Farm-To-Table: It's More Than A Just A Trend

Farm-To-Table: It's More Than A Just A Trend

The simplest concept: just growing your own food and eating it.
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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.”

Cover Image Credit: Soergel Orchards

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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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Living With Celiac Disease

Kids would put food in my face and tease me about it, they'd tell me that my symptoms weren't real and that I was just faking it for attention; I even had adults tell me this too.

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At the age of eight, I experienced horrible stomach pain, weakness, and illness. I was doubled over, and I didn't know why I'd felt so horrible. It wasn't the kind of pain you feel when you have the flu, or when you have cramps. It was a different kind of pain, but I knew it wasn't good. My parents didn't know what was wrong with me either. The only thing my dad had suspected was that perhaps I was intolerant to gluten.

For those who don't know, gluten is found in many food items that primarily contain grains or are often high in carbs. This isn't to say that all foods with carbs or grains have gluten, but they oftentimes do. Gluten is a protein within wheat that is the primary ingredient in cake, pizza, and bread. It is even sometimes in food that you would never suspect, like Twizzlers. It's also synonymous with ingredients like monosodium glutamate, malt, barley…etc.

I tell you that to tell you this:
At eight years old, I was told I had celiac disease. Which just means that my body is unable to digest and break down gluten, preventing me from absorbing vital nutrients.

My dad found out later in his life that he was gluten intolerant after many years of breakouts and complications. He had ascertained the idea that maybe I had also carried this gene and that was why I was in so much pain. Each time we digest gluten, our body attacks our small intestine, killing off what is called villi. My body was in so much pain because I was eating gluten.

After taking gluten products completely out of my diet, I felt 100% better. I was no longer in intense pain, I no longer had rashes, and all other symptoms went away. From then on, I had to watch what I ate, as if I was on a life-long diet.

As you can imagine, this was a ton of responsibility for me as an eight-year-old because I now had to constantly check every label there ever was, make sure that the food I was eating at school didn't have any sort of gluten in it, and I was also now a novelty at school. Kids would put food in my face and tease me about it, they'd tell me that my symptoms weren't real and that I was just faking it for attention. I even had adults tell me this too. They thought I was being hypersensitive.

I had to remember everywhere I went that I had to avoid eating gluten. Do you know how hard that is? It's in so many things. When I was young, not many people knew what celiac disease was. There weren't any gluten-free alternatives out there, so I was eating lots of rice, beans, and salad. I had a very limited food palette. I could no longer have the amazing foods I enjoyed like pizza, garlic rolls, cake, or even ravioli. Although it seems odd, ravioli and spaghetti-o's were my favorite then and I was no longer able to have them. It crushed me.

Having celiac disease was hard as a child because when I went to birthday parties, I couldn't eat most of the food they provided. I couldn't enjoy birthday cake or the pizza that most people ordered. I always had to bring my own food and explain why every time. It seems silly, but I often felt left out. Not being 'normal' because of my allergy made me feel like an outcast. You'd think you wouldn't feel like that, but it generated a lot of those negative feelings because I was a burden to feed due to my allergy.

Fast forward 13 years later, I still have to be careful of what I eat. Celiac disease is something I'll never get rid of. It's a part of my DNA, and there's a good chance my kids will also carry the gene and deal with the same issues.

I don't usually tell people I have celiac disease because I can sometimes get away with having trace amounts of gluten and still be mostly okay. But when I accidentally eat gluten, I pay the consequences. There are times when I accidentally eat it and feel like I can't get out of bed because of the stomach pain. I joke that the pain is so horrible that I feel like I'm dying, but it really does feel severe in the moment.

Being gluten intolerant, I spend quite a bit more money on groceries because I have to find gluten-free food and it's way more expensive. Because gluten-free became a fad diet, more places began offering alternatives and it was easier for me to find foods I liked. When I find gluten-free goodies that aren't normally gluten-free in restaurants, you bet my eyes light up! It's exciting but also a relief.

Being gluten-free has oftentimes felt like a curse, but it's also a blessing sometimes.

The upside to this is that researchers are looking into developing a pill that will help those with celiac disease digest gluten easier and/or subside symptoms completely. So hopefully soon, I'll be able to eat the foods I once loved without feeling ill.

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