We are entering my favorite season in Bakersfield - The season of abundance at the local farmers market. If you are following me on Instagram, you notice that I am posting a few dishes I made in my kitchen using the great finds at the market.
Farm to Table
For me, it is more like Farmer’s Market to Table, but you know what I mean. Some might see this an expensive endeavor. Indeed, if you talk about actual dollars spent for farm to table meals, it is not cheap. We sometimes pay double for a basket of strawberries or for a pack of bacon than the ones at the grocery store. I know we are very fortunate to be able to afford to eat locally. As absurd as it may sound, we pay more for locally grown food (sometimes a few miles away) than we pay for produce that travels internationally to get here (sometimes thousands of miles away).
Farm to table, or locavore, starts at the market. However, it is more than just making meals with the local produce. Farm to table is knowing the farmers by their first names and, in turn, the farmers knowing me and my family. It is about the farmers seeing my children grow up, from the tiny babies in a sling they were to the 7 year old who can tell them how they enjoyed their blueberries. It is about making the trip to the Farmer’s market a weekly activity with my children, and they know exactly what to expect on Saturday morning. It is about seeing my children's faces light up when they see the season’s first basket of cherries, blueberries, and peaches.
It is about my children hearing stories about the farmers and what it took to get the produce to market. It is about shaking hands with the very hands who harvested the chicken we ate the night before. It is about knowing that our dollars go directly to the farmers.
Farm to table is not about making a Pinterest or Instagram worthy dishes. It is about the simple cooking with the same ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is about making most of what we have, and challenging myself to improvise and replace ingredients in a recipe instead of rushing to the store. It is about making a mental note to pick up an extra pack of ground beef on Saturday at the market as I put a pack of ground beef in the shopping cart at a store, AND forgiving myself for buying non-local produce.
It is about learning, evolving, involving, and developing a relationship with food and the people who provide the food for us. It is about being part of a beautiful community and knowing that we are all connected with the people in our immediate environment.
And it is indeed priceless.