It sounds great, doesn’t it — getting a majority of your foods directly from a local organic farm. Everyone at the table will happily and healthily munch away at fresh organic veggies while silently giving thanks to the hard-working farmer who made it all possible. Unfortunately, the reality often falls short of this idyllic version.
Finding good quality vegetables and an organic farmer is often extremely difficult. And once you do, you find that your kids turn up their nose at the those nasty looking green things, your spouse may complain that he really just wanted hot dogs and tator tots, the vegetables may start to rot quickly and you may even find (eek!) bugs in the produce. It can get very discouraging, but the fact is that the Farm To Table concept can work and can work well. But it should also be individualized for your unique situation.
To make Farm to Table work for you, consider some of these solutions:
1. Take your time to find the right local farmers
If you’re excited about buying sustainable or organic food items, you may rush to find the one who advertises the most or is the most visible. However, these farmers may not be your best choice. You may, in fact, have some local farmers that simply show up at a farmer’s market once a week without doing much advertising.
It’s best to ask around and find out about the local farmers that may not have a highly visible profile. You can start by looking for all the the local farmers markets. Since these farmers are local, it’s easier to simply stop by and pick up the few items you need instead of dealing with the hassle of travelling and bulk buying. When you find a few candidates, ask lots of questions regarding pesticide use, growing plans and sourcing. And remember – not every “farmer” at the farmers market grows their own produce.
2. Incorporate new items slowly
If you have picky eaters at home that aren’t used to a healthy way of eating, it’s best to introduce items slowly. Start with some novelty items that might pique their interest and change the standards at a slower pace. This allows the kids to adjust their taste palette to the new items and also allows you to really try out a new item without rushing on to the next.
3. Think seasonally
This is a great point especially if you have budget constraints. Seasonal items are usually cheaper and can be bought in bulk. Once you find a winner for your family, you can then buy larger quantities and use traditional methods to store these items for use all year round.
Not only do fruits and vegetables go into season, meats are also seasonal. Chickens lay fewer eggs in the winter and most farms have butchering seasons when bulk meat is plentiful.
4. Grow your own and involve your family
Even if you have a small apartment and limited space, growing your own fruits and vegetables is the optimal Farm To Table solution. Getting your kids or picky spouse involved in the growing process can help them feel as if they are an integral part of the outcome and more likely to try it.
If you have limited space, look into container gardening. You can grow herbs, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, garlic, cucumbers and peppers without needing acres of land.
CATEGORIES: Diet, Vegetables, Organic Food, Farm To Table, Local Food, Farm Fresh