I've attempted to start a post about 13 times since my last update. There are so many things that have been on my mind and I can't seem to organize my thoughts. Scatterbrained is a good word for the way my brain is "working" (at least for the past few weeks). But there is a constant for me: my goal or mission during my culinary career. Local food is better for your health, better for the local economy, and while it may not necessarily be easier on your wallet, you'll definitely be getting your money's worth.
Two weekends ago I went on the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association's Upstate Farm Tour, 2010. My grandfather, "Pap", would be so proud of the all the farming I did. Charlie and I went to 3 farms on Saturday and my parents and I went to 3 farms on Sunday. It was a lot of fun and fairly educational. It was really nice to see local farmers making a great effort to put the message of local, fresh, seasonal foods out there. As I explained in a previous entry farming, sustainability, and eating seasonally are very important to me. I'm glad to see that it isn't just a dying dream.
We visited the Milky Way Dairy in Starr-Iva, first. They raise Jersey cows and milk them for the production and sale of raw milk. The next stop was the Lucky Acres Alpaca Farm in Anderson County. The Alpacas are so sweet and their fur is wonderfully soft. The last farm on Saturday was the Split Creek Farm, also in Anderson. They raise and milk goats...lots and lots of goats. And can I just tell you that goats are some of the funniest creatures. Especially when interacting with chickens! On Sunday, my parents and I ventured a little further away from home. The first farm was the Sharon Rose Farm out towards Spartanburg. They do things the old fashioned way there. All their animals are grass fed (with a few exceptions) and they have just about every typical farm animal; cows, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and pigs. They have also recently started raising rabbits. The owners of the farm founded Native Meats, which supplies products to many restaurants in the area as well as individual families. After that tour (and some delicious gumbo made with Native Meats products) we headed out to Red Fern Farms where they raise lamb for meat and wool, and also seasonal produce. We didn't get to see the lambs, but we were able to sample some lamb meatballs and snow cones made with fresh, lemon-basil syrup. It was wonderful! Our final stop of the day and my final stop on the tour was the Bethel Trails Farm (no known website). This was another "we do it all" kind of farm. They had pigs, cows, turkeys, a few sheep, lots of ducks, chickens, and even an emu.
It was a really good experience. There are, of course, tons of pictures that Charlie and I will upload some day and share with the class. Until then, I'll leave you with the picture I've put in this entry. It doesn't just apply to just the Appalachians, you know. Eat REAL food; as fresh and local as possible.
**I would like to note that I understand it's not always possible for everyone. Money-wise, it could be difficult. It may also be difficult to find fresh, local ingredients in your area. My goal is just to spread the word and ask people to consider what they are eating and where it comes from.