The last week of April is a special time for the culinary department at Gentry Park Senior Living Bloomington, IN. 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.
I’m making pan seared lamb chop smothered in blue cheese crumbles, heirloom, and buffalo caprese salad with wasabi microgreens, sweet corn risotto, roasted baby squashes, and sugar cream pies for dessert.
I was able to source all the ingredients I needed locally: lamb – Viking Farm https://vikinglamb.com/; tomatoes – Earthlink Farms https://orders.piazzaproduce.com/; sugar pies – Wicks https://www.wickspies.com/; baby squash – Garwood Farms; wasabi microgreens – Peaper Brothers Farm https://www.indianagrown.org/user/peaperbrothers/; blue cheese and buffalo mozzarella – Fair Oaks Farms https://fofarms.com/; and corn – Mouzin Brothers Farm https://mouzinbrothersfarms.com/. I decided on these ingredients based upon availability, price, and quality.
We used to go to the farmers market every Saturday when I was a kid. It reminds me of simpler times. Farming is a huge economic factor in Indiana. Most of the surrounding counties are full of one kind of farm or another.
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!