You know what’s really cool? Eating fresh veggies out of a garden without washing them or worrying about what weird chemicals are on them. It’s also pretty neat when iceberg lettuce has an actual flavor to it!
Amy loves her iceberg lettuce too!
I think we all enjoyed picking and eating veggies straight from the gardens at Middle Branch Farm in New Boston, New Hampshire. Middle Branch Farm is owned and operated by Roger Noonan, an organic produce farmer and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provider. His farm produces food to about 600 families as well as Stonyfield.
For nine years now, Roger’s farm has been certified organic, which means that he doesn’t use any pesticides for pest control on his plants. Instead, his goal is for “the plants to outgrown the weeds.” He explained that he doesn’t need 100% weed control for the veggies to grow well.
We tried so many wonderful, flavor-packed vegetables from Roger’s garden, including some more common varieties like summer squash and zucchini, but we also tried some new (at least to me) and interesting ones!
Have you ever heard of kohlrabi? It’s a German turnip related to the cabbage. I had never heard of it, let alone tasted it, so I was psyched to give it a try.
This variety had a bright purple skin and tasted sort of like cabbage or a stem of broccoli. Rumor has it that Mollie Katzen has an amazing kohlrabi-buffalo sauce recipe. I need to find it!
We also tried Garlic Scapes (pictured below), Rainbow Chard, and Tuscan Kale, which Roger told us is perfect for Kale Chips. The next time I am at a farmers’ market, I’m definitely going to keep my eyes open for this variety of kale.
Fun fact: In Japan, CSA is known as “teikei,” which translates to “food with the farmer’s face on it.” Neat, right? It was great getting to know Roger, his family, and his intern, Florence.
After touring his farm, Roger invited us inside his house for sandwiches, which were made with lettuce and tomato from his garden, a hard-boiled egg from his chickens, and homemade sourdough bread that his wife baked earlier that day. It was outstanding– fresh, flavorful, and nutritious. I felt healthier after eating it!
One thing that Roger said during our visit really stuck with me: “I don’t have a lot of money, but I eat well and what else is there to life?” I agree, eating well is very important, but it saddens me that Roger struggles financially, which brings me to why I think it’s important to buy organic when you can.
As you know, Stonyfield sponsored my Barnstorming adventures this past weekend. They believe in all things organic, so, of course, they wanted us bloggers to see why it is so important, especially to the farmers who work so hard to produce a quality product. Visiting the various farms and seeing firsthand what goes into organic dairy production and growing organic produce really showed me its value– from how it benefits our health and the environment to how it enhances the lives of the farmers and their animals. Really, the only “bad” part about organic is its cost.
If you read my other blog, you know I am a total cheapskate. I’m always trying to save money, so I put a lot of thought into how I spend it. With that said, I know not everything I buy from now on will be organic, but I know I will choose organic a lot more often. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard for me to pay more for organic when the conventional option is half of the price. But, now when I buy organic, I will be a lot more confident in my decision because I know how the food was produced, who grew it, and that it’s more nutritious for me. Knowing this makes spending a little extra totally worth it to me. Plus, I am more than willing to save money in other areas of my life– like shopping or dining out less– to benefit my health. My health is important to me, so choosing organic is important to me too.
What are you thoughts on buying organic? Is it worth the cost?