Down on the Farm

I was ecstatic to learn that one of the lovely women I met through S.O.A.R. has a farm they are converting from cattle pastures to sustainably grown heirloom produce.  And, best of all, they are managing the farm as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture.  It’s like outsourcing a garden to someone who knows what they’re doing.

I love this concept.  It makes me feel more connected to the source of my food and more involved, even if it’s only through my checkbook.

The most exciting part is that Wildwood Harvest (the farm) was open to all for a visit and a tour this weekend!

The farm is set in northern Georgia, about 20 minutes South of us.  The long driveway curves its way up a hill, lined by evergreens.  In the afternoon sun, the rolling hills look romantic enough that I forget the back breaking work, the endless mud, and the perpetual coating of dirt that comes with farming.

We get to see the newly planted fruit orchard, the bee boxes waiting for their hives, the mushroom logs inoculated and plugged, the freshly tilled field ready for planting, the newly restored 100-year-old barn that was crushed by a tree, and the amazing collection of chickens and one male turkey who I will forever think of as “Thanksgiving.”

It’s always a little difficult for those of us who don’t live with our food sources to meet what we’re going to eat.  It’s particularly difficult when it’s an amazingly beautiful bird that keeps flirting with everything that moves.  I’ve never seen such a gorgeous turkey.

Had I known, I would have brought my camera.  As it is, I pull out my iPhone and shoot as best I can.  I get a few shots of Thanksgiving and a lovely rooster I start calling Coq au Vin.  (I figure it’s best to associate these birds with food before I get attached.)

In the house, we get to peek at the unending array of seeds selected for this year’s crop.  There appears to be 1000 seed packs lined up on the table.  If variety was a concern, it’s certainly been alleviated!

We meet fascinating neighbors who are artists from New York and swap stories about trying to find good produce.  What are the odds of meeting artists from New York on a small family farm in Northern Georgia?

We are called to leave by the barking of Tisen.  He’s been banished to the car to avoid an ugly dog-chicken encounter.  He’s either bored or trying to establish dominance over the farm dogs who know better than to chase chickens.  It’s about time to head back to the mountain to see if the wind will die anyway, so we say our goodbyes and head on our way.

My photography lessons:  1) Take your camera.  2) Shooting birds on the move with an iPhone is tough; see 1.  3)  No matter how beautiful Coq au Vin is, the soft focus ruins the photo; see 1. 4)  Chase all farm animals into shade when in full sun.