Teaching an old dog new tricks

On the heels of my last blog supporting the value of organics, an ironic thing happened along the way—my own family became believers in organics. I recently inherited several family members who were fleeing New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy. With only hours to prepare for their arrival, I headed to the store to get food for  breakfasts, lunches and dinners for 10 people. Not knowing preferences and not having my usual window of time to stress over what to buy, I decided the easiest thing to do was to get what I eat and hope it would do for my super picky parents and their neighbors.

Among the items in my cart from the farmer’s market were lettuce, asparagus, and apples, all of which were organic and grown locally. Down the road at our small food store I picked up organic chicken, quiche and muffins made by a local baker who sells directly to the store. I stopped at our local brewery, Long Trail and picked up a box of their Survival Pack.

I don’t refer to myself as a cook but rather someone who assembles ingredients so it came as a huge surprise when my dad, who himself is a terrific cook, had lots of praise for my simple chicken and rice dinner, noting the chicken was one of the best tasting ones he ever ate. Wow!

He and Mom ended up staying at a bed and breakfast for the next several days, and were wowed by the food there too. The owner of the B&B, my dad told me, was a big believer in the farm to fork movement and talked proudly about how he sourced all the ingredients for the breakfasts locally. Between each breakfast course, Rick, the owner, would come out and tell guests the details of where each item came from and the story behind the farmers that grew the food. My dad was very impressed about Rick’s passion and told me how much he learned about organics from him. We ended the week taking a tour of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory where in addition to sampling one of the best ice creams in the world, my parents learned about the company’s mission of sustainability, environmental commitment and fair trade.

While it was an unfortunate set of circumstances that brought my parents up to Vermont for the first time in five years, it was refreshing to see these 70-somethings leave with a new appreciation and respect for the quality and taste local and organic foods offer.

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