Farming cannot be like sports, though some days it feels like we are on the field and all eyes are on us, just like the well paid football or baseball players who live in a world that we can only dream about. All eyes are on those team sports players, on their games and on those fields. And in some ways, it would be a great thing if all consumers eyes could be on us — the farmer– more often than not. (I have to confess that there is not a day that while I am driving the car my eyes are searching for and then riveted to beautiful pasture and hay-making fields cultivated and tended with love by other farmers. Although we do not have any hay-making fields ourselves, I do know that there is a fierce competition between some farmers over who can make the best hay.)
Think of a typice farmer’s day moving compost with the tractor and cleaning pens, but then add in Nielsen ratings like those of the NFL’s Superbowl or MLB’s World Series. That would be fun. What would we learn? Why would someone watch the humble farmer perform everyday tasks? Because that is how some types of farming knowledge is handed down through the generations. That is the only way some facets of the information is passed down: through hands-on learning, by watching and doing. Manure and its management could be, and probably is, an entire course if taught at the college level. I don’t know because I was an American History major in college, and took extra classes in Latin and Land Use and Ecology. But I do know that I have been dealing with manure for nearly forty years, and it is great for the pasture, it is fabulous when composted, and it is almost unbearably heavy to move “by hand” (shovel full) when fresh and wet.
If you were to install a farmer-cam at your local farm, what might you see that was similar to moves that sports players exhibit on the field?
Why, you’d see: scratching, spitting and throwing, of course! But the things that would be scratched, spat and thrown would not be those things that invariably end up on television. Nope. I’m talking about patting and scratching behind the ears on our pastured pigs, sheep and goats. Spiiting out the end of a piece of hay, as we farmer’s often grab a piece and chew on it, to see how the sweet the grass tastes to the animals. And the throwing on a farm refers to the putting away of baled hay — forty pounds each that our animals eat throughout the winter months.
Yes, there can be farming superstars, who sport names such as Joel Salatin, The Fabulous Beekman Boys, Thomas Jefferson, Jimmy Doherty, Neiman Ranch, Creekstone Farms, etc. Each of those people or organizations have instant recognition and status above and beyond that of your neighborhood farm and farmer. Like a team sport, farming, has many players on the field at any given time. And some of them are superstars. The rest of us play steadily day in and day out — backfield positions or right fielders in the sports analogy. During game-play, farmers, like many sports players, must execute both offense and defense. Farmers experience periods of relative calm, when a day can be planned and performed exactly as planned. And then there are days when all of our actions are made simply to not lose ground on a specific task that we had been working on. There have been days when we have had to catch the goats four times, and put them back in pasture, scolding them each time, as we were desperately trying to get out of the yard to pick up our sons at school on time… which was futile that day.
Perhaps farming has more in common with the rich and famous than I thought it did! But then again, I guess that both groups eat, and at life’s most basic level, we all know what good food is all about.
Speaking of good food, we have quite a lot of fabulous food in our freezer just waiting for you! Just give us a call or send me an email, and we’ll arrange to deliver it, or you can come by and pick out something great for your breakfast, lunch or dinner. For Pork from our heritage breed pastured pigs, we have everything from breakfast sausage, and Maple Syrup Cured Hickory Smoked Bacon, to Maple Syrup Cured Hickory Smoked Ham Steaks, to thick Pork Chops, Garlic Parmesan Linked Sausage, and Kielbasa. And then for night’s when you are just running too fast and can’t think of anything else to put in front of the family, we have one pound packages of (four) Hamburger patties, from our Normande breed grass-finished beef. These are perfect for having on-hand, as they are already pre-formed into patties, and separated by butcher paper in their specially sealed freezer wrap — very easy to use just one or two, without thawing the whole package, and then pop the rest into a new bag for popping back into the freezer. And they are just $5.75 a pound. Stock up before they are gone.