9001 Wakarusa Street, La Mesa, CA 91942

Staff Movie Review: Before the Plate





Reviewed by Sue Petrofsky, Library Assistant

The documentary Before the Plate explores the process of creating a culinary dish in a restaurant when utilizing the farm-to-table method of buying what is needed to prepare the meal. John Horne, executive chef of Canoe and Auberge du Pommier restaurants in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, takes the viewer on a journey to each of the farms that contributes to the meal, including beef cattle, dairy, carrot, celery, onion, corn, wheat, potato, sunflower, and tomato farms. He even visits a beekeeper and shows how the honey used as his sweetener is harvested and processed.

Before the Plate is excellent viewing for those who may be unaware of where their food comes from and what is required to produce it. The film takes the viewer through the complete process of farming, from planting to growing to harvesting and to preparing for shipment. Filmed in Canada, the farms featured are much smaller than many of the factory farms in the United States. They also are owned by farmers who take a great deal of pride in the quality of the products they produce.

Some of the interesting facts the viewer learns through this film are that small potatoes are raised to have thin skins that are tender when boiled, as opposed to large potatoes that will be baked; carrots have problems with deformity; and that a honeybee produces one-tenth of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. The film also discusses aspects of GMO farming versus organic farming, and when and why one might be preferred over the other.

Each farm-visit segment lasts about fifteen minutes, and the film never lags. Before the Plate is an excellent documentary to view if you have ever wondered how the food you eat gets to your plate. It also is good viewing for children to learn how food is produced.

Before the Plate is available to reserve and check out from Herrick Library via curbside pickup.


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