Today was our day to visit Polyface Farm for the Lunatic Tour.
So I woke up the kids (despite my better judgment), packed everyone in the car, and headed out west for the 2 1/2 hour drive down to Swoope, VA. After a few turns down the wrong road (farm country doesn't do the best labeling with road signs), we arrived at Polyface Farms just in time to hop on the hay wagon and begin the tour.
Our family was offered the opportunity to go on this tour because we buy our meat from Polyface and apparently, in 2012, we bought every time they delivered so we got a certificate to tour the farm. We started buying from Polyface a few years back, after my husband read The Omnivore's Dilemma and since they have a drop off near our house, we signed up. We have been hoarding whole chickens in the freezer to get through the winter ever since.
Our tour was led by Daniel Salatin, son of Joel Salatin the sort of lead philosopher and CEO of Polyface Farms. The whole premise at Polyface Farms is about creating a farm that leverages and mimics how the environment works naturally to create sustainable agriculture. They focus on the soil and creating depth within that soil to support their livestock. At first I sort of shrugged it off as some hippie mumbo-jumbo, but after I visited the farm, I understood. And, more importantly, I had a deep appreciation and respect for what the Salatins were promoting and believed in.
|School's in session with Daniel Salatin|
|Checking out the chickens in action|
|More friendly than you'd think|
|Birds of a feather, flocking together|
|The youngest kept on growling at the chickens and saying "eat meat!"|
The Salatins started off with this farm in 1961 and have built a family-owned business based on a core set of values. Their connection and respect for the earth, animals, and natural, sustainable agriculture is visible as soon as you get to the farm and reiterated through coversations with their staff. They talk about respecting their animals and setting up an environment where the animals do their share of the work on the farm. This type of mutal respect is often talked about, even among people, but seldom shown in action. Polyface Farm takes those words and makes it part of their daily life. And the result is unparalleled in not just the agriculture industry, but in the world of businesses, cultures and communities. They have truly found, and cultivated, something special.