A mooo-ving visit to a sustainable farm

If you've read Michael Pollan's seminal work, In Defense of Food, or Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, you, like us, may have developed a real interest in where your food comes from. As often as possible, not only do we buy locally grown food from a co-op or farmer's market, but we find it helpful and interesting to visit farms, befriend the famer and learn more about his or her labors on our behalf.

Last weekend, my husband and I (this is Lynn talking), went on an outing to Sequim (pronounced SKWIM), WA, where we found ourselves staying at a cottage fortuitously situated next to Fairaview Farm. Enfolded on a hillside in the Olympic mountains, the five acre farm is the true love of its effervescent, passionate owner, Penny. With the help of her skilled-at-anything husband Fred, Penny has poured herself into creating not only a Grade A dairy and certified organic farm, but one that is aiming toward becoming 100% self-sufficient. It was fascinating to tour the land that had originally be homesteaded in the 1940's, but fallen into disrepair prior to Penny and her husband purchasing it.

Penny was born into a farming family and has done it all her life despite suffering from an infection in childhood that left her in constant pain and often on crutches or in a wheel chair. Her spirit infuses the farm and the products produced there. Meeting Penny, hearing her story and getting to know her a bit, inspired me to continue my support of small farmers and their often thankless work.

What fun to celebrate green by "meeting" the cow that produces the mild, silken camembert Fairaview is becoming known for, to see the room where it is made and another where it is aged. I'm convinced that I enjoyed the taste that much more because I'd connected with the producers (human and animal), and the process as well as the product. 

While you may not have a farm in your backyard, take it from me, seeking one out at home or away, is worth the trouble. Penny's enthusiasm for her work will stay with me. As will the heavenly taste of that camembert.

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are a mother-daughter team and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net.

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