Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Lanora and I went to Green Gate Farms in Northeast Austin for a super farming class. We had a great time visiting a small-scale, organic, local farm. The animals were wonderful, the historic Bergstrom Barn was a piece of art and the windmill was pretty cool. Oh yeah, Farmers Erin and Skip were pretty OK too;p They had farm animals in addition to organic crops. There are two pig pens, both with heritage hogs. One family was a VERY friendly group of Guinea Hogs, the same hog breed they used in colonial times. Thomas Jefferson had this breed and conservationist are trying to save this breed from dying out. Unfortunately with our current food culture that has been in place since the 1950's, small family farms growing these heritage hogs have been dying out. These are lard hogs. In colonial times, before margarine and shortening, these hogs were grown for their lard content as well as for their meat. Farmer Erin says they taste great! They also have a flock of wild sheep that originated in South America. These sheep are grown for their meat not their fleece. They room with Sonnen goats. The goats are calm animals and they keep the wild sheep from "Freaking Out" as Erin describes. Their chickens are grown for their eggs which are sold along with the veges at The Farm Stand. The ducks are rescued ducks by the farmer's daughter. Green Gate recycles junk that would normally go to landfills. They collect SXSW banners after the events and use them as shades for the animals. They also regularly pick up pallets, wire bobbins and feed discarded food items from markets to their hogs. All animals, except the ducks, have a job. They provide food, they are not pets, even if everyone of them are named. This is a real, working farm feeding the community around it using sustainable practices. They work long hours and love it! They left high-paying corporate jobs to do this and we are lucky to have them. Thanks Skip and Erin!
at 6:27 AM