By Antoinette May Herndon
“What’s new in food?” a friend chatted me up at a recent reunion.
Before I could open my mouth. Someone else jumped in with a semi-disgusted, “Daahh!”
“Food’s easier and faster to prepare than in Grandma’s day,” she granted. “But it’s still just food — some of it great, some of it not so great. What could possibly be new?”
I beg to differ. There is something new in the food department. The enthusiasm for the farm-to-fork concept is a groundswell movement.
Farm-to-fork refers to the stages of various stages in the production and consumption of food: growing, harvesting, storage, processing, packaging, preparation and service. It also describes a movement concerned with producing food locally and delivering that food to local consumers.
That all seems pretty obvious, but I’ve noticed another trend as well—a break away from “architectural food.” I remember not so long ago when pretentious menus alluded to “modernist cuisine,” “culinary physics,” even “molecular gastronomy.” Potatoes were shaped into towers, vegetables arched over plates. Let’s just call it food made strange.
Farm-to-fork chefs are taking a different route to the table. They’re relying on super fresh ingredients that have been barely modified, some are even raw. The new wave of chefs have turned to farmhouse cooking with an emphasis on freshness, seasonality, local availability and simple preparations. I’d call it peasant food. When all is said and done, isn’t that our true favorite?
The messiahs are Chez Panisse’s Alice Walters.
The messiahs are Chez Panisse’s
Family owned and operated since 1991, Rosebud's Cafe' brings it's patrons farm fresh food much of which is sourced at the families farm, just 15 miles away. Guests have a unique dining experience where they are served innovative fresh real with foods care and compassion. Breads, aiolis, jams, pickles, soups and sauce eat there every time I am in the area and it is wonderful, inventive, and fresh every time. I can't say enough good things about the food, the staff, and the atmosphere.
1] Farm-to-table also refers to a movement concerned with producing food locally and delivering that food to local consumers. Linked to the local food movement, the movement is promoted by some in the agriculture, food service, and restaurant communities. It may also be associated with organic farming initiatives, sustainable agriculture, and community-supported agriculture. Many farm-to-table advocates cite the works of Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, Michael Pollan, John Jeavons, Alice Waters, Joel Salatin, Erik Manning and others in their preference for the freshest ingredients and in their attempts to educate their customers about the link between farmers, farm communities, ancient food-production practices, and the food we eat. Increasingly, the public backlash against genetically- modified organisms in our food supply has added a note of political activism to what had been, until recently, a largely aesthetic movement. Farm-to- table restaurants may buy their produce directly from farmers, usually local. In a few cases, the restaurants and farms may be owned and operated by the same people. The farm-to-table movement has arisen more or less concurrently with recent changes
in attitude about food safety, food freshness, food seasonality, and small-farm economics. Advocates and practitioners of the farm-to-table model frequently cite as their motivations the scarcity of fresh, local ingredients; the poor flavor of ingredients shipped from afar; the poor nutritional integrity of shipped ingredients; the encroachment of genetically modified foods into the food economy; the disappearance of small family farms; the disappearance of heirloom and open-pollinated fruits and vegetables; and the dangers of a highly centralized food-growing and -distribution system. Among the first vocal and influential farm-to-table businesses were: Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, Herbfarm in Washington, Bon Appétit Management Company based in Palo Alto, California, and The Kitchen in Boulder, Colo.. In the last few years the number of farm-to- table operations has grown rapidly. Recently, some food and agriculture writers have begun to describe a philosophical divide among chefs: the "food-as-art", or, in some cases, "molecular gastronomy" camp, including Ferran Adrià and Grant Achatz have increasingly focused on "food made strange", in which the ingredients are so transformed as to be surprising and even unrecognizable in the final food product. The farm-to-table chefs, on the other hand, have increasingly come to rely upon extremely fresh ingredients that have been barely modified, sometimes presented raw just a few feet from where they grew. Generally, the farm-to-table chefs rely on traditional farmhouse cooking, and may refer to their preparations as "vernacular food" or "peasant food", with its emphasis on freshness, seasonality, local availability, and simple preparations.