From Farm to Your Table

Scroll down for links to the resources our panelists provided.

These beautiful vegetables were brought in by Maury Feren. After the program, they were donated to the Hebrew Shelter Home and the Heights Emergency Food Center.

On March 15, 2012 over 130 people attended Park Social Action Committee’s presentation of From Farm to Your Table: The Why and How of Locally Grown Food. 

Park’s own Maury Feren, a local produce expert, opened the program, followed by a panel of local-food professionals. We heard from Louis Rorimer, Owner of Snake Hill Farm in Geauga County; Vicky Poole, Facilities Director for Gardens Under Glass at the Galleria; Doug Katz, Owner/chef at Fire Food & Drink; and Amalia Haas, Educator on Judaism and the Environment. They each brought their own perspective on the topic and provided a variety of resources for more information. The lively evening ended with a Q&A session and everyone left ready to dig in and get their hands dirty!  

On left, Maury Feren. Below from left:  Louis Rorimer, Vicky Poole, Doug Katz, and Amalia Haas.

Suggestions for Buying and Cooking Locally:

Purchase Seasonally: This is stating the obvious, but it's worth reminding: Food tastes best in season, has the best nutrition and is the most cost effective. And when you buy seasonally, it also makes sense to....

Buy in Bulk: and then preserve. You will have fresh tasting and local flavors all year-round. You can jar sauces, pickles and tomatoes. Herbs freeze well, as do corn and leafy greens.

Compost: Compost pick-up is often less expensive than rubbish pick-up. Better still, by composting you are creating soil to put back into the eco-system instead of the land-fill.

Get to know your farmer: They can help you figure out what's most economical and best tasting. They can also offer tips on how to cook up the lesser familiar items like water spinach or coletta viola turnips. Talking with your farmer will also help you plan your shopping in future weeks... they might have insight as to whether tomatoes will be coming in or berries... This will help in planning your menus and other orders.

Think beyond produce: Too often, when we think of local, we think of fruits and vegetables. But there are dozens of other food products that are locally grown and produced. Dairy - in the form of butter, milk and cheese - is available year round. Flour and other grains are grown in New England. And of course, there's plenty of meat and seafood available.

Ask for seconds: Locally grown produce, from small production farmers, tends to have more lumps, bumps and bruises. It still tastes great, even if it doesn't look perfect. Farmers' will often discount these "seconds." With a little extra trimming, you can still have perfect looking roasted sweet potatoes or wilted kale. In the summer, your tomato sauce will still be sweet and luscious.

Utilize cheaper cuts of meat: Free-range meat is more expensive, there's no way around that. But you can stretch your food dollars by buying the less expensive cuts. They tend to have more flavor, but also require special attention when cooking. If you're unsure, ask your farmer the best way to cook each cut.

Modify Your Menu Mix: When planning your menu items with local ingredients, pair them with less expensive components to keep the overall cost of the dish down.

--Excerpt from Julia Shanks Food Consulting

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