The farm-to-table movement has been going strong since the early 2000s. Popular with foodies and sustainability advocates alike, it’s seen as a way to improve food quality with fresher ingredients, support local farmers, and promote overall food safety. Now, that movement is getting a unique two-wheeled twist with events known as Farm to Fork Fondo, providing cyclists with a new way to see — and taste — all that Northeastern regions have to offer.
From now until late September, six different Northeast rural farming communities will host one-day farm-to-table events specifically for cyclists. In 2015, 36 million Americans aged seven and above rode a bicycle at least six times, and these events will allow bike enthusiasts of all abilities to sample regional cuisines and beverages while taking in breathtaking scenic views.
A concept that gets its name from “Gran Fondo,” a type of long-distance bicycle ride, Farm to Fork Fondo was developed by professional cyclist Tyler Wren in 2015. After competing in cycling tours for 13 years, Wren wanted to create something new that was centered around a sport he loved.
“I wanted to stay in the industry and build something of my own,” Wren told Mountain Home. “It was a natural transition for me from racing to creating events. I feel inspired to help others, and the Fondo connects people, strengthens the link, and improves the health and wellness of both the rider and the farming community. Participants experience firsthand where food is grown in a fun and healthy way.”
Wren hopes that these efforts will not only educate and delight riders but will revitalize local farms and their surrounding areas, as well. The most recent iteration of the Fondo took place earlier this month at the Artwater Estate Vineyards, marking the first time the event came to the Finger Lakes. Nearly 400 riders from 25 different states came to the event, raising $400,000 for the region.
Over the past three years, these events have become extremely popular. The 2017 events will see nearly 3,600 riders participate, and unsurprisingly, registration slots fill up quickly. The final four events of the season will take place in Vermont, the Pennsylvania Dutch region, Maine, and the Berkshires.
For cyclists who aren’t as experienced with long-distance trips, there are less-intense options available. The Gran Fondo spans anywhere from 85 to 95 miles, but there are a few other choices, including the Rambler Route, which is a sensible 10 to 12 miles in length. All along the routes are local farms that host aid stations where cyclists can sit a spell and enjoy samples of dishes made by chefs from the area.
Wren explained to Mountain Home, “We focus our events on connecting directly to the food growers and producers, telling their stories and honoring the work they do. Our team delivers one of the best cycling events in the country in some of the most beautiful rural locations, taking every detail into consideration, from well-marked routes to medical and safety concerns to sourcing the best food created by each region’s top chefs.”
Additional information on Farm to Fork Fondo is available on the official website. Registration slots are still open through September 24.