Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday morning farm visits

This year, I bought a share in a small local farm.  I am a big fan of locavorism, and while I am far from perfect, I do what I can.  I believe it is good for our bodies, good for our planet, and good for the dying breed of small growers.

My farmer's name is Sandra, and I found her on Local Harvest, a great website that connects consumers with local producers of all manner of food and goods.  I was very lucky to have hit the Local Harvest website shortly after she put up her profile, as she only sold 10 shares on her farm this year.

Sandra's farm is called Mansion Farms and it is out in Roanoke, the next town over from me.  Let's see if she's reading.....  Sandra, why do you call your place Mansion Farms?  You can leave a comment. ;-)

So.  Every Saturday morning I make the quick drive out to Sandra's place to pick up my share of the produce she has harvested that week.  Being a terrible novice gardener myself, I am learning a lot just from chatting with her for a few minutes every week.  Maybe someday it will all sink in enough that I can grow some of this stuff successfully myself, but for now I am glad that Sandra is doing it for me.

There is different stuff available every week, and the fun challenge is figuring out how not to let it go to waste. I try to incorporate everything I pick up that week into our meals, and if there is a lot of stuff, I try to preserve it.  It has all been a great learning experience.

Sandra has lots of stuff going on besides her 1/2 acre vegetable garden.  She keeps a flock of chickens and sells the eggs.  I know you've heard me say over and over and over - there is nothing like a farm fresh egg.  Once you try one, you will never buy those weak facsimiles from the grocery store again.

She has goats and sheep and is working on expanding her herd to use for meat.  She also keeps turkeys.  An endangered breed called Midget White.  One of these little guys will be my holiday bird this year.

Sandra also trains and rescues "Livestock Guardian Dogs."  You send these lovable guys out in the pasture with your goats, turkeys, sheep, etc. and they keep the predators at bay.  The turkeys have even figured out to run to the dogs when they sense a threat, such as a large bird overhead, etc.

It's a pleasant errand to run every Saturday.  I enjoy hearing Sandra's plans for expansion, learning what can and can't grow in different times of our growing season, and learning how to cook new foods such as okra, and purple hull peas.

As I've said before - Nature can't be wrong.  I think it will be worth it to listen to her rhythms and dance her dance.

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Howdy Pam from Farmer Sandra. As you can see, I do read your blog and what a pleasure to find that you have been listening to me during our Saturday farm visits. To answer your question. I convinced my Mom and Dad to come and live with me sight unseen in Dec 2006. Through sheer power of persuasion and my insistence that "You're gonna love it", they packed up their lives in the Ozarks and embarked on watching me be a farmer while caretaking for them. Upon my mother's arrival, she declared that this place was the Mansion she had always wanted. So in homage to my mom, I named the farm Mansion Farms. Part of the joy of being at my farm is seeing her face light up with abject infectious delight at what I will come up with next for us to embark on at the farm. Thanks for the nod on your blog, Pam. Cheers to you!!! Sandra