Driven by Flavor in the Green Mountains

Public radio is a great place for garlic lovers. I recently heard a wonderful interview on Krista Tippett’s ‘On Being‘. I just caught a bit of the intro, “Pleasure is his way into the greatest social movement of our time…” and got sucked in.

The ‘greatest social movement of our time’ in this case has to do with food, specifically the farm-to-table movement. The interview continues: “You can’t have an unethically raised lamb and an unthoughtfully  raised carrot and still have a good lamb and carrot dish.” Tippett is interviewing Dan Barber, the award-winning chef/owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in the Pocantico Hills of New York (Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture is located on what was once part of the Rockefeller estate of the 1890s).

The mission of the farm and the restaurants is about raising consciousness regarding the effects of food choices on health, ecology and sustainability. And lucky for foodies (and the rest of the environment), this mission and this movement are driven by flavor. Locally grown food just tastes better. This has to do with not only how fresh the food is, but how it is grown.

Small local farms tend to grow a diversity of vegetables, or even a diversity of a single vegetable. Compare this to monoculture, which tends to be chemically intensive, and can lead to soil depletion and even destruction of biodiversity. Growing a variety of crops or varieties of a single crop creates a richer mineral content in the soil and healthier, better tasting produce.

According to Barber, the pursuit of pleasure (great flavor) necessarily attaches us to great ecology. “He wants us to enjoy our food. And if we become “greedy” for flavor, he says, we will also reform our agricultural ecologies and economies.” ( Here’s how the chain works: clean air, pure soil, great farmland, savvy farmers, awesome produce, spectacular meals. Connection to where your ingredients are from and how they are grown or produced completes this picture. It makes sense, even on a molecular level, you are what you eat. Our bodies are made up of the things we ingest.

Barber brings it to an even higher level: your state of mind is related to your ability to perceive flavor. What surrounds your dining experience influences the flavor of what you eat. Imagine how good the food is in France when you are on vacation or how wonderful the chicken soup tastes when your grandmother makes it for you when you are sick. Now compare these foods to the flavors of the foods America eats at the drive-through. This makes sense, too. Perhaps you not only what you eat, but where are how you eat.

At Green Mountain Garlic, we plant, grow and harvest the garlic consciously. We think you’ll be able to taste the difference.

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