The Farmplate Blog

Over 47 million United States citizens depend on the government-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to survive. Families with children, elderly individuals with limited mobility, those suffering from debilitating illness or disease and those unable to find a job can purchase basic food with the funds from SNAP. It is essential, but the program is stuck in the past. For many SNAP participants, both affording and accessing fresh produce is a struggle. Stores that sell fresh produce aren’t always conveniently located. Often transportation to the stores takes too much time or money, is difficult due to physical or health-related issues, or is non-existent within communities...
Along with the rise in popularity of the farm-to-table movement, the number of microbreweries has skyrocketed across the country. According to the New York State Brewers Association, the number of microbreweries in New York state has increased from 38 in 2003 to 140 today. Your beer may be brewed locally, but have you ever thought about where that brewery got its ingredients? Most breweries have their hops shipped from the Pacific Northwest or Europe. Increasingly, breweries are seeking out local hops, and New York farmers are responding. "A decade ago, New York growers planted perhaps 5 acres of hops statewide, according to Cornell University's cooperative-extension division. Now, 140...
In 2002 the United States govenment took over the certification of organic farms. As a result, a group of farmers in New York's Hudson Valley came together to create the Certified Naturally Grown label which has grown to more than 700 farms in 47 states. "Many small farmers previously certified organic by an independent organization have declined to participate in the federal program. They voice a variety of objections: extensive record-keeping requirements; fees that can amount to 6 percent of a small farm's gross sales; and philosophical objections to joining a monolithic government-run program that also certifies huge operations that ship produce across the country." Executive director...
Cookbook author and food columnist Mark Bittman recently wrote in The New York Times about The $11 Trillion Reward: How Simple Dietary Changes Can Save Money and Lives, and How We Get There,” a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Bittman says, "A main point of the report is that encouraging farmers to grow fruits and vegetables and sell them locally boosts public health." It puts an actual number to the medical costs and estimates the number of lives that would be saved by increasing fruit and vegetable intake by just one serving daily: "About 750,000 United States deaths annually — a third of the total — result from cardiovascular disease, at a medical cost of about $94 billion....
Masumoto Family Farm in Fresno, California has created an innovative adopt-a-tree program that gives people the opportunity to pick their own heirloom peaches and nectarines while providing money up-front for the farm. Civil Eats explains, "The adopt-a-tree concept arose because the family had several acres of old-growth Elberta peaches, which were just too fragile to sell into the wholesale market. Rather than start selling the fruit at farmers' markets, they decided to invite eaters out to the farm." The family's new cookbook, The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm came out earier this summer and offers classic dessert recipes like peach cobbler as well as...