Forest-to-Table is Latest Twist in 'Eat Local' Movement
Forest-to-Table is Latest Twist in 'Eat Local' Movement. Wild blueberries can sure be the thing.
Eat locally is the motto most restaurants in the US are following these days. Restaurant owners and families are hitting the nearby farms for fruits, vegetables and meat. The latest to join the band wagon are small forest owners, who are doing their best to sell edible berries, mushrooms and salad greens which grown in their forests.
Carol Wick and her husband own a 12 hectares property in the cascade foothills of Seattle, and they plan to do more with it than just turn it into a harvestable timber farm. Instead they plan on making some extra cash through the edible plants that grow there. They have planted edible mushrooms, various kinds of native berries and some native vegetables like lettuce and purslane. They aren’t hard to harvest and are easy to grow.
A nonprofit organization in Washington State called Cascade Harvest Coalition is devoted to localizing the production of food. The director of the organization, Mary Embleton, is exploring the idea of eat local moment by trying to include small forest landowners.
Embleton feels that it is a great way to get the customer education to a broader set of working lands. Many land owners who came for the initial meeting with her gave a positive response and their studies have proved that wild mushrooms can get them upto $ 40 for a kilo. They even had many potential buys, including a local grocery chain owner, Tony D'Onofrio.
The initiative caught his fancy because, this way, year after year one can get the produce from the land without worrying about depleting forests or increasing agric land. The only hassle will be with regard to size and volume. It is only when people start producing these forests to table edible items, that one can sustain such an industry and run it. A store will be able to sell these products only if they are assured of a consistent flow of the produce all through a particular season.
The Big Plan
Kirk Hansen who is a professional forester, is of the opinion that if landowners are connected to a single supplier operating on a small scale, then it would be possible to take the forest-to-table idea forward. Something like boutique harvest and sales, this way a person having limited land resources will still be able to sell his produce, even though it is of a smaller quantity.
In Seattle, another company called the Foraged & Found is into full time business dealing with timberland’s business coming from both private and public grounds. The produce is sold as exclusive items, to boutique restaurants. The US government is also pushing agriculturalist to move in the same direction by giving grants to organizations that work along these lines. In North Carolina, the tourism oard is also promoting food adventures and are encouraging families to indulge in berry picking, mushroom gathering and harvesting leeks from forests.