Today's Guest Blogger is That'll Do Farm's manager, Mike. He recently returned from a trip to Italy where he learned the Italian way of farming and cooking.
If the Italians do one thing right (besides wine), it is preparing fresh food.
Everything I ate on my trip to Italy was - "insert buzzword of choice here -- 'organic,' 'local,' 'pesticide free'"-- but the restaurants hardly even thought to mention it. That was just the way it was. After all, how else would food be? The 'slow food idealogy' is simply a way of life in most of rural Italy. Expected. Not special or unique like it is here in the states.
Our slow food enthusiast group stayed at Peppe Zullo's Villa Paradisio, located in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy.
Peppe's restaurant defined farm to table in every sense of the word - from our table, we could see the trees that produced his olive oil that was used in every dish. Same for the vegetables.
The secret to Peppe's food philosophy is its' simplicity. Not only does he avoid the strange, non-food things that find their way into American cooking (corn syrup, for example), but he uses just a few ingredients fresh from the land, bringing out the flavors of each. No exotic sauces or spices. Simple, "peasant" food that is so bursting with fresh flavor you can hardly believe so much taste can come out of such common ingredients.
I went on the trip with the brother and sister team of Mike and Carmella Fragassi of La Campagna restaurant in Westlake. During one of our meals with Peppe, we realized that we could offer our own Farm to Table dining experience at That'll Do Farm.
With the Fragassi's cooking skills and our farm fresh produce, this Spring, we hope to bring the same freshness in cooking to the farm. Just like in Italy, how and where the food is grown and the lack of miles it travels to get to your plate all contribute to the flavor of the meal.
While Italy is the center of the Slow Foods movement, the idea is certainly growing in the United States. I felt like I was learning from the best, from some of the leaders of Slow Food.
"Whose Your Farmer" has never had more meaning than it does right now.
We'll keep you updated on future Land to Table dinners at the farm.
-- Mike Wargo
When it rains, it pours. True for the weather and true for life.
Between the farm manager's trip to Italy, my trip to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, Farmer Gal's trip to Indianapolis for an alpaca show, a new cria born over the weekend to Silver Lining, and a soon-to-be-announced yarn give-away from the farm, we have had a busy weekend.
Also, the winner of one of our previous contests posted what she made with her prize of alpaca yarn. Very talented!
Check back later today, and over the next several days, for more details on everybody's whirlwind week.
And I thought things slowed down in the fall!