Farm to Table Pub Night
The “Farm to Table” also known as the “Farm to Fork “ movement started in the 1970’s after the global rise of processed foods. Consumers decided to revisit the idea of growing their own produce and/or supporting local farmers, estates and fisheries in their hometowns and purchasing fresh produce instead of canned goods. Farm to Table is “a food system in which food production, processing, distribution, and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place.” Farm to Table focuses on food security, proximity, self-reliance and sustainability.
We use the term support local quite flippantly to encourage consumers to purchase locally produced products in order to support local vendors and most importantly our local economy. However, do we truly know what ingredients go into our local products or are we just ok with products being manufactured in Trinidad and Tobago using foreign ingredients? Is what you’re eating really truly local? What about the restaurants we enjoy, have they made any effort at all to support local buy purchasing their produce straight from our farmers? It’s a question really worth pondering about, just not over doubles which by the way is also made with imported ingredients (bet ya didn’t know that, thanks for this fact Rachel).
For 4 years, Rachel Renie and David Thomas, owners of D’ Market Movers and Farm & Function, engaged and supported local farmers and educated food lovers about the farm to table movement by offering farm to table dining experiences entitled "Our Moving Table.” The duo has hosted over 60 OMT events, encouraging hundreds of patrons to have a seat at our country’s bountiful table.
OMT started off as a marketing tool for D’Market Movers, an award winning (Ernst & Young's Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year - 2016 The Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Commerce & Industry) online delivery service of fresh produce, meats, dairy and seafood to homes and Restaurants throughout the country. The aim was to showcase the local ingredients that they were selling on their website and to tell the journey that the local ingredients take from the farm to your fork.
Rachel and David have changed the format of OMT which once had co-founder Sonja Sinaswee as the main chef to a format that will feature multiple local chefs from around T&T. The OMT team is now encouraging local chefs and restaurateurs to focus on their use of local ingredients by giving them a variety of local products such as cassava flour, frozen fruits and herbs and challenging them to come up with menus featuring 95% local ingredients.
The first featured chef was Vickyann Thurton of V&J Brauhaus (pronounced Brow-House) an authentic German restaurant and Beer Garden and the sole distributor in Trinidad and Tobago of Bavaria's prized Paulaner beer (Facebook). Rachel and David felt it was necessary to choose Vickyann because of her dedication towards supporting and stocking her kitchen with local produce, she was already ahead of the game.
Vickyann and her husband Juergen Leschk opened V&J Brauhaus in 2012 and despite many obstacles, they continue to provide Port of Spain with a Bavarian dining experience. Vickyann is the unintentional chef at Brauhaus and she enjoys her role because she can share her love for Bavarian food with her guests.Her experience cooking Bavarian cuisine comes from her time spent in Germany with her husband. She cooks down-home hearty Bavarian meals, seeped in 100 year old traditions that she believes relate to Trinidad because they are simple and comforting like our home cooked meals. “The Bavarian way of cooking is about simplicity. Less is always more in German: “Weniger ist immer mehr”
Vickann believes that food tourism can be a viable tourism product once we keep it authentic by staying true to our rich cuisine and studying the food and where it came from, the flavour profiles and teaching our children how to cook local food.
I’m always in awe of how innovative Rachel and David are. Every product and service that they come up with is aimed at creating opportunities for farmers to sell their produce and generate additional income and for consumers to understand the labour of love and support the farmers. Farm & Function, Rachel and David’s local frozen fruit products are now adding passion fruit to their offering which already includes pineapple and papaya. You can find their products in most supermarkets nationwide and you can also place an order via their website.
Also check out D’ Market Movers website http://www.dmarketmovers.com
Photos provided by Misty Mclean