Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 11, 2010

Terra Madre Day

December 10th is Terra Madre Day, according to the Terra Madre organization–an allied branch of the International Slow Food movement. Yesterday was December 10th. I went with a friend to a local Terra Madre celebration meal and meet-and-greet.

Because our farm is near the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and because Maryland is about six miles from north to south on the local part of the panhandle, we drove to a dinner in West Virginia, a few miles south of the Potomac River–which is the southern border for most of the state of Maryland. We celebrated Terra Madre Day 2010 at Panorama at the Peak–just a few miles outside of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.

Panorama at the Peak serves a farm-to-table menu as much as possible, given the season and the strictures on the growing zone. We were served pizzas with local hothouse tomatoes, lamb meatballs made with local livestock, ditto the Ayrshire sausage in the stuffed mushrooms, and the fruit filling in the danish.

We also had simply outstanding roasted root vegetable skewers. The turnips were sweet, the beets were rich and tender and the carrots were flavorful past reckoning. How often are the root veg standouts of the meal? When they’re locally sourced, it can happen.

We heard from organizers about the expansion of the farmers’ market into a broad spectrum local food movement–MCAFF (Morgan County Association of Food and Farms). The goals of MCAFF include education, enhancement of the buying and selling of local foods through marketing and membership, and learning–so that food producers are better able to meet the needs of their consumers. How exciting is all of that? Emily Vaughn and I are hoping we can get something akin to MCAFF going in Bedford County.

As part of the Terra Madre celebration, we all watched a short documentary about the 2008 Torino (Turin) Terra Madre conference. I confess, I had tears in my eyes through much of those moving sixteen minutes. I am so proud to be part of a movement committed to recovering, preserving and transmitting traditional foods and food folkways.

At times during the long, droughty summer, I wondered why I was going to such trouble over purple carrots, Genovese basil, Gilbertie paste tomatoes, and wild-crafted raspberries. Last night was a vivid reminder of the universality and necessity of values and ideals such as we propagate alongside our Tamworth cross pigs, Wyandotte chickens and lacinato kale.

Last night at the Terra Madre celebration, I was introduced to an entire community of peoples equally engaged in the good work of putting the food back into our food stuffs. Farmers sat next to consumers. Organizers sat next to distributors. Locals sat next to transplants. Our hostess, and owner of Panorama at the Peak, Patty, expressed the same wonder at being reminded of the depth and breadth of our community and the importance of our commitment to real food served in its season at its point of production.

Last night, there were one thousand such gatherings in 120 countries around the world–all celebrating Terra Madre and the values it espouses and promotes. This is only the second such day of celebration. I can hardly wait for all the December 10ths to come!

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