Food

Ep 40: Fresh Eggs Daily – with Lisa Steele

Listen as we discuss how chickens and ducks can be utilized to improve your garden, the importance of eating pasture-raised eggs and poultry, and Lisa’s hopes for the future of agriculture.

Bio:
Lisa Steele is a 5th-generation chicken keeper, Maine Master Gardener and lifelong thrifty New Englander. She’s the founder of Fresh Eggs Daily®, the popular natural chicken keeping site which has been named one of the top ten garden blogs by Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

The author of several books including Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens Naturally (St. Lynns Press, 2013), Gardening with Chickens (Quarto, 2016), and most recently 101 Chicken Keeping Hacks (Quarto, 2018), she has appeared on Home and Family on the Hallmark channel, P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home on NPR, Good Morning Maine, Great Day Houston, Good Day Columbus, and San Antonio Living among others, and has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to writing books and handling her social media, Lisa hosts a “country lifestyle” television show on NBC in Maine and New Hampshire called Welcome to my Farm. From the farm  in central Maine where she and her husband reside, and she’s carrying on her family tradition raising a mixed flock of chickens, ducks and geese, and growing vegetables and herbs while inspiring others with her natural, fun and accessible approach to integrating gardening and backyard chickens for a more productive flock and a more bountiful harvest.

Learn more about gardening and chickens by visiting Lisa’s website https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/

Please follow and like us:

Ep 34: Understanding Food Labels – with Rebecca Thistlethwaite

Pasture-raised, non-GMO, organic, cage-free, fair trade, grass-fed, all natural…what do these all mean?  Listen as Rebecca teaches us about food labels and what to look for when you make your next food purchase.

About Rebecca: 
Rebecca Thistlethwaite is the Director of the national Extension program called the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network (NMPAN) based at Oregon State University that works to strengthen the niche meat supply chain. She has a master’s degree in International Agricultural Development from the University of California – Davis and was formerly co-owner of TLC Ranch, an organic pastured poultry and livestock enterprise in California. She is also author of two books on farming- Farms With a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business (2012) and The New Livestock Farmer: The Business of Raising and Selling Ethical Meat (2015). Rebecca has also recently launched a health coaching business called Commit to Live Health & Wellness where she helps people reclaim their health through a holistic ancestral approach. Rebecca lives in the Columbia River Gorge region of Oregon with her two children. When not running NMPAN, you will find her cooking, trail running, or volunteering for local schools.

Rebecca can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/commit2livehealth or on Twitter at commit2live

Links:
Commit To Live Health & Wellness Coaching:  https://commit2livecoaching.com/
Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network: http://www.nichemeatprocessing.org/
The New Livestock Farmer (Book): https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/the-new-livestock-farmer/
Farms with a Future (Book): https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/farms-with-a-future/

Please follow and like us:

Ep 31: Joe Lamp’l – Host of PBS Series, Growing a Greener World

Listen as Joe shares his passion for gardening, ways we can help improve the environment and why we should care about where our food comes from.

Joe Lamp’l’s (aka joe gardener®) infatuation with gardening and nature began as a child. After a run-in with his parents’ favorite shrub, he panicked and jammed the broken branch into the ground. A few weeks later, it had taken root. Joe was not only relieved; he was also hooked on horticulture.

As one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in gardening and green-living, Joe’s passion for living a greener life is evident to a nationwide audience who turns to him for gardening advice through his new joe gardener Online Gardening Academy™ and watches him in his current role as Creator, Executive Producer and Host of the Emmy-award-winning PBS series, Growing a Greener World® and, previously, as host of Fresh from the Garden on DIY Network and more. Joe also shares his know-how on NBC’s TODAY SHOW, ABC’s Good Morning America, The Weather Channel and through his popular books, podcast series, and more.

Past awards include: The American Horticultural Society selected Joe as the recipient of the Society’s B.Y. Morrison Communication Award, which recognizes effective and inspirational communication—through print, radio, television, and online media. Multi-award winner for Best On-Air Talent for Television by the Garden Writers Association, and The Taste Awards for, Breakout Storyteller of the Year, Best Environmental Television, Series, Film or Video, Best Branded Television Series in 2016 and their coveted Pioneer Award in 2017. In 2018, Growing a Greener World was awarded a Daytime Emmy for Best Lifestyle Program.

