He followed his sister and his brother-in-law all the way to Maine, but that's another story. But here's Joe again. But you know what? One of the things that I found so interesting about that and that I mentioned a little bit in the essay, is we were at some point during the couple days Zach mentioned romanesco broccoli or romanesco cauliflower on his farm. And if you don't know it, it's this -- well, it looks other worldly. It's got this, like, kind of fractal pyramid shape. It looks like -- it's just incredible looking, very distinctive. And then I caught myself because I remembered that the first time I had had romanesco, it was Zach's from Zach's farm.
It had been several years earlier at the DuPont market. And then it started to occur to me that some of my favorite experiences with vegetables and different vegetables and how to prepare them had grown out of my experience with shopping at the market from farmers like Zach. I don't want him to think I'm gushing too much, but he just read this essay in which I gush, gush, gush, so it probably doesn't matter.
But the stand is a thing of beauty. And you just go in I'll gush for you. Zach, you know what he said. He said he was drawn to your stand, one of the reasons is that you and the people you work with always look so healthy and bright. What would you say to that?
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Is good food, particularly good vegetables, something that gives a person a kind of vitality, a kind of bounciness? It's not good sleep, that's for sure. Yeah, nutritionally dense food definitely goes a long way. And the vitality kind of comes out. And we always say when people come to our stand, you know, feel the love. And there is plenty there for our vegetables. We're showing our story and looking towards our customer's story. And kind of that whole happening, for me, definitely it's very important to influence by being influenced.
And so that's -- there's this great reciprocation and dialogue. And, yeah, that synergy between the customer and -- myself the farmer and the customer, people become friends. I've been for 20 years and the focus definitely comes from being raised by pig farmers, you know.
Not my parents, just the -- and all of that entailed in terms of raising those animals and the type of farming. And it was old and traditional but still was dramatic for me. And so then always being a plant person, it was always natural to just eat vegetables and as well as raise vegetables. And in that way of -- that we would be raising food out of beauty on the farm and off the farm.
Call us at If you're a vegetarian, what do you do when you travel? Are there times when you give yourself a break from your diet in order to enjoy cultural experiences, ? Speaking of traveling, I'll start with Pat in Washington, D. Pat, you're on the air.
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Go ahead, please. PAT Good afternoon. Great topic and I appreciate it. I've been a vegetarian for about three or four years now, been percent plant-based for about a year. It's been a great experience. I'm in the business world and, you know, my comment is is that I have no problem. It takes a little practice but I have no problems finding foods to eat, whether I'm at a steakhouse entertaining clients or, you know, eating in a hotel lobby in between -- before my first meeting.
But there are options out there and I wanted to make sure that people knew that it could be done with just a little bit of effort. PAT No, not internationally. It's mostly domestic, but, you know, my wife and daughter and I just came back from a week-and-a-half in Nice, France and, you know, in a place where, you know, there's -- it was more touristy and got some more options.
But we filled our bellies pretty good. I just -- you know, it was hard giving up the cheese, I will tell you that. PAT But my question -- and I'm finding my lingering concern is I ingest more and more and more vegetables and I feel wonderful -- but my concerns around -- I have to stay organic. I feel that's important but GMO is a big concern too. And the more I ingest of, you know, plant-based foods, I am concerned about ingesting more GMOs and nonorganic type foods.
Is there any comment or maybe direction there? YONAN Well, I'm sure Zach has some thoughts on this too but I would say that the first thing that comes to my mind is, you know -- and this is not a panacea, but is to shop small. It seems to me that the chances of food that's grown not only organically but, you know, seeds that have been saved and heirloom varieties is higher if you're buying food from smaller nearby farmers, I would say.
And having that connection with your farmers. Really just looking for the certified organic stamp at the farmer's market or at the grocery store is not enough because there's a lot of policies that are changing.
Certified organic is very much changing. I'm an organic farmer but I'm not certified.
Eat Your Vegetables
And it's very important for me to kind of educate my customers about what I'm doing. And what I'm doing for the fertility of the soil and of course, you know, I don't believe in the genetically modified organisms. I'm working with the natural biology of the soil already. So it's -- that's a challenge for us farmers.
And definitely for me it's a big challenge to educate people what a GMO is and what a hybrid crop is and what a synthetic fertilizer is and what an organic fertilizer is. I'm a natural farmer. I'm not using animal substances for the fertility of the soil, which is really important at this time. We've got to take a short break. If you have called, stay on the line. We will get to your calls. If the lines are all busy then shoot us an email to kojo wamu.
What do you make of the argument that vegetarians are bad guests and bad travelers, ?
Joe Yonan: "Eat Your Vegetables" - The Kojo Nnamdi Show
I'm Kojo Nnamdi. Zach, what inspired you to become a farmer? It's my understanding that there was a beautiful salad involved when you met your wife. And I was at a party and -- it was like a Halloween party and I noticed that there was this great salad and there was an edible flower. And I saw that edible flower and said, who made that?
And this beautiful woman across the way said, I did. And so I said, well I want that flower. And she was a rooftop gardener at the time. And I was still doing my landscape gardening, as well as doing some farming on the side and selling to restaurants. And they had side crops of -- you know, they had vegetable gardens that were, you know, an acre or two. And so experience with them, helping in canning or picking. My grandmother was an avid gardener.
She's -- almost this year so So -- and I just felt that the continuing -- you know, the work that I was doing in the landscape gardening business, that I really like the connection to the plants and the people.
ISBN 13: 9781607744429
But then the growing the food in the connection and the direct marketing, retailing inspires me on a weekly basis really, that connection with people. The stories that you've been -- and, you know, the information you've gotten from people and that kind of takes you through the week to the next one and kind of planning ahead.
And so I think mainly the family and the public. NNAMDI Joe, it was only a few years ago that you took off a year from the Post to live with your sister and brother-in-law in their homestead in Maine.