Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms
I first heard of Joel Salatin a few years ago. He pops up in Mother Earth News and other rural living magazines. I found him and his views on food liberty to be interesting, and inspiring. I've been meaning to pick up his book, Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal, for a while, and have it on my Christmas list for this year. He's not talking about things that are illegal like murder, burglary, or even toxic waste disposal in a creek. He talks about things like butchering grass fed beef on his own farm for direct sale. Things like raw milk and fresh, natural, but uninspected butter. Things that are delicious and good for us, but don't have the government/Monsanto stamp of approval.
His "beyond organic" farm is in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. His family farm produces salad bar beef, pigerator pork, pastured poultry (they actually raise turkeys in a grape arbor), forage-based rabbits and forestry products. The ship nothing, but sell to 3,000 families in Va. and Md. through urban drop locations, 50 restaurants and 10 local grocery stores, along with their farm store. The farm is open for visitors to freely come and look around and wander about six days a week. He's published a number of books for farmers, foodies, and liberty-minded folks, and is very popular on the speaking circuit. He was also in the eye-opening movie, Food, Inc. In his promotion of local farming and food, he has an apprenticeship program, and a number of his former apprentices have gone on to operate their own farms using his principles and he links to their sites for people who might live closer to them than to him. They are in Pennsylvania, Oregon, Iowa, and other parts of Virginia. Joel's website is http://www.polyfacefarms.com/.
Last weekend, the Richmond Times Dispatch had a nice long article about Joel and his philosophies. Give it a read for some good background on him.
Today, Jack Spirko at The Survival Podcast had an hour and a quarter interview with Joel on his show. That is well worth the listen.
Come springtime I plan to make a sweep through the western part of Virginia and will pay a visit to the farm and write an in depth post. I'm also trying to coordinate the logistics of getting in on the nearest drop location for orders. If Santa grants my wish, I'll do a full review of Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal.
Supporting local farming is good for you, your family, and even the environment.