On our recent trip to India (side note: you've seen this, right?), we got a wake-up call from environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva on the reality of these issues and how they can impact farmers to the point of suicide.
'farmers' on Serious Eats
These three different stories present a pretty diverse and spectacular picture of farming life—and it's New York through and through. These three farmers grow in and around New York City, and explain how the relationship to the city affects their farming. Hear from Annie Novak from Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Abu Talib from Taqwa Community Farm in the Bronx, and Jack Algiere from the Stone Barns Center, located just 25 miles north of Manhattan in Pocantico Hills.
Hurricane Irene was easy on New York City, but outside the city things were much tougher. Vermont experienced tremendous flooding after the storm, as did southern New Jersey and upstate New York. A quick turn around NYC's Union Square Greenmarket this week made clear that the storm was indeed devastating to many farmers in the Northeast.
Central Square in Cambridge has grown into an important food destination and the Central Square Farmers' Market gives lovers of fresh, local food another reason to visit the area. At the Kimball Fruit Farm stand, chef Steve Johnson had packed boxes with as much produce as he could carry back to his restaurant Rendezvous in Central Square. We also spotted chef Tony Maws shopping for Craigie on Main, around the corner from the market. Check out photos of the pumpkin blossoms, peaches, early pears, shell beans, and more beautiful produce.
The Brookline Farmers' Market is one of the best established and most popular markets in the Boston area. It's easy to reach by public transit or car and draws shoppers from a wide area. Check out these snapshots of sour cherries, goat cheese, fresh-baked loaves, and more from the market!
For many years, scientists and agriculturalists have worried about the practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock through feed and water. Farmers use antibiotics for growth promotion, as well as to prevent and address illnesses that arise in the process of growing animals for meat and dairy consumption. Especially on cramped, high-production farms, animals can consume very high quantities of antibiotics as farmers attempt to keep them healthy. So why the current lawsuit?
When I stumbled upon Curly and Carole Anne, two banjo-playing mushroom farmers, I immediately fell in love. They run an all-organic farm way out in the Ozarks. Driving there took us down all types of dirt roads, over several streams and to a land where GPS and cell phones cease to exist. What followed was three days of shiitake talking, cooking and eating. What really struck me was their discussion of what "local" means and how that can affect sustainable family farms. Watch the video to hear more.
Lorentz Meats in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, is on the small side, but it's growing. The small-is-beautiful types think Lorentz is getting too big, but the company is touted as one of the most efficient, clean, and successful processing plants in Minnesota, and widely used by small farms. I visited the plant last year. Not wanting to delve too deep into the politics of meat processing, my approach was more focused on the actual butchering process. This episode is more of an informative music video.
A snapshot captures Farmer Lee Jones riding on a tractor with his parents in the first week of his life, and he's been farming ever since. Today Jones, in his signature red bow tie and overalls, leads a team of 133 employees at The Chef's Garden to supply the country's best restaurants with high-quality, beautiful vegetables.
From Ed Levine's profile of Pennsylvania farmer Glenn Brendle on AmEx's OPEN Forum website: "In the late 1970s, Glenn Brendle started gardening as a hobby. He had an Amish neighbor in Lancaster County who was a farmer. The Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia was just reawakening as a food hub, and Glenn took his neighbor to the market to sell his produce. Chefs loved the products, but they were unable to schlep large quantities from market to restaurant. Cue Glenn's lightbulb moment. He started to deliver to three restaurants and then grew from there. Now he grows his own harvest: beets, carrots, kale, magness pears, leeks, heirloom tomatoes, and much more, and delivers to nearly 80 restaurants...."
In 2009, Barry Estabrook wrote an in-depth piece for Gourmet about tomato pickers in the Immokalee region of Florida. He detailed the near-slavery conditions that farm workers faced as they were forced to work long hours for very little pay, live in filthy and cramped conditions, and remain on the farm against their will. The Florida Modern-Day Slavery Museum is a mobile museum currently stopping across the country, seeking to spread the word about the horrible living and working conditions of these tomato pickers and farm workers.
Lani's Farm, from Bordentown, NJ, has a small stand at the Union Square Greenmarket on Mondays, but they stand out among the crowd with some of the most unique and pristine produce around. Grown and handled with care, they inspire...
In his latest video, Sky Full of Bacon's Michael Gebert starts with the assumption that the industrial food system in the U.S. needs to change—"to something better for farmers, better for the environment, better tasting"—and then asks the question, "How do you change change a system that feeds 300 million Americans and still feed 300 million Americans?" In this video he explores one such possibility via the chef-farmer relationship between Mark Mendez (Carnivale) and David Cleverdon (Kinnikinnick Farm).
Editor's note: You know Ben Fishner from his Market Scene reports and Apps Only column; starting this week, he'll be chatting with New York farmers in between his market reports. All you, Ben! Ben and Jeannette Shaw, first generation farmers,...
About ten minutes into my tour of Iceberg Farms in Howell I had the feeling that something was missing. All the components of a small farm were in place—the beehives, wandering chickens, plastic sheathed greenhouse with produce plants ready...
Four young farmers were chosen from a big pool of farmers vying for the right to start Langwater Farm, an 80-acre property nestled right in the middle of small-town Easton, Massachusetts. But they are finding out that it's not just the happy-in-the-sun theme songs and weeding images you might picture.
John Fazio in Modena, New York, raises ducks as well as fresh rabbits. In this episode of Food Curated, documentarian Liza de Guia visits his bunny haven, where about 2,000 of them (ranging from babies to does) live. Watch the video to see how a local, fresh rabbit farm operates.
"On average we need around 57 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup." [Photographs: Welch's Syrup] *Schoolyard Sugarbush wasn't able to send us syrup photos. Ah, late winter. A time when intrepid local eaters are sick of leftover beets and kale from the farmers' markets. But do not despair, things are starting to turn around! One of the most important and delicious signs that spring is upon us? Maple syrup season. All over the Northeast and Canada, sap is starting to flow, and thankfully people like Don Weed of Schoolyard Sugarbush in New Hope, New York, are there to harvest it and boil it down to pure, delicious, maple syrup. Yesterday was the first run of the season...
In Food Curated's latest video, documentarian Liza de Guia (who we just got to know even better in yesterday's Meet and Eat) takes us to a small duck farm in Modena, New York (80 miles outside the city) where...