Eating fresh, local is back in style

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Fruit by Travis Isaacs (Own work) [CC-BY-2.0 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tbisaacs/)], via Flickr

“My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher, but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.”

— Brenda Schoepp, farmer

Throughout the history of mankind, there has been nothing more important than securing a reliable source of food that supports life in all stages, along with water that is clean and abundant.

If you can grow it and nurture it yourself, that is all the better.

Most of the food I grew up on was known to us, so I realize this way of thinking is simply born into the way most farm families have lived. We either planted it, fed it or even sometimes caught it with a very simple fishing rod and hook. It did not matter one bit that my first lowly catch only amounted to the size of my pinkie finger; it was a proud moment as we passed the tartar sauce and celebrated landing that bluegill.

And it seemed that meals were a more blessed event, for the most part, than any I enjoyed in the years after I grew up and flew the family coop.

We seemed to have lost this way of thinking in our country for a time, especially in the years of colorfully processed everything, but it bodes well for all of us that there has been an awakening, a desire to return to that which the earth provides.

With this resurgence of realization and appreciation of all things organic — in the very literal sense of the word — it is a hopeful seed for farm families.

Recently, I was on the periphery of a conversation about this very thing, with the subject of whole milk and homegrown vegetables being discussed.

“There was a time I only bought skim milk ­­— and picked it up in the biggest grocery store for the best price, and I avoided eggs because I had been convinced they were bad for me,” one woman said. “Now, I buy whole milk and fresh eggs from a small, family-owned shop, and I feel better than I have felt in years,” she said.

There are many things we have gotten wrong over the course of a lifetime, but eating simply and cleanly can surely become a building block to more good things to come for American farmers as we look toward the future.

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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