Farm to Table – Working to Sustain an Artisanal Food Community All Things LUDLOW

Agra-CULTURE: A Farmer’s Perspective

Finnriver Farm Chickens

In addition to providing the resort with fresh eggs for its guests, Keith and Crystie Kisler, owners of Chimacum’s Finnriver Farm, share Chef Dan’s commitment to restoring vitality to the rural local community through farm/restaurant partnerships. Below, Crystie offers a farmer’s perspective.

Farming is an act of food-growing and community-growing. Although many of the farmers I know are soulful, quiet folks who would prefer to spend their time in the fields with hands in the dirt than be out handshaking at a party with heap of people, still they know that agriculture(from agra for ‘land’) requires CULTURE to thrive. In our rural community here in Jefferson County, a wonderful sense of common purpose has developed among food growers and food preparers and purveyors. The ‘eat local’ movement has inspired conversation and collaboration that is successfully connecting our farms to restaurants and allowing folks at their tables to taste what is growing fresh in our fields.

Gathering Eggs
Chef Dan from the Fireside Restaurant at Port Ludlow Resort, for example, has been at Finnriver, our 33 acre organic farm and artisan cidery, many times now. His positive experiences on this land led him to make a commitment to purchase our organically grown, pasture-raised eggs for his kitchen. Making this commitment was not simple, although it may seem logical for a restaurant to source its food from a nearby farm. But in fact over the last fifty years or more, the modern food system has been moving away from local sourcing at a commercial scale and has instead looked for the cheapest source. The industrialization of agriculture has led to a system of food distribution that does not prioritize how or where food is produced, but simply how much it costs—the bottom line has turned eating into an economic act rather than an intimate one.

Chef Dan’s choice to purchase eggs locally from Finnriver requires him to pay a significantly higher price than he could get for commercially produced eggs from afar. But he knows who raises these chickens and, well, he knows the chickens themselves! He can speak to his restaurant customers with confidence and care about the fresh, local eggs and share with them the many benefits to both human and community health that come with eating those glorious, golden yokes.

Life on the Farm
Even though the agriculture system has been commercialized and de-personalized in many parts of the world, the good news is that many communities are turning this around by working together to nurture relationships between farmers and chefs. Through organizations like local farmers markets, Slow Food, the Chef’s collaborative movement, Cascade Harvest Coalition and the Olympic Culinary Loop, our local ag network is becoming stronger and more vital.

Recently a group of Resort at Port Ludlow chefs and managers came out to our farm to discuss ways we could work together. It was an honor to welcome them onto this land and to envision ways for us to grow together, celebrating life on the land and restoring vitality to a rural farm community.

Photo credit to: Tomo Saito
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