Agriculture in Ohio (where I live) is the number one industry in our state. It's a billion dollar industry with a B...billion, not million. It also accounts for roughly 14% of employment in Ohio. I think it's one of the things I like best about Ohio because we have this amazing connection to our heritage through agriculture yet we are also a very modern state with amazing diversity and culture and education and industry. I live in Columbus, the state capital, which offers the best of both worlds. It's where we have chosen to raise our kids. Our kids are learning a lot about the world of agriculture. My Two Peas (my twins) are sheep producers and raise market lambs during the 4H season. They've also just joined our county livestock judging team and are excited to be learning more about hogs, cattle, sheep, goats and how farmers in Ohio operate and also across the country to provide us with safe and delicious foods.
It's important to our family that our children understand the true meaning of the farm to table concept. I want them to make conscious food choices and be a part of a healthy ecosystem by being inspiring and innovative contributors when it comes to our food supply and challenges.
So when I got asked to be a part of a new blogger group that was all about agriculture, Ohio's Local Flavors, I asked first, the most important question, would there be bacon involved?
The answer from Kristin, the coordinator for the group who blogs at Local Farm Mom, was "of course!". That's really all I needed to know. I was in.
Our first meet up was just a few weeks ago at the gorgeous (gorgeous!) Turner farm in Perry county. There was a nice mixture of bloggers and farmers who were able to attend. A few of the bloggers there included:
Taysha from dirtroadcharm.blogspot.com
Emily from cultivatingconversation.com
Morgan from columbusliving.weebly.com
Kathy and Sophia from kasuallife.com
Stephanie from Retro Dinner Diva shared with us 8 different delicious meals made using pork that we were able to take home, freeze and enjoy later. This was my first foray into freezer meals - and holy smokes guys! Who knew it would be this life changing?! I love them! An afternoon of prep for quick meals during the work week and they were so delicious!
After our meal prep was done, we talked a little bit more about hog farming. It was great to hear each girls story, what they blog about and their passions, from what's hot in Columbus to sewing design (oh wait, that's me!). Several of the girls live on and operate large hog farms and they shared with us what an average day looks like for them. They shared with us about how raising livestock is changing with fewer farmers and greater demands from an even greater growing consumer group (we are a world population of 7 billion and we like to eat!). These are some smart cookies! Well educated, compassionate, hard workers. I trust the food they are putting on my family table.
It's so easy to think that the majority of our meat comes from a big "factory farm" but what you read on the internet and what is the truth behind how our food is raised are sometimes different stories. This was a great experience to hear from real farmers about their family farm operations, both large and small, and how they provide for my family's table. How they care for their animals, our environment, their own family and mine.
Was there bacon at this event? Heck yes! As promised, Kristin had some amazing candied bacon on hand for us nibble on! I'll share the recipe with you soon - you will definitely want to try it!
Great conversations, fabulous food, and wonderful hosts (thanks Mr. and Mrs. Turner!) - I'm looking forward to our next meet up with the Ohio's Local Flavor Bloggers!
Do you have a question about how your food is raised? Be sure you check out the blogs mentioned above and ask a real farmer about how they do business.