Joel Salatin is a rockstar farmer. I first saw him interviewed on the documentary ‘Food Inc.’ and he has been instrumental in bringing the farm – and this is the small multi-crop farm, not your industrial scale mono-crop farms – to the public’s attention.
He runs an open-house, transparent operation. You’re free to wander the fields at your leisure, and there is a farm shop where you can buy your wares (in the mornings only, mind). At first appearance it has a very familiar feel – many of us have at once been to one like it as a child. The chickens wander around, a few sneaky ones have escaped from their area, the piglets munch happily in their pen, cows look doe-eyed and chilled out. One thing you do immediately pick up on is that there isn’t much equipment around that you wouldn’t guess what it might be used for. It looks all very tame.
After a few minutes of wandering in this very nice atmosphere, we saw a tractor motor on in to the farm, and on it was Joel himself. He gave us a few moments of his time while we chatted about what he was up to: building a semi-permanent pen in the acorn trees for the pigs to graze on, and gave us a little geographical lesson on the farm’s location: it’s a micro-climate that receives up to 1/4 less water than neighbouring towns out of the valley.
We purchased a few legs of chicken which we cooked at the campfire, and I grabbed a book on farm-friendly eating, ‘Holy Cows and Hog Heaven‘, written by Mr Salatin.
The chicken was very meaty, unlike the soft, tender chicken we would normally be used to eating. It were real tasty, as you might say. I would suggest that you get yourselves some, but Polyface Farms don’t ship their produce. They are very strict about that. So, instead I suggest that you rally your local farmers, or find a farmer more local to you, and sample their fare…or next time you are driving through Virginia, pay them a visit.