Joe is the founder and “Joe” behind joegardener.com – a gardening-intensive website with a focus on how-to videos, podcasts, online courses, and blog posts around the most popular topics gardeners want to know.

Overseeing these endeavors and more is Agrivana® Media, LLC, a company devoted to creating quality broadcast and online content to inspire and promote environmental stewardship around the world. Joe is deeply committed to “growing a greener world” through his television series, courses, websites, podcasts, books (including The Green Gardener’s Guide), and more. When not talking or writing about gardening and living green, Joe can likely be found in and around his organic garden and spending time with his family on their Atlanta, GA farm.

Social Media:
Instagram and twitter: @joegardener
Facebook: @joegardenerTV @GGWTV
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/joegardener/

Websites:
Joegardener.com
growingagreenerworld.com

Podcast: The joe gardener Show : https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/joe-gardener-show-grow-like-pro-organic-gardening-vegetable/id1245331505

Please follow and like us:

Ep 27: Chef Nathan Lyon – Fiber Fourteen

Chef Nathan Lyon teaches us about Fiber Fourteen, why fiber is so important for our overall health, and why great food starts fresh.

About Fiber Fourteen: 
Fiber Fourteen is the passion project of Nathan Lyon, an Emmy-nominated Outstanding Culinary Host, acclaimed Cookbook Author and classically trained Chef with a Health Science background and Sarah Forman, a Recipe Developer, Recipe Tester and Project Manager.

In the fall of 2016, a family member (a parent) was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. A routine colonoscopy revealed a suspicious polyp which was later diagnosed as a “not a major concern” stage 1 cancer. However, a second opinion classified it as stage 2, possibly stage 3. Needless to say, this news came as a total shock to everyone.

And, what first began as a short visit home to help navigate the diagnoses, turned into a 2-month stay – through the duration of the first-round of treatment: a 6-week course of radiation. Nathan and Sarah took over the responsibility of cooking during the treatment.

Given the type of cancer, treatment and possible gastrointestinal side effects, Nathan and Sarah began making slight adjustments to their recipes. Mind you,their meals have always been on the healthy side: plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, good fats, lean proteins and everything from scratch. But, they decided to make a small change built on a simple idea: decrease the percentage of animal protein so that the majority of the meal is vegetable based (i.e. increase fiber). Armed with their new idea, the challenge was to make those vegetables even more delicious and more satiating than ever before; to make them the star of the show, rather than just humble backup singers.

The meals cooked during this time evolved into the beginner version of the now full-grown Fiber Fourteen Meal Plan, a 14 day fiber-rich, calorie-light recipe meal plan designed to improve your health.

As for the family member who was diagnosed with cancer? They made it through all of their treatments, are recovering quite well and above all, they are living their dreams…

Learn more about Fiber Fourteen at: www.fiberfourteen.com/

About Chef Nathan Lyon: 
Emmy nominated Chef Nathan Lyon is known to television viewers across the country for his simple, innovative cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients. Chef and co-host of Growing A Greener World (PBS) and host of Good Food America with Nathan Lyon (Veria), Nathan was the creator and host of A Lyon in the Kitchen (Discovery Health and Fit TV), among the final four on the second season of The Next Food Network Star, and appeared as a guest chef and expert on Home Made Simple (TLC) and Real Simple Real Life (TLC).

Nathan obtained a Bachelor of Science in Health Science and a minor in Public health from James Madison University and attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles, where he earned a Culinary Arts degree. Since that time, Nathan has worked in many restaurants, both in and out of the kitchen, and has also worked with local growers in California farmers markets for over a decade.

Nathan published his cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, which has been quoted by Alice Waters, Graham Kerr, Curtis Stone and Jamie Oliver and made the Washington Post’s esteemed “Top Cookbooks” list. Nathan received the honor of an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Culinary Host” in 2013.

Link to Chef Nathan Lyon’s Website: www.chefnathanlyon.com/

Please follow and like us:

Ep 25: Eden East Austin – Farm to Table Restaurant in the Heart of Austin, Texas

Listen as Sonya Cote, Executive Chef and Kayce Braden, Projects Manager tell us about the farm to table experience of their restaurant Eden East Austin, why it is important for consumers to care about where their food comes from, and how they are doing their part in building a better food system.

