Friday, September 1, 2017

7 Questions with Mary Marshall - Food Blogger Interview

Welcome to another edition interview with a food blogger. Today we are chatting with Mary Marshall of Cooking with Mary and Friends. Mary's blog is about farm to the table. She supports and shops local family farms, farmers market and local establishments. 

How and when did you make the decision to shop at farms and farmers market?
I’ve shopped at farmers markets as long as I can remember. My mother used to, and it followed me into my adult years where I continued to no matter where we lived.

What was the most surprising thing about shopping  local, farms and farmers market? 
The most surprising thing? Probably have to say the freshness of the produce. Nothing like buying fresh corn-on-the-cob or tomatoes that were just picked from the field the night before, or very early on market day. And nothing beats the quality and freshness of humanely raised pastured meat; pork is a rosy red color and not the “other white meat,” chicken is moist, juicy and flavorful, and beef is tender and delicious.

Why is organic food important?
Organic food is important because it is a sustainable form of agriculture when it’s done right. Since organic certification is so expensive for farmers, many of them have organic practices in place without the certification, and I think that’s equally important to understand. Farmers are very proud of their products; talk to them and they are typically very willing to tell you how they do this or that. The ones that aren’t so “open” are the ones I shy away from. I want to know where my food comes from and how it was grown or raised.

Can we feed the world with organic food?
We can and we are feeding the world with organic food products, but we have a long way to go. Most of us want “instant gratification” and with farm products it’s not always that easy; you have to learn to eat seasonally, place orders with farmers for certain cuts of meat, understand many farms don’t raise chickens in the winter as an example due to harsh weather, so you may have to think ahead and stock up before winter. It’s all in educating the public, and I personally think many people would be willing to adjust if they knew how to proceed.

Do we need more farms?  
Yes, we need more farms. Farmland in the United States is disappearing at an alarming rate, but more importantly, we need more young people to become farmers.The average age of a farmer today is 56, that’s why there are many initiatives out there to encourage young people to join the field of agriculture. American Farmland Trust and Farmers Market Coalition

Why did you start your blog?
I started my blog as a way to share recipes with family and friends. I was working full time, and cooking all the time, so I thought why not. Then I started focusing on shopping local farmers markets and farms, and set out to personally visit some of the small local family farms in my state. A group of us took our first farm outing about 5 years ago, and the rest is history as they say. All the farmers I’ve had the pleasure to meet are the nicest, most friendly people you’d ever want to know. They are proud of what they do, and more than happy to share their knowledge with you.

What part of blogging excites the most?
The part that excites me the most about blogging are the exchanges with people who follow my page; teaching someone a new canning technique, or a young person how they can make that from scratch, or learning to eat seasonally. It just brings me so much personal satisfaction, and I love spreading the word that good food doesn’t need to be expensive.

 By Christine Lamb @ Christine's Pantry - 2017

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