Slow Road Episode 2 – Returning to our Roots

It has been a tremendous Fall and already the snow has began to coat the ground and trees as we head toward the Holiday Season. We couldn’t think of a better time to release our latest episode while families are gathered this holiday weekend, and as we may already be thinking about our relationships to each other and towards our favorite places during this special time of year. I was recently struck by the thought of so many using the “slow roads” to connect with the people and places that matter most to them – driving to mom and dad’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner, visiting other friends and relatives to gather,  and meeting up with people in our favorite local places in our hometowns.

Route 21S on the way to Naples, NY in our Mini.

Route 21S on the way to Naples, NY in our Mini.

Episode 2 is a look and study of what it means to be “slow” and why it is important to our lives. The word slow takes on many meanings and has even been used to describe pro-local movements that include terms like “slow fashion” and “slow money.” We felt strongly that our first episode branded the idea of the roads themselves as we took a summer day drive to a nostalgic and retro drive-in. You may watch that Episode here if you have not already.

Roots Cafe - Naples, NY

Roots Cafe – Naples, NY (Photo by Steve Carter)

Episode 2 is about learning why it matters to slow down and absorb that which is around you, and perhaps even more so than our first episode, discusses why it matters to connect with the people and places that matter the most, places that feel like our own sort of “home.” Our Episode features a beautiful drive via Route 31 East leaving the hustle and bustle of the City of Rochester on Monroe Ave to visit historic parks and main streets, and then finally a southern journey through the meandering hills and valleys along Route 21 South to Naples, NY.

We ended our day at the appropriately named “Roots Cafe” located on Main Street in Naples – a converted Victorian farm homestead it serves as a perfect representation of all things slow and homely. Roots Cafe features a farm to table menu that is rooted in its own local community’s agriculture and located in a former home itself.

Roots Cafe - Farm-to-table Menu

Roots Cafe – Farm-to-table Menu

We invite you along our journey and hope you enjoy our latest episode, please do share this with your family and friends if you do and we hope you will explore the places we may have introduced you to!

WATCH EPISODE 2:

To visit the Palmyra/Macedon Aqueduct Park continue along Route 31 just outside of the Village of Palmyra, NY – https://goo.gl/maps/Qd6nm
To visit the 4 corner churches https://goo.gl/maps/1nsXx
To visit the wonderful Roots Cafe travel to 197 Main Street (Route 21) in the Village of Naples, NY – https://plus.google.com/110147722809563958602/about?gl=us&hl=en

We encourage your continued support to help us continue to capture the spirt of place and people in an unprecedented way through Slow Road! To support our journey visit slowroadtravel.com/donate.

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Reaching Beyond our Farmers’ Markets-The Good Food Collective

As stated in my previous post, I wanted to devote my next entry to the conversation I had with Chris Hartman about the Good Food Collective and the idea of our region’s local rural farms looking for ways to get food into urban communities.

Chris was generous enough to take the time to talk with me in detail about the South Wedge Farmers’ Market and his desire to build off of the Farmers’ Markets to continue to find ways to bring healthy food into the communities of Rochester.

He was the founder or the South Wedge Farmers Market back in 2007. The market was started with a desire to infuse an urban neighborhood with producer-only vendors from  farms across central New York State. The Good Food Collective is a gathering of  local farms and is demonstrating a new model to bring local food into Rochester.

In my conversation with Chris, he highlighted the wonderful benefits of what something like a local farmers’ market means, and spoke of the same ideas of “place-making” and the idea that farmers’ markets are rich in social capital…the wealth and value that each person brings who attends that market (the Regulars per “Farmers Markets as Place-making”).

There are great positives to having farmers’ markets, but Chris also pointed out the issue with farmers’ markets being inefficient. Why is this the case? The access to fresh food is limited. Traditionally local markets only run once a week and for a few hours. They are seasonal and weather dependent, and farmers travel great distances (in this case up to 100 miles) to bring fresh food to market. Even the hours they spend at market may take away from other farming duties. With the belief that farmers markets should continue to exist, Chris also stated the need to create localized food systems that would benefit the community as a whole over the long-term.

Chris Hartman from the Good Food Collective explains his vision for a community food network

This is where the Good Food Collective excels. The Good Food Collective is a collaboration of Chris’ company, Head Water Foods Inc., and the partnership of nine other local farms. Those farms differ in their offerings but I have listed them below with a brief description and links so you may learn more about each of them.

The nine farms represented include:

Chicory Blue-featuring cut flowers, and pesticide/fertilizer-free vegetables

Clearview Farm-certified organic vegetables herbs and fruit, non-organic free range eggs

East Hill Organic Farm-organically grown vegetables, honey, apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, eggs, and hay

Fraser’s Garlic Farm– organic garlic, potatoes, leafy vegetables, root crops, edible pumpkins and certified organic eggs from free-range chickens.

Honeyhill Farm-certified organic, pasture-raised chickens & beef, vegetables and 20 tomato varieties.

Lighthouse Gardens-greenhouse grown annuals and perennials including herb and vegetable starts.

Mud Creek Farm-chemical/pesticide-free vegetables

Organic Matters Farm-Eggs from free-range hens, certified organic vegetables

Raindance Harvest-Sustainably grown transplants, mixed greens, and assorted vegetables.

Together these farms are assisting in the vision of a multi-farm CSA or Community Supported Agriculture model for the Good Food Collective. In a CSA, people buy into farms as shareholders an in return receive a share of the farms weekly harvest. This model enables the farms to receive support and money up fron,t and to benefit people with local and fresh produce (see the offerings of each farm above).

The commitment of Chris Hartman and Head Water Foods Inc. is to bring, “individual, social, economic, and ecological health to the Rochester community.”

I want to thank Chris for his commitment to bringing Rochester’s agricultural offerings to the surface, and to bringing attention to the incredible wealth that our local farms are injecting into our city. I ultimately believe that if we can continue to highlight the profound local and regional agriculture that exists around Rochester, we can become known as a world class agricultural destination.

The impact on our neighborhoods, our city, and our communities could be tremendous! Support our local farmers and support our city in becoming known for our agritourism.

On the Web:

The Good Food Collective

Edible Finger Lakes Article (Chris influence on the South Wedge Farmers Market)

The South Wedge Farmers Market