Sounds like that old Ricky Nelson song? But that’s not todays story.


 Sounds like that old Ricky Nelson song? But that’s not todays story.
 I’m thinking back decades (too many) to the kind of “garden party” my grandparents hosted for family and a few friends, each fall of the year. Small gatherings held in honor of the autumn harvest. Looking back, I expect it might’ve also represented a last outdoor celebration before winters unwelcome arrival. Come to think of it, winter did offer a (slight) respite from (some of) the unending outdoor chores that were (are) a large part of life on a farm?
 Besides the warmth and joy for the spirit offered by the proximity of close friends and family, there was the overwhelming heat of the kitchen. The old wood stove worked at full tilt, turning out apple and pumpkin pies and breads and cakes. Many an entree emerging from it’s cast iron belly. Likely we didn’t know the word entree? But we knew the main course..., beef and pork and turkey and more!
 The bounty that came to the dining table (and “little peoples” table in the adjacent room) was all raised, shot, trapped (or caught with a cane pole) within the boundaries of the family farm. Flour, salt and sugar (‘cept maple sugar!) were about the only things Not produced on the farm. Even the butter came from an ancient, wooden churn that resided on the back porch.
 All the beef and pork, chicken (and eggs!) raised within the confines of the families modest two hundred acre farmstead. Wild game, from deer to rabbit and squirrel, fish and fowl (occasional bear!) stocked the larder, adorned the table and filled the tummy.
 The goodness and flavor (and nutrition) of these “homegrown” meals is difficult to recall, let alone describe!
 Everything consumed was raised in the garden or fields, “Organically “. (Another word I suspect hadn’t entered the lexicon of the farm folks in attendance). This organic bounty canned, dried, salted or frozen included virtually everything the family would eat during the long months of winter.
 Sadly this “organic” way of life has been fitfully (painfully) fading away over the past couple generations. “Food” comes to most us through a supermarket chain store. Hardly anyone understands (experiences) the hard work (and satisfaction) that once put the family sustenance on the dinner table.
 Most of what we eat these days comes from far away places (even out of the country!). Often raised with genetically modified seeds. Benefitting from the “help” of chemicals, pesticides and man-made fertilizers. Lovingly tended and harvested by unfeeling machines larger than your house. From “farms” that number in the thousands of acres.
 They (might) meet your nutritional needs? But offer your mouth (and nose) mostly tasteless vegetables and fruits masquerading as fruit. Filling your belly with meats that lack the natural vitamins, minerals (and flavors) that nature once offered in abundance.  
 Imagine my surprise when my nephew the (college educated) farmer invited me this past weekend to attend a fall “Harvest Festival”. Held on the small farm where he’s labored nearly a decade. His pride in knowing I would be partaking of the strictly “organic” bounty produced by him and a small group of fellow farm workers was evident.
 I admit to some slight skepticism upon my arrival at this modern day “garden party”. (In truth, this ole country boy was prepared to be more amused than impressed).
 I knew from our conversations most of what he produced was sold and consumed in “big city” restaurants. That the guest list included among others, “Chefs”, customers (and food “authors”!) from those fancy city establishments.
 Pulling into the rutted driveway I took note of the automobiles parked all round the farm buildings. Couple well-worn Volvo station wagons, one flashy new BMW, a wayward Prius or two. The remainder being “foreign” cars of all types. I only spotted two pickup trucks. Property of the only two people I later observed with actual mud on their (work!) boots?
 Looking the small crowd of fifty or so over as I self-consciously milled about, I couldn’t help notice the prevailing attire. Appeared to me to lean more towards Lands End, L.L.Bean and ralph lauren..., than Levi Strauss.
 Fancy local (Pennsylvania!) wines and foreign beer were being graciously sipped by the smartly dressed attendees.
 Finally, we got in the food line. Simple lawn tables were filled to overflowing. Baskets of home baked breads, roast pig and trimmings! Vegetables (the farms specialty) of every description. Soon the desserts came. Everything every bit as good as Grandmas! Amazing! Truly Delicious!
  I Don’t Know About You..., If it takes these ostensibly nouveau riche folks to bring back genuine farm food?  More power to ‘em!!
 Cal Teeple, sole member of the Observational Cogitation Consortium still lurks three stools down where he may be ignored, accosted or contacted. As well as At: www.wayneindependent.com/cal Or At: calteeple@gmail.com.