At a late September local harvest dinner at a nearby colleagues’ farm, I caught eyes with a man standing in front of a TV camera.
Wisconsin Public Television’s Wisconsin Foodie was at this event recording. The man looked super TV-hosty like. He had hip clothes, a handsome smile, and that confident TV voice.
I was confused. He seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t place him. I don’t know any people on television.
After he was done with the segment they were filming, he walked over to me. We then did that thing where we tried to figure out how we knew each other. In just a couple rounds, we realized we knew each other through CSA. Luke Zahm. He used to be a chef at Epic, and was key to brokering our CSA into the institution. His mission is to try and strengthen the local food movement in Wisconsin. He is still a chef, now at the Driftless Cafe in Viroqua. In addition, he is now trying to move his mission through an educational angle.
The main takeaway I had from our conversation was that he wanted to elevate Wisconsin food producers as high quality. We aren’t just some breadbasket corn state that people fly over. Rather, we are a state full of high quality, local, sustainable producers. He wants the country to know this – starting with Wisconsinites themselves.
While I may not have a TV show or the ordering power for a kitchen that feeds hundreds daily, one way I can try to connect you with the awesomeness of local producers, is to use the CSA model and its platform to introduce you to other producers’ goods.
Many of you have tried an egg share with Pasture Patterns. This is a family operation producing organic eggs from pasture-raised chickens. Their eggs are delicious and you can literally see the nutrition in the eggs through the color of the yolks. In mid summer, sometimes the yolks are almost orange.
This fall I also want to try and connect you all to 2 other area producers that are very high caliber.
The first is Atoms to Apples. This is the brainchild and operation of Rami Aburomia. Located in Mt. Vernon, he uses an innovative trellising and tight spacing technique to produce his organic apples. His apples are SO good. Even my four year old can tell when she’s eating a ‘Rami apple’. Each week his organic Goldrush apples will be available for purchase in our store.
The second growers I’d like to introduce you to are Caleb Swift and Eva Denny. Together they own and operate Kingfisher Farm, in Argyle. They grow produce for farmers’ markets, lamb for restaurant accounts, and lots of cabbages to make their sauerkraut and kimchi. While not certified, these folks grow everything using organic methods. They make their ferments in a certified kitchen attached to their home. We will be offering their kimchi and kraut for sale in our store for the remainder of the season as well.
Maybe you already know these wonderful producers. But if you don’t, I encourage you to take a gamble and try their products. Their products are delicious and just like us, they are focusing are feeding people with what the land provides right here in Wisconsin. No corporations, no distributors, no marketing campaigns. Just local Wisconsin producers hoping to connect directly to eaters.