I arrive to the farmstand just about 2 p.m. every Tuesday. Parking in front of the old red barn, where dozens of gallons of raw milk are kept cold. Walking into the old farm building, and depending on the season, there’s baskets of fresh summer produce, or in the winter, root vegetables, storage crops and coolers of organic meat.
This is an agricultural rebirth. A movement. A grassroots change in our society, where we’re turning away from the brick and mortar, big box stores for a simpler localized life. A life where we know who’s raising our food, and where it comes from.
Twice a week I food shop. Once on Saturday mornings at the regional farmers market. Then Tuesday afternoons at the farmstand at Grey Rock Farm about 20 minutes out of town. Obviously the selections are a little slimmer in the winter. But I have made do with celeriac, turnips, potatoes, cabbage and apples. And some pastured bacon, a must.
By going directly to the farmer what I’m doing is saying, “no.” I’m turning down the mega-chain grocery store. I don’t want their out of season GMO tomatoes from Honduras, their ultra-pasteurized skim milk, and forsaken slaughterhouse meat.
And I’m the smallest factor in this movement. There’s entire food industries and food scenes comprised around this idea of going directly to the farm. New England, down the East Coast, Texas, California, it’s catching all over.
When eating local you begin to understand the idea of consumption. When I was younger, I didn’t realize what an awful life factory farm cattle had, fed a malnourishing diet comprised mostly of corn. Given little to no space to roam and graze.
Then I found my farm, Grey Rock. And I learned all of their cattle have names, they eat nourishing fresh grasses and organic hay. There is a human element on the farm I identify with. Yes, those animals will ultimately become part of the food chain, but while they are in this life they are shown respect.
The local movement is about respecting our food, and not mindlessly eating. Because behind that organic red Russian kale, there’s more. Someone planted that seed, weeded around it. Watered it. Worried about it. Someone woke up on an icy January morning before sunrise to feed that hog, gave it a pat on the head calling it by its name. That’s love. That is respect.
I hope this movement marches further, because when we give thought to what we eat we’re thinking of the lives beyond our fork.