Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Farmer's Market

As a resident and chef in California, I feel privileged to have the amazing opportunity to work with some of the best farmers on the planet, the product these guys produce and the impact they have on the planet in incredible.
The farmer’s market day for my family is my favorite day of the week. I get to spend time with my son and wife at this really cool place that has all kinds of amazing looking food. At the same time I also get to instill the fun factor of local food in my son’s life which will benefit him in the long run. I feel it is important for children of all ages to understand that food comes from the earth and not a box. As if the day isn’t already awesome, I also get to have a positive impact on the environment by not using a company that ships food across the world using non recyclable storage containers and fossil fuels. You may say that your small farmer’s market cannot feed the whole city, but if each town would embrace the fact that these amazing farmers will go from town to town bringing their product to you it could – it can’t get much easier than that! For me, it’s a double whammy, I get to bring great food home to cook for my family and make new connections with local farmers for my restaurant.
Cooking from the farmer’s market is a great way to challenge yourself to learn new recipes for your repertoire and experiment with new and different flavors. Even as a professional chef, I am surprised by new and different foods each time I visit the farmer’s market. I deal with food every single day, and I love finding new things that I never knew existed. I also love having the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the farmers to see if they grow a specific item that I have used in the past, it is a great circle of education for both of us.
The farmer’s market isn’t just about the produce. You can find the most amazing honey, talk to the bee keeper and find out what kind of flowers the bees pollinated. Depending on the nectar the bee found, each variety has a different flavor, who knew that honey could have different flavors, amazing! You can also find the freshest, local cheese, like Nicasio Valley , they rear their own dairy cows to make their cheeses (are you kidding me, that is sweet!) There are also specialty vendors that do pickling, dried fruits and nuts, local and organic meats and fishes, I mean come on – who wouldn’t want to partake in these fresh and flavorful treats.
Now, you might say that sounds expensive and it can be. But no different than the money we have to pay to keep our parks clean from non-recyclable litter, the city dump, waste management and even medical costs from future health complications. Eating naturally can bring a new meaning to a happy green life.
- Mike

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