Marketing strategies, concerns of families, an important topic to chefs & food store owners… L O C A L is a hot, hot topic these days …as if farming & local sourcing are new ideas. Our culture has gotten to be over-indulgent with our bigger is better & more is more way of thinking…. Seems this way of thinking is on its’ way out of the ‘land of the free-for-all.’ And…that’s a good thing. 🙂
I had the pleasure of touring Thompson Family Farms in Monroe, Georgia this week. Thompson Family Farms grows tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, & okra for my pickle company. Owner, David Thompson drove my family around the whole place. Looking out the back window of the pickup truck with my kids bouncin’ in the truck bed as we moved over the bumpy Georgia red dirt paths….memories of my weekends growing up feeding calves with giant milk bottles, fishing for bream & catfish with a cane pole, shelling peas & butterbeans, husking corn….& then everyone…my parents…all my aunts & uncles & cousins & grandparents…all of us gathering in my grandma’s humble kitchen to thank God for the just picked & just cooked…true Farm-To-Table meal we all were about to eat. The smell of fresh butterbeans -every time- reminds me of those meals & knowing that I couldn’t leave the table ’til my plate was clean. Appreciation for the work that went into growing, harvesting, and preparing the vegetables on my PawPaw’s little farm in Sylvester, GA kept us all honest…and kept our plates clean. And, so…now it’s twenty-eleven…& my kids don’t get to grow up farming like I did. But there is one thing I can do to teach them the same appreciation I had. ~and that’s the Clean Plate Club! A local farmer grows & harvests the veggies on our plates, & real hands prepare them. We all need to scrape less into the trash can and savor every bite.. “CLEAN YOUR PLATE!”
After our tour….we got to watch Farmer David drain the cucumbers that had been soaking in cold water before he packed them into crates for us to take back to our facility to pickle. I’m glad my kids got to experience a little behind-the-scenes action on the farm. When we know better….we DO better. I’m hoping they took a little bit of appreciation back home with them…& a little excitement too…about what we’re doing…as little as it may be…in the scheme of things…local and sustainable….and real.