One of the great benefits of being a farmer is knowing where to get the best food. You don’t have to farm in the same town for generations and generations to find where the best food in your area is. Even new farmers have a sort of radar to follow which farmers are growing what where.
For professional reasons, I follow farms and farmers in the Farmington Valley and across the U.S. to see what they’re growing, how they’re growing and how they are marketing it to their customers. And that’s the reason that our family ends up with the most delicious spread of food on our table nightly, and especially at holiday time. I love to pack our dinner table with locally grown food especially for our Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. It’s almost like I’m inviting our network of farmer friends to our table to join in thanks with us.
Eating like a farmer is different from how most people eat. Farmers eat what is available. We don’t go to the grocery store with a list to tick off of recipes that come from the internet. If we raised more pork than beef, then we are likely to add ground pork to our chili. If the last of the kale is still out in the garden, we’ll chiffonade that up for our salad. The sweet potatoes were a better crop this year than pumpkins, well sweet potato pie it is! We let the food drive the menu—culminating in one year that we had steak for Thanksgiving dinner since I didn’t have a farmer friend who raised turkeys that year.
When you have great gratitude and awareness for the food on your table, you are likely to eat more mindfully. And that means less food waste and better nutrition for your body. This year, when you give thanks for your food on your holiday, try to have something on your table that was grown by someone you know.
Give thanks for the food grown, thanks for the weather and strong bodies that made it possible, thanks for the farm hands and helpers who were part of the team. And thanks for the opportunity to shake the hand of the farmer, friend or family member who grew it for you.