I’m sitting here looking out the window at 35,000 feet, returning from Charleston.  The farmer in me is looking for the agricultural theme below from Charlotte to Des Moines.  I spot clusters of long metal buildings, 3 to 4 next to each other, a few clusters have upwards of 6 to 8 buildings on one parcel.  Next to them sits what most would guess as a small pond…not so much.  Does anybody want to take a guess?  As if this doesn’t seem disturbing enough, not more than a quarter mile away is a good-sized river.  I’m no environmental engineer but I’m guessing leeching, potential flooding, and cross-contamination risks must be a concern.  I also saw many small green pastures or hay fields cut out of the trees, probably many moons ago by settlers looking to build houses, small towns, and to keep warm.  Unfortunately, I didn’t see ruminants grazing, cows, sheep…anything.  No signs of a small dairy or beef herd.  All these people on the heavily populated coast, families, kids, boomers…they all need to be nourished, preferable by the landscape around them.  A closer look at that landscape and I’d say not much nourishment is available.  I’m not sure I have all the answers, but I have a few…and I’d be willing to be that returning to the land and organic practices is a great start.

On a much brighter note, you may be asking why I was in Charleston.  If you don’t follow Facebook and didn’t see my live video yesterday, I was inspecting my newest member of the Wallace Farms family.  No, not a new baby boy or girl born from a sibling or relative, but an artisan food van and wood-fired Argentine grill and rotisserie trailer.  It may not have a heart made of flesh and blood, but this crafted piece of steel is going to have a heartbeat, a pulse, and will surely get my blood pumping and all those who come into its presence.  I’m not sure how to describe it here on this page, but imagine all things wood cooking.  One feature is an adjustable Parilla (Argentine grill) for steak, pork tenderloin, wild gulf shrimp and Alaskan salmon.  Local root and cruciferous vegetables, scallions, garlic, tomatoes, peaches and an occasional pineapple will meet flame.  Another is the rotisserie for organic chicken, BBQ ribs, and prime rib.  A flat top for Carolina Gold fried rice (heirloom rice from Anson Mills), organic eggs or caramelized onions and leeks.  A large cast-iron stock pot simmers away for soups, stocks, and bisques.  I better stop here…but you can see the culinary playground this will become.  I have been working on this idea for over a year and finally evoked the “get busy living or get busy dying” life motto I have come to embrace.  It should land in Iowa in less than 2 weeks.  We have 3 events already on the books for October.  I’ll share those will you in a later announcement.  As far as I know, with hours of google searches behind me, I’ve never come across a rig like this.  The closest concept is just the rotisserie portion from a native in Hawaii doing “Huli-huli chicken”.  I told my friend, I’m either going to regret this whole project and see it fail or I’m going to have a fleet of these, making people happy all over the country.  Time will tell…wish me luck!

I have to tell you a little bit about the photo for this week’s blog.  The cute kid in the hay pile is Maddock.  We went up to check on the hogs and to throw them some apples from our orchard that had fallen on the ground.  Can you imagine the fun a 5-year-old has throwing apples at pigs?  Well, the fun didn’t stop there.  Ryan was flipping the forage sorghum in the field next to the hogs so I thought I’d go see what the crop looked like before it was chopped the next day.  As Ryan and I were talking forage, Maddock was piling up the hay from the grass waterways.  As Ryan jumped back into the tractor to finish the field, I looked down to see a pretty sizable mound of hay.  The sun was setting, the green and yellow Deere was roaring, and it was just too good not to capture the moment.  Usually, it’s hard to capture the beauty in a photo, but in this case, I think the opposite occurred.  I emailed the photo to my desktop and the next day when I opened it, was in awe of the moment.  I hope you enjoy it as much as me…it will be one moment burned into my memory bank.  I guarantee years from now when I look back, this one may just bring a tear to my eye.

I hope you have a great weekend, hug your family and friends, and eat some pasture-raised meats!

Your Farmer,