The Farm to Table or Farm to Fork movement is all the buzz these days, not only on the web but in grocery stores and farmer’s markets around the country. But what is this new movement? Is it really new? Why should I be a part of this movement? I have so many questions about this eating phenomenon! To get to the bottom of them, I sat down with Sacramento, California’s leading chef in the Farm to Fork movement, Brian Mizner of Hook and Ladder Manufacturing Co. And here is what he had to say:
Q: Chef Mizner, what exactly is the whole concept of Farm to Fork or Farm to Table movement?
The mission of the farm-to-fork movement (as it is known in the Sacramento region) is to bring awareness to the Sacramento region’s local food production, consumption and sustainability as well as the contribution and exportation of sustainable products to the rest of the nation and world.
Q: Is it really sustainable and why?
A: In our area of northern California it is completely sustainable, because of the wealth of food resources we're exposed to. As a chef I'm pretty much able to create multiple menus based on food that is grown, raised or processed within pretty much a hundred mile radius. Doing this, I'm able to support small farms as well as some of the larger companies from the area.
Q: Why is it important to eat locally and seasonally?
A: It's very important to eat locally and seasonally, not only to support your local community & farmers financially but to obtain the best possible nutrition through the freshest products available. Learning to change your diet through the seasons while eating locally sourced foods not only keeps you healthy, but keeps you from contributing to waste of resources it takes to ship certain foods across state to state, country to country.
Q: What makes this region of California so ideal for the Farm to Fork or Farm to Table initiative?
A: This region of the world is probably the best area for the Farm To Fork Initiative. Not only because of the mass amount of fresh food that we are able to grow or farm, but the fact that we also have a huge population of people that need to be educated to consume in a more responsible manner.
Q: What is your role in the Farm to Fork and Farm to Table movement in Sacramento, Ca?
A: I would like to think my role in the movement is to share my knowledge of how to prepare delicious food from locally sourced items. To educate people old or young how to eat properly with an aspect of fun attached.
Q: How can people get involved with Farm to Fork or Farm to Table around the country?
A: People can get more involved in the movement in many different ways, visiting farmers markets, buying local produce, educating themselves on proper nutrition, helping at local food banks or education centers and most importantly quit eating fast food. The most important role is to educate the youth on how eat and prepare food that is nutritious while being fun. As the world gets busier and busier we often forget that there's generations of people behind us that need to learn the fundamentals of life, one being how to eat properly.
Q: What are some amazing Farm to Fork items you are currently featuring on the menu at Hook and Ladder Manufacturing Company?
A: Some great items I have on the menu right now are an Delta asparagus risotto with spring peas, carrots & lemon thyme ricotta cheese and today we started a peach tart made from twin peaks peaches with locally made vanilla gelato that is to die for.
Q: Okay now that I am hungry for your asparagus risotto, what is your “go to” local vegetable and an easy way for us to prepare it at home this spring and summer?
A: My go to fruit for the summer has to be what Sacramento is most known for, the big, ripe, red tomato. Probably the most delicious preparation, and one of the easiest is just a simple caprese salad. Sliced ripe tomatoes, fresh picked Italian sweet basil, fresh mozzarella (I prefer goat cheese), olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, chili flake & this is where I'm not so local, a good Italian Balsamic vinegar. They do make some great local vinegars but I'm partial.
Thank you Chef Mizner!
Now that we all have our questions answered about this food craze that is sweeping the nation, it is our job to go out there to our local farmer's markets and food co-ops. We must buy locally, eat seasonally and enjoy our freshly prepared food immediately!
Hook and Ladder is located at 1630 S Street Sacramento, California and features a menu based on the roots of the region (pun intended). Not only does it have a fantastic menu full of locally grown items, but the bar is stocked with locally brewed beer such as Sudwerk's Dry Hof Lager from Davis, Ca and great local wines like Terra de Oro Zinfindel from Amador County not to mention some of the area's best craft cocktails!