September 29, 2010 baby piglet photo gallery

if cute baby piglet pictures could be used as currency, i’d be the richest man alive.  i’m the lebron james of cute baby piglet pictures.  i’ve resorted to storing my undocumented plethora of piglet pictures—under an alias, of course—in an offshore bank account in barbados, to avoid domestic taxes.  i wake up in the morning, uncle scrooge mcduck dive into a giant swimming pool of cute piglet pictures and backstroke it to work. 

in case you haven’t gathered, they enjoy milk, piling on top of each other, and piling on top of each other while asleep.

this character, despite his brother’s nosing, fell asleep—standing—at the tit.

and he’s out.

September 29, 2010 man shovels poo, enjoys his time

i’ve become increasingly more paranoid about what the animals do during a rain storm.   let’s face it, we all stay inside, and they’re all together, conspiring willy nilly about who knows what. 

exhibit, a:  look at those beady eyes:

and b:  undeniably suspicious nostrils:

and so.  in an effort to prove my hypothesis, and crack the cartel like behavior i’m certain these animals engage in whenever the opportunity strikes, i hit them when they least expect it—the cloak of rain!

as the rain came on, i put on my rain gear and quietly infiltrated the hogs, perfectly camouflaging into my surroundings.

for the next two hours i danced an elegant ballerina like mud shit dance that mostly resembled good curling form, shoveling our feeding pad entirely crystal clean in the process.  i removed hundreds of pounds and inches of mudshitbloodfoodcrust that had compacted over the recent drought. 

as odd of a job as shoveling mudshit might sound, the task was one of the more rewarding of the week. physically demanding, but also rewarding, the simple task of moving mud from a to b, became a meditative, energizing, and most gratifying task.

oh, right—and as far as those conspiring beasts?  i was right.  human trafficking, meth distribution, and a huge range of aerial fireworks and booze to underage local teens.  we’ve alerted the local authorities. 

September 25, 2010 see ehn en

the three years before i began farming i was working on the floor of the new york stock exchange.  through the collapse of lehman brothers, the recession, the bail out—you know the story—i was working in the belly of the beast.  with my tie pulled tight i’d dodge reporters and protesters on my way past the security that surrounded the historic building.  cnbc filmed fifteen feet away from where i was working, all day every day.  on the closing bell, each day at four, the intrusive shine of a spotlight would hit me from the side as a camera man walked by, cruising for stock footage of monkeys slamming keys. 

after all this hooplah, i had to move to rural georgia and work on a farm to be interviewed by cnn.  amusing, no?

today we were visited on the farm by cnn editor/producer wes.  coincidentally, as completely random, not at all pre-meditated, totally innocent luck will have it, i just happened to be wearing a freshly pressed imhighoncooking t-shirt for the shoot. 


wes is doing a piece on farm burger, farm255’s sister restaurant in decatur (atl), and he came to film us out on fowler farm, doing what we do best.  contrary to what you may expect, he’s no company hack, sent out to film whatever the big wigs tell him to.  he was clearly genuine in his interest, and this piece was an idea he developed and pitched himself.  his questions intelligent and his curiosity keen.  

his interest in farm burger is two fold—well, maybe multi-fold.  it’s not just a farm to table restaurant he wanted to shoot, for that task is becoming easier by the month.  as with most good ideas, however, swarms of posers, half-assers, and quick-buckers sink their claws into the backs of innovators and visionaries and come along for the ride.

the difference between farm burger and farm255 vs. other similarly described restaurants is that as opposed to merely sourcing quality ingredients (which is probably still more than many so called farm-to-plate menus can say) we actually grow them ourselves.  it’s not farm to table—it’s farm AND table.  (booyah!)

taking it next level, wes was keen to the fact that farm burger is serving this food at economical prices—giving access of farm fresh food to the people.  not just some people.  all the people. 

coming from brooklyn, eating farm fresh food at a hip restaurant is no tall order to fill.  the bill, however, is a horse of a different color.  even a niche industry such as ours, which prides itself on treating farmers fairly, can be criticized for mainly catering to deep pocketed soccer moms and big city socialites.   

preaching about food access is one thing—delivering is quite another.  developing farm to table concepts that holds access as a priority needs to be a focus going forward.

the cnn piece is slotted to air on the twenty seventh, and i will put a link up as soon as it does.

September 15, 2010

i landed at laguardia and immediately doubled the hop in my step.  new york.  the concrete jungle.  metal and glass shoot out of concrete to neck wrenching peaks.  every skin color under the rainbow speed walking to and fro. 

women in dark suits and men with links on their cuffs weave through the sea of pedestrians—the extra thick wheeled strollers, the men in uniforms, the school children, the homeless and the fashionistas—each on their way to somewhere more important. 

as i stand on this unlit corner i see more people in my periphery than i can catch in an entire day in georgia.  i see thousands and thousands of tiny glass portals into tiny ant lives.  the flickering glow of their flat screen tvs billows out of their lofts and casts a muted light on my face that somehow resembles the moon.

