Phew! Recovering from Friday night’s late night events, Saturday began with a bit of rain at the 27th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Bright and early at 10 am, cooking demonstrations and wine talks began.
I was joined by fellow food bloggers John of Foodwishes.com, Heidi of Savory.tv, and Sara of AverageBetty.com at the ‘Farm to Fork Connection: Creating A Sustainable World At Your Table’ with hosts Chef Michael Chiarello and organic farmer Peter Jacobsen.
The talk began with a bit from Jacobsen, the owner of Jacobsen Orchards, a CCOF-certified organic farm that even includes the ‘only certified organic, free-range snail farm’ in the country (or world?). Jacobsen Orchards is also the exclusive farm of Chef Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley. Peter encouraged guests to become farmers, noting that ‘even the act of planting basil is taking a small step towards farming.’ He discussed the growth of ‘regional adaptation’ when it comes to farming – folks who are growing gardens regardless of their community/climate/location.
“What happens when you plant even something small, like basil, is that you’re taking one small step towards farming…cultivating within your sphere of influence the idea of sustainability.”
Chef Michael Chiarello, of Bottega restaurant and Chiarello Vineyards, continued the conversation, by discussing his efforts to develop sustainability within his own community, and spoke of the property and vineyard he purchased many years ago. The property had been heavily fertilized and covered in pesticides when he purchased it. Taking a number of years to reenergize the land, he noticed the incredible regrowth of the eco-system around the property, both plants and animals, as the years progressed. He also spoke about utilizing organics within his restaurants, as well as promoting sustainable business practices and development of his restaurant locations. While he strives to be as eco-friendly as possible, he noted that he’s still working on becoming 100% organic across the board.
‘Love my [sustainable] evolution.’