Can Burgers and Beer Save the Chesapeake Bay?

With views of sheep and cattle grazing on verdant rolling hills, Slow Food DC shared samples of Chef Mark Haskell’s “Singapore Sling” burgers, topped with cabbage slaw and pickled habanero sauce, with hungry visitors at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF)’s Burgers and Brews for the Bay event on October 21.

The burgers and accompanying slaw were prepared using ingredients raised and grown right on Clagett Farm, a 285-acre working farm under the auspices of the CBF and a beautiful venue for this truly farm-to-table event for a great cause.

Founded in 1967, the CBF is the largest independent conservation organization dedicated solely to promoting science-based solutions to the pollution degrading the Chesapeake Bay. Their motto “Save the Bay” defines their mission and commitment to reducing pollution, improving fisheries, and protecting and restoring natural resources such as wetlands, forests, and underwater grasses.

The role of Clagett Farm is wholly complimentary: to employ farming methods that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. The farm raises crops, beef cattle, and sheep, as well as supports a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and tree farm. Clagett’s farm manager, Michael Heller, also spearheaded the Maryland Grazers Network, which helps farmers transition from corn-fed to grass-fed livestock.

The CBF’s annual Burgers and Brews for the Bay event is also a way to highlight the success of the Clagett Farm’s sustainable approach. Chef Haskell’s ”Singapore Sling” burger featured 100 percent pasture-raised beef, as well as slaw ingredients picked that morning from the farm’s garden. It’s hard to get any more local than that.

Tents featuring the other guest chefs’ inspired burger creations, as well as regional craft beers, were scattered within easy walking distance throughout the farm, providing an opportunity to view grazing cows and sheep and explore this picturesque farm just 30 minutes from downtown Washington, DC. Along with the food and beer tents, educational stations were nearby to explain the farm’s sustainable practices and the vital work of the CBF.

With awareness and support being important first steps, we believe that burgers and beer can go a long way toward helping restore and protect the essential resource that is the Chesapeake Bay. Slow Food DC was honored to be a part of this wonderful event, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

If weren’t able to participate in this farm visit, please consider joining us November 3 at Snail of Approval winner Rocklands Farm! You can find more details and tickets here.

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