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Famous Farm

My childhood home is a cover girl. Please excuse the egregious use of Comic Sans or something like it on the cover. It’s definitely not the first time the homestead has appeared in this publication; a couple years ago my dad was interviewed as part of a feature on high tech farms in the area.

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Dish Outtakes: Is It Still Local if It Came from Three Hours Away?

… I say yes, as long as it came from my parents’ farm or somewhere else in the Valley, and especially if I helped harvest it with my own hands.

A couple weekends ago, I went back home to do corn. I didn’t decide I was going to go until the last minute, but ultimately, my parents were glad to have the help and I got to write anĀ article about it for The Town Dish, a network of hyper-local food sites, describing the entire process. It went live on Downingtown Dish yesterday!

I took a ton of photos for the article with our new SLR that we bought for our upcoming trip to Iceland. Here are some that I didn’t submit to the Dish.

We had an audience while husking the 55 to 60 dozen ears.

Enjoying a delightful early morning window sit.
Chad was a workhorse and took up a lot of the jobs my little brother usually does. He wasn’t around to do corn this year.

Proper cutting technique.

Chad happened to wake up at 6 a.m. on Sunday and decided to go take pictures of the sunrise in the cornfield.
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30 Days – Day 29

I am almost daily uninspired about what to make for supper.
And yes, I say “supper.” Dinner, to my farmer dad, is the meal that happens sometime around noon. Hence, supper.
It is the eternal question.
But I have a few go-to options.
One of them is 4H Special, named such because my mom learned to make it as a little girl in 4H. Also, it has four ingredients, which is why it is one of my go-to uninspired supper options.
The coolest thing about it is that whenever I make it, two of the four ingredients are straight from my parents’ farm. I didn’t realize how rare and cool that is until moving to the suburbs and being exposed to the trendiness of expensive local food, that was, you know, actually farmed by a person the consumer has met. Even the applesauce, which frequently accompanies 4H Special, is from my hometown. We get the apples from Zooks’ Orchard, a Belleville staple, and make a whole bunch of applesauce and freeze it.
I can’t tolerate store-bought applesauce.
This is going to be a seriously expensive problem whenever I move out of easy driving distance of the farm.
4H Special doesn’t really look like much, but it is pretty delicious.
A Vague Recipe:
One pound ground beef
Ziploc bag of frozen (thawed) corn
2-3ish cups of cooked rice
2 cans tomato sauce
Mix it all together and bake at 350 for 40ish plus minutes, or until it looks like you want to eat it.

If I wanted to be really hardcore about it someday, maybe I’ll can my own tomato sauce.
Maybe. Someday.
The real creativity about this is the amount of imagination it takes to pretend I’m eating it at home, on the farm, rather than my almost-railroad suburban apartment, surrounded by the living spaces of others. To pretend I’m sitting next to the sliding glass door, my family in front of me, my childhood kitchen behind me, and the fields and the farms and the sunset to my right.
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Food, Farming, Dinner Parties

Good posted an article today about 30 Project, an organization trying to bring attention and change to our food system. I find these food campaigns, though definitely necessary and educational for some, boring and redundant for me. I’ve grown up knowing exactly where the majority of my food comes from (often, my family’s farm). My mom cooked. I know how to cook, even if I often avoid it out of laziness. I’m not three generations away from the farm, as is most of society.

Also, I often find these local/slow/organic food discussions and the people who have them pretentious and inaccessible to the people who really need to hear about healthful cooking but don’t have the time or money to research the issue or scout out their farms and farmers’ markets. (But maybe that’s because I am blessed enough to have grown up with all of this, and have a “Well, DUH” and “What is organic, anyway?” reaction to much of the conversation. I digress.)

But this one caught my attention. It’s encouraging people to throw 30-person dinners, so that friends and neighbors can get together to eat (obviously), but also to talk about the food and where it came from (hopefully somewhere local). Doesn’t that sound fun? Hopefully Chad and I can host a dinner, preferably in our backyard, preferably (but unlikely) with my farming family in attendance. It’d also be a wonderful opportunity to eat some pie.

There’s also a TED Talk given by Ellen, who is “totally obsessed with food.” I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but I bet it’s fascinating. It is, after all, a TED Talk.

So, I thought about our food. Everything we ate tonight, with the exception of the noodles, came from Belleville.

Wine: Apple from Brookmere (YUM)
Beef: My Dad
Applesauce: I got it from my Momma (who bought the apples from Zook’s Orchard, a Bellevillian staple)

Who would come to my local foods dinner party/potluck picnic? There will be pie. Seriously.