For the majority of my life I was pretty thoughtless about where my food came from. Not quite a city girl but not really a country girl, I knew a little bit about gardening because my grandmother grew veggies. (My Dad’s mother that is. My Mom’s mother had an amazing green thumb too but she was quick to tell you she was a city girl and only grew flowers.)
Basically, I knew a little bitty bit about growing vegetables and raising chickens for fresh yard eggs but nothing about raising animals for meat. Chicken was something wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store and the only thought I really gave it was did I need a package of thighs, breasts, or legs? You had fat ground beef and a little less fat ground beef. Some kind of rump roast. Thick or thin cut pork chops.
Years ago Rob and I came across a book titled, The 100 Mile Diet. It’s the story of a Canadian couple who decided that for one year they would only eat what was produced within one hundred miles of their home in an effort to learn and connect with the people who grew and raised their food. It was the first time I learned that the average ingredients in a typical meal I prepared probably traveled well over 1200 miles before reaching my grocery store shelves and then making its way into my kitchen pantry.
Our friends at Fox’s Farmstead allow us the opportunity to close the distance between knowing where our food comes from and also how it’s raised. They practice farming in a way that is respectful of the land and is also mindful of the animals themselves producing healthy and delicious tasting chickens.
I’m not going to lie…it was a little ewww for me at first. It was my first chicken slaughter day afterall. But the cycle of life and death is natural and there is wisdom I think in seeing how one thing dies so that another thing lives. Plus they have these cute little helpers just going about their business helping so I couldn’t be a big old cry baby.
We live in a society where entitlement is all but imbedded in our dna. We have choices and options for whatever food we fancy whenever we fancy and we can make those choices completely divorced from the reality of who made it happen, how it happened, and where it happened. And that does not make for a thankful people but breeds a certain consumeristic ignorance.
Throughout history food has always been about more than just eating. Eating has always been about more than just eating! Food nourishes our bodies but meals nourish our souls and community. Connecting the two deepens the connection.
One of the things I found so interesting about my morning spent at Fox’s Farmstead was the atmosphere and camaraderie of everyone. And the children! People brought their kids with them to pick up their orders and it allowed them to see the process in all it’s natural and messy goodness. They were by turns fascinated and grossed out but also intrigued.
The other thing that really stood out to me was how much life was being lived wherever you walked on the farm. Things were growing, creeping, and pecking all over the place! As I wrote this I realized I missed getting pictures of the goats they raise but I have eaten some of the delicious cheese made from their milk.
All in all it was an amazing experience. We’ve been friends for years and it has been really neat to watch them learn and create a place that offers a beautiful alternative to bigger is better mass produced food sourcing that benefits not just us in the here and now but also the land for generations to come.
I encourage you to check out their Facebook page and watch a couple of their videos and get a glimpse into what they are doing and why. It’s really interesting, not to mention delicious. Plus, I think they still have a few chickens for sale!