Each week, we will feature a different Lynchburg Locavore and find out why eating local is so important to them.
Many of you have probably seen Tom Burford around the market on Wednesday and Saturdays because frankly he doesn’t know how not to come. He’s been coming to the market since 1942 and as he puts it, “old habits are hard to break.” Known internationally for his work with apples his most recent book is Apples of North America: Exceptional Varieties for Growers, Gardener, and Cooks and if you haven’t already, you can pick up your own copy inside the market. He’s been a locavore since before the word was even coined and here is what he had to say:
What do you like best about coming to the market?
Well honestly it’s hard for me to give a reason since I never really think about why I come. I’ve been coming since 1942 and frankly old habits are hard to break. My ancestors moved here in 1715 and started planting orchards which have been passed down through our family ever since. Coming to the market was just something we did. But I’ve seen the market ebb and flow- seen it go through a lot of changes. For instance right after WW2 was a dynamic time for the market. You could bring your own jars to fill up with milk, slabs of meat would be sitting out on tables, and you could even buy live chickens. Then the packaged food crisis started in the 60s and 70s and things really changed. It’s good to see where the market is now.
Why do you choose to eat local food?
I’ve never eaten anything else. No matter where I live, Italy, California, Korea, Virginia- I eat local.
What’s your favorite fruit or vegetable?
Definitely a tree ripe peach. There’s nothing that even comes close. Each year I head out to the orchard and find the tree with the most bees. That’s where the best peach will be.
What are you going to make when you get home today?
Last Saturday I bought some Napa Cabbage from Eby’s Produce here at the market and made a delicious slaw. So when I get home today I’m going to make some Kimchi with the left over cabbage. I learned how to make it when I was stationed in Korea during the war and it’s one of my favorites.