Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome to the launch of Pasture2Plate, a blog chronicling the brutal truth about what it takes to put food on the table.

Farmers markets are popping up everywhere and consumers are asking where their food came from and how it was raised. Similarly, conferences, workshops and seminars are teaching farmers how to sell their products to this growing audience--tell your story, put a face on the food--advice I've taken to heart and practiced faithfully, both as a farmer and a cook.

But a few years ago, I was asked to review Hit By A Farm, by Catherine Friend who, with no farming experience whatsoever, up and started a sheep farm twenty years ago in Minnesota with her partner. As I read through the book, my kinship with her grew and in the final chapter she summed up her book as well as our lives by saying that farming boils down to three things--sex, shit and death.

Everyone likes to talk about how they saved the family farm by going organic, selling locally, raising humanely, making value added products like cheeses and charcuteries and starting CSAs (community supported agriculture), but very few farmers are willing to share the realities of what it takes to get the food from the pasture to the plate. So my New Years resolution was to start telling the real stories behind what we eat. Some will be funny, others heartbreaking and yes, some will make your stomach churn in disgust, but it's all part of taking on the responsibility to produce food.

Oddly, this project was inspired by a former colleague in the tech writing realm who has bravely blogged about his personal challenges. Thanks Bill, for the courage to start this blog.

My goal was for a January 1st post, but the weather was just too nice not to take the opportunity to get some outside work done before winter winds, temperatures and precipitation returned. And I needed to clean up a mess before the warm weather exacerbated the situation....tomorrow's post. At least I adhered to my Pennsylvania Dutch roots and came in to a good luck dinner of pork and sauerkraut.


  1. Good idea and a good start on it, Sandy.

  2. Keep the posts coming!


  3. Great post and I cheer your dedication to telling the real story. We had a food writer print an article in the food section about our experience on learning how to kill chickens properly. It was done very tastefully. Pittsburgh Post Gazette a few years ago. They got the most responses to that article ever in the food section. The best one was "how could you put something like this in the food section?" duh.....