Real Food
Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

Embracing Raw Milk: A Perfect Food

A quart of fresh, raw milk 

When you hear the term ‘raw milk’ does it scare you or does it make you think of one of natures perfect foods?  What is raw milk anyway? Raw milk is unpasteurized and unprocessed milk that comes from either cows or goats that are fed a grass-based diet. Pasteurizing is the heating of a food with the intention of killing microbes that could potentially lead to spoilage or make us sick.  So how is that a bad thing, you ask? While the heating process damages or destroys potential microbes, it also damages or destroys much of the nutrition such vitamins A, C, E, iron, zinc, B vitamins, calcium, enzymes, immunoglobulin, whey proteins and beneficial bacteria such as lactococcus lactis. Raw milk containing good bacteria such as l. lactis has been shown to kill or reduce the bad bacteria, and many people could benefit from a dose of a good probiotic.  Raw milk can absolutely be a safe and delicious addition to your diet.

Making Raw Milk Safe       

The animal husbandry practices used in raw milk production are incredibly important.  You would never want to drink milk from a commercial dairy operation. They are often dirty, overcrowded and possibly have sloppy milk collection procedures.  Milk from a mainstream, commercial operation requires pasteurization for safety where a raw milk production usually entails open pasture space, fewer animals, a cleaner environment and safe procedures for milk collection. After collection, raw milk must also be immediately filtered and chilled. If raw milk is the best choice for you, you would want to investigate the living conditions, diet and health of the animals before consuming. We have a small herd of dairy goats and in our family we choose to drink raw rather than pasteurize, because of this choice, I also have my animals tested for zoonotic diseases (disease that can be passed between animals and humans). A clean herd of happy, healthy animals will lead to delicious raw milk!

Hand milking my Nigerian Dwarfs

Health Benefits

When milk is left raw, all of the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and electrolytes remain intact and active. It is also left unprocessed in any way, leaving the fat included, so you aren’t going to find ‘skim’ or ‘nonfat’ raw milk. Raw milk has been shown to potentially reduce allergies, improve immunity and improve skin to start. It is a nutrient-dense food full of omega 3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)…making it a complete food you could survive on alone.  When left raw the enzyme lactase is left intact.  When milk is pasteurized, the lactase is destroyed, which could explain the high levels of lactose intolerance among some people. When these enzymes are destroyed via pasteurization, the vitamins and minerals are not as available for our bodies to absorb during digestion.  So you may be drinking milk, but if you can’t absorb the nutrients, you miss out on a lot.  Raw milk has nothing removed, nothing added, no enriching, just a whole food.

Downside to Raw Milk

The main downside to raw milk is availability, it can be hard to find.  If you don’t have your own dairy animals to milk (if you have the space and the desire, I highly recommend this option!), you can contact your local dairy farmer, check your farmers markets, do an online search for raw milk shares or your local health food or grocery may carry it.  It is often labeled ‘for pet consumption only’ depending on your areas laws. Again, it is important to know the environment where and how the milk is being collected. Another downside is it does have a shorter shelf life, but so does any real food when left unprocessed. You would want to consume your raw milk within 7-10 days. 

I am a big advocate for making informed personal choices. Raw milk is controversial, but based on my own research I have decided this is the best milk option for our family.  Do your own research, and based on your own health goals you can decide if raw milk is for you. You wont be disappointed.  Cheers!

You can read more of Nicole's blog posts here.


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Food Destination: Alabama's Orange Beach and Gulf Shores: Part 1

CoastAL shrimp and grits

Orange Beach and the Gulf Shores in Alabama are laid-back, welcoming places, especially for nature lovers. The coastal, island-based, adjoining communities are unpretentious and un-showy, without the celeb drama queens in their Maserati cars and glitz often found in other beach hotspots. There’s the Gulf of Mexico on one side and state parks and a wildlife refuge cradling accommodations and restaurants in the now booming tourism industry.

