No, a farmer doesn’t bring your food to your table, I had to explain to a niece.
And that was relatively a long time ago when the phrase was just becoming fashionable, perhaps 15 years ago or so? Although of course, the concept has been around since mankind.
It got my attention around the same time when a local land conservancy (where I used to live) was holding its a silent annual “gala” in a local landowner’s rural farmland.
The invitation read, “Bring your own station wagon, mud boots, tablecloth and picnic basket. There will be a silent auction towards the end.” Odd at the time, but, okay, we’ll try.
Of course, the point of that organization was to preserve and protect precious local farmland in perpetuity. Thankfully that movement has grown, but now I understand through asking a few friends, foodies and chefs I know what “farm to table” meant to them.
Basically these days, it is simply the practice of committing oneself to only sourcing local ingredients, and developing menus that are choreographed around what comes from your own area. Restaurant owners, chefs, gardeners are all in on the importance of this concept, and they may disagree with my assessment, but the wonderful reality – especially in a blessed agricultural hub like Delaware is that chances are, you’re eating healthier, fresher food and supporting everyone on the food chain, so to speak.
So then, I asked some opinions of people who’ve lived here much longer than I have, and got some interesting answers – and please note these are not ranked – just pointed out. These are just a few of the incredible number of places that have farm to table (the concept) actually in practice.
Clean, organic soil practices, sustainable farming, pasturing (not pasteurizing, mind you) livestock and marketing incessantly to the locals who truly want quality.
- Heirloom, Savannah Road, Lewes
- Hopkins Dairy, Lewes
- Honey’s, Savannah Road
- Lloyd’s Market, Savannah Road Lewes (local breads and meat vendors)
- Fin’s (seafood in particular), Rehoboth and Lewes
- Rustic Acres Farm Market, Rehoboth
- Nassau Vineyards, Lewes
- Starboard Raw (seafood)
- Rehoboth Bay Oyster Company
- Cape Seasonings (very interesting story!)
- Old World Bread, Lewes
- Lavender Fields at Warrington Manor, Milton
- Backyard Jams and Jellies (Milton and online)
- Chrissy Bee’s Honeys (local honey, Georgetown)
- Grass Works Meat Farm (Seaford, all pastured animals)
So as you can see, there’s no lack of local-ness around here, but next time you sit at the table, ask yourself, “Exactly where did this come from, and doesn’t it taste better when from Delaware?” Go to our farmers markets. They are abundant and filled with very interesting people.