it’s a longish drive — a 3-hour roundtrip — and so far, the farm doesn’t deliver. but we’re sharing the driving responsibilities among five cincy families, and are finding that the trip, when made once a month (or a little less) makes for a lovely and peaceful way to spend a late afternoon.
or morning. we skipped the afternoon pick-up on july 4th because we had pork shoulder resting and waiting to be shredded and fresh berry pies waiting to be eaten. but saturday morning, with our new york city friends in tow, we headed out to the farm.
andy and lizzie and their 17-month-old daughter anna greeted us with boxes packed and ready for delivery. after loading the boxes into our car and oohing and ahhing over the baked goods placed temptingly for sale,we were treated to a walking tour of the farm. as we wandered around, andy talked to us about his farming methods while introducing us to his horses, goats, lambs, pigs and chickens, and showing us the cornfields, vegetable beds, and greenhouse. we learned that the hershbergers are part of an amish community newly relocated to the hillsboro area from wayne county, ohio; that the soil at cedarmore had been severely depleted by the previous farmers; and that andy and lizzie, with the help of their animals and an adherence to the “beyond organic” philosophy espoused by joel salatin at polyface farm (and described at length by michael pollan in “the omnivore’s dilemma“) can already see a difference in the quality of produce after one year of tending carefully to the dirt underneath their feet.
in addition to normal csa bounty — which means plenty of whatever is ready to eat that week, and little of what isn’t — lizzie sells homemade goods: jams and fruit butters (the pear butter is a must-have); fruit pies with soft and tender crusts; and freshly baked home-made bread. they sell farm-fresh eggs by the dozen as well as any extra food ripening that week (last week we bought an extra pound of tomatoes for $2 and have been eating gazpacho — made with mostly farm ingredients — all week long). we’ve purchased several chickens already (which are amazing for their texture and flavor, and really put most store-bought chicken in its place) and will certainly buy more as the summer progresses. we have purchased a quarter steer (grassfed & freerange) that we’re splitting three ways with two other families and is due from the butcher sometime this week. (i suspect we’ll be buying more as the season draws to a close and we start to stock up for the lean winter months.) while we visited, andy reminded us that we could also buy pork the same way, and i remembered that they offer herd-shares for those who want to drink legally-procured non-pasteurized cow’s milk.