Last month I attended the 18th annual Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms Con-ference in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I visited a local
sustainable farm and attended 2 days of technical presentations on various aspects of farming. My real adventure was peripheral to the conference itself.
On the first day of the conference, I met Natalie, who is attending UL Lafayette and majoring in envi-ronmental science. Natalie had done some research
into the Chattanooga area before she arrived and had discovered that the local restaurant scene included St. John's Meeting Place, specializing in local
and sustainable food. One evening, we went there together to try it out.
Not knowing Chattanooga, we got a bit turned around, and found ourselves wandering through a rather dubious warehouse district. We encountered some police
officers talking with some citizens in the area. When they were done, we asked the officer for directions, and got an offer to ride to the restaurant in a
patrol car. On the way, he assured us that we had not been in particular danger in that area of town, but that it was a place that young ladies could pick
up extra cash, if they were so inclined. I was in the back seat of the car when we arrived at the restaurant, so the officer had to open the door to let me
out. The restaurant had plate glass windows; I emerged in full view of the entire restaurant. Our waitress, obviously bursting with curi-osity, asked "So,
is there a reason that you arrived at our restaurant in a police car?"
The menu at St. John's is divided into Snacks, Meat and Cheese, Salad and Soup, Main, and Sides. There are also nightly specials. Not all of the dishes are
the product of local farms, but each section had at least one offering that featured a local name. I was excited to see they offered a Sequatchie Cove Pork
Croquette featuring the sustainable farm that I had visited earlier in the week. I started with the Wildwood baby lettuces, from Wildwood Farm, tossed with
pine nuts and red wine vinaigrette. My entrée; homemade penne pasta, with house-cured Pancetta , tomatoes, and Pecorino Toscana. Natalie started with a
Petit Jurassic cheese from France, followed by a locally raised roasted quail with butternut-mushroom stuffing. We each tried a bit of the other's
selections and agreed that it was all delicious.
Including a glass of wine (French) and the tip, my meal came to about $35. I was pleased to find sustainable could reach that price point in a restaurant
setting. I hope that Lafayette will get a restaurant like this soon, so that fans of local and sustainable agriculture don't have to drive to New Orleans
(August) or Shreveport (Bella Fresca) to eat an extraordinary local meal that we don't cook ourselves.
We have started the Spring harvest. If you have reserved grass fed 'n finished beef you have a date for delivery. The final harvest will take place
on April 15, so if you reserve it now, you can expect about 110 pounds of meat will be ready for you, flash frozen and freezer ready, on May 1. Each
cut is in clear shrink wrap, labeled with the contents so you can see what you are thawing for dinner. That can be re-served with a $200 deposit sent
to Brookshire Farm. The web site explains quantities and how the beef is cut . Click
Order Info on the home page , and then,
"What Cuts Do I Get?"
Some of you have asked about the Fall harvest. There will be limited quantities in the Fall which you can reserve now-note it is for Fall 2009.
If you find yourself running low on ground meat between seasons, are trying to trim your family's food budget while still eating quality food, or
just really like hamburgers and chili, we are also offering a limited supply of ground beef. Our ground beef, like our veal, is a management tool
rather than a regular product. That means that once we have sold out, it is gone, and we may not have it again this year. This spring we are
offering ground beef in 20, 50, or 100 pound shares. The order form is available at our
Brookshire Farm web site.
Bill has retired from his position as our head billy and is riding out the recession in a cushy government job at Southern University, as one of their
herd sires. He did a great job for us - our herd has expanded from 3 goats to 28 in the three years of his tenure. He was replaced by his son, Jim, who
was more than happy to step into his father's shoes. Jim believes that he is now the biggest goat in the world; if you come and visit us on the farm,
he will tell you so in no uncertain terms.
Want to try something different this year for your fourth of July bar-b-que? We will have two goats ready for harvest in July, and one ready for
harvest in May. Cabrito is ideal for the calorie-conscious picnicker, with only 122 calories and 2.6 grams of fat per 3 oz cooked serving. You can
also check out our website for other delicious ways to serve goat.
An Old Farmer's Advice:
Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
Newsletter: Vol 3 No 1-Spring 2009