Recently, a small group of us lucky Lady Farmers were able to take part in an adventure sponsored by Slow Food DC, a tour of the P.A. Bowen Farmstead near Brandywine, Maryland. Home of author, activist and ultimate Lady Farmer Sally Fallonand her husband Dr. Geoffrey Morrell, co-founders of The Weston Price Foundation, the farmstead is a model for sustainable agriculture, utilizing practices that produce high quality, nourishing foods. We got to hear and see how they raise grazing livestock in adherence to the patterns of nature and without hormones, herbicides, pesticides or growth enhancers. This diversity of naturally raised species creates a thriving holistic community of humans, plants and animals living in symbiosis with the land, nurturing not only our bodies but the earth as well, healing both soul and soil.
The farm produces superior meats and artisan cheeses, and is also one of the few facilities in Maryland licensed to sell raw milk for pet use. The tour began with the immaculate dairy barn, where the cows are milked once a day while listening to classical music. Hanging in the middle of the space is a gigantic brush, hacked from an automatic car wash, where they can help themselves to a luxurious, full- body scratch-down while waiting their turn to be milked. From there we got a video overview of their cheese making process and toured the room where the milk is tested for food safety and bottled for sale.
Chickens are the only animals processed on the premises, in an outdoor facility where the open air and sunshine help ensure cleanliness. Before beginning for the day, the farm staff takes a moment to thank the animals for their lives and their sacrifice in nourishing us. There are several steps from start to “chill” (beginning with the cone that puts the bird upside down and causes it to black out, thereby rendering it unconscious for the slaughter), but with a few simple tools and some basic machinery it’s an extremely efficient forty minute process. This is in stark contrast to what happens in most large-scale commercial chicken processing plants.
The tour continued into the pastures, where we saw chickens running around, happy cows grazing in the warm fall sunshine and free range pigs feasting themselves on dense brush, providing the farmer with a holistic and cost-efficient method of clearing the woodlands for shaded grazing. Before long, it was our turn to feast on a delicious lunch of pulled pork tostadas, mixed green salad and fermented vegetables, prepared according to recipes and guidelines from Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions ( a game-changer for anyone seeking to break away from the challenges and misinformation surrounding our current food system!)
We wrapped up our day in the Farm Store (of course!) and supplied ourselves with ample bones for broth, raw cheese and grass-fed butter. I even got a quart of lard.
(I know, I know! We’ve been told for the last forty years that it will kill us, but click here to find out why it’s not true AND get the scoop on Sally Fallon’s upcoming new book!)