This summer I've been on a hunt to find local, organic food options - to connect with the people growing our food. In a world where kids grow up believing milk comes from behind the swinging door in the grocery store, I'm all the way determined (translation: half crazed) to fill in some missing agricultural gaps for our boys. I think we'd all agree there is a strange disconnect between our health and the foods we eat. Surely our growing distance from our food sources is constantly contributing to the deep chasm between what's on our plate and our well being. Lately, I've found myself asking bigger questions about not only how our food is related to our own, personal health, but how the food we eat relates to the health of our relationships and communities. Is it possible that our disconnect from the earth is also fueling some significant dysfunction in the ways we connect with one another - in the ways we see ourselves as dependent on our neighbors - in the way we value life and each other? Is the breakdown between food production and our dinner plate causing some blurriness in the ways we relate to the God who designed our home and regularly employed agrarian language and imagery to teach of his nature and character? I have a hunch we're missing out on big, beautiful lessons, and I've felt alive and revived as we've tried to bring some of these blurry pictures into focus. I've felt inspired every time we've reached out and attempted to fill in some of the holes in our life and in our thinking by meeting farmers who are determined to recapture some of these same visions for our communities and the earth. What I'm finding is this: There are more small farms out there than I thought who are passionate about growing food without chemicals and farming the land in responsible, sustainable ways. Finding these small farms is like discovering hidden treasure.
This morning we ventured out to Osth Family Farm in North Zulch, Texas. This lovely farm is owned by some Ol' Ags who met at A&M while they were in college. I fell a tad bit in love with Joan Osth, listening to her heart for the animals on her family's farm and for organic farming methods.
Their farm raises goats and uses their milk to make natural, handmade soaps. They also grow fruits and veggies and allowed us to come out and pick organic corn.
Joan teaching the kids about growing corn without the use of chemicals. This was the moment when I thought my heart might explode, had to blink back tears, and wondered what Joan would think if I ran over and bear hugged her or grabbed her hands and jumped up and down in a circle. I'm just so proud of farmers like the Osths - committed to the hard work of cultivating a complex, multi-purpose, multi-species farm and employing responsible farming methods. I'm so thankful our kids got a front row seat today as they listened to Joan's passion and love for her family's farm.
Joan teaching the kids how to pick corn and how to know when it's ready to pick.
The kids were all ears. (har, har).
The biggest hit was the horses. Look at these beauties. Although not anti-tractor, it was eye-opening to hear Joan talk about how faithful horses are and how their family likes to use them (instead of a tractor) as much as possible.
You can connect with the Osth Family Farm by visiting their website. I subscribed to their newsletter a few months ago. It's always fun to read each month. They sell soap, veggies, and various other items year-round. They also deliver to our area! For the next few weeks, you can go out and pick your own organically grown corn. It's 25 cents an ear. We also bought other veggies while we were out there today (including apples!). You'll need to RSVP to Joan before going out to their farm to pick corn. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 936-399-3187. Have fun, and give her a hug for me if you go!
EDIT:: After cooking up the organic corn we bought from the Osth Family Farm, we realized the corn was different than we were expecting. The variety the Osths planted is field corn, which is different than the corn most of us purchase from the grocery store. I emailed Joan and asked her for some tips for cooking the corn we picked. She kindly sent me instructions. I'm trying her recipes today. Just know - before you go out to pick corn, you might want to ask Joan how to cook it.