After several weeks of procrastination, my husband has finally stepped up to the challenge of putting up a post. With any luck he’ll be a regular contributor to The Backyard Farming Connection, sharing his thoughts on the Farm to Table Movement and whatever else wanders through his head. Without further ado, here’s Dave:
Seeds to soil. Hands to earth. Farm to table. Each pairing has a place in the backyard farm; each a chapter in the annual journey beginning in the spring with the dried remnants of last season's harvest and culminating in cupboards full of winter squash and hanging onion braids. Mix in a handful of harvest festivals and celebrations that color our stretch of the upstate New York countryside each fall and you can't help but feel the need to make a soup and bake something.
What is it that makes food taste better when it comes from your garden? It's a question I won't attempt to tackle here, but simply share my humble experience in hopes of stirring your own thoughts. My foray into backyard farming started when I came across a NY Times article about the Hudson Valley Seed Library. This organization, started by Ken Greene and Doug Muller, wasn't what launched me into backyard farming, but it did inspire how I want to farm. My focus shifted from wanting to grow the biggest pumpkin in the neighborhood to planting heirloom varieties with quirky names and interesting histories. How can you see seeds with a name like "Aunt Ruby's German Green" tomato and not want to plant a few? We had limited yields from a "Cherokee Purple" tomato, but the flavor and color of the few we got was worth every wheel barrel full of compost and topsoil we hauled last spring.
Discovering new favors in familiar foods is part of what enriches the Farm to Table movement, but the ingredients aren't the only aspect of the meal that changes. In preparing a meal, you're less likely to overcook or burn a zucchini you've grown from seed compared to one you grabbed at the grocery store. This extra care will preserve the flavor that distinguishes your farm fresh prize from the rank and file hot-house varieties. When our Cherokee Purple tomatoes ripened, we didn't just eat dinner, we invited over some good friends, set up a table in the backyard and shared the experience. It all starts by connecting with the food you're growing and broadens into rediscovering of the joy of cooking and creating a meal.
I shared at Wicked Good Wednesday Little House in the Suburbs, Deborah Dandelion House, Fresh Eggs Daily, Small Footprint Friday Eat, Make, Grow, The Barn Hop, the Chicken Chick