Monday, June 29, 2009

Farm tour

The farm tour weekend is always an exhasuting one. You wake up feeling groggy, skip lunch in favor of half a bagel or some noxious energy bar, and finish milking with your last, sinking puddle of energy. Then you do it all over on Sunday. But there's some masochistic part of me that loves farm tour. Of course, there's the interaction with lots of people that we don't get too often out here in the sticks. But the best part is that the farm tour is an opportunity for the greater community to see you on your home turf instead of sweating in a parking lot somewhere trying desperately to keep the cheese samples from melting.

They see you at work, doing your thing. They see the goats munching on grass and grain, doing what goats do. They see the cheese in the cave and get some idea of what goes into the making of it. It's just a better representation of the process and the love of the process than answering questions in an off-farm setting. You can really explain what 300 gallons looks like with a 300-gallon vat in front of you.

This is me making ricotta--a cheesemaking demo. This was our way of sending a little practical knowledge home with everyone. Ultimately, one of the goals of the local food enthusiast is to build community food systems. This involves everything from preparation skills to trade and barter systems. I know a lot of people who are convinced that local food systems will come to be the only food systems. I, in spite of my skepticism, have come to be one of these people. Thus, the importance of teaching, not only practical how-to things, but also inspiring passion and respect for what goes into a plate of food when the ingredients list does not include high fructose corn syrup or hydrolized soy protein.

You may recall last week's post on the "gouda" type cheese we make. Well, these wheels here are the result of that hard work. We've salted them for two days now (the bigger wheels, not pictured, will require two more days of salting), and the wait begins! Today we made an epic batch of tomme in which the milk almost completely filled the vat. More on that later.
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1 comment:

Cynthia S. said...

Fascinating, Meg. I love the photos. Wish we could have been there for the tour!