden has it become such a thriving lifestyle? Are we trying to take the easy way out while putting our health in danger? The answer could be because our population finally understands all of the harmful substances that are being included in the food we eat.
According to the Non-GMO Project, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a lab through genetic engineering. GMOs are not labeled on the food we eat, so it is hard to tell which foods may contain them and which foods do not. The Non-GMO Project has teamed up with many companies over the past few years to start labeling the foods that do not contain GMOs and that are safe and healthy for our bodies.
More and more Americans are realizing the health risks of these GMOs and have been drawn toward the farm-to-table trend because of its “green” nature. Soil, seeds, and water are three components one needs to grow their own produce and eat it in the comfort of their own home. However, the time it takes for some produce to germinate could be lengthily and if gardening just isn’t your forte, let the certified organic farmers do the job for you.
The Grange Restaurant has been open for almost three years and has drawn thousands of guests to sample their farm fresh produce and local grass-fed beef. “Busy people don’t have the time or place to grow their own so we supply it,” says Haurey. “I’m surrounded by farms; it’s the only thing that makes sense. Why wouldn’t I want to have a restaurant where people can come and enjoy the farm community?”
Community support is one of the biggest benefits of farm-to-table living. Purchasing produce, meat, and dairy products from local farms supports small businesses and ensures fresh products. With many grocery stores using farms from across the country and shipping them over to their stores, it is hard to really know “where” the food we’re eating is coming from and what kind of chemicals they’re putting on it to keep it so fresh for such a long time. To maintain the quality of the harvest, farm-to-table followers make sure that chemicals that may potentially hurt the environment and their health do not harm their goods.
Although the farm-to-table movement may seem like it's just starting, it is important to understand that people have been farming seasonal ingredients for centuries. Thousands of civilizations have relied solely on the goods they grew themselves for their own nourishment and profit. This way of life promotes clean eating and the “green” movement within a community. Haurey explains, “Farm-to-table shouldn’t be just a trend. Trends look to gain financial development. We want to educate and show people that farming should always be this way.”