Farm to Table: the relationship and the book

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In 2017, my colleague Terry Manzo and I started working on a project — albeit working in quite different media — that resulted in Farm to Table: Celebrating Stratford Chefs School Alumni, Recipes & Perth County Producers (Swan Parade Press, 2018).

In the book, which celebrates the 35 years of the Stratford Chefs School, I wrote a series of profiles of chefs and producers, to which was added special recipes that highlight the agriculture — the terroir, if you will — of the County and the people working in it.

For her key part, Manzo (I don’t have to tell you she is an excellent photographer: just look at her photos) spent time with the subjects — the people, the produce, the food — and captured their essential nature and personality in the way that only pictures can.

Photographer Terry Manzo/Terry Manzo.

Field to fork or farm to table, or any other way of describing it, is singularly important to both local economies and the larger environment that we all share. The book is intended to foreground this relationship through stories in which the cooks and farmers speak to us — and through the pictures.

Local produce can be less expensive, especially when in season; it’s fresher and of better quality and variety, and it’s the backbone of more creative, more flavourful menus.

Local is the connection between cook and farmer: it means that the former can ask the latter for produce of a certain quality, or a unique variety. That’s only one way it’s special.

Fields at C’estbon/Terry Manzo.

With local, a restaurant can create a “narrative” about their food and share that with customers. With local we can do our part to help the planet: produce of any kind, because it is often hyper-local, means fewer food miles which is better for the environment.

On the commerce side, there’s no middleman: that means savings for the restaurant and more money for growers so they can continue to grow their business and their products. They can re-invest in their equipment — and more importantly, in their land, their soil. They can re-invest further in animal welfare and care.

Periodically, I’d like to share these stories with you here — and with Terry’s amazing photos. So check back as we roll out the narratives of Farm to Table.

For more about the book, click here.

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