Why I love Slow Food

I love Slow Food. Yes, of course I love slow food -the kind it takes all night to make -like a good curry, or all week like a good sourdough, or all year like a good onion. But what I am talking about today is Slow Food -the group of individuals reconnecting Americans and other citizens of the over commercialized planet with the goodness of local, heirloom, and often organic/sustainably grown foods -and why that goodness is a value worth our time.

I am growing alot of potatoes. Perfect harvest (10#’s for every 1 planted) would bring in just shy of 1900 lbs. As I planted alot of Yukon Gold (low yielders) and am harvesting lots of baby’s, end harvest will likely be well shy of that, but I still think over 1000#’s (5:1) is very feasible. That is awesome. It also scares me. Last week I harvested a bit under 200#’s. I sold it all, which felt really good. But that also took care of everyone in our mini CSA, friends at work and family. Many bought 10-20#’s as we gave price breaks there. That also means that these people are out of the potato buying business for many weeks. And the Yukons are READY and need to come in. No root cellar can take potatoes yet, and we don’t have that much fridge space.

Worry set in, so I started to look for a local resturaunt (I know I should have done that months ago…) and found that a chef in the next county started a Slow Food Chapter a year or so ago, and he is a friend of the farm owner so I gave him a call. Long story short I spent most of the morning harvesting 120#’s for him. For this week. But that isn’t the half of it. We had talked price ranges on the phone. I quoted what my CSA members were paying -which is about 25% above Whole Food prices for California organic Yukons. I’ve seen and eaten their potatoes, and mine are significantly better. He seemed fine with that, and ordered 100#’s -plus 20#’s of my baby Carolas -which are divine.

The delivery was great -Chef Jack is a good guy in a very high end “members only” restaurant at a Yacht Club-and he gets it. We looked at the spuds, and then he looked at the invoice. I had billed him $1.25/# for the Yukons and $2/# for the Carolas which was in the range we mentioned. Then he crosses out the $1.25 and makes it $1.75. I was floored. When I stammered a question, he simply replied something like: “these are great potatoes and I don’t like looking for new farmers. I’d rather pay what their worth and have them around rather than save a buck and have them shut down.” Amen.  I would wager that many a Slow Food Chef has had a similar conversation with a farmer.

I love Slow Food.


PS Again, the power of being open to your neighbors pays off. I would never have found this chef, let alone have the ground to plant on if I hadn’t talked to my friends.  Talk to people -you’ll be better for it!

7 Responses

  1. Awesome story!

    I have to keep re-learning this lesson, but when you do things the right way, you’ll be rewarded for it in one way or another.

  2. Harvest potatoes and talk to people, two things I need to get on top of pronto, once again thanks for the inspiring post

  3. Your story shows how hungry people are to reconnect with good farms and good soil.

    I had always thought the best crops for a small market garden would be herbs and high value vegetables- now I see how a small plot of a high quality staple food can be profitable.

  4. Checking in here is a great inspiration. I just had a client approach me saying “Dave, I have 30 irrigated acres I can’t use right now- grow something!” After reading how your farming has evolved, I may just take him up on it.

  5. Haha, that’s the ticket!

    Man, your posts are always good motivation when I’ve run out of steam, but this one really lit a fire under me. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!

  6. I love your site! I just “stumbled” on it and I’m thoroughly enjoying and learning from your posts! I have recently become interested in permaculture…although that wasn’t how I found your site!

    I’m newly retired and have started to expand my gardens…we live in “suburbia”, in Connecticut.. It’s difficult to organically grow things, with our neighbors so close by. However, I am enjoying the pleasure of doing my best…this includes “lasagna” gardening! Your post on potatoes is inspiring me to pursue my desire to plant them next year!

    I might also mention that my son and his family also live in southern Wisconsin. I love visiting them, except in the very cold of winter!!!

    Thank You for sharing your experiences…I’m off to read more of them!

  7. What a beautiful story and website! I came across your page when searching for sheet mulch recipes ! I am also inspired by permaculture and will be using some of their techniques. I’m excited about no-dig gardening.. I live in a small town, kinda suburbia in california. I have a blog where I post positive solutions to our peak oil and sustainability problems.. infopatriots.org

    Also I’m getting invovled in the Transition Towns movement, have you heard of it? Ties in with slow-food in building a local economy and local resilience.

    Keep up the good work and keep the tips coming! I will be bookmarking your page!

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