Friday, August 20, 2010

The Locavore Movement and Our Wonderful Country Cousins

The New York Times has an article on the locavore movement, which states that the movement started in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, where we now reside. Locavore refers to food that is locally grown and consumed and with the latest news about eggs and salmonella, having food that one trusts is healthy and, I might add, delicious, too, is a special treat. We are now in the midst of an early harvest and are enjoying fresh berries, corn, and other local produce. In addition, it is special when one can talk to, and even know, the farmers' names.

Since the new academic year is approaching with hectic schedules before us and many of the conferences that I was committed to speaking at in various parts of the world now over, we are finding time to reconnect with our relatives this summer. Many family members, as is typical of families living in the US today, are spread out over great distances, but some relatives of ours, luckily, are within driving distance.

Last Sunday, we visited what we call our "country" cousins who live in Putnam County, NY. The mother in the household runs a large kennel, a local farm, and has 4 young children. She operates like a CEO (but without the staff) and is simply amazing. We arrived via a winding, rock-covered road to be greeted first by wild turkeys. Later, three deer scampering over the road extended their greetings to us.

We were treated to home-made goat cheese with a puree of wild cherries and home-made maple syrup, quiche made from their hens' eggs, and bacon from their (former) pigs.

We set out to see the kennel with quite a few dogs being rescue dogs, and others being housed there and very well-taken care of while their owners were on vacation.

What stunned us was how the farm animals were wandering freely and all the pigs, the cow, the sheep, and the goats, plus her dog had names.

We were mesmerized by how the children interacted and helped out with the animals. They had also rescued 4 kittens, named, respectively, Lady, Gaga, Adam, and Lambert, but, somehow Adam had gotten away. He will certainly find companionship on the farm.

Two goats, named Elvis (white) and Dandelion (black), both featured in photos above, did not want to leave my side. The cow named Sally thinks that she is a sheep, and as a storm was approaching, she headed towards the sheep pen. The cousins told us that the animals are great predictors of weather changes and especially of storms.

The pigs, also featured above, are named Spotty and Snorty.

What a wonderful time we had during which we enjoyed our relatives and so many wonderful animals in the midst of nature!