“Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. Slow Food believes that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of biodiversity, culture and knowledge that make this pleasure possible.”- Slow Food website, “About Us” 2013
Without hard work, there is little pleasure. It is the process of tending and growing that allows us to fully enjoy the blessings of the harvest. It is the effort and time that we expend that helps us understand and appreciate the value of food. Slow food is not cheap food, it is not easy food, it is not even convenient food, it is real food. It is the recognition that we have lost contact with the process of feeding our families, and as a result, have entrusted their health to the decisions of companies like Monsanto, Cargill, and Tyson.
Over the past five months, we have experienced the “pleasure of good food.” We have hand-selected a flock of premium poultry originating from France. This heirloom breed’s reputation for flavor has extended for hundreds of years, earning its own AOC designation and inspiring gourmands from around the world to journey to the Bresse region of France. For nearly 140 days, we nurtured, fed, watered, protected and ranged these chickens. We have provided the best sources of nutrients we could manage, including soy-free organic feed and organic jersey milk. We made every effort to follow, as closely as possible, the traditional French methods. We’ve had to improvise at times, using alternative methods and conventional feeds when our preferences were unavailable. But in the end, we committed nearly six months to the process of raising healthy, humane slow food. We have done this to not only link the “pleasure of good food with a commitment to our community,” but more important, to provide the very best in free food for our family. Not free in terms of our time and money, but real food that is free of unnecessary and potentially unhealthy additives and preservatives; free from a factory “life”; free to experience clean air, fresh water, green pasture and warm sun; free from the industrial process that disconnects us from our food and the value and dignity it deserves. And this is the real food that our families deserve.
The harvesting of this “slow food” is an effort as important as anything else in the process. It is done with as much care for the animal as any other part of the cycle. It is an event that is both solemn and celebratory, one that recognizes the many days of effort and exertion, both on the part of the Bresse and those of its caretaker. It is quick, clean, and respectful. In the end, it recognizes the value and costs of real food. Perhaps more than anything, like all harvests, it is the proper closure to an ancient practice of the thoughtful, hard work that is required to provide our families with healthy, nutritious, slow food. It perhaps represents one of the few truly rewarding experiences of providing for our families, one that has been lost in a world of fast food.
We give thanks for this experience, for the hard work and sacrifices of all, and for the blessings that come from doing things the way they were intended. We give thanks for the opportunity to enjoy the “pleasures of good food,” slow food.