Saturday, February 25, 2012

Breathing new life. . .

One of the many predictable phenomena here at the farm is the rush of spring visitors.

While it's not technically spring yet, it might as well be. Before yesterday's storm the pasture was mostly open and there was far more mud than snow.

This time of year brings babies galore which is, of course, one of our sinister techniques for luring visitors to the farm. You have seen the posts about Chevon (Kevin) the goat, and of course the bunnies. . . they are by far the biggest draw.Many who come over having been laying claim to particular kits. It's making it difficult to tell folks that these ones are destined for the dinner table. Is it a dark idea? In this generation, yes! In past generations, however, rabbit was common on the plate and during some periods, a staple. Rabbit is a dark meat with a higher protein content than turkey and the consistency of chicken. But before they grace the table, they are awful cute.

One of the benefits, for we the educational farmers, is that when supper is cute, it draws in people and opportunities for learning appear. In the past weeks we have seen college students, family, faculty, staff and locals from the community come out to the farm. While they are visiting the critters, we get a chance to talk about what farms in the northern regions are doing this time of year to get ready for the actual growing season. We also get to talk about diverse foods that are disappearing from our menus for ideological reasons. Some good, some bad, but when look at what I like to call heritage foods, like rabbit, in light of the current economic and health care situations, what once seemed cruel (which is the word most often used) begins to make more sense.
So, while I am not expecting that we are going to suddenly make things like rabbits endangered species in the quest for healthy and sustainable foods, perhaps one or two families will make a habit of eating a bit more like our ancestors.

On the educational front we are adding new learning elements at the farm to augment on campus programs. . .

It turns out that we have a Pre-Vet Biology major. I may have known a bit about this, but there is still so much that I am learning about what Saint Joe's has to offer.

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