I'm a city girl with a country heart. It's been a cool transformation over the past 7-10 years. Most of you know my story. I exercised a lot and gave very little thought to what I ate. Then I started to realize that rather than just throwing anything down the hatch, it might behoove me to fuel my body with real food. So I started a quest to find nourishing, nutrient-dense foods for me and my family. It led me to the Weston A. Price Foundation, whose focus on real, whole foods made a lot of sense to me. Things didn't change overnight in our household. But gradually, little by little, real foods made their way into our home. We started eating eggs and yogurt for breakfast instead of cereal. We chose real fruit over Del Monte Fruit Cups; quesadillas over cheese-flavored tortilla chips.
As we made these changes it slowly dawned on me that real food came from real people growing and raising it. And what's so fun is that in recent years, I've had the wonderful opportunity to meet the people growing the food. When I'm with them, I feel like a starry-eyed fan, and if I didn't have sufficient self-control, I would indeed pull out a sharpie and ask for an autograph. Unlike Hollywood stars, these guys don't entertain, they provide genuine sustenance for the masses! They are worthy of adulation, truly!
Last October, I connected with Jesse Straight, the lead farmer at Whiffletree Farms in Warrenton, Virginia. Jesse is a young farmer who graduated from UVA (where my daughter went to school.) He had no plans to become a farmer, but he picked up a book by Wendell Barry that changed the course of his life. He decided to farm and he never looked back.
In November, I had the privilege of meeting Will Winter, a farmer and advocate for holistic health for animals and people! He told me that he used to be a vegetarian because he saw a disconnect between caring for animals and going home and eating them. Now he is a consultant for Thousand Hills Cattle Company and he is the owner of Lucky Pig Farms!
And in just a couple of weeks, I am going to meet Joel Salatin, farmer extraordinaire of Polyface Farm and the author of "Folks, this ain't normal!" Joel challenges the way we look at our food, animals, the government, and, of course, each other.
If I sound like I'm ga-ga over farmers and name-dropping a bit, well...I am. I admire their hard work and the food I have the privilege of enjoying thanks to them and others like them. Are you intrigued by their lives? Do you want to learn more about the adventures of raising and growing food? Come meet Jesse at a get-together at my house, here in DC, on Saturday, Jan. 23. (Comment below and I can give you details.) Can't make that date? Get to know these gentlemen through my podcast! My talk with Will Winter just aired (and you can hear from Jesse and Joel in future episodes). Soon you'll be ga-ga, too, and boasting (or blogging) "I met a farmer!"