On Cairncest Farm in Plainfield, two brothers, Edmund and Garth Brown, have resolved to eat only what they raise/grow/forage/hunt themselves for an entire year. Edible Finger Lakes is carrying biweekly updates from the Brown brothers as they embark on this food journey.
In Garth’s post last month, he resolved to end his challenge early. Learn in his post below how things have changed for him since he made that decision.
Food for a Year: December 1-17
When I decided to stop eating only from the farm I wondered how long it would take to readjust. While I was only overwhelmed by my endless choices for the first few days, I’ve continued to appreciate being able to cook what I want when I want; baking Christmas cookies with my daughter only required a trip to the store, rather than hours spent winnowing oats and grinding them into flour, rendering lard, and wondering how best to adapt any recipe to my limited ingredients.
In a conventional narrative this thoughtless ease would come with some sort of nostalgia for all those pointless hours spent dealing with small grains, but so far it is completely absent. Perhaps if I had transitioned from a diet exclusively from the farm to one exclusively from a store I would feel a bit wistful when thinking back on the past year, but because the preponderance of the meat and produce in my diet—indeed, the preponderance of the calories I eat—remains the product of my land, only now supplemented with all the little things that make food much more interesting, the change feels entirely like a benefit.
My only regret is how anticlimactic the ending proved to be. I had imagined a New Year’s Day blowout with all the food that had previously been unavailable. Instead I just started eating butter and cheese and other things that happened to be in the fridge. But Thanksgiving dinner more than made up for this, and Christmas will be much more pleasant for everyone without my absurd dietary restrictions dictating the meal plan. —Garth
Brothers Edmund and Garth Brown are owner-operators of Cairncrest Farm in Plainfield, New York. They produce and sell grass-fed beef and pastured pork. They blog about their 2015 homegrown challenge here.
To read Edmund’s last post, click here.
Be sure to check back to our site in early January to get the Brown brothers’ final thoughts on their Food for a Year challenge!
Photo by Garth Brown