Local Farms on the Road

My Chautauqua world heavily revolves around food: when and how to serve it, what food choices will piss the fewest people off*, how much money to spend on it, and where to buy it. Over my past 2.5 tours as kitchen manager, I've tried to incorporate local farms (usually organic) as the source for most of our produce. While the logistics of finding a farm, getting out there, and working with the sometimes limited veggies that are in season can be difficult (esp. with so much fun circus stuff happening that I would love to be a part of), the choice has been a rewarding one for me.

On this tour, I found my way out to at least 5 local farms (nearly one in each community) and walked the fields with the farmers seeing what was ready for harvest. Some farmers just heap the veggies on us, letting us just have past-their-prime veggies. After freshly cutting us kale, cabbage, zucchinis, and plenty of lettuce, Ed in Talkeetna couldn't stop himself. "I'm sure you could find a use for some rhubarb", he said*. And then, with our arms full and almost to the car he insisted we take a bunch of flowers too. When I came back for a second load of whatever he had a few days later, I left him with a couple of comp tickets to our [3+ hour] show.

For me, the health/taste/freshness argument for shopping at local farms doesn't resonate strongly, but knowing the people and story behind at least part of the food I serve does. And since Chautauqua is so much about enriching communities whether through service, performance, or education, participating in the local economy just makes sense.

(On a personal note: if I don't see kale, zucchini, or cabbage for the next 3 months, I won't be disappointed.)
Monday August 15 2011File under: circus, food

Toggle Comments (5)comment?
on Mon 15th Aug, 2011 09:48 pm PDT rus said:
what a fine report, what a good thing to do. rhubarb sauce is quick easy and yummy.
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on Tue 16th Aug, 2011 12:09 am PDT Horge said:
Nice work. Reminds me of a Travel channel program I saw on one of Google's kitchens, that only uses organic ingredients within a 100 (or so) mile radius. It followed the guy who goes out to farms to the chefs brainstorming what they can make out of what the guy found to the people enjoying the dishes... Maybe that would be a great job for you? Internet good food. Sounds like a match made in heaven :-)
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on Tue 16th Aug, 2011 08:00 am PDT Mom said:
Did you harvest the local Top Ramen Tree?
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on Tue 16th Aug, 2011 08:32 am PDT Saxtor said:
AWESOME!
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on Wed 24th Aug, 2011 11:34 am PDT Wren said:
I just came across these fun pictures of me working in the gardens at one of the farms we got produce from (and camped at). So I post them here for archival purposes.
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