How to Talk To Your Farmer

{Re-blogged from Health Coach Quinn}

I talk to a lot of people who are intimidated by farmer’s markets.  They feel like they don’t quite know what questions to ask, who to buy from and end up getting totally overwhelmed by the process.

First thing to note is: it’s up to you to get the conversation going.  

Most farmers are incredibly intelligent, have copious amounts of information about their crops and could talk ad nauseum about them…if you show a little interest.

They are so entrenched in what they do that they assume you know what they know.  Like, if someone asks about your job, you’re not going to immediately offer detailed information about how exactly you do what you do…  People need to ask for it.

Here is your simple guide to get the convo going with your local farmer.  Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question!

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The Basics

  • Do you use any pesticides or herbicides in your field? (just because a farm is not certified organic doesn’t mean they don’t follow organic standards.  It’s always best to just ask!)
  • What’s the freshest today?
  • What is the most ripe? (especially if you’re talking about fruit)
  • What items do you recommend?

A little more in-depth

  • When was this harvested? (harvested=picked)
  • How can I prepare this? (let them give you some ideas, they are happy to share!)
  • How should I store this? (Importanté!)
  • How much longer will this be in season? (that’s an advanced level question)

Your farmer is not some serious, socially inept weird-o.  They want to chat with you!  But they don’t want to assume that you know nothing, so it’s on you to engage them.  Also, a lot of people who choose to work on their own tend to be introverts.

Don’t be afraid to engage them in conversation about what they do and how they grow/raise their food.  Be interested, be curious, be whoever you are.

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All people like to talk about themselves.  Feel free to ask questions like:

  • How long have you been farming?
  • What got you into it?
  • What is your favorite vegetable/fruit/cut of meat/dairy product that you have?

Of course if they are super busy you don’t want to barrage them with small talk.  But these are people who have dedicated their entire lives to this.

Farming isn’t a 9-5 “job”.  It’s a lifestyle, a labor or love, and the people who devote their lives to this are proud and passionate about what they do.

Any other questions you think are pertinent?  Please add to the list in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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Stone Barns’ Carrot & Cabbage Slaw #SaladFest2013

This is a very exciting and fruitful time at the farm.  It’s changing constantly and we are SBC logoharvesting new veggies every week.  The Farm Market and CSA are overflowing with fresh produce.

One summer staple that all the farmers and staff at Stone Barns love is a slaw.  You can mix in pretty much any ingredient you like, kohlrabi, raddish, fresh herbs, cucumbers, corn…but we particularly love the classic combo of cabbage and carrots.

Crisp, sweet and refreshing, these crops are the perfect pair for a seasonal slaw!

Use the amounts listed below, or, just use what you have to create the ratio of cabbage to carrot that you like—you can’t go wrong.

For other versions of a classic slaw try our Beet Carrot and Cabbage Slaw and Kohlrabi Slaw.

SBC cabbage carrot slaw

Carrot & Cabbage Slaw

  • 1 head napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch spring carrots (the baby ones you’ll find at the Farm Market), shredded
  • 1/4 cup fresh spearmint, chopped (substitute cilantro or basil)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, sliced (optional)

Dressing

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Mix together slaw ingredients in a large bowl.

Shake dressing ingredients together in a lidded jar, or whisk well in a bowl.

Pour dressing over slaw in thirds, tasting as you go to get the right mix, toss and serve.

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Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is a non-profit farm with social change mission which is to change the way America eats and farms.  Come explore our fields. Stroll through our pastures. Walk our woodlands. Talk with our farmers. Support our cause. 

For more recipes visit or to see our calendar of events visit our site www.StoneBarnsCenter.org

The farm is open Wednesday-Sunday from 10-5pm and is located at 630 Bedford Road Pocantico Hills, NY 10591, just 25 miles north of Manhattan.

The Farm Market is open every Sunday from 10-4pm.

 

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Sarah Kagan’s Kohlrabi, Carrot & Apple Slaw #SaladFest2013

You know those times when you just want to sit down and eat the whole bowl img_58662of something. It’s that bottomless pit syndrome, that little nagging in your jaw that begs you ‘up down up down’… a case of the ‘noshes’ as I like to call it.

It also comes as no surprise that the desire to eat forever usually strikes when something sweet [dark chocolate, chips, popcorn, and swedish fish to name a few] hits your lips. And while those little red fishes taste oh so good going down, they don’t usually leave you feeling great at the bottom of the bag.

This slaw is my new go-to eat-the-whole-bowl food. You most likely already have all the ingredients in your fridge, and it comes together in minutes leaving you with little time to be distracted by other things [like the bag of Snap Pea chips you bought yesterday].

The kohlrabi satisfies the need for something to crunch on, and the apples and raisins add a natural sweetness. Not a drop of oil in site, this quick slaw is perfect for cravings, hot summer days, lazy afternoons, and any time in between.

sarah kagan slaw

Kohlrabi + Carrot + Apple Slaw
Servings: 4 [unless I’m there.. in which case maybe 1.5]
Time: 15 minutes

  • 3 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1 apple, cored and grated
  • ½ kohlrabi, skin removed and sliced thinly
  • ¼ c. raisins
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 t. honey [add more or less depending on the sweetness of your apple]

Directions

Grate the carrots and apple.

Slice the kohlrabi into thin matchsticks, and then cut into little pieces.

Add a handful of raisins. Add lemon juice + drizzle with honey.

Toss well to combine.

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Sarah moved to Brooklyn last fall and currently serves as the Director of Wellness Food Education for Butter Beans Kitchen, where she teaches tiny tots the joys of getting messy in the kitchen. You can follow Sarah’s kitchen chronicles on her blog, www.beyondthebatter.org, or spend some one on one time with the girl behind the batter at a private cooking class or party. From pancakes to tier cakes, Sarah loves all things food related, and she loves sharing her passion with others.

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