November’s Sustainable Steps from a Peterborough farmer
Be in the drivers seat
A friend and fellow farmer in Jaffrey, Peter Sawyer, has a saying, which I think is so appropriate when doing something right puts you in the right place to get good results from your actions. The other day, I had a man come into our farm store. He saw a sign up sheet for getting a Thanksgiving turkey from Sunnyfield Farm. He asked me if these were turkeys that we raised. I told him they were. He then asked me where they were. I told him where to go to see the turkeys and he proceeded to go out and have a look. He came back and signed up for one of our turkeys. By going out and seeing for himself and deciding he liked what he saw he put himself in “the driver’s seat.” So many times we mindlessly eat and/or do what is put in front of us without much thought, that is why industrial food has become the norm, and how it is made, is beyond us. Our food choices have become a “back seat” choice and it would be great to get ourselves retrained so, as Sawyer says, “then we will be in the driver’s seat!”
Let it grow
When driving down the road, fresh mown fields look beautiful and serene giving one over to bucolic thoughts of quiet country life with fresh cut grass smells and the quiet mooing of a cow or two. We need open fields and, while I love the woods, thrown in here and there fields are beautiful and serve an important purpose. I read an interesting article that was trying to answer the questions of why New Hampshire seems to have more Lyme disease than ever before. In this article, one of the reasons given was that when New Hampshire was more agriculturally inclined we had more fields, less woods with wet areas just made for ticks. I am not an advocate of going out and clear cutting, but I think where appropriate fields should be brought back. Another seed for thought in “changing what is beautiful” is that newly mown fields look lovely but to me uncut fields, chest high with grass and “weeds” are just as beautiful. I see a source of food for sheep or cows. I know many people see an inch of growth in fields or lawns who are driven to mow. I say let it grow and feed something.
If you have not yet taken the plunge into eating local for whatever reason, consider giving it “the try.” All the small local stores seem to have at least one locally grown or made product, many have whole shelves. Even bigger chain stores are making an effort. Pick up some salad greens from Rosaly’s at Roy’s Market, and make a salad. Find a local farm and find one thing that you are comfortable making. If you go out for dinner, ask for “what’s local.” Aesops has been a long-time buyer of local farmers products. Corey, the sous chef at the Waterhouse, is buying local and serving up some local eggs and meat; there’s local food served at Harlow’s Pub, too. Wherever you look there are opportunities to take those baby steps towards buying and eating local.
Ruth Holmes is one of the principal farmers at Sunnyfield Farm, a nonprofit community farm in Peterborough.