May 2022

We’ve been back in Healdsburg almost four years now, and enjoying so many things about this town. Back in 2019, we were surprised to find out that Memorial Day here is a FOUR-day weekend. That’s because so many children in town participate in the Healdsburg Future Farmers Country Fair, with activities happening for four straight days. Jane is participating for the first time this year, and for the past several months, she’s been learning about the care and feeding of rabbits. Last week we received 9 baby market (meat) rabbits that Jane will be feeding, grooming, monitoring, and weighing for 30 days, up until the big event. She’ll be reaching out to potential buyers via letter and video, with hopes that she’ll sell her pen of rabbits for a high price and maybe even win a ribbon.

One of the many things she’s gaining is a better understanding of where meat comes from. We first became interested in ethical farming and meat consumption when Sarah read Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma” several years back. 

The philosophy presented was – if you’re going to eat meat, it’s best to understand where it comes from, and the sacrifice beingmade. 4H children know that the animals they love and care for will ultimately be put on the table. That’s is how it’s been for generations, but in modern times, with being so distanced from our food sources, it can be easy to forget. Jane (and all of us) are experiencing first-hand what it means to humanely and lovingly raise animals for food. It’s a weighty responsibility. She has already dedicated her whole 9-year old being to caring for these animals the best she can and is grappling with the fact that they were born to be “meat rabbits.” If we can survive our emotions, we hope it’ll remind us all to be more thoughtful about the food we eat (and waste!). Sustainable, local, and ethical — these are values we work to uphold in all aspects of Gros Ventre, and we’re glad our kids will be learning about these values from another angle. We were talking about this with some friends who are chefs at a treasured and highly ethical restaurant here in town. When they learned that we’d have extra rabbits at the end of the fair, they offered to help us prepare a feast. We’re honored to have such talented and knowledgeable people help us complete the farm to table journey.

Country fair festivities kick off Thursday of Memorial Day weekend with a twilight parade and the fair, auction and animal exhibit going all weekend. There will be ice cream, a barn dance, games, and other festivities too. If you have a hankering to experience an old-fashioned slice of Americana, plan a visit, and come in for a tasting while you’re at it.