About Eden East Austin:
Located in East Austin, Eden East is a true farm-to-table dining experience. The restaurant serves a monthly prix fixe menu every weekend and an a la carte brunch on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Every Thursday, Eden East offers an a la carte dinner paired with live music or a DJ. Each month, chefs develop a menu based on the most vibrant seasonal ingredients from the farm, as well as local farms and ranches.

Website: https://edeneastaustin.com/

About Sonya Coté:
Sonya Coté is a perfect blend of chef, artist and storyteller. With a background in art and graphic design, Coté has had quite a vibrant career. Even as her culinary endeavors expand, she remains an artist. Each new plate is her canvas that tells its own story.

As many Austin diners know, Coté is the free spirit behind Hillside Farmacy and Eden East, the latter being located on an urban farm that her and her partner David are currently maintaining.  At Eden East, patrons can dine al fresco under the stars on a menu that is based on what’s in season on the farm and as well as shop produce and local goods at farmers market. 

Coté’s story begins in a coastal community in Rhode Island, where she grew up with a love for camping and an affinity for cooking. Her restaurants reflect her love of the outdoors and all things local. She first left Rhode Island for Dallas in 1989, being “fascinated by the Wild West and its stereotypes, but living in the city, I was surprised that people didn’t know their neighbors.” Since then she has planted roots in Austin and created an amazing community.

Coté has received numerous accolades, including recognition as one of Marie Claire’s “Women on Top. She competed on Food Network’s “Chopped”. Her restaurant Eden East was named one of Austin Monthly’s “Best New Restaurants.” Soon after, Coté was named one of Tribeza’s “People of the Year.”

About Kaycee Braden:
Kaycee Braden has a passion for food.  From her earliest memories to her current daily activities, she knew she could find an outlet for her passion and how food is shared, sold & grown, within the food community. The recent “Farm to Table” movement became a way for Kaycee to share what she had learned through her travels & help grow this community in Austin by bringing healthy food resources & alternatives to “big ag”.

Fresh faced & starry eyed, she started her journey into the food scene by earning her Permaculture Design Certification with an emphasis on community development and ethno botanical horticulture in her early twenties. Wanting to dig deeper into learning more about food justice Kaycee found herself traveling across the globe study in depth small agriculture and the effects of the green revolution in Rajasthan, India. She then went on to graduate with her BA from Evergreen State College in sustainable agriculture & community development.  She then set out to begin her life pursuing her passion.

Kaycee is a proud Texas native, a world traveler who has resided in many places.  She has recently come back home to Texas to bring us her experiences and love of food culture to the everyday operations of a restaurant located in the heart of Austin.  Austin Texas has quickly become a busy, thriving food community with deep roots. She began her employment at Eden East upon her arrival to the city while still attending culinary classes.  Through the years, she worked through each department of the restaurant including kitchen, then ultimately ending up as the General Manager. After success in this role, she then became a valued partner to the business.

Her hard work and dedication has brought Eden East Restaurant & Farm much success.  Through her education, guests & employees both can learn about the inner workings of a restaurant & an urban farm.

Please follow and like us:

Ep 20: Alemany Farm – San Francisco’s Largest Urban Farm

Chris Chimenti, Volunteer Co-Manager at Alemany Farm teaches us about San Francisco’s largest urban farm and its role in building a better food system

About Alemany Farm
Friends of Alemany Farm is a volunteer group that manages the horticulture, volunteer, and educational programs at Alemany Farm, a 3.5 acre organic farm ecosystem in southeast San Francisco..

Mission:
Friends of Alemany Farm grows food security and educates local residents about how they can become their own food producers. They strive to increase ecological knowledge and habitat value, and to sow the seeds for economic and environmental justice.

They pursue four main goals:
1. Fostering Environmental Education by introducing children and adults to the idea that local food production can be part of a healthy ecosystem, and inspiring visitors to start their own gardens at home.

2. Boosting Food Security by providing organic, healthy food to community members.

3. Growing Leaders through the communal ethic of the barn-raising that encourages people to play an active role in decision-making.

4. Promoting Ecological-Economic Development by using urban agriculture as a way to develop job skills

Links:
http://www.alemanyfarm.org/
http://www.alemanyfarm.org/donors/ – To Donate

About Chris Chimenti:
Chris Chimenti is an Urban Farming and Customer Success professional who for the last decade has worked as a volunteer co-manager of Alemany Farm, San Francisco’s largest urban farm, which produces over 24,000 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables annually. As a Customer Success professional he has over a decade of experience working for early stage tech start-ups and Google, with a focus on leadership and account management in the mobile, advertising and marketing industries. Chris holds an MA in Multimedia Interface Design, a BA in Broadcasting & Electronic Communication Arts, and an Apprenticeship in Ecological Horticulture. He can be contacted at christopher.chimenti@gmail.com or on Linkedin.

