If there is one thing you get out of my recap of yesterday’s lunch with Stonyfield Farms’ CE-Yo, Gary Hirshberg, it’s that even buying one more organic product makes a difference. You don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your cabinets and spend your entire salary on organic food to make a difference in both your health and in the world.
Lunch with the CE-Yo was held at the new location of EVOO in Kendall Square, Cambridge. I had a wonderful food and wine pairing at EVOO’s former location, so I was excited to visit their new, much more convenient location.
The inside of EVOO is beautiful with an open kitchen and a great private room.
After I arrived and took a few photos, I chatted with a few other bloggers:
And we met the CE-Yo, Gary Hirshberg.
Gary was incredibly interesting, informative, and passionate. His devotion to organic food and family farms are enormous parts of Stonyfield’s success, and Gary works on an “Everybody wins” philosophy.
Stonyfield was founded 27 years ago as a 7 cow organic farming school. Gary and his business partner, Samuel Kaymen, began making yogurt as a way to fund the school.
Gary gave us a brief background on his own local eating history. When we was growing up, all of the family food came from within a few miles of home. There were , at one point, 300 family dairy farmers in Concord, NH. When Stonyfield started there were 400 dairy farmers in the entire state of NH, and now there are only 87 remaining. I find this to be incredibly sad. The food that is grown/produced by small farmers is done with such care and attention, as opposed to food that comes from giant factory farms, and the last thing we need in the US is LESS care placed toward our food.
Gary reminded us that for our great grandparents and many of our grandparents, everything was organic. Pre WWI and WWII, food was not treated with chemicals. Post war, chemical manufacturers discovered new uses for their chemicals, and alas, we started on the path that we are on today, where we suffer from an endemic penetration of chemicals both from food and from our environment.
Gary shared a lot of information, and here are a few of the points I found the most interesting (or disturbing!):
- By the time babies are born, they already have 285-300 toxins in their blood. One third of these are tied to food.
- Organics make up 3.7% of the US food supply.
- Stonyfield’s support of 1750 family farms keeps 180,000 acres chemical free.
- Stonyfield donates 10% of its profits to environmental causes.
- The farmers that Stonyfield buys milk from never experience a price decrease. They are paid well above the rates of non organic farmers.
- Cows on non-organic farms live 4-6 years. Cows on organic farms tend to live for 12-20 years, thus increasing their milk producing years and the profit for the farmer. Cows on organic farms must also have access to pasture which makes them happy
- Through their commitment to organic milk, Stonyfield helps to prevent 425,000 drug treatments for animals and 185,000 lbs of insecticides and herbicides.
- The President’s Council on Cancer recently found that 41% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and 21% will die from it. One of the most significant things that we can do to prevent cancer is to eat an organic diet.
- The #1 way to bring down the price of organic food and to make it more accessible to all is to increase the volume in which it is produced. To this end, large corporations such as Wal Mart selling organic is a very good thing.
- Per capita, Austrians eat the most organic food. Another reason for me to love Austria!
I could go on and on with the information I learned today, but I really came away with wanting to pay more attention to the food that I eat and to make even more of an effort to buy organic. Gary truly made me FEEL like I can make a difference with my dollars and that blogging is a powerful tool for spreading this message. He also said his prayer for all of us would be that we could blog as our “real jobs”. Yes, please!
Of course, no food blogger lunch is complete without delicious food, and EVOO took good care of us!
I started with the Asparagus Soup with Parmigiano Reggiano, Red Chili Flakes, and EVOO. It was velvety with chunks of fresh asparagus; it totally tasted like spring.
My lunch entree was a Seared Atlantic Golden Tilefish with Organic Potatoes, Fiddlehead Ferns, Wild Ramps, Cilantro, Curried Potato Broth, and Minted Carrot Salad. I don’t think I have tried tilefish before, but I loved how meaty and flavorful this fish was.
For dessert we had Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Tart with Balsamic- Basil Glazed Strawberries. The tart was incredible. It had a creamy, tangy flavor, and you could tell it was made with only the best ingredients.
And received a sample of Caramel Oikos yogurt. . . it was the first time I tried this flavor, it was sweet, creamy, yum! It did not last long once I got it home!
Before we left, EVOO’s chef, Peter McCarthy, came out to meet us. Chef McCarthy talked briefly about EVOO’s efforts to use organic and local ingredients whenever possible. Their menu, as a result, incorporates delicious, seasonal dishes.
I am looking forward to returning to EVOO for a dinner with wine pairings very soon. Their menu is too tempting!
Thank you Stonyfield and 360 for inviting me to such an incredible lunch, and thank you Chef McCarthy and EVOO for hosting us!
Speaking of organic, there are only TWO DAYS to enter my Olivia’s Organics giveaway!