I’ve always been fascinated with farming, growing food and people who make a life off the land. I love to read about it, hear about it, look at it, but the family farming genes stopped there! Thankfully, there are people out there who answer that call. People who feel the draw to work earth, plant, nurture, raise animals and pour themselves into creating good food for us all. We are lucky in this area to have so many small farmers and growers who populate roadside stands, farm stores and local farmers’ markets with products. It’s a joy to visit, enjoy the sights and smells of a variety of fresh foods and know that what you’re buying and eating came from a local person’s efforts.
Growing Tomorrow: A Farm-to-Table Journey in Photos and Recipes by Forrest Pritchard goes “behind the scenes with 18 extraordinary sustainable farmers who are changing the way we eat.” In the late 20th century, many multi-generation family farms were lost to inflation, the high costs and high risks of farming and the need to earn enough income to raise and feed a family. In his earlier book, Gaining Ground, Pritchard talks about what drew him back into farming and the lessons he learned (often the hard way). As he brought the farm back to life, Pritchard discovered a new passion for the concepts of eating “good” food, food raised close to home in ways that are healthy for the eater, as well as the farm. He explored near-lost farming methods that provide steady yields over time and at lower costs. One of the people who influenced Pritchard was Ohio’s own Bob Evans. The real Bob Evans who started the restaurants in the mid-1900s, was an advocate for farming with environmentally sound principles such as using efficient livestock grazing techniques rather than raising stock on feed. Pritchard embraced and wrote about many of the techniques he practiced. Gaining Ground was an immediate success and generated streams of response from family farmers across the country. The response from these people, as well as many readers simply interested in what they eat was consistent: “nutritious food from sustainable farms benefits everyone involved.”
Inspired by this response, Pritchard wanted to tell the stories of other farmers working towards similar goals. The farmers could tell their stories in words and pictures, as well as favorite recipes using the foods they work so hard to grow. The recipes would show the wide range of flavors, colors and varieties of foods available when we move beyond the standard supermarket fare.
Join Pritchard’s tour of a sampling of farms across the country tied by the theme of sustainable practices, though varying widely in how they do this and what they produce. And if you’re inspired, try it! Check out the local shops, stands and markets that carry their own and other’s locally raised or produced foods. Learn the joy of fresh, seasonal produce and bright yellow fresh eggs. But be warned, once you taste the burst of flavor and see the varieties available, you may never be satisfied without it again!
Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food and Saving the Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard (Technology Agricultre Pri), Also a Book on CD
Growing Tomorrow: A Farm-to-Table Journey in Photos and Recipes by Forrest Pritchard
And if you’re inspired to visit a farmers’ market, you might need: Honey & Jam: Seasonal Baking From My Mountain Kitchen by Hannah Queen (Cooking Baking Que)