Saturday, May 8, 2010

to shake the hand that slaughtered your chicken.

My roommate has it right, sort of. In response to the exuberance I exhibited over my recently bought farm-fresh chicken breast, she point blank turned to me and said, "I've just got to say, M, you're WEIRD!"

Weird, maybe. By certain definitions, yes. Unconventional? Probably a kinder adjective. Whatever I am, it doesn't change the fact that I'm making an effort to shop more locally, more sustainably, more "insert buzzword here."

The beauty of my farm-fresh chicken find is that I had just read about the joy of raising chicken to eat in Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. In her book, Barbara describes her family's experience as they move from the burbs of arid Arizona to a farm in rural Virginia. They make a pact - give up all food whose source is unknown or shady. Their goal was to improve their health, the economic health of their community, and to cut down on their dependence on fossil fuel. They end up growing most of their own food. Written by Barbara, renowned novelist, with additions by her husband and eldest daughter, it describes the family project with plenty of grace, humor, and facts. A great read.

So when I drove up to the Sierra Madre Farmer's Market that meets on Wednesdays from 3-7, I was elated to find more than the usual fruit and veggies. Chicken! Eggs! Mushrooms! Woot! And to think I almost drove past it, as it meets in a parking lot off the main road. I was like a kid in a candy store. I brought the bird home and popped it in the broiler Julia-Child style - brushed with butter and sprinkled with herbs. To know that my chicken was raised just a few miles away and lived a happy little free-range chicken life made savoring it much more enjoyable. Knowing that my money went towards a family enterprise made savoring it much more enjoyable. Thank you, Rivadeniera Farm.

Adventures in local, sustainable, farm-fresh are turning out to be quite rewarding.

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