A new television program, "From Farm to Table," airing in the Albany area but available online, helps consumers take full advantage of the culinary bounty of the area and eat more healthfully.
The show, a series of 13 episodes, provides an insider's view of local farms and farmers' markets and introduces viewers to the people who grow food. Each episode features visits with local agricultural producers or markets and then returns to the kitchen with Kim Sopczyk, an Eat Smart New York! nutrition educator from Warren County. Sopczyk shows viewers how to prepare healthy and simple meals that feature seasonally available New York farm products. She also provides nutritional analysis, cooking tips and strategies for involving children in meal preparation (in every episode, she and a young guest prepare meals together).
The show is a collaboration between Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), WMHT Public Television in Troy, N.Y., and local farmers. It airs twice weekly on WMHT (Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m.)
The idea for the show emerged from a meeting in fall 2006 between CCE and WMHT staff. "The goal was to create a vehicle to promote local foods, feature nutritious recipes that are affordable and easy to prepare and support the region's farmers," says Andrew Turner, executive director of CCE of Greene County. "After agreeing on the concept, work began in earnest to develop a sample episode, audition potential hosts, identify sponsors, assemble a writing team and sort through countless recipes."
Upcoming episodes include:
Previous episodes available online include shows on berries, beans, desserts, whole grains, harvest vegetables and spices.
"After several decades of erosion in our food culture -- exemplified by the loss of basic cooking skills and a subsequent increase in fast food, convenience food and eating on the go -- and a parallel rise in ever-increasing obesity rates, local communities are experiencing a reawakening of all things culinary and agricultural," says Theresa Mayhew, extension resource educator for CCE of Columbia County.
To see the shows online or to retrieve the show's recipes, go to http://www.wmht.org/index.php?s=1&b=10&p=49.
Underwriters for the show include Eat Smart New York!, SUNY Cobleskill, Hannaford, Upper Hudson Library System, Librarians for the Future, the Leo Cox Beach Philanthropic Foundation, and MetLife Foundation's Fit for Life.