The Dark Side of Dining Trends: From Farm to Fable

Keith Sarasin
6 min readSep 13, 2023

I can still clearly recall the feeling I had as a child going through an apple orchard in Hollis, New Hampshire. The crisp, perfumed air had a certain charm that hinted at the coming of autumn. The ground beneath my feet was woven with the threads of shared experience left by the countless individuals who had come before. The rows of apple trees, painted with vivid green and deep crimson leaves, stood there like works of art made by nature.

Even at that young age, I couldn’t help but be mindful of the approaching winter as I strolled through this revered orchard; it was in the air we breathed. It served as a painful reminder of the perpetual ebb and flow of life, the changing of the seasons, and the renewal of cycles. It seems as though the cosmos had worked together to make me aware of how profoundly interrelated all living things are.

These treasured recollections aren’t just nostalgic snippets; they serve as the emotional foundation for my conception of nourishment, my connection to the planet, and subsequently the path I took my career.

From these moments a seed was planted that years later would sprout as I created my company, The Farmers Dinner. For the last 11 years, The Farmers Dinner has hosted over 100 dinners on farms all across New England. We have generated more than $250,000 for local farms, written a cookbook about New England and most importantly, we have helped customers build lasting relationships with farmers. Accomplishing this wasn’t easy. It took spending countless hours in the fields with the farmers to know why and how things grow.

Over the last several years, a disturbing trend has caught my attention in New England and beyond. Food lovers looking for fresh, regionally produced foods in their meals have become interested in the “farm-to-table” movement while many restaurants have misled them. While the Farm-to-Table trend has been great for reconnecting the farmer and consumer, I’ve noticed many restaurants proudly promoting their dedication to sourcing from nearby farmers, portraying an idealized image of community support and sustainable agriculture but behind their kitchen doors another truth exists. This alluring front conceals a harsh reality: many “farm-to-table” claims are not as delectable as they appear to be.

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Keith Sarasin

Author, Chef, & Restauranteur. Founder of The Farmers Dinner & Aatma, 5x Author instagram.com/keithsarasin