Friends and families mostly gather here, many annually, to put their toes in the sand, climb up on skim boards and savor some of the most local, freshest and creatively presented, Gulf-caught seafood around, establishing the ecotourism destination (more on this in future articles) as a food travel stop not to be missed as well.

The dining hotspots are casual, sometimes crowded, but always friendly. The local and sustainable-minded food scene is on the rise, especially when it comes to super-freshly caught seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll find area chefs increasingly going out of their way to feature fresh “nuisance fish” on the menu, like the dreaded and invasive Lionfish, or “trash fish,” fish that often get tossed away. 

The great news is that these fish taste great and are good for the environment, a win-win for foodies flocking to the Gulf Shores. Joined by photographer John Ivanko, we explored the flavors on a recent trip, covered in this two-part food travel piece.

 CoastAL Sheepshead fish entree

Savoring Seafood Helps Save the Oceans at CoastAL

Chef Chris Sherrill at CoastAL, is what one might call a big fish in a small pond. He’s a local culinary legend, thanks to his unique twists on the expected.  Why just have a beignet when you can have beignet fries complete with dipping sauce, a Sherrill specialty.  Yet he comes across as down home and personable, someone you’d like have join you on your fishing boat for an afternoon.

Chef Sherrill’s commitment to the Gulf Shores and stewarding the economic vibrancy and sustainability scene run deep.  He’s the reason the World Food Championship is now held in Orange Beach annually, bringing over 1,500 top competitors to the Gulf Shores and over 30,000 viewers tuning in.

At his CoastAL restaurant, Chef Sherrill also leads a local initiative to better use and steward the unappreciated, yet locally abundant, seafood readily found in the Gulf of Mexico.  Sherrill co-founded the NUISANCE Group, which stands for “Nuisance, Underutilized, and/or Invasive, that are also Sustainable and Available, through Noble Culinary Endeavors,” committed to education around these underused and underrated local edibles. 

“It’s a mouthful of an acronym that basically says we want to put ‘trash fish’ and other nontraditional, regional foods to good use and show people that they can eat these species and that they are actually really tasty,” explains Sherrill, whose commitment to conservation reaches back to his youth when he achieved Eagle Scout.  “The Lionfish, for example, is invading the reef systems in the Gulf and doesn’t have any predators.  We can serve up something delicious and also include a side of education on how we need to protect our environment.”

For lunch, he dazzled us with several variations of shrimp: BBQ Colossal Alabama Brown Shrimp, Royal Red Shrimp and Grits with Bill E’s Bacon and Crispy Fried Pink Shrimp served over risotto and grilled local squash. He also blackened a coastal “junk fish” by the name of Sheepshead, perfect with the garlic-herb cream it came with. Sheepshead fish have teeth that actually resemble a humans’, with incisors and molars, which turn off many who hook them on their lines.

 Fin and Fork sushi

Asian Fusion Finds an Island Home at Fin & Fork

How can you go wrong when a fine dining restaurant that showcases seafood is owned by the veteran husband-wife team of Matt and Regina Shipp? Yes, their last name is Shipp. A new addition to the Orange Beach foodie scene, Fin & Fork, with a slogan of Fresh Gulf Shore Eats, has a menu that offers a mash up of fine seafood offerings with island and Asian influences. Everything is prepared from scratch and in-house. Most of the ingredients are hauled from the Gulf waters or grown in their own county soil.

If you share our desire to try every item on the menu, the “Locals Favorite” will take you in that direction with a selection of house favorites including panko encrusted grouper, Gulf shrimp and jumbo lump crab in a wine butter sauce. You’ll also find creative and colorful sushi rolls and Asian-influenced appetizers such as steamed boa buns with local pork Korean BBQ style alongside beignets stuffed with crabs and mascarpone.

