If you see me at a Farmer's Market, please don't tap me on the shoulder, wave hi, or shout my name through the crowd of shoppers and vendors. I won't acknowledge you. It's not that I'm rude; I'm just in the zone: my place of pure focus on food where I'm formulating questions for farmers, cataloging the goods of each vendor, calculating the challenge of cooking with a new ingredient, deliberating ingredients for memorized "local" recipes. And I must stay there—in my zone.
When I lift my reusable fabric grocery bags from the passenger seat, all I can hear is my yoga teacher reminding me to "breathe." From that moment on it's all about that one perfect bunch of homegrown baby carrots, that gem of grass-fed, artisan, aged sharp cheddar cheese, or the most succulent of zucchini.
But the vendor table where I lose all sense of my surroundings, husband, and self is Luginbill Family Farms, our local grass-fed animal farmers. Or as they more eloquently put it: "Luginbill Family Farm specializes in total pasture raised and finished beef and lamb, pasture raised pork, broilers and turkeys and free range eggs."
I love meat, which means I obviously love to eat meat. But after learning about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), unnecessary hormone treatments, and the benefits of grass-fed animals, I couldn't justify eating just any meat. Through Local Harvest, I found Luginbill Family Farm. Since finding them, I've never been a happier meat eater. Of course, I love their products, but I'm grateful, too, that they indulge my barrage of questions and many farm visits where I squeal with delight at seeing the cows happily grazing on the pasture and then exclaim, "I can't wait to eat you!" (My husband finds this ritual quite entertaining.) Buying local, grass-fed meat gives me a natural high I can't fully articulate. I feel more connected to my world, community, and body by knowing exactly where my food comes from, especially my meat (and cheese), my favorite foods.
This issue celebrates local foods, as Arielle Greenberg so enthusiastically does in her essay, but also I wanted to share the ways we can procure local foods and sustain our local economies this summer. Arlan Hess' piece so gracefully describes the connection between consumer, farmer, and product that a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides. Andrea Iglar and Katie Hillenbrand describe their Farmer's Markets; both east and west coasts represent! But what I deem the coolest part of this month's issue is that two of my absolute favorite local farmers contributed their Farmer's Market experiences, which I feel brings the issue full circle. So many times we hear from consumers; it's refreshing to hear from the farmers. May this issue inspire you to finally purchase that alien-looking kohlrabi at your local Farmer's Market and use it in your dinner that same night. Or find a local CSA or farmer to support regularly, yearly, and weekly. Cheers to good food, good company, and to the many farmers who make our meals possible!