Friday, April 21, 2006

Local agriculture: the new organic

I was happy to pick up Wednesday's N&O to find my old friend, Ben Bergmann ("the Eggman"), cited in an article on local farmers. Together with Noah Ranells, Ben's Fickle Creek Farm over in Efland provides free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free organic eggs for sale on-site as well as at high profile outlets like Weaver Street Market in Carrboro.

I came to know Ben when I bought eggs from him through an RTP CSA arrangement (Community Supported Agriculture). I've learned from him and other local farmers that the land that brought many of us tech and science geeks here was originally settled for raising livestock and growing produce (besides tobacco). Rather than buying organic produce shipped in from Florida or California, local farms give you the opportunity to taste the garden freshness of food even if you don't have a garden.

Local restauranteurs have even seized upon local agricultural offerings. The most insightful quote in the N&O article comes from Andrea Reusing of Lantern on Chapel Hill's Franklin St:

"Imagine a turnip that the species was selected so it could sit in a crate," she said. "It's already genetically selected for sitting, not eating."

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association celebrates this local culture this weekend with the Piedmont Farm Tour. Around 30 farms in Chatham, Orange, and surrounding counties open their doors to visitors Saturday and Sunday for us to get some local flavor, literally.

We've done parts of this for several years now and find it well worth the $30 per carload donation - a great outing with the kids but equally fun for college students who may not have known that lettuce doesn't come from a plastic bag. Saturday may be a little soggy, but Sunday should be great.


Blogger etbnc said...

I signed up with a Triangle-area CSA for summer 2006. I'm new to the world of salad-by-subscription, but I'm enjoying it so far, and I'm very impressed. Good locally-grown food is definitely a benefit of this area.

May 02, 2006 1:43 PM  

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