In cosmopolitan cities like London (and New York, DC, Philly, Boston and Sydney!) in which I've lived, familiarity with your farmer seems a pipe dream, a romantic notion and nostalgia that is only attempted and never reached by places like Whole Foods, your local green grocer, Fairway, Founding Farmers, and the like.
In New Hampshire, you are maybe two steps removed from your farmer. If you push it, not even that. Farms are mostly small here--they must be by necessity, surviving, as in England, decades of subdivision by rite of inheritance. That makes it tough to maintain a livelihood off the land. Most farmers, like that I met running Gould Hill Farm neighboring our little soon-to-be farmlette, maintain one, two and three side jobs just to keep their agrarian dream alive.
Most locals here know at least where to get (and pick) their favorite apples. A smaller subset have their favorite farmers' stand or store, or belong to a farming co-op to support local farms. An even smaller subset know the best goat farmers.
Thus, thanks to the local, rural tradition and flavor of New Hampshire (and possibly of the wider New England region?), we stumbled on solving Esther's inability to keep down her cookies.
Esther's been having tummy issues ever since we moved across the pond. Try as I might, I could not figure out the cause. Endless amounts of crying, interrupted sleep (for all of us), and carpet cleaner led us no where.
Of course I prayed about it. We couldn't get a specialist appointment for three months (which turns out to be this next week). Finally, someone I met at Barnes & Noble mentioned that a lot of babies with allergies could drink goat's milk just fine, and I could buy it from the A Market 'round the corner. Turns out goat milk was the ticket - no more pukes.
But I was paying $9 for a half gallon, and my chunkster little girl drinks 2 1/2 gallons a week. The math wasn't pretty. So I began poking around www.agrilicious.com and called up the closest store in Manchester that sold goat products. No, they didn't sell milk, but had I heard of Millcreek Dairy?
Again, while grocery shopping later that week, an employee that has become a favorite of Gideon's recommended the dairy to me. So I rang them up. Jeff, the farmer, answered the phone. He could work me a deal, and the kids could meet his "girls" that would be nourishing Esther.
After a wonderful visit to his small farm and 70~ goats he knows each by name (he bottle fed all of them), we decide on $6/half gallon plus free weekly delivery till we move to Hopkinton. Thereafter, a friend in Hopkinton would take on the delivery.
I couldn't be more thrilled. Happy goats, happy farmer, happy baby, happy mamma. Thanks, New Hampshire!
|Gideon kissed maybe half a dozen goats that day.|
|Jeff was incredibly gracious with his time and all his animals.|
|of course G found the tractor|
|Our weeks' supply.|
* Esther can now say "dad," "car," "cat" and "all done," maybe more on a good day.
* Whenever I leave Esther for a bit - as I did yesterday when we visited the temple, Esther will greet me by hugging me very tightly and giving me at least three giant kisses.
* G overheard in the kitchen while eating his toast: "I love you SO much, butter. So much."
* Gideon has been asking to go back to the temple ever since we first visited in July. He often thinks libraries or pretty, old buildings are temples, and I explain the difference. When we were finally there yesterday, he and Esther were so excited to play on the grounds - the smiles below are genuine. Then Gideon asked to go inside. We did, just barely, as the workers all raised up, curious and slightly alarmed. I told Gideon that that was as far as we could go, but that he could go further some day if he made good choices. The Spirit was incredibly strong and made me falter a bit. I was grateful he could feel it - would have been hard not to. We talked about it later, and he seemed to convey as much.
|We went to Carter Hill Farm again|
|We had 70F weather!|
|And saw a giant turtle crossing the road. I was the first to se it and stopped traffic. Another passer-by donned gloves and helped him on his journey. G was really scared when it started snapping at its rescuer!|
|We visited Robert Frost Farm. Many a yellow wood, and many diverging paths. The shop and house were closed, but we had a glorious time exploring the trails and grounds.|
|Lance's fav pic of the week.|
|Apple, we will see you again, regardless of whether I need/you want me to again!|