Linking Flavor, Ethics and Ecology

This week, a few of us farmers were uplifted and captivated by some Sunday Morning Radio. After a long, tiring week, we flipped the radio on early Sunday morning and found ourselves in the midst of the most articulate conversation about why we do what we do. Someone was so beautifully explaining to the world what we are also trying to achieve here in Central Vermont with our little farm.

Krista Tippet, host of On Being, interviewed Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill & Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurants.

We lingered, listened, were inspired, validated and so very thankful for Dan Barber & Krista Tippet and for all of you that are also being a key part of changing our food system, by eating and cooking with us.

We have brought a bit of that conversation to you here, but we encourage you to get yourself a delicious treat and listen to their entire conversation. It made us feel great, and reinspired. We hope it does the same for you.

Krista Tippet:

“There is something so liberating and wonderful about how you talk about sustainability and becoming more ethical with our food. And the surprising link between doing the right, doing the ethical thing is also the pleasurable thing and that sustainability is also about resurrecting flavor.


Dan Barber: Dan Barber

“The most pleasurable and the most delicious. They are all run along parallel lines, that is the serendipity of what I do. I want to cook good food. In pursuit of great flavor, it just so happens you are attached to great ecology by definition.

It is so axiomatic we forget. In part because we went through this period, especially in the United States, where we were so removed from how food was grown, where it was coming from, and who was growing it. That we forget the most obivious thing – that a delicious carrot or delicious a slice of lamb has attached to it these decisions in the pasture and in the field that are both thoughtful and intensely ethical as well as ecological.

You can’t have an unethically raised lamb, an unthoughtfully raised carrot and have a delicious lamb and carrot dish. It is impossible. Even the greatest chefs couldn’t do that.  That is one of the blessings of being involved in this kind of cooking….

…When you are greedy for the best food, you are by definition being greedy for the kind of world, the way the world is used, that you want to see. That is the true definition of sustainability. Once people taste the difference they won’t settle, you are willing to pay for and invest in the kind of agriculture that will give you the flavor and the nutrient values you want, whether you are an environmentalist or not.

…It is all about cooking. People often ask, what can I do for this movement? What can one average person do?

The answer is you cook. Because when you cook, you are opting out of the kind of food chain that is cooking for you. When a food chain is cooking for you, it is usually processed, usually of lesser grade ingredients which means it is usually degrading the environment, it has less flavor, which means less flavanoids which means less health benefits. All those things are attached to not cooking.

When you are cooking you are engaged in some type of direct communication with a fresh ingredient that is not heavily processed. If you can get that locally you have done tremendous amounts to give your contribution to the betterment of the world besides to a more pleasurable dinner.”