Ithaca, NY has often been described as “10 square miles surrounded by reality.” This becomes evident every time one leaves this beautiful and magical place that we are lucky enough to call home.
Ithaca is also home to and surrounded by FARMS. A whole lot of them, too. Food, and not just any old food, I’m talking about local, farm fresh produce, happens to be the focus of dinner tables both at home and in restaurants alike.
I am so happy to see the movement turning from what one can get from the grocery store to what one can get straight out of a farmer’s hands, food that had remained in the ground until just hours before it gets placed in front of you. It encourages eating both seasonally and locally which is so good for your body and it encourages you to be creative with what you have and results in you preparing some of the best meals of your life. Cooking and eating in this manner causes one to gain perspective about where food comes from, how difficult it can be to grow, how we shouldn’t take food for granted and how truly delicious organically grown, non GMO, sustainably farmed food can be. It cultivates respect in the highest form for even the humblest of vegetables and that is what I hope that everyone can experience with food. A deep respect for just how good a vegetable can taste straight out of the ground.
Because after all, isn’t that what we are striving for when we are talking about better farming practices? Making things taste better is the ultimate goal and when you support your farmers and encourage them to continue making food taste better and growing your food in a way that is in line with the needs of the Earth, you are supporting the repair of the food system in this country. When we started using pesticides and planting monocultures of crops, we may have managed to make food “prettier” but what we sacrificed was flavor and I find that to be just plain backwards and unacceptable. What we need to be doing is investing in farmers who make responsible choices with their farming practices and whose ultimate goal is perfecting flavor and making sure your dinner plate is graced with their beautiful produce. This is where CSA’s come in.
What is a CSA, exactly? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it consists of paying farms a deposit, basically, for a share of their fresh produce all season long. That means that each week you get to come home with farm fresh, local produce to cook and eat that night, to feed your family, to share with friends. It’s amazing! The variety and the abundance can’t be beat and eating in such a seasonal manner really helps to connect you to your food as well as the subtle cycles of Mother Nature. It’s a win-win type of situation and I highly encourage you to seek one out in your area.
This summer I have signed up for a CSA from the wonderful Plowbreak Farm, owned and operated by two farmers that I am lucky enough to call my friends. They grow some amazingly beautiful produce and I am constantly inspired not only by what they manage to accomplish in the fields but in creating TONS of new recipes as well. They offer a 23 week (that’s almost six months!!) free-choice CSA with veggies, fruit and flowers available from June until November! They grow just about everything such as many varieties of kale, salad greens, herbs, radishes, pie pumpkins, summer and winter squash, potatoes, kohlrabi, broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, leeks and other alliums, jerusalem artichokes, etc.
From their website: ”
We grow food with our customers, friends and the Earth in mind.
Our farm is Certified Naturally Grown, which means we don’t use pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizer. We seek to improve our farm continually by building our soil with compost and cover crops. The field is designed to reduce erosion and build organic matter through the use of zone tillage and permanent growing beds, and we make heavy use of mulches and natural pest enemies to keep our crops healthy.”
That is something we can all get behind! Let’s invest in our health and future!
I will be partnering with Plowbreak Farm in a quest to bring new and exciting recipes to all of you using their amazing produce. I will be doing weekly posts featuring what I picked up that week in my CSA and how I went about eating it! I am excited to take you on this journey with me and I hope that I can spark some inspiration in your kitchen as well!
To sign up for Plowbreak Farm’s CSA and to learn more about the farm and farmers, visit their website!