Been to a Farm Lately? (Recipe: Asparagus & Cherry Tomato Pizza)

Much can be said about the environmental and economic benefits of eating locally sourced foods. More can be said about the adage that a local food advocate from my town often uses: Eat food you know from people you know.

Every summer my family makes more than a handful of pilgrimages to local farms. These trips are more than just a way to escape the city and another day at the park.  They are a way for us to share with the people who produce our food. And more importantly, a way for us to show our girls that meat does not come on a styrofoam tray and vegetables grow in the dirt.

Oh yeah, and farms are fun. All kids love dirt and animals.

Photo by Cheryl

Both my Hubby and I spent time on farms growing up, despite our suburban upbringing. We had the benefit of family and friends with farms and were able to spend weeks at a time milking cows, driving combines, and watering vast gardens. The family farms we grew up with are far away now, but the farmers we see on a weekly basis are the next best thing.

The connection between source and food is integral to encouraging good eating habits. Without fail my girls have happily eaten a food that they saw earlier that day being picked, or got to pick themselves.

Photo by Cheryl
There are a few ways to enjoy the farm experience.

Farm Visits

If you frequent a farmers’ market, pay attention to any posters in the vendors’ stalls or simply ask if they have an open house coming up. Many farmers will have customer appreciation days where they invite people to visit the farm. Take advantage of these to see exactly the source of your favorite carrots or beef.

U-Picks

Whether you are hoping for berries, vegetables, or flowers it’s easy to find a U-Pick operation. Simply drive up to the farm, gather any buckets or supplies, and get down in the dirt. Bring your sunscreen, bug spray, and cash. We often bring a picnic with us and make it a day trip. Find them through your farm or farmer’s market associations. Just remember, one for you, two for the bucket!

Farm Festivals

Check your calendars for local food festivals. Not the wine and restaurant kind. The ones that celebrate a local food or region. Around here the big one for us is Asparagus Festival at the end of May. Check the listings through your regional agricultural agencies.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

With the purchase of a membership or share in a local farm you are investing in the farm and guaranteeing a certain amount of your food for the year. It can be a risky venture if the farm doesn’t do well, but its worth the risk. Beyond the commitment to very local food production, you are establishing a relationship with someone that gives you food. They become like a family member who helps out their poor city cousin. Many CSA’s also have requirements of their members to actually help out of the farm throughout the season, another great way to get your hands dirty.

Photo by Cheryl
No matter the city you live in you are likely no more than a few hours drive away from a farm.  If you are lucky, you are even closer. No car? Look around, urban agriculture is growing across North America and already prevalent in the rest of the world. Without going far you and your kids can get dirty, see carrots coming from the ground, or gather eggs.

Even if this isn’t a possibility, take heart. Plant a tomato in a container on your front steps or grow herbs on a window sill. Research community gardens if you don’t have your own backyard plot. Or make friends with a neighbor with a bumper crop of raspberries. With a little digging you can find your own farmer.

This summer, take the time to get a little dirty and source your food outside the market. Get to know the people who make your food.  See where your food comes from. And eat it right from the ground, dirt and all.

Photo by Cheryl

Asparagus and Tomato Pizza

Use your favorite pizza dough (or my version) to create a summery pizza.  Vary the toppings according to what’s in season and what you find that day on your farm visit.

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Pizza Dough

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Pull out your dough into rough 8-10 inch circles. Place onto a thick cookie sheet or pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal.

2. Trim any rough bits from your asparagus (if it is farm fresh you shouldn’t have to do a thing). Cook in boiling water for 1 minute then immediately submerge in ice water to stop the cooking.

3. Drizzle your stretched pizza dough with the garlic and olive oil.  Arrange the asparagus and halved tomatoes over the pizza. Sprinkle the feta and oregano on top. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil on top.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes until pizza is cooked all the way through and cheese is bubbling slightly.

Happy Earth Day! Do you currently purchase any farm-fresh produce? Are you looking to make a connection between field and fork?

About Cheryl

Cheryl is a mom to two energetic and strong-willed little girls. It’s a good thing they already like her cooking. She blogs the family’s cooking and taste adventures at Backseat Gourmet.

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Comments

  1. We hope to be going to a dairy farm soon. And we have a farmers market walking distance from our house.

    I just found a recipe similar to yours only instead of feta they used fresh mozzarella. This is dinner tomorrow night.
    .-= Rana’s last blog: Great Outdoor Challenge – Backyards and Playgrounds =-.

  2. Happy Earth Day! I loved visiting farms as a kid. One of my best friend’s grandmother’s had a lama farm. It was awesome. That pizza looks delicious too! I wish tomatoes were in season now. Alas, I will have to wait until my plants do some more growing. :)

  3. We have a great urban farm in Austin-I can’t wait to go! Yummy pizza!
    .-= Melissa’s last blog: GO TEXAN Grapefruit, Honey and Lavender Cupcakes =-.

  4. We have always loved farms! My boys are slightly bored by visiting them now that they’re a bit older, but they appreciate them a lot, so I’m happy with that.
    .-= Jan (Family Bites)’s last blog: Peas Please =-.

  5. So excited to see people happy about going to the farm, or at least the appreciation of it. Don’t forget to thank you farmer the next time!
    .-= Cheryl Arkison’s last blog: Mmm, Pizza =-.

  6. Jennie L says:

    We have a local garden that we purchase from and visit occassionally. Growing a little of our own food has helped my kids appreciate their food and try something they otherwise might not.

  7. Great reminders about our food. My husband and I are already thinking of ways to make sure our kids know how food grows. Thankfully, my parents instilled the knowledge that our food came from someone not the store, without even trying. We didn’t consistently visit farms but frequently made our own strawberry jams and froze blueberries from U-pick farms. On several occasions, we went on field trips to dairy farms and milked cows! In the fall, we’d get together with other families, pick apples and made lots of applesauce and apple butter! We were total city slickers but for some reason we loved going to the farm!

    Thanks for the recipe! I know what I’m making for dinner tonight!
    .-= Rhiannon’s last blog: What kind of mama are you? =-.

  8. I can’t wait to get our car so we can do this! Right now our only choice is to ride the train, so the closest we get is my son eating sand at the playground. :)

    I do think it’s very important for kids to learn about where food comes from. It gives them more confidence, and therefore a feeling of control, which makes them more excited to eat it.

    The pizza looks delicious!

  9. We love occupying the children with berry picking and they come with us to the farm stand. The farmer’s market is farther away than the farms for us, so we go to the farms (5-10 minutes away) every time we get local food… which in the winter is every 2 weeks for eggs, and in the summer is maybe every week for veggies, and in strawberry season is a few times a week. :) (Starting next week, I can’t wait!)

  10. What a great post. Grandma & Grandpa live on a huge farm and it is so refreshing to get out of the city every once in awhile and to visit the farm.

    I love that hay bales photo! And the pizza? Fantastic!!
    .-= Kristen’s last blog: Sequence of Events (Recipe: Paula Deen’s Cookies & Cream Cupcakes) =-.

  11. I like to live in the country…..Eat food you know from people you know….I also grow vegetables myself sometimes
    lin’s last post: Chinese Beef Kebabs recipe

  12. Asparagus is done for the season but we have plenty of tomatoes! That pizza looks so good I can’t wait…time to go to the store and get some asparagus.

  13. I used to spend my summers on an Amish farm in upstate New York and I can remember how fresh and lovely tasting the fresh grown fruits, veggies tasted. The dairy and meat was the best I have ever had! This looks like a wonderful rustic pizza recipe and I love asparagus! I also like this blog!

    Thanks!

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