One Mile Farm: Guest Post by Nick Blakeslee
Earlier this summer we featured a guest post from server and bartender Nick Blakeslee about his first year at Standing Stone. Now, Nick is adding “farmhand” to his list of brewpub job titles and gave us peek into a day in his world of Standing Stone’s One Mile Farm.
Unsurprisingly, farm work isn’t effortless work. It’s intensive manual labor where one has to carry heavy feed bags, move large chicken enclosures, chase down runaways, and – oh my god – the cows. Seriously, those things are huge. They seem docile, cute and harmless when they’re sitting between two burger buns, smothered in ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce, but face-to-face they’re very different.
They’re hundreds of pounds, not too intelligent and not entirely body conscious. Get them in a herd of fifteen or sixteen and all of the sudden you have the makings of a rather unique obituary. Or at least that was my thought process when our farm manager, Anna Rose, told me we needed to herd them a hundred yards downhill. The plus side was I finally had a moment in my life where I found an appropriate situation to clap my hands, wave my hat around, and yell, “GO ON, GIT!”
But perhaps the most surprising aspect was the amount of fecal matter on the farm; it is astonishing really. I heard stories and visited a few petting zoos in my life, but neither had prepared me for the quantity of poop I would encounter while working on the farm.
So that’s the first hurdle to get over when you start working a farm. I never thought in my life I’d be comfortable with poop in any way, shape, or form. I’ve always accepted the idea that I’d be a terrible father until my future children became older. I’d be unable to interact with them until they became potty trained; like somehow their ability to sit on a toilet to do their business would remove a taint from their soul.
However, very quickly you have to get over that fear, if you have one. I think those who have had children are some of the best candidates for farm work, because having kids gets you over a healthy fear of germs rather quickly.
At the end of the day, I learned several things about cows, chickens, bee hives, and poop. I had a weird sense fill me when we finally finished for the day. Did I have fun? No, that’s not the right word… I felt fulfilled. I’m not sure I have the physical ability to pull off this kind of work seven days a week, but once a week is nice. I get to see the beginnings of what I eat and the crazy amount of work it takes to maintain livestock. I think, in general, many people have become rather disconnected from the whole procedure of making food; I’m just as guilty as the next person. I feel It’s important to know the process food goes through to reach the dinner plate, and to be informed about where it comes from.
After all is said and done, I can safely say I’ve become a more informed individual when it comes to Standing Stone’s One Mile Farm food.
Also, I’ve gotten over my healthy fear of poop. A win-win situation if you ask me.