the sweet life: farm tour with sweetgreen

You write / read about food enough, you’re bound to hear a regular deluge of food trends. Going into 2017 alone, predictions included:

One trend that never goes out of style: sustainability.

It’s this very tenet that brought me to A.T. Buzby Farm in the middle of  Pilesgrove, NJ (of Cowtown Rodeo fame) with the team from sweetgreen. We were going to get behind the scenes at the family produce farm to celebrate summer, sustainability, and locally-sourced goodies.

sweetgreen’s four food ethos (scratch cooking, transparency, sustainability, and local sourcing) were all highlighted on this tour, as we were seeing exactly where they source their zucchini for the NY locations. PLUS – gorgeous day (minus a few drizzles) exploring a gorgeous farm with this dapper dude!

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Eric Buzby – Second generation farmer, full of life lessons and pride

Eric and his mother, Dawn (one of the cofounders of the farm) brought us around just a small portion of their 170 acres, showing off their gorgeous sweet corn fields, a pretty cool pickling process, and their friendly farm pups!

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It was incredible to hear the (honestly, quite romantic story) of his parents deciding to buy a farm together (which served as an informal proposal of marriage, because who buys a farm with someone unless they’re truly in love?)

We discussed the importance of a values driven market, and how sustainability is more than just environmental. Other discussions of sustainability included:

  • Financial – A.T. Buzby Farm was able to stay afloat in the early years using the mechanical skills of the founder, Andrew Buzby, who fixed many of their used machines by hand. They also have adapted their business model to include revenue from multiple sources, from local farmers markets to their popular CSA to wholesale with groups like sweetgreen!
  • Social – Less than 2% of Americans make their living farming, and the average age of farmers is over 40. A.T. Buzby employs local high school and college students to keep the  culture of agriculture going in the next generation.
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These cherry tomato plants are meant to be metaphorical – only by tending to the new crop of farmers can the agriculture industry stay alive and well!

(The metaphorical tomatoes were also delicious, as Dawn plucked us a ripe one right from the vine to nibble.)

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Sifting through the cuke crop to separate the pickles from the rejects

I was not alone in leaving the farm feeling energized, more connected to my food, and overwhelmed by how much effort and time goes into growing the veggies that are tossed into those tasty salads I happily shell out $9-12 for on a regular basis.

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Meet me in the Kiwi Berry Fields

If you’re dying to try some of the Buzby Farms produce (which I’d totally recommend), you can nab some at the Headhouse Farmer’s Market on Sundays in Philly, from 10am-2pm.

Or, you can check out one of the 15 New York sweetgreen locations and add some zucchinis to your harvest bowl.

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