- Farm Worker’s Luncheon
- Inspired by my gratitude for the courage of organic farmers and by my long commitment to the organic movement, I offer a blessing at the beginning of shared meals. Whether with family, friends, holiday meals or special occasions, I take a few moments, to speak this gratitude out loud in the presence of shared company. It goes something like this.
Before we enjoy this beautiful food, prepared carefully and lovingly for us, I would like to acknowledge the others who are at this table with us. The many people along the way who touched this food before it arrived on our plate. In particular, I want to acknowledge the unseen faces of the men and women doing the difficult job in the fields harvesting our produce. I go onto to mention the organic farmers, the packers, truckers and the chain of many hands responsible for the food in front of us.
Daily produce arrives at Charlie Hong Kong. Daily between 400 to 500 pounds of produce is chopped and prepared. It has always been the commitment of Charlie Hong Kong to serve an abundance of organic greens in our Signature Bowls, as well as offering, our Vegetable Medley. Since organic chard is a big part of our vegetable mix, honoring the field workers who harvest this chard, seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day this year. When I proposed the idea to Lakeside Organics, there was an enthusiastic, YES. Since 2009, Charlie Hong Kong, has purchase over 5000 boxes of chard from Lakeside. That’s an unimaginable amount of work done in the fields to make sure greens were available to nourish our customers.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel, did an excellent piece of journalism, covering the event. It was a pleasure, and a joy to witness the happiness on the faces of the men, as they came up from the fields to be greeted by a specially prepared lunch just for them, using the very greens they harvested.
I’m having this inner debate about my commitment to serving locally grown-in season-organic produce. Recently we offered a special, Spicy Green Beans, made from locally grown organic BlueLake green beans. The beans retained their snap and the sauce was just the right amount of spice and savory. The season has ended and so has the special. However customers continue to ask for it. Some on the verge of begging, please can you make the Spicy Green Beans. So here’s the dilemma, because there are conventional green bean available from a warmer climate: do we keep our commitment to serving organic produce and wait until next year, when organic green beans are again growing abundantly or do we satisfy the demands of our customers? Isn’t it a good thing to anticipate the change in season with, “Oh, soon it will be time for the Spicy Green Bean special”. I know this is how it is with our Thai Butternut Squash Soup, as well as our Asian pesto-Garlic Basil Noodles Special. I asked this question on facebook and received only one enthusiastic response-”stick to your guns”. I know we have become accustomed to eating whatever we want for most of the year. Does it matter to be a restaurant that is committed to serving, as much as possible, in season organic produce. Conventional green beans are not on the dirty dozen list which means a fruit of vegetable high in pesticide residue. I guess I feel strongly that the more support for locally grown organic produce the better, for our bodies, the environment and importantly local organic farmers.