Farm-to-fork means new opportunities for small growers

farm-to-fork

The farm-to-fork movement has been good to many restaurants in the Sacramento region. Easy access to locally grown food has built revenue and reputations.

But it’s not all about the fork. Some small farmers also are getting a boost, selling more products directly to consumers and restaurants.

Growing consumer interest in how food is made has created new opportunities, particularly for growers who focus on popular niche products, said Mary Kimball, executive director of the Center for Land-Based Learning in Winters.

The first folks to build connections between farms and restaurants had a lot of explaining to do, Kimball said. The farm-to-fork movement has changed all that.

“You don’t have a lot of the barriers that existed before. It’s not unusual for a farmer to sell directly to a restaurant or a store, and a lot of that is due to the farm-to-fork message,” she said.

One example is Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse, where Michael Passmore has raised sturgeon, black bass, trout, catfish and other fish for more than a decade.

“Being a small farm, we can’t compete with the commodity market,” Passmore said. He sells mostly to high-end restaurants, offering the freshest possible products.

When Sacramento launched its first farm-to-fork celebration in 2012, Passmore was a supporter. His fish were featured prominently on both Farm-to-Fork gala dinners held on Sacramento’s Tower Bridge.

“At the time I didn’t see any benefits for us,” Passmore said. “But it has increased our business in Sacramento. It elevated the idea of using our fish and spread our reputation with restaurants and chefs.”

Read the full article here.

* via CDFA Planting Seeds Blog
http://plantingseedsblog.cdfa.ca.gov/wordpress/?p=7588

Recipes: Mason Jar Salads

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These are just perfect for healthy and on-the-go lunches!

Pack them on Sundays and they keep fresh in the fridge all week.  Then, grab one in the morning on the way out the door and take it to work!

32 oz. mason jars are the ideal container for these salads because they are the perfect size, which is helpful for those that struggle with portion control.

Why a Mason Jar you ask?

  • The glass container keeps the ingredients more crisp and fresh compared to a plastic container
  • The shape allows only the wet ingredients to come into contact with the dressing on the bottom
  • The lids create a seal unlike most plastic lids
  • It looks pretty!

There is a method to constructing the perfect mason jar salad.  You have to keep the “wet” and “dry” ingredients separated to prevent sogginess.

Let’s get started:

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First slice and dice all your ingredients.  Like the radish, cucumber, olives, red bell pepper, mushroom, and radicchio seen here.  The sky is the limit in this department.  You can even use protein such as egg, chicken, salmon, you name it!

Pour in the dressing at the bottom. Place about 2T or about 1/2 inch on the bottom.

First, add the wetter ingredients such as cucumber, tomatoes and olives.

Next you can add the rest of the veggies:  Radish, mushrooms and red bell pepper.

Lastly,  add the radicchio and top with the spinach.

{While you are packing, press the ingredients down to create more space}

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When you are ready to eat your salad, just turn it upside down for a few minutes.  This allows the dressing to creep down and saturate all the ingredients.  You can even give it a shake or two.

* via CA Grown
http://cagrownblog.com/mason-jar-salad/