a lady with leather pants and a leather face sprints in front of my taxi, her boy toy in tote behind, shirt unbuttoned, cigarette burning.  it’s six am this morning, and its obvious they’re venturing home for the first time since tuesday.  just one story of millions that took place on this random week night in the jungle.

when i left brooklyn i considered it an epicenter—a hotbed—of local and sustainable food.  the meat hook, and marlow, with their always stuffed cases of perfectly cut meat—never even frozen—the green markets, the private chefs, and the cooking classes.  hogs raised in queens and honey bees on the roof.  leaving the city and heading south, however, there is one shining piece of the puzzle of which new york cannot attain. 

the dirt. 

a people separated from dirt is a people separated from earth—from the mother, from the creator, from g-d and the holy spirit, and from jah.  for dirt is from whence we came.  if the dirt is alive, and if from dirt we came and shall one day return,  what can one say of a place with no dirt?  is this place a façade?  can it really exist?  a place with no dirt is a place dependant, and can a place as such truly be free?

“the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies.  burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms, and grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” –william jennings bryan, speaking at the dnc eighteen ninety six.

nyc with all its freedom, all its accomplishment, all the modern marvels of man.  the sports teams and the fashion lines.  madison ave and the bowery.  secret freight entrances on not secret streets leading to back room card games, and all night benders.  the subway and the high line.  pizza, hipsters, delis, wall street —none of it exists without the dirt. 

August 26, 2010 meat-o-mania

the invitation reads:

wednesday, august twenty fifth

we are so pleased to extend an invitation to a first-time farm255 happening…a culmination of blood, sweat, mud, hides, hair, and muscle. a paradise of sorts for the admirer of our farm toil, kitchen fire and fat. we’re bringing our good friend brent j. young { chef, butcher & steeler } down from his shop up in brooklyn, new york { the meat hook }  to seek together with our chef, matthew palmerlee, and our sous chef, jake o. francis,  the off & over & insides of our various animals and make them into a six-course tasting supper during the hot, dead middle of august.

through the door, and on the bar, we are greeted with a simple bouquet in a mason jar, an icy trough of beers, and a whole cow’s head, simply roasted.  scattered amongst the bar, the tables, and hanging in the kitchen, lay a handful of copies of tonight’s menu—sharpie on butcher paper.  the prix fixe, five course feast of a menu is presented through the eyes of the butcher—the animal’s name, and the cut of meat— no other description.  with items such as lamb:testicle, pig:brain, and chicken:heart scribbled around the room, we took seats at communal farm tables and waited for the three hour onslaught of beast to attack. 

it came, and it came, and it came.  a roller coaster journey across the butcher’s cut sheet—foot, head, face, tongue, liver, heart, skin, belly, testicle, brain, oh my.  the inspired menu was narrated in-between courses with explanations of flavors, stories of late night chicken wing benders, and various other antics by the chefs.  by the end of the night the crowd waddled home, jeans unbuttoned, with a new car shine glistening from within their bodies.  enough grassfed, pasture raised, pure animal fat was involved in the night to fuel our farm for a month.  the finale, for dessert, these sick fucks served figs with toast, and whipped lardo.   and that, ladies and gents, is when a room full of grown ass people willingly spread pure pig fat onto toast and called it dessert. 

here are some other highlights:



sausage party

brent holds fire

chef’s eye view, cow’s heart on knife

a round of honey mead for everyone

lamb and cow testicles

homemade sausage, pretzels, and kraut.  mustard two ways.

dessert:  figs with thyme and honey.  whipped pig’s fat on toast.

three chefs serving shots for the road.  rye whiskey with a drunk crisp of big pink (a storied sow in our herd’s history, and truffle’s mom)

a kiss good night


a fantastic evening, and a fantastic performance by the farm255 crew.  general delight aside, the night was personally meaningful in my journey from brooklyn to farmer.  brent, the guest butcher and chef who was brought down here for this event, was my butcher for the last couple years living up in new york.  when i was looking to find a farm, i asked the guy’s at the meat hook, amongst many others, and brent’s recommendation to check out the farm in athens is what brought me here today.  so, that worked out.

furthermore, my company at the dinner table—a collection of local farmers, their loved ones, and some good friends from farm burger—truly made the evening a rewarding experience. 

more selfishly, a thirty minute pig montage i put together played over a movie screen for about half of the evening, my efforts as farm apprentice were cheered by the guests enjoying their feast, and a take home door prize of pickled chicken feet was the cherry on top.

this morning, when i awoke from the protein induced coma, i decided to go on a three day raw vegetable binge to clear out the ol’ blood stream and give my liver a break.  no bread, no cheese, no meat—just veggies.

a couple hours later, however, jake called me and told me he just picked up truffles from the slaughter house and asked me if i wanted any.  long story short, i’ve been boiling truff’s backbones all day, along with a chicken we slaughtered last week and some vegetables, in order to prepare a dank stock for the truff ribs i’m going to make tomorrow.  after that, i took some herbs from my patio, some garlic from our farm, some honey my friend’s bees made, and some kosher salt, rubbed it all over truff’s belly, and started the process of making bacon. 

looks like the cleanse will just have to wait a few days.