By Kermit McCourt
When we started this Local Food Challenge a little over a month ago, I didn’t know what to expect. Now, the one word I use to sum it up is appreciation. I had no idea just how knowledgable and food ready these beautiful people in Surprise Valley would be when push came to shove. I thought we would be spending double buying everything local.  What I wasn’t expecting is the amount of bartering we have done.  At Wild Rose Farm, we produce goat milk and from that goat milk, we make yogurt and goat cheese.  Let me stop myself right there, my partner Jessica makes the yogurt and cheese. I’m not even sure how she does it, I think she just waves her hands around, says some magic words and presto, goat cheese and yogurt appear in the fridge. Or she stays up late while everyone is sleeping and does some sort of chemistry.  Whatever she does, I very much appreciate it.
goats feeding during the local food challenge
Jessica started bartering with Bidwell Canyon Farm for fresh veggies, and let me tell you, these are the best veggies I have ever eaten. One day I came home from work and saw fresh tomatoes on the counter. I asked Jessica where they came from, and when she said Bidwell Canyon Farm, I was confused because they weren’t even selling them at the market yet. I was stoked and more than that, I was in awe of my partner and her magic abilities to have tomatoes appear! A couple of times each week, Jess would come home with something new, beef from the Smiths, pork form Hanna and Owen and some yummy produce from our local farmers market.  It’s a beautiful thing to know that everything my family and I are eating is coming from the valley.  So the word appreciation is not used lightly.  I appreciate the practices my friends use on their farms and ranches, I appreciate our land and the food grown here, I appreciate our goats for being our comic relief and a key element in our sustainability, and I appreciate my partner for being a rock and pushing forward with her beliefs and practices. Thank you for taking the time to read my short post.  Now, I ask you. the reader, to take a moment every day to pause, take a deep breath deep and appreciate everything that surrounds you. Happy farming!

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