"Knee-high by the Fourth of July," my father-in-law says, marking good progress for the corn on the cob that my husband awaits all year long. Local tomatoes from the farmer up the road make my summer—and a delicious tomato and goat cheese tart, too!
Long before we grew accustomed to having all types of fresh fruits and vegetables available every day of the year, we eagerly anticipated the arrival of certain foods that marked a season. Strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus signaled spring; apples and pears, fall. And while this might seem too obvious a point to make, we really are dependent on the farmer's success in the field. Look around Connecticut and it might take a serious search to find a working farm and that treasure chest, the roadside stand. (Hard as it might to believe, Greenwich still has working farms!)
Lax land-management standards have allowed sprawl to spread throughout this state. It would not be an exaggeration to say we are a state in peril. We have lost many farms and are on a dangerous path to losing even more. Thankfully, initiatives large and small are working to correct this situation. The governor recently signed a farmland preservation act intended to preserve 130,000 acres, with 85,000 acres of cropland. And the state also just incorporated public comments into "The Green Plan," its guide to land acquisition and protection from 2007 to 2012. Meanwhile, a series of "Dinners at the Farm"—using only food sold at the Lyme Farmers Market with the proceeds benefiting area non-profits—draws attention to the connection between local farm and local table while doing good locally.
The average food on an American's plate has traveled 1,500 miles and 14 days from its source. Whether you crave zucchini from Middlebury, corn from Somers or blueberries from South Glastonbury, we are in a position to ensure that Connecticut produces the foods that define the seasons and determine who we are as a state. Connecticut needs help to retain its agricultural heritage and we can either help—or suffer the indignities of mass-produced, tasteless foods from points unknown. The choice is ours.
Editor in Chief
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