To go along with the spirit of our One Small Change, we are trying to become more aware of where our food comes from and how it is produced.... not only checking labels for ingredients (have I mentioned how much I hate high fructose corn syrup?) but also purchasing milk that comes from cows that haven't been treated with hormones and buying eggs (when we run low from ours) that come from chickens that have been humanely treated and again, not injected with hormones and fed things we wouldn't feed our dog....
I consider ourselves to be SO lucky to be living in the area that we do because we have the opportunity to actually go to the places where our food is made and see the conditions under which our food is raised/put together! I had no idea how much of the food we eat comes from the west coast! Dummy me, I guess I just never thought about it much...and my list keeps growing and growing for the places to visit!
I was SO excited to see a segment on our local news channel about Wilcox Family farms, a local egg producer and to see that they were having a harvest festival/tour! The coolest thing about it? They are only a stones throw from our house! How cool is that?
Not only did they give us samples but we got to visit with them a bit too. The lady on the left is a member of the family...her mother actually attended the one room school house that is now located on their farm!
It was OH SO YUMMY!
The one room school house where members of the Wilcox family once attended... the kiddos got to ring the school bell ( a big highlight!) and they had a lesson on the board. There were also glass cases of old books for us to see. I thought it was so cool because we had at least one if not two of the readers!
It's funny how the simplicity of a water pump could be so interesting to our kids! I just love the hands on aspect of it...they still talk about getting to make the water come out! lol
Another plus to the visit was this old ringer for laundry! Aren't you glad you have a washer and dryer? lol
The girls were excited to see this tho because it is in one of their VERY favorite books. Now they understand what it is and how it worked!
They also got to paint pumpkins! That was an added surprise!
After all the fun activities, we got to go for a hay ride of sorts and they took us down to where the chickens are actually raised...
Now, I don't know about you, but after seeing Food Inc. I have viewed chickens in a whole other light and was a bit nervous/anxious about this part of the tour. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement... spending many years in Missouri, it was inevitable not to drive by a Tyson chicken barn (boo hiss gag!) and the smell that surrounded them could be smelled for miles. This place was nothing like that...we were pulled in right up close and there was essentially now smell!!! They explained how the mechanical roosting boxes worked both to keep the area clean and to get the eggs in a timely manner. They also explained that while this particular field of chickens are organic and free range, their non-organic chickens are voluntarily free range also! I thought that was so cool! We had the chance to ask questions of the workers, who were also fourth generation Wilcox family members. That too impressed me...that the family didn't just set back and collect a check but rather had a hands on approach. The whole farm felt like a family farm...clean and welcoming... It was interesting to me how fast the eggs from this farm are out and on the shelf at our local stores...2-3 days...as apposed to the up to 30 days it takes from other egg producers...can you imagine? 30 days to get to the store, not to mention the time they sit there and then the time till they get to our plates? Really makes you wonder huh? :)
All in all, I think this was one of THE coolest field trips we've ever been on and I look forward to going back and getting to tour the actual production line and see how the eggs are cleaned and packaged. As for us...we are lucky to have our own eggs but will seek out Wilcox eggs in the future as we need them. I know that researching your food is time consuming and at times frustrating when we don't get the answers we want but don't you think it's our duty as caregivers, parents and Americans in general to be informed and to make the best choices we can about what we buy? Would you blindly vote for a candidate for President? I hope not...so why would you "vote" for food that isn't really food and that can cause harm in so many ways...just think of it as voting when you go to the super market...and don't think you have to change everything...start small. Choose one aspect of you family's diet and look into it. Start with say, eggs...every little bit counts!!