Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Farm (and Sea) to Table

As a mother, I am pretty sure I am constantly screwing up.  Each night thinking back on the day, I make a mental list of things that I know I could have done better.  Some days my list is longer than others, but there is a list every day.

While I sweat the small stuff, I am tremendously thankful that I don't have to worry about the big stuff: food, shelter, or clothing for my kids.  There are plenty of families out there struggling with not having enough, and I want my kids to be grateful for what we do have and not take anything for granted. 

It is particularly important to me that my kids understand where their food comes from, especially that it takes effort for to get it to us.  To stock the tidy shelves of our grocery store aisles, food needs to be grown, harvested, butchered, caught, and collected.  My kids are little, so they learn much better through experience, and we had some amazing ones recently.

Eggs come from chickens (that need to also be cared for) 

This past summer, we stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Hershey, Pennsylvania where breakfast was made from the eggs laid that morning in their chicken coops.  Here is my son at Airy Hill Farm, collecting our breakfast.

Though my daughter was too nervous to handle the eggs, she tagged along as we woke up early, collected the eggs, brought them back to the kitchen, and cooked them for breakfast.  Farm to table, in the truest, quickest sense.

Crabs come from the ocean, and fishing for them requires patience and luck

Later in the summer, we went to the beach and went crabbing.  With strings, fish-head-bait, and a steady hand, even my four year old pulled up a few crabs.  We brought them home, and after a dip in the "Jacuzzi" (despite the lessons I want them to learn, there are some things that need to be delicately explained to nightmare-suggestive preschoolers), we picked their meat and made a delightful salad of crab meat, corn, and tomatoes.

Apples come from trees, need to be grown, picked, and hauled home
Yesterday, as Fall decidedly arrived with a drop in temperature, we picked our own apples.  It was cold and wet, but we had fun climbing the ladder and picking the best low hanging ones.  After lugging the heavy bags back for weighing, the best part was snacking on a freshly picked apple.  (Stay tuned, I have plans for the remainder of those we picked.)
I know these are only individual instances of eating farm (and sea) to table, rather than a life-style, but while we are strolling through the grocery store, where we usually buy things like turkey, fruit, and vegetables, I can say, "These apples grew on trees, just like the ones we picked, remember?"  Or, "See those crabs, they came out of the ocean too." 
Even if my daughter lies screaming and kicking on the floor in the middle of Aisle 4, and my son takes my distraction as an opportunity to scale the shopping cart and stand atop, arms aloft, as the wheels threaten to slide the cart out from under him, I can hope something is sinking in.  Grocery store days are usually long list days.

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