05 February 2011


I've had quite a blissful week.  Three days ago I discovered that the windmill in my village opened a bakery.  I found bread made with wheat that is grown in their fields, harvested and milled by them, and then used in bread they bake.  I do make my own bread, but there are so many varieties at this place, I have plenty of options for breads that I don't make at home.  Not to mention that they make fresh pastries, with their specialty being apple strudel using apples from a local orchard.  Tasty.

And then today I shopped at a farm.

In the middle of the city.  Yup, a real working farm in the middle of Eindhoven, complete with grass fed cows and pigs, chickens that wander the yard, and it's own cheese making facility.

The kind of place where you buy whatever vegetables or fruit they're growing at the time (read:  whatever is in season).  The kind of place where the milk from the cows at the farm is used on site to make the cheese that I selected from the cheese wheels sitting on the shelves.  The kind of place where you buy however many eggs you want, oh, and feel free to gather them yourself from the hen houses.

This past week has been crunchy granola heaven.

And what makes it possible?  ACCESSIBILITY.  It takes hardly any more effort (or money) to shop at these places than at my local grocery store.  I'm fortunate; it's not always this easy to get quality whole foods straight from the source.

But it is possible, and every day it's getting a tiny bit easier.  Farmer's markets are becoming more common, and coops are getting more popular as well.  Food subscription services exist in a lot of cities - you pay a farmer at the beginning of a growing season, and every week you get a share of the harvest.

The real question is:  is it worth the effort?  For many years, it wasn't worth it to me to bother with where my food came from.  But it is now.  My son came with us to the farm, and he was amazed that he could reach into the hen house and pull out an egg.  He was speechless when he saw the rows and rows of cheese being aged, and the dirt all over the potatoes and carrots.

Soon we will begin planting our own vegetables...this will be quite the experiment in our "garden" that doesn't actually have any grass.  But I'm inspired by what I am seeing around me, and I'm encouraged by the fresh, in season food I've been able to buy.  Hopefully my family will enjoy this journey as much as I am.

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