The last week of April is a special time for the culinary department at VITALIA Active Adult Community® – North Olmsted North Olmsted, OH. In honor of Earth Month, we will be celebrating and embracing the Farm to Table concept. While the terminology is often overused, the idea is a basic one that stems from the days when the food you ate came from the farm you lived on or nearby. Practices may have changed but utilizing the produce and livestock from local farms and growers has many benefits. For example, did you know most produce loses nutrients within 24 hours of harvesting? Have you ever noticed how fresh meat is moister and more flavorful?
Farm to Table also helps strengthen the local economy by providing jobs and keeping money in the hands of businesses run by our neighbors and friends. It helps to build relationships between the farmer or rancher and the customer. Both sides benefit greatly from sourcing local items. If an item becomes scarce, or pricing becomes high, this valued relationship can be instrumental in helping us to continue to provide the exceptional food our residents have come to expect from us with minimal interruption.
The dish I’m making is escarole and tomato salad using locally sourced honey, chevre, pea shoots, escarole, and tomato. I was able to acquire all the ingredients from these local vendors: Zeller Farms, Vigeo Gardens https://www.vigeogardens.com/, Mackenzie Creamery https://mackenziecreamery.com/, and Stein’s Honey http://steinhoney.com/. I chose this dish because it combines two of my favorite things, tomatoes, and cheese. It’s a great dish to celebrate the warmer weather ahead!
I have fond memories of eating locally grown fresh sweet corn when in season. There are a lot of farming areas in Northeast Ohio with an emerging amount of urban and community gardens. These helps get fresh food to areas within food deserts. It’s also exciting to see the hydroponic farms that have emerged to give us products year-round that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to locally.
For us, buy local isn’t just a bumper sticker. It should be embraced and promoted as much as possible. Even if you couldn’t be here to enjoy it with us, I hope you can enjoy the content included here and feel inspired to visit some of these local vendors!