The Farm Fresh Atlas is a great resource to local and sustainable food in our community. Slow Food WISE board member, Paula Stone, provides a reflection on her family’s journey to discovering good, clean and fair food in Southeastern Wisconsin…and how you can too!
Four years ago, my family and I were fortunate to relocate to Milwaukee, just as we were beginning the journey of eating more local and seasonal food. As long time amateur chefs, my husband and I always liked to work with interesting ingredients, but now with young children we felt it was even more important that we expose them to a variety of great food that is produced with minimal chemicals or additives.
Our journey to “slow food”
So what is so lucky about being in Milwaukee then? The secret is in the Farm Fresh Atlas! A couple of weeks after we moved to Milwaukee, I stumbled on the link through the Slow Food WISE website and couldn’t believe the amazing range of meat and produce being raised so near by—practically on our doorstep. CSA’s! Farmer’s Markets! Farms selling directly to consumers! Wow!
We signed up for our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that spring and connected with a local farm to buy heritage pork, free-range chickens and grass fed beef. In the last four years, through the resources we found in the Farm Fresh Atlas, we’ve cooked lamb, bison, duck and goat; we’ve made elderberry and strawberry jam; we’ve been introduced to (and learned to cook) kohlrabi, sorrel, nettles, ramps, romanesco broccoli and escarole. Only the nettles didn’t earn a repeat appearance at the table (but that was probably my fault).
Exploring farms in Southeastern Wisconsin
Like gardeners who read seed catalogues in the winter, dreaming of the next growing season, we look forward to the arrival of the new Atlas each spring, looking for the farms and markets that have become like old friends, checking out new listings, and planning new ways to prepare the incredible variety of food Southeastern Wisconsin has to offer. The farms are listed by county with a description of what they produce, the seasons in which it is available, as well as their philosophy on farming. Most include contact information if you have questions or want to get on their email list.
Farmer’s market listings will let you know when they open for the season, the hours of operation and the types of produce you might expect to find. We’ve found that each market has its own personality, so consider market hopping to check them all out and find your favorite.
The 2013 Farm Fresh Atlas
The 2013 Fresh Farm Atlas comes out in the next few weeks! Slow Food WISE coordinates the distribution in Milwaukee County, getting the Atlas to as many locations as possible! Look for it at Outpost Natural Foods Co-op, other local markets, or your library or coffee shop.
If you’re looking for a way to get involved with Slow Food WISE, distributing the Atlas is a great way to help out and get to know your community at the same time. Contact Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Stay tuned for the 2013 Farm Fresh Atlas—grab a copy or check it out online at www.farmfreshatlas.org/southeast.
Happy reading…and eating!