No Gulf Shores dining experience is complete without a Bushwacker cocktail. It’s basically a creamy, boozy adult milkshake that’s seemingly enjoyed by macho ranch-hands and ladies alike. Most restaurants offer their own twist on the creamy and fruity combinations that go into their frozen concoction. Fin & Fork’s version features bananas and chocolate, making it the most decadent by far.

Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam and millions of ladybugs.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Cold Bacon, Ranch, Veggie Pizza

Have you been looking for a fun unique way to use up all the your garden bounty? Well, here is a quick simple recipe that will help you do just that. Lets make a cold bacon, ranch, veggie pizza. First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bacon Ranch Veggie Pizza

Photos by Author

Ingredients

Choose from some or all of the following:

Broccoli
Sweet peas
Cauliflower
Sweet peppers
Banana peppers
Cherry tomatoes
Carrots
Radishes
Sweet Onion
Green onions
2 packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup of Mayo or Miracle Whip
1 package dry Ranch Dressing

Directions

1. Chop your veggies place them in a bowl and set aside.

2. In another bowl mix together the remaining ingredients.

Ranch Mixture

3. Once the mixture is all mixed, place in fridge.

Pizza dough

4. Roll out two packages of Crescent Rolls, and place on a baking sheet, pinch together all the slices.

5. Bake @ 375 for 10 mins or so

6. Place the pan in the fridge to cool the crescent rolls.

7. Once the crescent rolls are cooled, spread the ranch mixture with a rubber spatula over the cooked dough.  

8. Top that with all your veggies

9. I like to add shredded sharp cheddar cheese and some bacon to top it off.

Bacon makes everything better! ENJOY!

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Growing, Harvesting and Using Basil

fresh basil

Basil is one of my favorite plants. I seriously think everyone should grow it, as it's so easy. Basil is extremely healthy, delicious, versatile, and can be used fresh, dry or frozen (though nothing equals the taste of freshly picked basil leaves). 

Basil is very easy to grow from seed. You can sow the seeds either directly in the soil or in a large pot - placed out of doors or even near a sunny window. In either case, make sure not to buy them too deep. Basil likes warmth and partial sunshine - mine thrives in a spot where it gets sunshine in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Full sun is unnecessary and may even be excessive in hot, dry climates. 

If you're a poultry keeper, you will soon discover that your chickens love fresh basil as much as you do, so make sure to fence off the garden beds or, if you grow in pots, put them out of reach of chickens. 

Harvest basil from the top down to encourage further production - when you harvest the top, it results in bushier plants. Pick off and discard blemished leaves. Rather than strip a single plant bare, take some leaves from several plants. It is recommended to pinch off all flowers, but you can leave some if you wish to collect seeds for next year. 

What to do with those wonderful fresh basil leaves? The possibilities are endless! Basil is great in salads and all sorts of dishes, especially combined with tomatoes. It is terrific in pizza sauce. But my favorite use for basil is pesto. This versatile sauce/spread has only a few ingredients - basil leaves, nuts (any kind - pine nuts are the classic, but you can substitute any kind of nuts, walnuts, cashews, etc), olive oil, salt, garlic. Just toss it all in the food processor, taste, and play with the amounts to your preference. The result is sure to be delicious. The pesto can be stored in a jar in the fridge for a few days, and used as a sandwich spread or as pasta sauce, particularly with grated parmesan cheese. 

If you are lucky enough to have more basil than you can use, you can air-dry it in bunches like any herb, but it's better to press the leaves into an ice cube tray and freeze them. This way, you'll have small, convenient portions that will be nearly as good as fresh, and the smell will remind you of summer with every use. 

