Slow Food Katy Trail offers farm tours

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HOWARD COUNTY - Slow Food Katy Trail, the mid-Missouri chapter for Slow Foods USA, hosted two farm tours to acquaint visitors with local farmers Sunday.

Slow Food Katy Trail hosted the first tours of the season at Blue Bell Farm and Sullivan Farms in Fayette.

Laura Carter is the Slow Food Katy Trail Farm Tour Coordinator and said the goal of the tours is to connect people and the food on their table with food growing in the field.  

"If you go on the farm tour, you can actually see the farmer who is producing the food," Carter said. "You can go buy it at the store or at the market, and buy directly from the farmer in some cases. And you'll know exactly what it is that you are putting in your stomach and that you are feeding your family."

Carter said the farm foods they show off are grown clean and are fair foods for everyone.

"We wanted to find farms that had that organic kind of orientation, who don't use pesticides and chemicals," Carter said. "These particular farms, this beautiful Century Farm Blue Bell Farm, is kind of an obvious choice. They do farm-to-table events, and that's their focus right now. And Sullivan Farms is very popular at the farmer's market. They were chosen because they have GMO-free meats, pasture pork, and that is something that is very much of interest to people these days. Getting clean meat that they can put on their table."

Carter said some of the farm products are also sold at local grocery stores.

"Some of these farms do sell at stores," Carter said. "But if you buy your food directly from a farmer, you know that you've cut out the middleman. You know that it's so much fresher. In most cases, you can buy produce from the farmer's market [and] that might last for a couple of weeks longer than something that's been sitting in your supermarkets for weeks already before you even see it."

Carter said some people bring their children to the tours so they can get a closer look at how vegetables grow.

"They seem very curious," Carter said. "They want to put their children in touch, they want their children to be able to see the vegetables growing on the vine, to see them being pulled from the ground. It just really makes a child more interested in actually eating that vegetable later on. So it helps that a good foundation for healthy eating."

Carter said the tours also benefit the farmer.

"We hope that the farmers are able to expand the markets," Carter said. "To educate people about why, maybe their meats, for example, might not be as cheap as the cheapest cuts that you might find at super-saver stores. There's a reason for that though. It's good quality food and clean food. Allowing people the opportunity to see that first hand, I think, makes them more likely to not just immediately reach for the first bargain that they find."

Slow Food Katy Trail will host the next tour July 19 in the Ashland area.