This week I’m at the annual National Farm Bureau Federation meeting in Nashville. The following is a short post I shared on the meeting blog. I encourage you to read it and many other posts from attendees on the official AFBF meeting blog.
This year is my first trip to the Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and I am thrilled to have it here in my current state of Tennessee. Nashville is a great city with so many sights to take in, not to mention the sounds of country music.
As a youth in an agriculture community, meetings like this are always an inspiration as I pursue my own path in the industry. It is a great encouragement to see folks representing so many diverse groups across the country, many different crops and livestock, as well as young and old coming together in one place. Be sure to take advantage of this and learn more about the diversity of agriculture from across the nation.
As was mentioned several times in our opening session today, the future of agriculture is a bright one and we will continue to change just as our customers and their desire for more knowledge about their food sources change. This shift is facilitated not only through our influence on policy, but also as Farm Bureau members reach out and become advocates for agriculture in their own communities, helping other families learn more about where our food comes from.
I hope you take time to enjoy the trade show, meetings and speakers this afternoon. Enjoy the sights at the Gaylord Opryland that represent Tennessee so well. Also, be sure to stop by the Social Media Panel at 3 p.m. in Governor’s Ballroom C and D to learn more about social media’s role in the industry and how you can be an online advocate for our agriculture community.
I grew up on a ranch where Saturday mornings were for chores and feeding the cattle. After 5 years of college, I still don’t know what to do with my Saturdays. My last trip to the Nashville Farmers Market was when my siblings came to visit on Spring Break. There wasn’t much in season then, so food available was mostly canned or early spring plants.
Today I decided to head back for a trip. I needed to go grocery shopping anyway. So I got up and went first thing this morning. Nashville obviously isn’t a town of early risers. 9 A.M. and the place was still fairly empty.
There were a host of great farmers from the region. Lots of early summer vegetable available. I picked up some squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers. I also picked up some peaches. Gotta have something sweet once in a while! I’ll be eating extra fresh and local this week!
There was only one farmer there with meat products – beef, pork and chicken. We talked for a moment and gave me a flyer. His beef is grass-fed, grass-finished, dry-aged, certified natural. Pork advertised as pastured. Chicken true free-range and french label rouge style. You can see more about his products at the Walnut Hills Farm website.
Food Safety is always important
It’s great to have fresh foods from local farmers, organic, natural, or conventional. No matter the source of your food, its important to consider food safety.
Keep your produce safe with these tips:
Before and after preparing fresh produce, wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap.
Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking. We don’t recommend washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes.
Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. Any bacteria present on the outside of items like melons can be transferred to the inside when you cut or peel them.
Be sure to refrigerate cut or peeled fruits and vegetables within two hours after preparation.
Tips for food safety of juices, dairy, egg, and meat products are available from FoodSafety.gov. Pathogens like E.coli aren’t prejudice and can show up on any food if not handled and prepared properly.
After picking up my veggies and talking to the meat farmer, I headed inside the market area for an awesome breakfast wrap from one of the local vendors – 2 eggs, ham, red onions, bell pepper, tomato, and tobasco sauce. Mmm… the world was right again!
Do you have a favorite local farmers market? What do you pick up there and how often do you visit?