Know your Chef, know your Farmer is key in Finding Local

We say “know your farmer, know your food”, but a recent long read in the Tampa Bay Times by Food Critic Laura Riley detailed how difficult it can be to know where the food in the restaurant or farmers market came from. Watch the story change from minute to minute as Laura lets folks know what she knows about the sources of their food (menu and market). It is an adventure you will not want to miss.

Highly recommended, and a nice lead in to our farm tour at Cloud 9 Farm and Wheeler Farm on May 22. One of the key reasons we like to visit farms in our neighborhood is so that we have some knowledge of where and how the products are raised/produced.  And also the reason we are big supporters of the Colorado Farm and Art Market, where they do an outstanding job of vetting all producers.

Know your farmer, know your food is key to rebuilding a vibrant local farming economy. Local seasonal products are at the heart of good, clean, and fair.

Handy Primer for Animal Welfare Labeling Terms

CUESA has put together a primer for the decoding of label terminology related to animal welfare.

This is not implied as an endorsement of the standards and certifications. This short primer provides a nice starting point for understanding when and why you might care about these standards/certifications.  As always, knowing your farmer and your food is the best way to understand if it is being raised and harvested in line with your views.

USDA Initiative Announced Focused on Improving Our Local Food System

The USDA has announced that our region has received a 3-year grant for enhancing the local food system in our area. Seedstock has the announcement press release up and the Pueblo Chieftain had an article with a bit more local perspective. The grants are focused on enabling regional linkages between regional food hubs.

It looks like this could be a win-win with farmers/ranchers getting better coordination and access to regional markets while consumers will get a broader set of products.

The challenge is to avoid dropping into the highest efficiency/lowest cost industrial agriculture trap, so will be interesting to see how this shapes up over the next three years.

Small Good News – And No, Processed Foods Are Still Processed Foods

Marion Nestle has a great article up at the Guardian that provides a few hints that things are incrementally getting better:

Baby steps, but at least walking in the right direction. Bottom line, know your farmer and know your food is still the best motto for good, clean, and fair food for all.

Cloud 9 Farm Visit

We had a great visit to the Cloud 9 Farm in Penrose today. Thanks to Kelly, Abi, Kyle, and Daisy for taking us around to visit the hair sheep and lambs, chickens, cow, llama, and kune kune pigs (and soon turkeys). We will be including them in our May visit to Penrose along with the Wheeler Farm as they are well aligned with our goals for local agriculture. Hair sheep, kune kune pigs… some very interesting work going on here.

If you would be interested in receiving information from them on products as they become available, there is a mailing list at their website that will allow you to receive info in the future.

Here are some photos to whet your appetite. First some happy hair sheep and lambs!



Next are the chickens.



And some kune kune pigs (I have not seen these before).



Globalization, Technology, and Questions on Laser Identification

New technology promises to allow consumers to evaluate products (even in plastic wrap or glass). This article shows the promises and the perils associated with new technology. If the technology demands expensive testing over extended periods of time with commodity products, then we have every right to be concerned that diversity will be the victim. So yes, it would be good to be able to detect traces of pesticides on organic products or fraudulent fish, but we will also risk losing yet more biodiversity because the producers of specialty or low volume products cannot afford the profiling required to allow their products to be evaluated. That is definitely not a good thing.