“If you see a really beautiful tomato, don’t you want to know where it came from and how it was grown?” asked John Lee when explaining the advantages of eating local. “People want to have access to their farmer.”
Lee, who serves as the general manager of Allandale Farm, oversees 30 acres of cultivated land with over a hundred different varieties of vegetables, fruits, and cut flowers sold through their on-sight farmstand, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, Roslindale Farmers’ Market, and wholesale customers. In addition to growing their own produce, Allandale farmers also stock their farmstand with locally produced goods from other food producers in the Brookline region.
Lee has chosen to forgo organic certification due to the arduous process involved and the fact that “knowing where food comes from trumps whether it is organically produced;” however, all Allandale products are grown with organic fertilizer and without the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides.
Although he admits that there is still a considerable amount of food ignorance, Lee does acknowledge that “there has been a huge shift in terms of the way people think about food and what to put on their plate. People are buying things that, twenty years ago, they never would have heard of” like bok choy, kohlrabi, spaghetti squash, and other vegetables in this week’s CSA box.
“It’s not universal, but we’re well on our way. The question, over the next 30 to 40 years, will be how to grow affordable, high-quality food available to everyone.”
To find local farmers who grow and raise foods you love, check out the Local Harvest database as well as Farm2Me, a NYC-based tech startup with a mission to support and sustain local food systems by connecting local food producers with local food consumers.