Reflections and a Wilderness Retreat

I’ve started to do a lot of thinking about the future vision of the farm and what I want us to be focusing on in the next seven years. After the Slow Food conference and thinking more in depth about why I’m actually doing this work. Its become more apparent to me that I am farming to grow quality food: food that I love to eat and that I think others want to eat and enjoy. It is a celebration of good food and a healthy process of creating that food.

Old foundation from the dairy barn…dating back to the early 1800s

How can I expand the mission here on the farm to include preparing quality food rather than exclusively growing and selling it? I want to do more cooking and sharing techniques with others.

I haven’t figured out the exact formula for what we will be doing in the future in addition to growing produce is (cooking classes? recipe books? preserved products?? flower arranging?). It is humbling to look at the old infrastructure here and know that people were producing food here 170 years ago. I wonder what they were growing and preserving for themselves? Were they selling what they grew?

I’ve been a vegetarian for 16 years. My grandpa was a butcher from Switzerland. Growing up  I ate the highest quality meat until I didn’t want to eat meat any longer ( for ethical reasons). Since eating local lardo in Italy, I’ve been thinking more and more about what it means to be a vegetarian to me now. It seems more sustainable to eat the animals we could raise here on the farm rather than relying only on local vegetables. I haven’t committed to this yet though. I want to participate in a slaughter to ensure that I really am committed to eating animals again. I won’t lie though, this idea completely terrifies me.

weighing produce for market

Carrots and turnips for Zingerman’s Mail Order!

I’m back to working full time on the farm since there is so much to do! Because of the more mild temperatures, I’ve been able to do more harvesting longer in the season. I’m doing the last few markets in December as well as wholesale accounts until there is nothing else to sell!

For Andrew’s 30th Birthday celebration I’ve planned a mystery trip over the holiday weekend. I’ve been making thanksgiving food to bring to our mystery location. I found delicious recipes on the smitten kitchen blog including pot pie, rustic apple tart and apple caramel.

Diced carrots, celariac, onion and garlic for pot pie

Chopped chard

Rolling out pie dough

I’m looking forward to our thanksgiving on our mystery trip! Here’s a hint: no electricity, 11 hours away from where we are and beautiful scenery…It also is often not considered part of Michigan but it most certainly is, eh? (any guesses??)

I packed many audiobooks including: Mindy Kaling’s: ‘Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?’ (this woman is hilarious!), ‘Selected Stories’ by Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories, Lev Grossman’s ‘The Magician King’ and I think maybe one about the founding fathers. All light audiobooks of course:)

I’ve also planned to do reading I’ve been meaning to do since my senior year in humanities class on Ralph Waldo Emerson and Thoreau. I figured this mystery trip to an undisclosed rural location would be a great time to reflect on our relationship to nature and read into the meaning of transcendentalism. I don’t spend enough time these days reflecting on this…

By the way, my parents have been searching for a cottage on Lake Margrethe since they got married 24 years ago. They finally found the perfect place and bought it! I spent almost every summer of my life going up to Lake Margrethe for a couple weeks playing in the woods and on the lake, eating fresh blueberries and fish, catching frogs…walking in the woods…now we have a place to invest in for our family and love. It feels incredible. As a coincidence I also found a link to cabin porn . There is definitely something real and tactile to having a place to escape to….whether it be a cabin, tent, yurt, hike…whatever. Its a true spiritual experience.

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One thought on “Reflections and a Wilderness Retreat

  1. Meg & Andrew!
    I hope you had a wonderful Birthday Celebration @ the Mystery location up North! Hope you had wonderful weather with lots of Love & Peace and great food!
    Hugs,
    Csilla

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