Turns out, hot dogs are the great unifier. I figured this out at our first annual Organic Apple Festival four years ago when I spent the day serving up grilled organic hot dogs that even the old Dutchie men gave the thumbs-up. It's hard to find people who don't like a good hot dog, or at least have fond childhood memories of hot dogs and summertime. And I am thrilled that this Saturday, we're holding our fourth annual Organic Apple Festival and I'll be out there again from 10 to 5, woman-ing the grill and serving up the best organic hot dogs ever, donated by Applegate Farms. I love Applegate Farms, as some of you know. I use their organic meats in everything from sandwiches to appetizers, and their hot dogs are so good. (Plus, have you seen their hilarious commercials?)
This festival is such a great expression of everything my family has been working for over the years. It's held at the Rodale Institute, near Kutztown, PA, and this year we're having a pig roast, serving up some of our very own heirloom hogs and offering pulled pork sandwiches (which will, no doubt, go very fast). People can explore the farm on our tractor-drawn wagons, check out the demonstration gardens, and see the Farming Systems Trial, where they can learn about all the amazing research we've been doing on organic food over the past 30 years. There will be kids' activities, local music, and tons of food donated by amazing companies who know the value of good organic food. And, of course, organic apples to pick and enjoy.
It makes me so proud that Rodale can provide a place for families to come and enjoy one of fall's greatest traditions, apple picking, without having to worry about walking around in a sea of chemicals. In a conventional orchard, I would never pick an apple off a tree and take a bite, but at our farm, it's one of my favorite things to do. It doesn't get much better than that on a nice crisp September day.
I know there's a lot of talk going around right now about the benefits of organic foods...or the lack of benefits. And I'm thankful that people are talking about it. It's a very worthwhile conversation that I don't want to end. Let's keep talking about it, and let's keep studying organic food and conventional food until we really know what we're talking about. And in the meantime, come out to the farm this weekend, walk around, eat some food, talk to people, and tell me what you think about organics.
I'll tell you what I think: I think organic food can feed the world. And I'll be doing my part outside by the grill on Saturday. Hope to see you there.
The Rodale Institute Organic Apple Festival is Saturday, September 22, 2012, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, at the Rodale Institute Organic Farm: 611 Siegfriedale Road, Kutztown, PA 19530.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com