 Anna Twitto’s academic background in nutrition made her care deeply about real food and seek ways to obtain it. Anna and her husband live on a plot of land in Israel. They aim to grow and raise a significant part of their food by maintaining a vegetable garden, keeping a flock of backyard chickens and foraging. Anna's books are on her Amazon.com Author Page. Connect with Anna on Facebook and read more about her current projects on her blog. Read all Anna's Mother Earth News posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Recipe for Decorated Sugar Cookie Success

decorated sugar cookies Clear River

With more than 300 decorated sugar cookies sold each day, they’re one of the many top sellers at Clear River Ice Cream, Bakery and Deli in Fredericksburg, Texas. From sunrise to sunset, this retro hotspot on Main Street bustles with activity with waitresses calling out orders from the counter while Grease plays on a large screen TV. Owner John Dubea says Clear River is known for their award-winning ice cream, Praline Dipped Pecans and hand-decorated sugar cookies.

The old-fashioned ice cream parlor, with tin ceilings, 1950s décor and jukebox music, features more than 50 flavors of ice cream made right in house, including their award-winning Mexican Vanilla and Amaretto and Peach & Pecan. On any given day, there are 24 flavors from which to choose.  Be prepared, however, for lines running out the door with eager customers in cowboy boots and hats every time the mercury pushes north of eighty degrees -- which is most of the year here in Texas Hill Country. On a good week, they sell about 500 gallons of the creamy frozen treat.

Located a little over an hour’s drive away from Austin or San Antonio, Fredericksburg sits about half way between the two cities, and is a big draw every spring for wildflowers that bloom here and historic roots of pioneering self-reliance, not to mention the wineries, art galleries and bustling restaurant scene year-round. And Clear River has become a popular stop since opening in 1989, with a huge and varied selection of baked items that include the traditional Czech kolaches, shortbread, peach cobbler and pecan bars. But their decorated cookies remain the most popular baked item.

As many cottage food operators across the nation can attest to, decorated sugar cookies are one of the sweet spots for home-based bakeries operating under their state’s cottage food laws. With some practice, many home bakers have transformed their talent for decorating cookies into profitable enterprises. Even in Wisconsin, thanks to the successful lawsuit against the state, we can transform icing into artwork on hand-cut cookies, a topic we’re now covering both in the pages of Mother Earth News and regularly scheduled workshops on our farm.

We caught up with John Dubea on a recent trip to Fredericksburg, Texas, so he could share a few tips on making your decorated sugar cookie enterprise more successful, recipe included.

Clear River owner with cookies

Keep the Cookies Moist

“The icing we put on our cookies keep them very moist,” explains Dubea. “We have a rule that all cookies are to be iced the day they are made. The combination of the flavor and the moist cookies make them so popular.” Of course, for cottage food operators making non-hazardous, low-moisture cookies in their home kitchens for sale to their neighbors, as long as the cookies don’t require any refrigeration, you’re usually good to go.

Practice Makes Perfect Decorations

“The icing is an important part of the cookie,” Dubea continues. “It has to be thick enough to lock in the moisture of the cookie and to be able to use when decorating. I am the main decorator with a couple of assistants which change on a regular basis. September will mark twenty-nine years in business, so I have had lots of practice!”

Price Point and Diversity of Cookie Shapes

“My general rule has been to make the cookies fun, but keep it simple, so that they are more affordable,” advises Dubea. “Many decorated cookies have a price tag of $5 to $6 each. They make look very nice but not be priced for a quick snack.” Besides being mindful of their price points, it helps that Clear River has hundreds of cookie cutters, allowing them to make cookies that correspond with the seasons, holidays and other date specific events from Mardi Gras to “back to school.”

Frosted Sugar Cookies Recipe

Courtesy of Clear River Ice Cream, Bakery and Deli

Found in cookbook, Recipes from Clear River’s Kitchen, Clear River Pecan Company

Yield: 1 to 2 dozen, depending on size of cutter and thickness of rolled out dough

Recipe for Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup margarine
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 ¾ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Cream margarine and sugar together, then add vanilla, eggs, almond extract and mix well.

3. In separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients.

4. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix well.

5. Roll dough onto floured surface to desired thickness and use cookie cutters to form cookies.

6. Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool.

