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Farm To Table

Posted by Sherry Gray on April 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM


A couple of weeks ago I posted a picture of the field hands who helped us work the collards grown and trucked to the Atlanta Farmers Market. Although the work was hard, we all had such a great time together and every one pitched in to get the job done without whining! And many a practical joke was played on each other. But I think the hardest job fell to my mother, who cooked a bounty to feed us at 1 pm, just about every day during the summer and fall. When I hear some foodie talk about “farm to table” as if he or she invented the phrase, I get so irritated. If that foodie had lived and worked on Seldom Rest Farm, and been fed dinner by my mother, they truly would know what farm to table really means.


Naturally, home grown pork or chicken was the protein on the menu, and usually both since Mama knew the preferences of all of us. Sometimes we had beef but it was not usual for us to have much beef. We did occasionally have mutton, as daddy experimented with growing sheep one season, and it certainly was not a favorite of many at the table. Meal preparation began the evening before when Mama went to the garden and picked a peck bucket full of green beans, and then came in to string and break the beans to cook the next day. During different seasons, she also brought in squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, field peas of various kinds, corn, okra, strawberries, wild blackberries, grapes, blueberries, apples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnip and mustard greens, lettuce. You name it, we probably grew it at one time or another.



We had our own farmer’s market right there close to the house and didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as we should have.


Mama would, of course, arise and make breakfast which always, always included homemade biscuits. And eggs. And homemade jelly. Maybe bacon, fat back or homemade sausage. Usually gravy. Then after hand washing the dishes she would start on getting dinner ready for the workers. And spend all morning washing, peeling, cooking. And fixing dessert, cornbread and biscuits. And after we were all fat and sassy from such a big meal, while the field hands “rested” Mama got to wash the dishes by hand until many years later when she had a dishwasher. And don’t forget during such an abundant growing season, there were jars to fill and can. I’m not sure when she had time to do that! Or to make homemade butter which I can still taste to this day. Thanks to my folks, I lived the farm to table mantra we hear so much about today. Pictured is Daddy helping the market guys offload the collards.

Categories: Framing and Farming

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