Yes! We are passionate about being Farm to Fork as a restaurant, but our farm actually started out as our private home 34 years ago. How did we become a farm? My husband bought a horse, of course!
Soooo, before I knew what hit me, since you can’t have a horse in a subdivision, we were out looking for property, land for the horse and some more for a house. We found this gorgeous property - much of it was a soybean field at the time - surrounded by woods and bordered by a creek. Perfect! We were cautioned by the real estate agent however, that this land was not very good for farming. Ha! That was fine with me. I loved the woods and the natural wildlife of the acreage, but little did I know that a farm had always been my husband’s dream.
We opened the restaurant in 2000, and I started an organic vegetable garden here the following year raising good fresh veggies to supplement what we were serving. (Actually, we were paying $.75/squash blossom plus shipping from Ohio, and I thought, “I can grow squash!”) Over the years we’ve made room for more veggies, then again for more veggies, and then came the chickens and hens for eggs, the Wagyu cattle, the Mangalitsa pigs and somewhere in there also goats, sheep, turkeys and ducks along with another horse or two.
I recently posted on social media the fun, well-loved oil painting of our farm, “A Farm to Fork Celebration” by local artist Penny French-Deal. She did such a great job incorporating some of our family stories into this mammoth 8’x4’ piece of art that I wanted to share both the painting and the stories.
Depicted in “A Farm to Fork Celebration”:
The fabulous sledding hill (really the only hill) which the kids loved sledding down. It happened to be a narrow trek winding through the woods with a sharp drop at the bottom into the creek. Moms love stuff like that.
A favorite memory of mine are the Tibetan Buddhist monks shown walking in the woods. There was a dozen of them staying with us, visiting from India to perform a sand mandala ceremony at a nearby university. I kept suggesting that they take a walk in the woods to enjoy the fall colors, but they refused so I went out and walked it with them. On our trek that day, they asked through the translator, what kind of wild animals we had in our woods. Then they wanted to know, how many wild tigers we had in our woods. No wonder! If you look closely at the painting, you will see that I now have one tiger, a friendly one, courtesy of Penny.
There was the Spring Break that our son stayed home because he just ‘knew’ that the goose eggs he had rescued from raccoons weeks earlier would hatch that week and by Jove they did! The goslings used to follow him around the farm reminiscent of “Fly Away Home.” It was great!
Depicted are our daughters driving too fast in the gator through the pasture. We could always tell when they drove too fast because their ponytails would “fly” straight out behind them. Busted!
You can also spot a daughter running down the driveway. She has logged thousands of miles, far beyond our driveway, running every single day for more than 19 years now, without ever missing a single day.
There’s roasting marshmallows at the bonfire, taking hayrides around the farm, fly fishing at the pond and goldens jumping off the dock…busy wonderful times.
Don’t miss the albino raccoon who liked chicken and the hungry fox who really liked chickens. There are horses, barn cats, cows, turkeys, sheep and deer. Just another day of life on the farm.
Oh yes, and there’s me and Pete looking 20 years younger. Thank you, Penny.
The “Farm to Fork Celebration” is on display in the Emporium. If you are interested, there are copies of it which include a list of items to search for in the spirit of “Where’s Waldo”.
Penny’s gallery is part of Joseph Decuis restaurant where you are invited to view her works - and they are available for purchase. Penny French-Deal’s other works can be seen and viewed on Facebook, Instagram or at: http://french-deal.com