Pints of our gelato make it to freezers all over the country, straight from our factory in Northeast DC. But so much more happens before the gelato is made. It all starts with farmers. We’re taking our team to visit the people who make our gelato possible in our Field Trip series.
We’re so fortunate to not only have a good relationship with the farmers that make our favorite flavors possible, but to have a strong, working relationship with them. Not everyone has the opportunity to communicate directly with the people responsible for feeding us, so why not take advantage?
We see Zachariah Lester every Sunday at the Dupont Farmers Market. He is the tireless and passionate soul behind Tree and Leaf Farm, which now has two properties in Virginia to accommodate growing demand. In that respect, Zach is a kindred spirit– his work ethic and do it yourself approach to farming, food, and community mirrors our own. Every Sunday, we leave the market with the literal fruits of his labor: opal basil, crookneck pumpkins, chocolate peppermint, lemon thyme, and so on. That produce goes into some of our favorite flavors, and those recipes are nothing without the collaborative effort of our two teams.
Anyone who has had a single conversation with Zach about the farm, the food industry, capitalism, family, community, or anything else would know that visiting Tree and Leaf at the market is a treat. It’s something to look forward to. Taking our store managers and leaders to visit the farm meant they could understand that special connection that one doesn’t necessarily make between agriculture and gelato.
These conversations sometimes appear casual, but they plan the seeds of bigger ideas– sometimes those ideas are brought to life a couple of weeks later, or a couple of years later. But without that conversation, we lose that connection.
When you visit the market for a stroll or a snack, we hope you’ll stop at stalls and talk to the people who grow your food. You can ask them about the seasonality of a specific type of kale, why a potted herb costs as much as it does, or what it takes to keep that crop alive during biting Mid-Atlantic winters. You can ask about the kids running around behind the tables. You can ask about visiting. But ask something, and start a conversation.