On 4 December, Laurie Beth and Michael hosted a brunch for artists and farmers to celebrate the Feeding Farmers project at MMoCA.
The post below documents four meals that were realized by artist/farmer pairings in December.
I met Kyle and Alli the first time at the farmer’s market in order to do this project. Meeting with them at the market, I realize the wealth of information that they have. How much they know not only about growing food, but how to prepare the food. The beautiful, striped eggplants that I picked up from their stand are inspiring.
I don’t think that I have ever thought so much about what goes into the food that I make. Paying so much attention to the ingredients, where the food is from, who made it. I started making everything from scratch. I rode my bicycle around town in order to pick most of the food up.
I decided to make something that is a little bit how I am inspired by Local Roots Community Farm and their philosophy and the food that they grow and sell. And then a little bit how I see the role of art in the world and combine the two together in the meal. Healthy food that I think is also aesthetically pleasing and also some unexpected things like hibiscus flowers in syrup. I read two books for the project–The Land Remembers and Salvador Dali’s cookbook. I also decided to create my own silver, circular place mats and also bring dried flowers and frosty, beaded branches for the table to represent the change in the season.
We sat at the table in MMoCA for over 2 hours. We didn’t know each other before the project, and chatting about so many things; and also did some people watching from the big window.
We truly felt like we were participating in an art display eating in the space too, a one of a kind experience.
Driftless Organics seems to be more closely related to the extended family cooperative farming model prior to the 20th century than the corporate/family model that is more common these days. We started by going around and having each person talk about their link to Driftless, as well as their links to farming in general. The group is an interconnected web of people that are tied together through personal relationships, common experiences and an interest in doing things for the world, rather than being tied together by blood. I found many connections within the group. One is a former student. A group of them share a love of videogames, and they love to play Call of Duty in Zombie mode as a team; I will have to try that one out. The food was organic, non-dairy and gluten free. Highlights were coconut egg nog, sushi rice pudding and lentil pilaf with cinnamon. People move in and out of active roles with the farm, but they all maintain their ties to the “family.” People also move back and forth between the rural and the urban, with some who live near the rural farm “crashing” at the homes of those who live in Madison after a long day of work in the city. One interesting thing was that Josh Engel’s mom bought him and his brother Noah a booth during one of the original farmer’s market seasons about 23 years ago, while they were still teenagers. That propelled them on the journey that has brought them to where they are now.
On 1 December, Dulcee delivered a wooden tray with an apple pie and a loaf of bread to Laurie Beth and Michael in Madison who were able to present these items to Jim and Rebecca during the Feeding Farmers brunch at MMoCA on 4 December.
This is the letter that accompanied, Dulcee’s gift: foodways_boehm-northwood
On 10 December, Bethany Jurewicz served her meal for Katy and Mark Dickson of Christensen Farm (Browntown) and their three children within Jennifer Bastian‘s installation for the Madison Municipal Building show. The meal consisted of a mushroom, leek and smoked gruyere quiche made with leeks and eggs from her the Christensen Farm, Underground Butcher bacon, corn muffins with strawberry jam and sparkling ginger apple cider.
On 21 December, Chele Isaac and Helen Hawley combined forces to prepare a solstice meal for Willi Lehner and Q’tas of Blue Mont Dairy (Blue Mounds) and Jeff Ford of Cress Springs Bakery (Blue Mounds).
We held our event out in Blue Mounds near both Willi and Jeff’s farms. Our guests were Willi Lehner and his partner Q’tas of Bleu Mont Dairy and Jeff Ford of Cress Spring Bakery. We decided to hold the dinner on the solstice to celebrate the coming light and our food was in honor of our guests with ingredients that referenced them (watercress salad and star studded solstice PIE for Jeff, and with the pie we served Willi’s award winning bandaged cheddar). We also included things we produced- raspberry syrup from my raspberry patch for the cocktails and brined pickles for the appetizer tray from Helen. John opened a magnum of wine that his partner Paul helped bottle at Soos Creek in Washington. It was a warm occasion (the bonfire notwithstanding) and a lot of the conversation revolved around the overlapping relationships and friendships out here. Our beloved first dog Maia was found as a stray 3month old puppy at Willi and Q’tas farm by our mutual friend Jeff Scott who was living in their cabin at the time… we have been “neighbors” for years and Helen has bought Cress Spring bread as long as she’s been in Madison, but this is the first time we’ve gotten together outside of the farmer/customer relationship. It was really great — we didn’t say goodbye til after 1!