2 weekends ago, I had the pleasure of accompanying Sarah on a day trip to her CSA farm, Garden of Eve. I belonged to a CSA for two years, and went on a farm trip then, but this experience was TOTALLY different!
The farmer himself
Sarah and I went on the tour led by Chris (above, who runs the farm with his wife Eve). Both used to have desk jobs, but traded it in for the farm. Neither of them sugarcoated the farm life–it’s backbreaking work, no doubt–but both seem quite happy and fulfilled by it (and their two glowing, organically-fed children looked pretty happy too–I regret not taking a picture!)
Greens hiding out in the grass
Chris and Eve’s farming technique differed from my old CSA farm in one major way: they don’t weed! My old CSA farm had lines and lines of vegetables framed by only dirt, but these veggies nestled in the grass and weeds just like any other plant. Chris explained that weeding is in large part for cosmetic purposes only. Behold the red cabbages:
Chris gave us a thorough comparison of organic vs. conventional farming practices, which I found fascinating, though it’s hard to remember in detail 2 weeks after the fact! One thing I do remember is that the treatment of corn is DRASTICALLY different. Organic farmers might use copper as a bug deterrent in the soil, but in most organic corn, you’ll have one or two worms on the top of the ear (in the silk). This is actually a sign of healthy, chemical-free corn! Conventional farms, on the other hand, will blast chemicals straight down the ear of corn as many as 10–12 times to get rid of the worms before harvesting the corn. Scary!!
I was especially excited to meet these free-range chickens!!
ever wondered where free-range eggs come from?
This gave me a lot to think about. I originally became vegetarian because I disagreed with factory farming practices, and over the past year of veganism, the concept of eating an egg (what they are, really, when you think about it) became really disgusting to me. But being here, seeing the animals living comfortable lives and being treated well, it didn’t seem so bad. Food politics are tricky!
The chickens subsist on organic vegetables from the farm. I had no idea chickens even ate vegetables!
egg at 12 o' clock!
Ever since reading ANIMAL LIBERATION and becoming concerned about farming practices in the first place, I’ve wanted to see free-range chickens in “person.” I understand that some “free range” farms aren’t really free range at all (and that the egg standards, in particular, are easy to fake), but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of space these chickens have!
chicken guard dogs
After the tour, we made a stop by the blackberry bushes before lunch!
blackberries right off the bush . . . nothing better
And lunch was a spectacular pot-luck!
RHUBARB SODA!!! This was light, refreshing, and delicious, with just a hint of sweetness
seconds on salad
Desserts!! The berry cobbler was my favorite . . . wow.
seconds . . .
I arrived home with a nice organic sunburn . . .
If you’ve ever had any interest in where your food comes from and how it’s handled, I would definitely recommend visiting a farm near you. It’ll provide lots of food for thought!