Recipe for Icing for Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

Powdered sugar and water (small amount)

Directions:

Combine powdered sugar and water to make an icing of desired consistency. Dip tops of cookies to form base coat.  When icing hardens, decorate cookies as desired.

Lisa Kivirist, with her husband, John D. Ivanko, a photographer and drone pilot, have co-authored Rural Renaissance, Homemade for Sale, the award-winning ECOpreneuring and Farmstead Chef cookbook along with operating Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm, completely powered by renewable energy. Kivirist also authored Soil Sisters. As a writer, Kivirist contributes to Mother Earth News, most recently, Living with Renewable Energy Systems: Wind and Solar and 9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living. They live on a farm in southwestern Wisconsin with their son Liam and millions of ladybugs.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Freezing Pesto

Do you ever wonder what to do with an overload of well producing basil? Do you also crave fresh foods in the winter? With just a little bit of preparation, you can answer both questions!

When you keep basil blooms pinched back, the plants grow tall and bushy.  At every juncture you pinch off a budding flower spike, the plant will shoot off more leaves. Continue to do this for several weeks and you end up with a robust harvest of basil.

I prefer the large leaves of sweet Genovese basil. Not only does it have that distinctive basil flavor, but the large leaves quickly fill a bowl. I use a considerable amount of basil fresh; in Caprese salads and fresh pesto. But, I also like having home-made pesto in the winter as a quick pasta sauce. 

Basil does turn dark when exposed to cold so you might be surprised to find there is a way to keep it beautifully green in the freezer. The secret is to pack the freshly made pesto into jars and cover with a thin layer of olive oil, close with a tight fitting lid and freeze immediately. The olive oil seems to create a barrier that keeps the color a nice green.

My version of pesto uses pinenuts and I do like it fairly garlicky. You can adjust the amount of garlic to your own taste. I use 2 ounce canning jars with plastic lids. One jar this size holds the right amount of pesto to create a pasta sauce for two people. It keeps well for at least one year. Pictured is a jar I just pulled out of the freezer to use.

Pesto 

Ingredients

8 cups closely packed basil leaves
6 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2  cup pinenuts
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more or less as needed for desired consistency

 

Directions

1. Wash basil leaves, then spin dry in a salad spinner or blot on paper towels.

2. Add garlic, pine nuts, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

3. Add basil leaves and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse until the mixture is a paste-like consistency. Scrape down sides of the bowl again.

4. With the processor running on low, add remaining olive oil in a thin stream until the desired consistency is reached. You may need more or less than the 3/4 cup of olive oil.  Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.

5. Fill jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace, then pour a thin layer of olive oil across the top of the pesto. Add lids and close tightly. Label and freeze immediately.

6. When ready to use, take the jar out of the freezer about 30 minutes before using. I uncap and thaw in the microwave on defrost for about 30-45 seconds; just enough to get it out of the jar. Toss with any shape hot pasta. Taste; adjust seasonings. I find I often need to add a little additional salt. 

7. Serve with salad and crusty bread for a quick weeknight meal.

Photos by author.

Julia Miller is the co-owner of Five Feline Farm, where the cats sleep while the owners work. The Farm includes market gardens, honeybees and a quiet place to develop creative pursuits. If you enjoyed this post, you can find more of Julia's cooking in her book "Simply Delicious" and on the Farm's social media accounts.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Understanding Where Our Food Comes From

local food, local farmers

I’m sure I grew up like many folks my age did. While my mother cooked most of our meals for my two brothers, father and I, we didn’t eat local or from a backyard garden. Really, the only local thing about our food was that it came from the grocery store nearby—with ingredients sourced from around the country produced using the industrial, chemical-laden model.

Organic? That wasn’t part of our vocabulary.

Despite living in a small town and having Cajun grandparents who, just a generation before, grew all of their own food, questioning where our meals came from was the last thing on our mind. Food was just, well, food—so we thought.

