I did it. I bought eggs from the grocery store today. It’s like I’ve cheated. We always buy our eggs from a man named John who lives in the next town over on a very modest, very beautiful farm. Every time we go, he tumbles out of the house wearing thick, black-framed glasses, bright red suspenders, and an oversized green Farm Fresh Rhode Island cap. He gives me a kiss on the cheek, tousles the kids’ hair, and leads us over to the bunnies. His chickens roam free in the yard, pecking bugs from the tall grass while chasing one another, and make my kids scream, part fear, part delight.
I flat-out ran out of time tonight, and stood staring at the egg cooler for at least five minutes at Shaw’s. But I knew I couldn’t get over to John’s. Now it’s killing me. We haven’t eaten an egg from a chicken I didn’t know for over a year.
It’s hip to know your farmer these days, and I am glad I jumped on the bandwagon. Forming a relationship with John has made me feel more like a Rhode Islander than most things I have done since moving to this state six years ago. We watched his lone cow grow fat with calf all last winter and celebrated its birth this spring. We got to peek wide-eyed at miniature bunnies just days old nestled deep in wooden boxes behind the coop. We were there when the chicks arrived this spring, and spent a very long time gazing at them huddled in sawdust beneath an enormous, galvanized lamp. We have met countless cats, heard hundreds of stories about tractors and raising animals, and have witnessed his beautiful pasture morph through the seasons. We even shed tears when his wife died earlier this year.
I like that on John’s farm, my children see first hand how animals are directly linked to the food they eat. Perhaps more importantly, they have learned that the food they eat affects people’s lives and livelihood.
I learned my lesson tonight with that little half-dozen pack of organic eggs from Shaw’s. Never again. Never again.