Friday, May 05, 2006


When we lived in Virginia, we owned a share in the Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

As most CSAs work, the proprietor, Leigh, took our money (and that of many many others) at the beginning of the growing season, bought seeds, planted, tended and then harvested them and delivered fresh vegetables all summer long. Or, as we did, he allowed you to come to the farm to pick up the weekly share.

We loved it, as the vegetables were absolutely delicious (if a little buggy). The taste of something that was in the ground mere hours prior to your picking it up is light years better in comparison to the stuff in the grocery chains that travels an average of 3000 miles before it gets to the grocery aisle. And, since I'd recently completed my culinary course at L'Academie de Cuisine, it was a joy to build meals around whatever was delivered from the farm that week.

I also loved the fresh eggs that we could pick up from the farm as Leigh dabbled in raising chickens on the farm (he tried raising pigs, too, but that's another story). These weren't the kinds of eggs you'd put into a batter or some other supporting role in a recipe. These fresh eggs were gems: the kind you wanted to feature in the perfectly prepared scrambled egg recipe, or in a light cheese omelette. You could just taste the difference.

Now, we've long since left Virginia (coming up on three years now), but I still subscribe to Leigh's regular email dispatches to keep up with what's going on at the farm and keep the memories fresh of what it was like to go there every Saturday morning. Leigh has a great writing style (I see he has a blog now, too) and the weekly emails were a great blend of farm news wrapped in a parable from life on the farm.

In the latest edition (also blogged), Leigh, who's never been a real fan of the folks inside the Beltway, reveals the sheer brilliance that is our government's approach to the pending Avian flu crisis:
And speaking of chickens the USDA, in the likely event that Avian flu comes to our country, is forming plans to kill all of the small flocks of pastured chickens in the entire country.

At the same time they intend to kill all of the organic and small chicken flocks (with their diverse genetic pool).

The USDA plans on giving the corporate chicken factories a free ride (even though there is overwhelming proof that the spread of avian flu through Asia and into Europe and Africa is largely fueled by the practices of the corporate chicken industry).

The USDA's arguments for killing off the genetically diverse, pastured flocks of chickens while not touching the caged, often genetically engineered chickens owned by the corporate 'food manufacturers' are patently bogus and do not hold up to any close examination what-so-ever.

The people making this policy over at the USDA should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
Hear, hear, Leigh.

How short-sighted can they be? Or is this simply another example of the kind of corporate coddling that seems to be a specialty of the Bush43's administration? Probably a bit of both.

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