Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Pasture. Your Plate

It happened a month earlier than it normally does, but there I was this morning getting up at 4:30 am, packing up and heading south to the big city. The critters just looked at me with that blank stare of bewilderment when I flipped on the floodlights before the sun came up so I could fill their hay racks before heading out for my maiden voyage to the Bethesda Central Farmers Market.

"Uh, hello? We're not out on pasture yet," they seemed to say as they cocked their heads sideways blinking at me with those oh so distinct goat eyes.

True. That's the real beauty of being a pasture-based farm and leaving for market before dawn--I don't have to feed because they animals feed themselves. I know they're out there watching me with their glow-in-the-dark marbles that eerily watch me leave as my headlight glance across the resting herd.

But this morning they let out a collective "you've got to be joking" groan as the hay hit the racks before I hit the road.

Similar to other markets, Bethesda Central Farmers Market is located on a street closed off to traffic. Instead of having vendors on both sides, we are stretched out in a long line. To one side of me is Sababa who makes fresh falafel. On the other side is Stoneyman Gourmet Farmer who has a variety of artisan cheeses and dairy products.In addition to farmers, there was also lots of freshly prepared food using quality ingredients.
There was even a wine vendor!
And then there was this guy with his tricked-out smoker.
On the drive into the city for market, I've spotted a few 'regulars' traveling to similar destinations for the same reason. Last year I seemed to always be on the road with Two Acre Farm. It was obvious from the tables and tents strapped to their truck they were headed to a market. Today, I finally found out where they were always going and got to meet them.
Although I gave up grains, dairy and refined sugar last October, I couldn't help but ogle the real French pastries--tarts & madeleines. Concoctions of butter, sugar and flour aside, it felt really, really great to be back at market meeting my customers and sharing the bounty of the good earth with my fellow humankind. Okay, that sounds kind of hokey, but what fills my heart with purpose and my soul with gratitude is when people come back week after week and tell me all about the wonderful meals they cooked with meat from the animals that have been a daily part of my life here on the farm. I know several pounds of my veal breast will be the centerpiece for a large family's Passover diner, that an incredible athlete will fuel his body with goat chops and a young couple will braise veal cheeks to celebrate closing on their new home. It is the knowingness of my labor that drives me to the pasture instead of a cubicle. Thank you, Bethesda, for the warm welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great first day! Did you get to meet Cathy?