Valley Bounty: Hamburgers

From the totemic Big Mac, to the upscale creations of chic gastropubs, to the suburban chef’s masterpiece on the backyard grill, no single food really comes close to encompassing the frenetic character of the American diet like the hamburger. Americans eat roughly 50 billion hamburgers a year, which works out to three burgers per person every week. You could fill volumes (some have, I’m sure) about the social, political, and economic currents of American life that converge in this ubiquitous sandwich. And for a food that has become something of a poster child for a processed and commodified global food system, an intentionally crafted burger can just as easily showcase the strength and unique character of our local farmers.

Local beef, cheese, veggies, and locally produced baked goods are widely available at farmers’ markets and retailers that buy from local farms—you could picture a burger in your mind and use that as a farmers’ market shopping list (I’ve definitely done this). Let your beef warm on the counter for a few minutes and mix with just a little salt and pepper before grilling. Medium doneness for beef is 145°F.  I’m partial to cheddar and onions on mine, but make your burger to suit your heart’s desires—that’s the American way.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)