Gatherings with food

April 20, 2008

We held our sort-of annual Spring Field Day last week. I say “sort of” because we haven’t held it every year due to weather, soccer games, and various other commitments. Having more than 60 friends and customers here to the ranch reminded me how important these connections are and how much I enjoy them. No doubt, it’s a lot of work. I came home from my job off the ranch at 8:30 p.m. last Friday night. I had spent the day with a bunch of growers who farm speciality leafy greens and other commodity crops for the organic produce company I work for. It’s a great day where we recognize our growers and get to put faces with names, but it takes  alot of energy and I was exhausted by 8:30.  Upon my arrival home, I was met with my husband’s smiling face (always smiling!) and the cheery comment, “Ready to make 100 hamburgers?!” Ah, yes, the joy of the sort-of annual Field Day preparation.

Actually, it is joyful. We put on some Bruce Springteen, poured a glass of Syrah, sprinkled some dry spices over the ground beef, and got to forming hand-made patties. We were done in no time, and our customers appreciated it the next day. Our customers are amazing. They drove from as far away as Sacramento, most came from the San Francisco Bay Area. We started with a nature walk, led by Joe, on the ranch. He described our land management practices and left plenty of room for questions from our customers and their children. What’s so great about these days is that we get to educate urban people about rural issues. We talked about watershed, wildlife, native perennial bunch grasses and – in the words of one customer: “things I had never even thought about before!”

I think the BBQ lunch that wraps up the day is especially rewarding, not only because people are hungry by then, but because there is a certain bonding that takes place when people gather over food. It’s a connection that is shared across cultures, generations and geography. Our customers get to taste the grassfed beef they just witnessed being raised. It’s the kind of relationship so many people lack when it comes to their food. I am grateful we can provide these opportunities and I am even more grateful we have such wonderful and appreciative customers who take advantage of it. 

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