Please follow and like us:

Ep 19: Chef Patrick Cowden – Pharmacy Cafe & Green Planet Catering

Patrick Cowden, Executive Chef at The Pharmacy Cafe and Green Planet Catering in Raleigh, North Carolina discusses partnering with local farms, the importance of community, cooking with food in season, creativity in the kitchen, how he uses resourceful methods to reduce food waste, and why transparency is needed for a quality food system.

BIO:
In November 2015 Chef Patrick Cowden partnered up with Daniel Whittaker to take ownership of The Pharmacy Café in Raleigh North Carolina. Their vision was to create a friendly neighborhood modern take of an old school pharmacy lunch counter. Located in an actual working pharmacy that has been serving the public for over a hundred years they serve hand crafted soda jerk style offerings (sodas/egg creams/fizzes), gargantuan biscuits, and creative upscale sandwiches that are all driven by what is seasonal and available locally. Whittaker and Cowden also operate Green Planet Catering, an award winning sustainable catering company that serves Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill.

Chef Cowden, who attended New England Culinary Institute, had done long stints as Executive Chef of Tobacco Road Sports Café’s three locations and The Weathervane Restaurant at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill before starting this new adventure. As a long time resident of the Triangle he has steered the course at such places as Michael Jordan’s 23 Sport Cafe, The Grill at Glen Lennox, Michael Dean’s, Jean Claude’s Café, and his own restaurant Patrick’s Seasonal Cuisine which was located in North Durham. All of which have garnered numerous accolades and have appeared on many best of lists in the triangle.

As a Chef who is committed to North Carolina products and local producers he showcases these products and farmers on his menus. He has also taken part in numerous Farm-to-Fork picnics and has been a finalist in the Best Dish of North Carolina sponsored by the Dept. of Agriculture. Another driving factor behind Chef Cowden’s philosophy is his commitment to sustainability. He strives to reduce the ecological impact of his operations to the barest minimum. This commitment coupled with a passion for exciting Southern inspired cuisine makes Chef Cowden a natural fit for Green Planet Catering and Person Street Pharmacy Cafe.

Please follow and like us:

Olive Oil – Extra Virgin? Not Quite.

Ah, olive oil. It’s healthy, it’s delicious – just opening a bottle puts our cooking ability on par with that of a professional chef. Some people take shots of it every morning. Two women who lived to be over 120 years old both said drinking it was the key to a long life (along with wine and chocolate – now that’s some health advice I’m happy to take!). But if you’ve purchased olive oil from a grocery store, the chances are very high that you aren’t buying what you think you are. And certainly not the good stuff that could help you live longer.

In fact, consumers in the U.S. are so familiar with rancid, low-quality olive oil that they will pick it out of line during a taste test because it’s what they’re used to. Instead of a fresh, grassy, fragrant, buttery, or even peppery smell with hints of fruitiness, we are used to oils that are musty, greasy, and thin.

If you’re not sure you know what good olive oil tastes like, visit a specialty olive oil store. They often offer tastings of their products, and can show you what to look for. We’ll go into more depth later about what to look for in olive oils, since even some of these stores lack good, fresh options.

On a personal note, if you take away one thing from this article, I hope it’s to learn what olive oil is supposed to taste like and how to pick out a good bottle. Do it for me. I personally have shed a tear over a roommate using my fancy olive oil to season a pan, and I’m not ashamed… Okay, maybe I am a little. But I digress – please go find a specialty olive oil store near you and go taste some. Your life will never be the same.

Let’s start with some basics about olive oil.

Olives are picked and crushed into a paste by stones, or more commonly by steel blades. The paste is then stirred to release droplets of olive oil before being spun around at high speeds in a centrifuge to remove the oil and water from the olives. Finally, water is removed until just the oil remains.

If the end oil is unrefined, such as extra virgin and virgin oils, the process ends there and the oil is bottled and shipped. Only the best olives are used for unrefined oils. If the olives are of lesser quality, more processing is required. This oil is further refined using chemicals and heat to neutralize the taste of the oils, as lesser quality olives produce a more bitter and less desirable taste. These oils are often labeled as “Pure Olive Oil” or simply “olive oil.”

