I went to a wedding over the weekend here in town. It was beautiful, the old-fashioned back yard type of event. White tents on grass, potted flowers everywhere, twinkle lights, lovely table settings complete with handmade origami birds, soft music, and the food...perfection. All from the bride and groom's own farm. Lamb, pork, and beef with delectable sauces; carrots, potatoes, and salad. Sausage and cheese, bread and cake, all local and all organic. Even the butter was "home grown."
The happy couple, Adam and Kelly Perrin, operate Quarry Brook Farms in Sherburne. Family and friends raised glasses with congratulatory toasts, saying with clear admiration that Kelly and Adam walk the walk. The newlyweds believe that going back to our roots -- to local and organic food -- is the way we all should eat, and I find myself joining this growing movement in spite of eating for years "the other way," because, frankly, the other way, the processed food way, is easier (and often cheaper). For some time now, and certainly since watching the movie "Food, Inc.," I'm starting to get decidedly jumpy about processed food. Quarry Brook Farms produces grass-fed beef and lamb, pasture-raised pork, pasture-raised poultry and eggs (their eggs are in a rainbow of colors, testament to the diversity of their laying hen breeds), and vegetables from certified organic seeds. As they say on their website:
"We farm to provide our community with the best food possible. Sustainable farming methods are used to grow the animals and plants; no hormones, no antibiotics, no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or artificial inputs. Just good, clean food grown with respect for our animals and the environment."
I don't know about you, but hearing that makes me sigh with relief.
My grandparents, and for that matter my parents, all had gardens from which the family ate, and my grandmother had a chicken coop. I remember sitting in the garden with my dad and pulling carrots out of the ground and eating them on the spot. When, I wonder, did we go from wholesome back yard food to buying packaged everything originating from who knows where? I was aghast the first time I realized that the heart, liver, and gizzard stuffed inside my Thanksgiving turkey most certainly didn't belong to that particular turkey, but came instead from a giant vat full of hearts and livers and gizzards in some factory, scooped out and plugged inside a hanging bird at the end of an assembly line, a bird that had spent its miserable life in a darkened coop, gaining weight through unnatural feedings, often too fat to even heft itself off the feces-covered floor and crammed in among other similar poultry prisoners. Is this really the food we want to put inside our own bodies? I used to, because I was too lazy to think about where my food came from. Nowadays, things for me are changing.
Adam and Kelly sell their delicious, nutritious fare via CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and at area farmers' markets, most notably on Saturday mornings in Hamilton. Last time I went, I bought some beef patties and a chicken. When I asked Kelly if the chicken was fresh, she smiled her calm smile and said, "We harvested yesterday." (Translation, that bird was hopping around the barn yard the day or so before, clucking and nibbling and living a good old-fashioned chicken life, the way it should be.) Kelly further advised the best way to cook the beef patties. Slowly, she said, because they're grass-fed. The patties hold their shape better when prepared over a low flame. There was a sense from her of real love for what she does, and for what her husband does: "offering good clean food grown with respect for our animals and the environment."
My hat's off to Adam and Kelly, who will now go forward in marriage, and who are also here for us, in this village, providing farm-to-table food that's good for the land, good for the animals, good for the farm, and good for those who realize it might be time to take a hard look at what we're eating; time to take the processing out and put the garden back in.
As a person who has been less that devout when it comes to local and organic, I know my path on this particular journey is just starting. But as I said to Kelly when she handed me that chicken, and not unlike some character in a sci-fi movie about the pod people, "I'm one of you now."
All the best to Adam and Kelly Perrin. Thanks for a great wedding, and thanks as well for going back to the old ways, for working so hard, day and night, to provide all of us food that is, literally, from your farm to our table.
For more information on Quarry Brook Farms, please visit their website, http://www.quarrybrookfarms.com
And if you haven't seen Food, Inc., I suggest you rent it (for info, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food,_Inc.). The movie is an eye-opener, one that will cause you to think twice when you see the happy-go-lucky farm scenes on almost every food label.