Summer means barbecue season for us, but one day recently, I craved roast chicken and dressing (stuffing), one of my favourite meals.
Modern supermarkets have made the acquisition of food easy. As I prepared the chicken for the oven, I remembered my mother's stories about the chicken dinners of her youth. Her family had hens for eggs, but the hens often ended their days in the roaster for Sunday dinner. The family killed and butchered the animals.
Mom especially hated to see roast lamb on the table, knowing one of the cute animals she loved was now her supper.
In the fall, her father butchered a cow as well. As a result, Mom hated everything to do with animals on the farm. When you have looked animals in the eye, it may affect how you feel about them as dinner.
Today we are far from the farm when it comes to our food. Those days of the family farm, when the animals ate grass and hay and chickens roamed free in the yard are long gone. The supermarket has sanitized the acquisition of our animal protein, but industrialized farming
can mean the product was injected with hormones and antibiotics, fed questionably, and treated inhumanely.
The reality on this island is the self-sustaining family farm is almost a thing of the past.
Here many farm homes stand empty and barns are in disrepair or collapsed.
The last generation to work the farm has died and the younger generation has gone to greener pastures. Farms which once sustained families with crops and animals for food and transportation are a thing of the past.
Now, most of the traditional farming methods which were environmentally friendly, and often organic are gone too, as industrialized farming has taken over.
While I am glad not to kill and butcher the chicken myself, I lament the loss of the family farm. Will there ever be a day when we go back to the traditional farm? With over seven billion people of the planet, I think not. If anything, food production will be more industrialized. Buying organic is cost prohibitive for many people. Back yard and community gardens provide healthy vegetables at low cost and are worth the effort. Maybe such gardens are as close to the family farm as we will be ever again.
On second thought, do you think the neighbours would mind a rooster crowing at sunrise?
I am surrounded by a vast national park, which acquired the local farm land after it idled, but before it became housing developments. My fifth and sixth generation neighbors remain bitter about the old land that was eminent domained out of their families, but better than tract after tract of housing, I think.
Yes, the family farm is a quaint artefact of the past now, isn't it. Sad in its way but you can see how it happened.
Your stuffed chicken looks so good, Marie! I would love to hear a rooster crowing (although I am sure my husband would complain), and my son and his wife do have one along with their hens. I find that young families are yearning for a bit of hobby farming and living out in the country here in the U.S. There seems to be a movement to do so, on the side of jobs that is. Even when I was young, farmers in our area of Pennsylvania had day jobs, (the husband did), and farmed after that day of work. We are near enough to Amish farms to drive out and get fresh meat and produce, and year-round farmer's markets that are open on Fridays and Saturdays do the same. My daughter who is a city-dweller subscribes to a Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative and gets produce/etc. that is at a central location for pickup each week. Andrea
I mourn the 'necessity' of industrialised farming. We are the losers I think in many ways. Taste and connection to what we eat for starters. I understand it, but regret it too.
Rural areas of this province are unlikely to be built into housing tracts. Land in the countryside is for sale for years sometimes.
I can understand families being bitter about losing land to government under eminent domain. Parks are better than tracts of housing everywhere though.
So true. Sad but the reality of the time.
How fortunate that you have access to great food choices. Such is not the case for everyone but family gardens and community gardens are popular, I agree.
There are several farms around me that are given a Government subsidy NOT to produce food. The fields are overgrown and empty of crops and live stock. This ensures that there isn't an abundance of cheaper food, so we have to pay a higher price for what is available, and this enables the supermarkets make bigger profits. Clever eh?
It is regretable. Here, we grow food for a few months, preserve some and freeze some for the winter months. It is the best we can do for now.
Unbelievable! In North America, many farms can't stay in production because of costs so I guess by paying farmers not to produce, it keeps prices up to keep some farms going. It is beyond understanding in some ways.
I'll keep growing vegetables as long as I can.
The people across the street have chickens and a rooster, and I really kind of like the sound of the crow at sunrise. Unfortunately for this guy, he doesn't crow only then, but pretty much whenever he wants. I eat organic and I'm glad I can afford the extra cost, and I don't eat meat, partly for the same reason your mom didn't. I love having a small vegetable garden where I can bring in my own veggies! :-)
My garden gives me great pleasure and great veggies too.
I guess the chickens aren't a great idea! LOL.
We don't eat much meat or chicken and wouldn't eat it at all if I had to face it just as your Mother did! It is the same here many farms have been shut down around here too over the past 25 years particularly dairy. A few years ago we belonged to the local branch of Slow Food and had the opportunity to visit small local producers who were bucking the trend and making a success in producing good quality food and drink. Sarah x
We have the same industrialized farming in southern Ontario of course, but many old farms are bought as reaidences and the fields rented out. And the spread of Mennonite culture means some farms are actually being brought back into production. Still, it's sad to see the old farms go.
Farmers here are beginning to grow mustard which helps with pest control the next year. It is a beginning of better industrial farm practices maybe.
The Amish are moving to PEI and buying up some of the old farms here. At least there's that...
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