April 11, 2012
On Good Friday last week, Jill and I celebrated the start of my break by driving about an hour outside the city to visit Blue Heron Farm, home to some of the most ridiculously adorable baby goats on Earth.
I’m not going to lie—ridiculously adorable baby goats were a large portion of our motivation to visit the farm in the first place. Those of us who follow Lisa Seger, self-proclaimed “boss lady” of the farm, on Twitter have been privy to a parade of baby goat pictures all spring as the mama goats have given birth; I must also confess to having purchased a Blue Heron Farm calendar for 2012 which proudly hangs from our refrigerator and brings much cuteness to our kitchen.
In person, baby goats are as cute, or—dare I say it?—even cuter than they are in photographs; they also make an almost painfully sweet bleating noise that could melt even the coldest heart. But there was much more to our morning at the farm than just cooing over baby goats.
Blue Heron Farm is a small, family-run dairy farm; born in 2006, the farm has, in the last few years, become known in the Houston food scene for the fantastic chevre, feta, & cajeta (goat’s milk caramel) they sell at local Farmers Markets. For city kids like me, whose main exposure to farm life came through Charlotte’s Web, to walk around the very place and see the very goats that produced food you have consumed is a special thing (though it shouldn’t be so rare or unusual).
There’s a lot of talk these days about “honest food” and connecting with where food comes from, how it’s made, and what’s “natural.” And as Lisa and her husband Christian toured us around their farm, it became clear that this is what that looks like. Every decision they make goes through a three-part filter: Is it good for the long-term health of the animals?, Is it good for the long-term health of the land?, and Does it allow the farm to make enough money to keep farming? Their commitment to their animals and their principles was apparent, and inspiring.
It’s all too easy to veer into self-righteous territory when talking about food these days; that, to me, defeats the point. But as we toured, one of the things that was the most powerful for me was watching the kids in the group interact with the farm. They tried their hand at milking Lucinda the goat, sampled cheese (and by sampled, I mean “devoured”), and greeted the whey-fed pigs who will, after living a pretty sweet life, become various pork products sold at Revival Market here in town. The kids, and all of us in the group, saw food in process. Someone has to make it, grow it, process it, harvest it, slaughter it, clean it, care for it, bring it to market, sell it to us—and I am appreciative of those folks who, like Lisa and Christian at Blue Heron Farm, do so in the most thoughtful and non-mysterious way they can.
No specific recipe for today, though I have two really great spring dishes coming up later in the week! In the meantime, check out my “Recipes I Recommend” board on Pinterest, or click over to one of the fine food blogs on the BJG blogroll.
P.S. – For a good read, click over to Jill’s piece on foraging, published today in the Houston Chronicle. Short version of the story? You probably have weeds in your yard right now that pack more nutritional punch than spinach. Who knew?