I knew Jordan and Anne Cline in high school; they were a couple that Dalton and I were around a lot during our younger years. We used to take summer trips with them, like the one we took to Walden Pond in Concord, MA to see Thoreau's stomping grounds. I have excitedly been watching their meager farm beginnings sprout into a pastured farm where they can offer pork and poultry to the community.
Earnest Acres had a humble start in 2013, opening up a farm to offer pastured poultry and pork and live closer to their food. Jordan said this is why they started the farm: "the further away you get from your food, the less respect and appreciation you have for the provider - it becomes all about you." Jordan is talking about providers of produce and meat alike, but more importantly, he is referring to the Provider and Sustainer of all life. Jordan pointed out that the book of Genesis set the stage for God putting Adam to work in the garden. Anne said, "We enjoy creating and there's a need for it around here. It just makes sense - that we eat food closest to its original, unprocessed form."
Jordan talked about their start in farming and said "it's humbled us. There's so much you don't have control over. One day it may be a -40 degree day and a rooster is frozen to the floor. Everyone has to start somewhere. We aren't perfect, we're just trying to do the best we can."
The Photo Project & Food We Ate
I followed around the Cline family for most of a Saturday to photograph what life was like and to see how they are connected to food. For lunch Anne made a "snack lunch", where she has an eclectic assortment of veggies, fruit, and grains. We had veggies, homemade hummus, watermelon slices, PB & homemade jam on sprouted bread, and "cookie dough balls" made from white beans and chocolate chips.
For dinner we had blueberry pork loin (from the farm!), grilled zucchini salad, sweet potato kabobs, beet & watermelon salad with kombucha dressing, bread & butter, and a banana peach ice cream for dessert (or nice cream for me who avoids dairy!).
Enjoy the full slideshow of images below
Since the start of the farm, they have raised & sold over 40 hogs and over 600 chickens. Their farm follows the practice of the well-known Joel Salitan of Polyface Farms.
Jordan believes it is most important that the animals receive sunlight and get some movement outside. Some of the benefits of pastured-raised meats include lower stress in animals and healthier meat with more Omega-3's, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). I know I'd rather eat a happy pig!
Kids and Whole Foods
The kids aren't afraid to eat "weird" things; it's just normal living to them. They have their favorites, but they eat an array of vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats. I asked Wyatt, their 7 year old, some questions about his RIDICULOUS lifestyle. I asked what he likes to do around the farm most and he said he loves to grow things and eat what he grows. While he does get exposed to "junk food" around other kids, when I asked what his favorite food was, he responded, "brussel sprouts". You can imagine my smile. I also asked him why he eats what he grows and he said "because it's healthy". Smart kid.
How does his mom manage him attending public school and having the normal school food/ interactions around? Wyatt packs his lunch 4 days a week and eats the school lunch 1 day each week. He actually was packing himself salads most days! One day he packed his lunch and said to his mom, "It's a good thing I packed. THEY HAD BLUE CEREAL AT SCHOOL!!!" I am on the same page with them. Control what you can, but don't obsess. It's okay to eat what "the other kids" eat sometimes.
Their farm and the way they live their lives inspire me. I started my company to spur change in people to get back to real food and back to feeling good. Earnest Acres is a family farm that is earnestly and honestly living that out. They work hard on their farm, they teach and nourish their children, and they are ready and willing to share their knowledge and lend help to people in the community. Thank GOODNESS for people like Jordan and Anne who aren't afraid to get out a pitch fork in our fast-paced, technology-addicted world and really put feet to the concept of getting back to real food.