Carrboro, North Carolina
Born and raised in central Maine, my youth was spent mowing the lawn, kicking a soccer ball against the garage doors, and trying to sneak sugar cereal out of the kitchen cupboards after I was put to bed. More about Tim
South Royalton, Vermont
I am a baby boomer who grew up in a time when the trend in food was convenience and speed. It wasn't the fast-food era, but a post-World War II time when ... More about Warren
We live in Holliston, Massachusetts. When we bought our house in Holliston about 27 years ago, Holliston was a rural/residential town of about 13,000 people. More about Barbara
Wallace, West Virginia
My name is Autumn. I'm 24 years old, and I live in rural north-central West Virginia. I was born and raised in West Virginia, and in 2005 I graduated from ... More about Autumn
My personal interests revolve around the environment, both knowing more about it and getting outside and enjoying my surroundings. This led me down an educational path to ... More about April
When I was trying to decide whether or not to take up the Splendid Table's gracious offer of watching me eat for a year, an important exercise was taking inventory of all the local foods I knew I would be able to get my hands on. Close attention was paid to key foodstuffs: water, flour, BBQ chicken. Chicken was one of my aces in the hole. As far as I knew, Alison and her chicken farmers in Troy, NC were just going to keep on churning out prize poultry forever - the whole lot of them whistling one day into the next.
Or so I thought.
Alison's Family Farm went out business about two months ago. This is how I felt:
????????? !!!!!!!!!!!!!! !?!?!?!?!?!?! *^@(@!(#* ................................
Can you believe that we live in an age where a chicken farm can go out of business!? What kind of sick and twisted world is this?!
I was devastated. I actually had no reason to believe that I could live more than a few days without a drumstick. I thought about phoning the Splendid Table and calling the whole thing off. "Hi, Lynne? Yeah this is Tim. I'm gonna have to drop out... the chicken place closed."
Needless to say, I was really bummed to hear that a local farmer had to shut down her operation. And to show our solidarity with Alison, we stopped eating chicken. Yeah, you read that correctly - we stopped eating chicken.
I have since learned that healthy doses of local sausage can stay the onset of complications associated with a chicken-less diet. And while the co-op is no longer carrying any local birds, we've recently started to tap a few underground chicken vendors that can get us what we need.
The other night, Kiyah and I sat down for some defrosted free-range wings and thighs from Pineknot Farm and it struck me that I even cared about Alison. Six months ago there would have been no chance of changing my diet because a small business tanked.
And I thought I was one of the good guys...
All the best, Alison. We miss you.
Springtime on the farm is a glorious season. With apples, dogwoods, redbuds, maples, and serviceberries in full bloom, the hills are alive with color. Tulip poplars are already leafing out, lending a fresh spring-green hue to the mountains of West Virginia. And our yards, flower beds, fields, and forests are awash with the colors of too many flowering plants to list here.
Springtime makes my task of eating locally much easier. In the last couple of weeks we've enjoyed fresh rhubarb pies and the earliest stalks from the asparagus bed. Tender wild greens such as dandelion, cress, and chickweed supplement or even replace store-bought lettuce, and two days of morel hunting last week scored us several dozen of the fungal delicacies. Today I spent several hours transplanting seedlings into larger pots, and with potatoes, onions, peas, cabbage, broccoli, and early greens planted and mulched, soon the gardens will be producing abundantly. These factors add up to a greater percentage of local foods in my diet: Last week's average edged upward of 70% local, and I am confident that this percentage will continue to rise in the weeks and months to come.
Next time I will discuss another cherished springtime Appalachian delicacy: Ramps!