Farm To Table Friendsgiving
Hello all! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with family and friends! We traveled to West Virginia to see my uncle (yes, he's the goat gifter) . Luckily we made it home without any new farm animals, although he tried to send us home with a couple of roosters...
My aunt is a wonderful farm-to-table cook and we feasted the whole time we were there. They plant a garden every year and she cans the produce so they can enjoy it all year. Along with the traditional turkey, we had mashed potatoes (from their garden), green beans (from their garden), home made rolls (y'all - I'm not a big roll eater but these were SO GOOD!) and so much more. We also had 7 kinds of pie - apple, cherry, lemon meringue, peanut butter custard, pumpkin, pumpkin cream cheese and pecan.
All home made. All amazing. (ok, I didn't try all of them, but I know they were all amazing)
This time of year is a favorite for bringing friends and family together to reconnect and enjoy great food. Earlier this Fall, I worked with some very talented vendors to pull together some inspiration on hosting your holiday gatherings.
There are so many ways to host a meal that pays heritage to farm-to-table menus (even if you don't have a cellar full of canned garden vegetables). In Georgia, we are fortunate to have Georgia Grown to promote farm fresh state produce that you can find in local grocery stores. They have a wealth of great recipes all made with Georgia Grown produce you can incorporate into your meals!
The finishing touches are what set the environment. Beautiful vintage china and glassware, cloth napkins, personalized place cards - these are all places to start. Pull what you have treasured in your closets, ask family to bring some of your favorite pieces you have always admired and bring it together to create an atmosphere to celebrate.
And Then There Were Goats
I've mentioned before that Cale told me on our second date he wanted to have a farm - a chicken, blueberry and goat farm to be exact. The chickens made sense for a farm and blueberries, ok, that makes sense for a crop. But where did the goats come from?
Bailey (10 at the time) wanted baby goats. She and some friends had played with a couple baby goats a few years earlier and she was hooked. When we purchased the land for our farm, our original plan was to get pygmy goats. They are small and would fit what Bailey had asked for. But a trip to my uncle's farm in West Virginia changed all that.
The Thanksgiving after we purchased the land, I took Cale and Bailey on their first visit to my uncle's farm in West Virginia. If you have ever met Cale or my Uncle Dave, they are two peas in a pod and they hit it off immediately. My uncle had Nubian dairy goats and easily convinced Cale that if we are going to get goats, at least get something that had a use (other than just making cute babies). Dairy goats can be milked for personal use or the milk makes great soap and lotion. You know - great things for those of us with spare time...
Nubians are also very docile - especially when they are bottle fed like we do. Once Bailey saw the babies with their floppy ears, she was sold.
Fast forward a year to Christmas Eve and my uncle had two baby bucks born. They were named Dancer and Prancer in honor of their birth date and Bailey received a "Merry Christmas" message that she now had her first two goats. And we began building a fence and barn for her goats. To her credit, she did help out with the work.
Once the goats were old enough to leave their mom, we headed up to West Virginia with a dog crate to keep the goats in on the long drive back in one car and a fussy three month old Peyton in another car. Cale and Bailey had the pleasure of driving back with 2 crying goats in the back of the car while my mom and I had a looooong trip back with a fussy three month old.
Cale and Bailey thought they were well prepared with leashes for the goats so they could get out at a rest stop for a potty break. Nubians are often show goats and walk on leashes during shoes. These goats, however, were not used to the leashes, so instead of calmly walking and enjoying a chance to stretch their legs they spent the few minutes yelling and pulling on the leashes while other visitors enjoyed the spectacle. The rest of the trip was made very quickly with minimal stops!
Once we were home, there were still a few last touches needed on the goat's new shed before they could be put in for the night. Cale's mom, Judith, sat in the garage holding the goats while the guys finished up the goat shed. It's truly a huge family effort around here!
The boys are now a few years old and we have added 2 does, 1 more buck, and 2 does born on the farm. They really are at their cutest when they are just a few weeks old and that is when Bailey gives them the most attention. They know Cale is the one who feeds them, though, and you will see them follow him around anytime he is near. The chickens do the same thing so it really is a funny sight!
Pleasant Union Farm is a family owned wedding venue in North Georgia, about an hour north of Atlanta.