at the tender age of 18 my mom and dad left their family’s dairy farms for the greener pastures of … well, hawaii.

yes, that's my mom!

yes, that’s my mom!

so, instead of becoming a fourth generation farmer, i was almost named Leilani, and i grew up in southern california amidst the orange, lemon, lime and olive groves of orange (the city).

i sometimes wonder how different life would be had we remained in wisconsin. i never thought much about farming life when i was young — i was barely old enough to remember much from family reunions. i DO remember that all of our relatives were always trying to feed my sister and I more and more and more because we were those “skinny california kids.” to add salt to the wound of family, there i would be, visiting the Dairy state, and quite allergic to all dairy products. this was practically a sacrilege (this would be the time my older sister would remind me that i was adopted)!

the kickapoo river valley, where my father's farm was...

the kickapoo river valley, where my father’s farm was…

 

in my here and now, i am engaged to the wonderful bob who is an amazing chef, now turned chef-instructor (better family hours!). His menus were already well known for their fresh, local food, and now that he teaches at a culinary school, he is immersed in the food to table movement.

I taught entrepreneurship (not cooking!) at the same school, AND I had the pleasure of participating in a “bovine breakdown.” i am a keen protein eater, and it seemed only right that i should learn more about what i was eating, and where my favorites cuts of beef resided. helping in the process of going from half of an animal to hamburgers was, simply, awe-inspiring. I gained even more respect for our farmers and ranchers (and animals) who live day in and out the lives that provide us with quality food.

i’m a big believer in quality (read: no GMO), natural, seasonal food, prepared with heart, love and respect. i believe in enjoying each meal to the fullest, whenever possible (yes, our family eats dinner together almost every night!).

i also believe that you usually get what you pay for (decades of self employment ;. when it comes to the food I’m going to nourish my body with, i love knowing that i’m purchasing from someone i respect, and that they are making a living, too. i cannot think of a single exception when i say *every* farmer, aquaponic person, rancher and grower of food that i have met works harder, and for less money, than anyone i know. and, they seem to receive waaaay more satisfaction with their life choices. check out the excellent blog (link below) to Ham Sweet Farm and their infographic breakdown of how much it costs to raise a healthy meat chicken … it’s illuminating. and it’s a brave statement.

the farmers i’ve met are kind (and brutal at times), taciturn (usually), optimistic (they have to be) realists who live in each day and spend the bulk of their days caretaking the food and animals we eat.

all of that said, I am proud to use this space to promote a few of my favorite farms and farmers. check out their links, like them on facebook, follow their blogs (i don’t know where they find the time to write!), buy their food if possible.

and if you can’t buy their food, get to know your own local farmer and buy theirs!

sandy

ps: do let me know who your favorite food sources are, i’d love to add them to my resource network  :)

 

if you want to be more in the know with issues concerning land, food and farmers/farmworkers, be sure to check out harvest public media: harvestpublicmedia.org and the Modern Farmer: modernfarmer.com

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63rdlogo  here’s 63rd street farm in boulder: 63rdstfarm.com

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tomten farm

tomten farm

tomten farm in the telluride/placerville area: facebook link

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indian ridge farm and bakery

indian ridge farm and bakery

indian ridge farm in norwood: indianridgefarm.org

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hamsweetfarm

and ham sweet farm in michigan:  www.hamsweetfarm.com
(I don’t know them personally, but i love what they are doing and the things they have to say…)

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