Fresh Food, Healthy Body, Healthy Planet
The perennial resolution to take better care of one’s body was the subtext of our January meeting.
Greg Georgaklis gave an interesting—and delicious—presentation of the bounty available from a regional network of small farms and dairies within a 150-mile radius of Boston that he has been building for the last decade. He champions “regenerative farming,” the set of practices that were once the only way to farm. Fruit and vegetables are grown in soil enriched by composted vegetation and animal waste; chickens feed on the worms in the compost pile; cows are milked by hand. The result is produce with flavor, eggs from cheerful chickens, cheese from the milk of contented cows, a 30% reduction of carbon emissions from the farm, and a reliable income for farmers
Once upon a time, regional distribution networks fed the country with locally grown crops and animals. The farmland around Concord once fed Boston. The rise of industrial agriculture put an end to these markets and to many of the farms that depended on them. The shortcomings of this system, which serves the needs of supermarket chains, include its dependence on chemicals and antibiotics, narrow ranges of produce that grow quickly and withstand shipping but don’t have much flavor. The imperatives and cost structures of supermarkets make it effectively unprofitable for local farmers to supply them.
Farmers’ markets, though popular, impose burdens on their suppliers. Instead of working their farms, farmers have to bring their wares to different locations almost daily and can never be sure of what will sell. Rain or heat can damage the goods.
Georgaklis founded Farmers To You, a year-round online market that provides access to food from over 90 New England farms and food producers. His goal is to supplement, not replace, CSAs and seasonal farmers’ markets. Orders can be placed online for weekly delivery.
This service is quite popular, judging by the number of folks who offered testimonials. But the proof of the concept was in the eating. The cheese, sausage, crackers, and produce on offer were delicious. Most miraculous were the cherry tomatoes, which had been picked that morning. Were I not wrapped up in wool, I’d have sworn it was summer.
For more information, check out https://farmerstoyou.com/.