Issue No. 5

August 28th, 2010

Keeping It On the Farm

by Barbara G. H. Stewart

BROOKFIELD, NH – There’s a common misconception, says Jenny Tapper, that goats don’t graze. “Goats do eat grass, but they like to browse.” Specifically, they like to browse in trees. This explains their habit of getting up on their hind hooves whenever they encounter anything tall and potentially nourishing. Be- cause Jenny bottle-feeds the kids, her young goats tend to ap- proach people as a puppy would, with paws up and faces eager.

The Food We Eat: In Life and Death

by Susan Marquis

It’s just dawn, a lovely day is on its way and the grass is still wet with dew. We’re in the pickup truck, heading to the West Virginia pastures of Smithfield Farm. It’s Friday and so time to select the cattle for slaughter. Forrest Pritchard is meeting up with his farmhand, Robert, and Jacob and David, this year’s interns. The land is rolling hills with forests of oak and the occasional chestnut. Pulling up to where the dirt road ends at a battered shed and the fence of the pasture, we see the cattle drifting toward Robert. He’s calling to them in the reassuring voice of a man who has been with them from their birth. Not too tall, in a flannel shirt and the kind of jeans that people wear for work rather than fashion, Robert has been around cows and cattle for most of his life, working on a dairy farm before joining Forrest at Smithfield. The full-grown animals are large and perfectly capable of trampling a human. They’re easily spooked by strangers, so I duck behind the pick up truck.

When in Rome

by Hope Adair

Every time I eat an oyster I have the same thought: Who was the first person to realize that this slimy, gray mass was edible? The answer, really, is that over the course of history people have tried to eat everything they could get their hands on and it was only through trial and error that they discovered what was merely edible and what was, to use every food reviewer’s favorite cliché, transcendent. Without a doubt, cheese falls into the second category.

Do Try This at Home: So You Want to Go Natural?

by Merryl Winstein

This spring, I faced a glut of sweet raw goat milk; so I began making cheese daily. That’s not part of my regular schedule— caring for goats is. With a sinking feeling I watched homemade cheeses overflow my refrigerator, like the runaway multiplying water buckets in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”

Cheesemaker Check-In

Who: Charlotte Hirst

Where: Woodbridge, Virginia

Cheesemaking? What were you thinking? Why not? People make bread, beer, and wine at home so why not make cheese? It’s like bringing something new into the world every time I make cheese. I see it as an art when I create my cheese and no two batches of cheese are the same. Cheese reflects a time and a place based on weather, the season and what the animal has been eating.

Film Review

Food, Inc.
Robert Kenner, Filmmaker
Reviewed by Jane Cavalier

Food, Inc. is an eye-opening exposé of the modern food industry. It is both fascinat- ing and terrifying, and es- sential viewing for every citizen. The film does an excellent job of explaining today’s “industrialized food chain” where nearly all of the food provided to us in the US comes from five multina- tional corporations. These companies are driven by the rules of capitalism—profitability and efficiency. They are responsive to their largest customers—McDonald’s and other “low cost” eating establishments. The result is a food chain structured to deliver food at the fastest rate and lowest cost. It means that the demands of our daily diets are being met with a supply of food being manufactured according to the principles of industry.

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