Heirloom Harvest Project

28 Feb

Last week Charlie and I visited the Portsmouth Brewery (the Brewery’s Chef, Todd Sweet is in the center of photo at left) which hosted a meeting of farmers and chefs sponsored by Chefs Collaborative. The meeting was run by Chef Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro and Josh Jennings of Meadow’s Mirth Farm in Stratham, NH. Both are members of a not for profit organization called  the Heirloom Harvest Project. The main reason for the meeting was to establish new relationships between farmers and chefs, focusing on matching local farms to particular chefs needs.

I had heard about genetically modified foods and how they are found in much of the food in the grocery store. Until this meeting I really didn’t know that there was such an easy way to avoid them. The Heirloom Harvest Project’s mission is to build public awareness about locally raised heirloom produce and heritage meats while highlighting the connections among farmers, chefs, and consumers through educational food-related events.

Wikipedia has helped me to understand this a little better:

An heirloom plant, heirloom variety, heritage fruit , heirloom vegetable is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Many heirloom vegetables have kept their traits through open pollination, while fruit varieties such as apples have been propagated over the centuries through grafts and cuttings.

Essentially what we choose to eat creates a demand in the market and this is what farmers grow or raise. When we do not create enough demand for a particular variety of a food or species of animal, farmers are unable to profitably grow or raise it. Unless consumer demand changes, these plant and animal species will become extinct. New Hampshire is fortunate to have such a  wonderful organization fighting for variety in our food. You can show your support for the movement by attending  food events the Heirloom Harvest Project puts on each year or by purchasing some heirloom seeds to grow on your farm or in your garden.

The Heirloom Harvest Project two main food events:

Barn Dinner (Sept. 23rd): On-farm formal, several-course gourmet meal featuring locally grown heirloom produce (and locally raised meats)

Farmecue (July 15th): casual, family-friendly barbecue featuring locally raised heritage meats (and locally grown produce)

Please follow them on Facebook for details of upcoming events.

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