The Farm-to-Table Connection

close up of freshly picked, colorful veggies

Fresh, Local, Farm-to-Table Fare in the Heart of Roanoke Valley

In recent years, Americans have experienced a burgeoning interest in anything and everything local—shopping local, eating local…farming local. And with good reason! Not only does supporting local endeavors help the economy and create more self-reliant communities, choosing the farm-to-table option is especially great for the environment and your health. And how much better does your food taste when you know you’re getting the freshest produce, organically and sustainably farmed, from your neighbors?

Roanoke is no stranger to this local-everything trend. And, luckily, we have the means by which to eat local at our very fingertips. Meet Susanna Thornton, from Thornfield Farm. (Yes, you’ve probably seen the Thornfield name on menus around town.) Nestled in the rolling hills of Botetourt County, this family-owned and operated farm has been providing Roanoke Valley with high-quality foods for three generations. A local favorite for grass-fed beef and free-range chickens, Thornfield has recently been producing organic and sustainably grown vegetables that are second to none in the valley. If, in the last few months, you’ve had any of Thornfield’s tomatoes or fall or early spring greens, you can rest assured they were fully certified organic through the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, and as of this coming March, ALL of their fields will be certified organic.

It’s exciting to see that many other local businesses have joined the farm-to-table movement. Jeff Farmer, Executive Chef at Fortunato, is an enthusiastic proponent, and you can sample Thornfield Farm’s wares at his restaurant, as well as at Lucky in downtown Roanoke. If you have a bit of the inner-chef in you, Thornfield makes it super easy to get your hands on their fresh produce. Visit them at Sweet Donkey Coffee or the Grandin Village Community Market during season, or sign up for their Farm Share program to receive a customized portion of their harvest weekly (or monthly, or however often you’d like, really). And if you need to bring a little color into your life, they also sell fresh, in-season flowers!

More about eating local:

What does this movement mean for you? No worrying about ingesting synthetic pesticides or chemical fertilizers, for a start. No GMOs or potentially harmful antibiotics or hormones, either. And locally-grown, heirloom produce just tastes better…seriously. Have you ever done a side-by-side taste test between a store-bought tomato and one fresh from the vine? No comparison. Shipped vegetables lose nutrients along the way, and the flavor suffers, too.

And if you’re health and enviro-minded, eating farm-to-table gives you plenty to feel good about. Most local, family-owned farms—including Thornfield—practice the kind of farming that sustains and improves the soil for future generations of farmers. Livestock are treated humanely and given plenty of room to roam, and you don’t have to worry about the shady dealings of big business. Local farms create local jobs and encourage the health and self-sufficiency of the entire community. What’s not to love?