So if Pure Oil and Olive Oil mean it’s bad stuff, what about the good stuff? That’s from Italy, right?

It’s a common misconception that only good olive oil comes from Italy. The reality is that Italy is just the biggest importer and exporter of it. Both good and bad olive oils can come from Italy, and there’s also amazing oils that come from countries like Spain, Greece, Tunisia, and (my personal favorite) Australia. Italy just happens to bottle and ship the vast majority of it, which feeds the misconception.

The best and highest quality olive oils are labeled “extra virgin,” which means that they contain pure, cold-pressed olive oils instead of a blend of lower quality, processed oils. That’s why the taste of extra virgin olive oil is stronger and more pronounced than regular olive oil. It’s also the only label that requires any sort of inspection, and must pass lab analysis and testing conducted by the International Olive Council in Madrid.

Neat, so just look for “extra virgin” olive oil and I’m good to go?

Nope, sorry! Nothing can ever be simple when it comes to food. Unfortunately, seeing extra virgin on the label isn’t a guarantee of quality. According to a study in 2010, 69% of imported extra virgin olive oils that were tested failed to meet USDA standards. Often, companies pass off lower quality olive oil as extra virgin – and there’s plenty of room in the supply chain for mixups.

Remember how Italy imports, bottles, and exports most of the olive oil? In November of 2015, seven of Italy’s best-known olive oil companies (does the name Bertolli ring a bell?) were investigated for passing off low quality oils from other countries as extra virgin Italian olive oil. This multi-million dollar systemic fraud case was busted by an investigation codenamed (no joke) Operation “Mamma Mia.” There are even ties to mafia involvement within the Italian olive oil industry. The price tag for extra virgin olive oil rings up at around 30-40% more than the cost of regular oil, which is more than enough for fraudsters to want a taste.

Okay, so sometimes olive oil isn’t totally pure and extra virgin. Kinda crummy, but not exactly unsafe. Why should I care?

In the best cases, “fake” olive oil is labeled incorrectly as extra virgin, or has been mixed with oils that have been sitting around from the previous years’ harvest (or longer). This is totally legal, but completely defeats the main purpose of buying olive oil – that it’s healthy. When mixed with old and often rancid oil, by the time the oil reaches the consumer it’s often lost a good chunk of its health benefits.

In the worst cases, the oil has been illegally diluted (or “cut”) with other, cheaper oils. One way to do this is to add chemically refined, low-quality olive oils. Other popular diluters are sunflower, soybean, and canola oils.  Which, if you have food allergies, is VERY bad news.

That sounds not great. So how do I make sure I’m buying good olive oil?

If you can, hit up a specialty olive oil store – they’re popping up more frequently in the U.S. and often pride themselves on letting you test their products. If it tastes good, it’s probably good.

Don’t trust labels. (This seems to be a recurring theme – check out our guides to eggs and coffee certifications and why transparency could be the solution.)

Don’t fall for terms like “natural,” “pure,” “premium,” “virgin,”or “light.” They are all marketing terms for oil that is heavily processed and lacking in the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil – though they are fine for baking or other kitchen needs where flavor doesn’t matter. And as I’m sure you learned above, even “made in Italy” doesn’t mean much. Even the bottled by dates aren’t good to go by – oil can sit in a tank for a year before it’s bottled.

So if olive oil labels aren’t any good, what do I look for?
Check for a stamp of approval.

There’s a council called the California Olive Oil Council, or COOC, that verifies, tests, and analyzes olive oils to meet high standards. If you see their seal, it means that oil has met their criteria – here’s a list of the brands they’ve approved.

Additionally, the USDA has a voluntary quality monitoring program for olive oils, though only two companies participate. If you see the USDA seal, it means the oil meets these standards.

You can also check for the European Union’s Protected of Designated Origin or Italy’s DOP.

Brush up on your geography.

If you have nothing to go off of besides the country of origin, choose Chile or Australia. These two countries scored the highest average qualities on the U.S. International Trade Commission report on conditions of major olive oil imports in the U.S.

Additionally, Australia has the best testing systems and the highest standards of all olive-oil producing countries. Both Chile and Australia have never been found to mix oils from old harvests.

Know your seasons.

