Farm to Table

by | May 26, 2022 | Greenspace

Hi everyone, this month we are discussing Farm to Table! Why? Recently Shoafs Wagon Wheel sponsored a large Farm to Table event here in Rowan County, part of the Earth Day Jam weekend organized by Ashley Honbarrier, Executive Director of Happy Roots.  The event reminded me of attending an outdoor dinner on a farm last summer. My senses came alive as I remembered the taste, smell, and even the rich colors of the food. Join me on my latest adventure down the rabbit hole, to explore Farm to Table!

History of Farm to Table

Ironically this “new” movement dates to the early 1960s as a biproduct of the “hippie movement.” As people grew bored with processed foods, they looked to local farms to provide them with fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats.  The movement has since spread from California to locations around the world.

What is Farm to Table?

Let’s talk about what makes something “farm to table.” That answer is not as straight forward as one might anticipate.  In a nutshell, the food we are talking about goes straight from the farm to a kitchen without being shipped from different areas of the country, or from outside of the country.  For us, this means that everything we are eating is fresher and healthier, we are building a stronger sense of community, and we are seeing growing partnerships between businesses and farms. It’s a clean way to help grow the economy, eat healthy, and support our neighbors.

Another plus is that we are also supporting a cleaner, healthier environment!  We are a trend-driven society, and this is one trend that I am glad is gaining traction. 

I thought the best way to find out what was available in Your Rowan was to start by talking to a few of the many varieties of farms that we have. Below, I have provided you with the most updated list I could discover to purchase fresh locally!

Little girl in a strawberry dress eating a strawberry

Heidi Cross at Patterson Farms, photo by Shelley Cross

strawberry shortcake in a checkered tray

Strawberry shortcake provided by Coyote Trails Cakes, photo by Nancy Blakeley Black

Local Farm to Table Resources

Did y’all know that when it comes to farm fresh, we are truly blessed here in Rowan County? We have farms that provide vegetables, fruit, herbs, poultry, beef, turkeys, and honey.  Some farms date back to the 1800s. We can order weekly or biweekly boxes that are picked up at the farm or delivered to your home.

Businesses owners like Jamey Brown of Brown Farms Beef are proud that they “Only sell high quality beef that is born and raised with pride on their farm.”  A great reason for purchasing beef from this farm specifically is they take the steers to the processor, pick up the meat, and finally they deliver it directly to your door.  

David Correll of Red Barn Market/Correll Farms, LLC is proud to be a fifth-generation farmer. He and his family take great pride in offering a large variety of seasonal fruits and veggies.  Red Barn Market/Correll Farms work with Bread Riot, Meals on Wheels, and Rufty Home to ensure food accessibility in Rowan County communities.  They, like many other farms in Rowan County, are at the Farmers Market in Salisbury every week. A great example of the diversity of our farms is Fading D Farms. Have you ever tried Gelato made with creamy water buffalo milk or buffalo mozzarella cheese? Well, it’s one of the amazing products that Fading D Farms offers right here in Rowan County!

Getting Kids Involved

I tracked down chef Jordan Walker of Kids at Work, a youth culinary mentorship program through the NC organization Aspire Youth & Family.  If you attended the Earth Day Jam you might have tasted his amazing meatloaf created using lentils. I asked him how he felt teaching the students about the farm to table movement.  His answer was honest – “You know I really enjoy for the kids to learn about this movement because it gets to show them a different perspective of the food and beverage industry because usually, we only deal with the middleman, which is the grocery store” Jordan went on to say that “Farm to table means the food goes directly from the farm to people’s restaurants and to their tables, which is an idea that I love because it creates a relationship between the gardeners and their families’ communities, which is a concept I absolutely love.” This is not the only farm to table program for youth in Rowan County. How many of you know what forward thinkers is in our Rowan County school system? We have schools right here in Rowan County that teach farm to table classes daily.

Chef Jordan Walker in a yellow chef coat posed

Chef Jordan Walker, photo by Delonte Myers

Local Restaurants

Many of our local farmers directed me to local restaurants where they supply them with seasonal fresh produce. The great news is this allows our local chefs to create fresh exciting meals. On the other hand, if you enjoy a dish, you need to visit your favorite restaurants frequently while your dish is in season.

I couldn’t miss the opportunity to speak with a local restaurant that participates in the Farm to Table philosophy, utilizing “fresh, locally sourced products.”  I was privileged to speak with Tiffany Day of SHUG’S Restaurant. A fairly new eating experience in Rowan County, “SHUG’s prides themselves in partnering with farms and the farmers market to offer their guests truly local ingredients at their optimal moment of freshness and seasonability.”  They use locally sourced beef, herbs, and vegetables which “allows their guests to enjoy the rich flavors of food with the least number of preservatives.”  Shug’s is proud that they create all their own sauces from scratch. There are many great restaurants scattered throughout Rowan County that utilize fresh, locally sourced products. Call your favorite restaurant and ask them to begin using fresh, locally sourced products. It’s great for our health, our neighbors, and our local economy! Personally, I have to say that I love honey. I find myself going back again and again for Renn Bee Farm honey.  Sometimes, I go straight to their honeybee farm for it, and other times, I go to Father and Sons, a wonderful produce market that carries Renn Bee Farm honey along with delicious fruits and vegetables.

Recipe of the Month

This recipe is great for summer, but I enjoy it all year long!   One of the best ways to enjoy fresh local Roma tomatoes, basil, and garlic is to make bruschetta.  It’s quick, easy, and sure to please one or forty!

Colleens Brushetta

Kids Corner

 My goal is to include a fun activity for kids appropriate for the season for families to create.  Playing with food is a great way to get them to try not only new food items, but to create new memories. This month is the perfect choice for Farm to Table, and it comes to us courtesy of Catherine McCord of Weelicious.  Check out her blog at https://weelicious.com for more fun and yummy projects! 

Strawberry Aliens

Thank you for spending a few moments of your day with me.  Please let me hear from you on what your favorite green activity is, or someone/something that you would like me to feature in 2022. If I missed anyone in Rowan County, please let me know and I will update the list as I become aware of more businesses that support healthy living and farm to table. Please email me at GreenSpace@YourRowan.com

Community Partners

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About The Author

Colleen Smiley

I am a proud graduate of Catawba College, and I also have my state Environmental Educators certification. I love spending time outdoors with my family and friends. I enjoy kayaking, hiking, boating, cooking, and entertaining. If there is a live theatre production going on, I am there. I think you can find beauty anywhere you look here in Rowan County. Life is an adventure, and I can’t wait to share my love of everything green, sustainable, or environmental with all of you. Everywhere we look there really are some amazing places to see and discover in Rowan County. I’m excited about the chance to meet so many people and discover the sites of our beautiful county with all of you. It’s Your Rowan!