Farm-to-Fork-or-Fake? | The Food Party! | Laura Stec | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

View all posts from Laura Stec


Uploaded: Jun 18, 2014

I have been active in SLOW food movement (seasonal, local, organic, whole), long before it was sexy.

We old timers have seen it all, and now we are seeing even more! Seems like everyone is farm-to-fork these days. Gotta watch out for the green washing, "Let's say we are local, but who will really know? What does it matter anyways?"

I've pondered this question for years. I know it matters? but how to explain and inspire others to do it with authenticity?

Here's one thought. What if eaters feed on more than just food? Satisfaction isn't just about quantity. If it were, surely we would have had our fill by now. Most of us have plenty of food, too much actually, but it's still not enough. What if quality plays a more important role than we think?

If satisfaction in eating also involves quality, we need to learn how to feed our bodies, minds, and souls. Our stomachs fill with food, but family, friends, and feelings feed our heads and our hearts. Food is just the vehicle that brings us together so we can feed the other parts of ourselves with conversation and connection?the way humans express our "human-ness." Cooking and eating together means meals are prepared with hands of loving grace, rather than hands of indifference. If the energy of the cook goes into the food and the energy of the food goes into the cook, maybe this makes all the difference?

Now extend those connections out to the larger community. Get to know and support the local farmers and the people who produce your food and eating becomes a largely connected and deeply satisfying experience. A piece of cheese is just a piece of cheese until you learn the story behind it. After meeting the producers and maybe visiting the farm, that cheese becomes, in a sense, richer. When we eat it, we may think about the farm, crops and animals. How's the farmer doing? Was it hard to harvest this? Is there enough water for everyone?

Experiencing these connections makes food more than just food; it becomes a meaningful relationship. By nourishing that relationship, we feed our entire being and complete the circle of satisfaction. Be open to these deeper meanings. A society that values food only by price or quantity will starve. It's the broader connections that we truly hunger for. That's why farm-to-fork is so important.

So the next time you hear "local foods" ask where is local. What farm did it come from? Anyone taking the time to present food this way will be proud to tell you all the details.

Hats off to a couple of places I have visited lately trying to do it right:

Chefs Table Dinner, Garden Court Hotel, Palo Alto
A unique dining experience on the Peninsula. Beautifully prepared and intimate dinner with paired specialty cocktails, wines, and a farm to fork menu. Chef speaks at the top of each course about his inspirations and resources. As the season goes on, I know those collaborations will get even stronger. $119 plus tax & tip and worth every penny. Next dinners June 19, July 17, Aug 21.

San Mateo County Fair
Just finished, but put it on your calendar now! I taught Eat More Vegetables and loved the effort to feature San Mateo County produce. "Rock star chefs" got background support from The Beets and The English Peas. Special guest ? Brussels Sprouts. The fair is an outpouring of local products and love. Terrific value at $10 per ticket.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Sparty, a resident of another community,
on Jun 24, 2014 at 3:31 am

Sparty is a registered user.

from what we can see in the photo, half local. Not bad...but not exactly what I'd call a local menu.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 24, 2014 at 6:09 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Thank you Spary for your comment. Yup, there is always room for improvement. What I would like to see when the "farm to fork" is used is the farms listed next to the menu item.

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Holiday Fun in San Francisco- Take the Walking Tour for An Evening of Sparkle!
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 3,421 views

Boichik Bagels is opening its newest – and largest – location in Santa Clara this week
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,330 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Ch. 1, page 1
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,414 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.