Farm to Table: My Recent Experience

Ah, the farm-to-table experience! What does it really mean?

Well, I suspect it is a bit different for all of us. For me, it came to life during a recent visit to Napa Valley, California, during the 2017 Culinary Workshop hosted by the Food and Culinary Professionals (FCP) Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The entire three-day experience was about learning what it takes to get nutritious foods to people along the entire supply chain, fresh from the farm to the table.

During our visit to Napa, my daughter and I decided to visit two farms to help us better understand who grows and raises our food, how they do it and the steps that happen along the way to ensure the food is wholesome, safe and nutritious. We also learned how food makes its way from the farm to the table with mindful uses of resources in order to balance being both good for people but also good for the planet.

It was amazing to walk the fields, learning along the way. For example, I discovered that 305 foods are grown and produced in California, including milk and honey, grapes and cheese — lots of cheese.

I hope all of you get a chance to see and hear about where the food grows and how it is produced first-hand, as I did — and to talk to and learn from the caretakers and stewards of the land when you do. That way, you can see the results of their labor of love: the land, farms, animals, plants and food.

To round out our farm-to-table experience with the FCP group, we prepared a gourmet meal with seasonal foods harvested from the farm, guided by a chef from Silverado Cooking School. What a hands-on epicurean adventure it was!

All of us – farmers, chefs, dietitians, friends and, most importantly, family – depend on farmers to grow the food needed to nourish our bodies and unleash our creativity through the recipes that delight our senses.

To fully appreciate the farmer, it is also partially up to us to help minimize food waste. Throwing away food means that all of the resources that went into making that food are going to waste. This is compounded if the wasted food goes to a landfill because it will then contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Check out my article series on the topic of using food for its highest purpose of nourishing people and minimizing food waste.

Do you have questions about farm to table? Let me know in the comment section below, and I’ll answer them in my next post.