Where Does YOUR Food Come From?

Sheep Grazing at Ninety Farms

With apologies to my father and Mr. Danforth, my High School English professor , both of whom would kill me for ending a sentence with a preposition, it’s still a valid question.

Or, let’s pose it another way.  Michael Pollan, author of “Food Rules” states:
“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”

So, do you know where your food comes from…really?

I had the pleasure of meeting Linda Neunzig and visiting her farm in Arlington this weekend.   (www.ninetyfarms.com)  Linda and I met through a mutual acquaintance and she graciously invited me out to her place on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  I wanted some lamb for Easter, you see, as a special gift to my mom, Barbara, who loves it.

I drove out about forty minutes from my house, leaving the freeway traffic and din behind in favor of quiet country roads, dotted with horse pastures and grazing animals.  Arriving at the farm, I was immediately greeted by dogs, horses, sheep, kids and Linda, with an overwhelming message of “welcome”.   Seriously, I had horses coming up to me in the pasture, just quietly walking behind me, as if they’d join in the conversation at any moment.  They weren’t frightened or skittish.  They knew I was a friend, even though they must have seen the “city girl” tattoo on my forehead!

I toured the farm and walked the fields.  Then I met the sheep.  They were large and small, and loud and healthy and gorgeous.  Baby lambs jumped and played with each other in a spring dance that made me giggle. 

I learned how these animals lived, how they grazed, saw where they slept and walked amongst them.  I heard the stories of how they had to be evacuated a few months ago when the Stillaguamish River crested and deposited four feet of water and tons of silt onto their grazing land.  Their home was restored before their owners, who still have massive remodeling to do on the first floor of their home.

I left with beautiful lamb chops to prepare for my Easter meal and was struck by the cyclic nature of life.  It was amazing to know exactly what I was consuming and how I could provide the very best of the best for my loved ones at my table.  I didn’t realize the sense of relief I could have knowing that there was nothing in that meat that nature didn’t intend to put there. 

I watched the faces of my guests as they happily took their first bites of this succulent and tender meat and it was the best gift of all.  To know that I could do this for my Mom and help her remember and to think about my grandfather and how much he would have enjoyed it was very special, and it didn’t cost a thing. 

I said a silent prayer and thanked the animals for their sacrifice for our nourishment.  I was struck at how rich the meat was, and how little was needed of it before we were full.  We didn’t need a leg or a rack, just a few chops and we were sated.  THAT’s good meat.

Thank you, Linda.  You gave me a wonderful gift!

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9 comments on “Where Does YOUR Food Come From?”

  1. What a delightful description of your mini-adventure. Yes, going to the source is both rewarding and – ultimately — delicious. Thanks for sharing.
    rosanne

  2. Beautiful story – it reminded me of visiting my various cousins as I grew up as “the city cousin”. We would adopt baby lambs in the Spring and bring them to town until they were ready for the farm again.

  3. Great info!

  4. Great story Joan! I was a vegetarian for 7 years because of the way animals are “processed” in the mass meat market, and now my husband and I have chosen to purchase all of our meat annually direct from local farms who raise their animals humanely and naturally. I also purchase produce year-round from local growers in Eastern and Western WA depending on the season, and I can’t wait for the markets here on the West side to open so I don’t have to go across the mountains anymore. Both of us grew up growing our own fruits and vegetables and raising our own animals. It’s definitely a bit more work to go directly to the source, but it’s well worth it!

    • I am working on doing the same…a few friends and I are going to partner to purchase our meat and poultry directly from the producer. I want to support these local artisans and I think it’s the healthier way!


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