Sometimes escape is the best way to recharge the batteries. For a farmer the summer seems the worst possible time to have a vacation. . . shouldn't we be working???
So, taking a play from the politician playbook (this is an election year after all), I found it convenient to reclassify the word conference and maybe water down the definition a bit. . . or maybe I am just a farm geek who thinks that farm conferences are vacation.
Mr. Leckie from Bon Appetit and I wandered off for our third Farm to Cafeteria Conference. This year it was in Burlington so it wasn't such a terrible trip. We gathered with food service providers, educators, farmers, distributors, and kids from around the country to discuss the importance of getting locally grown farm fresh foods into our schools. Of course for Mr. Leckie this is 'old hat', still we managed to find some really riveting seminars, and the opportunity to network with some great folks.
Now, how do I consider this vacation?
There seems to be a handful of universal truths in the farming world. One such nugget of wisdom is that 'it is a vacation if you go to visit a farm that isn't your own'. In this case, as part of the conference, we visited a "mega-farm"(Shelburne), a lot of restaurants that feature only locally grown foods, and a farmer's market that left me dizzy. I was even able to buy trail mix that has locally grown and harvested crickets in it. It was sooooo good! (There is something about eating bugs this year!)
So what did we learn. . . here is a hint - Micro processing! It turns out that we can legally process our own veggies for use in our cafeteria! Woohoo. Pearson's Town summer squash in January at the cafe!!!!
How great is that??
Oh, and then there is fresh made juice. It turns out you can have your kale and drink it too! Be looking for that at Mercy Market in the near future. . . or was it the Student Lounge?!?
Alright - gotta go harvest in the garden. . . more updates to come.