Eventually, though, like the prevailing winds of our food culture, my mom started to buy organic—likely due to my persistence, but, nonetheless, our family made a change. We started a small garden in our backyard that provided us with fresh tomatoes, okra and green beans. Then, when we could, we made it to the Red Stick Farmers Market in nearby Baton Rouge, which, today, is thriving more than I ever remember. Suddenly, when I harvested deer or small game from the wilderness near our home, I thought of the meat as free-range, local and as organic as you can get. It started to all make sense.

Why Local Matters

It wasn’t until Brittney and I started in January traveling to farms that I grasped the importance of the world we were entering. While I knew of farmers, I never really got to know one. Along the way this year, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few that, not only have made an impact on my life, but are people I can now call friends. I’ve seen the painstaking effort these folks are taking to produce the best food they possibly can on a limited budget and on a small scale when our system is one that rewards the mega-producers. And to me, that’s paramount. 

local farmers, local food, small farms

The contrasts between these two groups—industrial and small-scale—are striking. The food grown on large scales has been literally poisoning us, making us sick. Smaller farms are far less likely to use chemicals and thus their plants are hardier, even tastier. Often, local famers ship food across the street rather than across the continent. Less fossil fuels are used in the process. This locally produced food is fresher and contains more nutrients than something that’s been sitting for weeks on trucks or on shelves.

More and more, I’m understanding that our decisions at the register affect the future of our food culture. Buy processed foods and you’re supporting pesticide use or the degradation of our environment, while neglecting local farms and the massive potential of these smaller operations in our communities. Support your neighbors and you’re potentiating a more sustainable model of food production that benefits us all.

There couldn’t be any more important aspect to food than knowing where it comes from and how those animals—or plants, for that matter—spent their time on earth. And the only way to understand that is to know a farmer.

The Farmers

In January in Black Mountain, North Carolina, Brittney and I stayed with Becki who owns a small urban farm called Becki’s Bounty. She’s about a decade into growing food for her surrounding community at a small market. While tomato blight has taken hold a time or two, you couldn’t tell by glancing at her garden. Even in the dead of winter, her no-till beds were lush with a cover crop.

You won’t find any pesticides in Becki’s shed. Instead, she takes the care to pull off any pests by hand and grows tomatoes that are resistant to blight. Education has taken a priority lately as she attempts to teach others how to grow food themselves—empowering her community. What mega farm has the time to do that?

local farmers, local food

Eric’s farm in Gila, New Mexico, was abuzz with life in March. His greenhouses were packed with lettuce, mixed greens and spinach—we planted even more according to a biodynamic calendar. Almost all of the nutrients come from his land, like homebrewed compost tea and nitrogen from his chickens and goats. He sells his produce to the local food co-op, as well as the farmers market in nearby Silver City. Since the food doesn’t spend time traveling the country, his customers are consuming produce at the height of its nutritional value.

Sol Mountain Farm near South Fork, Colorado, is a permaculture-based operation, growing pesticide-free food near the San Luis Valley, which is full of conventionally produced crops. It’s ironic, really, how crops span the valley, yet likely none of it is consumed by the people living nearby. There are few local options as most of the grocery stores in the area only offer conventional produce. So, the folks at Sol Mountain took matters into their own hands, and not long ago were pivotal in starting a famers market. Finally, residents of the area have some local options.

These small-scale farmers serving communities local food offer an opportunity we haven’t had for decades—to get to know the people growing our food. Visit a farmers market and meet some of these folks. Ask them how they grow. Pay a visit to their farm. Show them the support needed to continue the trend toward a sustainable food culture.

Photos by Jonathan Olivier

Jonathan Olivier is traveling throughout 2018 with his partner, Brittney, with the goal of learning everything they can about farming. He is a freelance journalist, having covered the environment and outdoors for OutsideBackpackerREILouisiana Sportsman, and a host of other publications. In 2016, he published his debut novel, Between the Levees. Follow Jonathan on his website and Instagram.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.