Sunday, May 25, 2008

Snead's Localvore Festival

We headed out to Snead’s Asparagus Farm in Spotsylvania on Saturday to check out what was billed as an “Asparagus Tasting and Localvore Festival.” Localvore is the trendy new word to describe someone who eats locally grown food, or grown as close to home as possible (in the same way “carnivore” describes someone who eats meat). There’s been a lot of attention lately given to the idea of eating locally grown foods, and for the next few months, that gets a lot easier to do around here. Food writers and environmentalists suggest that eating locally produced foods is more important than eating organically raised foods: the amount of energy it takes to transport food items across the country, or from other countries, is more of a detriment to the earth than crops or livestock raised with conventional chemical intervention. So the organic apple from California is no better, and probably worse, than the conventionally raised apple from the orchard 30 miles away. I guess the best choice is locally grown organic produce if you can get it. In any case, why not support your local farmers when you have the chance? Click here for a Free Lance-Star article about locally grown food.

The open house at Snead’s was an opportunity to take a nice drive in the country and tour the farm. The “festival” wasn’t quite as much as I expected, since there really weren’t all that many local products (just a fraction of what’s available at my local farmer’s market at the commuter lot on Rt. 3), and no free samples (ah, free samples...the pathway to my heart). But there were hamburgers and steaks from locally raised hormone-free beef, grilled asparagus with 6 kinds of sauces, and a variety of asparagus side dishes ($3 per side). There was no entry fee, plenty of parking, and we enjoyed strolling around the grounds. I came home with 2 quarts of Westmoreland Berry Farm strawberries, enough to keep us happily in berries for a couple of days. There were activities for the kids, including a rope swing in the hay barn, a small zip line over a creek, pony rides, and a tepee to crawl around in. So if you are looking to get the kids out of the house, want to experience a taste of farm life, or just want to spend a relaxing hour in the country, check it out. The festival continues today and tomorrow from 10-6.

The postcard-perfect setting:

The farmhouse:

Grilling up the asparagus and beef:

Tepee for the kids:

I was fascinated by the free range chickens. Somehow, I guess I expected free range chickens to be enclosed by some sort of fence. Not here--they freely range in the Christmas tree field, but don't stray too far from the "chicken wagon."

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