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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jesus hates Nipples

"I can't believe she's breast-feeding in public! Why do I have to see that?!" - some Christian Lady, on a ferry to Seattle.

I love how our country, and the religious zealots who have drawn up its moral parameters, have decided that nudity, sex and nipples (women's) should be demonized. Any bodily part, or activity has to be made private and /or inapporpriate in order to save the sanctity of our innocence. For some reason, these areas of particular concern are always those related to the most natural and life giving/creating parts of our bodies. Elbows, earlobes, the backs of knees, and a bounty of other equally unattractive body parts are allowed to be displayed in plain sight in everyday life, because they serve no higher purpose or alternate usage. If earlobes could also produce sperm or lactate, we'd all be wearing head-pants and ear-underpants in no time. If a woman is willing to feed their child in front of you, (as the woman referred to in the quote was doing, most inconspicuously) you should feel blessed to be witness to one of the most beautiful acts in life: a mother selflessly giving their child life.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Farm Terroirist

The Farm is the ultimate definition of terroir.  All that we produce is defined by the soil that it grows in, the weather in which it lives its life and who are its stewards.  I have always thought of terrior in relation to viticulture, and having the ability to taste the region from which a wine comes from.  I think that tasting the vegetables from our farm in relation to others, there is a difference.  I know how they were grown, and in what conditions, therefore, I can identify their superiority.  We live in an area in which the idea of local being better is already a commonly held belief system.  From a carbon footprint standpoint, as well as freshness, we know this is true.  Of course, for the type of vegetable, it can be a paradox.  Local is great, but I know that our tomatoes here are not half as delicious as the ones that we grew in California.  You have to grow appropriately for your microclimate.  The area in which the farm exists is a mecca for artisans.  Grown within two miles of where I live, I have available to me (all nearly year round) fresh produce, meat, eggs, cheese, milk, oysters, clams, oils, mushrooms, grains and bread.  Its an amazing dichotomy in our area, because, not but six miles away, is a five mile strip of Home Depot, Costco, Wal-Mart and Safeway; the epitome of homogenized America.   For as many people as there are that support our farm, there are ten times that patronizing each of those stores daily.  I feel that this juxtaposition is a catalyst for our farms philosophy and the change that we wish to see in our countries eating crisis. 

 The availability of any food, any time of the year in our country, has completely eliminated people’s ability to discern what “local” or “seasonal” ingredients might taste like.  The idea of the terroir of our food also reflects an innate sense of reverence for that food, that can’t be expressed when it is a food that is completely out of it’s element.  A strawberry in December is like a polar bear in California.  Depressed.  There’s no joie de vivre and as I often say, no SOUL about a lot of the vegetables that you see at Safeway; waxy and completely out of season.  People will ask me how to choose rutabagas, (or many other veggies at the market) and I will usually tell them, “You want something with character, something that has SOUL.  You’re gonna want the James Brown rutabaga, not the Barry Manilow.”  Often times the root veggies with more character, (ie. nobs, water/worm damage, or generally rougher appearances) will have a higher sugar content, as the plant has dispatched natural sugars to repair the possibly damaged root system during its growth.  A sweeter veggie, that will caramelize more quickly, and that has a distinctly higher quality of “soul”.  Food from where you are has a personality, and a distinct feeling of comfort that the consumer should and will appreciate.    

 On our farm, we create food.  The food is for everyone, and that is whom we provide it to. We are feeding our neighbors; we are giving them the bounty of the earth that they will, in one way or another, give back to.  In as much as we borrow land for our crops, we are also providing shelter for that land from development, and the area from being disrupted.  An understanding has been reached that truthful, local food can be ours, and at a sincere benefit to all involved parties.  As a business, we sell to those companies that we see fit to sell our product.  We sell to like-minded companies that are focused on our area of the world, the products that we can enjoy from it and the people that live on the land that nurtures it.  The terroir of our food not only is manifested in the direction that it comes from, but also the path that it takes.