Beautiful Farm, Beautiful Food, Beautiful Person
By: Dina Lewallen (Nov 29, 2010)
I moved to Asheville in February of this year and am new to the local food movement. As I have two toddlers with ear infection/allergy issues, I was really interested in nutrient rich food. I also wanted to find a way to incorporate more local/in season food into our diet without the "food miles" associated with the produce at the grocery store. However, by the time I figured all of this out (also after reading Animal, Vegtable, Miracle), I had missed the main part of the CSA season. Luck and chance were working in my favor and I was referred to Lisa Black and her Fields of Gold Farm. She had a spot for me in her late fall Harvest, I was thrilled.
This was my first time joining a CSA and I tend to be an enthusiastic person but I didn't expect to have these feelings about food. Something akin to passion and romance and love. Because this produce that I was picking up weekly, was just so beautiful. So rich in color and texture and taste, it changed my whole way of thinking about produce.
Our first real "aha" experience was when my toddler, who up until then would only eat frozen chicken nuggets, started to devour the acorn and butternut squash. Thanks to Fields of Gold, my son was eating his first produce (I never met a toddler that didn't like bananas but if you want to see one in the flesh, you can come to my house and watch him throw one at me). This settled my soul as I was so worried about his growth and development.
We also decided to make homeade potatoe chips one day with the potatoes, which were refreshingly dirty (ie full of that amazing soil she has there). Wow, we didn't realize that we could have it both ways - "junk food" at home that was biodynamic. Good-bye guilt.
I also noticed that when we would stir fry our collard greens, they would never make it to the plate, we would eat them right out of the pan with our fingers! Now, we are not vegans or vegetarians and until recently had a budget line for Chic-Fil-a so this is a true food miracle for us.
After all this food excitement in our home, I finally had a chance to visit the farm. I was sick and so were my kids but I thought, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go and see where the food we eat is being grown. Well, it was SO fun. My boys got so dirty and just toddled around this surprisingly safe atmosphere. We loved Jenny the donkey and Lisa's new goats. What was amazing was to see how this had been a very comprehensive working farm at one point - root cellar and barns and machine shops. Lisa has a vision for restoring the farm and I am so excited to watch her do it.
Alas, the best part of visiting the farm was meeting Lisa herself. I am inspired by people who have the courage to walk away from life as they know it and answer their "calling". I could imagine Lisa as she described herself, a former business executive, but her calm and reassuring demeanor represented that of a person who had reconnected to her land.
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