Farm-to-table dining

Galen Eye Centre

For farm-fresh produce, check out the farmer’s market on campus every Wednesday.
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While there’s a clear financial and health benefit to preparing your own meals, the biggest benefit of farm-to-table dining is the awareness of what’s in the food you’re eating and where it comes from. 

Eating farm-to-table means building a relationship with food that you don’t get with processed or take-out options. 

The farm-to-table concept involves creating meals where most or all of the ingredients are fresh, in-season and locally sourced. Not only do in-season ingredients taste better, they’re also cheaper and more sustainably sourced. Another added benefit: local ingredients are often organic or naturally raised.

But is this really practical for students?

I’ll take you through my process of making a healthy, multi-day meal with local ingredients without having to compromise my busy schedule.

Understand that it’s a relationship

The first step to farm-to-table dining is recognizing your relationship with food. 

Like all strong relationships, it requires time and effort, but it’s worth it. Your relationship WITH food has the power to add years to your life and to take years away.

Investing in the relationship helps you know what’s actually in the food you’re eating and how to fuel your body with nutritious, unprocessed ingredients. It’s also an investment in food sustainability through supporting the farmers in your region.

Know what’s in season

Farm-to-table cooking involves a backwards approach to typical cooking. Instead of starting with the recipe, start by finding out what local ingredients are available.

It’s easy to find out what’s in season by visiting the campus farmer’s market (Wednesdays outside the JDUC) or by searching online. 

Now that we’re heading into winter, in-season produce is mainly sweet potatoes, squash, beets, cauliflower, carrots, apples and cabbage. This may seem limited, but once I started researching recipes, I realized that this gave me plenty to work with. 

Pick a recipe

I settled on a vegan roasted vegetable salad made with red beets, sweet potatoes and butternut squash, all purchased from the produce vendor on campus. This roasted vegetable dish is also perfect as a side to cooked chicken breast.

Farm-to-table doesn’t mean you have to be limited to vegan or vegetarian options. Pig & Olive, a downtown Kingston meat shop, carries locally sourced and naturally 

raised meat made available all year round. Grocery Checkout carries some of their products, which is perfectly accessible to students.

Enjoy 

Cooking and eating should involve quality time spent with food and your body. The reality is that we’re developing a relationship with food that we will take with us into the next stages of life. 

No matter where you’re starting from, there’s always room to make more local and healthy choices.

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