Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Farmers are fabulous

I didn't know much about farming before visiting my BIL & SIL this summer. I mean, I'd been on farms before, but mainly horse farms. And then there was my Uncle's chicken/goat/cow farm in Jamaica. Which was way different than a dairy goat farm on the Kansas prairie. But being out there in KS for a week and observing the routine gave me a whole new appreciation for farms, farming and the farmers who are dedicated to upholding the farming tradition in America. It is way, way harder work that you could imagine. However the rewards pretty much equal the work. Fresh milk (and other dairy products), fresh meat, fresh eggs, fresh produce are all things that city dwellers can't imagine. It's one thing to buy organic or join the local CSA, but you are still getting a commercially produced product. But the chicken my BIL grilled our last weekend there? Was walking around the yard in the morning. Now THAT'S fresh.

On the other end of the spectrum of "family" farms is Blackberry Farm. Obviously this could only be considered a family farm if your family includes 300 people, 14,000 acres and a huge bank account. But, really, if you exclude the spa and child restrictions*, is it really so different from what my BIL & SIL and their four kids do a daily basis? Notsomuch. I bet they still get up at crackofdawn, still tend the animals, still do the twice-daily milking, still have to weed the gardens and orchards. But you can fish, hike, bike, walk, ride a horse, and stare off into the prairie sunsets just as well in KS. I feel that to have a proper basis for comparison, I would have to visit Blackberry Farm one day. It's going on the Bucket List. Even if you can't go there, visit their website and drool over the amazing stuff they produce.

In lieu of going there anytimesoon, I will settle for the cookbook.

*Sensibly, they only allow children under 10 during certain periods of the year. And as a mommy of two kids under 10, let me say I totally understand and do not hold it against them in ANY WAY. I can imagine the people at the next table enjoying their snack of artisanal cheeses and locally produced wine while Anders throws a tantrum because they don't have Ritz crackers. I totally get it. If your children are not old enough to appreciate and participate then please STAY HOME.

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