Last weekend, Todd, the kids and I visited Kinsey Family Farm. We were looking for one of those nice, fall family activities. This was new to us, so we decided to try it. The day was gorgeous beyond all reason, and we had an amazing time.
Just north of Cumming, Kinsey Family Farm is not a long drive for us. Once a Christmas tree farm, they have added attractions and activities and it is now a great family day out. To get there, you go north on Hwy 400 and turn off just as you get a spectacular view of the mountains (onto Jot-Em Down Road). You can learn more at www.kinseyfamilyfarm.com.
Our kids had a great time. Vivian really took to feeding the goats. Roland braved it with his daddy’s help. Because my kids have special needs, anything they enjoy or do with independence is a great thing. They loved the hay ride, fish feeding and the fresh apples with caramel (with which they fed themselves, not the fish). Most of all, I think they loved running in the grass and being outdoors with just a little less asphalt around.
Because I am interested in food, I am interested in farms. In fact, they are growing in popularity nowadays and not just because of the changing seasons. There seems to be a growing general awareness of the food they produce. The locavore and slow food movements are taking off. Organics are becoming much more popular. It seems to be a trend that we are following and, for once, a healthy one.
Personally, I would love to be a locavore. A locavore is someone who eats only what is grown and produced locally, or within a certain radius. (The presence of the term in Dictionary.com affirms its place in our culture.) I love the notion of living by such an ideal. Frankly, though, I don’t see how I possibly can. I wouldn’t begin to have the time to do the research involved. My shaded yard provides neither acreage nor sunlight enough to grow a great deal of food. If someone were to hand me a “how-to” manual for Cumming, Georgia, I swear I would try it. But for now, much as I would love to, I don’t see the reality in making such a total shift.
Instead of lugging around several pounds of guilt about this, however, I do what I can. Each summer now, I plant tomatoes, herbs and various other experiments (on my deck where the sun is). Every year, I try to add something new – sometimes successfully, sometimes not. What I grow won’t feed an army, but will give my family a few healthy meals. I have increased my shopping at farmers markets, and I try to support our local growers. Gradually, I am learning the changes to make and how to slowly move that boulder of lifestyle. And I share these ideas with other folks whenever I can.
I think, and hope, this move toward more natural, local, fresh, healthy food isn’t just a popular – and therefore, fleeting – trend. Certainly, it could be. With so many choices and no lack for resources, we have every opportunity to be followers of fashion. But I would love to think, instead, that we have looked carefully at our options and made a decision for something better. When much of our food is processed and its ingredients mysterious, there is an indisputable appeal in the simple, straightforward and nourishing.
I think most of us are drawn to farms and the fresh food they provide because we long to touch on something that is real. Much as we love our modern conveniences, we also look back to a time when living was less virtual, less technological. So we jump at the chance to encounter creation as it is made directly by the Creator. I don’t know that God has a preference for rural over urban, but I do know that my encounters with the divine happen most often when I am surrounded by the miracles of seed and soil becoming plant and shade and sustenance. When I visit a farm or any place where things grow, it has a sense of coming home. In fact, it is.
While I don’t have a good story to go with it, here is the recipe for this post. It’s a good one. I put it together quickly in order to squeeze in 30 minutes of pre-bedtime play with the kids. It worked.
Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
2 c. sugar 1 stick margarine
4 T. cocoa 3 c. old fashioned oats
½ c. peanut butter 1 T. vanilla
½ c. milk
Combine sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter. Put over high heat and let come to a boil, stirring constantly.l Boil 1-2 minutes; remove from heat and add oatmeal, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix and drop on waxed paper. Allow to cool. Makes 24 large cookies. - Laura Taylor