The last week of April is a special time for the culinary department at The Township Senior Living Battlefield, MO. In honor of Earth Month, we will be celebrating and embracing the Farm to Table concept. While the terminology is often overused, the idea is a basic one that stems from the days when the food you ate came from the farm you lived on or nearby. Practices may have changed but utilizing the produce and livestock from local farms and growers has many benefits. For example, did you know most produce loses nutrients within 24 hours of harvesting? Have you ever noticed how fresh meat is moister and more flavorful?
Farm to Table also helps strengthen the local economy by providing jobs and keeping money in the hands of businesses run by our neighbors and friends. It helps to build relationships between the farmer or rancher and the customer. Both sides benefit greatly from sourcing local items. If an item becomes scarce, or pricing becomes high, this valued relationship can be instrumental in helping us to continue to provide the exceptional food our residents have come to expect from us with minimal interruption.
The dish I’m making is Ratatouille with these locally sourced items: squash, eggplant, zucchini, tomato, onion, and herbs. I’m sourcing these items from local markets in Springfield, Ozark, and Clever. I decided upon this dish with these ingredients because it is both elegant and comforting.
When I think of eating local ingredients in my childhood, my thoughts always return to my grandma. She was a great cook that taught me much. Grandma always used local ingredients and produce that was in season, growing much of it herself.
Sustainable farming has a huge impact on our area. Most of our residents were farmers and the stories I’ve heard reinforce the importance of small businesses and the local markets.
For us, buy local isn’t just a bumper sticker. It should be embraced and promoted as much as possible. Even if you couldn’t be here to enjoy it with us, I hope you can enjoy the content included here and feel inspired to visit some of these local vendors!