I love farmers. I hope you do too. I love seeing those signs, “if you ate today, thank a farmer”, and I love meeting the hardworking generations that keep happy and healthy food coming our way. I’m not talking about large industrial factories pumping out wingless birds, and those places that keep their cows packed into tiny plots of mud covered land until slaughter time. I’m talking about your local dairy farmers, your hobbyists, and those people that drive tractors to work and whose “rush hour” is that time of day that milking happens and all the cows try to cram into the barn door at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a tree hugging vegan hippy. I love food, all kinds of food, but I’m striving towards embracing more local food. With Porkers fattening up on the farm next door, and the farm fresh chicken eggs that I had this morning, I love knowing that what I consume, at least had a great happy life. My grandparents were dairy farmers, and my dad grew up playing in the barn and driving tractors. The highlight of my Christmas holiday was the yearly hay ride pulled by “the Old Oliver” tractor that my grandfather still tends to, although each year the tractor gets a bit harder to get going. And just like the fact that tractor is making fewer appearances at our holidays, real farmers are disappearing fast. After a conversation with our neighbour, who has 3 daughters, he just doesn’t know the future of his dairy farm. His girls aren’t that interested in continuing on with the family business, and when he retires, he may simply have to sell the herd, and use the barns for storage. It’s a sad state of affairs when so much of the population is pulling together to support these businesses, but yet nothing concrete is done. Local farms have hardly any government support and if you think that our Hydro bill is nearly $300 a month, can you imagine how much a farm has to pay with all the milking equipment, fans and lights? The least I can do is to attempt to buy as local as possible. And it’s not just the people I want to support, I know it’s not for everyone but have you ever thought about the life your burger had before it became a burger? Okay, no, I won’t make you think about it. And don’t worry I have a bag of chicken nuggets in my fridge that I eat, but totally ignore how they were made. But when I do eat local, farm fresh eggs, I know those chickens are running free, and have names. Porkers will have had many hands petting him over his lifetime and he will have enjoyed life rooting around and laying in mud. I know some people who refuse to eat farm fresh anything because they don’t want to think about how happy the animal was before it came to the plate. I think this way of thinking is a bit backwards. If you are going to eat meat, own it. Really know what you are eating as much as you can. Eat the best you can, and eat local when you can. Make the choice to go local. And get out there, pull on those rubber boots and shake a farmers hand. Meet the people who make it happen. Those are real people, real honest, honest hardworking folks. I just wish that dairy farm is around long enough for me to send Junior over there when he is older to help with the milking. Don’t get me started on the waning work ethic our generation seems to have. That will be another blog.
Farm Fresh When Possible