Buy olive oils from regions where olives are in season. This means don’t buy from the Northern Hemisphere in the fall and winter, and don’t buy from places like Chile, Australia, or South Africa during the spring and summer.

Go dark.

Olive oil’s worst enemies are light, heat, and oxygen – they cause oil to deteriorate rapidly. Stay away from oils that are kept in clear bottles or near windows. Good olive oil is often kept in a dark tinted bottle or in a can to prevent degradation of quality. If you can’t see the color, that’s fine! High quality olive oils can come in all colors, from buttery yellow to dark green to nearly clear.

Awesome! Now I have a great bottle of oil – what do I do with it?

Store it in a dark place that’s temperature-stable and not too hot. An unopened bottle can be kept in a cool, dark place for a year or two, but after it’s open make sure to use it within a few months before oxidation causes it to go rancid.

But don’t worry too much – once you have a fragrant, grassy, buttery olive oil at your cooking disposal, it probably won’t make it more than a few months before it’s all gone!

 

Please follow and like us:

The Path of Produce from the Farm to the Store

Think about your favorite grocery store and mentally go through the aisles. Appreciate the products that are there. Now, as you pick your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable, imagine the story of where it was grown, how it was picked, and the events that took place to get it in the store.

I would not have been able to imagine this process if I was asked a few years ago. I was blind to the steps and unaware of the complexity of our food system. Today, we will discuss more generally how a piece of produce might end up at your store.

We have a few key players in this story:

1)   The farmer
2)   Post-harvest methods
3)   A regional distribution center
4)   The retailer (aka, the store or restaurant)
5)   Finally, you – the consumer.

Meet the farmers and the decisions they must make:

  • A product is chosen. The farmer must decide what will be grown and the variety of the product they are growing. Choosing the plant variety can depend on the plant’s tolerance to the farmer’s growing environment, temperature, time of year, location, resistance to disease, and type of production.
  • Planting methods are executed. Plants have different seeding, transplanting, and growth cycle needs. Farmers must decide how they will address those needs based on cost, their production capabilities, technology of the farmers, and the intent to optimize the environment of the crops. They must determine the right time of year, soil conditions, plant spacing, irrigation methods, fertilization, and pesticide use.
  •  Harvesting. When the produce is ready to harvest, farmers must choose appropriate harvesting containers, equipment, and transportation to be efficient and clean.1 In most scenarios, the harvest containers get transported to a packinghouse where they will be prepared for the next step.

Post-harvest methods:

  • After harvest, time is of the essence to make sure the produce is as fresh as possible. At the packinghouse or shed, the environment must be well controlled, and there are deliberate techniques to transfer the product into the facility.
  •  It is common for post-harvest facilities to prepare the produce to be transported to a processing center where it is inspected, cleaned, and assessed for quality. Often, preservation is emphasized through cooling measures, slow respiration, water-loss techniques, and/or the use of salt, sugar, or other chemical preservatives.2
  •  Farmers need to ensure the crop they are shipping is optimal maturity by the time it hits the store, not necessarily when it is picked. Destination location plays a role in the timing of the harvest. In addition, size, color, firmness/tenderness, days of bloom, heat accumulation, and other considerations must be taken in account to provide a product consumers would want to buy. 2
  •  Information is gathered on all the produce coming into to identify the grower/supplier, the date of the harvest, the field, the shift, and production records to be able to trace products when transported. 3
  •  Packaging must protect the items, be appealing for sale, and promote a clean environment to reduce contamination risk. When packaging, the products are put in bags, crates, baskets, cartons, bulk bins, hampers, and/or palletized containers. It is has been reported there are more than 1,500 different types of packing for produce in the United States.4
  •  Transportation is the next stop of the produce story. The products must be transported s through non-damaging and non-contaminating means. The transportation vehicle must be free of debris, maintain proper humidity and temperature levels, and loaded in a way that minimizes storage time and maximizes accessibility to get fresh-cut produce to the shelf as quickly as they can.5

Regional distribution centers:

  • Distribution centers are locations where food is collected and redistributed to retailers, wholesalers, or directly to the consumers.These centers face the challenge of ensuring the food-safety regulations continue to be followed. Centers report organic regulation, ensure Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points compliance (HACCP is a systematic preventive approach required by the FDA and USDA to promote food safety in the production processes), and log food defense and vulnerability. Employee training and awareness programs are necessary to help keep the products up to industry standards.6
  •  The food industry requires consistent deliveries of the right products, in the right quantity, in the right condition, to the right place, at the right time, and for the right cost.7 With the regional distribution of food from all over the country and world, this can be a great challenge for ordering, processing, and transporting foods. Distribution centers means food products that are seasonal can  still be present in the store. 7
  • When food leaves the distribution centers, it most often travels to retailers or wholesalers. It has been reported that meals in the United States travel about 1,500 miles to get from farm to plate. 8

Our journey is almost complete! Meet the retailers and the hero of our story – you, the consumer!

