As I look out the window here on April 19th, in the year of our Lord 2022, and I see snow not only falling, but accumulating up here in Lyndhurst, I feel I might have been a bit hasty to announce on our sign down in Kingston that we would opening on Saturdays once again.
But, so it is written, so it shall be. We’ll be open at 1054 Highway 2 East on Saturdays from 10am-2pm for the next month or so, extending our days and hours as the variety of products grows. We’d love to see you there. Along with our usual mix of meat, eggs, root crops and cheeses, we’ll also have vine ripe tomatoes from Forman Farms.
One thing about weather like this is, I suppose, that it gives me an opportunity to sit down at the computer and write. Since last week, a few of you shared an interesting essay by Bee Wilson you correctly thought would be up our alley, about the gradual disconnection we’ve experienced from the tactile experiences of handling, selecting, preparing and eating food.
The progression from specialized vendor (ie: fruit stand, fishmonger, baker, butcher… etc), to supermarket, to online retailing was one of many threads the author wove together in her story – I had to chuckle because there are few people more zealous about direct physical contact with their food than us… while also launching an online store. Such are the compromises of running a family farm in a world that is hurtling towards the Metaverse – the transhumanist vision of the future, where we shed the shackles of our physical bodies to explore exciting virtual realities… like shopping at Walmart.
Like many “trends” foisted upon us from our betters on high, no sane person wants this reality – I suppose unless you own stock in Walmart or Facebook. What people at least say they want, and what we actually get seem to be getting further and further apart. For instance, I imagine most people would *say* they want things like walkable communities with local small businesses. Instead, we get:
This happens to be in Kingston (I’m sure most of you know exactly where it is), but for better or worse, it could literally be anywhere in North America. In many ways we already exist in the Metaverse: severely detached from physical reality, drifting in an anonymous, placeless fog of corporate consumer culture and consumption. It may be bland, likely unhealthy, but it offers few challenges or surprises; it is “safe”, predictable, consistent.
The impetus for Bee Wilson’s meditation on the culture’s loss of tactile appreciation for food was her own experience of losing and regaining her sense of taste and smell when she came down with COVID. As much as I am on the same page with her when it comes to the sensual and aesthetic appreciation of food – as well as the rest of life for that matter – I feel the bigger picture with food (and the bigger loss during COVID) is social.
Man does not live by bread alone, and there’s no joy in a meal by yourself. One of the greatest rewards I experience with our business is when I’m down at the farmstand on Highway 2, and I see two people – neighbours – finally, for the first time, introduce themselves, socialize and chat while squeezing tomatoes and waiting in line, after living down the street from each other for years.
This “people” element is honestly why I believe the Creator allows our unlikely business to exist and prosper. I often reflect on this when I see our employees at work as well. I’ll witness people of vastly different ages, class, language and culture interacting, working, laughing and learning from one another. Very few settings allow for that in today’s world. Our farm – as much as it is a business, an exercise in stewardship, a source of calories, and home for our family – reaches its highest potential when it serves as a substrate for the gathering of people and source of strength for our community.
In the words of the most idealistic, hippie dippy daydreaming farmer of all time, Masanobu Fukuoka: “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings”
So while I am proud of the food we produce – its taste, texture and smell – and continue to apply myself to the various disciplines of my craft and nuances of business, none of it would be possible without the people (you) who go out of your way to look beyond the Metaverse and go out of your way to *work with people*.