Avalon Acres

I own part of a farm.

I don’t really, but I do share parts of two farms. I actually participate in community supported agriculture, on two different fronts. One area is in my local church. For three years now, I get a whole lot of beef in my freezer in January or February, from cows that I pass just about every day. I go to church with the people who raise these cows. I helped organize the wedding of their daughter, who has watched my kids on several occasions. When someone stole money from me, they helped me cover the costs of what was taken. I’ve even had occasion to be angry at them.

The other part is with an “official” CSA, and I’m not nearly as tied to the community that it comes from. The farm is over an hour away and if I ever happened to be just driving by, I would be seriously lost. But I’m still glad for it, and have seen the farm, and met some of the ones that have done the work. This farm has the Avalon Acres name.

As the result of work from a local reading group, several families have been participating in this through the winter, taking turns going to pick up the food and bringing it back to distribute. It’s been great. It’s not organic, but it’s raised by people who care about what they’re doing and want us to share the harvest with them.

If you’re in most of Middle Tennessee, or the Jackson area of West Tennessee, you can participate too. I haven’t balanced out the cost vs. the grocery store, but the difference in other areas is phenomenal. The quality of the meat (we’ll soon find out about the vegetables)is great. Yes, there are downsides (I have no idea what to do with hog jowl) but I am glad that about 80% of the meat I eat comes from within 100 miles of my house.

There are many reasons for the resurgence of interest in small farms. Books like Fast Food Nation and movies like Supersize Me have reminded us of our separation from the origins of our food. Opportunities like CSAs and fair trade purchases shouldn’t just be about assuaging our guilt, but about being closer to one another.

Find out more about Avalon Acres or Community Supported Agriculture in your area. CSA Avalon Acres

Local fun

For years I lived within 2 hrs. of the Jack Daniel’s distillery and didn’t take the tour. Whiskey is ok, but I just didn’t see how the tour could be very interesting. Then I went, and it was great fun. Lynchburg is a nice small town and the people who give the tour like their jobs.

Now I live near Century Farms Winery, and it’s a good tour too. I wasn’t expecting much, honestly, but it was a pretty weekend and it was a new place to me, and it made for a great trip.

Muscadines right off the vine, beautiful roses, a HARD working family making wine on a farm that has been in use for 150 years, and a great tour of the vineyard and some good wine to sample: time well spent. The kids even learned a little something and didn’t get bored.

Then we followed it up with a visit to a restaurant and shops we’d never visited. Artopia is in Jackson, in a building that was a hotel decades ago, then a boarding house, and then a planned children’s museum that got scrapped when “the tornado” hit it. But someone saw fit to fix it up and there are lots of small shops in it, as well as a decent restaurant, Cafe Capone. We had chicken parmesan, some great veggies and salads and dessert for the price of a Burger King meal.

So, all within easy distance of where I live there were places that were relaxing and enjoyable. I wonder what other places I’m missing?

Red, red wine.

There doesn’t seem to be much discussion about alcohol on the blogs, even the Christian ones. I have teetotaling friends and moderate drinker friends. The church I am part of encourages AA and Alanon groups to use our facilities for meetings.

When I first moved back to the rural West Tennessee area I now live in, a fellow church member invited our family over to their home. She couldn’t figure out how to ask if we’d like beer or wine. She had made a similar statement to another member of the church and had been judged pretty harshly for suggesting such a thing.

Our pastor at the time did not drink until his children had gone to college. Not because he was ashamed of it, but because he wanted them to know it just wasn’t that important.

I like wine. I like beer, I even like a shot of whiskey now and again. That’s not very Methodist of me, in terms of what the Book of Discipline says. I suppose I should dislike it as much as I dislike the lottery that Tennessee now has.

Maybe there will come a time when I take as much pleasure in a cup of tea (I have had some really great teas before)as I do in a glass of porto. I don’t think that my moderate consumption is a stumbling block to others in the faith. But I suppose we should think about it anyway.

Today, I am going to a winery. It’s small, it’s local, and it’s owned by a relative of a friend of mine, which makes it even more fun. It’s a gorgeous fall day, the sun is shining bright, and I look forward to a day of enjoying God’s creation. Pour yourself a glass of wine, a cup of coffee or a glass of tea and enjoy it with me.