  • Once delivered, it is the job of the retailer to inspect, display, and store produce to maintain shelf-life, while still promoting healthy standards. Stores order and reorder inventory to ensure they have the produce consumers want in stock and looking fresh.
  • In-season produce  may be purchased more locally, therefore bypassing distribution centers. This can be why you might see sales or signs for locally grown products in the summer, because they are more available to the retailer.
  • Finally, the journey ends with you making your food purchase!

This is a very watered-down synopsis of the general path a food item might take to get to your plate. There are many players and stops involved to take produce from farm to table. This is why you may be hearing an increasing demand from consumers to be able to track and follow the supply chain of their food. With so many twists and turns, as a consumer it can be difficult to know the true quality of an item.

Efforts are being made to improve the efficiency and standards for food traceability in hopes of reducing contamination risks, promoting local sourcing and better farming practices, improving environmental awareness, reducing packing and transportation consequences, and more. The journey of food can be long, but being educated on the process can help direct our food choices – and may help to create the demand for a more direct and more efficient system.

  1. http://www.greentechchallenge.eu/single-post/2017/07/04/From-Farm-to-Table-%E2%80%93-The-Food-Shipping-Process
  2. https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/guides/texas-vegetable-growers-handbook/chapter-x-harvesting-handling/
  3. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ProducePlantProducts/ucm064458.htm#ch4
  4. https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/packaging-requirements-for-fresh-fruits-and-vegetables
  1. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/ProducePlantProducts/ucm064458.htm
  2. https://www.aibonline.org/Food-First-Blog/PostId/25/risky-business-food-safety-in-distribution-centers
  3. Aghazadeh, S.M. Improving Logistics Operations Across the Food Industry Supply Chain. Int. J. Contemp. Hosp. Manag. 2004, 16, 263–268.
  4. https://cuesa.org/learn/how-far-does-your-food-travel-get-your-plate


About the Author:

Alex Uding, PT, DPT, PN1

Co-host of Know Better Live Best, Writer, Creator of Advancing Her (https://www.advancingher.com/)

Alex works with healthy and injured individuals alike, across the lifespan. She has special interest in orthopedic and sports rehab, women’s health, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and development of the female athlete. She is passionate about bridging the gap between rehabilitation and optimizing performance to promote a lifestyle of health and wellness through compassionate, person-centered care.

Alex loves to run, hike, and travel – visiting every national park is on the bucket list! She enjoys exploring new places, culture, food, music, and people. She is Chicago born and raised, but has lived all over the country. She loves hearing people’s story and what makes them tick.

Alex has a Doctorate of Physical Therapy, is Precision Nutrition Certified, and is a Strength and Performance Coach. She works as a Physical Therapist and Performance Coach at Momentum Physical Therapy in Milford, MA.

Please follow and like us:

Ep 13: Patrick Robinette, Founder of Harris-Robinette Beef (Part 2)

Host Kari Ginger continues her conversation with Patrick Robinette, Founder of Harris-Robinette Beef located in North Carolina. Patrick discusses why quality and transparency in the food industry is important to him and his vision for the future of farming. You can listen to Part 1 with Patrick Robinette at www.knowbetterlivebest.com/2018/10/10/…eef-part-1/ With nothing but faith, family and this dream, Harris-Robinette Beef has grown exponentially over the last eighteen years. They started as a simple operation that provided beef on the farm. However, once people heard about the high quality of their beef and tasted their savory products, new markets quickly opened. Today, Harris-Robinette Beef exists to provide the consumer with an affordable, environmentally sound, high quality, nutritious beef through the raising of livestock exclusively on a grass-based system. Harris-Robinette utilizes a pasture-to-plate system to best serve the interest of their farm and to preserve agriculture in a sustainable fashion for the good of the land, the family, and our society.
Please follow and like us:

Shopping cart

Subtotal
Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.
Checkout