Why we think it's so important to go on farm trips
This is a photo of Mr Bone and the new baby buffalo at Burraduc Buffalo Farm in late July. One of the great pleasures of running this business is the opportunity to go on trips and visit the remarkable farmers we represent.
We live in a period of unprecedented dissociation from our food sources. We believe it's critically important to address this by 'opening up the line of sight between the farm and the consumer'* and reminding all of us of the role we play in the way our food is produced. Farming isn't an abstract event that occurs somewhere else, out of sight. It's an essential service that all of us - grower, seller, buyer - have the power to influence.
Our OCD obsession with transparency and provenance means that we're committed to seeing where everything we sell comes from, learning everything about how it was produced and then passing that information on to you. We don't make any claims we can't substantiate with fact and we think it's our job to provide you with enough detailed information for you to make informed choices about what you feed yourself and your families.
We're also insatiably curious about the places our food comes from and the people who grow it and this curiousity is constantly rewarded by the remarkable farmers we meet, the amazing stories they tell us and the wonderful places we're fortunate enough to see.
All of this is brilliant in that it gives us an excuse to hit the road but a bit tricky because taking anyone out of a very little business causes all sorts of staff and logistics contortions.
This is why the three long-suffering ferals spent their childhood being dragged off to gorgeous farms every holidays - it was a perfect way to simultaneously give them a great experience and get important work done. They spent hours whingeing about it; 'not another farm!', 'I'm not going to a farm!, 'why can't we go to a resort like a normal family?'. We even had to buy a special van with enough space to prevent fratricide, but they always loved it when we arrived and often reminisce about the trips.
Once, about fours years ago, we pulled up at one of the most lushly beautiful, highly-regarded, bio-dynamic farms in NSW after a long and fractious journey. As the ferals tumbled crankily out of the car, the lovely, elderly farmer approached us wearing a broad, welcoming grin, an ancient pair of gum boots, shorts and a hat jammed over his long, grey hair.
Feral two, barely able to contain his joy at finding himself in this bucolic paradise, snarled 'Who's the hillbilly?'. If the farmer heard him he was far too polite to say and within an hour he'd cast clever, farmer magic spells and the ferals were eating out of his hands.
Anyway, over the last 12 months our desire to regularly visit farms has been thwarted and we've only managed to do a couple of small trips up the mid-North Coast to visit farms including Topi and Burraduc, Brooklet Springs near Byron Bay and a recent, lovely visit to South Hill and Jamberoo in the Southern Highlands.
Last Sunday, Mr Bone set off on a road trip to visit seven or eight farms starting in the Riverina, up to Orange and back through Mudgee. We'll be posting reports as he goes.
It's great to be out on the road again and re-connecting with the farmers we represent.
By the way, all the farmers with whom we work are rightly proud of their work and LOVE talking about it and showing people around. If you'd like to visit any of the farms we represent, please let us know or get in touch directly to organise a visit. We highly recommend it.
*Paraphrased from Jonathan Safran Foer's 'Eating Animals'.